June 11, 2013

Cambie dress and jacket

Finally! I finished this before Easter to take to Madeira but never got around to taking photos of it. I wore it to work on Sunday it was that hot.

Pattern: Cambie dress from Sewaholic. I sewed a size 6 and took a lot off the shoulder straps because of my tiny shoulders. This was an easy adjustment.

Fabric: A fabulous cotton with a little bit of stretch in it from Murphy Sheehy’s. This is sort of a bonkers print and it sat in my drawer for a very, very long time. Maybe three years. I’m glad I plucked up the courage to use it.

The pattern is very straight forward with lots of nice little details – the skirt part has pockets, for example. I really wanted to make a jacket for it because it is a little bare and we don’t really get weather for dresses like these very much here. This proved to be far more challenging than I expected but I got there in the end.

I started off with a Salme jacket pattern but it was a disaster. So, I took the bodice of a blouse that fits me really well and added lapels in the same way the other jacket had them, but in proportion to match the blouse. Cutting it so that the sleeves and body would be the same length was actually the hardest part.

At the time, I wasn’t feeling very confident in my top-stitching skills so I worked a slip stitch down the front of the lapels to keep them in place.

I used a lovely floral ribbon to face the hems and some black satin bias for the back neckline. I’m so happy with how the outfit turned out and I am much more inclined to consider wearing the dress because I have the jacket.

PS: finding the right green to match the print was a PAIN!


March 21, 2013

Sticking to the plan

Filed under:Dress,Finished Objects,Stash Down — Aileen @ 13:25

The green jacket was quite the disaster – the neckline was too wide, the armscyes too deep and narrow. Despite my best efforts, I could not salvage the pattern. So, I decided to cut my losses and start again. Luckily the shop where I got the cotton to begin with had a little bit left (1.2m) and it was plenty for a second version. I used the pattern for this blouse as the basis. I traced off the front panel and added my own lapel, using the dimensions from the other pattern. Then I traced off a facing for it. It wasn’t very difficult at all.

The angle of the photo doesn’t reflect the fact that the hem of the jacket is parallel with the bottom of the waistband. It doesn’t look it but it is. I swear!

I was in a shop last week and I saw a Ted Baker coat with running stitch on the collar. I thought it looked nice so I used the same for my lapels. It killed two birds with one stone because it keeps the two layers together and stops the bottom one rolling out. I used the same thing for the hems of the sleeves.

You see that I used a floral ribbon for the hems. This was partly to give a bit of life to the insides and also to help keep the shape of the hems.

The whole ensemble works really well together and I’m glad I persevered with the jacket! No modelled photos today because the weather is awful -the light is poor and it is too chilly to strip off! Hopefully at the weekend conditions will improve.


November 26, 2012


Filed under:Dress,Finished Objects,Stash Down,Sweaters — Aileen @ 12:02

I did a lot of job-y things this weekend. Saturday was so cold. I spent much of the day keeping warm and when I rallied in the afternoon, I spent it tracing patterns and cutting fabric (and cooking and cleaning and laundering and all the other things that go with Saturday). Yesterday, I was super organised. I got up early, went to Ikea and did grocery shopping before the rain started at lunchtime. I had been hoping to get some Christmassy biscuit cutters that are listed on the website but they’ve been out of stock for ages. I got a few other things, though, like these lights. We have a rope light that we put in the front window but it has slowly been breaking the last two years so I think we’ll retire it this year and replace them with these. Suction cups! Battery operated! I also got some other decorations and picture frames. When I got home, I took a student who’s preparing for auditions next week and after that, I was ready to sit down and be quiet. This is the result.

Pattern: The by-now-quite-famous Renfrew top by Sewaholic.

Fabric: About 1.75m of what seems to be a double knit. I bought it in April in Hickey’s in Galway; it was marked down from €20 a metre to about €8 so I bought 2m.

I cut a size 6 and the finished garment measurement of 35″ bust was spot on.

I tried it on before sewing on the cuffs and lower band and found that both sleeves and body were well long enough without them. What I did was overlock these edges, press them up about 3cm and stitch them down with my twin needle. I’ve heard all manner of horror stories of edges stretching out by using a twin needle but I had no problem here. I think maybe the structure of the fabric helped in this case.

The only downside, to me, is how low the round neck is. If I were making the version without the cowl, I would definitely raise the neckline a good 10cm.

The instructions are really clear and it came together very easily. I think it took me no less than 2 hours to sew. I should probably add that I was careful to use a ballpoint needle and take time to adjust the tension a bit on my sewing machine – it’s usually at ‘5’ and I turned it to about ‘8’. I just used my regular presser foot, too. Although it was really brilliant having the overlocker to finish things off, I see now that it is not totally essential for sewing knits. If I didn’t have an overlocker and I sewed my pieces together as usual and finished my edges by zigzagging them, it would be totally fine too. It helps that this fabric did not fray or shed one little bit while I was sewing it.

