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Monday, 31 August 2015

How I made my Butterick 4386 in Orange Linen with machine embroidery


I bought this butterick pattern some while ago and thought that it would look fantastic made up in a variety of fabrics. I have some pale grey silk dupion which will be lovely for parties later in the year but I wanted to make it up first of all in this orange Linen.



The fabric needed pressing and shrinking with a steam iron through a linen pressing cloth, i folded it in half matching the selvedges and proceeded to lay my pattern pieces out in my correct size.
I say this each and every time, please take your measurements and compare them to the pattern envelope, cutting out the pieces according to your measurements which could be two or three sizes different to your commercial dress size.


I decided on the version with small cap sleeves, knee length skirt and crossover front. This will be worn on summer holidays in hot climates so linen will be cool and the cap sleeves will protect my shoulders from the sun


Monday, 3 August 2015

My beautiful bright Birthday dress and jacket

Patterns by New look and Simplicity


This is my first ever blog for Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, and I cannot tell you how excited I am. I have been sewing for more years than I care to remember and I trained as a Tailor when my elder son was a baby.
Now let me tell you something, I have a birthday coming up, a big birthday, a HUGE birthday,  I am to be 60 on 31st May. The thing is I am rather proud of it. So much so that I am turning into one of those eccentric women who are forever saying " I am 60 you know".
So, when it came to deciding what to make it was easy, I need a dress to wear on my birthday. Not just any dress you know, a dress with personality and well, noticeable.
I think that this outfit fits the bill nicely. It is certainly bright and colourful and will look great when I go out to dinner wearing it. More about that later!


When choosing what I should make for you I wanted  to show you some simple couture techniques which I hope you will find interesting and useful.
What is couture sewing? A couture garment is made to fit its owner and nobody else.The perfect fit comes from endless fittings and the garment is made so that it is perfectly proportioned for the owners body, with seams and trimmings positioned in just the correct place for that person.
The garment is first made up as a toille where the adjustments and placings of patterns and trim are decided before the main fabric is even cut.
During construction a lot of the sewing is done by hand, hundreds of tacking stitches will be used before the seam is finally stitched and pressed. It is the hand sewing which distinguishes Couture from high-end ready to wear.
In addition, luxury fabrics are  used and trimmings are often hand made just for the one garment.
Dresses are not usually lined and somebody not used to a couture dress may be surprised at the "unfinished" look inside. Linings add bulk and may spoil the drape of the dress. Instead you will see interlinings, which add body and stability to the garment. You also may see stays and bra strap holders which are all designed to hold the garment in place.As we make our dress I will explain the process to you and you can then choose if you wish to follow it or not. There won't be anything complicated I promise.



I have chosen this pattern by NewLook  because it has a full skirt which I love and an interesting neckline. I will be making the lower neck version.



How I made My Pink Lined Jacket - A Butterick "See and Sew" pattern .B5235

Everybody has a favourite pattern, and this is mine. I have made this same jacket in various fabrics including one in black linen which has almost worn through I wear it so often. It was obvious therefore that I would want to share this pattern with you for my next blog on the  Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.






All fabric and haberdashery for this project is available from Minerva crafts, the link to their web site is:-



The Pattern  is a very easy Butterick "see and sew" pattern. It is fully lined which makes it easy to slip on and off. Butterick is part of the Mccalls pattern group






The fabric is a Pink Heavy textured wool blend coat fabric ,and can be viewed and ordered by clicking on this  link


I also  chose a very dark brown polyester lining fabric to contrast with the outer fabric. Minerva Crafts have a huge choice of linings and fabrics if you click on the Link above


Sunday, 2 August 2015

How to make curtains valance ,bedspread and cushion

I have just had a busy but productive three weeks  replacing all the soft furnishings in our apartment. I knew that spending any longer on it I would be itching to start something else so I had a self imposed deadline to stick to.

I get asked a lot of questions through my blog, twitter or email and almost everybody says the same thing, that they feel daunted by some sewers who , they think, produce nothing but perfection and it puts people off because they do not feel that they can aspire to that standard. So, it set me thinking. I have been sewing for more years than I want to remember and I have been to college too yet I still make mistakes! The thing is nobody is perfect,  go and look at clothes in shops, do they look well made? Probably not, probably that is one reason why you want to learn to sew.
So, what I want to say is this, it does not matter if a seam is wonky or a dress did not turn out as you expected As long as you are happy with it that is all  that matters, at worse you have an awful dress to garden or decorate in!
We only really learn from our mistakes so when your dress does not fit you will know next time to measure yourself properly and cut out the correct size, you will know to make a toille first and use a seam guide if you can't sew straight. These are learning curves so embrace them for what they are.
Anyway, back to soft furnishings.
I am going to keep things simple and also upcycle where I can.




In addition to the new curtains,  lined with a thermal blackout fabric, and new voille curtains,I  also made a valance, a bedspread and a quilted cushion.


This is the lovely furnishing fabric in a rich floral damson colour



I have shown how to make curtains before, so let's do the patchwork cushion. I chose half squares because they are quick,  easy and look good. Choose a couple of contrasting or toning fabrics in a similar weight and using a self healing mat and rotary cutter make squares then cut them into triangles.