Adventures in Pattern Drafting

The last couple of weeks I’ve been a bit quiet on here because I’ve been working on my own personal blocks/slopers. I bought this Burda Academy course probably years ago and finally decided to have a go at it this year. And it doesn’t take as long as you would think to draft a sloper – the measuring takes a while, though!

This was my sexy measuring outfit – a tight top and leggings with tape marking my waist and hip line, so you can measure to and from the same points.

And this is the side view. Because of my terrible posture and some bloating, I look a bit pregnant here but I can assure you I’m not.

The course comes with some great handouts and videos talking you through everything. I ended up doing my bodice front and back twice because we’d messed up some of the measurements and once I’d watched the video once, I found the handout was enough to do the slopers again, which is cool.

Here is a peek at my skirt sloper/block.


Last night I cut out and sewed together my collection of slopers into a dress (minus the sleeve) and it looked pretty good. It needs some tweaks, but before too long I should have my blocks sorted, so I can use them to compare to commercial patterns to know what adjustments to make, and to draft things for myself. The first thing I’m going to draft is the pattern for my Dressmakers’ Ball dress, which I’m basing on this one Ginnifer Goodwin wore to the Met Gala a few years ago.

Posts on here might be a bit few and far between for the next few weeks while I’m working on my dress. I’ll hopefully share some updates here and on Instagram, though. I just hope I get it finished – the ball is only 6 weeks away!

Make It: Pin Pennant

After I was lucky enough to win a voucher for The Pink Coat club in the raffle at the Sewcialite Soiree, I realised I had quite a few pins in my collection. But I often forget to wear one as I had been keeping them in a little box next to my make-up bag. Since I know how to sew (duh!) I thought I could easily make something that would look nice, display all my lovely pins and remind me to wear them!

I started off with some of my beloved mustard denim (originally from Sew Me Sunshine and featured in such projects as my Cleo Pinafore and my mute bags) and drew a line 20cm long, plus 1cm each side for seam allowance. I then measured the centre of this line and measured 20cm away from this line and joined this point to the 2 sides of the line to make a triangle. I totally made up these measurements and I think if you have more pins than me you will almost certainly want to increase these measurements.

I cut out 2 triangles with the above measurements and stitched them right sides together along the 2 long lines, leaving the top edge unstitched to be able to turn it the right way around. I trimmed the seam allowances, especially at the points, turned it the right way around and top stitched the sewn seams, though I would wait to top-stitch until you’re sewing the top edge shut.

I then made 2 straps, measuring 12cm x 5.5cm. I stitched each one folded in half length ways, then turned them the right way around – this took ages as they ended up so thin!

I then arranged the straps with the seams down the middle of the ‘back’ and top-stitched them. Lastly I placed the straps into the opening at the top, turning in the seam allowance of the top edge of the triangle, and top-stitched the straps in place, stitching the open edge closed at the same time. I would also carry on with the top-stitching around the other 2 sides at this point.

This was such an easy project – it took about an hour from beginning to end. I found an old knitting needle in a local charity shop and tied some wool on to hang up the pennant and VOILA! I’ve got a lovely way of displaying my gorgeous pins!

Do you collect sewing pins? I’ve got more pins than I realised – I thought I would have space to expand into but the pennant is already full!
 

Style Crush: Claire Foy

During our Christmas holiday we watched the whole of the BBC’s adaptation of Little Dorrit from 10 years ago, starring Claire Foy in her first major role. I would definitely recommend you to watch it if you’re in the UK and haven’t seen it. Watching the series made me remember how much I like Claire Foy – she’s brilliant in The Crown, of course, so I thought I’d do a style crush post on her. I like her even more since she’s had her hair cut off, of course. 🙂

I love this more casual look – I’m a sucker for stripes and I have a free magazine pattern for very similar trousers so I could probably copy this look pretty easily.


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I love the collar on this dress – and I noticed she often stands with her hands in loose fists, which is what I do in photos too!

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I’m a sucker for yellow, as I’m sure you know. And I like the tiny triangle of stomach on view.