Here’s how I’m wearing it today – with my grey wool dress from last year.

I think there will definitely more versions in my future!


November 23, 2012

Passport Dress and Jacket

Filed under:Dress,Finished Objects,Reviews,Stash Down — Aileen @ 13:00

I finished this up at the end of September but never had a good moment to take photos. This morning I was woken by brilliant sunlight and thought, today’s the day! It’s a little unseasonal but I think these things are good to remind us that it won’t always be this cold; there shall be more days when we drink tea in the sun and say things like, this is heavenly…

Pattern:Passport Dress and Jacket, Simplicity 2209 (Sew Lisette).

Really, worth every penny. Perfectly pitched in terms of difficulty. There are a few things where you have to take your time but the nice details – like the darts in the bodice and the pleats in the skirt – are fun and easy to do. The jacket, too, is well laid out for someone like me, who’d never made one before.

I noticed how only in the Simplicity book (the one you pick patterns from in the shop) are the Sew Lisette patterns listed as Petite. They definitely are: I’m very narrow-shouldered and love the patterns purely for the fit in this area. I didn’t have to make any adjustments.

Fabric: 100% cotton from Ikea, about 1.5m. I used white bias binding around the armholes.

So! The jacket! This was my first jacket but err… I didn’t even make a muslin. I did measure my pattern pieces very, very carefully though and was pretty confident about the size. Thankfully it turned out as intended.

I bought a button for it. When I took out the jacket this morning, I realised I had never sewn it on. Figuring this was as good a time as any to sew it on, I went to locate it and then spent a good three-quarters of an hour searching. I still have no idea where it is which is why I am modelling with a pin through the buttonhole. Sigh!

Fabric: 100% linen from Murphy Sheehy’s – I bought 2m hoping to eke out a little skirt to go with it but the panelling on the jacket took up the whole lot. I recall it being a good price, about €15/m. The lining is a seersucker polyacetate from The Cloth Shop and I have no idea what I paid for it, maybe something like €8/m. So, a little on the expensive end but a nice dressy, light jacket is hard to find.

As I said, I didn’t have to make any adjustments to the fit. The collar took patient basting and stitching but it came together well. I’m glad I interfaced where the pattern said to because it gives the front really good structure, especially with the linen.

The instructions do not including how to line the jacket so I basically made it up as I went along. I know there are lots of good tutorials out there but I didn’t get around to looking at even one of them! It was pretty straight-forward, actually. I just cut the pattern out again and sewed the facings on to it before I attached the facings to the body.

The instructions do include how to finish off the insides for leaving it unlined which is nice to have should I want to make another. I could see myself making another to go with an outfit for a certain occasion, something I would only occasionally wear, in which case it probably wouldn’t be worth lining. This one, I think I will definitely wear a lot.

Overall, I think it’s a nice outfit and the jacket will work with lots of other clothes I have. The pattern is really straight forward and if you have never made a dress or a jacket, would be a good place to start.


September 16, 2012

Passport Dress

Filed under:Dress,Sewing,Stash Down — Aileen @ 14:33

I finally got around to taking photos of all those summery things I whipped up. Here’s one that I’m most pleased with.

Pattern: Passport Dress from Lisette. The pattern also comes with a jacket; the two go really nicely together.

Fabric: About 1.75m of floral cotton from Ikea. It cost maybe €15 at the most. I will admit, it does float around the line of curtain fabric but I love its mix of reds and pinks. It’s the kind of dress that is appropriate for many situations and I hope to wear it with a blouse as it gets cooler.

The pattern was very straightforward. The only modification I made was to add a lining. The armholes are faced with bias binding so I basted the fabric and lining together before adding the binding. The main problem I had was with the zip. I like to give invisible zips a little press with the iron so I can sew quite close to the teeth. Unfortunately my iron was too hot so it curled like crazy and I had to buy another one. Apart from that, the pattern has you insert the zip about 5cm below the armhole. This would have been fine had I used a lapped zipper as recommended in the pattern. I thought an invisible one would look better – which it does – but it was a pain to get it to sit properly at the top. I ended up opening the binding under the arm, easing in the little bit of excess I had and sewing it back down. Probably would have been easier to run the zip right up to the underarm.

The only other thing I would probably adjust in hindsight is the depth of the armscye. I have exceptionally shallow armscyes and as a consequence, the bodice does not sit exactly right and there is a little bit of gaping at the underarms. If I pinch out the excess at the top of the shoulders, it sits better. It’s not so bad that I can’t wear it but for the next time, this is a change I will make.