Friday, 28 August 2015

Fabric shopping in London with my daughter

Last Friday,  Helen and I went to quite a number of fabric shops in London, looking for bridal fabrics and trims and ideas.

I was in London for 3 days while her fiancé was away,  which gave us the opportunity to look at fabrics and start to design the dress. She works full time, walks 1 hour each way to and from work, and doesn't have much opportunity to go on her own.

I found early on in the process that I had forgotten the SD card for my camera so I was stuck with my phone; I have used two of Nicole's images of Ridley Road stalls here. Thank you , Nicole.

We started in Soho and went to various shops in Berwick Street and surrounding areas. There were some gorgeous silks and laces, a great range,  with prices to match. We got some samples. Helen wasn't interested in looking at fabric for bridesmaids' dresses as she felt we hadn't decided on the wedding dress style. I did sneak in a sample for my MOB outfit and one for bridesmaids. I realised after the event that I missed a shop recommended by Tilly for trims etc so I must make sure I go there next time.

We also visited the new McCullough and Wallis shop in Poland Street - it's so much nicer than their previous shop. However, they didn't have what I was after (I had a small list of things I wanted to buy that I can't source locally).

We then moved on to Goldhawk Road and visited a number of the shops. Good range and cheaper. We saw some lovely fabric - in general,  though, I preferred the more expensive silks. I'm afraid I appear to have expensive taste!

I saw some lovely patterned silk (greys and blues) at only £20 pm but I didn't buy as I didn't have a clear idea what to do with it. I regret not buying now as it was lovely. But I do have enough fabric sitting without clear plans without adding more. And too many things in the to do pile

We bought some samples lengths of cheaper versions for practising on. I also bought some cobalt blue lace and lining for a dress I have planned.
Lace and trim with swatch of my fabric; lining not in photo. Colour looks closer in real life

I had looked up some ideas about fabric shopping in Hackney and Dalston and we decided to follow some of these on Saturday.

We found that Woolcrest Textiles (as recommended by Kate here) doesn't open on a Saturday but does on a Sunday - so over to Helen. We didn't have time to visit on Sunday.

We walked through Broadway Market to London Fields and got a bus to Ridley Road Market, Helen reckons this is her new favourite market. We looked at the various fabric stalls and shops but somehow missed Dalston Mill the first time (and the second time!) we walked past it because I thought it was not in the market itself.

We visited some of those recommended by Nicole (link here).

Helen bought some checked fabric to use to make up a toile (I'm suggesting good habits right from the start of her new adventures in sewing! ) in Quality Fabrics which has 3 related stalls. I bought some very lightweight stretch fabric to use as a lining for a knit dress at one of them.

Image from Nicole

I found U&I quite interesting although there's no way more than two people  can get in. It's a real Aladdin's cave. When she knows what she needs,  this will be good for Helen for trims etc. I bought 6 metres of black  mini piping,  only 50p pm and some cobalt lace trim - the last on the roll.  I do have plans for both.

Image from Nicole
Stretch lining and mini piping; lace trim in photo above

We then decided to visit William Gee as that had been recommended for mail order by my sewing tutor. It's not in the market so we walked through the market and along the high street, only to find it closed. I hadn't picked up from the website that the shop is Monday to Friday only. It was a very hot day and we were glad of a freshly juiced  carrot, lemon and ginger iced drink from one of the stalls.

My phone sat nav didn't appear to know where we were and I missed Dalston Mill again!  Anyway,  we got there eventually! A fascinating shop and I'm sure it will  be a regular visit for Helen. I bought some 6mm cotton stay tape that I hadn't been able to get elsewhere. It doesn't exactly match the tape I had run out of just 20cm from the end,  but it should do fine as the skirt will be lined.

We went upstairs but I felt rather claustrophobic so didn't stay! You have to duck your head under where a bridge crosses but I couldn't do it.  We bought a couple of wedding dress practice samples.

I didn't get everything on my list and will have to order by mail,  in any case. With all those shops I thought I'd have had no problem. I need clear elastic,  still.

