Thursday, 28 April 2011

It's been so long!

I cannot believe how long it's been since my last post.

Much has happened (not very much sewing!) - the most important thing being that I am having a baby! The run up to Christmas was mental at work and we got the exciting news about the little one at the beginning of January. It has all been a bit of a blur since then, lots going on. I haven't really had any sewing time, and to be honest I've been a little reluctant to sew things for me (I am a selfish sewist) as my belly grows. So I think I am going to concentrate on home sewing - particularly some quilts - and knitting for now, and perhaps some baby clothes?? Though that will also be a bit tricky as we are not going to find out the sex of the baby, so nothing gender specific... though I have a seven month old niece who I can always make frocks for. Progress in all areas will no doubt be slow!

In light of my decision to do some more quilting I have been doing a little browsing of the intraweb to find some helpful sites with basic tutorials, some of which I've linked. There is such a huge quilting community in the US - we have nothing even approaching that in the UK (from an online perspective anyway!).

Some good friends of ours are expecting their first baby on Tuesday (by ceasarean, so there really is a hard deadline!) and I am in the process of making a quilt. I was pretty happy with how my first quilt turned out so I thought I give something slightly more challenging a bash. I made the design myself (as you can probably tell from how basic it is!), but it has... TRIANGLES in it! I have made eight of the 12 main blocks, so I have four left to do plus the borders for each block then all the sashing, outer borders, back, quilting etc (yowzers - not much time between now and Tuesday) to do. I think I'll call it 'Spring' as the colours are all pastels which remind me of the start of spring.

Royal Wedding fever has taken over here and tomorrow will be taken up with that, though I might get a chance to do the last four blocks and cut out the borders in the evening. We'll see!

Sunday, 24 October 2010


I haven't had much time to sew recently - coat still very much in the muslin stage - so in the spare time I have had, I've started knitting! The great thing about knitting is that you don't need much equipment (essentially two sticks and some string!) and it's really easy to pick up and put down. I had started a baby's cardigan MONTHS ago which I've finally almost finished, just need to sew it together in finish the front band (with buttonholes - gagh!) and I'm also having a bash at socks - first prototype in the pic! The whole four kneedles thing was a little off-putting at first (I find it difficult enough to wrangle two), but I'm getting there I think. Also now that the temperatures are starting to drop in London, I'm going to make a nice hat and scarf - check out the chunky wool (= fast progress!) in the background next to my foot.

My only concern with this knitting malarkey is the temptation of.... yarn stash!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Muslin madness - sans sleeves

Talk about behind schedule... I've finally cut out my muslin pieces and started to sew everything together. I cut out a Burda size 10 on the basis of the measurements on the chart for the bust, but now I've started to put it all together, I think it might be a little too small - so ANNOYING as I'm really not sure I can be bothered to cut out everything again... GAAAGH. I've only sewn together the bodice, not the arms yet, and it seems maybe a little snug on me in the bust area (hilariously). Though when I think about it, a US size 10 is a UK size 6 I think - so hardly surprising it seems a bit small. Could I just use an extra 1/4" from each of the seam allowances on the princess seams at the front? That comment probably highlights just how little I know about fitting...perhaps I will attach the sleeves before making a judgement on this. But I need to find out what is the easiest way to add a little more room around the bust. On the other hand though, on the version I found on Pattern Review, it was nicely fitted around the bust. And I don't want to be wearing big wooly jumpers under it - am thinking it will be more the type of coat to wear with skinny jeans and a lovely scarf and heeled boots... yougetme? 

EDIT: I just read this fab blog post which of course noted that the pattern is from Burda's young fashion range, so the sizing is a bit more teen-y - explains the snugness then!

The other thing I'm not sure about is the back. It is not a closely fitted style, but I'm not sure whether I need to do anything with the back? Any thoughts (though appreciate I have not posted a very good before/after pic)?? I can't decide whether there is a bit too much fabric in it somehow (vertically?) or whether that is just the style. I recently bought myself a beautiful coat for my birthday, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror earlier today and noticed that the back fits in a similar way to this pattern - quite loose.

More pics to follow once I have attached sleeves! I think then I'll be in a better position to judge the fit. The armholes (without the sleeves) currently feel very snug for a coat (like the bottom of the armhole is a little too close to my armpit??), but I guess that's maybe because of all the extra seam allowance which hasn't been trimmed? Again, no idea how to adjust this... off to do some googling / reading of sewing books....

