Sunday, 17 June 2012

DRESSMAKING...... and other bits and bobs

Or perhaps that should be vintage lover no longer vintage shape!!.......

Goodness I have actually got out my patterns and cut out the fabric to make some clothes!...... I can hardly believe it, it seems so long ago that I did this.
 There was a good reason though, buying a top and a skirt in the sales for which I could find nothing to match. The skirt is a beige linen with dusky pink and brown large flowers scattered across it and the top a cotton knit in block stripes of beige, chartreuse and navy. OK the pink in the skirt is a muddy pink and much harder than I thought to match, but you wouldn't think finding a brown T shirt or top would be so difficult! Anyhow, in my fabric stash (for this read mountain) I found some chartreuse linen furnishing fabric (yes you heard right) furnishing fabric, just the right weight and moreover washable, so decided to give it a go. I remembered a pattern I used to make over and over again and dug it out. I think it was a New Look but as you can see it has suffered somewhat from many sewing sessions.

Well what size to do...... When I last made it I made a 10-12 ummmmm....but for once I checked the sizing on the packet.......and horror of horrors I am now apparently a size 18!!!!! Funny all my skirts are still only 12s or 14s and I know I have put on a stone since leaving work, but this was a shock. Still at least if when I pin it it is too big I can always take it in, whereas if I cut it too small that will be that. So I swallowed my pride and cut out the larger size..... And guess what it fitted...perfectly. When it was done I laid it on the top of a new Per Una skirt I bought for my holidays...size 12... funny that they were both exactly the same size!!

Its an awful picture!!

Then I did some digging to see how old the pattern was....about be warned if you love vintage patterns and want to make them up, you really do have to be incredibly honest with that tape measure!

My next little project was to make a top to go with the flowery skirt. I found a pattern, a bit newer this time and with a few adjustments made it up in a different fabric to check the fit.

 I was quite pleased once I had lengthened it by about 4 inches, made the V neck a bit deeper (more flattering) and shortened the sleeves.
 I abandoned the neck facing and instead created a ruched band on the right side, an idea nicked from a recent Boden purchase.

 Not sure if I will use the same treatment on the brown one I am about to make, might be too fussy with the skirt fabric being so patterned. I will let you know what I decide. I've really enjoyed the challenge after such a long break from dressmaking, perhaps I will continue now and use the skills I have instead of keep buying things which never really fit properly!

But once it starts to get dark and I have to put on the lights, I do struggle a bit. We are in the middle of  revamping my sewing room and good lighting is one thing we're really tackling. One of the things to look forward to as you get a bit older, learning to sew with your nose ever nearer the sewing machine lol!!  So I have taken to doing a bit of hand sewing to use up some of my increasing pile of scraps...

I have  been inspired by the free download hexi templates by moxyideas to start making some hexies. Whether they will ever become the patchwork quilt I have in my mind we'll have to see, but I am enjoying doing something by hand that I can pick up any time and do as much or as little as I want. I am checking out lots of sites for inspiration on how to arrange them.

 Talk about running before you can walk. I think I have an awful lot of hexies to make before I get to that point!! I might also need to install a generator or solar panels to make up for all the energy used by my super duper powerful light which I need to work by!!
So my pile of things which may get finished one day grows yet again.........

Have you finished anything lately that has been on the go a bit too long. I would love to hear about it ( It will make me feel so much better)

Have a good week
Jenny xx

PS after I had used the dressmaking patterns again, I remembered a tip from I think Sandra Betzina. Namely to iron on lightweight interfacing to the back of any pattern pieces you use over and over again. It really does prolong its life and with patterns being so expensive you want them to last as long as possible (perhaps not 27 years though!!)


  1. I finished a bar of chocolate that I startedon Wednesday (well it was a giant bar and I was trying not to be greedy!!)

    If its any consolation and not a glimmer of a white lie, when I sell vintage clothes (and yes, the 1980s which we remember so well are indeed now classed as vintage) I always have to drop 2 sizes to get the current sizing correct...

  2. I love your t shirt! I've just started making clothes again too! The clothes that I can afford in the shops aren't really the quality that I would like! Sadly my sizing isn't quite what it once was either
    Jille x

  3. Hi Jenny,

    Your skirt and blouse look absolutely lovely! Love the shape and patterns. The start you made with your quilt looks promising!!

    Happy evening!

    Madelief x

  4. What a sense of achievement you must feel after all this sewing. And the hexies are looking interesting. Thank you for the link to the templates :D

  5. Hi it's me again...I am just having a wander around your blog and saw your skirt pattern - I even remember doing the initial sketches for that one I will probably have some of the old original designs in my sketchbook in the loft. When we designed a garment we made a size 12 sample up in Calico cotton - two different weights - thin for blouses and dresses or gathered garments and a heavier one for skirts and tailored. We then tried the garments on a few people who all measured to as near perfect a size 12 as possible to check for fit, style and what we called 'ease'. For children's garments we would go to the local schools and nurseries to try them. When we had the garment just as we wanted it we then put it into production.
    You have made a very good job of the skirt and top - I hope they are a good fit! The shops have increased the measurements of their sizes now to take into account the fact that women are generally larger especially around the waist so what is called a 10 now would be a 12/14 back then.
    I am glad to see that some of the old patterns have had plenty of mileage! Viv


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