Sunday, 12 February 2017

The vaguely Anna dress

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my coatIt's been pretty cold in Belfast lately, and the coat is lovely and warm.  So I think I will use the same fabric in black for another winter coat in the autumn.  Anyway, onto this dress which was made before Christmas.

The inspiration for this came from the fabric, and a photo of an Alexander McQueen dress I saw on Pinterest.  The fabric is some wool rayon mix from Fabrics For Sale which I can't find on the website,  


and here's the inspiration photo.


By now you've probably spotted that my dress didn't turn out like this!  I had planned to make a sleeveless, princess seam bodice with a half circle skirt.  I didn't want the high-low hem because I'm not a big fan, and the underneath was going to be some fabric left over from this dress.

Thankfully, I had the wit to lay the two fabrics out on the sewing room floor before taking the scissors to them.  I approximated the shape of a half circle skirt in the tartan, then again with the black fabric over the top and the bottom edge folded up - but I wasn't feeling the love.  Photos were taken on my phone, but I've deleted them, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it wasn't the vision that was in my head.


So, a Plan B was required, and it was back to good old Pinterest!  What did we do without it?  I found this Modcloth dress on my Sewing Inspiration board that previous me had the common sense to save.


The thing that really grabbed me was the bodice and collar.  The bodice reminded me of the By Hand London Anna dress, and I love a Peter Pan collar as much as the next person; the pointy edges and trim sold it.  On closer inspection of this photo, it looks like a false collar, and the trim is sewn onto the dress bodice.

Anyway, I loved it, so that's what I went with.  I was going to make an Anna bodice with a more curved neckline and draft a Peter Pan collar (which is what I did), but then I spotted these capped sleeved in one of my pattern drafting books, so made them too.


As mentioned, the collar is self drafted, and for reference is 1.5" deep.  The flowery trim came from Sew N Sew in Belfast, and was £1 a metre.  There was 2.5 metres left on the roll, so the lovely lady who owns the shop charged me £2 for the lot.  It's only 50p saving, but that kind of customer service is why I love that shop.  I sewed it on by hand, which was time-consuming, but I love how it looks.



My original Anna bodice has been hacked to the nth degree, and this version is drafted from my block, so I was able to use my sleeve block to draft the sleeves.  It's got me wondering if it would work with the original Anna bodice - my theory is that the bodice side seam and shoulder could be lined up with another BHL pattern with armholes, and then sleeves from another pattern could be added.  I haven't tried it, and have just googled it with no good results, so maybe not. - Sorry about that random stream of consciousness!!

Anyway, the fabric looks and feels like linen, so has a looser weave which made it a little opaque, so I underlined the bodice with some black cotton lawn. The skirt is underlined with black polycotton because black lawn is not cheap, and hard to come by!  This lead to an interesting method of construction as I didn't want a facing due to bulkiness.

  • I cut out the bodice in the main fabric and underlining,
  • marked the back dart and front pleats, 
  • sewed the main fabric shoulder seams together and then the underlining shoulder seams together,
  • sewed the collar to the right side of the bodice,
  • sewed the main fabric and underlining together at the neck edge.  Trimed, graded, clipped, pressed and understitched,
  • hand basted the underlining to the main fabric within the seam allowance,
  • sewed the darts and pleats.
Hope that makes sense!  I'm putting it here as a reminder to myself in case I want to make it again.
I love this dress, and the underlining makes it nice and warm.

Today I have been drafting a pattern for a re-creation of this dress that I mentioned in this post,

so hopefully it will turn out like it looks in my head!


Saturday, 28 January 2017

Le-Roy Weldon's 8972 - Part 2 - The finished coat

Here's my coat in all it's loveliness!  Click here to read all the construction details.



Gorgeous elbow darts to shape the sleeve


Now I want to make all the coats!!  I have been planning Butterick 4610 for a while, and already have the fabric.  A toile has been made, but I need to do some fitting alterations.

I also want to use Vogue 8346 to try and recreate this gorgeous coat I found ages ago on Pinterest, which I sadly can't find a source for.

I was thinking of maybe using Melton wool for it, but Lara from Dreaming Avonlea recently made this gorgeous coat in Loden, so I'm thinking of using it instead.

