Thursday, 30 October 2014

Bernina foundation course and not fabric shopping in London

For my 60th birthday my husband bought me a Bernina 750 QE. We were in the Bernina shop hoping to buy a second hand mechanical machine for him to sew leather when the 750  was being demonstrated to another customer. That customer's husband and mine were both wowed. I'm not meaning I didn't like it, just that I was 'happy enough' with my Brother 350SE even though it had been giving me a few problems. The Bernina was so quiet and sewed through thick seams (including leather) beautifully. I liked it very much but didn't feel I needed it. I was delighted to be its proud new owner, though!

I had a (vintage) Viking Husqvarna which had been in storage for many years. It didn’t perform well when brought out of storage when I started to dressmake last year and was condemned when taken for service, to a Viking (and Brother) agent. I intended to buy a Viking to replace it, so I could use the extensive range of feet I had for the other but was sold on a Brother 350SE, which had a lot of spec for the money and felt really nice. I bought the Brother and the agent later sold me an ex-demo Viking HQ100 to use as my class machine; the dealer is a quilter but started to bring in a dressmaker once per month to run a class.


I didn't ever really get on with the Viking and had quite a few problems with it including needing a new stitch plate; it was also very unstable in its settings particularly if I dared to move it. And it was my travel machine!   I finally gave it to my daughter who wants to sew cushions and curtains.

My main machine was the Brother, which I liked at first, particularly as it had a lot of bells and whistles like automatic threader and thread cutter, which I hadn’t seen before but gradually I found it wasn't giving me the stitch quality I was looking for. I did have a few issues with a broken thread cutter, the machine eating the fabric in a totally unnecessary way and, worst of all, just really not coping with thicker seams. My husband had found me a few times cursing the machine and had to rescue my gobbled fabric more than once. he also repaired the broken thread cutter following discussion with the company. It didn't use the Viking feet, of course, so I had to buy additional feet eg invisible zipper foot. I had thought some of the problems were my inexperience but gradually it began to dawn on me it wasn't. I now have a spare Brother!

Also in use was an Elna 5ProDC overlocker, though I never did use all its features.
It was slightly troublesome to use as to change stitches it could involve changing both the foot and the stitch plate, which I didn't find easy.
I didn't ever use the looper converter. I bought it many years ago and got it serviced when I put it back into use after long term festering in a closet. It works well mechanically but, unfortunately, the LCD display (only used as an onscreen manual to guide towards the correct stitch set up) has become faulty and I have been totally unable to find a way to replace or repair it. I've had it in for further work but no joy. Nothing from UK, US or Europe. When we couldn’t get anywhere, my husband took it to pieces to see if he could find any obvious and fixable cause. It is certainly acceptable as a spare machine. I don’t imagine I could sell it.
 


I decided to replace the overlocker with a modern 4 stitch machine;  I did consider a coverlocker (I had been looking at a Pfaff) but heard some persuasive arguments which made me decide against this.

I felt that it would be good to have sewing machines which could interchange feet, which I hadn't had before. The 750 is a huge machine with a large throat area so clearly could not be taken to classes. Rather than take the Brother, I decided to go for a smaller Bernina 350PE in order to use the same feet.


So around my birthday, I became the owner of a Bernina 750QE, a 350PE as my class machine and eventually an 1150 MDA overlocker. I'd better keep going with sewing!

This week I attended the Bernina sewing school in London. The courses are free because of the purchase of the appropriate Bernina but, of course, travel and accommodation could really add to that. En route to London, I stayed with my oldest daughter and saw my grandchildren, whom I don't see that often, so that was lovely. In London, I stayed for 2 nights in my daughter's flat though she was out of town for much of the time. I travelled by train rather than driving as that’s less stressful.

On Monday, I had a day's class on the 350PE. This is a foundation course but was actually pretty helpful. There were four of us in the class, all 350 owners though the class could cover the 380 as well. The tutor, Hannah, demonstrated a technique and then we practiced it and produced a sample for our folder, which also included course notes. Each of the ladies had a particular problem they brought with them to solve but a common problem was using the needle threader. I was able to use it before the class; Hannah made it look very easy but I'm still not very good at it.

The techniques were fairly basic. How to clean and lubricate the machine. How to fill a bobbin. How to thread. Showing that changes in width and length etc can be made while actually stitching. Although I had read the manual, I hadn't tried everything out and hadn't touched my buttonholer. I hadn't used the stitch balancing dial previously so appreciated seeing how that was used. I hadn't  really used the decorative stitches and enjoyed trying them. The use of tear away stabiliser while doing satin stitch was a revelation! We also did edge seaming, gathering, basting, buttonholes, buttons, blind hemming etc. Then at the end, we did a mock hand stitch embroidery using nylon filament as the top thread. I loved the effect.

