Shirt dress No. 2 – return of the pattern

So, having had a great time making my vile vibrant shirt dress (Rosies “vibrant” shirt dress) I went for a second make of it 😀

Haiku time:

Such swishy viscose,
Sewed together like a dream.
Beautiful work dress ^_^

In classic Rosie fashion, ignoring all the beautiful fabric in my stash, I nabbed some wonderfully soft navy and white spotty viscose (I think) from my mum’s stash because I’m a fabric magpie.

I also didn’t implement any of the changes  that I thought of after finishing the last one, except using softer interfacing, which worked like a dream. I also decided to hack on the sleeves from New Look 6107 blouse pattern, and I LOVE it.

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However, adding sleeves did bring up a problem that I hadn’t noticed …. Tightness across the shoulders :/ SO for future reference – wide back adjustment required.
It’s still perfectly wearable, it’s just one of those things you notice when you’ve made something yourself even though you wouldn’t think twice about if it were ready to wear.

I had a hunt after this and asked The Foldline hive mind for good broad back / wide shoulder adjustment tutorials so for anyone hunting :

  • theres a good one in Helens closet kelly anorak blog post here
  • Theres a youtube tutorial for a wide / narrow back here
  • And a Colette patterns Hawthorn alteration tutorial for wide / narrow shoulders here

Everything else went pretty much the same as the first shirt dress, collar, plackets and all. Here it is in all its swishy glory 😍😍🤗 I’m such a sucker for the drape that you get with viscose. So, so lovely.
It’s pretty much my favourite summer work dress now ❤

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Rosie over and out

x Sewing love

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OH LOOK I MADE A BRA

So, this was my first vague attempt at a bra…. recently I’ve been obsessing over all the beautiful Harriet and Watson bras that have been all over Instagram. I did extensive research and had managed to convince myself that I could almost certainly make one ….

Common sense did briefly kick in and I decided to use a free pattern as my first attempt, in case it in fact turned out to be as fiddly and tricksy as everyone said ….. So I went for Madalynne’s lovely Barrett Bralette. (link to Madalynne’s website)

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Madalynne’s Barrett Bralette

So before I begin here’s a Haiku review:

Small and fiddley…
New fabric, new methods….
a fun first attempt 🙂

I printed it out on Friday night, and went to Simply Fabrics in Brixton on Saturday morning to buy all the things.

Obviously I hadn’t got the FAINTEST idea what I was looking for, and the lovely staff of Simply Fabrics put me out of my misery and found me all the things I needed.

Some black power mesh, teal scuba, black straps and some elastic – they didnt have any black picot, so I improvised…. I also got some black stretch lace edging in case of mess that needed to be covered…… (and obviously chocolate digestives to get me through)

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First hurdle to overcome was sizing. The instructions were slightly unclear, in that one table said use a small if you wear a bra chest size of 32, the other table said measuring the widest part of you to use a different size….

So i hedged my bets and went small. Time to cut! I HATE cutting stretch, but I did it.

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I was pleasantly surprised how easily all the bits went together and how un-problematic stretch turned out to be…. This pattern doesn’t require an overlocker, and relies entirely on straight stitch on the vertical seams and zig zag on the diagonal and horizontal seams. AND all the seams except the front centre are fully enclosed, which makes it beautifully comfy.

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Even adding the elastic wasn’t too much of a problem, but i decided to add the lace edging to neaten it up, rather than have zig zag top stitching on the outside – this way the top stitching was hidden in the lace. I didn’t find the instructions particularly easy to follow on this bit – but i think that was because the images were all of peach coloured elastic on peach coloured fabric, so I couldn’t really tell which bit was which – but I managed to puzzle it through with minimal fails.

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Next up was the bottom band. I added a little bit of stretch when I was stitching it to make it hug a bit tighter – Madalynne suggests this in the instructions and it was pretty helpful! I love the cute little cut out in this bralette (here it is being modelled by a cushion)

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So at this point I’m trying it on and it doesn’t fit right, because I do not fill it out. So I did some sneaky grading to make the cups a little smaller.

My next slight debacle was that i hadn’t *quite* followed the instructions when it came to the strap attachments, and I had also bought much skinnier straps, with rings that were smaller than I needed. So I had to do a little bit of messing around to make them fit, so it’s not as neat as I would have liked, but it does the job. This was achieved with a LOT of pins.

