Monthly Archives: July 2014

Getting to know my overlocker at the Yorkshire School of Sewing

Hello friends,

I’m actually writing this via a real pen and paper! So far all of my blog posts have been written direct on to wordpress, I suppose it just makes sense to write it digitally, edit drafts, and have Google at my fingertips and images to hand.

Now, there is a reason for this change to my normal process, and it’s not a romantic nod to the art of letter writing. It’s bad news. My computer is broken! :( I have a whole orchestra of tiny violins playing right now. Dramatic I know, but it’s my iMac, and I am very attached to its sleek silvery loveliness and depend on it for everything. Family aside, it’s the first thing I’d save in a fire. For sure.

The good news is, I think it’s fixable, and it’s now having its chips resoldered at the aptly named computer repair shop, Return of the Mac. They had me at the name alone. Here is a little flashback for you. Mark Morrison’s Return of the Mack was number 1 in the UK charts in 1996, but only reached number 2 in Americas Billboard chart being held off by Hanson’s, MMMbop. I never quite worked out where Mr Morrison was actually returning from?

So with this technical setback, I’ve had to delay my pattern release, and it’s been difficult to blog, but strangely enough it’s been a nice break. Kind of like a holiday from work when you get time to relax and catch up on all those odd jobs you wanted to do. I’ve read more books, completed more sewing projects and seen more friends. Like when a partner goes away, I’m enjoying the space, but I’m sure when it returns in a Mark Morrison style I’ll have a new deeper understanding of what it means to me and I won’t take it for granted. I’ll definitely be backing up my data more often and powering down more. So for now, you are all my penpals, and who knows? I may get used to writing more often on paper. How many of you blog on paper first? Or perhaps you have other methods of getting your thoughts down? I would love to hear about your creative process.

So, moving on to the main event. I do actually have something to say apart from weeping over broken hardware. I want to tell you all about a recent course I went on at the Yorkshire School of Sewing, run by the lovely Gillian Hargreaves.

Day at the Yorkshire School of Sewing

I attended a course called ‘know your overlocking machine‘. I’ve only owned my overlocker since December. It’s a Toyota SL 4 thread overlocker and I picked it up second hand but hardly used for £80. I’d already used it on a few projects, and painstakingly worked out how to thread it through trial and error. I’ve only really used it for finishing seams though, and on cotton, so I felt this course would have a lot to offer me and help build my confidence with my new machine. It does look a lot scarier than a sewing machine that’s for sure! Here is what we covered:

Getting to know your overlocker

Me and my overlocker are now good pals

Me and my overlocker are now good pals


We looked at all the switches/dials/levers/knobs and mechanics of the machine and identified stitch width, stitch length, differential feed, the upper and lower loopers, tension dials, the knives and rolled hem setting. There were three of us in the group. Myself with my Toyota and 2 other ladies who had a Jenome. It was interesting to see the different set ups of the different branded machines, and Gillian made sure we each understood our own overlocker. My machine was easier to thread than the Jenomes because it opened up at both sides to give easier access to the mechanics, however my machine didn’t have a differential feed setting or a rolled hem function (I’ll come back to this later). We got pretty hands on with our machines, and just as well because Gillian had us removing knives, feet, changing needles and replacing needle plates. Gillian encouraged us to mark our machine with post it notes to help jog our memory.
I marked each dial and noted down my standard settings which really helps to save time

I marked each dial and noted down my standard settings which really help to save time


Threading your overlocker

I was the only one in the class who had threaded their overlocker before. (Yay, brownie points for me!) but I must admit I do find it a pain in the proverbial from time to time and despite my best efforts sometimes we just don’t get on. So it was relieving when Gillian explained that overlockers have a reputation for being disobedient and naughty. Oh I’m sure we all have our stubborn moments. Gillian gave us a few tips on how to stay sane when threading your overlocker:

