Tuesday, 17 June 2014

When a Belcarra is not a Belcarra

On my quest for a handmade wardrobe, I have had to focus on producing more "cake" rather than "frosting", to quote Tasia of Sewaholic who perhaps brilliantly summed up the trappings of a few of us sewers-it sew easy to be lured into the amazing and beautiful dress patterns that are around. 
Right to the deed- Now, I don't want to mislead you in thinking this is a review for the Sewaholic Balcarra blouse and falsely enticing you into reading this post, but when I made the Butterick 5610, I couldn't help being reminded of it.
So far I've only sewn one sewaholic pattern, the fabulous Gabriola skirt here but I do own a couple of others - the Alma blouse and the Cambie dress.. I just can't wait to get going with them, however, if you've read my previous post here you'll know that it could take a fair while till I get around to these! 
I adore the sewaholic patterns, they have simple clean lines that are all totally wearable on a day to day basis, and the Belcarra beautifully falls into this. 
Yes, or am I barking up the wrong Belcarra! What do you think? 


The fabric I used is a lovely light soft cotton, not quite a lawn though, pity the pictures don't show the exact delicate pink colour as the evening sun was pretty bright. (I can sew but can't set up an overexposed camera!)
Just like the Balcarra's subtle shoulder detailing, this blouse has its detailing in the form of  a five pleat yoke, the sixth pleat is created by crossing over the centre front. The sleeves are top stitched - I went round twice rather than using a twin needle so that the underside didn't have the zig-zag understitching. 

Apart from the centre pleat that took a little thinking about, this pattern is incredibly easy and just what I need to reboot my flagging sewing-mo-jo. I cut a straight size 12 out on Saturday night(waiting for the England game!) and put it together in a couple of hours on Sunday evening- 

A friend popped round with a dress she wanted taking-in and saw it on the table "flat-packed" when I ran into her on Monday morning on the school run wearing it, she couldn't believe it!     

As well as being easy to sew, this is a great stash buster-the pattern says 1.20 mt but I reckon you could easily squeeze it out of a meter. 
I can certainly  see me knocking a couple of these up- I quite fancy trying a contrast yolk, which would also be great for using up some of the stash left over/cut off items. 
The other pattern option has four pleats down the centre front - reminds me a bit of the Mathilde blouse  ..non!
Everything about this pattern has big ticks about it- what do you think?

Happy sewing xxx Amanda 

Monday, 16 June 2014

When a Busy Sewing Bee gets Buzzed out

The intention was to make this a short(ish) post but started rambling, so will blog the actual "make" separately! 
There have been quite a few blogs lately, regaling sewing burnout and fatigue, and I have to say I too have felt a little along these lines, with my sew-mo-jo dwindling; or perhaps its more of a case of sew-overwhelme. I seem to have the inability to either say no or the ability to take far too much on! 

It started out with this Irish Dance Dress (this was the first outside commision I'd taken on and can wholeheartedly say THE LAST!) After a few fitting problems, I was more than relieved to finally hand it over to its new owner, (they'd worn it once but too big on the waist so had to refit the skirt and I can assure you this is no mean-feat with the under construction)- anyhow, new owners thrilled with the final piece and proved itself on its second outing, where the wee dancer did brilliantly in her grade solo dances-(mum came and spoke to me at the said Feis). So you can imagine my dismay to receive an email 3 days later saying the the skirt was ruined as it was all snagged and expecting me to replace!!
Without going into too much detail, the tone was left as such that I was regarded responsible to put it right! Any advice on handling this sort of thing would be gratefully received... has anybody had issues with others they have made for? how have you handled it?                                        
A while back I offered my services to friends who are getting married this summer by being part of the bunting team...they going for a vintage theme ...
Don't get me wrong, its lovely to be involved, but eight weeks before the day (6 wks now) and I still have outfits for me and little Wyatt to make!! 

For Big Wyatt
Found this beautiful Westfalenstoffe fabric on Dragonfly fabrics  after reading a blog from Jane @ HandmadeJane and theres a 15% discount until the end of June!!!

Little Wyatt 

I still have a birthday present to complete for a friend's girlfriend -
a shirt style dress in this lovely cotton 

And as for making a summer school dress for a friend granddaughter- well she might get it for next summer!! ooooerrr
Just to top this mayhem - I am now teaching two classes a week at the College where I work- as the normal tutor is poorly its only for 6 weeks but ....two nights is a big chunk out of your week even though its great fun! 