On day 1 I had a number of travel nightmares, which I won't relive here! I should say this wasn't due to Londoners, whom I found helpful. More to do with works, unexpected route changes and the fact that I didn't realise you could no longer buy a bus ticket on a bus and couldn't find a vendor - in the morning I got very lost and ended up taking a taxi, so I hadn't been aware of the problem until later in the day, when I wasn't allowed on the bus I'd been waiting for.

Tuesday was a 3 hour class, starting after lunch, on the overlocker. I decided against fabric shopping or trying to fit in too much in the morning before the class. Eventually, I decided to visit the fields of ceramic poppies in the Tower of London moat as they'll only be there for a little more time. There will be 888,246 of them by 11 November when the last one is 'planted'. Travelling was uneventful. The day was gorgeous and warm. I had a beautiful walk along the Thames to the Tower and looked at the poppies. Moving and beautiful. Then I relaxed over a coffee and the paper before travelling in the direction of my class. I had a lovely lunch in an interesting cafe close to the class. I arrived relaxed and ready to learn.







The tutor was Rebecca, who had a different style to Hannah. The overall pattern was similar, with a description of a technique which we’d then practice. The biggest difference was that we were all much less accomplished. Of the 4 of us, one hadn't even taken her machine out of the box. The other two had never threaded the machine. I had threaded as I now always start from scratch feeling I get fewer problems that way but hadn't used my machine much, really, and not for other than a pretty basic stitch. I discovered that part of my threading process was faulty - I wonder how much difference that has made. I’ve been happy with my stitches. I did an online serger course some time ago. The tutor made an error in threading, too (same machine as mine) - I recognised that at the time but didn't realise I hadn't fully corrected. I put two of my threads through the same section, when they had adjacent but separate sections - the online tutor missed that section out altogether.

Everything took longer than the equivalent on the sewing machine. Threading took a while. Then of course balancing the stitches. We used thread colours to match the colours on the machine so that made it easier. Although this is recommended, I've never had those particular colours together. I'd read about but never used the upper looper converter. I found swapping between techniques easier than I imagined. It was extremely useful to have a tutor to critique the stitch balance and explain how to correct. Some of this I found counterintuitive. I think I would have managed some of my makes more easily had I had the benefit of this class! One fabric I've used, which caused me great problems, was a highly stretchy Lycra viscose knit. Now I know how to handle it! Previously, I knew about, but hadn't used, adjustments on foot pressure, differential feed and MTC. Amazing! I was keen to learn how to use the overlocker to attach seam stabiliser or elastic and this was covered so I was more than pleased. I’m adjusting the waist on one of my winter street dresses so will use this technique which will speed things up enormously. Rebecca didn’t get a chance to cover cleaning and lubrication, unfortunately. Surprisingly, the threader on the serger is much easier to use than that on the sewing machines.



Day 3 was another 5 hour class, on the 710/750. The tutor was again Rebecca and again she explained something which we then practiced. There wasn’t much demo. There weren’t enough 750s to go around, so I was using a 710 which is very similar. I moved over to the 750 for a couple of steps which were different.

I thought I might have an issue with threading my 750QE as my stitches were less even than on the 350. I couldn't  see one of the steps clearly enough to know whether I was doing it okay. Rather than contact the dealer, I decided to wait until the class. I fairly quickly found that I had indeed got the threading wrong. I’m hoping that correcting that will solve my stitch unevenness.

We didn’t get time to cover everything in the folder but I still have the notes. Importantly, the 750 has a 9mm stitch width whereas the 350 has a 5.5 mm stich width. To ensure that needles don't break when you're not using the special feet, but just the standard feet, there is a safety setting and I found that useful as I hadn't been able to find it again after it having being demonstrated originally. We started with practical stitches, quick reverse button uses, securing stitches, width and length adjustment memory and automatic sequence stitches. We then moved on to embroidery stitches, satin stitches and open embroidery stitches  and the use of pattern end, mirror image and elongation. Then we covered using the memory. Like the class on the 350, we then covered gathering, basting (but on the 750 there is a specific basting stitch which makes it so much easier!), blind hem and buttonholes. We then moved on to the use of the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) in free hand stitching. At present, this isn’t something I plan to use but never say never!! Maybe, a little bit of quilting at the bottom of a jacket? Importantly, we then moved on to cleaning and oiling and I learned how to properly clean the stitch cutter. Mine had played up a couple of times and I hadn’t cleaned it effectively, I learned.



