Monday, 16 April 2012

Read all about it! Bundana goes berserk with stash

Enough hoarding and keeping, time to get minimalistic on my fabric stash and start using up, up UP

I bought 3 Colette patterns last month and now they are going to get their asses MADE!

3 dresses, 3 weeks... allows me to buy more fabric as I will have precious little left. Everyone is a winner!

Let me know what you think of the colour combinations. Honest advice is always welcome here. I am a ginger (and proud) remember, sometimes I am a bit over ambitious with my colours that I decide that I can wear.... even though by some pictures of previous outfits I have seen myself in, a little more honesty in my life wouldn't have gone amiss! Here are the colour combinations that I have made for them, no deliberation... just sewing. Sunday was spent wrestling with the eternal Bombshell mess dress, but I need some quick(ish) fixes to keep my proverbial sewing pecker up... and these seem like just the ticket!

I've made a plan for my 'Eclectic Eclair'

Green for the main fabric and that ditsy floral print for the contrast sash, nice and should be appropriately dress-up and downable, as my wardrobe should always be i.e. able to be worn with flats and dressed up with some mean heels.

Here is the fabric and the notions (button less at present) for my 'Partay Parfait'. This fabric print reminds me of a beach print with a touch of Chinese influence. I likey. I've also had for too longy. Must sewy and enjoy-ee. OK, stop now.

What colour buttons do you think for the 6 x 3/4" buttons that are used in this pattern? I was thinking Pink or Blue.... let me know some thoughts, if you like

Finally, this is my Caffy de Crepe.... a fine and strong dress... ready for my mean blue heels that I have had my eye on or the brown of the contrast fabric will allow me to wear my (too many) brown sandals and shoes ('Brown Caffy never really died- see Winkerton Flasher entry for what I mean).

So folks, during these light evenings... you know where I'll be... working on my kitchen table tracing the life of these three on my reliable (and cheap) parchment paper, cutting into my stash and making pretty dresses. This should lighten up my mood from the weekend task of 'The Bombshell Sesssions'. 
Now, don't get me wrong- I am loving doing that dress. However, that dress reminds me that I am a baby in this dressmaking industry, I know nothing- but I am adoring the learning! Dresses like the Colette dresses make me feel like I have made really loads of progress. Slight difference there. I am hoping that the Colette trilogy is the 'ying' to my Bombshell 'yang'.

In other news:

  • I am writing away for my Abakhan article #2
  • Colette Sewing Handbook is on order... yipee!



Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Bombshell Sessions #1 First Step: First Fit

Man alive, this dress seems like it is never going to get made! 

It's OK, the first dress does not have to be made until the 9th of June and the second on the 14th of July... phew. I will go to these weddings in 100% Caffy couture!

Finally, I have a muslin to work on- but this has not happened by fairy-dust and magic, oh no, this is a tough dressmaking jigsaw puzzle. Almost like doing a 1000 piece Monet 'Water Lillies' jigsaw puzzle- easy to get the bits mixed up!

The Bombshell dress is a steep learning curve for me. I thought that I was steady away in my progress with the muslin and then I realised that opposing grain-lines are not good... I had inadvertently sewn the bust section upside down. The bust of this dress is a 3-part nightmare. I had sewn the piece number 1 upside down and the wrong way round. Tsk. So I had to re-cut #1 and then resew. It now looks like a decent example of a bodice of a dress, rather than subversive, weird pockets.

Being petite in height and bust has meant that I have cut the dress to the smallest size.

I am making some changes though, see below. Headless pics due to Sunday face-mask day, so I have spared you.

Obviously I will be making the changes on both sides of the bodice. I am hoping to flatten out that stomach area and make it as flattering as possible. I know that the boning and the linings are going to go in, but I am using a pretty similar fabric to the muslin material (cotton) to make my 2 wedding guest dresses. 

The bottom black thread line is where the dress waist will end and the skirt begin.

So I have made these changes to the pattern...

The original 7 bodice pieces

So essentially, I am just changing pieces 5 and 7. Do you think that this will suffice? 
The only thing that I am planning on doing is pulling the waist in a touch as I have a freakishly small waist. As far as the bust is concerned, I think that a bit of wadding will do the trick to soften the duck-bill look of it right now. I might also lengthen pieces 4, 5, 6 and 7 (the waist sections) 1.5cm. 

But please, if you have any further suggestions... go right ahead and let me know, this is a first for me.

Here is a 360 of the bodice....

