Tag Archive | sewaholic patterns

The top that nearly didn’t happen

All the credit for this top rightfully goes to Jon.

I was clearing out my fabric about 6 months ago and this fabric was added to the Chuck It Out pile (it got to a grand total of 10 pieces of fabric out of a stash of nearly 200 that I didn’t actually want.) About 2 months later, we did actually come to chucking it out, we had had ambitious plans about selling stuff on Facebook sales communities, but in the end what was chucked out was so little and all the shit quality stuff, that there didn’t seem much point doing anything with it but sending it to the recycling bin.

But Jon stopped me and persuaded me to look again at this piece. I bout it up Goldehawk Road about 5 or 6 years ago, before I discovered the local fabric stall, & almost immediately decided I made a mistake, it seemed quite primitive and 90’s to me at the time, & I didn’t think the fabric quality was great. However as Jon pointed out when I tried to get rid of it, extremely 90’s and bold florals is very heavily in fashion at the moment. & he persuaded me to at least wash it and see what I thought then.

So I washed the fabric, & it came out an awful lot softer than before, & I was in need of a basic Sewaholic Renfrew top, same as millions of times before (here, here & here) as the washing was backing up…..tangentially, it is one of the extra paradoxes of living in a small flat that no one ever admits to, but if you don’t have a garden to dry clothes in, & you don’t have room for a tumble dryer,  all your clothes have to dry on a clothes rack in the flat,  & a cycle of washing can take up to a week to dry in grimy weather, so you need to have twice as many flipping clothes as you would need if you lived in an actual house , & of course in a tiny flat, you don’t really have room to store them! ……..so I decided to make it up quickly and if it was shit I’d only wasted 3 hors of time so it didn’t matter anyway.

I was moderately rigorous about pattern matching, but tbh, its a wavey stripe, those are the ones that on the Great British Sewing Bee they go ‘are you sure you want to use that?’ so I matched all the main points and then didn’t really worry about it too much. In the event, I aced it!

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Its not 100% if you are being nitpicky, but its the same under the arms and on the other side, & actually thats a lot better than I was expecting it to turn out.

Actually the same could be said for the whole of the top. I tried it on, & my response was like “wow, this actually really suits me!”

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So now it is in constant rotation in my wardrobe (albeit it takes it 2 1/2 weeks to get through the laundry and ironing pile) the jersey is still a bit stiff, but actually that means it isn’t at all transparent (An issue with white jersey) and it will wear well with age. I am so happy with Jon for making me look again at what is actually a really useful bit of fabric.

 

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Holiday sundress.

I completed this a couple of weeks ago before I went away, but the weather was so damn miserable that I didn’t fancy going outside in it to take photos let alone wear the dress, so I waited a week till last week when my boyfriend and I went with my parents & my brother to Sorrento in Italy. Which was a really good idea, as the weather over there was beautiful, so it was the perfect thing to wear.

Anyway. I first started working on this dress about March or April, but lack of inclination (largely due to the complete lack of summer this year) and illness got heavily in the way and I finished it a few weeks ago.  This was not only very fustrating, but the stop/start way in which I sewed, with only a couple of hours at a time, may have contributed to putting me off the pattern I used, which is a shame as the dress is gorgeous.

I used Sewaholics Cambie Dress pattern. I’d seen a fair few of these on the internet and thought it was so pretty, but although I have got on extremely well with a couple of her other patterns, I was very nervous at having a go at this one as I needed to scale the waist up by about 4 inches. Sewaholic patterns now make their patterns go up to a size 20 (my size) but at the time this one came out they only went up to a size 16. In the end it worked out perfectly, but I used a fairly stretchy fabric for both the main dress and the lining and it fits me exactly, so although I wrote down what I did to scale it up, I would be wary of  using those instructions again for a printed cotton or a normal lining fabric.

So yeah, aesthetically it has worked out really really well…..

cambie dress

So well (with a little help from Italian sunlight) that we took loads of pictures of it. The lump in the background is Mount Vesuvius.

cambie by the sea cambie and mount vesuvius cambie 4 italian cambie seaside Cambie

Pretty though it looks however, I’ve got to say, with the proviso that the disjointed way I sewed as I was ill made it seem like it took even longer than it did, this thing was a bastard to make.

For a start it is fully lined…

inside of cambie

which looks beautiful, especially with the contrast waistband (which is part of the pattern) but essentially means you make the bloody thing twice.

& theres an invisible zip

invisible zip

which is not as bad as all that, even with attaching a lining to it (for which there are zero tutorials I could find on the internet. Loads for just the zip onto the front, one for a facing, but zero for a full lining!) It was my first attempt, & I think I’ve nailed it, but it took me three hours and two goes, not because putting in the zip was difficult, but because of what is actually my main problem with this dress, the sheer amount of inside out fabric you are heaving around with the dress and the lining (specially as I’m fat so this is two dress sizes larger than the largest intended version) makes it really really difficult to work out which seam is supposed to go where & I ended up with a moebius strip on two occasions.

