Simplicity 1137 – the medieval goth dress.

So about 18 months ago, Simplicity patterns decided to bring out a spate of Game of Thrones inspired patterns, which I viewed with interest, because although I have no intention whatsoever of doing straight Game of Thrones cosplay, some of the patterns looked like they’d make good medieval or goth dress basics if done in a different colour way.

Such a one is Simplicity 1137, based on costumes worn by the character Sansa Stark, it looks to me a bit of a mess on the cover, however looking at the technical drawings I thought it had good potential as a goth dress.

No one had reviewed it, which made me a little nervous, but I hoped that was down to the newness of the pattern rather than it being awful. However for this first version I decided to use random fabric off the local fabric stall rather than anything nice, just in case.

This actually worked out rather well, as the fabric I chose (largely on the basis that it was the only black fabric available in the necessary quantities – this dress is a massive fabric hog) turned out to be not only machine washable but had the right level of weight for the dress, which needs quite a heavy fabric, & did not need underlining, which is what Andrea Schewe, the designer suggests in her Blog post about the pattern.

Andrea Schewe’s blog is an invaluable resource btw if you are planning on making more recent Simplicity costume patterns. She writes about all the ones she designs and has guest posts by other designers, often there are tips, which you just wouldn’t know if you weren’t told that make the difference between a mess and a decent make. Such as this one about using a decent weight fabric or underlining it. When I had finished the folds of the dress hung beautifully! 

For the sleeves of the dress I decided to use a black and red brocade fabric I picked up a while back and reviewed in This post. It’s by Sartor, a company who provided some of the fabric for Game of Thrones, so I thought it was appropriate, & bonus points I bought one of their cheaper polyester brocades which means like the main part of the dress, it is also machine washable, which is a massive advantage to me.

So…. I’d heard rumours that Simplicity had resolved their insane sizing issues with the costume patterns at least, so I cut a size 20, however I didn’t much worry about having massive seam allowences, and it fit perfectly! 

There is a logical point after you’ve sewn the seams of the dress together and put in the zip but before you add the sleeves and facings to fit the dress properly, so I didn’t make a proper mock up. It fit extremely well with minimal adjustment. I did however wait till I’d fitted it to cut out the sleeves fabric, as I didn’t want to waste expensive fabric if the dress wasn’t going to look good.

It is extremely easy and a straightforward pattern to follow. I did it in three batches of about 3 hours each. The only issue I had was working out what the hell the hem is supposed to be doing. I think there’s supposed to be a slight train at the back, at least there was when I’d finished, but I’m not sure if there definitely meant to be.

Anyway, piccies of the dress….


I think it’s really flattering. I’m totally happy with it. Although I wore it for Halloween as a witch costume I think it’s professional and non-costumey enough looking that I could get away with it in a goth club. 

I would make this again in a flash if I could think of a reason to, & I would definitely reccomend the pattern to other people. 

Halloween witch

So I was going to do this as one post but I am having to post from my phone at the moment as our computer is (hopefully temporarily) out of action. So I got 3/4 of the way through a monster post and the app crashed, & unlike the desktop site, the WordPress app doesn’t save as it goes along 😡

So here is part one:what I wore for Halloween. (Part 2, how I made the dress, will be coming later) 


So, decided to keep it simple and be a witch this year. Hat from My Lolita Dress, a Chinese taobao reseller site, it was supposed to be for Halloween last year, but ended up arriving the day after 😢.My Lolita Dress are a very good reliable site, but if you need a custom order their timekeeping can be a little lacking.

The cloak was made by my friend Liz about 10 years ago. It is black velvet with a gold lining. After Halloween I ended up moving the clasp as it was a little too high up and a bit chokey. 

The dress was made by me. It was supposed to be for the Goblin Kings Ball, & actually miraculously I had it made in time, but that got cancelled so I’ve worn it for Halloween instead. 

The black and gold broach decoration is vintage and was a fiver off eBay.

As I said, post coming up about how I made the dress and a review of the pattern, but I am going away for a week so not working on any new projects till I get back. 

The lady vanishes

So I knew I hadn’t posted for a bit, but I didn’t realise it’s been nearly three whole months since I posted anything.

Partly it’s because I got ill, which wrote off August, then September was spent holding the fort because Jon was going for a promotion (which he’s got) and spent every weekend either working on his job application or interview practice, so I ended up having to do a lot more house jobs and cooking during the week instead of sewing. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on stuff, but although very straight forward, it’s a larger project than I tend to do these days so it’s taking multiple weeks to finish. 

However I have finished this hat for Jon…..


It’s another Bobeek hat, Jon liked my Red hat so much he wanted his own model. 

We went to Loop in Islington, which seemed a good idea at the time as John Lewis and Liberty are not amazing for masculine coloured chunky wools.

