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. 

Beatrice

Today I finished sewing ‘Beatrice’ by Sew Me Something
. This is a smock top/dress with a cross over back, pockets and bias binding around the edges.

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It’s a pattern that I’ve had for a while and having recently bought some beautiful soft cotton cord thought the time was perfect.
I learnt two new skills on this project: overlaid seams and bias binding. With Sew Me Something’s clear instructions both were a doddle.

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The finished product is quite long on me but I’m really pleased with it.

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Red Ruby

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This is my second attempt at the Ruby dress pattern that came free with Love Sewing magazine. I didn’t get around to blogging about the first one. I made it with some great African print fabric from a friend of mine. It’s lovely to wear, but there are a few niggles I’m not happy with, but only I would know about them.
This time I am nearer to happy. I adjusted the pattern so that the skirt fits the top (last time I added some pleats to put them together) and I took more care over the zip and hem. The fit is better immediately (I worked from the muslin I made and drew on initially) although I think some adjustments to the arm holes next time.

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Can’t wait to wear it tomorrow.

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The Finished Dress

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At last it’s finished!

And what a pleasure and a learning experience this dress has been to make. For those new to this blog, this is a Vogue 8648 pattern and I have been making it alongside the teaching video ‘The Couture Dress’ with Susan Khalje on Craftsy.com.

And I’m sooo pleased with it. I got a bit panicky that it either wouldn’t fit or that it was the wrong shape for me, but its an absolute pleasure to put on. In fact I keep nipping upstairs to try it! The fact that it it made to fit ME means that, although I’m not your off the shelf fit, I feel like a million dollars in it. Even though its a fitted dress I feel as though it is flattering in a way that some other dresses made to hide the lump and bumps aren’t

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What I learnt during this project:

  • Using the stitching line to mark fabric is a more precise method of sizing.
  • How to use carbon paper and a pattern marking wheel.
  • What some of the lines on a paper pattern mean
  • That creating a muslin is not a waste of time, but an integral part of the process if you want the dress to fit
  • That fabric can be very forgiving as you work with it
  • Hand sewing and finishing is better than machine stitches for a quality finish
  • There’s nothing as nice to wear as a lined dress
  • to be patient in order to get the result you want
  • To pattern match in fabrics

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Things to improve next time:

  • Baste, baste, baste
  • Be even more careful when pattern matching (there’s a couple of places where the pattern is not exactly matched. Although I don’t think its particularly noticeable, I know its there)
  • Take more care during the muslin fitting (I had to make some adjustments to the finished dress then transfer those changes onto the muslin in retrospect)

It’s my father-in-law’s 80th birthday next weekend. I think I’ve got just the frock for the occasion!

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Learning Lining

After three evenings of sewing, the lining in my dress is almost complete. I’ve never lined a dress before and thought it was beyond me, but with Susan’s advice in the Craftsy Couture Dress Class, it went like a breeze!

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Having not quite followed the class to the latter with regards to the interlining (I haven’t got one) I made more of an effort here. I made my lining the three separate parts and completed each so that I could enjoy seeing the finished dress come to life as I worked.

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I discovered a new love of and stitching as a pick stitched the edges and basted my skirt and top linings into place. I managed not to do my usual and rush it through, with great results. I particularly love the neck and arm edges now – in fact I think I am a convert from facing.

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I’ve also tried the dress on ready for hemming. I was worried it might not fit as I have gained a few holiday pounds, but it looks lovely (and will look even better when the pounds are shed!)
Next to complete the hemming then I’ll share my finished Couture dress with you.

Construction begins

Over the past few days I have been constructing my Vogue 8648 dress. I was a little bit renegade and rushed ahead of the Craftsy lesson as I was eager to have a go at pattern matching. I sewed the dress together in one evening and was pretty pleased with the results.

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This was my first try at matching a pattern across seams and, although it’s not perfect, I was very impressed by my first attempt. The hints and tips in the Craftsy lesson certainly helped.
I then couldn’t help myself – I sewed in the zip. Again, I’m pretty pleased with the way the fabric lined up but I was disappointed that it wasn’t perfect.

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I then left the dress for a couple of days unsure of where to go. I picked it up again this afternoon determined to improve the fit. It looks great on the dress form, but there was some bagging around the back on me. I had thought of ignoring it, bit the whole purpose of this dress is to learn new skills and practise them, so I took the bull by the horns as they say. I wondered if I needed to reduce the size of the midriff (I am quite short) but this didn’t seem to be the problem. I decided to take some from the back side sections. In true couture learning style, this time I pinned it and tried it on before re pinning, being sure that I was happy with my alteration before committing to the sewing machine.
And it worked. I now have the makings of a beautiful dress.

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I’m away for the next couple of weeks, but will spend time pondering the sleeves ready to tackle them on my return.

Hopelessly devoted to you.

I’ve been very busy, but over the past week have found a moment here or there to continue with my muslin. It’s surprising how much can get done little and often.
So, over the past 10 days I have stitched my muslin together and looked at it many times over from different angles. Happy with it on the body form, today I ventured into the dress myself (with the help of a willing husband.) There were one or two final adjustments before it was all ‘ripped at the seams’ and trimmed neatly, leaving me with a pile of new pattern pieces.
Now I’m going to break from the path of my Craftsy lesson. I am dispensing with the silk organza underlay. This if for two reasons: number one I am impatient and want together on with using my fashion fabric (that sentence will probably come back and haunt me at some point) and, two, I’m using a light weight cotton fabric so want to minimise the bulk.
I’m hoping that tomorrow I get time to start working with the fashion fabric. I have it out on the ironing board waiting and am eager to get started. This fabric was a gift from a friend so I hope I can do her justice.

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