Liking a Lutterloh

Today I whisked up a quick dress thanks to the Lutterloh pattern system I bought about 18 months ago.

The Lutterloh pack

For those yet to come across this system, it’s a little book of tiny patterns that you transpose to pattern paper using only your bust and hip measurements. I’ve made a couple things from it now and the fit has been surprising good.

Dress pattern 171

This was a dress I’ve made before so I already had the muslin/pattern pieces I needed, with any post production changes marked up ready.

My previous make using Liberty fabric from Standfast and Barracks

 I used a leftover fabric from my stash so within a very short time I was good to go. The only change I made from last time was too leave the zip out altogether as I rarely use it on my existing dress. This could well become my go-to pattern.

The finished dress


Seeing Spots

Last week I finally got around to a job I’ve been meaning to do for ages. We have some rather old and tatty write basket drawers in our utility and I have been planning to line them for some time. I had a bit of oil cloth hanging around so sweet to work on the first one.

I had to draft my own pattern, but it was only a case of measuring and adding a seam allowance. Before sewing I cut the corners and I only stitches along the stitching line to avoid bulk at the corners.

After attending a couple of oil cloth workshops at the Sewing Cafe in Hinckley I had invested in a Teflon foot for my machine which helped to manage the slippery fabric.

After the first one was complete I needed to order some more fabric and finally got them completed by the weekend. 

That’s another one ticked off the list.

Ride ’em cowboy! 

I have finally finished my V2960 vintage pattern and I’m ready to share. 

What an incredible learning curve it’s been. 

When the theme for our end of season party was announced as ‘Country and Western’ I knew immediately that I wanted to get hold of this fabric and make myself a dress. Deciding on the pattern took a bit longer. I love the 50’s look and was already in possession of the net under-skirt but I was looking for a pattern that had a hint of cowgirl. I found Vogue V2960 just about right. 

I say just about because the pattern has a button front that I’m not a fan of, so cue my first ever pattern hack. 

It’s been a while since I made a dress, what with moving house and life, so I really enjoyed preparing the pattern pieces, marking the stitching lines and getting everything ready. I decided to make a muslin to check fit as the fabric was quite expensive now that I’m a part time worker so I didn’t want to waste any. In actual fact the bodice hardly needed any adjustment but I was so focused on that that I failed to spot a more fundamental error that had bigger consequences later. 

I went ahead with the bodice, using up old scraps to make the facing. I had a bit of trouble getting the facing to fit accurately – another clue to my niggling issue that I failed to take heed of. 

Next I tackled the skirt. It was clear that the vintage 50’s pattern needed WAY more fabric than I had so, another first, I drafted my own patern pieces to make the biggest circumference I could round the bottom of the dress. I managed to get six lengths from my remaining fabric so did the maths and made a six panelled skirt that fitted the waist size of the bodice. Success. 

But this is where my earlier mistakes came back to bite me on the bum. When I tried the dress on there was a massive issue with the fit on the arm holes. It appeared I had attached the back pieces of my bodice to the wrong sides! 

After several days ignoring the problem and mulling it over I decided there was no option but to unpick the whole thing and change them round. So that’s what I did. I learnt that unpicking isn’t as awful as you expect and it actually only took one afternoon to unpick and re stitch the entire dress. 

I took my time hand stitching the bodice together around the shoulders and, although I’m not the worlds neatest hand stitcher, I’m pretty pleased with the finish. 

I traced the original issue back to an incorrect marking on my muslin, so of course the fit now needed some adjustment which I took care of when reinserting the zip. After adding a hook and eye and hemming the skirt it’s finally ready. 

It’s far from perfect but I thought I’d share for all the other intermediate sewers like me out there. I am always inspired and in awe of other sewing bloggers, but occasionally a little intimidated. 

I hope you like it. I’m certainly looking forward to wearing it later in the year. 

Day Dress

2015-06-07 17.51.11On Sunday I made a whole dress in one day!

This is exciting news for me as I usually do an hour here and an hour there, but after a long time away from the machine I resolved to stay at it until I was done.

Having said that, I’ve bent the truth a little – I did cut out and prepare the paper pattern during the week. And Butterick B5815 is quite a simple pattern to put together.

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However, I still managed to make a rookie error. Getting ahead of myself in the ‘I can do it’ stakes, I fitted the paper pattern to my body form and made several changes to the fitting around the torso and shoulders. It was only when I read the instructions during the construction phase that I realised they are lapped shoulders and I hadn’t fitted the tissue that way! D’oh!

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Not to panic, I got out the trusted body form and refitted the fashion fabric, making adjustments where necessary. The result is that the laps are not as big as they should be, but they are still visible and have been remarked upon when I have worn the garment since.

I got the fabric from a stall at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC a couple of months ago and felt that is suited a simple shift dress, even though it’s not something I usually wear. Having worn it this week I can feel the temptation to make a whole collection in different fabrics. It was so comfortable and I’ve worn it bare legged with sandals as well as with leggins and boots (interesting weather we’re having in the UK). Plus, once I’ve got the pattern right, it’s such a simple make.

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One Hour Session

I managed to fit another quick session in on my Sew La-Di-Da Blitz dress today. I gave myself an hour of sewing and just managed to get the zip in during that time.

The instructions suggested getting a friend to fit and pin the dress in order to stitch the seam with a long basting stitch, press then unpick to get the crease as a guide to insert the zip. My only deviation was to use the body form instead of asking my husband to stick pins in me!

This was the second new fitting technique I’ve used on this project. First I adjusted the paper pattern after pinning it together on my dress form. I then checked the measurements on my form before pinning then sewing this dress. Even though I double and triple checked the measurements (luckily I’ve lost a bit of weight so it’s changing in the right direction!) I still wasn’t sure the fit would be right.

And so onto sewing the zip. Zips don’t frighten me, but I wouldn’t say I was anywhere near an expert level. I can get ’em in, but just don’t look too closely. Actually, this one today was my biggest successes so far. Don’t get me wrong, the waist isn’t perfectly lined up and the anchoring at the base is a little messy, but it went in first time and does up! Result.

So finally I tried it on. Not bad. If anything, it’s slightly on the large side, but not enough to start unpicking and re-sewing. My issue is a larger belly, so to take the top in would show off the weight I still need to loose. There are still the sleeves to sew and the lining to add, so not all of the excess material will be part of the final dress. Add to that it’s not really my style of dress, so I’m not sure how much wear it’s going to get after the 1940s event I’m making it for…

Onto the sleeves next. See you soon.


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So, I was back at the machine with renewed enthusiasm to try and get this collar sorted. Usually on these occasions a fresh start is all it needs, but it just wasn’t happening for me again! 

After 2 attempts to get it right yesterday I added another three to my tally today. 

I just don’t know what my problem was: they were either the wrong way round or upside down. Eventually I hit on the idea of writing ‘top’ on the pattern and all the pieces. Helpfully (or not) the top of the collar (I.e the bit highest up when sewing) is at the bottom of the pattern piece if you turn it upside down. Perhaps the overall issue was with my spacial awareness!

Whatever, that didn’t work either because I finally realised I needed to sew the bottom of the collar not the top and , hey presto, it worked. Talk about a learning curve – and I’m still not sure I could do it again. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s not the first ever collar I’ve done. I had no problems with my shirt patterns previously. 

However, onwards and upwards. At least I can be getting on with the rest of the dress now. I’ll keep you posted.