Sunday, 19 August 2012

In love with Colette

Pattern: Crepe wrap dress by Colette

Fabric: Turquoise seersucker from John Lewis

Size: 8 (US sizing!)

I had almost finished a Butterick vintage dress but had some fitting issues. I think and hope that I've worked out how to resolved these, but needed to step away for a bit so I didn't just get frustrated and upset with the poor dress. I needed to make something that would work really well and boost my confidence again after that little set-back.
I recently discovered Colette patterns and immediately wanted to make at least 5 of them. I loved them so much I was prepared to pay to have them shipped from America, but then, to my delight, discovered that sell them in the UK! Yay! I settled for buying two, knowing the wrap dress would be the first I would make. I have loved this pattern since the second it landed on my doormat. First, they are beautifully presented in a handsewn booklet with the pattern pieces in a little pouch at the back.
Second, the instructions are soooooo clear and easy to follow it's almost unbelievable! There have been many times I've struggled with a pattern because a step has been badly explained or a picture has made no sense, but none of that here!
I decided that I didn't want to spoil the beauty of this pattern with which I was so enamoured, and so I traced the pattern pieces. I was really pleased to have put in the extra time doing this as it means I can adjust as I go, and use the pattern many more times in as many different sizes as I like!
The dress was a joy to make, and came along really quickly. Tracing the pattern and cutting the fabric took a couple of evenings, and then the making of the dress just one afternoon! Unfortunately it was a very hot afternoon and my sewing room is our conservatory so it was a rather sticky, indelicate experience, but I couldn't wait!
I am unbelievably pleased with the result. It fits wonderfully (aided of course by being a wrap dress), with darts in just the right places, and pretty sleeves. It is so fabulously girly that I just spent a while skipping around the house, twizzling around, skipping, and dancing. If you're not quite convinced of its girliness, don't forget there's a big bow on the back. Heaven. Yet it also manages to look quite sophisticated. I think the neckline (one of two options: there's also a sweetheart version) is grown-up and simple and the fact that it wraps from behind leaves a very glamorous v-neck at the back.
Another great thing about the patterns is that they include handy tips, so for example, it recommends tying off the threads for the darts instead of back-stitching which makes them sit flatter.
And I got to make pockets again. I think pockets are one of my favourite things about sewing and I love having them included in unexpected items such as this gloriously girly dress.

More of these may appear in the future.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Chap sewing

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3662

Fabric: Herringbone Suiting from Ebay

Size: L

I decided it was time to start spreading the love and so wanted to make something for Big Minx. Being a dapper dresser, I knew he would appreciate a waistcoat and that's what he got! One day when he was out I thought I would make a start, but got carried away and made the whole thing as a surprise. It was a bit big, as I thought it might be, but would always rather go too large and then have the chance to adjust. So that's what I did.

Rather foolishly, I put the buttons too far away from the edge so that when the waistcoat pulled with movement, the front didn't sit flat. I wondered about trying to enlarge the buttonholes and using bigger buttons to anchor it down. But that would have been lazy and not created a nicely finished garment. So I sat down for some bonding time with my seam ripper and removed the right front panels and recut them (luckily I had enough spare fabric!).

It was a very easy pattern to follow, and again I enjoyed the thicker paper that Kwik Sew use in their patterns. I feel happy that I've now got the confidence to replace parts without having to unpick the whole thing and start again! The fabric was lovely to sew with as it has a nice weight to it without being too thick. Despite them being the source of problems, I really enjoy making buttonholes! Each one still feels like a little bit of magic. Oh, and I did my first darts!

I am more pleased with the final result second time around, although the photo makes it clear that my button spacing still leaves a lot to be desired! But doesn't Big Minx look handsome in his waistcoat and Harris tweed blazer combo? :-) It could be neatter but hopefully he'll forgive my fledgling skills and not be too embarrassed by it.