This all took longer than we had hoped so we made our way back though Broadway Market,  picking up a haggis toasty on the way (a Macbeth  - haggis, caramelised onions and cheese;  the Hamish Macbeth had bacon,  too). Delicious!  Helen had intended to show me the sewing shop there but forgot and I forgot to remind her. I must tell her that it's involved in Sew Saturday in October.

Back to Helen's flat for sewing practice. I took Helen through a few steps but she does have a tendency to want to run before she can walk (or crawl?). She did do seams,  machine care,  threading etc. I won't go into details of what we were practising in case the wrong eyes read this! Suffice it to say the practice involved using different feet,  including dual feed foot and free-form quilting foot. Helen enjoyed this and did well.

Later,  we went  out for some Korean food,  which I had never tried before. I really enjoyed my choices.

After a bit more sewing practice,  we had to clear up thoroughly so that no clues were left behind!

I spoke to her last night - she had cut out the skirt pattern she chose and laid out the pieces for her toile. She saw she needed interfacing so bought some (I said she didn't need for a toile but she wants to do the whole thing).

She didn't know what stay stitching was (although I did mention but there was a lot to be getting on with); I gave her a sewing book which I thought was pretty decent - and it wasn't in it! I gave her some telephone instruction, said I thought it should be detailed in the pattern and of course there's always the internet.

I recommended she try to pick up a copy of the Readers Digest sewing book. As it happens I used that tonight to make a much more satisfactory lapped zipper than I managed from the previous instructions I was using.  It seemed quite complex just reading through and looking at the diagrams but much easier when I actually carried out the steps. I have some problems with my project but that's for another post.

Next time, we might go elsewhere in London fabric shopping. Walthamstow. I know there is lots of choice. It's a bit like being a kid in a sweetie shop! Any other recommendations?

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Group designing a bridesmaid's dress to suit all!

I met up with all three of my daughters in Cambridge on Sunday. We don't often get the chance to get together so it was nice but the main purpose was to discuss bridesmaid dress design.

I had taken a bodice toile for my oldest daughter,  based on measurements from the past.  It didn't work as she's a bit heavier than usual at the moment but I got the opportunity to take a new set of measurements from all three daughters - well actually the first I've ever had from my middle daughter.

Each of my daughters has a slightly different shape.

My oldest, who is the smallest height wise but is still tall,  as are we all, describes her body shape as 'strawberry'. Some describe this as inverted triangle or carrot!  She has quite a slight body frame and a large bust. This has always been an issue in clothes fitting. She would prefer good coverage at the side of the bust and underarm. So no cutaway armhole for her. She's happy with a sleeve but not 'tee-shirt length' as that is not flattering to her. She suits a crossover neckline and a wide empire type waistband. She doesn't like a jewel neckline.

My middle daughter is a pear,  like her mother. She has a very slim waist and larger hips,  which make her feel quite self conscious. She also has a tattoo on her arm which she doesn't want her grandmother to see (though the bride has no problems).  She also prefers a lower neckline but her main issue was to flatter her slim waistline.

My youngest daughter, who is also the tallest,  has a much straighter body shape.  She is very slim. She has broad shoulders, a small bust  and less waist definition. The two older daughters, who are going to be the bridesmaids to the youngest,  are quite clear what styles are good for them and what styles are not. They didn't like some of the suggestions we came up with.

So while designing the dresses for the bridesmaids, we needed to incorporate these views; this appeared to be a group effort but in fact we ended up with a minor variation of a design I sent weeks ago. I've added a sleeve and changed the front neckline from a V to a scoop.

Now I need to investigate what types of fabric would be best and come up with an actual pattern - or two,  rather, one for each daughter. First,  though,  I'll make up blocks for them after testing out their sizes in a toile. Trouble is,  they're all planning to lose weight! (So am I of course).

