Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Bombshell Sessions #3: 15 lessons, 3 weeks, 'Bombshell Sessions' : The Itinerary

Muslin done... looking good and ready to rock 'n' roll.

After studying the Sew Retro: Bombshell Dress course itinerary a bit more closely- I have realised that it isn't as bad as I thought.

The plan:

9th of June - 'Rumble in the Jungle Dress' must be completed
14th of July - 'Blue Bouquet Dress' must be completed

The 15 lessons on the Craftsy course are:

  1. The course introduction
  2. Using the downloadable pattern
  3. Cutting the muslin
  4. Fitting the muslin
  5. Modifications for largers busts
  6. Making pattern adjustments
  7. Underlining: What, Why and How? Completed over this weekend :D (20.5.12)
  8. Starting the outer bodice
  9. Finishing the outer bodice
  10. Cutting the sarong skirt
  11. Making the skirt
  12. Adding the zipper
  13. Adding boning
  14. Finishing details
  15. Finishing with hem and vent

Underlining is a doddle and a self-satisfying step in the right direction. The outer-bodice video is really helpful. I know what people mean when they say that if you follow Gertie to the letter, you can't go wrong... it's true!

Then I'll be finished and rocking these weddings!!

Up to press, I have completed 6 of the 15 stages. Not bad. 

Today is the 25th of May. I, Caffy Bundy, will get this first dress done by the 8th of June... working relentlessly to get it done. Lets get this Sew RetroPerfect Bombshell Dress DONE!

I have 7 full days of sewing, no work and no drink (oncall for theatres) so I will get this finished pretty darn fast.

7 classes... 1 and a bit days per class... lots of blogs for you to read.... Bombshell Sessions just cranked up a gear....



Friday, 18 May 2012

The Bombshell Sessions #2 Finished Muslin

Thanks for all comments about the last muslin. I think that I have made all the changes needed.

Here is, what I think, my finished muslin...

Any comments or suggestions.... Please get involved and leave me a comment!

  • I have increased the top of the cup (Piece #1 from a size 4 to size 6) as it was borderline 'flasher'
  • I have removed 1/4" from Pieces 4, 5 and 7. I left the whole of the #6 alone as it sat well on my back.
  • I have left the waistline where it is on this muslin, but I think I might have to raise it a bit.
  • Now I have seen these pics I have added 0.5cm back to piece #7 as there are some horizontal lines

Not long left to complete this badboy now, but I have 3 full weekends to get it done and not a lot else to do, either... so expect BBC Radio 6, Diet Cokes and blogs a-plenty about how my progress goes!I played a blinder with making 3 Colette dresses at the same time as this dress, my interest has been restored and I am tinkering about with 4 projects at the same time is giving me an enormous amount to do- but that's the way that I like it!

I've even got a schedule to get the 'Rumble in the Jungle' Dress done by the 9th of June... I am a machine at the moment, so motivated!

I have got 2 weeks off from the 4th of June, so some serious 'Bombshell Sessions' are available... yipee!

Here are the supplies.... 

This is going to make one funky dress! I can't wait :D

I wish that I could wear all these dresses shoeless, then I would not have a problem wearing them at any opportunity. I like quirk. Quite often, the quirkier the better. After some soul searching with my tastes again (I found the choice available of fabric out there hard to decipher what my taste was anymore... I liked it all!) and have decided that I like a little bit of most styles. Some days I feel like whacking on a beret, some brown shoes and a mac and being a little bit twee and a lot pretentious (honesty is the best policy) and other days I feel like wearing a Cherry print dress with 5 inch red Mary Jane stilettos. After organising my existing clothes and accessories... I have come to the conclusion that I need some more.


I have the following as saved searched over here in Ireland:

  1. Dresses Ireland (Sz 8)
  2. Shoes Ireland (Sz 5)
  3. Silk Scarves Ireland
  4. Vintage Ireland
  5. Sewing Ireland
  6. Fabric Ireland
  7. Curling Tongs Ireland
  8. Irregular Choice Ireland
  9. Poetic Justic Ireland
  10. Beads Ireland

Muhahahaha, it is working a treat!

