Monday, 8 October 2012

Morrissey Makes Up

I know, he's Marmite - some love him, some don't and some ask that funny old question 'Who is Morrissey?'.  I fall totally and absolutely in the first camp!

I'm jetting to Vegas next month to see him and in a mad moment designed some 50s inspired fabric, featuring my hero, from Spoonflower.  When it arrives it will magic itself into a 50's sundress, with a little help.

However, this cautious girl ordered a sample first so it's ended up as handy make up / clutch bags for me and another, rather fabulous fan, Lyndsey :)  It's in the post to her right now, complete with a cute tag, so I hope she likes.

This was my first time using frames and I found it amazingly easy!  Gutermann glue is definitely the key and seems to bond like a vice. The outer is cotton voile, which is underlined with white cotton and the lining is baby blue satin with a Moz pocket :-

See my little bespoke label - if you're in the UK they are a total bargain from Cash's Labels :)

I used a medium weight wadding to give the bags some substance but because I only wanted them to be quite soft (and they are made of voile) I didn't interface.  However, there's iron on interfacing on the pocket lining, which is made from the blue satin.

And a little tip - lots of tutorials instruct you to leave the turning hole in the bottom seam of the lining.  I used one of the top seams (the bit that goes into the frame) and did a very narrow topstitch to close it.  That way, there's no hand or top stictching visible inside the bag :)

I'm kinda happy with the over the top kitsch of my creations - not everyone's cup of tea but definitely mine :)

Move Over Sherlock

With months of being a less than well girl (I've finally had a diagnosis and all will be well, at long last!!) I've had a LOT of time on my hands and in some vain attempt to make sensible clothes that I'd wear, I took a browse through Harpers Magazine - well isn't that where you always find the everyday and functional?

It reliably informed me - with PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE, no less(!) that if I was to be slightly fabulous this season, I'd really need a cape.

Cue BurdaStyle Magazine, August 2012, with a cute and easy cape pattern - well I never!

Here's the result - it's already had some lots of wear - the north east of England is getting more than a little chilly!

Yes, those really are the cat's whiskers :)

It's made from a beautifully soft and cosy bonded wool, which is a camel colour on the reverse (there were lots of thinking hours, trying to work out how it could possibly be reversible!  But sadly, interfacing was required to avoid it looking like a sack of a cardigan, so grey it was.)

The buttons are cute and are Italian Designer imports - which are embossed with a logo that looks remarkably like the Fendi one.

It's fully lined and my only disappointment is that after finishing it I found some faux leather bias that would have livened up the armholes - ah well!

It's basic but warm, cute and easy to throw on over skinnies or wool shorts - so I'm happy :)

Oh - apologies for the odd photo angle!  My tripod was having a time holding my camera whilst attached only to my cast iron bed stand.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Mod Mad Megan!!

I'm having a vintage splurge at the moment!  I saw this Butterick 4702 from 1968 on Etsy store Zip Zap Kap and knew I needed it.

 (LOVE the white one - but the yellow version worried me a little - it's a lot like LEGO!)

Made up in a very fine brick red wool (thank you 1st for Fabrics!) which was a ******* to work with on the sewing machine but a dream on the serger.

I found the two chunky, glossy black buttons on eBay - nice little babies and 60s originals and my only concession to modern day (sorry purists!!!) was an invisible zip.  Sorry but I just love them!

The dress, as per the pattern, wasn't lined - but my version is and as I plan to make more, I made a separate lining which snaps in on the shoulders with 2 little poppers.  Why make life harder than it needs to be?!

Although my toile was fine around the lady bump vicinity, the softness of this wool and those extreme 60s darts has left things all, well, a little *ahem* perky?!!  But no so bad that it isn't liveable with. Hoping you agree........!
The next make will have a little dart adaptation and maybe not be made up in such fine wool.

I used lace to hem the dress - mainly because it's cute, obviously, and I know it's there when I wear it.
But it also helps to make a tidy hem, avoiding a double turn which would look VERY messy on the right side of a dress made with such fine wool.  Much easier to apply the lace and then hand hem lace to fabric.

My only other adaptation was to shorten the dress by about 5 inches - it's much longer than suggested by the pattern illustrations.

And that's it - apart from a little apology for some shoddy photos - self portraits in a mirror under electric light - doesn't really lend to a successful shoot!

Here's the finished dress if only I could put my right arm down and stop spoiling the line!!

UPDATE UPDATE - I've been wearing the dress today and here's a photo that shows a more accurate version of the colour....sorry about thelap creases - I'd been sitting in the car for quite a while.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

My 50s Petticoat Tutorial

Well the Butterick 6582 is finally done and I'll blog about it very shortly - but I also wanted to share how I made the petticoat to go with it.  This tutorial is inspired by, and lends from advice given by Alexandra King on the Rock n Roll Bride site and Sugardale on her fabulous blog, so huge thanks go to those ladies for the inspiration and ideas that melded into my creation!

What you will need:

3m tulle net
0.5m cotton or polycotton
9-10m double fold satin bias binding (dependent on size)
Matching thread
Thick thread (eg buttonhole thread or embroidery thread, or even dental floss - bear with me - all will become clear!!)
Pins & safety pins
Bias foot for your machine (optional)
Sewing machine (unless you're a glutton for SEVERE punishment!)
Tape measure
Chalk or fabric pen
Sewing Machine

Ok, here's my finished article so you can see what you're aiming for (always good to have a goal)....

You'll notice that there's a little cotton skirt underneath - tulle is really scratchy so I decided to extend the polycotton usually reserved for the basque part, to just above my knee.

