Saturday, 29 January 2011

Lost Burda

Thank you all so much for your kind words. 
Susan, I'm not sure how to get hold of you, but would love to take you up on your VERY kind offer.  Email me at or leave a comment below.  And thanks to Karin too.  I will try Stone Fabrics next time I stay with Mum.  It is a little further to go but know they have a great selection to help loosen the purse strings!
Isn't everyone lovely in the land of Blog?

Purple coat still underway!

Friday, 28 January 2011

There will be (more) tears before bedtime!

What can I say?  I have just returned from a trip to Mums in Dorset and am gutted.  I cannot believe how careless I have been.
Last Saturday I nabbed the last copy of BurdaStyle (February 2011 edition) at our local Newsagents - they get 2 per month.  What did I do with it?  Yes, I left it behind in the fabric Shop at Sturminster Newton(Hansons).  Yes I called them, no they didn't find it (erm, no nice lady answering the phone, I'm very sorry I didn't write my name over the front cover in permanent black ink?!) I am genuinely so upset, February is a great edition and having called 5 Newsagents today am unlikely to find another copy.  The most upsetting thing is I have purchased 3 lots of fabric to make 2 of the skirt patterns....
Plus...  having made just over a 100 mile trip to get to the shop (albeit I was staying at Mums) they wouldn't let me use the toilet, and sent me to the "outside" toilet in the car park - which was completely dreadful with no lock.  Then they were "too busy" to discuss the price of a silk which had no sticker on it; then they wouldn't help Mum with two rolls of fabric (she is 70) and to add insult to injury, a lady walked in the front door, asked they lady who was serving me where their toilet was - and get this - not only did she stop cutting my fabric, she walked - yes actually walked - the lady to the loo  - er, hello?!?!?
So, yes, I'm very upset about leaving my copy of Burda behind, but shame on you Hansons your customer service was appauling yesterday.
Okay, rant over, I'm off to weep into my purple coat.....

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Purple fluff everywhere!

The hoover's been out numerous times already for this project, I have purple fluff - everywhere!

There's been a few people blogging about making fur coats recently, and I had this fabric in my stash from last October, and have been itching to use it.  It isn't a fur as such, it has a nap, and a short pile - here it is, but it doesn't photograph very well:

Back pieces
  The pile is sort of curly - I've forgotten what the correct name for this type of fur is - any suggestions?
I will be honest, I'm not really feeling the love for this project, so I'm  on a go slow.... I think it's a bit too "out there" for my style.

Hand tacked the seam allowances down to interfacing

lovely lining! 
 I haven't cut the lining as yet, which is also a sign I'm not in love with what I'm doing.  But I will crack on becuase I promised myself no more half-done projects this year!

And finally....
I have something else on the back burner - again something I've wanted to do for a while and have been spurred on by the beautiful garment Bunny created over at Sewista!

Wool Jersey and wool rovings

Playng with the embellishing machine - progress far
Well. I'm going to Mum's for a couple of days and looking forward to spening some time with her. The lining's coming with me, along with a few other sewing related bits and pieces.  She lives in Dorchester and there is a wonderful fabric shop not too far away in Surminster Newton.  I think we will end up there some how?!
Enjoy the rest of your week!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Purple Coat Sizing Mysteries......

Skirt project on hold....  Skirt made up, but no black lining in my stash (unbelievable!!)

I have some time to myself this week so have made a start on the Purple Coat from my 2011 Sewing Plan for January / February.

I'm using this pattern

Vogue 8626 - view C (the grey one)
It's sized with bust options for A, B, C, and D cup.  Now here's the thing....  I wear a 32E bra, but as we know Pattern sizing and RTW sizing are quite different.  So before I made a start I double checked my measurements.  My chest measurement is 33" and my full bust is 35", which means I'm a B cup for commercial patterns - mmm?!  I did a tissue fit just to be doubly sure, and because I always err on the edge of caution I cut the C cup front pieces and a 12 everywhere else.  It looks good, albeit a tad too large at the centre front.