Until next time!



Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Abakhan Article Number 2.... Dressmaking- Working your way through a project


I have my second article on the Abakhan website, I am really getting into this! Also, I can't have been that bad as my second installment has been published.

Hope you like it, I have gone one step further and decided to base the article around the first furlong of a dressmaker- buying a pattern and then thinking how the chuffing hell am I going to make this?!

Here it is!!

Dressmaking – Working your way through a project by Cathy Bundy

My third article is where it gets very exciting... I am making the same dress in 5 different styles! First up is retro... partly down to it already being a beauts retro dress and partly because I am giddy about my fabric choice. Shhhh. It's gingham!

Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions, you go right ahead and leave me a 'warts and all' comment



Tuesday, 15 May 2012

New weapons of mass production!

Well, not mass production... slowly slowly, catch a monkey

Sometimes, when you look at the front pages of sewing books, there is pages upon pages of tools of the trade that you feel obliged to purchase at some point, regardless of if you fully know what they do or not. Living in Ireland, getting tools required is sometimes impossible without spending loads of cash. I have bought a few new bits and bobs lately and saved a few bob too by hunting down the bargains. I thought that I would share with you (especially if you are new to sewing, like me) and not sure what to buy and what you can live without....

French Curves

My first sewing book... I opened it at the obligatory 'Tools' section and thought "That one, I can skip"... Here I am, a year later and it's my top favourite tool! It's just so handy for:

  • Marking your stitching lines on garments which have seam allowances included. It was a pivotal piece of kit with my recent job of the Colette "Crepe" as I could work with the curved lines by marking the 5/8" seam-line and then making the stitch line run perfectly in-line with the outline of the cut fabric.
  • Pattern adaptations. I have been changing and muslin crazy with my 'Bombshell Dress' lately and these have been great to help me make changes without relying on just my eye and a pencil. You can find the perfect curve on the many facets of the French curve and use it to make the changes required. 
Paid: €4 (+€2 P&P eBay)... was €26 for a French Curve in my local haberdashery shop.

Pinking Shears

I love these! The finish exudes handmade but also professional. I have done a lot of pinking with cotton and it is just what the doctor ordered as it doesn't warrant the 'zigzag' stitch that uses a huge amount of thread and renders the cottons of late nicely 'fray-free'

I made contact with the seller of these and they are from France and have been loved and used well... having found more of an interest in knitting and crochet of late, the seller parted ways with her French-find and are now being loved by me!

Paid: €3 (+€2 P&P eBay).... Again, €32 for a pair in my local habdab shop, grrrr

Tracing Wheel and Carbon Paper

Darts, easy! This is a top way of marking grain-lines, darts and even pattern pieces within seconds. I just pop mine onto the wrong side of the fabric and go for it. Prym is my carbon paper of choice, it comes in one white sheet and one yellow sheet. For perfection, a red or blue sheet would be amazing... but I haven't run into too much of a problem with just the yellow and white. The size is also fantastically big... 82 x 57 cm (or 32 x 22.5")

Paid: €3.50 for the carbon paper (+€2 P&P) and 89c (+ €1 P&P)... eBay!  

Rotary Cutter and Self-Healing Mat

Shears are great, there are just some fabrics that you can't use a rotary cutter... but for the fabrics that you can... this is a fast and clean way to cut fabric I find. For large pattern pieces (like the Colette- Clovers) you can have the pieces cut out in 5 Min's and no shear marks. I love!

Paid: €13 (+€3 P&P)  for the cutter and €8 for the mat from a local art supply shop (A2 size, I'd LOVE an A1 or BIGGER) 

Hem Gauge and Chalk Pencil

I love my little sewing gauge! I found without it, I was struggling to find a true 5/8" and probably was a bit 'off' before I bought this beauty. I just mark every few centimetres at the 5/8" mark and then either draw a line with my quilting ruler or if its a curved line... get out my french curve, simples! Chalk pencils are great too, can be sharpened for a really crisp and fine line for great accuracy.

