Monday, 31 August 2015

French crepe Anna dress

This dress was a true labour of love, to borrow from House of Pinheiro's IG theme.

I took my time cutting out the fabric as it was pretty stretchy and liked to move around. I initially tried carbon paper and gave up, going straight to my rotary cutters. I had printed out the pdf pattern so I wasn't feeling precious about cutting the pattern pieces. I cut an 8 on the shoulders and bust, grading to 10 for waist and hips.

I got stuck in with my standard sewing foot and straight stitch settings and the bodice came together really quickly. I used Prym wonder tape on the sleeves which made hemming them much simpler and neater. I'm hoping washing will disolve the tape and reduce the sleeve flicks. I also finished the seam allowances with a 3 step zigzag stitch.

The problem came when I started sewing the skirt. I sewed the entire thing, plus the seam allowances then realised the stitches were badly puckering the fabric, giving an overall tulip shape as each seam curved inwards as it travelled near the hem.

I ended up unpicking the entire thing, then reseting the seams over & over until I eventually had a skirt than fell straight down rather than curving in. For that I used a walking foot, reduced my stitch length and used a narrow one step zig zag stitch with top thread tension of 3, a slowly rewound bobbin with reduced tension and a pressure foot set to 2 instead of 6!

The 22 inch zip went in okay first time, I basted it into the dress first as it was moving around despite being full of pins. I sewed the centre back seam an inch above the bottom of the zip which looked much neater & I don't need the full zip length anyway.

I have a semi-intentional high-low seam as the panels moved during cutting plus the bodice likes to slip backwards on my shoulders so the back hem is lower. It's a bit annoying but I'm done with this dress now! I hemmed neatly using my 1/4 inch foot however the insides are a mess as my pinking shears couldn't cope with the stretch of the fabric and barely cut it. Most of my seam allowances in the skirt are unfinished as zigzag makes it pucker. 

So in summary,  a badly made but lovely dress!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Meet Nigel!

We adopted a new kitty last week, called Nigel. 

He's very looooong! He's about a year old, based on his teeth. He's a rescue cat with an uncertain history. He should be fully grown in a year or so, he's going to be a big cat!

He loves a good cuddle, he's such a nice cat. Always purring, always happy to see you.

He was rescued with a horrific inner ear infection due to a bad ear mite infestation. It left him with a head tilt and balance problems, so for the first few days he walked like he was drunk and kept rolling around.

He's doing really well now though, we've been playing with him using Da Bird (BEST cat toy ever!) and he's improved so much he can jump and catch the bait in his mouth. For a cat that used to lose his balance while walking around on the flat, this is amazing!

In some sewing related updates:

I never actually blogged about a grey jersey Aurora top I made for the Edinburgh trip. I thought I'd post a recent instagram photo I took as part of the #sewphotohop challenge run by Rachel, House of Pinheiro. I've not used knit fabrics before, but this was great fun. Quick to make up and the viscose jersey so soft and lovely to wear.

I've also started my first Anna dress! This is the bodice. It's a poly french crepe which drapes beautifully but is horrific to work with. I really should learn to use easier fabrics!! The gored skirt panels have bias cut edges and I knackered the tension so they all curve inwards and made a tulip shaped skirt. I hate it. My seams didn't match up perfectly with the bodice side seams and pleats either - and I only realised once I was ready to put the 22 inch zip in! I'm unpicking the skirt, plus all the seam finishings as I used a 3step zigzag to allow it to stretch with the fabric but it caused it to pucker also. Anyone got any tips for working with crepe?

Nigel's watching you!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Sewing indie month bundle sale

Today is the last day that you can buy the mega-discounted bundle of patterns from Sew Independent for Sewing Indie Month!

Sewing Indie Month

I bought mine today and splurged on the complete bundle - due to the exchange rate being kind to the British pound, it cost just under £31 including tax. Bargain!!

Thursday, 6 August 2015


I went on holiday with my family to North Wales last week. Dad decided we had to climb this mountain called Tryfan...


View overlooking the valley, from very near the summit. 

See these rocks? The last bit up is a scramble over seemingly endless boulders. The two stones that mark the summit can be seen in the background.

Me, sitting next to the stones. They're named Adam & Eve because they look like people from the bottom of the valley.

Why was there a seagull on the top of the mountain?!