Moneta dress number 3

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The Moneta dress was one of my earlier makes (here) when I restarted Sewing about 5 years ago. I have worn both dresses numerous times as it’s one of those dresses that is so easy to wear. My versions have sleeves, so fit that in between British weather when it’s not quite warm enough for sleeveless.  It’s made up in jersey with an elastic waist – so comfy. The top is fitted but it has a lovely swishy skirt . And of course, it has pockets!

One of these early makes is definitely beginning to show wear . That’s sad as it is a favourite dress, and don’t you find it even harder to admit a me made item is no longer at its best?

But it does provide the opportunity to make another one.

So given I have loved my blue Moneta, it had to be another blue one.

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I was slightly surprised to see that I bought this fabric at the Ally Pally Stitch and Knit Show in 2016 – a definite #offwithherstash.

This also gave me the opportunity to try to rectify some of the issues I have had with previous makes. Both, to varying degrees, stretched out around the neckline when sewing up. And both were slightly wide at the neck too. I dealt with this after the event on the previous dresses by adding darts at the neckline.

 

For my latest version I tackled things differently. Firstly I cut a size smaller at the neckline above the bust. This bought the width of the neckline  and shoulders in slightly.

I then cut a narrow facing in fusible interfacing for the  neckline and applied this before constructing the dress.

The rest of the dress was completed as previously.

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I’m pleased with the result. The neckline has held its shape and there has been no need for darts.

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And here I am wearing it – with an unusual guest appearance by my husband ( he’s usually taking the photos)

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So have  I disposed of my old blue Moneta? What do you think?

Of course not…..maybe when I don’t wear it in the summer???????

 

 

Woven tops – what to make?

I have been looking  for inspiration for quick and easy lightweight woven tops.

Why  woven ? I want to make them in a lightweight cotton or viscose to be cool in a hot humid climate.

Why quick and easy? I need a few by early 2020 as I’m off to Sri Lanka for a holiday

This also means I want to follow the suggestion of a more modest style to be sympathetic to the local culture, so ideally with short or capped sleeves. This definitely rules out the numerous Ogden tees I made this year, and whilst the SOI camis which I also wear sightseeing in Europe may be suitable on occasion, they are not ideal.

The first pattern that sprung to mind was the Grainline Scout Tee.

I have already made a few of these , and it certainly fits the required criteria. I also found an option to ring the changes by adding petal sleeves.

Then I also found a number of blog posts praising the Seamwork Akita top. I subscribe to Seamwork but this was not a pattern I had previously decided to download. It did however look very straightforward – it is one pattern piece only!

My plans are to make tops primarily in a blue and white palette to go with the shorts, culottes and skirts I am packing . Hopefully easy mix and match wardrobe for travelling, and sightseeing which will include towns, temples, walking and safaris.

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All the fabrics above are ready and waiting in my house.

I have made a start and have completed 2 tops – one from each pattern. The Scout Tee has once again turned out well. The only modification I make to this is to shorten it slightly as I am only 5’ 2”.

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I decided to make the Akita out of the white broderaise anglais ( which is an off cut passed down to me by my mum. I have the suspicion the fabric is probably 50 years old!) . It did not have enough length for the single piece Akita pattern piece, but I saw that another blogger after making her first Akita modified her second by creating a shoulder seam. I am pleased with the finished Akita top. It gives some arm coverage, and with the front bust darts there is a bit of shaping.

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Other  modifications I needed to make to the pattern were

1. I shortened it slightly ( as for the Scout Tee)

2. I adjusted the position of the bust darts. The points were too low for me . This is not a standard adjustment I make ( if anything I would often need to lower the bust apex point in indie patterns)

You should also note if you consider making this top that whilst the one piece pattern makes it a really quick easy sew, it’s not particularly economical on fabric layout as you need length but not width of fabric .a result  Alos importantly – this means that any directional pattern is upside down on the back , so think carefully before cutting. This can of course be overcome by the simple addition of a shoulder seam as I have done.

So the fact that I already own both of these patterns at no cost has tipped me towards making up these, but if anyone has any suggestions for other patterns that fit the criteria – even slightly more complicated so they have a bit of added interest value, – please comment with your suggestions below

 

 

Have you ever used a soldering iron in a a sewing project? Or My Allie Olsen Monarch Jacket

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This jacket popped up on my Bloglovin feed when it was launched recently and I loved some of the versions sewn. It seemed to have a good balance between casual and well put together, and I thought it might provide a solution to a lightweight throw on jacket for layering.

