Friday, 7 April 2017

The "I've Been Viv-ed" Butterick 4610 Jacket

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I have been making a jacket from Butterick 4610This is definitely seems to be the year of the coat for me, as this is number two (the first one is here), and this one was made it using a Craftsy class called "Classic Tailoring: The Blazer".  Just so you know, there are going to be a lot of photos in this post!!

I actually started it last autumn (maybe October?), and made a toile; but I knew I would need to make a few fitting alterations, and didn't have fabric for it yet.  Then it was coming into winter, and it seemed a bit pointless to make something that I wouldn't wear for months because of the weather.  So it got set aside, and I looked at it again when I was off work for a week in the middle of March.


In the meantime I had bought 2 metres of this grey wool fabric from Croft Mill Fabrics.  It was called "Is that a hint?", (their fabric has such random names!), but I don't see it on the website now.  When I decided to have another look at this in March, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with my fabric.  In my head it had some colour flecks through it, but it turned out that it didn't in real life, and I was afraid it would end up looking like a school blazer!


But then the very day I was lying on the sofa, browsing Pinterest (as you do), and this gorgeous Vivienne Westwood number popped up that had been pinned by Sian from Kittenish Behaviour.  I seem to save a lot of things that she pins!  Anyway, after I managed to stop myself from falling off the sofa, I knew I was going to use this as inspiration for my jacket.

So off I went on the search for black trim and gold buttons.  The trim came from ebay and was about £6 for 4 yards.  My buttons came from Sew N Sew in Belfast - the big one was £1.65, and the little ones were 85p.  Inspiration now flowing, I shorted the sleeves and body, and added a bit to the waist and hips; made another toile, and I was good to go.





I was going to just use woven fusible interfacing for the lapels and collar, but couldn't bring myself to do it, and used canvas interfacing instead.  Not going to lie, the hand sewing took for ever, but the lapels and collar are gorgeous!  And then I had to hand sew all of trim.  So. Much. Hand. Sewing!!!  

Under collar with the pad stitching done
And here it after it was shaped with steam on the tailor's ham.
This is how the lapels looked after they had been steamed over some rolled up tea towels.  You can just see the 1/4" twill tape on the roll line and the edges of the lapels.

The class shows how to make a bound buttonhole, but I did a machined buttonhole.  So I cut out a rectangle from the canvas interfacing, and used some fusible woven interfacing for the area where the buttonhole goes.  I also used this woven interfacing on the hem.

This is what it looked like before the upper collar and facings were attached.

My lining fabric is some polyester from Fabrics For Sale that was £4.25 per metre.  I had bought some brown polka dot lining fabric for this, but didn't love it with the grey fabric, and the polyester was in my stash. 

Can you tell I love this lining?!
I didn't follow the Craftsy class completely, and am not going to do a review of it as Manju did a great review here.  I'll just say that I didn't love it, but didn't hate it.  There were great bits on altering the two piece sleeve to create a vent at the wrist (which I did), and also the bits on drafting the back stay and finding the roll line were excellent.  A lot of bits are done off camera though, and there was no explanation on how to sew the sleeve vent lining.


I absolutely love how this jacket has turned out, and have been wearing this week now that the weather is getting better.  Oh, and the reason why I'm calling it the "I've Been Viv-ed" jacket is because my cousin used to work in a Vivienne Westwood shop, and there was quite an amount of Vivienne Westwood accessories in my family at the time.  Every time my aunty got something new, she would say "I've been Viv-ed"!!


Have a great weekend,


Friday, 17 March 2017

Green Christian Dior inspired dress

Happy Paddy's Day everybody!  Hope you've had a great day, I've certainly enjoyed my free day off work courtesy of St P, and have been doing a bit of sewing.  But more of that later, as I thought today would be a good day to show you my new green dress.

I mentioned this before in this post, and here is the inspiration photo.  I found this on Pinterest and the description said it's a Christian Dior dress from 1947-48.


What really caught my eye was the princess seams, and the neckline.  The princess seams come down from the shoulder instead of the armhole, and it looks like the neckline curves out in a slight V, instead of meeting at the middle of the front neck.  The princess seams were easy to draft from my block, and I made the same princess seams on the back so they match up at the shoulder seam.