It's difficult to decide the best timing for the things I need to do. I can't afford to leave everything to the last minute but am not sure that there is much point pushing ahead now. Dilemma! 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The fate of Simplicity 1418 and toiles of other types. And welcome a new sewer

From last Thursday until Sunday,  I was visiting my daughter Helen - mother/daughter wedding dress trying and fabric shop trawling. Her fiance A was away on a stag weekend; my husband was at home. I travelled by train which is easier than driving. Though I took a sewing machine for Helen which made it rather more awkward. What's not easy is travelling around London on underground and bus - crowded and hot. I was exhausted!

Before he left,  A tried on the toile of the waistcoat I'm making for him. H had sent me his measurements but had clearly,  I thought,  made a mistake in the back measurement as the measure was so short.  She made a mistake in her and A's shoulder measurements and I had to guess. The toile was actually a pretty good fit;  I had used the standard burda size 40 pattern. A's shoulders are wider and the shoulder line will need to come out. H had got his back length wrong; A requested a 1.5 cms longer length. We also took the waistcoat toile in at the side seams. I thought there was gaping at the front armhole;  this was removed by pulling the shoulder up so I hope that is the fix! Nothing too major.

H was unable to get Simplicity 1418 on - or at least she got it on, though not pulled down properly over her bust  and the zip was a long way from closing. My feeling is that this pattern runs smaller than the other Simplicity patterns I've made. H reckons the dress would fit one of her friends so hopefully it will get some use.

However,  I had a couple of toiles with me for her,  too.

The first was a dress (bodice plus skirt)  made from my Sure Fit Designs kit, using the updated sizes she finally got around  to sending me. I was surprised to see that she quoted her upper bust as 3cms larger than her full bust and realised that her shoulder width couldn't be correct. I had made up a more basic pattern from the dress I made previously and saw that she didn't have the mammoth shoulders she quoted. When I drew up the SFD pattern,  I compromised and put her shoulder width half way between what she said and the standard.  Even so,  this was wide and the armhole surprisingly small.  However,  I went ahead and made it up.

When H tried it,  it didn't look too bad.  The shoulders were certainly way too wide and the armhole significantly too small.  I drew on a better armhole shape and clipped and that was much better. Other than that, it was pretty good. H requested less ease at the waist and for the waist seam to be lowered 1.5cms. I slightly adjusted the bust dart.  Overall, it looks pretty good. When I get home,  I'll change the pattern and make a new toile. I will also try to adjust my small model to her sizes so that I can use that.

The other toile I made was from an old Style pattern 1961. A short pencil skirt with a vent. I made a straight side 12, this was before I got her sizes though,  and when I made it up,  complete with zip and waistband,  it looked very tiny and I thought there was no way it would fit her. Especially after I got her new sizes and thought I'd have been better sewing the 14 skirt.  However, she tried it on and loved it. I think it's a little too tight across the upper thigh but H is resisting it being made larger. I took out the side seams

I took a sewing machine down for H as she is keen to start sewing. I gave her a few basic pointers,  let her go through the basics of threading,  winding spools etc. , do some practice sewing and read the instruction book (as I won't always be there) and got her to sew the seams on the skirt toile. She did some overcasting, made a buttonhole, looked at standard and invisible zip insertion,  though we didn't go ahead to do this and looked at the various stitches and the different feet. She seems to be picking it up quickly. She's loving it.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Slow Blog Manifesto

In PR there was a question about sewing with polyester crepe as the OP was having skipped stitches. I was very interested in the answers,  suggestions,  and links as I have some very nice cobalt polyester double crepe.  I plan to make a princess seamed sheath dress  with non-corded piping  using contrasting black single polyester crepe. A friend had suggested crepe was difficult  to sew but one of my sewing tutors had suggested it just needed a new needle. I haven't tried to sew it yet as so far I just have the pattern made up.