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I really, really like this dress and I’m not sure why – it’s not a colour palette I would probably wear. I love the silhouette of the dress, though, and the little petals hanging off.

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There’s a similar silhouette on the dress below as above, but the one below has an added train – bonus!

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I really like this look – I think it’s a top and skirt rather than a dress. I love the shade of blue and the interesting twist detail on the neckline. I love the red shoes and lipstick, too!

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Now I’ve started looking through the looks I’ve picked out of Foy’s, I realise they do all have a similar silhouette. I really like the pink with the red, and who doesn’t want a cape on a gown?! I’m kind of tempted to copy this look for my Dressmaker’s Ball dress.

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I really love this dress, too – it’s covered up because it goes all the way up to her neck, but it’s also quite revealing because the under-dress is much less demure.

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I love how often she wears trousers and suits on the red carpet – when I started looking, there were a lot of trouser looks.

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I love, love, love this pink suit – it was one of my inspirations for my Socialite Soiree suit – I still kind of want to make a pink suit.

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I also still want to make a tuxedo, and I love this double breasted, quite loose fitting one she wore to last year’s Golden Globes.

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This is one of my absolute favourites of her outfits – I love the shirt, with the grandad collar and I love the fit and shape of the trousers. I definitely want some trousers like this in my wardrobe.

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And finally, here is a suit and shirt I really wish I had in my wardrobe – and had an occasion to which to wear them! Maybe I’ll make another suit for the Dressmaker’s Ball!?

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Do you love Claire Foy as much as I do? Which is your favourite of her looks?

I do also love Olivia Coleman, though, so I’m still looking forward to the next series, even though Foy won’t be in it.
 

2019 Make Nine and plans for the year

After reviewing 2018, I thought it would be natural to do a little post on planning my sewing and crafting in 2019.

I’ve decided to give Make Nine another go as it was kind of helpful for me to plan my makes for last year, though I didn’t finish everything. I have added the 4 things I didn’t make onto the list again – and I think for the 3 Closet Case Patterns this is the 3rd year they’ve been on my make nine, so this year I really have to make jeans and pyjamas!

(Clockwise from top left)
1. In The Folds Acton Dress
2. Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan
3. Papercut Guise Pants
4. Closet Case Ginger Jeans
5. Close Case Morgan Jeans
6. Sugardale Evelyn Trousers (or overalls)
7. Closet Case Patterns Carolyn Pyjamas
8. Helen’s Closet Elliot Sweater
9. Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top

I have all of these patterns and I really want to stick to the Acton being the only ‘every day’ dress I make – I’m going to the Dressmaker’s Ball in March so will probably make a dress for that.

I want to do some more tailoring next year. As I mentioned in my review of 2018, I kind of want to make another coat though I’m not sure I need one. I definitely want to make another jacket, probably using the Joe Jacket by Ready to Sew again, based on this one worn by Claire Foy:

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I also want to do some more knitting this year – I’ve rediscovered knitting this Christmas break and I’d forgotten how great it can be to do in front of the TV.  I’ve almost finished a jumper for myself which I cast on 3 or 4 years ago and then I’ve promised to make my partner a jumper from some yarn I had in my stash. I’ve also bought a couple of embroidery patterns so I can do those over the course of the year.

I also want to make a couple (or a few) more projects for my Hundred Years Wardrobe. I’m going to see the Dior exhibition at the V & A and I’m so tempted to make a Dior outfit to go in but I suspect I won’t have time.

To help me to be organised this year, I’ve signed up for Trello, as recommended by Helen on Love to Sew and by Jen from Gingerella on her Instagram recently. I’m already in love with it and have probably planned out at least a year’s worth of projects, if not 2 years!

Are you making plans for the coming year or are you more a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of sewist?

2018 in Review

Another year is over so I’m recapping what I’ve made in the last 12 months. I thought I hadn’t made as much in previous years, but I made 5 dresses, 4 sweatshirts (2 for my friend’s daughter), 2 Cleos, 4 Pairs of trousers, one of which was part of my Socialite Soiree suit, 4 shirts, and a coat. Plus I made a Freddie Mercury outfit and refashioned a bunch of things into a Miss Fisher outfit. Phew!