  1. Patience is key, sometimes they just don’t want to play ball. You’ll get there in the end. Have a break and come back to it if you need to.
  2. Use good quality thread or you’ll find it’s more likely to snap and you’ll need to re-thread more often. To tell if a thread is good quality you can squeeze it. If it feels firm and does not give way the thread is usually good. Another note on thread is that it deteriorates over time. So don’t be tempted to use that vintage thread your granny gave you. Unless you want a whole world of pain.
  3. It’s usually the lower looper where people get in to trouble with overlocker threading. There is one particular stage in the threading process that is tricky to get to, so consult your manual, master it and you’ll have it down. There is also the most tension on this thread, which makes it more susceptible to snapping.
  4. Am I the only one who feels like I am carrying out a medical procedure when threading my overlocker? Tweezers!

    Understanding tension, stitch length and stitch width

    Gillian had prepared samples of cotton, knits, double knits, Lycra, taffeta and georgette for us to practice on fabrics of different weight and characteristics. She gave us guidance with our tension settings but encouraged us to problem solve ourselves and understand which dial(s) to change. When we were happy with our settings we kept a swatch of fabric and pinned it to a piece of paper with the tension settings written on it. These act as a most helpful reference and time saver if you come to work on a similar fabric in the future. She also asked us to experiment with different stitch width and stitch lengths on a swatch, to find out which suited our fabric type. This is a useful exercise to do when working on any new fabric to make sure you get the best stitch possible.
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    Tips on getting a good stitch

    • Keep a note of different dial settings for each fabric you use. This can act as a reference for future projects
    • Take a piece of fabric and spilt it in to 4 equal parts with a marker. On one side test the stitch length, and on the other test the width. Choose which ever setting you find most pleasing
    • Adjust the tension dials delicately. Just a small adjustment can make a huge difference. Try in 1/4 turns

    I had quite a lot of problems with getting my tension right. I managed to get a good stitch on the medium and bulky fabrics, but I just couldn’t get it right for the knits. Gillian was very patient and even though I wasn’t satisfied with my efforts in class, Gillian encouraged me to persevere and practice. She assured me I’d get there in the end. I came away thinking that I need to set aside a couple of hours just to fiddle and play with my overlocker, without the time pressure of sewing a garment. Did all you overlocker whizzes struggle with this at first also? Does anyone else have any tips to share?

    See Gillian, I did get there in the end! After practicing at home I got a good stitch on some thin jersey

    See Gillian, I did get there in the end! After practicing at home I got a good stitch on some thin jersey


    I also managed to get a good stitch on some T-shirt jersey too. Getting the hang of this now!

    I also managed to get a good stitch on some T-shirt jersey too. Getting the hang of this now!

    Different stitches and finishes

    Rolled Hem

    Ahh, the finest and most dainty of all hem types and it can be done on an overlocker. I was mildly jealous of the Jenomes rolled hem setting that adjusted the overlocker at the push of a button. For my Toyota I needed to remove the standard needle plate and insert a special, rolled hem plate, which almost looks identical but features a pointy needle like protrusion that provides a surface for the fabric to curl over and be stitched. It works great on light weight fabrics and if you stretch the fabric as you sew you will be rewarded with a flouncy, ruffled edge. Gillian showed us her decorative thread collection to inspire us to be imaginative with our thread choice when doing decorative edges.

    This is a sample of the rolled him we did in class

    This is a sample of the rolled him we did in class


    and the rolled hem from the other side

    and the rolled hem from the other side

    Flatlocked seams

    Flatlocked seams weren’t something I had come across until Gillian demonstrated them, but I realised I had seen the effect on many RTW garments and wondered how it was done. Flatlocking is a technique that produces very flat seams, and 2 different looks on each side. You can choose which one you like best. Flatlocking works by having a very high tension on the lower looper and a very loose tension on the needle. I couldn’t actually get this effect to work in class, but did manage it practicing at home. Gillian showed us an effective technique of weaving some ribbon in-between the stitches to make a decorative trim. Doesn’t it look fab? Flatlocking works best on fabrics which are unlikely to fray.