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So here we are, the finished article! I think I might try and adapt this and make a fun sports bra – due to lack of boobs, a sports bra for me doesn’t need to be particularly heavy duty 🙂 .

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So, lessons learnt:

  1. Check the fit before sewing on bottom band – I unpicked it a fair few times….
  2. Use heaftier elastic for the bottom band, to prevent it riding up
  3. Figure out how to finish the centre seam – I couldn’t really figure out how the instructions wanted it doing so I fudged it

Rosie (bra maker extrodinaire. LOL.) over and out

x

 

The long awaited swallows….

So.

Haiku:

Long- hoarded fabric
serious pattern edits
SUCH a swishy skirt

In January 2017 I went on a fabric rampage in the January sales. One of my purchases was this BEAUTIFUL blue Rose and Hubble cotton with little white swallows all over.

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After so, so, so much deliberation, I decided to pair it with this lovely pattern I’d also had in my stash for a VERY long time. V8727, a 40’s style Vogue tea dress.

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So, first pass of this, I cut out a toile while me and emma were sewcialising. Between us we got the basic fit, with classic Rosie edits of extending all of the darts. However, this still left some major problems with the pattern…. the mid panel finished too high which makes the entire dress hang wrong and be VERY unflattering.

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White arrow in the picture is indicating my biro line of where I thought the seam should be, so it followed the line of the underside of my bra.

So, I made a second toile and extended the bust pieces down and reduced the height of the curve in the centre of the mid panel. While this wasn’t an exact science, it seemed to do the job, and I’ve ended up with, what I think, is a really great fit!

Here is toile No.2

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As you can see in this picture, the mid panel is still sitting a little wonky, because I realised when me and Emma has done the original fit, we’d actually darted the back of the panel. So to make that adjustment I re-cut the pieces with the pattern folded at the dart.

Once all the edits to the toile were done, the bodice went together pretty easily

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The bodice was supposed to be fully lined, but I wasn’t sure if i wanted to add sleeves, so I decided to draft arm and neck facings instead. Next time I make facings, I will most definitely sew the facings together before attaching them, because sewing the front centre together was an absolute nightmare and just refused to lie flat.

However, it was done.

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Next up is the skirt. Utilising bottle of wine as pattern weight.

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Here, Rosie not reading instructions strikes again. So I cut out 2 front pieces, 2 side pieces, and 2 back pieces, which between them made a full circle. Then sewed them together and started pinning them to the bodice. Bizarrely (or so i thought) the skirt waist was way shorter than the bodice waist…. So I went back to the instructions and discovered that it was actually supposed to be a one and a third circle skirt ?!?! and I should have cut 4 side pieces….

I made the decision that a full circle skirt was in fact PLENTY, and since I’d left the skirt a few inches longer than I wanted it, I did a pattern hack, and just cut a bigger waist hole.

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I feel like that was the right call, and attaching skirt and lining, it has a massive amount of swish, and any more might have felt a bit too big…..

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Then zip in, just armhole facings and hemming left to go !

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And here she is in all her finished glory !! I wore it to the London Stitchers Meet Up in the park in the summer and swooshed around like nobody’s business.

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So in conclusions – lessons learnt

  1. toiling was a GOOD IDEA. I now have a beautifully reusable tea dress pattern
  2. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS ROSIE YOU FOOL
  3. I’m actually not sure bright prints are for me, I didn’t get as much use out of this dress as I hoped I would this summer, because its so bright and bold and feels a little costume-y, but it holds a very, very special place in my heart and i absolutely adore it.

Rosie, over and out

x sewing love

 

Rosies “vibrant” shirt dress

So.

As usual, when I was home home for Christmas I went for a raid through my mum’s fabric stash. This time I found this crazy brightly coloured, retro print floral number, and felt sorry that it had been left to wallow with the other forgotten fabrics.

For Christmas, Mama Bear gave me a new pattern book called “Sew Many Dresses Sew Little Time” (thank you Mama) and the concept of the book is that you make a basic bodice and skirt to fit your measurements and then you can interchange loads of different tops and bottoms. It also gives you ways to adapt the patterns like adding gathers at shoulder, a wrap element, different collar styles etc.

I decided in my post Christmas making madness (we’ve all been there) to choose my favourite and leap straight in with a pattern variation without checking fit or really thinking anything about it. This may have been an error.

So what I was aiming for was this:

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And I did all the fun cutting and sticking and had a blast…

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..and somehow ended up with a terrible, terrible mess.