Friday, 24 September 2010

Assorted notions

I am really looking forward to doing some proper real-live tailoring with the sew-along.. though I have a fair way to go before I reach that stage. I still haven't cut out my muslin! It's going to be a big day Chez Cybersewer on Sunday! We have a wedding on Saturday so I need to NOT get too hungover, and we must go to church on Sunday - haven't been for absolutely weeks!
One thing I really hope to get from the sew-along is attaching the shell to the lining well. I did have to do this with my test jacket but could have done with some know-how on what to do with finishing the lining on the inside and stuff - and more particularly, the ORDER in which I am supposed to be doing this! When to finish edges before sewing as opposed to after, all that sort of thing. I need to do some more reading of the jacket-tailoring-bible because I seem to recall that sets out the best order in which to do things. And of course I'm sure Gertie will be posting lots of helpful stuff.
Does anyone else have trouble with knowing the correct order in which to do things, especially when you are going a little off piste with the packet instructions?...

Muslin updates soon...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Goin' my own way

I wasn't exaggerating about the full social calender in my last post - we have been away every weekend since my last post. Ca-rah-zee. It was my birthday on Friday though and my lovely husband whisked me off to Portofino in Italy for a surprise weekend. Fabulous or what! And I took an extra day off yesterday to do some URGENT fabric shopping for the coat sew along.

It was while I was meandering down Berwick Street towards Borovick's that I got to thinking more about the Lady Grey pattern. Delicious though it is, I tend to agree with Eugenia in her post on the matter that perhaps the shape of the coat won't be great on me. Now I am not teeny-tiny, but at 5'5", I can see how the swishy back of the coat might do a little too much ass-swamping. When I was in Peter Jones I had a look in some of the pattern books and found Burda 7735 - view A, in yellow in the photo here (which reminds me, why is it VIRTUALLY impossible to order Burda patterns online from the UK through the Burda site??). This will be much more flattering on me, I really suit this shape and also, the style has a lot in common with Lady Grey - princess seams, notched collar and all that. Plenty of buttonholes for me to practice on too (DOOM). So I think I'm gonna go with this one but follow the sew-along anyway...

I have accumulated the necessary for my muslin, but have only just roughly cut out the pattern pieces (there are, like, a zillion about twenty five bits for this coat) so plenty way to go there... I am going to use the muslin method that Gertie is using which looks like it might increase the chances of a good end result. I have also purchased my fashion fabric from MacCulloch & Wallis (£15p/m reduced from £25p/m) - pics to follow when I have figured out how to take proper photos of fabric - colour looks all weird.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Baby bunting

Not much garment sewing progress here, though my lovely Lady Grey pattern arrived a few days ago which was very exciting. I have ordered some heavy calico (calico and muslin are two different things - muslin in the UK is what cheesecloth (?) is in the US I cannot imagine making a toile out of cheesecloth. Anyway, I digress) which should get here soon, and some coloured tracing paper which should help with cutting things out a little more accurately than usual. I haven't had a chance to go shopping for fabric yet - and I am a little loathe to buy something unseen from the interweb... though not sure when I am going to get a chance to wander down Goldhawk Road any time soon (horrific succession of social engagements coming up).

Anyway, I have this evening while waiting for husband to get home, cut out some triangles to make some bunting to go with the baby quilt I made for my sister. Nothing like a bit of monotony! Sewing all those triangles and pushing out those points will no doubt have me going mad.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Baby quilt and stuff

So later than promised in my previous post, some pics of the baby quilt I made for my sister's imminent arrival. It is by no means perfect (don't look too close at ANY of the blocks) but I'm pretty pleased with it because it looks like something I would like to have around the house. The back is just all one fabric. I think it's a good size for either a cot quilt or a playmat. Hopefully it will get some use.

So back to garment sewing... It is with great excitement that I await my Lady Grey coat pattern from Colette Patterns so I can get cracking with Gertie's fantabulous coat sew along. It has dispatched so should be here any day now... pretty excited about getting all the supplies ready and also learning some funky tailoring techniqiues. I have never joined a sew-along before, but I think it will suit me pretty well. I have no issues testing things out, finding supplies and resources, but what I really lack is the discipline to keep sewing regularly - even if only for half an hour a day! I'm hoping the structure of the sew-along will help with that.