With  this in mind I wanted to make the jacket in a fabric that didn’t crease badly (yes, I’m guilty of stuffing jackets in a rucksack when delayering). I already had a couple of pieces of scuba type fabric in my stash. These were bought in Abakhans in 2018 ( definitely another #offwithherstash ) with the intention of making something like a bomber jacket with contrasting sleeves / body.

Whilst  the fabrics look different colours in the above photos, the navy blues actually match perfectly in real life! The flower pattern fabric is quite unusual as it is textured, with the flowers being slightly raised.

Finally, with the thought of warmth I decided to line the jacket. The pattern itself does not include a lining. However I have added linings to garments before ( it isn’t much more complicated than making a second version of the garment ) and I found a YouTube vlog by Lifting Pins and needles very useful in showing the steps

The key thing is to cut the front lining narrower to allow for the turn back facing from the front of the jacket – whilst also allowing a seam allowance at this point to join the two together,

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For a bit of extra warmth I chose to use some left over sweatshirt fabric to line the jacket. As I didn’t quite have enough , I “cheated” by joining some of the fabric in the sleeve.( well you cant see it) . Unlike the You Tube vlog I also chose to line all the way down to the cuff.

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Of course, one of the benefits of lining is a lovely internal finish.

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The finished jacket was all bagged out through a side seam( into which I also inserted a handmade label before closing by hand.)7BAE63E4-1590-4370-A5DD-8BD8C7240745

 

I did my best to line up the flowers when laying out pattern pieces, or at least to get them looking reasonably placed. This was something I hadn’t thought about when choosing a pattern for the main body as lining up the add on bottom band was not entirely possible

The whole jacket came together pretty easily with the help of my overlocker. Two elements too a bit of time – ensuring he collar was inserted neatly and making sure the bottom band depth was identical on both fronts of the front so they matched when fastened.

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And now for my single biggest tip from this project. Inserting the popper closures. Now I ( well actually I get my husband to do this as he is much more adept with hammers and tools) have done this before – but with woven fabrics. The scuba  fabric presented a challenge as it is a totally different thing to pierce. And that’s where husband came up with a brilliant idea. The position for the poppers were marked and then he used a SO!DERING IRON to burn a small hole through he fabric.

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It also seals the fabric edges nicely. You do have to do this quickly, but it works. I have had to also insert some firm backing ( denim scraps) at the point where the popper is bashed through to strengthen the area and prevent the popper pulling through the fabric.

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And finally here is a rare picture of me in glasses wearing the jacket. This was at the Cotton Club where I sew, andhowever much I love contact lenses for daily wear and sport, close up sight for Sewing is miso much better with my varifocal glasses

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Sweatshirt sewing at the Cotton Club

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The  theme for this half term at the weekly sewing club / lessons I attend  ( The Cotton Club in East Grinstead West Sussex) was to make a sweatshirt. It is always optional whether you join in with the theme  or just make something else. (For newer sewers completing the suggested project is usually the preferred option so they build their skill set.)

I decided a quick sweatshirt for the changing weather sounded a great idea , and I was determined to use my stash.

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This beautiful fleeceback sweatshirt came from Caboodle Textiles – I actually won it in an on line competition in 2017  It is super soft and has lovely sparkly raindrop shapes on it. Bizarrely I loved it so much I have been holding on to it for something special.

So to guarantee a make I would like ( and because I love the pattern) I chose the Sew House Seven Toaster sweater to make again.. the only alteration I make with this is to shorten the bodice by about half an inch as I am a petite 5 foot 2inches

And here is the result

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It’s not been cold enough to wear it yet, but I have the feeling it’s going to get plenty of wear. It feels a lot more comfy than my previous make( which isn’t uncomfortable) as the fabric is so soft and flexible – quality fabric does pay off!

Out of interest, here are a couple of makes from other Cotton Club sewers.

 

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One  of the fun fun bits of attending , for me, is the social side . Sewing can be a solitary hobby, but this gives me the opportunity to meet up with other sewers, chat about sewing and ideas, and see what everyone else is making, as well as picking up tips and help from our lovely teacher Abi.