    Flatlocked seams from one side

    Flatlocked seams from one side


    and the other

    and the other


    Here is the neat trick with Ribbon Gillian showed us. You pull ribbon through the stitches with a loop turner to get this effect

    Here is the neat trick with Ribbon Gillian showed us. You pull ribbon through the stitches with a loop turner to get this effect

    Overlocking complex shapes and necklines

    Gillian showed us methods to secure our ends, sew in a circle and a neat little trick to serge a neckline which gives a lovely flat finish.

    A quick and easy jacket made entirely on the overlocker

    Here is the jacket I made in class. It's still waiting for a fastening, but apart from that complete

    Here is the jacket I made in class. It’s still waiting for a fastening, but apart from that complete


    So the piece de resistance and the part of the class I was looking forward to the most were to sew a casual woollen jacket, entirely on the overlocker, in under an hour! Phew, the sun was beaming hard through the panes of Gillian’s conservatory and it really felt like we had a literal sweat shop going on for the last hour. Making woollen jackets in 24.C heat in July did feel a bit odd, which would really be my only criticism of the course. It would have been nice to have made something more seasonal, that we could take home and wear.
    We used one of Gillian’s self drafted patterns, which comprised of a back piece, 2 front pieces, a collar and some sleeves. She asked us to bring a boucle style fabric, but I chose a woollen blend I’d cooed over at Leeds Market but never really knew what to do with. We used 1.5 metres for the project which cost me £6.

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    Now to be honest, the jacket isn’t really my style, so I’m not sure how much I’ll actually wear this, but I’m over the moon with it for demo purposes, and that I can say I made it entirely on my overlocker. After having a shaky start to the course and having trouble with my tension settings, I felt like I sailed through the last hour and constructing the jacket was childsplay. I really got a feel for how quickly garments can be put together and how overlockers can speed up your work. It came together in minutes, and has given me the confidence to go ahead and make more entirely overlocked garments. I’d like to try leggings next.

    Not sure what I'm doing in this photo. Trying to cast a spell or something? Perhaps to the fashion gods to ask for advice on what to wear this jacket with. The skirt does it no favours ;)

    Not sure what I’m doing in this photo. Trying to cast a spell or something? Perhaps to the fashion gods to ask for advice on what to wear this jacket with. The skirt is not the best combo ;)

    Further overlocking tips from the day

    • Always read the manual that comes with your machine, it really is worth the time it takes and will help you understand your individual machine
    • Get creative with threads. If using a more expensive thread you can usually get away with using it just on the upper and lower looper, and a matching, regular thread for the needles
    • Twin needles can also be used to give a double line of stitching
    • Experiment with serging with and without the knife engaged. Sometimes you’ll get a better stitch when the knife is not on
    • Clean your overlocker regularly to keep it in good working order. If you have a blow setting on your vacuum cleaner this is a good way of cleaning your overlocker
    • If your overlocker has dials, these can be cleaned with a cloth dipped in gin to remove the lint build up. Just wipe it through the sides of the dials
    • Always keep your fabric pulled taut when overlocking, which will help to get a better stitch. Unless stitching a stretchy fabric like jersey

    Summary and course details

    Looking back, the day was a whirlwind of information, failed attempts, intense heat, good company and a completed handmade overlocked jacket! I didn’t realise how much useful information I had actually retained until I wrote this post and reflected on it all. A good sign is that I also took another look at my overlocker book ‘Sewing with sergers‘ and it all made so much more sense than it had before attending the course. I am definitely a practical learner and having it all demonstrated and explained in person seems to engage my brain much more effectively. The book is still great though, and will now be a fantastic companion to my new knowledge.

    So, many thanks to the marvellous Gillian at The Yorkshire school of Sewing. If you are in the Yorkshire area and want to brush up on your sewing skills she offers 14 different courses to suit most sewing styles and abilities, in both Leeds and Harrogate. Her one day courses are £75 a day, and some of her more specialised courses like the ‘Classic Chanel Style Jacket Class’ are £150 for 2 days. Gillian is a real gem of a lady. Her passion and love of sewing, combined with her vast teaching experience make her a fantastic tutor. I whole heartedly recommend a visit, and whilst you are at it, come and say him to me.

