Thursday, 13 March 2014

Things have been pretty hectic

Yes, I've been busy over the last few weeks so sewing has suffered. I hurt my knee and back so haven't been able to golf. And the house has suffered too. This blog, which is to help me follow my progress in sewing has been left to wilt.

Last weekend, I completed an 'Artist's Trading Card' - very much at the last minute. I am part of Deborah Moebe's Sewing Buddy community and have a sewing buddy, Sarah, in Ohio. This month our task was to make an ATC and upload it to Flickr. Well, I didn't know what an ATC was, and when I found it is a miniature piece of art 3.5 by 2.5 inches my heart sunk. I really couldn't think what to do. Eventually I decided that I just had to jump in with both feet and I spent the weekend making my card. On the front is a stylised sun behind hills with sky and on the back are a couple of tartan butterflies and Scottish Gaelic words meaning your very good health. 

The front is see through gauze type fabric in blue for the sky, appliqued in small pieces, cut to shape from a template I made, in 2 or 1 layers and in yellow for the sun, in 2 layers. They are appliqued onto natural muslin.  The sky sections are delineated with gold machine embroidery thread. The same thread is used, in 2 passes with a shorter stitch length, over yellow paper thread for highlights on hills. The green highlight on the hill is done in the same way, with green thread over green paper thread. the hills are quilting cotton. The design is based on a simple stain glass pattern that David and I made when we went to a class - that, though, had curved hills and I decided to make these straight. The outside edges were also green thread over paper thread. The back is simpler - green satin fabric with appliqued tartan butterflies and machine embroidered words, with the edge done in the same way as front.
However, then I decided to join back to front and did this by overlocking around edge in a darker green. I managed to get it finished and uploaded onto Flickr.
Our Sewing Buddy challenge for March is to make and swap a pouch with our buddies. Sarah and I will do this but we haven't decided yet what to do.

I did finish a dress today. This was part of my entry into Pattern Review's 'New to Me Pattern Company' competition.

I made the dress from Burda7580, which is a semi-fitted dress and loose-fitted jacket for knits. I reviewed the pattern on PR and did enter the competition even though I'm not that keen on the dress.

I had 'finished' the dress but wasn't happy about how it lay at arms and at neck, though this was less of an issue. Today, in class, I needed to take out the topstitching which I had around neck as neck was lying less than perfect. I then needed to take out understitching. After this I had to grade the seams - I had only done this at seam junctions. Also, I had snipped after the understitching. So, now, I graded properly, having had this demonstrated by Lyn. Most of my time in class was taken up with removing the stitching here and around arms, where I had used a twin needle. As I'm away for the weekend and competition closes Saturday, I decided to carry on when I got home. So tonight, I understitched neckline, much closer to seam than originally - and this, with the proper grading, made the neckline lie so much better. I then realised that the pattern requirements were for topstitching 3.5 cms, 1.5 inches, from neckline, so I did carry it out at this level rather than the standard topstitching distance - see  picture below.

This was done with a single needle. The hem is done with a twin needle:
The style isn't really me, but others in the class liked it and it is very comfortable. I asked Lyn to perhaps fit a couple of darts at the back to make it neater there but everyone thought the dress was fine. The material was lovely, doesn't wrinkle much or fray at all, but the darts on the front are pretty obvious so perhaps this was for the best.
Back view:

For me, the biggest issue is that I don't like the cut on sleeves.

As I already have the material, a lovely houndstooth, for the jacket, I will probably go ahead and make that. It is likely to need rather more in the way of alterations than this dress which was fairly straightforward to lengthen and graduate out from waist to wider hip.

In a previous post, I had asked whether I should make this pattern or a couple of others - everyone came down in favour of this one. I had considered making a New Look pattern - I've just discovered that the little girl's dress we made for the Great Byker Sewing Bee was a New Look pattern, though, so I wouldn't have been able to enter the PR New to Me competition using a New Look pattern.

I've started my next project. I've washed the fabric and modified the pattern for a Simplicity blouse which I will enter in the beginner's section of the PR Fitted Blouse context - I only have a couple of weeks now. I do like the challenge of the competitions as they help structure what I am doing and provide a time scale.


  1. That's a nice dress! If the look of the sleeves and the back worry you (although I don't agree) that's all the more reasons to finish the matching jacket. The front has beautiful, clean lines. Just perfect for a two piece set!

  2. Thank you - all the more reason to make the jacket is exactly what David said!

  3. Your fabric ATC is so cute and perfect for Spring. I am also very impressed with your frock - A very professional finish!

  4. I agree with Marianne - this is a lovely dress, very classic lines. Perhaps you are used to more fitted sheaths. There is a trend currently to this style of dress. AS Marianne says, with a jacket over, it will look wonderful. Over time you will learn what styles suit you, and what you like. Or so I gather - I am yet to find the magic formula!

  5. I think you seem pretty sure of your formula! I was thinking of doing the jacket but I'm going to be busy with non-sewing things for most of April so won't get the chance this month at least. The material is lovely - I think I've made at least one good choice!


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