Sunday, 27 April 2014

Catching up!

I haven't felt much like sewing as I'm tired of fitting problems and we are having visits from each of my three daughters at different times but overlapping over Easter weekend. This means that I need the dining room to eat in! Novel idea! So I decided to put everything away.
However, Thursday 18th was our last dressmaking class for a while. I asked Lyn to have a look at my fitted blouse to see how I could improve the next attempt. I felt that it was too tight at the front of the arm (wasn't sure if that was because I didn't trim it as advised in case Lyn suggested I take it out) and I felt that my reach was restricted so I wondered if I needed more room at the back. Lyn looked at it and felt that perhaps I needed a little extra body at the level of the front of the arm. I also suggested that the blouse was a little too tight and she agreed. Also, as already mentioned, I felt that the bust fullness was slightly too high as I had obviously been wearing a super lift bra the day I measured! I went shopping the other day and I bought a new bra - I had thrown some of my old ones out. This bra lifts me and also makes me seem much bigger, I think. I wore the blouse while I had this bra on - and sure, the fullness was in the right place but the blouse now seemed too tight across the front - more so than previously. So I reckon I actually do need to use a bigger cup size front to the blouse. But for the moment, I am pretty sick of fitting changes.

Last Thursday was actually the last ever dressmaking class in the premises (a Sure Start Centre) which had been in use for many years - although I haven't been going a year, yet. The class is moving to new premises next term. As a result of this move, Lyn was giving away fabric and patterns which she felt there was no room for in new premises (a church hall). Some of the patterns were vintage ones which I would possibly be interested in in years to come when I have gained more experience - they were all one size patterns and a size rather too small for me so the fitting challenges would have been immense! So I didn't take any of those. I did pick up a children's pattern for shorts, skirt, trousers, tee shirt and waistcoat. New Look 6398. My older grandson is 4 and based on his measurements, I have made him a pair of shorts in mid weight denim, size age 6. When he visited, he tried them on and liked them but I tightened the waist elastic and finished off. I can't post a picture as shortly after this, he came down with a bad case of chickenpox and I don't have a photograph - he was already feeling rather tired and poorly.   In my defence, I would like to point out that I have no sons, only daughters, and have no idea of fashion for boys - but even to my eyes, these shorts are very old fashioned and far too short. After cutting them out, instead of a 1.5" hem, I used just a 1/4" hem and hope that Jack will get some use from them.  (Hopefully I will be able to add a photograph later) It was lovely to trace out the pattern, cut out the fabric and sew it up without my interminable fitting issues! As far as fashion is concerned, by the way, my daughter has a pair of neon yellow skinny jeans for her younger son which everyone admires and wondered if I could sew him a pair in lime green!! ...
Pattern Review has a vintage pattern contest on the go, moderated by Nakisha. I'm not going to enter as this is a step too far at this stage in my sewing career. Apart from the shorts, I did pick up a few other patterns. I do have a problem in knowing exactly how old they are. They appear mainly to be patterns sent away for to magazines or newspapers and I can't find any copyright date. One pattern is still in its original posted envelope, however, and that is postmarked November 1959.
I tried to search on line but got no further with the dates - although one number came up, it was a much later and different pattern - I know companies recycle the pattern numbers. I looked at pattern wiki but these are all British patterns and I couldn't see any sign of them. I think they are mainly form the same era but the pinafore looks more late sixties, I think.
My middle daughter has a few sewing requests of me and one was a pleated tennis skirt with elasticated waist. I almost considered one of the vintage patterns - but this is for shorts, actually and has a fixed waistband. The size would have been fine for her. I opened out the tissue and was absolutely boggled by the little punched holes and lack of any of the markings I am used to!  There was a single sheet of instructions. These I could have followed. I like that they give finishing details.


I've just returned from a visit to my grandchildren and my youngest daughter's graduation. I've had a really busy month with family visits, daughter's graduation (in Cambridge but we also delivered a piano for her to London, where she lives), grandsons with chickenpox, visits to family and elderly mother and so on. I am writing up my blog tonight - I had started but didn't get as far as posting, and hopefully will get on with sewing from tomorrow.
My sewing buddy and I have decided to sit out this month's sewing buddy challenge.
I'm not going to be able to do the garment I had originally intended for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge - that will be for next month. I thought I'd make my middle daughter the Winter Street Dress from Pattern Review. I don't like the look of the pattern for myself - although it is supposed to sit at the natural waist, it is extremely short and more like an empire waistline. Some but not all reviewers have mentioned this. I decided that if the waistline were in the 'correct' place, that this could be a suitable dress for me to test out using knit fabrics, in a wearable muslin for myself. Then, from what I learn, I will make my daughter one. This daughter is tall but not as tall as I am, and being rather younger, wears her skirts considerably shorter!
So, I am planning to sew the Winter Street Dress for me, using maroon stretch fabric (I don't know what the fabric composition is)
I have downloaded the pattern, printed it out and modified it. I have added quite considerably to the front bodice length, less so to the sides and very little to the back bodice. I have lengthened skirt. Arms are the same length as original pattern - I am doing the full length version. The above shows the fabric already cut out. I hope to get it sewn over the next few days as all the hard work is already done - at least I hope so! I didn't do a FBA so hope that will be okay - the pattern is made for a C cup.
Although I have downloaded a pattern previously, and printed it out, I have not previously put the pieces together and have never sewn from one. A knit dress, with a slightly stretchy fabric, is also a new area. I did a knit fabric dress previously but that was a stable knit with little or no stretch to it. You never know, rather than being a kind of muslin, I may well get a wearable dress out of this.
Wish me luck!


  1. It looks as though you have taken to sewing (inbetween all the family goings on) with some zeal.

    I think when we begin we all tend to want a perfect fit - I made a pair of trousers last year that fit perfectly. Too perfectly. I find them too tight to wear - but I perfected the fit and shape brilliantly !!! I know that some other people have commented about overfitting. Ease in a garment is put there for a reason - to allow us to move, and maybe even change bras. Extremely close fitting garments (wedding dress, formal wear) are often designed to go with one undergarment only, but I think for ordinary wear, a little more ease is essential. Plus sometimes we vary in weight a little bit.

    Putting together a PDF pattern is easy enough (the paper, I mean, sticking the pieces of paper together) - if a little boring. And then, proceed as with any other pattern - measure it and check against your measurements, etc. Good luck - that knit fabric is a gorgeous colour.

    1. Thanks, Sarah Liz. I think that some of the things I've tried have been a bit over fitted - certainly an unlined jacket I tried, and it led to me giving up on it. My weight certainly fluctuates. My main fitting problem comes from having a very long torso - at one time even the swimsuits in Long Tall Sally were too short in the body for me. This length is fairly evenly spread so I need to add length in a pattern both above and below bust level. My hip shape starts quite high and my waist is sloped back to front. I am hour glassed come pear shaped. I do have to add length below waist but this is less of a problem than above the waist, I find.
      I started sewing up the winter street dress today. I've had a few problems with stitching the fabric and getting it caught and breaking a twin needle - my sewing machine was temporarily out of order after sorting this out but David is currently refixing the pressure device/guide for the thread cutter to the machine; it came away while untangling threads. Despite the additional length I added, it is still insufficient. I'll sew it up as is but would add more on a future occasion. My daughter won't need as much length.
      But yes, I do enjoy sewing and even relish the challenges (I just don't want absolutely everything to be a challenge!)

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