    Have any of you visited the Yorkshire School of Sewing? Or taken any other sewing related classes? As someone who is almost entirely self taught, I feel classes are a great way to accelerate my normal learning speed and give my knowledge a boost. Which will hopefully result in better garments?

    Oh and I almost forgot! I promised you all birthday cake photos! I was up until 1am making my sons 3rd birthday cake, and what I deducted is that people who decorate and make cakes are amazing, and sewing is so much easier.
    It was really fiddly and I was on far too much of a sugar high to keep a steady hand. Still the kiddos were happy and that’s what matters.
    Mr Men Cake

    Happy 3rd Birthday my little munchkin!

    Happy 3rd Birthday my little munchkin!

    Happy stitches everyone :)
    Amy

Upcycled Ikat Chairs

Bonjour mes amis,
I’m greeting you in French as we have just had the Tour de France here in Yorkshire! We went in to the city centre to see the Grand Depart, stage 1 of the race which was 190km from Leeds, around the Yorkshire Dales, and finishing off in Harrogate. I wished for a yellow outfit to wear to mark the occasion, but realised I had no yellow! How could this be, yellow is such a great colour and I pledge to bring more sunshine in to my wardrobe. I had a fantastic day seeing off the cyclists, watching the West Indian carnival float, and then hanging out at the Tour De Social. A pop up pedal powered party, organised by East Street Arts. The best part of the day for me was actually not the cycling, but spending time at Mabgate Mills, an area of Leeds I knew little about but have since learned that it’s a hotpot of creativity, and thriving community of independent businesses, designers, artists, musicians and community organisations. I never knew so many interesting groups operated from one central hub, and it just added to the reasons why I love living in Leeds and think it’s such a fab city. Mabgate is a pretty run down part of the city, full of empty buildings and industrial units. The mill which dates back to 1890, was originally a wollen mill, and then sat empty before the Leeds creative contingent decided to move in. I was lucky to get a little tour of Byron Street Mills, where my friend Lizzie runs Antiform, a fashion company using reclaimed materials and mixing fashion forward shapes with heritage craft. It had come full circle that Mabgate had once again provided residence to a textile based business. It was a truly inspiring place to wonder around, filled with natural light, the sound of the waterway and hidden street art seen through the windows. I love discovering the hidden delights of my city.

mabgate-art

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Anyways, the fun doesn’t stop there, I’ve also been to the opening event of a new vegetarian street food cafe, Bundobust in Leeds city centre, a trip to Bolton to meet fellow sewing blogger Simona and attend the Abakhan fabric sale (my arms nearly fell of carrying my purchases home, should have hired a donkey) and a trip to Lincoln to meet Bridie from The Sew it Yourself Challenge for a rummage around Lincoln’s vintage shops. As you might guess, not much time for actual sewing. I have been working on a few projects here and there, and I did manage to finish one of them. Not strictly sewing (although it did involve a bit of overlocking). I’m so thrilled with them I want to share and shout!

Check out my upcycled chairs!

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So let me tell you a little about this project. Unfortunately I have no before pictures, but you’ll have to believe me when I say they were dirty grubby little things, but grubby things with promise. I picked the set of four up in our local Oxfam for £20. They were natural wood that had been varnished with a dark pigment, and the previous upholstery had been removed to leave sharp staples and bare wooden seats. I liked the shape though and knew I could give them the attention they craved. I hadn’t dabbled in furniture restoration before, so after an evening of you tube viewing I worked out that the stages involved were:

Prepare the wood

Sand down the chairs to remove the old varnish and provide a surface that the paint will stick to. I used a coarse sandpaper and lots of elbow grease.

Apply an undercoat primer

Apply an undercoat using a white primer paint. I did 3 coats on 4 chairs, so 12 in total, and it took AGES! I painted them outside in my back garden at the end of last summer. They then stayed white until the weather got nice enough again for me to continue my work with little risk of rain.

