Sewing

Lottie Coat

This time of Twixtmas, the no-man’s land betwixt the Christmas and New Year festivities, has been a very productive one chez Baker. So lovely to have some sewing time to myself while the males of the house entertain themselves with Netflix and their Christmas pressies (not to mention the building of yet another guitar…), so I have had fun (and of course a bit of muttering under the breath) making stuff.

Yesterday I cut a batch of pouches to make. I sold lots of them before Christmas so need to replenish my stock. I made 10 yesterday, whilst listening to my new David Bowie greatest hits CD that Santa brought for me!  As you know, I love making pouches and they went well, so I need to get stocks going again as once back at school, there isn’t so much time for sewing!

But today I made something for myself. A coat! Very pleased with it. It’s just a simple, unlined shell coat with pockets in the seamlines and three-quarter length sleeves “for a nod to 60s design” as the pattern says! The pattern was a free pdf download from Issue 33 of Love Sewing magazine.

Now, although a printed pattern is usually my choice, especially indie ones as the packaging and production is always lovely, I do now and then love a pdf. I find the printing, cutting and piecing together of the sheets of paper very satisfying, and of course the resulting pattern pieces that you cut from it are very sturdy – great if you are using a tricky, oft-shifting fabric, or if you want to make multiple copies of the same garment.

I ordered the fabric for this several weeks ago from Abakhan (my first ever purchase from them, it was very reasonable and I love it!) and it’s been sitting in my cupboard waiting until I had a clear day. I washed this first on a cold wool wash in the machine, just in case of any shrinkage. My overlocker was indispensable as this is a fairly loose-weave wool blend and frayed like a bugger. The pattern instructions were really clear, although definitely not for beginners. It was fairly straightforward to make (very proud of myself for doing these pockets!) but the facings were what made me a bit puzzled. But I worked it out in the end! Once made up, all that was left to do was the buttonhole – easy peasy on cottons but a total nightmare on layers of this thick wool fabric. Hence the swearing (I said muttering before but it was a little stronger than that!) Finally I realised it just wasn’t going to work and I had to improvise – it’s not perfect but you can’t see it!

So, am very proud of myself. First coat and with pockets and everything! Am now thinking I need a new selection of Jackie O-inspired shift dresses…

Sewing

DIY applique – or How to cover up a boo-boo!

I made this denim skirt several weeks ago during the summer (Tilly and the Buttons Delphine pattern).

Delphine number 1 - in denim
Delphine in denim

I was pleased with how it turned out (lovely shape!) but after trying it on a few times, realised that the ‘give’ in it was annoying me and I had made it a little too big. I needed to adjust it slightly from the waist through to the hem and so I did. But in the process, because I was hurrying to finish it, I stuck my seam ripper through the fabric by mistake and left a little hole…eek!  I tried darning it but it’s a heavy weave denim and so it just started fraying. Oh no! What to do? Never mind, thought I, nobody will notice. So I hung it in my wardrobe.

Well, it’s been hanging in my wardrobe ever since, and every time I go to wear it, I realise that the little nick is really noticeable and frankly looks rubbish. So finally today, I decided to sort it out. I’m not wearing it, so even if it went a bit wrong, what did I have to  lose?!

Oh dear - pretty noticeable 'nick'!
Oh dear – pretty noticeable ‘nick’!

I do love a bit of applique, so had a quick think and a browse through my many craft books for some inspiration. I thought about foxes and giraffes, trailing vines and spots. But finally I settled on flowers, sixties-stylee. I rummaged through my scrap box (always keep little scraps – they do come in soooo useful for many bits and pieces!) I chose a few pieces and drew a freehand flower shape and went to work.

I cut 5 shapes for the front (in different fabrics) and arranged them. I then decided it needed to have flowers on the back too, so I cut a further 5 flower shapes for the back. I ironed on Bondaweb to the fabric and cut the shapes out.

Iron the bondaweb on the reverse of the fabric, then draw the shape and cut it out.
Iron the bondaweb on the reverse of the fabric, then draw the shape and cut it out.
I cut out 10 flower shapes altogether.
I cut out 10 flower shapes altogether.

I then stitched the flower shapes on. I do like doing ‘proper’ applique with beautiful satin stitches around the edges. But I also like the folksy-style of straight-stitched edges that are then allowed to fray. So I did it that way, because I think denim is quite a casual fabric and lends itself to a bit of folksy-style decoration! I wanted a random placement of flowers as the nick was next to the seam!

Stitching the flowers on.
Stitching the flowers on.

Well, it took me about an hour and a half (including going downstairs to make a cup of tea!) and I am quite pleased with the finished result, front and back. Hopefully I’ll get lots of wear out of it.

Let me know what you think! I’d also love to see any of your rescue remedies for when things don’t go quite right with your sewing!

The front
The front
The back
The back
Uncategorized

Sixties dress – The Simplicity “Jiffy”

Free pattern from Sew Magazine
Free pattern from Sew Magazine

A few months ago, I was pinning things on Pinterest. I came across this pattern in a search for “Sixties Dress”. Lovely, isn’t it? So anyway, I kept meaning to buy it to give it a go. But then a few months ago, I spotted it as the free gift on the cover of Sew Magazine! Haven’t bought that mag for ages (as I’d become a Mollie Makes fan). Really glad I did – it got me back into the magazine big style! It also seemed to match perfectly to the fabric I’d bought in my favourite little vintage shop here in Norwich – Junk and Gems. I think I bought this fabric for £12 for over 2 metres, which is a bargain as I love it so much.

So, anyway, this was the next item in my ‘things to make for me’ list. The pattern is from Simplicity – Ref number K1609 – and is called the “Jiffy”.  It was a pretty quick and straightforward pattern even for a novice dressmaker like myself and I’d recommend it to newbie sewers looking for a simple sixties style dress. I chose the view with the bow – it’s the blue dress on the cover – and set to work. Since making this dress, I have started to keep notes in my scrapbook about each project I make – partly to share with you, dear reader, and partly for when I make it again. And I will – it is a really cute dress and I am going to enjoy wearing it.

IMG_4925
My sixties-stylee “Jiffy” dress, made indeed in a jiffy! I highly recommend this pattern – it’s lovely, doncha think?

Here it is: I’m quite pleased with myself! My notes in my scrapbook say next time, I would choose a fabric with a smaller print – although this is gorgeous, the way the pattern has you cut the front means that the print didn’t quite match up. A bit annoying, but a learning curve. I suppose had I followed traditional sewing advice and made a toile, I would have realised this, but I am not the most patient of people and actually for £12, I had nothing to lose really!

I’d love to know what you think of it! Maybe once I lose the few pounds gained from a summer with a 4 year old eating fish & chips and ice cream at the seaside, I will post a photo of me actually wearing it. I really fancy another one – perhaps in a block colour with a cute little collar like the green one on the pattern envelope!

Has anyone else tried the Jiffy pattern? Would love to see your photos!