Tag Archive: pattern cutting

On my Sewing Table – 1920s Evening Dress

Oh my word, how fast is this year spinning by?  I still have a pile of fabrics to use up and patterns to find, not to mention still ploughing through daughter no2’s summer wishlist.  I have done pretty well using up stashed fabric this year, I haven’t calculated any totals yet, not measured anything, but … Continue reading “On my Sewing Table – 1920s Evening Dress”

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On my Sewing Table – 1920s Evening Dress

Oh my word, how fast is this year spinning by?  I still have a pile of fabrics to use up and patterns to find, not to mention still ploughing through daughter no2’s summer wishlist.  I have done pretty well using up stashed fabric this year, I haven’t calculated any totals yet, not measured anything, but … Continue reading “On my Sewing Table – 1920s Evening Dress”

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Pride and Prejudice Preparation

Every year, I get together with one of my best friends and we spend a weekend together watching Pride and Prejudice (BBC, 1995), stuffing our faces with cheese, and drinking lots of wine.  We started this in 2004 I think, and since then we’ve both moved around quite a lot, changed careers, got married, and […]

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We Like to Boogie

Flared jeans, I’m never taking them off!

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A Hot Weather Dress

My sewing machine has been working overtime during the last week and a bit, quickly trying to make the last few things for Daughter No 1.  The departure for her planned travel to Asia, Australia & America has finally come.  … Continue reading

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Best laid plans & all that

Sooo…  Sewing an Autumn/Winter wardrobe.  Sort of going ok, but a little sidetracked!  A wedding invitation has scuppered my sewing plans a little.  Admittedly, we did receive the invitation some time ago, definitely way before I made my sewing plans, … Continue reading

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Self Drafted Skandi Skirt

Hi there!

I’d like to share my first attempt at pattern drafting with you today.  I’ve seen a lot of box pleated midi skirts around lately and thought I’d have a go at drafting my own.  It was a lot of fun.


I started with this highly technical drawing:

The dimensions are taken from a 8 panelled RTW midi skirt I bought a couple of years ago.  I thought it was a pretty good place to start from.

Even though the “inspiration” skirt has a straight waistband I drafted a curved one based on my skirt block.  I find curved waistbands much more comfortable than straight ones.

Once that was done, I divided the measurement along the bottom seamline of the waistband by 8 to get the top width of my panels.  It was almost exactly the same as the measurement from the RTW skirt, so I used the same hem width for each panel as the RTW skirt has. 

I then decided how deep I wanted the pleats to be – 1 inch – and therefore added 2 inches to each side of my basic panel piece, curving the waist and hem with my pattern master.

I made it a bit more complicated than I needed to initially because for some reason I decided I needed to make it panelled, as the RTW skirt was, hiding the seams inside the pleats.  I was going to have 2 centre panels front and back, with pleats either side and between them, and then side panels without pleats at the side seam. 

The dashed line in the photo above shows where I marked the cutting line for the side panels.  I traced this off and ended up with the two pieces below.

However when it actually came to cutting out I came to my senses and realised I didn’t need seamed panels, so I pinned the side piece over the seam allowance for the centre panel and cut one complete front and one complete back, marking the top of the pleats with snips into the fabric.

When it came to sewing I stitched the tops of the pleats down 2 inches from the edge, and then pressed and stitched them in place.

Here’s a photo of one piece before I sewed them together and added the waistband.

The construction was pretty straightforward.  I cut two front and two back waistbands and interfaced one of each.  Then there was just two side seams to sew, a lapped zip to insert and the hem.  The seam allowances are all finished with the overlocker.

This is a pretty different style for me, both in terms of shape and fabric, but I think I like it.  The fabric by the way is from Ikea, I think it was £4.00 a metre.  I easily got this out of 2 metres, even allowing for pattern matching.