Jon chose the wool, it is Misti Alpaca Chunky in colourway M620. It was a bit pricey at £15 a ball, but according to how much yarn you need according to the knitting pattern, it should have been easy to do from one ball. So that doesn’t work out too bad for a luxury hat (it’s 100% baby alpaca)

Of course I needed more than one ball. Luckily it was by a respectable amount rather than like one row or something, but it’s now a £30 hat. & my knitting is not up to the quality needed for £30 hats. Grrrr!

It has also come up a bit larger on the top bit than my other two versions. The band is ok and the right size, but I think with it being slightly thicker yarn it’s a fatter hat than the other two were. Luckily Jon likes this, & likes the hat, so it’s all good. & he’s accidentally chosen a stunningly fashionable colour, so he’s really happy.

Next up for knitting is a pair of wristlets and a neckband for me out of Cascade heather, am a little apprehensive about this as it will be my first time playing with cable since I took knitting lessons.

In other satisfied customer news, heres a picture of my Mum in the Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress I made her in summer…..


Mum really likes it.& now she is thinking of getting into sewing again (she was awesome in the 70’s) to make her own versions.

Anyway, I’m aiming to have the dress I’m working on finished for Halloween, so I shouldn’t be absent for as long a time next post. 

2 shades of grey

So actually I’ve been quiet on here, but fairly busy with sewing.

I’ve finally finished my Colette Patterns Moneta dress. I’m reasonably impressed, it was easy to sew and all, and this being my first time making it I followed the instructions pretty much to the letter.

However I was much concerned by there being no instruction to stabilise the neckline. & indeed the neckline on mine is somewhat lower cut than on a lot of the versions on the internet (though it does seem to be more of an issue with the plus size pattern range looking at peoples photos, than with the standard sizes.) If I make this again I’m going to have a good look round for pattern hacks on the internet for ideas how to stabilise it better.

Part of the issue may be the fabric I chose though, the jersey I used was terribly soft but somewhat drapey and stretchy and a little bit see through. One of the things I’ve noticed about high street clothes over the past couple of years or so, is that since cotton prices went up a few years ago, instead of putting prices up the way you’d expect them to, the stores have shifted to using slightly thinner cotton in their jersey fabric. this is noticeable on the street, but also on the local market store, as they get samples from the hIghstreet stores design studios. Luckily I have a massive stash of all different types of jersey some going several years back, but the piece I used for this dress is a tiny bit thin and stretchy for my liking, and that reflects in the low neckline.

I actually quite like the neckline though, it looks deliberate and super off the shoulder necklines are in fashion right now, so its really not a problem.

Anyway, photos…..

 

The necklace in the photo is  from Curiology & says Witch. Their site is down for a few weeks at the moment, so I can’t add a link, but I am completely obsessed with their jewellery, I have three pieces. I love the fact they can make an fairly normal outfit instantly and casually goth.

The other thing I made this month was a dress for my Mum for her birthday. She really liked my versions (here & here) of Tilly & the Buttons Coco dress, so when I found some grey sweatshirting down the market stall, I thought it would be nice to make her one as well. (It also helped that there was a sale on some of the patterns, so my Mum has her own custom size one now, which is just as well as she goes across 3 sizes, which is a nightmare!)

Anyway, here it is, hanging on the door of my wardrobe before I sent it to Mum, due to the continuing heatwave I haven’t managed to get any pictures of her wearing it yet.

IMG_5543

 

Anyway, future sewing plans are somewhat up in the air at the moment. Looks like there will be a winter version of the Goblin Kings Ball, we may well be going to the SciFi Weekender next year, & I’m determined to actually finish my xmas lolita dress, so theres lots of fancy sewing coming up, in amongst the less exciting but still necessary job of padding out my everyday wardrobe. So I’ve got a schedule again. & I really need to be getting on with things. Eeeek!

winter hat in summer time

Not that we’ve had very much actual summer this year, horrible gloomy weather, but its thankfully still too warm for wooly hats, even if I’ve had to have the heating on three or four evenings.

Anyway, here is my finished tiger print hat…..

 

I had no idea it was sitting so far back on my head when Jon took the photographs, & it doesn’t go best with the velvet dress, but its hard finding stuff that could pass as winter clothes but can still survive bonkers level humidity.

The hat is a Bobeek by Daniella Johannsenova on Ravelry, I made a previous one last year, i wasn’t intending on making it again for myself in such a hurry, but I felt I needed something plain to set off the tiger pattern. I am now well underway with a third one of the damn things because Jon liked my pink one so much (he looked so good in it the designer used the picture of him wearing it as a featured picture on the pattern page) that he’s been demanding his own version ever since. I’d give him the pink one, only its variegated between pink & red which means it goes with both my pink & red winter coats nicely, so I kind of need to keep it for myself.

The scarf is plain stockinette stitch, which I blogged here, and the dress is one I made last autumn.

I’ve been getting on rather better with knitting than I have with sewing at the moment, another hat is underway, and I’ve got my next 3 or 4 projects bought and planned.

