Just made, red marl T shirt


I used to make lots of clothes for myself with varying degrees of success. For the past 2-3 years I haven’t made as many for several reasons, firstly with work and study it’s hard to find the time, the sewing machine I have is not that brilliant and frankly, sometimes I can’t be bothered to make patterns and toile properly. After finishing my last course in June, the first thing I did was a trip to favourite cheap fabric shop. The fabrics I bought have been sitting in a pile ever since. Two designated large fabric boxes also full… Obviously, drastic action was needed so I splashed out on a new sewing machine (singer heavy duty, just seen in the pic background) and it arrived on Monday, yay! So I made a simple long T shirt in this red marl jersey. Finished hems this morning but have worn it out already, unhemmed, to a glorious junk food feast at Rita’s the other eve. Miraculously, managed not to spill any food on it.

I made a pattern by copying a Uniqlo Laura Ashley T and managed to get a perfect sleeve/ armhole match, very happy with that. Stitching not bad either, considering I am not that great at it. It fits me much better than the dummy, dummy was cheap eBay purchase a few years back and a bit bigger than me.

Think I’ll make one in blue jersey as well, according to my clothes making notebook I have two different blue jerseys… Why? Obviously need to implement better self control methods when it comes to fabric shopping too.

Dress finished, yay!

Sometimes my vintage dress pattern purchases from ebay are a bit questionable. I’ve built a nice little collection of them but some I am not sure that I’ll ever make. I wasn’t too sure about this late fifties (I think but could easily be wrong) shift dress with a fitted midriff but then I thought below the knee length is quite big for winter and then I had this very soft charcoal wool with a bit of stretch that I thought could work. Anyway, for the past two weeks I’ve been working on the dress – again decided to make entirely by hand, otherwise would have been done in a day or two and, I finished it this afternoon. Here is the result: 

Gathered front panel, fitted waist, pleated skirt (darts in the back) and a pocket on the right hand side too! Totally impressed with that. Also rather like the photograph – turned black and white and then applied lomo.


Side and back views.

Side front closer up.

The pattern also featured a cummerbund and a detachable collar. I originally really liked the idea of a cummerbund but now quite like the austerity of the dress so not sure if I’ll make one – should be in a different fabric anyway. Collar idea I really like. Beaded or sequinned so shall have a rummage through ‘crafty cupboard as am sure there are beads and sequins about.

The Guardian’s measure this weekend had a rather good idea of wearing below the knee skirts/ dresses with bare legs and ankle boots – it actually worked quite well when I tried it on. Beloved thinks it’s quite sophisticated, don’t you know.

In the works

I’ve built up a nice little collection of vintage dress patterns from ebay, mainly 40s dresses but, this summer I got a few late fifties and early to mid sixties dress patterns too. I get obsessed for about a month at a time, looking daily for anything with an interesting front, good cowl, draping, and so on but also try to control myself and not spend a fortune. This recent addition to my pattern collection:

is not what I usually go for but I liked the very fitted waist and the simple shape. I also loved the fact that it has a cummerbund. I’ve always wanted a cummerbund! Such a brilliant word that.

I’ve started making it in a charcoal wool mix – not sure of the fabric content, it’s definitely wool and has some stretch in it. Bought it last summer for a pair of trousers but never got around to making the pattern for them so when I looked at recent ebay purchases, it seemed right to forget the trousers and use the wool for this dress.

Making just the dress, not the cape, shortening the length a little – not mid calf but it will be below the knee. Also making it by hand. If I work v.v. hard I may finish this weekend but perhaps not – it’s quite hard going sewing dark fabrics by hand. Machine would have done it in a day (I started last Sunday). Undecided on what to make the cummerbund in and also thinking of possibly making the detachable collar – beaded or something. That would make a good transition from day to evening and also not make it look too plain. Think I’ll decide on that once I’ve made it up.

‘Works’ finished – 40s top

Last night I finished the 40s top I’d been hand sewing for two weeks in a lovely flower print chiffon. Although it takes ages, I find hand sewing very relaxing and a great evening accompaniment to crap telly. Actually, not all telly watched while making the top was crap – decided to watch all of Twin Peaks again as it’s been a very long time since I’d seen it.

Anyway, here’s the top:

Think I need a taller dummy stand as this pic makes it all look a bit squat – current dummy stand is old tins of paint. Think I need 3 instead of 2.

Love the fabric and the shape, it has a gathered front panel and a high cowl neck. Tiny bit loose in the back – pattern came from a vintage 40s dress pattern that had a sort of belt for the back but I decided against the belt. Lengthened the hem too, otherwise would have been too short.

Another soft side view:

Resisted temptation to pull clothes out of wardrobe and try it on with everything – only because I worked out what I could wear it with while making. Think it could prove quite a useful little number, as long as I don’t make it look to vintage-y.

Started a dress today, thought it best to get on with as much as can make before my next course starts in a few weeks time.

In the works

I suppose I haven’t been that interested in terrace watch this past week because I’ve been working on something else. Finally, after a fairly long ‘contemplation’ period, I’ve found use for this marvellous flower print chiffon.

Apparently, it was an old Paul Smith fabric – at least that’s what the label in the shop said. Bought it last summer, thinking I’d make a top and it’s been neatly folded among growing mountain of fabric ever since. I didn’t really fancy making my own pattern for this so decided to see if one of my vintage 40s dress patterns had a top part I could use instead. Settled on this:

Have had the pattern for a couple of years, from ebay. Lengthened the hem by a couple of inches and decided to make it entirely by hand. It’s looking pretty good so far, have neatly finished all seams although that might not be the case once the sleeve comes in. We shall see. Actually, making it by hand, although time consuming, has been a pretty good idea as chiffon + sewing machine don’t like each other all that much.

Making the short sleeved version and the sleeve has darts! You don’t see many of those anymore. The front is lined too so it’s taken a bit longer to make the whole thing, have been working on it for a week now.

Coming along nicely – just need to finish hemming, then make up and set the sleeve in, add some buttons on the back neck and poppers on the side + press. Side view:

Definitely needs a bit of pressing. Hopefully I’ll get it done by next week and then let’s also hope that the weather doesn’t get too cold to wear it, actually that’s never stopped me before… Rather excited about wearing it soon.

A new dress

So, I had this dress from COS, which I decided to make a pattern of. It’s v v comfy + can work as tunic over jeans or on its own. Anyway, it’s a sort of double copy as the COS one was quite similar to Prada’s stripy summer collection. So I was making a Prada twice removed.

Since I’ve not made any patterns in almost a year, took a while – even though it is a very simple dress… I started the pattern last Sunday and then picked it up yesterday afternoon. Decided to make it in this blue/ grey striped cotton jersey that I bought recently (among other fabrics I bought and now have NO SPACE for any more fabrics!).

Didn’t have enough fabric to cut the back in one piece so thought I’d cut it in two and then match the stripes. Don’t have particularly brilliant sewing abilities but I managed this! As to matching stripes on side seams – I did try but that didn’t work so well. Anyway, cutting took longer than making, what with all the stripes matching.

Machine sewing only took a little while and I decided to finish the neck, sleeve and hem by hand. Don’t have an overlocker so any hem I do on my sewing machine ends up stretching the jersey. In the end, hand finishing didn’t take as long as I though + I finally watched The Night Watch and last week’s The Hour (and some other things).

The dress is now done – front and side views here:


It falls to just below the knee but nobody needs to see that my dressmakers dummy stands on two old tins of Dulux paint…

So nice to finally sit down and actually make something!! (have been a bit lazy recently)