I envisage wearing it like this most often, with a black top and opaque tights, but also like it with the denim shirt I’ve styled it with below.  I think that needs sheer tights though, the black look a bit heavy.  I’d also like it with a black blouse – I think I’ll feel most comfortable pairing it with black – or a cropped top that sits just over the waistband.



So that’s my first attempt at pattern drafting.  It was a pretty straightforward style for a first go, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  Now to make some tops to go with it!

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Adventures in Pattern Cutting – Skirt Block

I’ve mentioned a couple of times recently that I went on a pattern drafting workshop a few weeks ago.  It was the first of what I hope will be several more, and we started off by making a skirt block. I always have trouble getting skirts – particu…

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Hello Sailor

What is it about navy and white stripes that gets us thinking all summer and seaside?  I’ve been hankering after a blue and white, or white and blue stripey tee-shirt for months now, but never found the right one in … Continue reading

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Simplicity star sewist contest- Hawaiian purple hazeΒ 

This is a journey through time and space……well, about 6 weeks and two 360 mile round trips, and the trouble is I’ve got to squeeze it all in to one blog post. Let’s start this blog post in the same way that I got in the mood for the photo shoot – a breakfast of fresh pineapple, with […]

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Slow Sewing

This year is going to be a different one for sewing. If you haven’t already noticed, things are going much slower. By this time last year I’d completed 22 projects, this year I’ve done 13 and am working on my … Continue reading

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Abstract in Watercolour

How to start a blog post almost two whole months after the last one, especially when it was full of positivity & promises of action..  Well, something is better than nothing I guess, so here goes with the first project … Continue reading

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Welcome 2015, let’s get down to Business!

Happy New Year to you all, and a belated Merry Christmas, if you celebrate.  Boy have things been quiet on my sewing table, but now is the time to rectify that!  I’ve been very busy with a different line of … Continue reading

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I am Cher hear me roar or my last make of 2013 – The Shoop Shoop dress

Hello darlings,

How are we all?  I imagine if you’re anything like me you’re in the limbo period that is recovering from the Christmas excess and mulling over the year just passed.  Learning from the losses, celebrating the wins and laughing about the mayhem of life.

As has become custom in the House of Demeanour since it all began in 2011 the last make of the year is always my New Year’s Eve outfit.  The first year I was wrapped in gold stretch as Marilyn Monroe and then 2012 I graced B-town in my purple velvet Prince inspired Let’s Party Like It’s 1999 dress.



 2011 – giving it blonde ambition as Marilyn.



 2012 – Purple power in my second Elisalex


 Not to disappoint I’m sticking with a strong famous theme πŸ™‚  This year I went off to kick up my heels with the girls at Komedia for a Hollywood Mashup where you could come as a film character of your choice.


I thought long and hard about who I wanted to be as I’ve got so many favourite heroines – Pam Grier as Foxy Brown, Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace, Molly Ringwald as anyone to name but a few.  Then like all good outfits ideas in my world it was triggered by a song on the radio….



Cher – The Shoop Shoop song


It was obvious of course!  I had to go as Mrs Flax from Mermaids in her too die for polka dot dress topped off with a hair as big as her attitude she is literally what we’re all about at the House of Demeanour.  As well as part from her aging disgracefully as all my favourite people do I always say when the chips are down life will offer you two choices sink or Cher.  I will always choose Cher πŸ™‚  This year has been a bit of a merry go round of woes and wins but I like to think that I faced it all with a killer outfit and hair to match like all my heroines.  So without further I do I present to you the Shoop Shoop dress.