The dress I’ve been meaning to make for the last couple of months is still sitting there in my work in progress basket, I’ve finally got my sewing machines out again to make a start, but its been overtaken by a dress for my Mums birthday I somewhat randomly decided to make (there is logic, i can do both without changing the overlocker threads). Luckily they are both quick projects & I’ve made one before so when I finally get going with it should only take a couple of hours each & then I can get back on track.

Finishing with a picture of our Elephant (& a couple of bulbs of normal garlic) that Jon has harvested from the allotment, its our first proper harvest of anything, so we are well proud of it. It is hanging up to dry at the moment. luckily I don’t mind the stink of garlic, because the flat reeks!

IMG_5518

a whiter shade of pale

Over the bank holiday last month Jon took a coupe of days either side, & we used the time to sort out a diy job that has been bugging us for ever such a long time.

One of the things Jon brought to the relationship when we moved in together 13 years ago eek such a long time) was a rectangular pine table that had been the kitchen table when he was a little boy. Over the years its been several things in our various residences, a kitchen table, my sewing table, a desk in the study, & finally it became our computer desk in our bedroom.

Now basically our bedroom sharing a room with the study has never been an ideal solution, Over the years since we moved here we’ve gradually replaced a load of plastic drawers containing clothes with nice Ikea ones, however we were still left with a load round the computer. Our dream computer desk would have shelves above it and drawers beneath, but we were completely unable to find anything that practical, except recently in Ikea & that was made of completely shitty looking laminate & therefore not worth spending £350 on as only a medium term solution. (I do seem to think ikea has got crapper the last few times we’ve been there, the prices have gone down at the higher end, but the quality has as well, & virtually nothing they sell is made of real wood anymore.)

So we thought, how about we spend as little as we can get away with on a short term solution? And went to the British Heart Foundation Furniture Shop in Lewisham and bought a cheap, small welsh dresser instead.

In terms of storage, this has worked out ideal, it fits all our excess computer crap and stationary, with room for a few decorative items too. In terms of aesthetics, not so good.

All our bedroom furniture is either natural wood antique (0r natural wood that we’ve jazzed up a bit to look antique) that we’ve inherited from various parents over the years, or  white ikea units, & now plonked in the middle were these 80’s style orange varnish cheap looking desk & dresser.

I forgot to get a picture of the desk before we painted it, but here is the dresser in its original state….

IMG_5454

In real life its a lot more orange and looked horribly cluttered with all our stuff on it.

So yeah, over the bank holiday, Jon painted it all!🙂

This was a  bit of a mammoth task as we had to do it in the living room & it took over all the space & the kitchen for 5 days.(so we ate out a lot, which was awesome then, but has somewhat come back to haunt us now its the end of the month) Also we were idiots and bought the cheapest primer and undercoat all in one we could find in B&Q which meant it was quite drippy, so the finish isn’t perfect, & it took about 2 coats more than we were planning,

However, given it is our first real try at painting furniture, I am really pleased with the results…

 

Here they are back in situ without anything on them. Already they go so much better with our  bedroom.

IMG_5462

and this is what we changed the doorknobs for. While I was immensely tempted by the gorgeous expensive mineral ones in Anthrapologie, we found these randomly in the clearance section of TKMaxx, six for a fiver, & I think they do fine.

IMG_5465

& here they are with everything back on them. Obviously we need to work on that chair cushion, but it makes the room look so much more coherent and brighter! (due to a whopping great wardrobe in the middle of the room & the bed taking up much of the rest of the space, our bedroom is pretty impossible to photograph.)

So because of the painting i had to put my sewing machine away & kept it away for a couple of weeks, but its back now, & in the meantime I’ve finished my hat, which I have yet to photograph properly (mainly cuz it won’t stop raining😦 ) This means I get a fun trip to Loop in Islington for wool for my next project (rubs hands together).

grey like the skies

So I haven’t posted for a while, spent 2 1/2 weeks at my parents recovering from London and illness basically, then came back and spent 3 weeks recovering from overdoing things physically whilst at my parents. Have been busy doing things, just not sewing.

Except for what I’m about to blog about….

Made this a few weeks ago actually, & although its boring, with a pattern I’ve used millions of times before (Sewaholic Renfrew) I actually really really like this, it fills a massive hole in my wardrobe, is totally versatile, & despite the fabric being some weird, slightly stiff jersey off Lewisham market, its actually really soft and snuggley to wear.

Anyway…….

 

Skirt it is worn with is this devore grey one from 2013. The black velvety bits have finally worn off now, but it is still going strong, which is not bad really. I am never sure how long any clothes, let alone hand made ones, are supposed to last, but I don’t think three years so far is a bad lifespan at all, specially for something that gets worn pretty much constantly.

The next thing on my list to make is a heather grey Colette patterns Moneta dress. I’ve got it all cut out ready to go, but had to put all my sewing stuff away this weekend whilst we painted some furniture. I’m also about 3/4 finished with my tiger print hat, I got a load of knitting done at my parents, but haven’t really touched it since. It feels too much like summer really. Which is silly cuz its tipping it down right now.