Paint in chosen colour

Paint them using a paint suitable for furniture. This time I applied 2 coats, and tried to keep the coats as thin as possible to avoid drips. I painted them with Wilkos furniture paint in duck egg blue I found for £10 in store. The colour looked nice on the tin, and it’s way cheaper than your Annie Sloan, Farrow & Ball products so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did because I love the colour, and it goes really well with the blue in the fabric.

Apply a varnish/wax to seal

Now I skipped this step, but you can add a layer of acrylic varnish to seal. Which I may end up doing, but i’m quite happy with the finish the paint gave. I didn’t want a distressed look, but you can rub away with sandpaper at the corners and along the edges to give an aged effect. I’m sure mine will get this over time anyway.

So that’s all that was involved really, very easy, but a lot more time consuming than I thought. It would have been easier if I’d had the indoor space or a garage to work in. And no, I haven’t forgot to mention the fabric, which I picked up in the Abakhan summer sale. I was immediately drawn to it because of the colours, and I knew it would look good with the other soft furnishings in my lounge. It is a hefty upholstery/curtain fabric, and felt like it would withstand an amount of spillage and be ok to rub when it needed a quick clean. It was perfect and cost me under a tenner. Not bad. I overlocked the edge of the fabric, and stapled it over some foam pads I had cut to shape locally. I think all in I spent about £50 on the 4 chairs, and I’ve got some beautiful handmade chairs I love, that brighten up my lounge. Come round for dinner everyone!

Sewing Sisters

So before I go I wanted to share with you a couple of photos from our day trip to Lincoln I had with Simona from Sewing Adventures in the Attick and Bridie from Sew It Yourself Challenge. Bridie is a gorgeous lady, and has heaps of sewing knowledge and skills from studying fashion at uni. She’s mum to a little one like me, so we empathised a lot with how difficult it is to find time for your hobbies when you have small children. We share the twilight sewing slot of fitting in as much sewing as possible between kiddies bedtime and midnight. Bridie, along with her 3 uni pals are making all of their own clothes for a year, and not buying anything new! A fabulous idea, I love it, best of luck Bridie!

Simona is an excellent person to be around. She started sewing 6 years ago and it’s pretty much taken over her life and spare bedroom. I got to look through her handmade closet and it was so inspirational and filled full of dresses, skirts, jackets, blouses and many gorgeous handmade garments, all finished beautifully. She has taught herself to a very high level. We can also gossip for hours. I already know her life story, and that she likes sweets, a lot.

Here is Bridie and Simona outside Lincoln cathedral:
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And here is Simona modelling her fab blouse. This is the Lottie blouse, the free pattern in the second edition of Love Sewing magazine. It’s a cute little pattern and I loved Simona’s fabric choice.
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Ok, time for a cuppa and a read I think. I’ve got 3rd Birthday party planning to do. Watch out for a novelty themed cake post next time.

Love, Amy x

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Simplicity 1652 – A demure denim dress

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This dress came about as a result of seeing the fabulous made by me makes in May, and realising that I need to start creating more everyday items in my wardrobe. I’m lucky that I can wear what I like to work. It’s very informal and I spend most of my time at a desk in a cosy office. I usually opt for a dresses, as I find them the most comfortable and cute looking, plus there is lots of room for a big lunch which we have the luxury of getting for free in our works vegetarian canteen :)

So the criteria for this dress had to be comfy, wearable, ok for work, and something that would be good for summer.

I chose Simplicity 1652 after seeing Laura’s make, from behind the hedgerow, and really liking the shape of the sleeves and cut out back. I didn’t have any dresses like it in my collection so it was a goer. Laura has since made another version in liberty which is a right stunner. Well done Laura, you did that fabric proud!

About the Amazing fit patterns

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Simplicity 1652 is in their amazing fit collection which is a collection of patterns which lets you mix and match sizes according to your bust and dress size and get a fit that’s tailored to your body shape. This would take a lot of the hassle out of doing an FBA for people who regularly have to make this adjustment. I went ahead and traced my pieces in a size 14 with a C cup, and used this for my muslin.