Given that I knew that I had a pattern for a similar dress back in London, I resolved to abandon the current pattern and compare the two to see where I went wrong .

So. Round 2. Shirt dress.

Before I start, HAIKU TIME:

Retro print fabric,
Smoothly assembled shirt dress,
BUTTON HOLE FOOT PLEASE 😥

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Now I’ve made a shirt before, so all the fun collar and collar stand faff wasn’t as fazing as the gathers above, and, with the wonderful aid of Mama Bear, I altered the basic bodice to create a beautifully fitting delight.

For me that means extending back darts to make them much longer and adjusting the angle of the bust darts so they actually aligned with the right inny and outy bits of me.

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Toile done, it was time to cut ! The bodice went together very smoothly….20180107_175200

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However, as it turned out I had in fact misread the instructions (you may notice Rushing Rosie is a theme of this post) and I’d messed up the seam allowance when attaching button placket pattern pieces onto the bodice front pattern pieces. And I’d actually added an extra 1.5cm seam allowance on each side.

However, having fixed that, something still wasn’t right, as now  collar stand was in fact too short for the neck of the bodice ….

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So rather than doing the sensible thing and re-cutting the collar (because I had already assembled it and had a severe attack of the lazies), I instead slightly tweaked my bodice by sloping the button plackets slightly away from the centre and lightly taking in the inside edge of the shoulder to reduce length. That in fact solved my problem (yes we’re all surprised that gigantic fudge came off).

Ta daaah! She was attached!

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From there, there was just the skirt and lining to attach and ALL THE TOP STITCHING TO DO (I do so loathe to top stitch).

Skirt was created and lining inserted (and sneakily attached to the button plackets)

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All went smoothly bar a few disagreements with my machine about tension (on my side I thought there should be some but machine seemed to think not…), I even made some bias binding for the bodice skirt seam, because apparently I was feeling fancy at the time.

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FINAL step.

Rosie V Buttonholes – the showdown.

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Being honest – it did not go well. My machine was not playing  ball. I have a very basic 5 stitch Brother sewing machine and I don’t have a buttonhole foot (I know, I know). So as any rational make-do-and-mend-er would – I repeatedly tried without. Then finally abandoned and decided to use someone else’s machine….

So a trip to the Sewcialising event at the Village Haberdashery and low and behold, 12 beautiful button holes with zero stress and VERY minimal effort. Magic.

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Button holes done, buttons sewn on and here it is in all its bold multicoloured glory!

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All in all I was pretty happy with this make, however, a couple of things I would do differently if I did it again.

  • I actually didn’t like that the pattern didn’t have a yolk. I know it made construction way easier, but realistically, it makes it more hard-wearing, all your top seams are enclosed…. I just like yolks.
  • I also have regrets about interfacing the button plackets, I know I was supposed to, but it’s now just a little too stiff for my liking. Hopefully it will soften in the wash ….
  • BUT nonetheless I am VERY happy with this make. It’s that warm fuzzy feeling of using some fabric that otherwise would have sat gathering dust for many more moons. Even if it is a vile bold retro print

Lessons learnt:

  1. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS YOU FOOL. Past Rosie really should do that sometimes.
  2. Don’t be afraid to make the pattern how you think you should – if you want a yolk, add a yolk.
  3. Check the assembly before committing to top stitching a button placket.
  4. Buy a button hole foot, it really is worth it, for the sake of sanity.

Rosie over and out

x

Jade Dress – Emma’s First Make of 2018

Tack, tack, tack some more.
Fun if you know what to do.
Shiny, party swish.

So. The first make of 2018. Before I had even thought about resewlutions for 2018, I knew this one would definitely be on the list. Mainly because I had already cut it out and had intentions to make it at the end of 2017… but you know, Gatsby came along and that was worth pausing this one for.

The pattern is a Burdastyle print at home PDF of the 09/2011 Wrap Dress. I’d bought this years and years ago when Burdastyle had a half price sale on patterns and I’d got 4 for the bargain price of about £8. My intention was to make it as a slightly smarter dress for work, something to wear quite a lot.

When I say this one had already been paused, I actually mean twice. I learned a quick lesson straight away – the fabric I’d bought from Shepherd’s Bush Market turned out to be 115cm wide (I hadn’t even checked) when I’d only bought enough fabric for 150cm wide fabric….