Paid: €1 for the Hen Gauge and 50c for the chalk pencil

To conclude....

  • eBay is a wonderful source of products, especially in Ireland!
  • I am obviously changing my view on dressmaking, more focus on the detail and fit rather than just getting another project 'done' (I have been sooo guilty of that prior!!)
  • SHOP AROUND... spend less where you can, buy more fabric

Hope this helps someone, somewhere... Be assured, more purchases are inevitable!!



Sunday, 13 May 2012

Crepe de Caffy - Finished Project. The Mean Green Hen-do Machine Dress

Colette Patterns - Crepe
Emerald Green Cotton Lawn and 'Ditsy Flower' Cotton contrast

Finished Welsh Hen Party Dress- done! But not in time- fail! 

So in the spirit of poetic licence, I have made this dress in celebration of, rather than made for, the hen party that was last week. Have I got away with it??

I used emerald cotton with a contrast of a ditsy floral print which I won from Fabric Godmother. I was part of the ‘300 followers competition’ All I did was RT and won a metre+ of the lovely ditsy fabric and some black thread! No complaints there, obviously. I was soo happy with that and have hence-forth become a very happy loyal customer of the site, its fantastic! Clever Fabric Godmother, very clever! Also, I think FG has gone way way way over 300 followers by now, or they should have. If not following on Twitter, then you should!

The dress, part of the 3 Colette patterns that I bought in March, was a good meaty project. I loved the new skill of interfacing and under-stitching that I learned here, very professional. I hand-stitched the interfacing because I love the finish*...

... It looks like a vintage bespoke piece that I would love to find in a shop, with character and quality(ish, it was my first go at interfacing so it was never going to be the best, but I am proud).

Darts, seams and tidy finish... I'm getting better!

*I also hand-stitched the interfacing because Gertie told me to, too.

Upon reflection....

  • I will never sew again cream-crackered... I was making the ties and was told to fold the ties in half and then sew them shut and turn right way round. I stupidly stitched the wrong side... i.e. the folded side. Tsk. Unpicky wicky
  • I fully understood under-stitching right when I was finishing the back interfacing. Unpicky wicky. BUT I am a mean under-stitcher now and a kick ass unpicker!
  • Very big isn’t it? Looks much better than when it was just a bodice however.
  • One seam 'match-up' boo boo. Its on the left on the dress (the section without the opening for the wrap-straps) and I seem to have lost 0.5cm and couldn't get the bodice to perfectly match the skirt section, so this is the best I could come up with. But it's not ever so noticeable but it's food for thought with the next dress that I make. 

    • Tailors Ham?! Make/buy one!! They are so handy for curved pieces of fabric and setting fabric in the right position before you stitch. Ace. I'm now going to make a Seam roll, too.

    • I need to shorten the pattern pieces and not just rely on a hem plus a bit to accommodate my 5'3'' stature. I ended up chopping off 8cm from the bottom just to get it to the right length for me. I know that it's not the right way to go about shortening a dress and I will take that away with me to do pattern adjustments pre-cutting the fabric.

    However! It looks nice and I will wear it. It's dress-upable or dress-downable, that is a prerequisite for me and what I wear! 

    I tried taking some pics outside, this is Ireland remember, but I wanted some better light... this was the result....


    Make again? Yes, already thinking of some cooky combos!
    Cost: Pattern €12.50, Fabric €8.97 (3m of cotton, free contrast), thread, part of an eBay steal... probably 20c
    Time taken: 11.5 hours. I am now a fully fledged pattern tracer now, however!



    Saturday, 12 May 2012

    The Colette Sewing Handbook- Book Review

    I thought that I would write a review on the latest of my books- The Colette Sewing Handbook

    I have been waiting ages for my copy of the book for ages, the book had sold out and I was awaiting the second printing.