There were things which we didn’t cover. Some of these were things in the folder that we didn’t have time for. Others weren’t listed but were on my personal wish list - the use of the Dual Feed, for example. This was labelled a ‘foundation course’ and most of the ladies I met asked about a follow on, which unfortunately doesn’t exist. The manuals for the 350 and 750 are very good and the 750 has extensive on board info; there are also videos available on the Bernina website (as well as software updates which I hadn’t even considered), so I won’t be stuck. Also, I can approach my dealer with any queries. The manual for the overlocker is hard going! The reality is much easier than the description. Again, I can go to my dealer if there is any problem. The dealer is based about 15 miles away, in the city I go to for my college evening classes so I’m in that city regularly and would just need to go a bit earlier.

Although I was pretty tired tonight, as I didn’t get home until nearly midnight last night, I decided to try out stitching before and after making the change to the threading on my 750 - an apparently minor difference in threading (thread behind a small wire or not) - I had found the instruction ambiguous. I did feel there was a difference, though not massive. My stitch cutter played up. However, the machine needed cleaned and oiled so I did that. I found a couple of bits of thread blocking the thread cutter movement. I found that my machine needed oil. I hadn’t realised that it was necessary to fill a little reservoir quite so much. I need to replace the needle now, before I try the test again but my screwdriver needle isn’t where it should be! This reminds me that my ‘sewing room’ desperately needs cleared up.

Overall, I’ve had a very tiring but useful few days.



Saturday, 25 October 2014

Repairs, alterations and things I should have done in the first place


This post is prompted by Sarah Liz talking about doing alterations, and not liking that very much. How I agree!

When my youngest daughter came home last time, just as she was moving from one flat to another and so had gone through her things, she brought several garments for me to alter. Both her old and new flats have extremely limited wardrobe space.

She did apologise later!

One was a dress I had made her (Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 2250), but the fastenings didn't work properly so okay. I needed to change this as my original wasn't satisfactory in use. The straps were slightly too long and I've shortened them. She didn't want the original 'ears' used to tie the back as they wouldn't fit under a jacket without a bump. I wish now I had just gone with them because the style of the back with elasticated edges makes it difficult to get it to meet. So I had put a piece of fabric underneath and used 4 regular small poppets between the elasticated edge and the cloth underlay (after seeking advice from others). These poppets just didn't hold in wearing. I decided to try much stronger poppets (one of the other garments she brought me to repair had giant poppets so this alerted me to the availability of different sizes). Other options are trouser hooks and bars. My sewing teacher has suggested it's probably worth trying the poppets as the next step, if this is not successful, is making a buttonhole in the strap and attaching a button inside the dress but I fear that would be uncomfortable against the skin for my daughter. I think the result is acceptable but it remains to be seen whether it holds in wearing.


New large poppets and showing addition of fabric strap


Final result, back view; straps are shortened by 2"

No change to front view
 
Call me crazy but I'm going to offer to deconstruct two which are irreparable - one is an expensive lined dress, the other a top with sentimental attachments.

The dress shows evidence that perhaps my daughter has had the dress too long - the lining is in shreds and the seams have not just separated but clearly show evidence of strain: there is damage to the fabric.
This is back vent after repair, turned up to show shredded lining
She is slim but perhaps she is less slim than she was when she got this dress, which is a very closely fitting sheath dress with a pleated front, vented back skirt and an interesting back detail. I managed to stitch up the back seam, below the invisible zip. However, I think that this has never been stitched properly, judging by the pattern of damage. It looks like the fabric had been pulled too far over at the vent area. Someone suggested putting a bow over the damaged area - that might work but the lining is in shreds, too. The top half of the dress is fine. I like the look of the dress and would love to deconstruct and remake it - as long as the dress as is fits! I'm going to visit my daughter next week so will see what she thinks. I don't have a suitable bow to use. I don't intend to do anything other than add a bow - that is, I'm not going to try to replace the lining. I think it would be easier to remake a similar if not identical dress. I have a Burda pattern with a similar skirt. The back detail on the bodice is a problem, though

 
The dress has a lovely classic overall shape

I really like the detail on the bodice back

Repaired back seam. Dry clean only dress in need of cleaning and pressing!
 