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Alongside my failure to read that extra fabric was required for the lining aswell, I took at trip to Walthamstow Market and got myself some contrasting grey material of a similar weight. Even then it turned out I had only just bought enough  which meant I had to cut some pieces individually several times instead of through double layers of fabric.

After cutting out, I got overexcited and pinned it roughly to my dressform and…. ta-dah!

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This was an encouraging move! I have to say the instructions for this pattern were lacking to say the least – there were no images apart from of the final garment and the instructions weren’t obvious unless you had experience with the type of construction. Luckily, the bodice was formed in a similar way to a dress I had made early last year, which included sewing the main bodice to a facing or lining and turning through to get a neat edge. I then tacked the rough edges of the main and lining fabrics together to help with gathering and fitting. Although I could have added the sleeves at this point, I decided to leave them to the end so I could make a decision on how I wanted them to look with the whole garment.

The next step was to make the waistband, which is actually made of 3 layers: interfacing, main fabric and a draped piece. The draped piece needed gathering and tacking (round all its sides) in place. Tack, tack and tack some more… And on to fitting of the bodice.

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As you can see, gathering the bodice as the pattern suggested seemed to allow for better endowment in that area than I have, so it took a couple of trials of pinning to get the fit right, but I did (and that’s the main thing).

I was then excited to take on that interesting-shaped skirt piece! Those zigzag edges had intrigued me since I’d first cut them out but once I started forming pleats it made a surprising amount of sense! What baffled me more in the end was that once you’d pleated the edge, it required gathering aswell. This also did make sense it getting more of a draped look than a structured pleat but it did mean a hell of a lot of layers of fabric when sewing the skirt to the waistband.

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Things were starting to come together nicely! Aside from having to change the bodice gathering quite a lot, the fit of the rest of the pattern was really good and I didn’t actually adjust anything else.

As I’d gone slightly off-piste with the (vague) instructions, I had to fudge adding in the zip slightly, but I figured any irregularities would be fairly hidden on the outside by the drapey flowing look of the whole thing. One thing I did love about this pattern was the fact that because the skirt is lined and turned through THERE IS NO HEMMING REQUIRED!! (Can you tell I dislike hemming?!).

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And lastly (BECAUSE THERE IS NO HEMMING!)  was the task of setting in the sleeve. I’d never actually set in a sleeve before but I’m not even sure this counts because it’s a gather sleeve so really simple to ease in so it fits well. The pattern called for a sleeve that was gathered at both edges or a “shoulder scarf” (now if anyone has come across a shoulder scarf before or even has the faintest idea what one is, the please let me know because I’m none the wiser…). I wasn’t a fan of the double gather and also wasn’t sure I had enough fabric to make my own bias binding (and let’s face it was a little scared because I’ve never done that before either), so I decided to just hem the sleeve and gather the top (so I didn’t totally avoid hemming but hemming sleeves is a lot quicker and less faff than hemming an actual garment). The first attempt created a very 80s puffy kind of sleeve, but a small amout of adjusting gave a much better, more flowing look.

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And that was that! First make of 2018: done! One final note is that because my fabric was lightweight and prone to fraying, I overlocked EVERYTHING. But then I love my overlocker (it makes me feel professional!) so I’m likely to do that anyway…!

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Lessons learnt:

  • Always check the width of fabric you’re buying and the amount of fabric required, including for lining or facings
  • Tacking main fabrics and linings together makes them much easier to work with and fit
  • Finishing the edges or overlocking fabrics prone to fraying is a must.
  • Shiny fabrics always give a smarter look, even if your original intention was an everyday dress…

Emma over and out.

x

Thankful for the extra trim – Emma’s Gatsby Outfit

So. Following Rosie’s buying of tickets and making of exciting 20s-y things, I obviously had to follow suit.

To start, here’s my haiku review, titled “Learnings and recommendations, a flapper dress”:
More fringe is better
Stretch and non stretch make hard work
Regrets. Mixed results

Despite the regrets, I had a fantastic night. The actors were amazing, the story was, of course, a classic and if that wasn’t enough, there was always ogling of other people’s outfits to do.

So, my Gatsby outfit. Every time I watch Strictly Come Dancing, it makes me want a dress with fringe that dances when I do, so Gatsby was the perfect excuse. I was aiming for a proper fringed flapper dress and knew I had a long teal vest top that I could use as a base. For me, this seemed an obvious choice as 1) I already owned it therefore it’s cheap (well, free!)  and 2) it’s teal, a colour I adore but also a bit more interesting than boring monochrome (I just don’t do monochrome).