Here is a picture of us all hard at work on Wednesday morning this week .

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I still can’t believe Abi managed to get a shot of us all with heads down , at our machines. There’s usually a lot of chatting and wandering around to see how everyone’s getting on!!!!

 

 

The 10 year UFO and 5 take outs from finally finishing it

This was my oldest UFO. Now , I don’t have many of these – in fact there is only one other garment (which is much more recent ) lurking in my sewing room. My weakness is Un-Started Objects ( the fabric stash) not unfinished ones.

This dress has however hung around in a plastic carrier bag for ( estimated) about 10 years.

I only really returned to sewing seriously just under 5 years ago when I retired/ was made redundant. I had sewn when I was young, and dipped in and out as my boys grew up, being much to busy raising a family and having a career to indulge heavily in sewing. But occasionally I had a go.

I can’t remember where this fabric came from! It may well have been in my Mum’s stash which I acquired ( as well as the gene to hoard) as she sadly went blind and could no longer sew. It is a beautiful soft cotton – I am guessing a cotton lawn. I had decided to use a free Prima pattern, and before my days of regular sewing and learning about pattern adjustments for my body, I obviously just cut out the dress  and sewed it up – to a point.

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And this is when it became an UFO. The bodice just didn’t fit me well. The V neck was much too low, the neckline/ shoulders too wide,the top of the back around the zip gaped and the sleeves just pulled and didn’t sit comfortably.

So it sat, unfinished, unhemmed…

Every now and again I would take it out of the bag and look at and try to work out how to make it wearable. Most of these thoughts centred around how to fill in the neckline (lace?)but nothing looked right.

So ten years on, and five years of sewing and trying adjustments, and I pulled it out again this summer. This time I finally decided to go for broke. After all it certainly wasn’t doing any good in a plastic bag.

So based upon adjustments I have been making I decided on

1. Darts in the back neck to pull upper shoulders in and prevent gaping around the central zip.

2. Raise shoulder seams/ increase shoulder seam width to raise Vneckline (too late to take length out above bust as fabric cut )

3. Remove sleeves . Recut armhole to sleeveless shape and recut / lower underarm to adjust armhole depth after raising shoulders.

4 Straighten the skirt to reduce the A- line flare.  Not a fit issue, just a preference regarding how fabric fell and dress looked on me.

This did mean some serious unpicking of the lined bodice to access the required seams for adjustments.

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Internal lined bodice. Seams neatened with overlocker

The other thing I did not like about the dress was the finish. Now at the time of making it, I really don’t remember I had any problem with this. But isn’t it interesting how your standards and expectations change as your skills advance? So out came the overlocker ( I didn’t have this ten years ago) and as many seams as possible were neatened.

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Recut armholes finished with bias binding

So all completed, adjustments made and a dress that fits and is wearable. One empty plastic carrier bag added to the pile of reusable bags.

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Darts inserted either side of zip at neckline to prevent gaping. Before the days of pattern matching……

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And then I realised……I didn’t take any before pictures. If you have read this I am sure you would have liked to see the ill fitting version. I would have liked to have had a record of it too as I think it’s really useful to see the failures as well as successes. But too late I’m afraid.

So what have I learned from this UFO?

1. Prima bodice patterns are much too wide on my body ( I had another failure with this brand)

2. You don’t always notice your own progress. My knowledge and ability to fit to my body have improved dramatically.

3 My standards for finishing have increased – and my overlocker is a tool I would not now be without.

4. Don’t be afraid to hack / substantially alter something that hasn’t worked. Better to try and maybe get a wearable garment .

5. Take “before” photos!

 

Summer sundress for Greece

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So I am still busy making clothes for my trip to Greece in August with the latest make being a sundress.

I spotted this pattern on a Facebook post, and found I already owned the pattern. I will be honest, it wasn’t a pattern I had at the top of my list to make, but seeing the made up version made me rethink

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I already had fabric in my stash – it’s a sort of textured lightweight cotton bought in Goldhawk Road in June with the pattern in mind. £6 a metre.

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I chose version D . The bodice is lined, but because the fabric is light coloured and lightweight, I also lined the skirt. Both linings are a very lightweight viscose I bulk bought specifically for the purpose of lining dresses for Greece ( lightweight and breathable)

This was a pretty straightforward make . There isn’t too much fitting required. The bodice lining gives a nice clean finish.