    Before I crack on reviewing the book, I would like to tell you a little story of what you need to do if you have received the book without the patterns included. This was a publishing problem beyond the control of Colette Patterns, at all. 
    I had waited for the book for 3 months and when I saw that the book had been sent, I was giddy gum drops! I think that sometimes, I must be psychic, I went on the website and saw a recent review that a customer had received the book without patterns included- I knew that this was going to happen to me, I just knew! When the book arrived... GAH!... no patterns! has an ‘online chat’ customer services that you can talk to a human online 24/7. I made contact with the team and having said that the book had arrived with no patterns, they told me that because the book had gone out of stock again, my only choice was to send the book back for a refund. Thanks, but no thanks me ducks... I had waited for ages for this book and there was not a notion that I would be sending the book back.

    So, I thought... Colette Patterns seem lovely people. I will contact them. I did just that and contacted them through their ‘Contact’ page on their website. I waited just a few short hours (remembering that the company are in Portland, USA) and Kenn, from the company sent an email back explaining that they were aware of the problem and pretty gutted that it had happened. I was told to send off my address and he would forward it on to the publisher who would send out the patterns ASAP.

    I remember days of ‘Allow 28 days for delivery’, so I expected that (with a heavy heart). Oh no, within FOUR days of sending the email, the patterns arrived! So, my sewing friends, if you have had the same problem... please do get in contact and the missing patterns will be replaced! Happy days!

    Now, the book....


    The book is a hardback, spiral-bound book. Excellent idea, it lays flat and stays open on your table. Strong, good quality paper also is present stopping the rip-ability of the pages as you finger through, finding your right page. Very thoughtful and useful indexing at the back.


    Based around the ‘5 Fundamentals’ of sewing clothes to create a ‘remarkable sewing experience’:

    • A thoughtful plan
    • A precise pattern
    • A fantastic fit
    • A beautiful fabric
    • A fine finish

    I, for one, can happily blast my way through a sewing project like a child who has just learnt how to ride a bike: ‘I’m doing it, I’m doing it!’... not realising that I am going too fast and will soon end up derrière over mammary glands in the ‘underwhelmed bush of sewing disasters’!

    This book has shown me that although one day I would love to be sewing as a job, if I don’t get the basics right now and make beautiful, well-made and thoughtful clothes NOW, then how the hell am I going to be making sewing my livelihood THEN!?

    I really like this book; Sarai has written down to perfection and encapsulated the whole ethos of modern dressmaking and why we do it. I love the drape and the fabric explanations- the photos taken of the different types of fabric could only be surpassed with actual pieces of fabric on the page, not a photo. On that point, the photography is wonderful and inspiring. I have often walked past an oyster plate at car boots.... why not make a sewing use out of them and just eat the oysters (yum).
    I have a few dresses to make for weddings this summer, but I am looking forward to working my way through them.
    In all honesty, the projects in the book are more accessible to me to make NOW than the Burda Sewing Handbook projects (of which I am making them all this year, watch this space). I just really like this little book, it’s a sewing-affirming bundle of joy made with love for making with love.

    I say: AYE

    I have reviewed the book on AmazonUK as, of course, 'Bundana' (Should be up on the site from 14/05/2012)

    I purchased the book for £12.49 from Amazon

    In other news:

    • I am awaiting my second article for Abakhan to be on the website, happy days
    • I am hemming my 'Crepe de Caffy' today and taking pictures for tomorrows blog entry
    • I have moved the sewing room downstairs and it looks lovely... pics below
    • Second muslin of the 'Bombshell Dress' is back on track and 2 hard-working weeks to get BOTH dresses done for my bestest buddies weddings! 



    New room:

    More art on the wall coming soon! I know its needed! But two big windows and perfect amount of space rather than rattling around in the attic. Q rocks, he spent a Saturday morning dismantling a double bed and carrying it upstairs for me. Spoiled, I know!