Anyway, I followed a couple of links and came across the Slow Blog Manifesto in Knotted Cotton's  Blog. This really resonated with me. I've read about people stressing over their blog. I don't want to do things just to blog about them and don't want to feel pressurised into posting. Primarily I'm on a learning mission. Don't get me wrong,  I love having followers,  getting comments and really appreciate (constructive) criticism. I love reading other blogs. I'm never going to be a 'blogger', though - just someone learning to sew,  well,  hopefully and exploring new techniques (new to me that is!) and occasionally blogging about my progress or lack of it.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Simplicity 1418 - made with fingers crossed

As you may know, I have two bridesmaids' dresses to (help) design and make for my oldest and middle daughters for the wedding of my youngest daughter, H.

I've had some ideas. One of them involved a (very) low back but I know when I tried to lower the back on a dress for H previously that it didn't have enough material to support it and I ended up having to add more. So I'm still not sure what I can get away with.
So when I received Simplicity 1418 as the free pattern in this month's Sew magazine, I thought I'd try it out. 

Needless to say, not for me! I decided to make it for H as I'd made two dresses for her before, with good success:

Cynthia Rowley dress - H had just passed her driving test

Modified V8766

I didn't want to make it as a potential bridesmaid's dress, just to try out some techniques. Hopefully a dress that would be suitable for H to wear to work. I didn't have any updated measurements.

However, I did have the traced and modified pattern from the V8766 dress I'd made previously and H assured me it was a good fit.

This pattern comes with a lower and a higher back insert. Looking at it, I realised that they were recommending that the lower insert should be used with decorative lacing and only the higher insert could be used alone.

I didn't like the lacing. So I decided to use the higher insert. I made view A with the higher back insert and no lacing - like the green one at the bottom of the envelope picture, quite a way above.

I decided to use an inexpensive but pretty cotton poly fabric I bought in Chester le Street market. Part of it was flawed but I had plenty. The fabric looks like chambray on the back. It was no more expensive than using calico and I decided to work through all the steps; if it then fitted my daughter, she'd have a dress to wear. 

I cut all the pieces out.

The pattern instructions showed that facings were applied wrong sides together and used as a sandwich inside folded bias tape around neck, down the back bodice and around the armholes if the sleeveless version was chosen. I didn't fancy the bias tape so decided, instead, to use mini piping. This involved the facings being applied right sides together and turned after seaming, with the mini piping inserted in the seam. I used purchased mini piping in white bought from 1st for Fabrics.

Detail of front, piping in place

Detail of one side of  back

This meant that I needed a seam allowance.  However, my daughter needed a 3cm (1.25") reduction in the back width previously so I reckoned that I could take this in by using the mini piping as I wanted, through the seam allowance. I didn't want to narrow the back insert.

I used a 1.5cm allowance down the back bodice edges but I used a 1cm allowance elsewhere - this meant I could align the edge of the piping with the raw edge.

Unfortunately, I failed to work through all the implications of my use of the mini piping. I was already attaching the skirt to the bodice when I realised there was too much fabric in the skirt because of my back width reduction. I was able to increase the pleats at the back to take account of this.

I had to finish the front differently. The front extension piece was no longer the correct size. I had a bit of a task getting the neck slit to lie properly. I had to extend the raw edges of the piping over the raw edges of the bodice fabric at the bottom of the slit. I removed some cord from the piping to make this easier.

After that, it was mostly straightforward.

There is a side invisible zip. The instructions had me sew together the very top part of the side seam. I managed the first side of the zip without difficulty but I could not get the second side. Eventually, in frustration, I unpicked the top part of the seam and inserted normally. I then managed to sew together the top part of the seam in the same way that we sew together the seam under an invisible zip. I was at a sewing bee and the tutor assumed the zipper tape would be enclosed within a seam allowance. Not so. I thought I'd need to cover it with some fabric to make sure it doesn't irritate; in the end, I folded the sleeve seam allowances over it and hopefully that will work for the sleeve okay. I should have taken a photo of the zip as it looks pretty good!

I made the sleeved version.  The little cap sleeves inserted beautifully. They have a pleated detail at the top. They were also supposed to be finished with bias tape. I considered making a facing and using mini piping there, too, but decided that was 'too much'. I was going to overlock and turn but after I overlocked and double turned the skirt hem I decided to do that with the sleeves too. 

