Posts tagged sewing pattern

Home-made bias binding

It’s been a funny sort of day.  Firstly, I didn’t go to work today, which is a very rare occurrence for me.  I’ve not been very well since last Friday – nothing major, just a bit sniffly with a sore throat.  By yesterday afternoon my voice had started to sound very Bonnie Tyler-esque and by 4pm my boss sent me home.  I imagine he’d had enough of the coughing and the raspy voice coming from the office next door.

By this morning I had no voice at all so, considering a lot of my job is carried out over the telephone, I called in sick.  Hooray for text messaging!  Without it my colleagues would still be wondering where I am.

I decided to use the time by trying to make my own bias binding.  I’d already tried making some last night but had somehow managed to make it on the straight grain!  So, with the help of two books (Simplicity’s “Simply the Best Sewing Book” & Cavendish House’s “Guide to Basic Sewing) and a Youtube video (I won’t bother referencing it as it was rubbish) I set to work again. 

Success!!!  Flourescent yellow continuous-strip bias binding made by me!  Yes, I did say flourescent yellow.  Chloe chose a lacy fabric in said colour to make view A (New Look 6660). 

Now I managed to track down matching thread – after a lot of trawling of the internet I eventually picked it up in Swansea Market – a five minute drive away!  However, flourescent yellow bias binding does not exist.  Ah well, a new skill learned!

Well, the voice still isn’t back properly and the bottle of Robitussin is nearly empty, but hopefully I’ll have enough of a voice to go back to work tomorrow.

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Memory Foam Pillowcase pattern

I have a couple of these weird and wonderfully shaped pillows – they’re really comfortable and (allegedly) prevent snoring.  I have no idea if this is true because hubby refuses to use his.  Apparently pillows should be pillow-shaped.

Anyhow, I’m using ordinary pillowcases on them at the moment but that looks pretty rubbish.  Is there a pattern out there for these types of pillows or perhaps one of you clever ladies (or gents) could give me some tips on how to design one myself?

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Can anybody help me?

I’ve just consigned my latest project to the bin!

I decided to make the high-waisted straight skirt from the free pattern in issue 4 of “Sew” magazine.  I checked the size guide in the magazine and decided to make the 14 as it gave the size to be 28″ waist and 38.75″ hips.  A little snug for me but figured I could let it out a little.

To cut a long story short, after stitching the back to the front I tried it on for fit.  It was WAY too big!  I did try taking in the side seams but I had to alter them so much the shape of the skirt didn’t look right.  In frustration I unpicked the zip and threw the rest of it in the bin.

So, is it the pattern or is it me?  Normally I would measure the pattern pieces before cutting out because from experience I know that the envelope back isn’t always accurate.  Annoyingly, I couldn’t this time as the pattern didn’t show any waist or hip placement markings and the pattern didn’t mention how high on the waist the skirt was meant to sit.

I will attempt this skirt again and just cut it to a smaller size, but if anyone has any tips on how to measure a pattern without the markings I would be really greatful.  Sew magazine gives fab free patterns with every issue but it looks as though they all have this same little problem.

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Simplicity 3529 with design alterations

So here goes the story ………..

My friend Sheena had a bit of a fashion dilemma.  Hubby had a new job and they were due to attend his work’s Christmas party.  She wanted to look good in front of his colleagues but couldn’t find a thing to wear.

One morning she plonked a catalogue down on my desk and pointed to this dress …

tie-back+Emily+dress

tie-back+Emily+dress

“What do you think?” she asked. 

“The dress is quite nice” I replied “but I don’t think it’s your colour”.

“I’m not keen on the colour myself” she said “and I don’t really like the hem either, but it’s the only dress I’ve seen that’s anywhere near what I’m looking for”.  I spotted the price.  They want £89 for it???

So I said it. 

“I’ll make one for you” I told her “it’ll be the colour you want, the hemline you want and it’ll cost you a fraction of that one”.  I showed her Simplicity pattern 3529 and she loved it.