 
After repair to back seam; shows damage to fabric where I think stitching was incorrect in first place
 One dress was no problem - it was essentially just stitching on a fancy fastener - a giant poppet.. At least, then I found some of the other fasteners were loose too. As this dress has a full back exposed zip, I'm not too sure why it needs the giant poppets!
 
Overall view of the dress. DD has slim hips so can afford to wear this style.

Close up of top poppet fastening
 
Rear exposed zip

Close up of outside of front, over poppets; some interesting embroidery in cruciate shape
There is another top (dress?) and to be honest I haven't a clue how it works and so can't work out how to fix it! A strap has come off, but I'm not clear where it fastens to re-sew it. There is an area of damage, which I reinforced with some fusible interfacing but this one needs to wait until I see my daughter.
 
Front view


It's a strange floppy bit - does it go up like I have pinned? Does strap fix to it?
Area under floppy bit with loop and damaged bit (see next photo).
Can just see other strap - much thicker - and no floppy bit!

Not sure if strap joins here; evidence of previous repair
 
One of the other tops has a double layer - a fine fabric over a stretch fabric and the fine fabric had frayed on one side of the back seam, coming free from the seam. I've unpicked the seam and reattached slightly narrower to take in good fabric. I hope this top wasn't too small as it's slightly smaller now! However, I think it is quite a loose fitting style. The end result looks acceptable so I can just hope it will work in practice. When I put it on the model, I realised it is a dress not a top!
 


Seam has been repaired - just about to repair hem (while watching TV)

Fine printed light grey fabric over a darker grey stretch base





That brings me to the other top my daughter wanted repaired. It is a black relatively fine cotton cheesecloth type cloth with a heavily embroidered yoke, which she absolutely loves. The fabric in this case is irretrievably damaged. There are two options (other than abandoning the top altogether that is!) - one is to take the top to pieces and use the sections as pattern for a new top, re-inserting the original embroidered yoke; the other is to make up a completely new but similar top using a pattern that I have already but it would be more difficult to get the yoke to fit. It's also going to be difficult to get the black fabric. There is just no way, I believe, to repair this, unfortunately.



Daughter tried to repair with large stitches - fabric coming away

The tear is under arm from front to back


Overall back of top

Back of top showing yoke with embroidery

Overall view of top




I took the garments to my sewing class for some advice. One of my fellow students commented that my daughter's style was quite adventurous (I can't actually remember the word she used). When I was ironing and photographing the repairs (on my smartphone - it was handy and just easier - and I hadn't realised until now I can upload straight from my phone - so much quicker, though no editing of them), I realised that was the case. I also saw that the black dress was very much more difficult to get onto the model, perhaps another reason it got so damaged.

Hopefully my daughter will appreciate the repairs I've done - but not too much as I'd prefer not to have to do any more!  I think she should perhaps invest in some new items. I'm not sure whether her garments show evidence of having been loved - or abused. But I'm sure I can't restore them to their former glory.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Bodice Block and Dart Manipulation - halfway notes on my pattern drafting class.

Although I live in a city, I'm attending a weekly evening pattern drafting course at a college in a nearby city. Well the city is nearby, only 15 miles away, but the traffic is so congested it takes me ages to get there, particularly as I have to travel at 'rush hour' as it's an evening class. But that's another story. I do consider the class worthwhile, so worth the journey. I still don't understand, though, why my local college, which has a huge textile, design etc section, which is internationally renowned, doesn't do anything for those like me who'd like to learn without attending a full daytime course.

This post links in to my previous post on Tissue Fitting, Toile Making and Pattern Cutting, as I attended a weekend pattern cutting course in Stratford upon Avon.

In Stratford upon Avon, we used measurements and calculations to draw up the bodice - based on Winifred Aldrich's work. After it was drawn, we added seam allowances and cut a test garment out of calico to test the fit. The fit was then adjusted, the pattern adjusted and another toile made. The fit was then fine, though mine did take longer than others in the class, I'm afraid.  There were only 6 others in the class so there was a lot of individual attention from the tutor.

Sunderland College has textile courses by day but this is in an adult education setting and the numbers attending are much larger, so immediately there is less possibility of individual attention though the instructor manages very well and I can't say I've been left disappointed by her response. The class is only 2 hours long and that also reduces the amount possible in the class.

Rather than use the Winifred Aldrich method, which the instructor felt suited some figure types less well, she decided we would drape. She said that drawing up would usually take the first 5 weeks of the course, leaving less time for pattern work.