I like the dress - I think my version looks nicer than that on the envelope. It has been much admired by my fellow sewing bees. I hope my daughter likes it too. 

I hope it fits...but I fear it might not. I have photographed on a hanger as I can't get it onto my small model;  the shoulders are too wide.  Also I measured the waist and it is smaller than the size my daughter eventually sent me;  I effectively removed 3cms from the size 12. No changes, though.  This is it!

Back view - unfortunately you see the inside of the front. too

Front view

If I made this dress again I would make the following changes:
  • Alter pattern in advance to take account of intention to use piping.
  • Line it. This dress calls out for lining,  though I'm not sure how it would be done. Any ideas, please?
  • Reduce bulk at piping seams.
  • It might be better with a rear zipper,  though that would slice the back insert in half, so it really wouldn't work. There would be more opportunity for fitting after the event,  though.

The Made Up Initiative - my pledge

Before I retired, I worked with children,  young people and their families. Lots of these young people had developmental problems.  Literacy problems were very common in the group I was involved with. They had often been unrecognised and caused considerable problems. Difficulties were often put down to other,  behavioural,  issues and the literacy issues not tackled.

Karen Ball of Did You Make That,  who is a children's publisher and of course sewing blogger,  is raising money for the National Literacy Trust. I have pledged a donation and hope you will too.

Here is the link to details about the initiative in Karen's own words
Pledge a donation via the Just Giving page, set a challenge,  big or small,  and if you successfully complete your make by the deadline of 10 September, you’re automatically entered for a prize giveaway worth more than £300. All you have to do is blog about, or email Karen details of your completed project at didyoumakethat[at]fastmail[dot]com. The winner will be randomly picked and the prize includes:
  • £50 voucher from The Village Haberdashery
  • Copy of the Aster pattern from Colette Patterns
  • A place on Tilly and the Button’s Learn To Sew Jersey Topsonline workshop
  • All seven paper patterns from Sew Over It (for UK residents. For applicants outside of the UK, the patterns will be provided as PDF downloads.
  • Ten sewing books donated by Love Sewing. These will include Learn To Sew with Lauren Guthrie, Alabama Chanin Sewing Patterns, Sew Over It Vintage by Lisa Comfort, Quilt Me by Jane Brockett and Skirt A Day by Nicole Smith.
  • with more prizes to come!
If you can't participate in making something in the time scale, just donate some money anyway! It’s for a really good cause.

Karen has started a new Facebook page to show what fellow Made Up Makers are doing, and behind-the-scenes details on how the Initiative is progressing. Just a few days into the initiative,  she has already raised more money than she hoped to raise in the month!  

My self-set challenge is to redo all my blocks for the start of my new pattern cutting course in September. I'm not completely happy with the current ones - garments don't fit as well as they should. We do need to have current and decent blocks for the course. I'd also like to make By Hand London's Victoria blazer as I need a casual and more modern jacket,  but we'll see! 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

A waistcoat started and THAT dress!

I achieved another of my August goals.  I bought Burda 3403 with a view to making a waistcoat for my daughter's fiancé, A, as requested. I was given his sizes, which fall between the 38 and 40 and decided to make up a toile for him to try when I see him next.

This doesn't even show the waistcoat! 

I decided to cut out the 40. This really only involved the fronts and the back. I drew on the pocket, tabs and button/buttonhole positions. I made it up in ghastly white polyester fabric. No final fabric has been chosen - this is for size only, to give a later starting point.

My husband tried this pared down waistcoat on and reckons it will be a pretty good fit. It was okay for him, perhaps a touch neat, but he and A are about the same height (about 6') and DH has a slightly larger chest size, more 40 - 42". The length was good. A is an athlete and had a broad back so I can only wait and see.

Tonight, before posting this, I decided to look at any available reviews for the waistcoat. One review said the waistcoat was rather neat, the other that it was rather loose, so who knows! One suggested it was a difficult sew (it's labelled as 'average'), but at least I have some help available should I need it. Maybe I should have read the reviews before buying the pattern! It's a lot cheaper than the Vogue one, though. A hasn't seen it so I hope this is the style he had in mind. I do have another waistcoat pattern, but he did see that and felt it was too casual.