Here is my final Make Nine 2018 progress – I made 5 of them, which I think is the most of any Make Nine I’ve come up with. I still didn’t yet make jeans. 2019 will definitely be the year I finally tackle jeans! I made my Honetone Coat, Carnaby Dress, Ebony Dress (twice), Blaire Shirt and Portobello Trousers.

The thing I’m proudest of making this year (as I mentioned via the #myproudestmake hashtag) is my Honetone coat. I really took my time over it in February and I’m really glad I did. Apparently there is some really cold weather coming in January so this will still get lots more wear this Winter. I kind of want to make another coat, but I probably don’t need one.

My second favourite make from this year was the suit I made to wear to the Sewcialite Soiree. I made it in record time, (unlike my coat) because I left myself, like 3 full days and 3 evenings to make it in. The Joe Jacket came together really easily and I definitely want to make another one, in black and white houndstooth – if anyone has any ideas where to buy some suiting in houndstooth, let me know!

One of my favourite makes was my cropped Kalle shirt. I definitely want to make more Kalles. I did wear it quite a bit this year as we had an unusually long Summer.

2 things that I wore way more than I anticipated were my 2 Cleos. Though sadly I wore the mustard one to work a lot and when unloading a delivery from a van I got a big black mark on it, which hasn’t come out yet. Happily I have loads of mustard corduroy left over from my suit so I’m going to replace it – I think that will be one of my first makes of 2019.

Pretty much my only refashion project (except adding a hem band to a cropped Inari tee) was to make my Miss Fisher outfit for The Rafashioners. The coat will definitely get lots of wear in Spring and Autumn when it’s not too cold.

My love affair with shirts continued – I made 4, 3 of which were from patterns I hadn’t used before. (Clockwise from top left: Blaire, Honeycomb, Melilot, Kalle)

I also made 4 pairs of trousers – and I have lots more plans for more trousers in 2019. (Clockwise from top left: Persephone Pants, Simplicity 1696, Portobello Trousers, Mercury Trousers). I really want to make more Persephone Pants next year so I’m on the lookout for good fabric.

I also made 5 dresses last year, which is a lot considering I don’t wear them super often now I work hulking fabric around all day. Dresses aren’t the most practical of garments. I love the Laurel I made – definitely a good rediscovery of a forgotten pattern in my stash. (Clockwise from top right: Inari Tee Dress, Carnaby Dress, Ebony Dress (blue and gold))

Also this year I ‘launched’ my Hundred Years Wardrobe project – to sew something from each decade of the 20th century. I also completed the first project – this 70s Freddie Mercury Zandra Rhodes outfit. Sadly I didn’t dare wear it to the cinema when I saw Bohemian Rhapsody, which was amazing!

This year I joined my local brass band, and a swing band, playing the cornet/trumpet which I played for 10 years while at school. I went to their big Christmas concert last year and the year before and last year I finally plucked up the courage to talk to the band leader and then I played at the Christmas concert this year! I also spent rather a lot of money on a set of mutes so I made some storage bags to keep them from getting bashed and scratched.

The other thing I wanted to do in 2018 was to do some knitting and to make my partner some clothes. I basically didn’t do either of these for 51 weeks of the year – I have actually done some knitting over the Christmas break. I’ve been finishing a jumper I cast on probably 3 or 4 years ago!

All in all this was a pretty good year for me – I did plenty of sewing, played lots of music and got a new job which I don’t hate. My partner turned 40 and we went away for a weekend. And I’ve tweaked some stuff in our flat so it looks nicer and works better – and I’ve been clearing out cupboards this holiday season, which has been really satisfying! I finally renewed my passport and went to visit one of my best friends, with my other best friend, in Germany finally, which was really brilliant. I always feel stupidly pleased with myself when I manage to fly somewhere on my own!

I’ve also had quite a few periods of feeling low and uninspired this year but I tried to be kind to myself and not get annoyed at myself if I didn’t sew for a couple of weeks or blog as regularly as I might have liked. Sewing and blogging should be fun hobbies so if I didn’t fancy doing them, then I didn’t and I feel good about that.