I’m at that stage in a project that anyone who sews knows all to well.

I’ve almost finished my Monthly Stitch cape.

I’ve made a toile.

I’ve made my adjustments to the pattern.

I’ve cut out and sewn the final garment, and seen what it looks like in real life.

I’ve hung it up to stretch out the bias.

 

All I’ve got left to do, in fact, is hem the wretched thing.

How is it that this final, necessary step can be such a trial for so many of us? Every day I come home from work and think “not now.” I’m tired and the ironing board has been put away. My cape has been ‘hanging the bias out’ now since Tuesday, and every time I walk past it, I feel a pang of guilt.

But still I put it off. I remind myself that I’ve got the washing up to do, that I really do need to pop out and buy some some trainers. And that it. That’s my hemming time over. I couldn’t possibly start now – I’ve got to be out in half an hour. But not now. Not today. I promise you all that I WILL sit down and I WILL hem this cape IF IT KILLS ME.

 

Once I’ve popped into town for an hour.

xx 

Super Linen Beignet!

Super Linen Beignet

(First off, I’m not sure why I’m so miserable in these pictures, so sorry!)

Linen blends are clearly my fabric of choice this summer. And why not? They’re light, fairly well-behaved and easy to clean. I even embrace the wrinkles.

When I first saw Colette’s Beignet skirt, I knew I wanted a red linen version. Something about the lines and the fit seemed to just demand that fabric, and I knew it was the skirt that I needed to make. I have made one other Beignet before now, and I loved the way it fitted. I cut a 12 on the hips but tapered down to a 6 at the waist and it fits me rather nicely, the only problem being a couple of badly-placed buttons.

Mark 2 of the Beignet skirt is made from a rather lovely red cotton-linen blend that once again I scored on eBay. It came together without a hitch and, as I omitted the lining to make a cool summer skirt, in no time at all.

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The buttons are some cute vintage ones from my Ever Growing Orange Button Stash – I’d originally bought some little wooden ones to use, but I rather liked the not-so-safe colour combination of these fantastic orange ones.

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There’s not a lot more that I can stay about this skirt other than I love it! I know full well that this won’t be the last Beignet I’ll make – I need to have a version for every month of the year, and I also have something a bit different up my sleeve, but more on that some other time!

Little Red Riding Hood Skirt

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So incredibly this is only the first A-Line skirt I’ve made! Incredibly as these skirts are such a versatile shape and, let’s be honest here, ridiculously quick to put together. I think the hemming took more time than the construction.

The pattern I chose was Maudella 5819 – one of a bumper set of ‘60s and ‘70s patterns I picked up for 25p each in a charity shop, many unused and most my size! I’ve never sewn a Maudella before and I must say that I am very impressed. I was particularly excited to find that the pattern was multi-sized – quite rare in patterns of the era – and altogether it was, as I have already mentioned, a pleasure to sew. I cut out fairly quickly and it took about an hour and a half (with interruptions!) to get the main body finished. The waist is finished with a length of petersham sewn onto the right side of the shell and folded over so it showed on the inside, but I thought it was a shame to finish it untidily like that so I decided to sew it onto the wrong side instead and have it enclosed in the waistband.

The fabric is a stupidly cute cotton/linen blend I saw on eBay and decided I needed in my life:

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I defy anyone to look at that print and not love it!

The fabric is quite thick in terms of something you might use for dressmaking – I imagine it’s not really a fashion fabric – but it’s got a lovely soft drape and hangs really nicely, so it’s perfect for those cool summer walks in the woods.

Just be on the lookout for wolves.

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Spotty Hawthorn

So this is my contribution to the Colette Hawthorn party:

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Overall, I think that the dress is wearable, but I just COULD NOT get the thing right! I feel the need to point out that this had absolutely nothing to do with the drafting or the instructions – as always, they were impeccable – but more to do with dopiness on my part. To be honest, I’m not sure that the longest heatwave we’ve had for years was really the best time to try to use my brain to tackle lining AND my first Full Bust Adjustment, but there we are.

Usually, I’d just be lazy and grade between three different sizes on a pattern as my measurements vary so greatly but, as Sarai so kindly wrote a tutorial for the FBA I thought I’d give it a go. It wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it might be, but I think I still need practise. I managed to follow the instructions easily and made up a bodice that seemed about right, but when I tried to add the recommended extra side dart, my brain began to frazzle. I ended up with a very unsightly bunch of material over the bust point, and I couldn’t for the life of me work out what I needed to do to get rid of it! So I just went with the single dart which, while not the wonderful shape I was hoping for, is perfectly acceptable.

The material I used for the dress is a really cute cotton spotty eyelet combo I got from the Goldhawk Road on a Fabric Extravaganza I embarked on a few months back. It was originally going to be a little shift dress, but then I saw the Hawthorn and insisted on squeezing it out of the length I had – even if it meant cutting the back skirt piece into two! Although luckily, you can’t really see it:

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I thought that a lining was needed for this dress as I’m far too lazy to find a vest every time I want to wear it, and to add to my laziness I simply bought some very thin polycotton and cut the bodice and skirt out again, treating them as one layer. I know I should have done the lining properly but actually it could look a lot work. I do have a little bunching around the front of the bodice where I didn’t quite sew my darts properly but I obviously felt that I could live with it if it meant I didn’t have to unpick everything!*

I feel like I’m being really mean about this dress, and that’s not fair to it. Sure, I could have spent more time on the construction but I was so desperate to be able to wear it that I took short cuts. Even still I think it’s cute, I think it’s playful, and I think it will get worn. I do have another version planned so, now I know how it’s put together, I should be able to get it perfect!

*I’m not usually this lazy, I swear! No, seriously. Don’t look at me like that.