To do this, cut one piece of polycotton as wide as your hip measurement, plus 31cm and as long as you would like it.  This petticoat needed to be just below my knee but I don't want the cotton visible, so I measured to just above my knee at 42 cm, plus 1cm seam allowance for the waist  (no hem allowance needed but add a hem if you like).

Join the fabric with a standard seam 1cm wide - this will become the side seam.  Leave the top 12cm of this seam open and bind with bias tape to create a side opening.  Press.

Finish the hem with a zigzag, or overlock (I'm all set up with black thread on my overlocker/serger and could not be bothered to change it - hence the zigzag!).  Or you can hem if preferred but this won't really be seen on the finished garment. (Neat enough, don't you think?!)

OK, time to gather the top of the underskirt, so it fits you.  Starting 1cm from the side opening, run two lines of straight stitch close to the top of the skirt, using the longest stitch length and gather to your waist measurement. Tie off the threads and even out your gathers.  Cut a length of bias tape to your waist measurement plus 42cm. Then either:

a)  feed into your bias foot, fold end under 1cm and commence stitching the folded bias, feeding in the waist band at the 20cm point.  Finish the other end of the bias in the same fashion, creating 2 20cm ties at each end of your waistband.
b) Traditional method.  Apply your bias tape to the front of the waistband, leaving 21cm at either side.  Then fold the bias over the waistband, fold under 1cm of the bias tape at either end and stitch through all layers.  If you've never used bias binding before then Sewing Republic has a great video tutorial here

I added a second row as a little of the bias didn't catch (oops) and it gives quite a nice finish....

So now you should have a little gathered skirt with a bias bound opening and a bias waistband and tie that looks like the photo above.

Ok, time to tackle that tulle!!!!  Cut 2 x 3m lengths.  To determine the width of these 2 pieces, decide on your finished length and take off 20cm (you'll place the tulle element of the petticoat 20cm from the top of the underskirt).  Then add 1.5cm as we'll be gathering the tulle and sewing it to the underskirt, so we need a seam allowance.  The easiest way to cut your tulle is to neatly fold it along the length and cut through several layers at a time (I forgot a photo - apologies - but hopefully you get that bit!).

(Warning!!  Remove your pincushion from the vicinity before grappling with tulle - it grabbed onto all my pin heads and caused all kinds of havoc in my house today!)

Join the tulle into a 6m circle by stitching the 2 sections together. Don't do a standard seam but instead zigzag down each side of a flat seam (right side to wrong side).  Sorry about the pic quality but you get the gist.

Finish the hem of the tulle with the satin bias, using either a bias foot or the traditional method as explained for the waistband above.  Or, you could use ribbon.

Now comes the clever bit!!!  If you've ever tried to gather tulle using the standard method (long straight stitch and pull one thread) then you'll know that tulle resists you and you end up using exotic words and huffing and puffing A LOT!  So, grab your thick thread, dental floss, whatever and, leaving 4-6 inches behind the foot, position it along the top of the tulle and set your machine to the widest and longest zigzag.  Then, keeping the thick thread in the centre of your foot, so that the needle never goes through it, stitch 1cm from the edge. Like so - you're forming a channel for the thick thread.

Once you've done a few stitches, wind the thick thread round a pin, or you'll end up pulling it out as you sew.

Then, mark each quarter point of the tulle circle.  Two are pretty obvious - they are your seams, but you need to mark the other two (use safety pins - pins can drop out).

On the underskirt, measure and mark 20cm down from the waistline and also mark the side seams and centre front and back with a magic (fading) fabric pen or chalk.

Pull the thick thread to gather the tulle to the same size as the underskirt- it'll do it like a dream!!  Then pin the tulle along the line, matching the quarter points and even out those lovely gathers.  I also pin in between those pins - so 8 pins altogether - remember that and count them once you're done - they're easy left in with all that net!

More zigzag - stitch the tulle to the underskirt.  If you again stitch with the thick thread right in the middle, you should be able to pull this out once the tulle is fixed to the underskirt, but it's going to be covered anyway, so no dramas if it doesn't come out.  For a neat finish, cover the seam with bias tape, folding under the end and stitching each side of it.

Congratulations!  You're done!  For adaptations, you could try a fuller skirt by using two layers of tulle (maybe in two different colours, like Alexandra's); if you don't want any chance of waist bulk, replace the ties with a hook and eye (although I like the ties - you can alter the length of the skirt by fixing it on your waist, or tie it looser and it will sit lower).

Most of all, enjoy a comfy and non-scratch petticoat AND feel your waist shrink as you poof out those dresses!!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Tin Tins

Don't you love snaffling tins to organise and store your bits and bobs?  I love this tin - it's been around me all my life and my Mum kindly gave it to me - it keeps my bias stash safe and tidy.  Which is exactly what she kept in it too.  I feel like demanding a gin sling whenever I see it!

and here are some of my home spun coffee tins - smothered in glittery scrapbook card  they cheer up the sewing table but really they're the poor relations of the 60s masterpiece

My Terrible Toiles - Butterick 6582

My first blog post - yikes!!!! (well almost - I've already posted my vintage patterns - see the page button at the top).  This should be something monumental - after all this is quite a moment! Then again, we don't want it all to go downhill.  So, I guess I should post the very current reason for my blog title.  Meet Alma my dummy, proudly wearing half a dress toile....

You see, I'm just too mean to cut out the whole skirt - fabric costs money!!  So I only did the bits that really need fitting.  Proving that as usual I need to drop the waist by and inch and a half.  I'm making the ever popular Butterick 6582 (View C with the wide skirt) and I found some fabulous brocade type weave - soft but with some body - and some very sweet polycotton for the facings.

 Nice eh?!  Tomorrow I need a quick trip to find some satin bias to finish the facings - meanwhile I'll be mostly tackling the darts and picking out tacks with a pin!

Progress report and finished frock soon....