Misses Dresses
“The thing is” Sheena said “I’d really like it to be backless like the one in the catalogue, to show off my tattoo”.  Hmm, now this pattern doesn’t have a backless version so I was going to have to work out how best to do it.  This would be the biggest design alteration I’d made so I’d really set myself up for a  challenge.  But with a bit of help from my tutor Babs I managed it.
I created a toile first to sort out any “kinks” in my alterations (another first – I’ve never made a toile before).  Sheena and I also decided not to have a tie-back dress as the ties would just obscure her tattoo, defeating the point of having a backless dress.
Rosebuds - close up
Rear of dress
For more pics click here 

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Its nearly time for school …..

….. and Chloe’s not too thrilled about the prospect.  To try and soften the blow I’ve offered to make her school skirts this year.  The skirts we usually buy are never “right” – usually too long or scratchy material etc etc. 

We’ve agreed on a pattern (McCall’s M5696 – View A) which I’ve made for her before (pic pending), it fits and she likes. McCall's M5696

We nipped into town this morning and picked up 1.5m of black polyester from Lee Mill which should be enough for two skirts.  They’re really easy to make and can probably finish one in an afternoon.  I may start one this afternoon or we may go to the Marquis for our tea instead (the boys are going to watch football so perhaps a girly afternoon is in order).  I’ve got two weeks before she goes back to school so plenty of time.  In the meantime I have floors to mop and an Everest-size pile of ironing calling my name ……

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Summer makes

Well I’ve been fairly productive over the last few weeks.  I’ve completed four (yes count them!) projects!  That’s got to be a record for me.

The first one is this rather snazzy (imho) waistcoat for Jamie’s prom.

The story goes like this….

Jamie really wanted a red waistcoat.  We hunted all the usual shops (River Island, M&S etc) but all we could find were black or grey.  Then we tried a wedding outfitters.  Lots of lovely red waistcoats there but they wanted – wait for it – £60!!  Neither of us could justify paying that sort of money for something he’s likely only to wear once.

So, to cut a short story short, Jamie suggested that the lovely red fabric I’d picked up on sale in Lee Mill a few weeks earlier would make a very nice waistcoat.  I used Simplicity 4762 – a lovely easy pattern which also included matching tie.  

 

Next up was this little shirred top for Chloe.

RIMG0226

(unfortunately, I couldn’t zoom in any closer or you would have seen the lasagne stain on the front after a rather pleasant lunch in Narbeth)

I didn’t use a pattern for this.  I simply measured her chest and multiplied by 1.5.  Then, I stitched the side seam to form a tube and finished the top and bottom hems using the rolled-hem function on the overlocker.  Using a long stitch and firmly-wound shirring elastic in the bobbin, on the wrong side of the fabric, I stitched corkscrew style until I reached the desired depth of shirring.  For security I added a little halter tie, but it could quite easily be worn without (by the way, the fabric is the pink Laura Ashley I picked up for a snip in Butterfly Fabrics).

My last two projects don’t have pictures yet.  I’ll keep them for my next post.

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Previous project

This is the project that really kicked off my passion for sewing!  Previously, I’d made the odd dressing gown or pair of shorts (not particularly successfully) but had never felt really inspired.  Then, last year, I realised that Chloe was going to need a dress for her “End of Primary School Prom”.  I really didn’t want to pay silly money for a dress she’d only wear once but I did really want her to have something nice to wear.

So – I enrolled myself on an evening class and set to work!  It took me months to make and was literally putting the finishing touches to it the night before but I was quite happy with the result.

Chloe chose both the fabric and the pattern (with a little steering from mum – tried to keep her away from the really complicated patterns) and was really happy with the result too.

We used McCall’s M4765, which is actually a skirt and a choice of two tops – Chloe chose the version with cap sleeves.  She chose a lovely lilac coloured polyester satin, which went beautifully with her fair colouring.  To add a little detail to the top I layered some lilac coloured sequinned netting over the front and back centre panels.  I had a enough left over to make her a simple little stole too! (I didn’t use the pattern for that – I just squared off the edges of the fabric and finished them with the rolled-hem feature on the overlocker [serger]).

(Daddy took the photographs – a bit of a family event in the end!)

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