I made Butterick 5951, view A,
I do have a waist - really!
but disliked both the style and the colour. I couldn't do anything about the latter but wondered if anything could be done to improve the fit and appearance. R and D, who are designers and pattern fitters, run the sewing bee I attended and were happy to advise. They agreed that the fit was poor, felt the design was faulty and didn't like the colour on me. I suggested that the design might be faulty because I had made changes but they didn't agree. They looked at adding a sloping bust dart to give some much needed shape,  pulling in the sides,  removing the shoulder gathering which they felt was not in the right place - they would normally expect to see this coming from further forward,  from a yoke,  for example. Maybe other changes too - my head was swimming a little! And R felt there would still be some unwanted poufing at the sides. I said that I didn't want to spend a long time on it if it really wasn't worth it.  They suggested starting by taking the shoulder seam apart and they would be able to give a better idea.

My dress was fully lined (bagged), understitched etc., so taking apart was no small undertaking. They were surprised that the lining is basically a duplicate of the dress, complete with shoulder gathering. This gave a little extra flexibility.

However, D looked at me after I had taken the shoulder apart and she had examined and asked if I would actually wear the dress in that colour after I'd put in a great deal of work. 'Probably not'.  D suggested that I use the skirt and its lining and simply make up a waistband or facing. I've decided I will do this.

DH doesn't think the colour is even ideal for a skirt but we'll see. I could wear a maroon (or maybe it's Marsala, Pantone colour of the year!) top. I might wear it as a skirt - I was never going to wear as a dress - and I couldn't give it away as a dress because I didn't feel the style made sense and the dress looked unattractive even on the hanger.

So as of the end of today, one dress fewer, one dress more (for daughter -separate post), one potential skirt on the way, and the various toiles I mentioned in an earlier post well under way. I feel I'm becoming a little faster. Just as well! 

Friday, 7 August 2015

Rest of August Plans - and exam distinction

I have a number of plans, including finishing off 'UFOs' or unfinished projects.

Two unfinished projects:

The first has been sitting around for well over a year. I need to finish or discard. I find the presence of these unsettling and I feel I can't move on until I finish. In part that's why I persist with projects when a more sensible person might give up.
In this case, the project, a simple skirt, is not difficult. The problem is pattern matching. Having already cut out the pieces before realising a smaller size was needed; I'm finding pattern matching all but impossible. I might have to finish but forget about matching - some say no matching is required with this pattern.

The second is V1082 which I think is a lovely looking skirt. The double contour waistband elevated the skirt from ordinary but also increases the complexity of fitting. The skirt has a few negative reviews on PR which surprised me.  This is a Sandra Betzina Today's Fit pattern. I think her sizes are closer to mine than regular big 4 patterns.

I planned to make this skirt for my college course. I realised that, as always, fit would be an issue, but I felt I wanted to make a skirt that was beyond a beginner's skills - I'm keen to develop (and practice) new skills.

We had 4 weeks in class (max 2h per class - in reality, much less time than that) to sort this out. It's not a great deal of time.  I find I get on better at home than in class but I like going to class as there is available advice. Anyway, in the first week, I cut out the pieces in calico with a view to making a toile to fit the skirt.

The instructions have you try on the waistband before you proceed. So I sewed the double waistbands together. I needed to adjust the top part of the band as it was too loose, so I took in a small wedge/dart at each side.

It was the end of class by this time and I didn't get a chance to carry on at home (or have it checked by the tutor).  When I was getting stuff ready to take to class the following week, I found I had misplaced the skirt pieces. They weren't in class. So at that stage I felt I didn't have time to search further - besides I had nowhere else to look. I'm a rather messy worker, I'm afraid. I thought the pattern pieces could have been binned in error.  I abandoned and moved on to the dress I eventually submitted instead.