Reflecting on this post, I think the moral of this is, don't take on more than you can actually sew!!  
So tell me have you ever over committed your talents or are you good at keeping your skills honed in? 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

I Want To Ride My Bicycle...


Here we go, like waiting for a bus for ages then .. two blogs in a week turn up! This little treasure was put together last week; cut out Fri evening, sewn together Saturday and worn on Sunday. 
Totally fell in love with the little bicycles on this fabric, was one of a "couple" of pieces I picked up at the Sewing for Pleasure Show back in March. Actually, looking at this photo I'm not doing too bad, got through six pieces so far from this "collection"!

As I'm trying to build my wardrobe up with some everyday wear items, the sleeveless shirt of Simplicity's -Cynthia Rowley (seen bottom left) was the pattern of  choice. 
I pondered on the sizing and whether to do a FBA on this, but the yearn to just cut 'n' sew was too great, so went with a regular size 14  knowing I'd have plenty of room to play with. Not the best approach, but hey, there were no sewing cops about!

After sewing in the darts, the shoulder and side seams were basted together just to check fit- as usual the back was too big, so cut this down to a size 12 and performed the now regular horizontal back adjustment. 

There's not an awful left to say about the make-up of this, apart from EASY. In went the collar, followed by the front/neck facing, top stitched the hem and then inserted the arm bands. There is a choice of two finishes that can be applied to this shirt, fringed or self bias. Somewhere along the line of my recent sewing thoughts, I have decided pledged to add small finishes/detailing to all of my makes from now on, so the fringed edge fulfilled this whim, along with the alternating coloured buttons. 
 It started to rain, just for a change, here in the Midlands when we took photos  
 And ended up retreating inside 

As this top has a retro(ee) feel to it, I thought it would be fun to make a headscarf/band out of the scrap left overs- I totally love it- Hubby says I look like a  Hilda Ogden throwback and a male colleague at work nearly peed himself and now refers to me as Daisy Duck!!! Hummm, any other advancements... or should it be relegated to the ....bin? 

Hope you all have a good weekend xx 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Bright 'n' Simple

Hello there fellow sewers - long time no blog;  Where oh where does the time go to? family, decorating and the elephant in the room! aka, an Irish Dance dress I have recently been working on.  
Unfortunately, this came back to haunt me as it was a bit big around the hip/tummy area so had to take the whole skirt off (twice!!), gggghhhhrrrrrr - I seriously questioned my sewing abilities...

not sure if I can bring myself to blog about this one just yet..the wounds are too, too raw!!!

Anyhow, it was an absolute must for a sanity leveler, to tackle something that required very little use of the brain cells... Enter drrrrr the TNT "sew serendipity" skirt first sewn here 

It can only be said that the weather here has been total pants and the torture of that dress meant much cheering up was needed. I find sorting and folding the old fabric stash very soothing and rekindles the inspiration juices. I can't remember if these were Michael Miller fabrics but the bright colours and the opportunity to play around with contrasting prints was just the ticket to lift the sewing mood.   
I had planned on adding the yellow piping down the side seams as well as on the pockets, but I flashbacks of the late 70's/early 80's cigarette jeans... the ones that had coloured piping down the sides, changed that thought  plus to be honest I just CBA!

(excuse the bare walls - decorating ..another long job I fear)  
I'm really pleased with the outcome, considering it was put together in a day; the pattern matching was more luck than judgment  across the centre front and pockets and if you look closely there are a couple of areas through the sides that could/should have been matched better.
The pattern comes up pretty big so cut a medium out this time and still ended up taking a lot of the A-line out as it was baggy on the centre back and front panels. Semi concealed the zip so the gold teeth are shown better when worn. 
Pattern matching "WHAT" pattern matching! 
It's one of those items that  can be dressed up or down, flat pumps and t-shirt or high heels, blouse.  With this much colour there loads to  be teamed up uptop... more sewing opportunities yeah!!  

Well that's about it for this post, have lots in the pipeline so hoping to keep on top of the posts, so long for now., thanks for dropping by. 
 Thought I'd leave you with these strange pics! not sure what we were saying or doing but fun:)