So dull I really can’t be bothered

I had an email to tell me that the new Spring 2013 patterns were now on the site for Simplicity.  I was keen to take a look because I’ve recently bought a lot of patterns from Simplicity that I liked and I was sure (worried !) that I would find a lot more in the new collection. Oh dear – so DULL.  In fact so dull I can’t really be bothered to post about any of them.  Maybe its the styling or the fabrics?  Or all those shapeless clothes, round necklines and silly hemlines.  Maybe its just the presentation on the website.  They really don’t seem to try very hard.  I would like to see some nice photos of the finished result, big clear line drawings on the first page etc.  Something other than just a picture of the front … Continue reading

I like to ride my bicycle !

[Note – this post has been edited to remove all of the photos, as Google told me I am not allowed to use copyrighted material and these pattern photos belong to McCalls.  Sorry Google.  So the post is still here, but the photos are removed.  Somehow, it’s just not so interesting or fun anymore.] I had an email to let me know that the new McCalls Spring patterns had been released so I popped over to take a look and was rather bemused.  Why were all the ladies changing tyres, carrying bicycles or looking like they had just fallen off one?  And in the most inappropriate cycling garb. She doesn’t look happy and I’m not surprised as she is made to stand on one leg in very high heels while balancing a somewhat heavy bicycle.  No doubt going through her … Continue reading

Vogue 8724 – animal print knit dress

Vogue 8724

This was such a quick and easy pattern – I recommend Vogue 8724 for all new sewists. What I liked about this pattern and the finished dress: Custom fit – different pieces for different cup sizes.  I used a B cup. Princess seams in back for great shaping and easy to make fit adjustments. Cross over front with not too low neckline. Skirt with small front pleats to add comfort but not volume. Quick and easy to make Knit fabric makes for an easy fit According to the pattern envelope, I should have been a size 16, but experience shows that I am never the size on the envelope – always at least 1 or 2 sizes down.  So I cut a straight size 14 which was the largest size on my pattern. My material is a lycra ITY knit … Continue reading

The Blue Bag – a mess of glue and bling

Random bling bag

I’ve been making a new skirt. It’s in a lovely slinky-drapey navy fabric, but it’s not finished yet because it needs a zipper and I’ve been struggling to insert one without a proper zipper foot – so all zipper projects are still on hold.  But it’s all cut out and ready and I have some fabric left over. I’m a sucker for matching accessories – I made the Molly bag to match my Paper Bag Skirts.  So I decided to make a new handbag to go with this navy skirt.  But I only had a little fabric left over and looked around for a pattern that would only use a small amount – and I came across the Buttercup bag – perfect. The pattern is free to download with great instructions and the bag was ready in no time.  I … Continue reading

Pant Fitting Techniques – Part 3

I’ve been following the Pants Fitting Techniques course with Craftsy.  As a new sewer, I have a lot of trouble with fit and pants must be the ultimate fitting problem – hence the course.  Here are my first two attempts: Pants Fitting 1   and     Pants Fitting 2 For this third attempt, I tried to vary the back length because I found that if I lifted up the back center waistband, a lot of the excess fabric in the back leg seemed to disappear. I removed 1/2 inch from the top center of the back waist, tapering to nil at the side seams. Then I scooped out the back crotch curve 1/2 inch to make it more of a U shape than an oval to compensate for removing length at the top. I cut in the center at … Continue reading

Pants Fitting Techniques – Part 2

Having made my first test piece for these trousers, I had a better idea of what alterations I needed to make to my pattern pieces.  I re-watched the videos from the Pants Fitting Course on Craftsy, and got to work with my pens and waxed paper.  I made a lot of small alterations, here is what I can recall: Swayback adjustment – removed 1/2 inch from the top of the center back waistband. Drew out the pattern for the full legs, tapering to a smaller size from the crotch downwards. Took in the princess seam on the middle top of the front legs 1/4 inch on each side, to replicate a dart, about 5 inches long. Removed 1/4 inch from the front crotch seam at the waist, tapering to nothing at crotch curved part. Cut waistband a smaller size to … Continue reading

Pants Fitting Techniques – Part 1

I recently enrolled in a course with Craftsy.  Pant Fitting Techniques – how to get a good fit on trousers that you make from a supplied Vogue pattern.  It was a new course so there weren’t many reviews to go on, and no finished student projects, but pattern fitting is an area where I am very interested to learn more. A pattern comes with the course for a pair of slim fit trousers with a princess seam down the front of the leg.  The idea behind this pattern is that there are now 4 seams you can adjust instead of the regular two only at the sides, and by having so many places you can adjust you will be able to get a great fit.  I’ve never sewn real trousers before so this seemed ideal.   As I am overseas, … Continue reading

Is it a purse or a handbag?

You may have noticed from my writings that I am British.  Or maybe you didn’t.  I was born in the UK and lived there living a ‘normal’ life for many years.  Until my husband and I decided to get away from it all and lead the lives we should have lived when we were younger.  So we became scuba diving instructors and moved to Thailand – quite a departure from real estate and accountancy in grey England. We now live in Grand Cayman, in the Caribbean and have been here 5 1/2 years.  Naturally we now come into contact with very few Brits and very many Americans.  In order to make ourselves understood we have to modify our language – the boot of the car is now the trunk, a tap is now a faucet, the rubbish = trash, and … Continue reading

Paper Bag skirts

Clearly I was going to be at a great disadvantage in sewing my own clothes if I could not do zippers and with my zipper foot a long way off on the horizon, I scoured the internet for ideas for clothing that didn’t need either zippers, nor buttons (too advanced for me !) Most elasticated waist skirts are for little girls and simply look too frou frou for the more mature lady 🙂 but then I came across the paper bag skirt.  Not actually made of paper or bags but cinched in at the waist, top of paper bag style.  Perfect, no zipper needed. I found the very best example for ladies and a great tutorial here at The Sewing Dork. The example in this tutorial is a really eye-catching striped skirt but I settled for another brown remnant for … Continue reading

My first real limitations

I am heady with excitement as I head back to my sewing machine for my next project.  The ‘Cute dress !’ comment about my Nancy dress leaves me salivating for more new clothes courtesy of the remnants bin. I read all over the web about making clothes from your existing ready to wear favorites.  I actually have a really well fitting simple a-line skirt which I had made to measure during a trip to Vietnam (I am such a lucky girl) so I tried to give this one a go.  I pinned out the skirt, drew around carefully and made my pattern pieces.  I checked the measurements, everything was good. Ah, then I ran into my first difficutly – this skirt needs a zipper.  I rummaged around in the box the borrowed sewing machine came in, found nothing, called my … Continue reading

The ‘Nancy’ easy knit halter dress

Buoyed by the success of my first sewing project with the pink apron, I headed straight onwards and upwards and became (too ?) ambitious for my next project.  I wanted to make a dress.  The remnant bin this week produced a rather random print in blue and brown which I am never to sure about because this was the color of my old school uniform.  What’s more the fabric was stretchy and I had no idea what to do with it.  It cost about $5 and I bought some dark brown thread for 70c. I came across the Nancy dress pattern and thought – yes, its only rectangles, I can do this ! So I cut out my rectangles according to the pattern pieces and measurements, sewed them up (in like, 5 minutes) and tried on my new dress.  Er….. sack/shroud? … Continue reading