I didn’t keep strictly to the original as Cher’s is baby pink and that shade and I clash more than the 70s πŸ˜‰



She’s a marriage of the skirt from Vogue 8766 and the bodice of the Gertie wiggle dress with shaped pockets drafted using Casey’s excellent tutorial.  I’ve recently taken the Lynda Maynard Perfect Fit class on craftsy, which gives you 8766 for free to work on during the class.  I’ve spent the last few weeks on and off fitting the pattern and I’ve used it to make my Little Red Corvette dress, which needs hemming and then blogging.  It’s a fab course and I highly recommend it if you want to get to grips with fitting our fantastically unique forms.  The Gertie I knew fitted me as I used it to make my Club Tropicana dress back in May and it was just a matter of slicing the bodice from that and by adding a little lace, some me made black satin piping and a hefty back combing session I was Cher πŸ™‚


I had a fabulous night with the girls dancing until dawn and yesterday was spent in heavy recovery. My biggest achievement after leaving my bed was to make bacon rolls to enjoy with Sherlock and that was absolutely fine by me.


As I say this year has been a real mixed bag both in sewing and in life but I’ve learned a lot and that includes how to lassoo a hula, which I for one feel is a real life skill and what is life if not for learning.


Without doubt though it’s the people who have made this year for me. The ones who read me, believed in me, cried with me, danced with me, laughed with me, had that one last drink with me and who loved me. You know who you all are and I love your more words can say. Thank you for everything and I can’t wait to do it all again in even more fabulous fashion.


Before I go I’ll leave with you one last Cher song.  It’s the one I belt out standing on the sofa gin in hand when all hell has broken loose.




I totes recommend following her on twitter she’s so wonderfully indiscreet.



Happy 2014 to you all I hope it’s as fabulous as you are.


Love always,


Miss D

xxx



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I am Cher hear me roar or my last make of 2013 – The Shoop Shoop dress

Hello darlings,

How are we all?  I imagine if you’re anything like me you’re in the limbo period that is recovering from the Christmas excess and mulling over the year just passed.  Learning from the losses, celebrating the wins and laughing about the mayhem of life.

As has become custom in the House of Demeanour since it all began in 2011 the last make of the year is always my New Year’s Eve outfit.  The first year I was wrapped in gold stretch as Marilyn Monroe and then 2012 I graced B-town in my purple velvet Prince inspired Let’s Party Like It’s 1999 dress.



 2011 – giving it blonde ambition as Marilyn.



 2012 – Purple power in my second Elisalex


 Not to disappoint I’m sticking with a strong famous theme πŸ™‚  This year I went off to kick up my heels with the girls at Komedia for a Hollywood Mashup where you could come as a film character of your choice.


I thought long and hard about who I wanted to be as I’ve got so many favourite heroines – Pam Grier as Foxy Brown, Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace, Molly Ringwald as anyone to name but a few.  Then like all good outfits ideas in my world it was triggered by a song on the radio….



Cher – The Shoop Shoop song


It was obvious of course!  I had to go as Mrs Flax from Mermaids in her too die for polka dot dress topped off with a hair as big as her attitude she is literally what we’re all about at the House of Demeanour.  As well as part from her aging disgracefully as all my favourite people do I always say when the chips are down life will offer you two choices sink or Cher.  I will always choose Cher πŸ™‚  This year has been a bit of a merry go round of woes and wins but I like to think that I faced it all with a killer outfit and hair to match like all my heroines.  So without further I do I present to you the Shoop Shoop dress.


I didn’t keep strictly to the original as Cher’s is baby pink and that shade and I clash more than the 70s πŸ˜‰



She’s a marriage of the skirt from Vogue 8766 and the bodice of the Gertie wiggle dress with shaped pockets drafted using Casey’s excellent tutorial.  I’ve recently taken the Lynda Maynard Perfect Fit class on craftsy, which gives you 8766 for free to work on during the class.  I’ve spent the last few weeks on and off fitting the pattern and I’ve used it to make my Little Red Corvette dress, which needs hemming and then blogging.  It’s a fab course and I highly recommend it if you want to get to grips with fitting our fantastically unique forms.  The Gertie I knew fitted me as I used it to make my Club Tropicana dress back in May and it was just a matter of slicing the bodice from that and by adding a little lace, some me made black satin piping and a hefty back combing session I was Cher πŸ™‚


I had a fabulous night with the girls dancing until dawn and yesterday was spent in heavy recovery. My biggest achievement after leaving my bed was to make bacon rolls to enjoy with Sherlock and that was absolutely fine by me.