However, I've since found the pieces! While fetching another pattern's pieces from my portfolio, I found the skirt pieces! I don't remember carrying the portfolio to class on the night I lost them - I find it so cumbersome and awkward to carry that I tend not to take it.
I made the adjustments I thought were required to the waistband and then sewed up the whole toile. I was fortunate that I had a summer sewing bee session, run jointly by my two college tutors and they fitted me into the skirt (view A). I had additional changes to make - they made it altogether tighter by taking in the back yoke at the zip area, 1.5cms each side, 1cm at side seams and enlarging and continuing the dart I had sewn out on the front yoke right through upper and middle yokes, through lower yoke and into side front piece. I have already modified the pattern based on these but have yet to sew up the toile.

I'm moving on to a toile for a bodice for my daughter. I previously made her a dress, which I fitted at a distance,  but which worked out pretty well. She wears the dress a lot and gets many compliments.

I found the pieces for the pattern for my daughter. I made her V8766 

with some modifications -  increased height at shoulder,  removed 1.25 inches from central back and a few other minor tweaks; the major changes were to the neckline, which was lowered and semi-squared back and front.

I had stored a tracing of the pattern pieces for her size (I made from a 12, the smallest size available on the pattern I had, though a 10 would have been a better starting point). Plus I had stored a copy of the altered pattern with its lowered neckline - this was looking rather the worse for wear!  I therefore

  • Traced a clean copy of the modified pattern
  • Traced a second clean copy but not completing the neckline
  • Took the original pattern tracing, laid it over my modified version and altered the neckline.

So I believe I now have a basic pattern modified to fit my daughter. I will make up a toile and fit her the next time I see her. My pattern cutting tutor had requested that I make a hip length toile for my daughter, ready to start designing her wedding dress in class in September, which is the plan. What I have done so far will take her down to waist length and I need to add the waist to full hip portion to the toile - but I don’t have those measurements. The dress I made had a circle skirt, so hip width was pretty much irrelevant.

I have drawn up a pencil skirt in a straight size 12 to act as a toile when I see her - I need something to start with.

I used the same modified pattern pieces to compare her sizes v Simplicity 1418. I have worked out how to move on with this.  I will make up the dress and take to my daughter when I see her next; I'll be using an inexpensive fabric from the market. I am going to use a blue chambray-type fabric with white capstans and put white mini-piping in the seams, instead of finishing with bias tape.

The other toile I have to make for when I see my daughter is for her fiancé. He has requested a waistcoat - more details much later. I don’t even have his sizes yet.

I'd also like to make up toiles for my two daughters who will be bridesmaids so that I can do some initial fitting when I see them next. I have some idea of my oldest daughter's sizes as I made her a blouse, not altogether successfully, but little or no idea of my middle daughter's sizes as she is rather body shy. She has however agreed to the process. So I'll see what I can do.

My oldest daughter was coming this weekend, for a christening, so I thought I would see her. I made up a toile based on the sizes I already had but I'm sure this will require a lot of adjustment. Unfortunately, they have now called their visit off as my son in law is unwell.
So I have lots of toiles to make to start the fitting process for the wedding next year, a dress to practice skills, and two UFO skirts for me. I have a pattern modified ready to make a start on a sheath dress for me, one that I have made before, but that will have to wait for the moment. I haven't decided what I want to wear for the wedding, though I think a dress and jacket is likely.

I'm having problems with posting (and everything else!) since I upgraded to Windows 10 - apparently Microsoft Edge is not what I expected and I might have to change to Chrome before Blogger will work properly. What with freezing and not allowing editing in Drive docs, this post has taken 10 times as long as it should have! (Edited to add - I've banished Microsoft Edge and installed Chrome and now things are working as expected)

To end on a very positive note, I learned today when my certificate arrived that I got distinction in both courses I undertook (Pattern Cutting and Garment Construction Techniques). I'm looking forward to going on to the next stage.

Update and Continuing with Machine Embroidery Course

I haven’t been sewing anything recently. I’ve managed a few alterations and repairs and a little bit of machine embroidery - though I’ve f...