I think I would find it a hell of a lot easier a second time, however this dress does take a long time, in comparison to other simpler sundresses, so I don’t think I’ll be rushing into making it again, despite the really professional finish you end up with.

Both fabrics I used, the crepe and the satin, were £2.50 a meter off my favourite market stall, & I love how they look, what I love even more, and means I’m going to get a lot of wear out of this , is the finished dress doesn’t need ironing! Ever! Even when its been rolled up in a suitcase for 2 days!

Leave you with a couple of bonus pictures of the windows of Valentino, and some other designer clothes shop (Either Moschino or D&G) on Capri, with £1000 dresses that one day I will find some kind of way of replicating. So pretty!

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Stuff I have been doing!

I’ve been really super busy with the whole sewing thing lately….well ok, a bit with the sewing…quite a bit with shopping, but its all sewing stuff so it counts!

Firstly…the top I’ve made….

It is the v–necked version of the Renfrew Top from Sewaholic…Took the body in by a dress size and used 3/4 length sleeves on this one, which looks a lot better.

Slightly messed up the v-neck, the tension of the neck band either side of the v ended up being different, and I slightly, slightly missed the centre of the v with the centre seam of the top band. Fixed the slightly wonky centre by whacking a bow over the top, but there isn’t a lot I can do in this round about the tension…next time I will measure a bit more carefully, tack the centre in place before I sew it and follow some advice I saw on a blog to cut an inch off the neck band before I sew it in order to stretch it all out as I sew it in place , so it all has high tension and hopefully doesn’t end up uneven, and it looks tidier when its finished.

It is still totally wearable though, so that is ok! 🙂

I think it looks ok anyway. 🙂

After that I decided I wanted to keep sewing a load of jersey tops as they are great for this kind of transitional weather and I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing with my sunmmer sewing yet. However I hit the massive barrier that I’d run out of jersey, and  all the stuff I’ve seen online that I like was about £20 meter.

So I decided to go on a couple of reconnaissance missions up Berwick Street and Goldhawke Road to see what is actually available in the shops and for what prices as I have never really done jersey before so had no clue.

Started with Berwick Street, as I had a load of haberdashery stuff to buy and it was convenient. Total no goer on the jersey front. Very few shops stocked it, those that did were like £30 a meter for plain stuff and I couldn’t really see that that was value for money.

Just as I was beginning to be slightly relieved that Berwick Street was a total waste of space as far as being too expensive and not really my kind of thing went, I went into Biddle Sawyer silk, which is totally the last shop before you get to the end of the fabric bit and end up in the remnants of what used to be the red light district.

Oops. First thing I spotted was this….

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in the bargain bin for £10 a meter.it is pure silk, and on closer inspection has little art deco naked ladies all over it! 🙂

I have bought 4 meters of it, and hope to use it to line a cape or a coat at some point in the future when I get hold of some cheapish coating I like.

Then I turned round and on the table saw multiple shiny metallic shades of what I assumed was some kind of lamé, but on closer inspection was actually leather!! It was rather expensive, totally bad for the environment, but one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

So I went home and talked it over with Jon and thought about it..and ended up dreaming about it..and so I am now the proud owner of a sparkly champing pink cowhide …

it looks gold in that picture, but it is actually pinker. I have decided I am going to make a simple A-line or straight skirt out out it, as it is sooo trashy looking anyway I need to keep it classy. I am going to wait a while to make it though, as I am chronically loosing weight at the moment and the smaller I am the more skirt I can make from the cowhide. 🙂 Also I haven’t selected a pattern yet, and whatever I get I want to mock up in denim first to make sure it is totally perfect before attacking something that expensive! (I also could do with a denim skirt.)

Then yesterday I went down Goldehawke  Road with a shopping list of stuff I needed….black denim, lavender lining, black t-shirt jersey and any patterned jersey I could get my hands on…

And remarkably got it all, for far less than I had anticipated…..

purple/lavender taffeta (its a lot less pink in real life), black denim and black t-shirt fabric

patterned jersey – the range at Goldehawke Road was pretty damn awful as well, however this one shop had these in, for what ended up being £3 a meter, which will do nicely, and there was a shop which has ultra fashionable nautical stuff for £8 a meter, which I didn’t like enough to pay that much for.

Think Goldehawke Road is mainly best for basics actually and I’ll buy anything patterned off the internet in future 😦 or from Ditto in Brighton, they have some nice looking stuff at the moment, but experience tells me to look at their stuff in real life first, and we are going to Brighton for two nights next month, so I will look properly then. 🙂

Now I bought all this, I am totally not going to get the chance to use it for the next 5 weeks. Jon is on Sabatical for a month, and we are going away for two and a half weeks to various places, and even when we are at home I doubt I will get anything done as our flat is super tiny and its very difficult for me to sew without taking over the entire living room/kitchen which really won’t be possible when Jon is home.

I will also be sharing this computer for the duration, so doubt I’ll be blogging much.

Looking forwards to it so much though! 🙂