The finished measurement of the C cup coat at bust point is 40", so that gives me 5" of ease, whereas the B cup option has a finished measurement of 39".  The pattern is described as "close fitting" and I'm thinking I will stay with the C cup for this particular coat as my fabric is quiet heavy, although I may just double check the B cup fit too....  Decisions, decisions.... 

Just a parting note on the sleeves.  I shortened the arms, as I always do, and was pleased to note that although this is a one-piece sleeve it does have an elbow dart for shape which meant I had to shorten the sleeve in the right area.  For me it was the upper arm section where I needed to lose the length.

Sorry no pictures of the fabrics/linings/tissue fit as yet because the camera is on charge - I'll post them next time. I won't be tailoring this coat, although I will put in interfacing and a back-stay of course.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Next project

I've had this pattern for a number of years and made it up once to wear to work as my (then) job as a PA.  I need another smart black skirt so made a start on it today

Butterick 4859
 I will be making the plain version using a lovely fine black wool from the stash.  I could kick myself because once I started to cut it out, I remembered I wanted to use this fabric to make my shift dress with a trim idea I read in Threads magazine last year - oh well, too late now!

1.5m bought from Leeds Market about 2 years ago for £15
It's quite an easy design to put together, so no new techniques on this one.  I'll let you know how I get on in a few days.

In the meantime I changed my mind on the pattern I'll be using for the Shirt Sew-Along and have opted for the recommended pattern which I bought online this morning from Leah at  I have a lovely white 200 thread-count cotton ready and waiting.

We had a good night last night and I managed to nag pursuade Ian to take a photo of me in my knit dress

NOT a good picture of me, I think I was giving Ian orders on which button to press?!
 And Finally...  This is what I found when I got home - warning, if you are of a nervous disposition, look away now, I nearly died of laughter, then annoyance for my poor sheets:

Jack took himself off to bed last night.  Honestly - he had tucked himself in and everything!
That's all for now.  Enjoy the rest of your Sunday evening.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Butterick 5522 - Done!

I'm on fire!!  I have made time to sew just for myself and here is my 4th sewn item this year:

It's a knit!!!  As you know I don't typically sew knit for clients, or myself so this is somewhat of a triumph.  The fabric came from Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics.  She was everso helpful and once I told her what colours I wanted and which pattern I would be using, she did the rest!
I cut a 12, decided to do a FBA, then changed my mind and stuck it all back together again (don't ask?!)  My bust measures 35" which is the finished bust width of the dress, so I just added 5/8" to the side seam allowances and that did the trick. The dress itself is extremely easy to put together, but those sleeves took some concentration I can tell you!

A lot of pins and a lot of snipping

worth the effort though

I didn't alter the length of the sleeves or the dress.  The sleeves because I didn't want them to be 3/4 length and I have short arms anyway.  The dress length turned out perfect for me, just below the kneecap, as have short legs I'm not very tall.

I'm going out for dinner on Saturday with a few friends so will wear this - it's navy and I have a lovely pair of navy platforms begging to be worn!

I'm training the dog to use my camera, it might be a quicker process than waiting for Ian to take pictures...

Not sure what my next project will be - I supose I should start on my purple coat but something's making me hold back on that one?

I made this dress whilst watching/listening to Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert filmed at the O2 in London

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Grey Pinstripe Skirt and Waspie - Done!

In traditional Pin Queen style, I have NO photo of me actually wearing the garments - I'm still nagging waiting for Ian to take the pictures (it's only a case of pressing a button darling!).

In the meantime here's a couple of views of work in progress:

It looks like a normal side seam...

But there's a surprise!

I used a slotted seam to achieve this look.  The technique is very simple and gives a lovely result (think crepe trousers with satin trim etc...)  Set your sewing machine to a longer stitch length - I used 3.5 on my Janome.  Once the side seam is sewn, meld stitches.  Take a seam ripper and cut every 5th stitch, then press your seam open as usual.  Next, you need to lay your trim over the seam allowances as follows:

Oh look, my nails match!
If you have a walking foot, it's a good idea to use it as the next step is to stitch the trim to just the seam allowances, work from the top down on both sides in case there is any movement - I had a small amount. You can decide how far apart you want the stitches to be, mine were around 1.5cm as I want the trim to be really visible when I walk.