And a few weeks ago I spotted this 1960s coat on Instagram, which is right up my street.  It turned out that it's from The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardbook book, which I promptly ordered on ebay.  I think this would be lovely in dark purple or burgurdy. 


But coat-making is pretty epic, and at the minute I'm all about the simple sewing, so it's pyjama bottoms for me!

Have a great weekend,


Le-Roy Weldon's 8972 Coat - Part 1 - Construction

My winter coat is finally finished, and it turns out that I have a lot to say about it, so I'm going to break it down into two posts.  This one will be the inspiration and sewing deets, and this one is the photos of the finished coat.  I totally get it if you just want to look at the photos!


It's no secret that I love 1950s and 60s styles, so it followed that I would want to make a coat in that style too.  I had originally planned to make this pattern, which I got on ebay last year.


It's Le-Roy Weldon's 8753 in size 14, and as it's from the 1960s, it's a single sized pattern.  The measurements for size 14 were right for me, but it turns out that there is a lot of ease on old patterns as well as new ones', because when I made a toile, it was too big!  I don't have any pattern grading knowledge, so hunted for another pea coat pattern.  Long story short, the perfect one was from Sew Over It, but it had only been available as a class.  So I emailed them to see if I could buy it, and they kindly emailed me back to say that unfortunately they were not planning on releasing it at the minute.  I'm holding out hope though, because it also has those lovely Dior darts.

Anyway, I stumbled across another Le-Roy Weldon's pattern on ebay for the princely sum of £2.50 .  This one is 8972, and is a size 12.  One toile later, it fitted perfectly at the shoulders, back and bust.  Which leads me onto fitting.


The sleeves were a bit long, so I took 1.5cm out above and below the elbow, so the elbow darts would be in the right place.  I used the coat length from View B (the pink one on the right), which comes to just above my knees.  The coat was too narrow from the fourth button down, so I measured how much extra room I needed, and added it to the seams down to the hem.  Another toile, and it was perfect!



My favourite part are the sleeves.  They are shaped with two darts at the elbow.  I sewed them up, put them on the floor to admire them, and couldn't get over their loveliness!  You can see how the bottom of the sleeves curves towards the front.  This made me very happy!


I used the bias strip method to gather the sleeve head, here's a video about it from Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing.  Honestly, this works like a charm!

Also, I read somewhere (can't remember where), about folding the bias strip back on itself once it's sewn in, then stitching it in place - this helps to fill out the sleeve head.  I did it, and love how the sleeve head looks!  

Back Stay

I tried drafting a back stay from the pattern pieces, as from my tailoring book "Tailoring: The Classic Guide To Sewing The Perfect Jacket".  It didn't work too well, so I winged it, and traced around the edge of the back of my coat, and it turned out fine.  The back stay fabric is some medium weight cotton from Ikea that I use for toiles. 


I knew I wanted to make bound buttonholes, and had made them before using the patch method.  I wasn't very happy with this method, as I found it tricky to get the frames of the buttonholes to be even.  So this time, I used Karen from Did You Make That's ebook on bound buttonholes.  This method uses welts to make the buttonhole frames, as in a welt pocket, and was soooo much easier!  I'll definately be using this method again.  

Here's what they look like from the inside - the back of the bound buttonholes are on the right, and the back of the facing is on the left.  Now, you may be wondering why there are machined buttonholes on the facing instead of the traditional "windows".  Well, I'll tell you!  

This fabric (which I will talk about in a minute) is quite thick, and the buttonholes are a bit bulky.  I didn't want to add more bulk with the "windows", and then remembered the buttonholes on a linen mix coat I have.  It has bound buttonholes, with machined buttonholes on the back, which are sewn together.  So I copied that, and it worked!

Might need to sponge off the yellow chalk!


My fabric is some Loden fabric from My Fabrics, which is gorgeous.  I got 3 metres, and have enough left for a skirt.  The lining is also from My Fabrics, but I can't remember exactly what it is.  

I had wanted to make fabric covered buttons, but it turnes out this fabric is too thick for that, so I got some brass coloured buttons in The Spinning Wheel in Belfast.  The back of the buttons are stabilised with clear buttons.

I absolutely love my coat, and am really proud of it!  It's definately the best thing I've ever made, and took about a month to make.  When I went to clean my machine, once it was finished, the bobbin casing looked like Kermit The Frog's insides!!

Click on over to this post to see it in all it's glory!