So, now I make these two sections again and then see how things look with a bit of a nip and tuck, number 2 of the Bombshell Sessions coming next Sunday....

Friday, 13 April 2012

Abakhan Article.... Dressmaking in 2012... why!?

After winning a Sewing Directory 'Advent Calendar Competition' at (obviously) Christmas last year, I won 3 metres of lovely black wool coat material from the lovelies at Abakhan. I made my Dusk Dinner Date Cape out of it. Abakhan saw my blog entry and asked me if I would do a bit of writing for their website. I agreed, happily... ecstatically... enthusiastically.

Anyone reading this blog will know that in dressmaking- capable, I am... advanced, I am not! I am not pulling wool (or denim or cotton or linen...) over anyone's eyes here and feigning anything in my articles. I thought that I would write about what makes me (and seemingly other dressmakers) do what we do and take it from there. My articles will be more about style and personalty in sewing with a sprinkling of bits and bobs I have learnt over the last year, rather than tutorial based.

Over the next few months, I will be writing articles and also making 5 dresses from the same pattern, all will be revealed!

Abakhan sell masses of lovely fabrics, notions, patterns, zips, buttons... you name it. Cheap delivery and always new stock, dressmaking heaven! Also, they have a lovely sale at the moment... just to whet your appetite....

Retro Viscose £4.28/metre
Animal Print Viscose £1.70/metre

Hologram Sequins... £1.45 per 5 metres


Hope you like it. I enjoyed writing it.



Sunday, 8 April 2012

You can take the girl out of Yorkshire....

... but you can't take Yorskhire out of the girl! 

€35 for a Tailors' Ham?! You having a laugh?! Now, I love spending money on sewing, don't get me wrong, but what I can find hard to swallow is the amount of money that you can spend on the things that you are not actually going to wear. For instance, a cutting board over here is going to cost me €25 for an A2 sized one, I really had to look around and ended up finding my little beauty for €11. The thing with Ireland is that you have to pay such high postage on goods, usually coming from the UK and with a population of less that 4million people... some items can be a rip off. But I am learning to negotiate myself around and grab some bargains when I can!

So for my latest venture, I did my research, had my shopping list for my next project- The Sew Retro 'Bombshell Dress'. I have watched the first few lessons and quickly saw that a Tailors Ham was used a lot... must be needed.  I was also sure that the end of my ironing board would not suffice for this job (has done previously, I must admit).

The Bombshell Dress- this is the project that I want to take my time with, to learn and take it slow... I really want to feel like I have made a very good version of this dress when I undoubtedly show it off at every opportunity, and I mean EVERY opportunity. Sorry world. So I had to have a Tailors Ham, but I was not going to pay over the odds for anything, not when I could spend that money on a luscious 3 or 4 metres of fabric.

So I made one....

Diet Coke Can: fabric weight and fuel

I cut a pattern out of greaseproof paper, about A4 size and rounghly what I thought a Tailors' Ham should look like... a little bit eggy but more hammy.

Using two pieces of fabric for each side, for stability and integrity... I used my cutting mat and rotary cutter to cut the fabric.

1/4" zipper foot on... stitched around, leaving a 5cm gap. Flipped it rightside out. I then stuffed until my hearts content, I read somewhere that it needs to be full to the brim. So thats what I did, I stuffed the little bleeder until I thought I could stuff it no more... then I stuffed it more. It's really stiff and doesn't buckle when its pressed.

I then used catch-stitch to sew up the 5cm gap

Huzzah! Tailors' Ham done. Money spent... zilch! 

I used this tutorial from Burda to help me on my way



Thursday, 5 April 2012

My new Sewing Machine Mate.... just had to show you

So, Q had a magnetic screw bowl hanging around and not doing much. I cleaned it up and just had to show you it! It is amazingly handy! I have a normal sewing machine, not computerised in the slightest... so it is handy for my machine feet when going from 1/4" seam foot to zipper foot to the normal foot all in one project. It has magnetised my pins, my scissors and seam ripper. 

I just did a quick Google search and the bowls can be bought for €5... bargain!

So... now when I am using sewing, I can quickly whack my pins back in my pincushion, knowing that they will stay just there and NOT on my carpet. Carpets in a sewing room are a nightmare... let it be said. But hey, we rent and that is just the way it is.

In other news....

  • My pattern pieces for the Sew Retro Bombshell Dress are cut out
  • All my bits are in place. Housework in the morning... sewing afternoon. Let the 'Bombshell Sessions' begin!
  • I got 100 buttons for €1 from