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The only difficult bit was fitting / adjusting the position of the straps at the back. My poor husband got roped in for this as it’s impossible to pin the back shut and view strap placement on yourself. I think this is the part of my sewing hobby he hates the most. He vailiantly puts up with finding pins everywhere , the huge stash of fabric and the “ I must visit Abakhans” when we go to Manchester but helping with fitting/ hems is not his favourite. I suspect this is why he encourages my attendance of the local sewing club- a room full of women who enjoy and understand sewing and will help.

Anyway, his skills are improving, and the straps were successfully placed

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So another dress ready to go, and more fabric used from the stash too.

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I finally made an Ogden Cami

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Am I the last person in the Sewing universe to make up the Ogden Cami ?

Possibly….but there may be others out there…….

So not much I can add to the many posts on this one. It does make you appreciate a really well drafted pattern though. It goes together well and it just lies right on the body somehow.

I made mine up in “scrap “ fabric left over from my  just finished McCalls dress, so it’s made in a nice drapey viscose and is “free”.

I made zero adjustments to the pattern.

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This is the first time I tried out my strap turning gadget. This was given to me by a friend after helping her to make some tie trousers and wrap skirt, when we both sat for ages turning straps. The Ogden cami straps are narrow so this method would have been even more of a pain. So first try of the widget – and it works, and it is easy! You have to grab the fabric with the end and fiddle a little bit to get it started , but then it is sooooooo easy

They are available on Amazon at under a fiver ( link to one – not sure if this was the one I have, but I know it came from Amazon)

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And then, oops, I must have caught the Ogden bug. Two more Ogdens made within days of finishing the first. again both are made from fabric scraps in my stash.

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Two more Ogden camis on the go – batch production!

In this case they had been picked up in The Sewing Weekender fabric swap – so more free tops. In both cases the fabric was enough to cut the main pieces and straps , but not quite enough for the facing. This was solved by using my bulk bought lightweight viscose for facings. ( This has been such a good , useful buy) .

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For the multicoloured chiffon top I lengthened the facing by about 2 inches to provide a larger non see through area over the bust.

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So I recommend buying the Ogden pattern and a widget, and get scrap busting for summer

 

Cocktail (Glass) Dress

 

FDCDA64C-E443-43F4-A081-60E7660AF3D3This is another dress made to wear at my son’s wedding in Greece. The fabric was bought in the spring Knitting & Stitching Show from Stitch Fabrics – it’s a crisp cotton with cocktail glasses all over it

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Who could resist a cocktail ( glass) fabric for a dress?

I bought my standard 2 metres for dress stash fabric and searched for a simple sleeveless dress pattern amongst my many patterns ar home.

I chose New Look 6020 based on its simple lines, but also influenced by the many versions Roisin ( Dolly Clackett) had made in a variety of interesting fabrics. Version B looked like an interesting neckline with the little notch detail, and the V back is hopefully going to be ideal for Greek heat.

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I have made up a couple of New Look dresses in the past and have found that they are pretty true to size. I did however spend time with the help of my sewing teacher refracting the princess seam bodice to get a better bodice for for me. This not involved my usual adjustment of shortening the bodice length, but also taking a little length out of the above bust area and width out of the back. I made up a sheet toile to check the adjustments , and given they seem to have worked, this may be my go to starting point for future princess seam bodices!

The bodice has a nice crisp outline created with a facing not a lining. I twin needle top stitched around the sleeves and the waistline

Whilst I am not usually a fan of side zips, I decided to stick with this, but following advice , make sure that it was low enough under the arm that the top of the zip does not irritate when wearing.

There isn’t much else to add about the construction of this dress. It’s pretty straightforward. The little notch at the front of the bodice neckline is a nice little detail, and the panelled skirt gives a lovely flare/ fullness without bulk at the waist.

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Panelled skirt
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Love the deep v-neck back
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Aperol spritz anyone?

This dress actually ticks two challenge boxes. #2019MakeNinehad the requirement for 2 dresses for my son’s wedding. I’ve also recently decided that #off with her stash is highly appropriate for me. The fabric was bought on 28 February 2019 so that counts!