The pattern comes in 3 styles, and I opted for view B as I liked the cut out back and sleeves. I didn’t want to go for any of the waist embellishments, the tabs are ok but the chains aren’t really my style, and remind me of some of the horrible clothes I wore when I was 14, prime spice girls era. Luckily there are no photos to hand! but I know they came from Fordham market and I thought I looked the bees knees. I’m one to learn from my mistakes, so no to chintzy chains!

Dressed in Denim

ribbon
I picked this fabric based on some cute ribbon I found in the 50p bargain box at Leeds market. I wanted something simple that would match the ribbon, and I could use it to provide interest as a trim on the garment.

I opted for some mid-blue denim I found at B&M Fabrics in Leeds Market. I don’t own any denim dresses, so again a bit of gap I was hoping to fill with this garment. The fabric was a little heavier than I liked, but I decided to go with it anyway, and if it was too warm for summer it would be great with tights for the cooler months.

Making the Muslin

I made the bodice and skirt with pockets from some old duvet fabric I’d picked up at a carboot. Straight away when I tried it on I took an instant dislike to the pocket placement, where they had been included at the front of the skirt. The result was a puffy skirt (yes it looked like I had a front bum), and that was with nothing in the pockets, plus it just felt like an odd place to rest my hands, so a move to the side seams was the first change I wanted to make.

There is a whole section included with the instructions that explains how to get the perfect fit, and how to make adjustments. Although the bodice fitted me fairly well, I wanted quite a snug fit, and decided on removing some of the excess fabric. The bodice was a little baggy under the chest area around the torso, and the instructions said to crease the bodice side front seam to remove the fullness under-bust and pin, so that was straightforward.

The second adjustment however was that I had a whole load of extra fabric I could pinch in the middle of the neckline, big gaping front issues. There were no details in the instructions for how to do this, (surely it’s a common adjustment?) so I had to muddle through myself. I couldn’t decide if it was best to remove the excess from the centre fold seam, or to take in along the princess seams? I decided that removing from the centre front would distort the neckline area and pull the shoulders in, so to try and remove from each side of the princess seam instead. Again I pinched this out and pinned, and copied my adjustments to my pattern pieces. Because this is still quite new to me, I feel like I am constantly keeping my fingers crossed that my adjustments will work, and don’t yet have the faith in my abilities that what I am doing is going to work. I’m sure this comes with time, and many, many garments.
I realised when after doing this that all I probably needed to do was to go down a dress size or trace a B cup instead, so maybe i’ll try that next time.
With my adjusted bodice pieces I got to work cutting out the pieces for my main garment.

Garment Assembly

As other bloggers have mentioned the construction method is really odd in that it asks you to baste the dress together, try it on, make adjustments, and then take apart and restitch up with adjustments. As I’d already made a muslin (as suggested in the pattern as well) I was happy enough to skip this step and construct it fully as I went along. Seems like an unnecessary step to me.

Skirt and Pockets

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I moved the pocket pieces to the side seams which worked really well, and hid a sneaky little ribbon trim inside the pockets. Little details like this make homemade garments a cut above the rest..

Bodice

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Once sewn up I was really happy with the fit of the bodice. My adjustments had worked and given me the snug fit I was looking for, not a wrinkle in sight. I still needed to insert the zip though to get a true feel of the fit, and the pattern called for a simple lapped zip. Stupidly I’d bought the wrong size zip, so it was back to the market again to get the right size where I came back with a zip, and yet more fabric for my stash. My attempt to walk past B&M Fabrics with my eyes closed had failed. Addict much?
I inserted the zip, and low and behold I had gaping back problems too and lots of extra space that could be pinched out at the spine, about 4cm in total! I didn’t install a zip in to the muslin, so I suppose this is why I had failed to notice this issue until now. I was starting to thing the amazing fit pattern perhaps was more a substandard fit pattern.