So we paired up and took each other's measurements, transferring them to a sheet designed for the purpose. This wasn't directly relevant to the draping but was an important starting point.

The first week, we started to drape the front bodice (one side only) - on our bodies, not a dummy, although that's the picture I'm showing. This is a lot harder than it looks! The second week, we continued with that and added the back bodice, which was easier. The 3rd week, we trued lines, drew onto paper and then cut out of calico, adding a seam allowance of 2.5cm. My toile fits not too bad but needs the dart adjusted. I'm so glad that in addition to having a fellow student on the course as a fitting buddy, we have the tutor checking our pinning. Oh, and we don't do sleeves until next term - alongside the skirt block as that's a lot faster.

Unfortunately, I missed this week's class where some of the other students were transferring their block to card. The tutor says that I can catch up no problem next week, which is the week before the autumn midterm break, although it is actually 6 weeks in to a 10 week course.

As a student, I've been able to borrow a couple of books from the library, which is great. I've also bought a draping book, which is very interesting.


I've also looked at some of the Japanese Pattern Magic books - amazing, but I'm not sure how relevant they are to my day to day life!


Looking through Amazon.co.uk., I spotted this book, which looks interesting and is available on Kindle Unlimited, so I may have a look at it.


 In week 3, we started manipulating darts. To start with, we each were given a quarter scale cardboard template of a front and back bodice. We had to draw around these and then practice dart manipulation.

The first thing we had to do was to rotate the dart, which was a standard bust dart, into the shoulder, ready for drawing a princess seam.

Although I had read about this, I hadn't actually done it before. It was rather like playing with the little paper dolls and paper clothes that I remember from girls' comics in the 50s/60s. Quite a lot of fun, though rather messy as the tutor suggested using glue sticks - at home I will use magic tape and this won't be so messy.

The next variation was a yoke top with gathered bodice. Again, although I knew the theory, I found it more difficult to do in practice. It's important that all the construction lines point to  hem level, but I had initially pointed all of mine to the bust point - as a result, I couldn't get such a big gather. Once I understood what was required, I managed this.


At home, I re-did all my little practice models and put them in my folder. I'm determined to be organised.

The following week, we continued with some slightly more involved dart manipulations.

In addition to finishing the blocks, this week was planned to start to look at designing. One of my fellow students has terrific ideas. She has a notebook full of drawings she has done - mainly vintage inspired tops and she hopes to create some of these with what she learns in class. I realised that I am not a designer - what I want to achieve is good fit in some of the patterns I already have and the tutor says that's fine.

So hopefully, next week, I'll catch up and finish my block and start to do a bit of designing - though I hope this is more about learning how to actually use my block.

 

 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Sandpoint Top from GrayDay Patterns

Helena from GrayDay Patterns asked for testers for her Sandpoint Top and I volunteered. There was quite a short turnaround but I didn't think I'd have any problem getting it done. I was pleased to be chosen to test and was allocated View 'A' which is the V neck version. I sewed size XL. The top has a cowl back but Helena was also interested to see if the top could be reversed.

V neckline at front
It's pretty cold and rather windy outside!! 
My last post outlined the problems I had with the floral knit I used for Pattern Review's Winter Street Dress. While I was preparing fabric for this new top, I decided to go ahead and make the top in the floral fabric - I still had loads left. I thought that this would be the best indication to see if I could follow the steps required (I was testing the instructions too, as this pattern is intended for beginner sewers, which of course I am). I decided to sew the pattern in a straight XL with no changes whatsoever as this seemed the best way to test the pattern fit and to see if pieces joined together properly. Another reason I decided to sew a straight XL version is that I have pretty much lost my sewjo and thought this would be an easier way to get it back - none of those interminable fitting issues!

So I downloaded, printed and cut out the test pattern. I had no problems with this and it was nice that I only had to print relevant pages. I managed to tape the pieces together without incident.

There was one front and one back piece cut on the fold, plus 2 x armbands, 1 x shoulder band and 2 x neckband pieces for the V neck. I cut them out without incident - my fabric behaved impeccably at this point; I used a rotary cutter, which I most definitely prefer to shears.

I followed the instructions without problem. Except that my 4 way stretch fabric is so stretchy and has so little body that cutting into the stitching at the V neck wasn't really necessary and I found a hole at the peak of the V  and had to take rectifying measures. However, I managed to finish the V neckline - my first - and I think it looks pretty good (see above and last picture).