The neckline was a bit more tricky, as it was difficult to know just how much to take off the front neckline.  Three toiles later (!!) I was finally happy with it.  If you feel like trying this yourself, I shorted the neckline by 1 cm at the centre front (so that's 2 cms overall).  Then I marked where I wanted the top button on the centre front, and drew a diagonal line between the two points.  The collar was drafted using the partial roll collar from the Craftsy class "Pattern Making Design: Collars and Closures".

The skirt is from good old Simplicity 2444, and I put a zip and pockets in the side seam using my own tutorial here.  


The sleeves are just short sleeves with a cuff, and I added a safari tab too.  Turning the safari tab out the right way turned out to be tricky!  But my metal seem gauge came to the rescue, as I was able to use it to push the seem out as I pressed it.



My fabric and buttons are from Sew N Sew in Belfast.  I was in the shop one day last June, and spotted a pile of bolts of fabric on the floor.  There was a cardboard sign on the top saying it was £3.50 per metre.  I eyeballed this green, and also a lovely rich deep purple.  I can't remember exactly what the fabric is, the sign said a poly-something but I've forgotten -  I was too excited at the loveliness and the price.  In fact, I actually asked if it really was only £3.50 a metre, and asked for two metres of each before anybody could change their minds!


The buttons are also from Sew N Sew, and I can't remember how much they were, but maybe about 25p each. 


I love how this dress turned out, but my favourite thing is the colour.  I think I need more green dresses in my life, and therefore more green fabric...


If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I'm currently working on a jacket.  It's Butterick 4610, and I mentioned it in this post.  But I have plenty to say about it, so it can wait till next time.

Have a great weekend,


Monday, 27 February 2017

The Red Wool Dress And The Little Featherweight

That sounds like the title of a fairy story!  But unlike a fairy story, this was happy from beginning to end.

One day, before Christmas, I was on my tea break in work, and suddenly felt the need for a red wool dress.  So I did what any sensible sewist would do, and opened up ebay on my phone!  About 10 minutes later I had found this end of bolt of red suiting - there was 1.7 metres, and it was £9.99 with free postage.  And obviously it would have been rude not to click on buy; so that's what I did!


The inspiration for the dress itself came from Amy at Almond Rock's red Butterick 5748, and Lara from Dreaming Of Avonlea's red velvet dress.  I was tempted to try to re-create the V at the front of Amy's dress, but was a bit scared of trying to sew the bottom of it!  But I shamelessly copied the scoop back from Lara's dress.

Sadly, I stupidly forgot to stablise the scoop back other than to stay stitch it, and it gapes a bit.  I really should have eased some twill tape or seam binding in; but, hey, I can't see it when I'm wearing it!

The bodice is lined with some unknown something from my stash.  I'm guessing it's acetate or polyester, but I have absolutely no recollection of buying it.


The photos of me wearing it are closest to the real colour.  It looks quite orange in the photos on the dress form, but is really a rich red in real life.  The bodice is self-drafted, but is not unsimilar to the By Hand London Elisalex dress; the skirt is my good old half-circle skirt.

And that's really all there is to say about it, so I though I'd show you what I sewed it on - it's my little featherweight.  I think I might have mentioned this before, but I definately talked about my big featherweight here.  My big featherweight came from my Dad's Mum, and my little featherweight came from my Mum's Mum.  Both of my Grannies sewed, and actually both worked as stitchers in the shirt factories in Belfast.

The little featherweight is a 221k4 from 1952.  I got it nearly two years' ago when it was found in my great Aunty's house (my Granny's sister); and I got it serviced, so it works beautifully.  It only does a straight stitch and you can change the stitch length, and that's it!

I honestly have so much respect for my Grannies sewing on these machines!  I loved using this, and will definately be using it more.  Even though it's really small, it's quite heavy (who named them featherweights?!), and it felt like it was bolted to the table - it seriously didn't move 1 millemetre.  Also, it makes the loveliest sound when it's sewing!  I have to thank Shirley from Squirrel's Knitting Conquests for inspiring me to use it.

It doesn't even have any measurements on the footplate for the seam allowances, so I improvised with some masking tape and a marker pen.  Below is the stitch length selector, and I had to google how this works.  The numbers are stitches per inch, so the larger the number, the smaller the stitches. 

I'll leave you with some photos enjoy.  Has anybody else been using an old machine lately?

Have a great week,


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!