As I say this year has been a real mixed bag both in sewing and in life but I’ve learned a lot and that includes how to lassoo a hula, which I for one feel is a real life skill and what is life if not for learning.


Without doubt though it’s the people who have made this year for me. The ones who read me, believed in me, cried with me, danced with me, laughed with me, had that one last drink with me and who loved me. You know who you all are and I love your more words can say. Thank you for everything and I can’t wait to do it all again in even more fabulous fashion.


Before I go I’ll leave with you one last Cher song.  It’s the one I belt out standing on the sofa gin in hand when all hell has broken loose.




I totes recommend following her on twitter she’s so wonderfully indiscreet.



Happy 2014 to you all I hope it’s as fabulous as you are.


Love always,


Miss D

xxx



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Made it for two weddings but late to my own party…

Why hello there,
How the devil are we all?  This is the post that has been slow cooking away for some time now and I hope is all the more rich and juicy for it πŸ˜‰
You would not be remiss for thinking lazy ol’ Miss D she’s been sitting round with her curlers in and feet up in fluffy mules ever since she finished her  cake heavy commission.  This my dears has not been the case at all I’ve simply been in a wedding and post wedding walking whirl.
As I advance through my years life gets no less challenging and in the same vein no less interesting, thankfully.  If you’d ask me at the beginning of  last year if I thought I’d be making a wedding cake for one dear friend and several bridesmaid dresses for another I would have said it’s more likely that I’ll take gold at 2012!  Reminds me more than ever what a difference a day can make.

Laura and I were told we wouldn’t require coats in Spain we were both glad we didn’t listen.
As previously blogged I was asked last year by my very lovely friend Laura to be one of her bridesmaids.  Hers is a thoroughly modern love story and one, which I’m glad to have been a part of from the very beginning.  We met when we both decided to take an Erasmus exchange to Spain in our second year at uni. It was in fact at this time I made my first dress (very badly – see evidence below).  It was a crazy few months to say the least but Laura and I became firm friends united by our ability to find humour when all else had failed including the heating.  On our return from Alicante we started our final year and the fun continued.  She unfortunately had a really rubbish housemate think 30 year old Veruca Salt.  I on the other hand lived in a ramshackle 7 bedroom house with 5 lovely guys and 1 lovely girl.  It was a true student house in every sense. 

This dress was held together with sellotape by the end of the night but my love of polka dots was born πŸ™‚
We used to have really great parties and Laura used to come along, which is where she met my then housemate Nick who was to become her beloved J  Over the course of our final year they fell hard for each other and when we stayed on an extra year after graduation it cemented their feelings but as we all know life can sometimes play you a dud hand.  Nick was due to spend the summer abroad and then go back to his hometown.  His trip got cut short but home he went and Laura followed but things didn’t work out and studies took her back South and they decided to separate.  When I went to get her it all seemed so sad but the old romantic in me believed true love would will out and indeed it did.  Just a few weeks later Nick declared he could not live without her and would go whether she needed to be.  That was 6 years ago.
Brave or crazy on the basis of only a few my outfits she asked me to make the bridesmaids dresses!  I was both excited and a little nervous but when she phoned me in September last year October 2012 seemed a long way away – it came around fast.  Thankfully, not long after I blogged about it the lovely Ginger Makes emailed me to say she’d embarked on a similar mission and time goes by quicker than you think.  Taking that into account the bride and I came up with a timetable for the coming months to at least try to keep everything on target.  This proves very useful when one your of bridesmaids is a touring opera singer, another is a very successful business woman running a cheerleading squad, the other is a swing trio singing mum of one with another  bubba on the way and the other is me!