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I did a lot of reading about other bloggers versions of this make here, here and here. One thing that they all mentioned was the need to remove excess at the back and one blogger advised to use smaller pattern pieces for the cut out. I decided to go with this advice and cut out a size 6 for the back yoke pattern pieces only, but I think I should have done this for the main bodice back also. You also get the benefit of having a larger cut out, which looks more striking.
So I was surprised to find that with the above adjustments I still needed to remove 2 inches from each side of the zip, tapering to 1 inch at the waist. I decided to remove all of this from the centre seam, and continue to loose an inch each side of the centre seam at the back of the skirt, as there was lots of fabric to play with. I made the adjustment, reinserted the zip and it fitted much more snuggly, perhaps a little too snuggly, but I’ll wear it a few times and adjust later on if I need to.

Sleeves

I continued to add the facings, the back yoke and moved on to the sleeves. Unfortunately I had missed to mark the pattern markings on to the sleeves of where to include the ease, so I had a few late night failed attempts of setting in the sleeves until I tried again the next day, (with newly added pattern markings) and did a much better job. I always seem to miss one pattern marking despite my best efforts. I think this is part and parcel of doing all my sewing at night, once Evan is asleep, and feeling tired often means I make mistakes. Maybe I need to start on the nighttime coffee? I’ve not done many set in sleeves, and need a little more practice. One of the sleeves has the teeny weeniest tuck in it, but I’m not going to sweat it. Another problem with is that it is a little tight around the arm area, and I have no idea why this is. Perhaps the sleeve pattern was too small? I have fairly toned arms from all the yoga I do, but I don’t think I’ve earned beefcake status yet. Perhaps it’s a result of modifying the front bodice to get a snug fit and not leaving enough ease, or maybe I just removed to much from the seam at the back. Probably a combination of all, and perhaps even the fabric type?

Finishing Touches

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I finished the dress of by using my 50p happy ribbon and adding it to the hem and waistline using a slip stitch.

Other musings

What came apparent to me is that this dress is very similar to the Deer and Doe Belladone dress. Making this dress has really intrigued as to how the two patterns differ, and to make both and compare the construction process. I think I’d like to make the Belladone before giving 1652 another shot.

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I’m not totally enamoured with the pattern. I like my dress and the final result, but it took a lot of faffing with and adjustments making, plus the instructions were a little weird. Perhaps this is down to my experience but I don’t think it’s as easy to get an amazing fit as the pattern makes out, so don’t be fooled. With many other sewing bloggers experiencing extra fabric at the back and gaping cut out problems make me think there are issues with the pattern. I do like the look of the dress though, and I’d not be put off giving it another shot. Also I’ve totally forgot to say already that I think the neckline is a little high for my personal tastes.At least I’m making up for a conservative neckline with a cheeky shorter skirt ;) Doesn’t look too bad here but when I bend over or sit down, wa hey!

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So does my dress meet it’s requirements? Comfy? Well it feels a little tight around the bodice and shoulders, so I think i’ll need to go back and do some adjustments but feel confident this can be fixed. Wearable? Definitely! I’m going to wear it today to meet Simona from Sewing Adventures in the Attick, we are visiting the Abakhan sale in Bolton together this evening for some 70% off fabric shopping. I’ll let you know how that trip goes later! As for being a good summer dress, it’s a hot day, and as I’ve got an hours drive from Leeds to Bolton with no air conditioning, it will be a good test if I can keep cool in the heat. Fingers crossed no sweaty pit problems! I think I could have improved this dress by choosing a more lightweight denim. It feels a little stiff and not as floaty as I wanted, but that’s ok cause I can wear it in the cooler months too. Ok for work? Well I think so, I’m looking forward to wearing it to work and seeing if I get any nice comments. I can also give it the big lunch test, so all in I think it’s been a successful make, and hopefully one I will wear lots.

Bye for now, I’m off to grab fabric bargains and get to know Simona. Abakkhans online sale starts on Friday 4th July, so do check them out if you don’t live near a store. Amy xx
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