Back cowl neck  - I'm standing in a weird way - look at those trouser creases! The shoulder band sits higher up and further forward which causes it to pull a bit, especially on the left shoulder
As the instructions were for small zig zag stitch or lightning stitch, I chose the former and didn't use my serger, which I think would make the insides nicer. After I had some problems with the fabric misbehaving and getting caught in the plate, I changed to a walking foot. Then everything went great. On a side note, this is the first time I have used the walking foot on my new Bernina and it was great - just so much quieter, smoother and easier to fit than the one on the Brother. After one of the sides caught, it grew a little and at that point I would have welcomed some notches, which weren't present in the test pattern - if I hadn't stretched the fabric, I wouldn't have needed them at all. As it was, I managed fine.

I was glad to have both pictures and written instruction for the shoulder band, which fitted without problem, and I trimmed as needed.
Side view of V front and cowl back
Side view of cowl front, V back

V neck at back - see how shoulder strap sits further back. Look at the left shoulder - that's where I feel the pull. 
Cowl at front - V neck at back pictured above.
It looks okay with cowl at front but I don't like the V at the back and don't like the feeling of the fit.
Within the test time, I have had a trip to Gleneagles, a trip to my mother's and then, most recently a two day trip to London to accompany my mother for pre-operative assessment and surgery. Some of you will know that my mother has Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and is registered blind or rather partially sighted, as she would say. She has peripheral vision and can see specks on the ground but can't recognise faces, watch TV, read or cross the road, which require the central macular vision. She was found suitable for intra ocular lens implantation (which as I understand it recruits peripheral vision to do the things normally done by the macula)- and had her first eye (the worse of the two) done yesterday. There are a number of checkups, and she has to use various drops etc over the course of the next few weeks - but here's hoping she regains some vision. So, I accompanied her to London, for two days, and am helping her get used to moving around with even less vision than she had previously (there is hopefully a gradual improvement). She is pretty independent, though, and wants to go home tomorrow. We'll take her back (to Scotland) provided it looks as though she can manage the drops. 

Anyway, all these things cut down my sewing time. I abandoned the idea of doing a second top in 'fashion fabric'.

I left to go to London with the neckband on, the sides seamed together and the shoulder strap attached and trimmed to size after a first fit. I had also pin attached the armbands - and there they stayed until last night. Although I was tired after our journeys, I was too uptight to think about going to bed early and seamed the armbands on. This went fine and as I still had some time, I decided to do the hemming, too. I followed the pattern instructions. I chose to finish with zig zag stitching. I also used zig zag stitching to keep the armband seam allowances flat. I should have done the V neckline too, but didn't at the time - as the seam allowances curl up a bit under the neckline, I may do this later.

I see that I will also need to do some internal trimming of the seam allowance portions beyond the zigzag stitching.

As I didn't make any changes whatsoever to the pattern, I was surprised that the top fitted quite as well as it did. It is a fairly loose top - just not quite so loose on my hips as it should be! Well, I'm pear shaped and unlikely to change from that very greatly. I usually prefer a bit more waist definition but this top is a nice departure for me.

I did try the top on with the cowl at the front - it looks reasonably okay unless you look closely and I think you can see some pulling on the left shoulder. I didn't like it with the cowl at the front - it felt too low and I would be constantly checking to see if my bra was showing. It also felt as if it pulled towards the front at the shoulders. You can see the different position of the shoulder band on the two images.

V at front. Cowl at back. To show silhouette.

Cowl at front. V at back. To show silhouette.
I'm not over keen on the shoulder band though I realise it is necessary. I think I will wear the top, with the cowl at the back. I like it a lot more than I thought I was going to initially.

For the future, I want to finish the insides better and would probably use my (new) overlocker for many of the steps.
 
While I was in London , I had just enough time to pop into McCulloch and Wallis as it was near the hospital. I had never visited before. I had realised that London based sewers had more choice - but I just didn't realise how much more!! Many of the problems and much of the heartache (okay - I exaggerate!) I had with my recent wool jacket would have been solved very quickly with all the notions available in what seemed like an Aladdin's cave to me! The time I spent and the money on fuel - I might have been better paying for a trip to London. Thing is, although many places, including this, do mail order, if you don't know an item exists, you don't search for it and so can't buy it. I'm back in London again with my mother and again to go to my Bernina class so I might have a clear idea of what I want by then. Believe it or not, I didn't buy any fabric. I did get a sample of horsehair and a sample of very fine knit interfacing. Next time!!
 
 


Making a dress for Alison from a RTW favourite

Alison asked me to make a dress for her from a much loved dress she already had but which was too short for work. She needed to wear leggin...