The bridal squad
Right from the start Laura had said she wanted us to go for a vintage look to compliment what she was hoping to find in her dress so we had a pow wow and we both decided we looking for a nicely shaped bodice, cap sleeve, a bateau neckline and a fuller skirt.  I found two patterns that ticked the boxes.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3wbLZ6Pt-ps/UJ0k6b-EbjI/AAAAAAAAAq8/L3Ur5gZ3S9U/s320/simplicity+3592.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NCb_k8XJSsc/UJ0l2GW4TPI/AAAAAAAAArE/csRkccMV1KM/s320/6723.jpg
Owing to Simplicity 3592 being a vintage pattern and not so readily available I set about making a muslin of New Look 6723 so we could give it a yay or nay early on in the process.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CjIjrgkd-5U/UJ0tWC2Ao4I/AAAAAAAAArg/dsa3ZlwhS2g/s320/muslin+mccalls.jpg
It was indeed a nay aside from the fact that the black tights and calico combo makes me look like a character from a Dickens’ novel albeit a ver chirpy one the design just wasn’t flattering.
So we shelved the New Look in favour of the vintage Simplicity pattern.  Whilst I set about bidding for several on Ebay I also decided that all our proportions were so different it was probably best off to make bodice blocks for all of us and then an adapt pattern for each of us.  I’ve actually only taken a pattern cutting course to make a skirt block but I found an ace tutorial on making a bodice block here and along with my trusted Winifred Aldrich Pattern Cutting for Womens Wear.  Although this sounds like a lot of work I don’t regret it at all it made the whole process so much simpler as I knew with just a few tweaks we’d have the right fits for everyone and then it was just a case of adapting the skirt pattern.  It has also made me want to take the next level in pattern cutting at Sew in Brighton.
Anywho fast forward to Summer this year and we’d manage to snap up the fabric we needed from Goldhawk Road for the bargain price of £65.  We went for a steely lavender cotton silk that showed lots of different colours when it was caught by the light.  Laura and I both agreed it would look lovely on our various colourings and was along way a way from the peach parachutes that bridesmaids in the 80s were fated to wear.  

Both Laura and I wanted to avoid creations that would require facial anonymity!

As well as finding the fabric Laura who herself had started to sew was going to make one of the dresses because Louisa the swinging, singing bridesmaid would have her new baby by the time the wedding came round.  It was easier for Laura to fit Louisa as they live close to each other but, which left me with lovely pleasure of making a baby bridesmaid’s dress J
The baby bridesmaid dress pattern Simplicity 2235 so sweet

The months whirled by in a flash and before we knew it was July and we were on Laura’s hen do in London doing the last test fittings. There were some minor adjustments but things were full steam ahead.  At the same time another very lovely friend of mine who you may know, Zoe πŸ˜‰ asked me to help out with the fitting of her wedding dress and to make the cake for her and Pat’s wedding.  I was absolutely over the moon.  We only met in February 2011 so to be given the honour of such a special baking project was really touching.

Zoe raised a glass to my plan for alcoholic wedding cake
Me being me had also taken on the cake skirt for Macmillan as well as squeezing a trip to Berlin over the summer so it was pretty much nose to the grindstone from August right through to the end of September when Zoe and Pat got married.  They had decided they didn’t want to go for a cutting of the cake affair so instead they asked me to bake 120 cupcakes and they both jumped on my suggestion of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties πŸ˜‰  In the end the cupcakes were a mixture of vanilla, chocolate and Guinness with a Bailey’s frosting, lime with a tequila frosting and tiramisu with a mascarpone frosting (recipes for all here).  They were all decorated with royal icing card suits to match Pat and Zoe’s theme.  I was ably assisted I hasten to add by two of my very creative friends Miss Aymi D of picture perfection and Kirstin Stride of many a piece of hand drawn jewellery and more recently purveyor of pretty pants. The girls were invaluable letting me getting on with the baking while they coloured the icing and cut shapes.  I couldn’t have done it without them so thank you.

