Saturday, 11 November 2017

Deer And Doe Bleuet Dress

I bought this pattern when it first came out a few years' ago now, but even though I planned to, I never got around to making it.


Fast forward to the pattern being re-jigged and re-released a few months ago.  There were some new versions on the Deer and Doe blog, and the second photo down really caught my eye.  I loved the tartan with the white collar, and we all know that in my world tartan is a neutral!    

The PDF pattern was on offer for 3 Euros to anybody who had bought the original pattern, so I bought it.  My fabric is some Mini Royal Stewart tartan from ebay that I bought to make a replacement for this dress which is my favourite, but has most definitely seen better days. 


I preferred the idea of a black collar, so used some wool/rayon mix fabric left over from this dress, and made View B but without the bow at the back.  Also, I didn't bother with the hem facing, and just turned the hem under and stitched.  Cutting out was pretty time-consuming because I cut it all out on a single layer, but that's the joys and delights of matching the print on tartan.

The dress came together pretty quickly, and the pattern is beautifully drafted, the collar went together perfectly.  As with the other Deer and Doe patterns I've used, the instructions are a bit sparse, and I'm not sure if I used the correct seam allowance for the capped sleeves.

I love how my dress turned out, but ultimately it is a little bit big, which is entirely my fault - should have gone down a size!  But having worn it twice now, I think I'll fiddle about with the princess seams, and see if I can bring it in a bit.  


There is also a tutorial on the Deer and Doe blog on how to make it into a shirt, which I'm very taken with, so might give that a try.

Have a great weekend,


Friday, 27 October 2017

The Halloween Dress and The Elna Supermatic

The fabric silliness continues with this Halloween themed dress, because Halloween is definitely my favourite holiday. 

I'd wanted to make a Simplicity 2444 dress, but the bodice needed tweeked, and I couldn't be bothered.  So this bodice is the By Hand London Anna bodice (how many of these have I made?!), and the skirt from Simplicity 2444.  I don't think I've put these two together before, but I will be doing it again.

My fabric is some cotton called "Day of the dead roses and skulls" and was from a seller called "The Cheap Shop" on ebay.  It was £6.60 per metre, and is 57" wide - I bought 2 metres. 

Here's a close-up of the fabric so you can see the details.  I don't think these skulls are too creepy/in your face.  There's not much to say about the construction, so let's talk about the machine I used.   

I seem to have acquired quite a few sewing machines now, some belonged to my Grannies (here and here), and some I've bought.  It seems my machine of choice is Elna, as I have two new Elna sewing machines and an overlocker, and I also have an Elna from the 1970's that was my Granny's.  

Probably my favourite of my old machines is my Singer 306k because I love that it does more than a straight stitch, and I love how it works with the little cams.  Well, Elna made a similar machine around the same time, the 1950s, which is the Elna Supermatic.  I'd been on the lookout for one for a while, and got this one on Ebay during the summer.

This one had five cams with it, and they go into the top of the machine.  The cam rotates as the machine runs, and the shape around the edge of the cam moves the needle to create the stitch. 

The stitch length selector is on the right, and the needle position is 0-4 along the bottom.  Here are my experiments with some of the cams.


It doesn't have any measurement markings on the foot plate, so I used some masking tape and a marker pen. 

Also, it doesn't have a foot pedal, instead it uses a knee bar to control the machine.  As it's name suggests, you push it with your knee to make the machine run.  The further over to the right, the faster the machine goes.  It's actually very easy to use, and I find it easiest of all my old machines to control the speed on. 

This machine is very conveniently dated on the bottom as 8th October 1954.  Wish the old Singers were so easy to date! I'd love to know if anybody else has a Supermatic, and if so, what do you think of it?

Happy Halloween!


Friday, 20 October 2017

Tardis Anna Dress

Thank you for all the love for The Coat, the weather hasn't been cold enough to wear it, but I've no doubt that will change soon.

As mentioned in The Coat post, I made it while watching Doctor Who.  I'd stopped watching Doctor Who after David Tennant, because that last episode nearly finished me - and all I can say is "what an idiot was I?"!!  It turns out I am stupidly excited about Jodie Whittaker being the new Doctor, so I've watched all of Matt Smith, and one and a bit series of Peter Capaldi.

And I don't know why, maybe winter coat making madness, but I decided I needed a Doctor Who themed dress.  A bit of googling found this fabulous exploding Tardis fabric, which is based on a Vincent Van Gogh painting from an episode called "The Pandorica Opens".

And, really, what's not to love about a dress with exploding Tardis's on it!  The dress itself is the good old By Hand London Anna bodice, which is perfect for not breaking up a print, with a gathered skirt.  And after making The Coat, it felt like this dress took about 5 minutes to sew!  (It was really a day and a bit).

Turns out Doctor Who is also good for sewing inspiration, as Clara has some lovely dresses that have caught my eye. 

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Vogue 8346 - The finished coat

Friends, this shall forevermore be known as The Coat in capital letters!  It is, without doubt, the longest and trickiest garment I've made, but I absolutely love it.  Much thanks to the poor, long-suffering, Andrew who has had to listen to random streams of consciousness about coat making for the last seven weeks! And far warning, there are about a billion photos in this post, (well, maybe not that many)...

I'm not going to waffle too much in this post, The Coat can do the talking!  But here's a list of all my blog posts about it, and also all the resources I used:

Blog Posts

Resources - All bought by me, except for my tailoring book, which was a present from my sister.

Craftsy Class - "Pattern Making And Design: Creative Sleeves" - I used this to change the one piece sleeve on the pattern to a two piece sleeve.

Craftsy Class - "Pattern Making And Design: Collars And Closures" - I used this to alter the collar and lapel.

Craftsy Class - "Classic Tailoring: The Blazer" - I used this for drafting the pieces for the canvas interfacing, and pad-stitching the collar and lapels, and making the back stay.

Craftsy Class - "Inside Vogue Patterns: Coat Making Techniques V9040" - I used this for sewing the hem lining and making the swing tacks.

Book - "Tailoring: the classic guide to sewing the perfect jacket"

I think I did a pretty good job of re-creating my inspiration coat above, which I believe was from Top Shop.  The only thing I didn't do was the cuffs on the sleeves.  Well, I did do them, but they looked rubbish, and I had enough fabric left to re-cut ordinary two-piece sleeves.



I used this magnetic clasp to close the insides together to the right of the buttons.  This was harvested from my old black winter coat.

I used some black cotton fabric for the underneath of the epaulets, back tab and faux pocket flaps to reduce bulk.

I am beyond thrilled with how my coat turned out, and dare I say, am looking forward to the winter to get to wear it!  I like to think that it was fueled by Tardis power, because I watched four series of Doctor Who whilst making it.    Also, I can totally see me running around the Tardis in this coat - Bwah Ha Ha!!


Thank you very much for reading all my waffling about making this coat.  I'm glad so many people have found it interesting, and good luck if you're making your own winter coat.