First issue: finding teal fringe.

I thought that due to the magic powers of the internet, buying teal fringe in a similar-ish colour would be straightforward. Apparently not.

I could have bought some that looked perfect to be shipped straight from China but the estimated delivery of up to a month was too much of a risk. After much deliberating (and sending more pictures of fringe to Rosie than she could possibly care about), I settled on some dark green 12.5cm fringe from Minerva Craft that seemed good value, especially if you bought in bulk.

Goodies from Minerva Craft

And yes, I might have fallen for the buying more fabric in order to get free delivery…

Pinning on the fringing

And of course I got overexcited when the fringing arrived and pinned it to the dress to see what it looked like. I was concerened I only just had enough fringing to cover the dress so knew there was none to waste. However, I was pretty pleased with the result (even if I do say so myself) and was mentally ready to sew the fringe on, but…

Issue 2: fringe is not as stretchy as jersey.

Sounds obvious doesn’t it?! In my head this was going to be a quick “buy some fringe, sew it in rows and done” kind of project. But if your dress stretches and your fringe doesn’t you need to attach the fringe on to the fabric in the stretched shape it takes when you wear it. This led to a lot of measuring out from the top of the fabric to make sure the rows would be level, then putting the jersey dress on and pinning the fringe in place while it was on me. Which obviously led to sticking a fair few pins in myself. The next steps were to tack the fringing in place and then try on again and adjust if necessary. AND THEN and only then could I actually sew the fringing on. I used a zigzag stitch to try and give myself as much extra stretch as possible to aid getting the whole thing on and off.

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However, despite fairly careful planning (although more planning would not have gone amiss), I still ended up with a small section of dress at the bottom that was not covered by fringing.

Issue 3: less is more, but not with fringing.

Overall I would have preferred a bit more coverage of fringing, particularly over the areas where I go in and out (I now also see why flapper dresses are straight down, dropped waist style) but was trying to be cautious due to the limited amount of fringe.

I considered just taking up the jersey dress to get rid of the protruding hem but my styling assistant (Rosie) informed me that would take the dress even further into the territory of “too short” than it already was…

Finally my years of randomly purchasing (often on sale) bits of trim paid off as I had almost the right amount of a strange chenille lace trim to add to the hem. This also matched some lace I’d bought to make a flapper style headband and also add a bit of pizzazz to the straps, so although wasn’t my original intention seemed to work out quite well!

With the fringe all sewn on, the lace and extra trim attached, the whole outfit looked something like this:

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And I felt like a rock star, especially when shimmying and spinning round…

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Although I have to say, when walking through town on a dark December night dressed like a flapper, I was thankful for the extra trim!

So, overall lessons learnt:

  • Give yourself lots of time to find the more unusual haberdashery items
  • Be wary of sewing non-stretch trims to stretch fabrics
  • More is more when it comes to covering a base fabric with embellishment
  • Spinning in a fringe dress does actually make you feel like you could be on Strictly Come Dancing

Emma over and out

x

Literally falling apart at the seams – Rosie’s Gatsby outfit

So. On Black Friday, Emma and I separately booked tickets for the Great Gatsby immersive theatre whatsit (Brought to you by The Immersive Ensemble Http://www.theimmersiveensemble.com/the-great-gatsby/).

To review, in the traditional style :

Deep storytelling
Charleston, Gin Rickys and fringe…
Quite a show old sport

So roaring 20s, drop waists, spangles…. dreamy. With one week to do it. So, SPEED MAKE.

First job, Pinterest a plan.

So I ended up here, fourth from the left, the classy white number:

The roaring 20s

(link to source)
The roaring 20s by bhlow featuring beaded evening gowns

Then on to Brixton, for supplies. In retrospect I should probably have figured out construction and quantities required before shopping, but hey, whoops.

Next up, choose a pattern: Burda 3792. Retrieved from either my grandmas house, or a charity shop, instructions missing in all languages bar french.

As it turned out, the material was perilously fray-y, so liberal application of interfacing (suggestion of the wonderful Emma) at every raw edge was required.

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But it did start to come together……

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And then…. Ta daaa! The finished product, on location.

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Lessons learnt:

  • Check edges of material before you buy, so you know if it will fall apart in your hands when you cut it
  • For light delicate material, trim edges to add strength
  • Interfacing covers a lot of sins
  • Always wear something underneath in case of accidental tearing ^_^

Rosie over and out

x