Oops, my trim moved as I sewed it, but at least it's on the inside!
Press the seam/trim and now the fun bit - remove the original seam stitches - the ripping of every 5th stitch makes this process a little easier.

I love putting in concealed zips:

Here's a quick view of the inside - a lovely bright green!

Here are a couple of pictures of the waspie in progress.  I used a soft coutil for the backing as it's one of my favorite fabrics.  I use it all the time for my corsets too.

As you can see, I sewed the side seams wrong sides together so I could put my casings on the outside.  As I don't want this to be tight fitting I used plastic whalebone rather than spirals for support.

I cut my casings so the stripes were horizontal, just so they stood out and I've stitched them down with green thread.  The closing is an open-ended zip (I didn't want to use a busk) and I've trimmed it with the green lace used on the skirt lining.

I'm delighted with the results!  Photo's to follow.  Perhaps I should just have an end of month fashion show?!

Now I'm working on this - and it's nearly finished!

Have a good week!

Friday, 7 January 2011

MPB Sew-along - I'm getting giddy!

I've only ever made Ian a waistcoat and have toyed with the idea of making him a shirt for sometime - and then I found Peter over at MPB - I'm in!

I'm loving Peter's Colette shirt pattern choice, but as it isn't available here in the UK (and my last order from the States was hit with a Customs bill) I'm going to use the following:

McCalls 2447

 It doesn't look very exciting does it?!  But the line drawings show a yoke and different sleeve/cuff finishes so I'm hoping it will suffice.  As it's my first attempt at a man's shirt (I assume we'll be using flat-felled seams etc) it will be made up in a plain polycotton as a starter - I have a lovely liberty print in my stash, but want to perfect my skills before cutting into it.

Grey pinstripe skirt is finished (am wearing it today) and waspie is 95% done - photo's to follow at the weekend - with knitted top.

Today I have mainly been sewing watching "Downton Abbey" on DVD

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Knitted Top, Straight Skirt and Waspie

The knit top was a success!  Aren't they easy to do?  I didn't bother setting up the overlocker because I was convinced I'd never actually finish it!  I used a small stretch zigzag for seams and twin needle to hem which worked perfectly well, but would definately use the overlocker next time.  I have no photographer today, so photos to follow (probably at the weekend).

I'm sewing from the stash this month.....  Next on my to do list is a straight skirt and waspie; I'll be using the fabrics below, plus notations from the stash.  The wool is dark grey with a chalk stripe, the lining and lace are an acid green colour (didn't photgraph too well late last night) and the grosgrain ribbon ties the project together.  I'll be using a technique I haven't used for a while (Slotted Seams) and am looking forward to making this one! I'll post on the technique later tomorrow.

The skirt is a self-drafted pattern, as is the waspie.  You've seen the waspie here
before, but the pinstripe one won't be so elaborate.

Have a good day!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy New Year all!

Happy New Year to you all.  We had a great evening, we went to a wedding party in Cardiff until 9pm and then had a quick drive over to Bristol to see in the New Year with my sister and her husband.  Yesterday was spent tidying up the leftovers, watching rubbish on the tv, dog walking and reading my new sewing books - all in my comfies (sweats to overseas readers!)

So the plan for today is the v-necked top, with 3/4 sleeves.  With the exception of bra making, I have NEVER worked with knits before.  I'm not looking forward to it, but will see how it goes.  I'll class the first attempt as a working toile.  I'm using a lightweight  cotton jersey in dark lilac marl.  Wish me luck!

I have also discovered SWAP this morning here,42.0.html and would love to join in Option 2, but don't want to commit myself to something I know I won't be able to complete.  I have my own "plan" for 2011 so will combine it with option 2 from January - April.  I don't know about you, but I do need to plan, otherwise my personal sewing is random and nothing co-ordinates.  I also took a look at Tim Gunn's 10 Essential to help me focus on what I'm doing.

Today I am mainly listening to Barbara Streisend "The Ultimate Collection" whilst sewing.