I’ll raise you a Guinness and chocolate for a Margarita and lime!
What did slip my mind at the time was the fact I hadn’t got round to making my dress for the wedding :s  There was no way I could go in RTW especially not with Zoe being so supportive of my sewing endeavours.  So I did want any good seamstress would I cut out my dress the night before then had some port and sewed it in the morning.  It was to the wire but I still had time to make a hair bow because I thought the beehive needed a little gigi.  I will add though it wasn’t meant to be so last minute because my original plan had been to sew Simplicity 4908 as gifted to me by the very excellent Lana of Lazy Stitching.  It didn’t happen though because the bodice pattern hated on me L  (princess seams are meant to be winner for curves I’m convinced in my case this is not the case) I fell back onto the bodice pattern I’d designed for my bridesmaid dress and the skirt from 4908.  It was a match made in heaven and I even got a mention in the speeches for last minute nature of my clothing.  

I called the look Latina Minnie Mouse

As you’ll have seen from Zoe’s posts she look an absolute picture and so did Pat.  It was a wonderful wedding where I cried and danced.


A pair of handmade crackers πŸ™‚
Any thoughts of resting any longer than the Sunday were out the door quicker than Mo Farah on the track because the following weekend was Laura and Nick’s wedding.  The week was filled with final changes and hemming and by Friday I was good to go.  

All sewn and ready to hem eek!


Not for the first time I found myself travelling across country on a train with multiple garments and a sewing machine.  Thanks be that I came for the rehearsal though because I went to several wrong churches before I found the right one.  Honestly I felt like Dustin Hoffman at the end of The Graduate J Once we had the rehearsal we did one last fitting and then Laura, her Mama and I headed to the hotel for a well deserved dinner and relax with chocs and wine aplenty.

Laura and her lovely Mama

The next morning the alarm rang at 7am and thanks to our legendary cheerleading bridesmaid, Sara and equally legendary twin sisters aka the beautifying team the getting ready went like clockwork despite there being six ladies to ready and a baby.  Honestly Frank the wedding planner from Father of the Bride had nothing on our gal πŸ™‚  She could run the country that one!

It was a super emotional day and the first time I choked was when our very beautiful bride clocked how lovely she was in the mirror as pictured below.

Just perfect πŸ™‚


The whole day was just a massive show of love from the tears in the church with Steph aka the sister-in-law singing opera, Laura’s Mama’s beautiful speech, Louisa singing the first dance with her trio the Spitfire Sisters with little baby Poppy strapped to her.  

A whole of love in this photo.
Spot the baby bridesmaid so sweet πŸ™‚
Despite having a whole wedding to plan and a business to run Laura made us all individual presents.  She’s a complete doll xxx


And finally my crafty skills performed one last win.


I always have a needle handy and handy it was when it came to popping Laura out of her dress at 1am


So there you have it that was my wedding whirl and whirly it was but my heart definitely got a bit bigger over that fortnight and I still get a bit teary when I think how touched I was to be able to be a part of the start of the next chapter for two very dear friends of mine.  I love you girls and I raise a glass of the good stuff to you and your beloveds may the road rise up to meet you at every turn πŸ™‚

All this celebratory talk brings me nicely to the fact that I forgot my own celebration.  My blogiversary passed me by on the 24th October.  I can’t believe I’ve been waffling on for a year and people are still reading but for this I thank you.  I write for a living so to do it for pleasure and to know that people out there are entertained by it makes me very happy.  So to send a proper thanks I’m doing my first giveaway and it’s wedding related. 

Just leave a comment to win the bridesmaid dress pattern, the almost was wedding guest dress, the first vintage dress I ever made for my friend Lana’s wedding last year and 3 metres of polka dot crepe
You’ve got until midday until on Saturday 15th December GMT and the winner will be chose at random and I’ll post worldwide.
Phew if you’re still with me well done bit of an epic post but you wait until the next time when I tell you what I did to relax after the weddings.  It involves a dog, several mountains and a very sore foot.
Until next time remember always carry a needle because you never know when you’ll need to pop a bride out of her frock.
Love always Miss D
xxx



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