    Thursday, 3 May 2012


    Thank you Su Sews So So and Thread Carefully for the Liebster Award

    Thank you Sew Me Love for the Sunshine Award

    Thank you Sassy T for the Versatile Blogger Award

    I like these award thingys, they are really friendly and get communities of people checking out each others blogs- its great to read more and more blogs (I read all of the blogs that I follow on Sunday morning BTW, coffee, breakfast and getting some inspiration from my beloved followed blogs)

    The Sunshine Award

    Here are the answers to the Sunshine Award random q's...

    Favourite colour: Blue
    Favourite animal: Puffin
    Favourite number: 26, my age...
    Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Diet Coke, my pattern weights and late night fuel
    Facebook or Twitter: Twitter, fo'sure
    My passion: Sewing, writing and my fiancée and dog
    Getting or giving presents: Getting myself presents and giving surprise presents
    Favourite Pattern: hmm, I love Colette Patterns 'Éclair' great to work on, so versatile
    Favourite day of the week: Sunday. Day of breakfast in bed, coffee, blogs, sewing, dog walking and writing
    Favourite flower: Daisies
    Favourite celebrity role model: Bob Dylan. A man who cannot do anything but do it his own way

    Liebster Award 

    I would like to thank Tabatha from Threadcarefully and Suzy from Su Sews So So for the award! They are both lovely and good and funny and I am chuffed with this internet malarkly that it's been possible to connect with them, even though it's virtual!

    I would nominate for the Liebster AND the Sunshine Award:

    Sew Me Love - A beautiful little seamstress with beautiful ideas and ability
    Sew Today, Wear Tomorrow - Like me, Yvette is a newbie but going full throttle with adaptations and adjustments!
    ElleC - She is hilarious and I love reading her blog
    Sassy T- Amazingly talented and such a fun-to-read blog
    Princess Prudence Diaries - I adore her vintage passion!

    The Versatile Blogger Award

    Thanks Sassy T for the award! 


    1. Add the badge to the winning blog page
    2. Thank the blogger who gave it
    3. List the rules. 
    4. List seven (7) random facts about yourself.  
    5. Pass on the award to 7 deserving and conscientious bloggers who are nominated for their diligence, demonstrated skill, and achievements in the world of blogging and specifically in the sewing related category. 
    6. Contact the nominated bloggers and let them know they are recipients.

    Seven random facts:

    1. I am from the UK, living in Ireland and marrying a Dutchman
    2. I can bend all of my toes independently of each other
    3. I have never tried a food that I don't like
    4. I had dark purple hair for 3 years, I am now back to being ginger
    5. I was once on the front page of the Yorkshire Evening post for whistle-blowing that student nurses were not getting any jobs after qualification in 2010
    6. I applied and was accepted for 'Peace and Conflict Studies' degree and Bradford University, I changed my mind and did 'Nursing' in Leeds instead
    7. I have a Rolf Harris t-shirt that I wear for bed, I love it

    I nominate:

    Suzy Sew Blog - From the moment I started sewing and blogging, I have followed and loved her blog
    The Fabric Godmother - I just love her shop and blog, oh how I love her blog!
    Sophisticated Seams - Lovely, regular writing
    Su Sews So So - Fellow resident of Ireland sewing beautiful things!
    Gather Kits - An exciting and excellent pair who are rocking my sewing world!
    Scared Sticthless - She adores sewing as much as I do, that is no bad thing!
    The Sewing Directory - I love these ladies! An amazing source of information in my world of sewing
    Thread Carefully - She is not a woman, she is a sewing machine! (To adapt a 'Terminator' quote. Go Tabatha!
    3 Hours Past the Edge of the World - A master of the cloth, a dazzler of a dart and a perfect pattern producer.

    This is just a bit of fun really. You now know some random facts about me and I've given a heads up to some people. Seriously, I read all the blogs I follow, I am inspired by all of them. Passion, I love it!