I am also hoping to finish the Vogue purple dress - it needs hemming and the centre back seam finishing. The fit isn't fab (I should have made a muslin - when will I learn!) but it will do. I seem to have constructed the zipper and lining in a slightly different way to the instructions so I am a little baffled at the best way to finish everything off, but I'll get there...

I think my next project (to run alongside the coat sew-along) is going to be a simple one - a skirt based on the Jenny skirt pattern from Burda. And I am actually going to make a muslin of this to make sure the fit is right! I need a tried and tested skirt pattern - would be great to have a few for work, and this high-waisted style suits me.

Let's see how far I get with finishing my purple dress!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


Oh, I have been remiss. It has been many weeks since my last post. There has been a lot going on here - summer fun, my poor husband (still sounds odd saying that) was knocked off his bicycle and had a nasty break to his elbow (still in a sling, poor thing), parents visiting... not much time for sewing. Until the weekend just gone! I made some more progress on my Vogue dress, but also in a fit of productivity, made my first ever quilt! A square one for my little sister's baby - which is due on September 18th, the day after my birthday! I am actually really impressed with how it turned out - pics to follow.
frustration with said dress

In an effort to get me back in the sewing groove, I am going to join Gertie's coat sew-along, and have just purchased the pattern from Collette. Hopefully it will arrive before we start!

I will try and post some pics of the dress and my little quilt tonight. I have been terrible at posting generally, but I do read all the lovely blogs I follow almost every day (though I have not been commenting) - thank you all for the lovely posts on your blogs which have made me feel I am still in the sewing loop.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Quick update - Vogue 8555

I have been doing some sewing, though we have had a lovely stretch of warm weather here in London which has meant more time outside drinking Pimm's and less time in the study sewing! A few quick (bad) pics of the dresss - just have to put the zip in and fit the back seam and do the hem now... was thinking of doing it today, but it's just too warm!

Excuse the lack of ironing, it needs a good press before the next stage. I did a French seam on the side seams but annoyingly forgot to trim the seam allowance before sewing the second part of the seam, so I have some little threads poking out of the seam on the outside which will need trimming. I am so far pretty pleased with how this is working out, though a bit nervous about putting the zipper in with the lining... also not sure about the pleat at the bottom and how long to finish them hem - will I need the pleat? I think this dress will look awesome with a funky belt and my lovely Chloe wedges. I'm going to try and finish it in the next week or so, my parents are visiting in a couple of weeks and would love to be able to wear it out to lunch with them.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Return of my sewing mojo (sew-jo??) - Vogue 8555

The pink Burda dress horror was doing my head in - I decided to put it to one side and get on with something else. I was inspired by a recent trip to Joel's Fabrics up by Edgeware Road (more on that in another post - I am still recovering from the BEATING my AmEx took that day) and I bought a load of patterns (with the awesome Sew Today 50% discount - huzzah!) which got me all enthusiastic again.
One of my amazing purchases from Joel's was some gorgeous purple floral cotton. This stuff is cotton the likes of which I have never seen, it feels so smooth and almost silky - and as it was a bolt end (at two metres!) it was in the 50% off section (which was frankly just as well as I think at full price it was about £25 a metre - that place is NOT cheap)... then when some of the patterns I had ordered came at the weekend, I spotted Vogue 8555 which I thought would be fab for my lovely purple cotton. I am making view B (the yellow dress in the link). The dress is lined and I had some beige silky lining which is perfect. On Saturday I did a quick muslin of the bodice in size 10 which seemed generally ok though might need taking in at the centre back when I put the zipper in.

I have so far finished the bodice which looks good so far - I really like the pleats on the neckline and the sweetheart shape at the front is pretty cool. I am really keen to finish this dress as professionally as possible - and I wanted to understitch the lining to the seam allowances as per the instructions (which say to understitch 'as far as possible'). The annoying thing is that the instructions said to do that after I'd sewn the lining and the fabric together at the neckline and armholes - and the curves just wouldn't let me get the sewing machine all the way around. I couldn't just go part of the way and stop - it would look odd on the inside surely??

What is the best way to do this properly?? Advice please!

On the length, I was going to have it above the knee (the is the most flattering length on me) but now I'm thinking if I taper the skirt in towards the hem a bit more to make it a bit more pencil-y, it might be ok just over the knee... hmmmm. To be continued.