corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


14 Comments

Do You Want More Gravy?

There’s a tradition in our house that, when cooking dinner, you always prepare enough food for the Uninvited Guest. If they don’t show up then there’s plenty for seconds or enough for dinner the next day. I learned this from my mother as a child and she still cooks this way. Another ritual at dinner is purely my mother’s – at a certain point, usually mid-way through the main meal, she will invariably ask each person “Do you want more gravy?”

DSCN7273

It has become a standing joke and now at every family get together dinners, we all take turns asking “Do You want more gravy?”

So what else could I name a quilt made for my mum and dad except “More Gravy”?

DSCN7270

The design is actually Spellbound found free at Moda’s Bake Shop. MBS-spellbound-pinI made mine a little bigger than the pattern for a generous drop off each edge on a double bed. I also choose gentle colours, vignetting from green – pink – blue, on a neutral cream background. A easy and quick way to increase the size of any quilt is to add borders and I added two.

DSCN7280

The fabrics are tea dyed cloth from Doughty’s, which is also appropriate for my parents as they drink gallons of the stuff and no matter what is wrong or what problems are worrying you, a cup of tea will fix it.

DSCN7272

The quilt is sewn in strips, left to right, the squares of one row beginning the row below. There are hundreds of little pieces to make one row:

DSCN7246

DSCN7271

The reverse of the quilt has a centre panel made up of all the little cut-offs and a few patches of leftover fabrics.

DSCN7268

And of course there’s always more fabric left over, so I made two matching pillow shams.

DSCN7265

More gravy and cups of tea, sunshine and a handmade quilt – what could be better?

DSCN7266


11 Comments

Back to Black

My goodness! Thank you all so much for all the very constructive, knowledgeable and well thought out responses as to the “what length of dress” question. I have read every one and will follow the majority – I shall henceforth shorten the Park Lane. What I did like from your suggestions was that I should make this dress again in a solid colour and try the longer length. Mrs Mole (God bless ‘er) suggested that I not only shorten the dress but rip out the side seams and re-create the entire thing! Maybe…..all good ideas are not out the question, only my time and inclination to do them.

Anyway, back to other stuff. The black and white/ivory combination has got me on a roll.

I never wear solid black close to my face – it makes me look half dead – so I normally drape a coloured scarf or something around my neck to break up the mono-colour. I’ve recently taken to sewing tops in black/white and every shade of grey in between. This is in reaction to colour and encouraged when I bought a pair of black RTW trousers……

This was also an opportunity to catch up with those Interweb favourites – Fave Top, Grainline Hemlock T plus a few others. Quick easy sewing and easy comfy wearing.

Ink splattered jersey from MyFabrics made into Hemlock T.

I made the Katherine Tilton trousers V8837 (OOP) for a remotely located friend whose measurements I didn’t have and surprise, surprise, they didn’t fit her, so she returned them. I nipped in the centre back seam and now I have a pair of lounging pants, however still baggy that need a little bit more tweaking but they’re perfect for the sofa and watching box sets.

I had enough Jackson Pollock ink splattered fabric left over for a M&M Bantam – part of the Merchant and Mills Workbook– love this top.

And, would you believe it?  The shawl below is merely the shape of the leftover’s leftover. Just trimmed, hemmed and worn as is. Bonus!

DSCN7147

Then another Fave Top in a multi sized polka dots patchworky  jersey from Fabworks.

And then enough left over for an Ogden Cami. And it doesn’t matter how straight your seams are with this fabric……but STAY STITCH the neck line.

Now on to a more intricate but not difficult top: Bootstrap halter-neck top in a chiffon-like poly decorated with large brush strokes bought from an eBay shop ages ago. Just in case you don’t know this – Bootstrap take your measurements and produce a PDF pattern to fit – no alterations or tweaking needed.

DSCN7166

So, lots of things to wear with plain black or white trousers and I’m absolutely sure will also service red, blue, chartreuse, green, grey, along with the eternal jeans.

Nothing too difficult or complicated about any of these tops which makes them speedy sewing projects and (hopefully) impressive coordinates that add to my wardrobe and versatility.


43 Comments

The Only Park Lane

DSCN7260A long, long time ago I bought a dress pattern from Merchant and Mills: the company started in 2010 and  I’ve a sneaking suspicion that I purchased the pattern not long afterwards. It is stored in a sturdy cardboard tube and the pattern pieces are equally sturdy manilla card that require weights and not pins to hold them to the fabric. It will last for years and years. I never made the dress. There were no pattern reviews, no Google images (apart from M&M’s, below); I was a little wary and then I lost the whole lot!

Quite recently I relocated The Park Lane and just happened to have a very fine windowpane wool that didn’t have a pattern partner, so the two were paired together.

The dress is simplicity itself: sheath style, shaped shoulders that elongate into short sleeves, funnel neck and comes with a tie belt, in-seam pockets. I don’t do belts on loose dresses as they create folds and gathers on my considerable sway back and looks terrible – belt was ditched. I ditched the pockets too because this fabric is practically transparent and the black lines of the window panes showed through to the right side.

 

However, without a belt the dress was even looser and, quite honestly, shapeless. There are two little dart/pleats at centre front which are relatively pointless – I added three more on each front, total of 8.

DSCN7258

I get to keep the shift style but with the extra pleats I get a bit of shaping at the waist and creates some construction interest too.

DSCN7253

I like this dress. It’s not weird, far-out dressing, just a classic shape with a wee bit of unusual that might make someone look twice – in a nice way!

DSCN7256

I have a small dilemma that you, dear readers, can help and advise on. I made the dress straight from the pattern and this is the length (which I personally like).

DSCN7257

Here it is pinned about 6″ shorter.

Which looks better?

It is difficult to raise one’s arms as the whole dress lifts up; I’m not planning on cleaning out the high kitchen cupboards so it’s not that much of a problem.

DSCN7254

I went with matching the horizontal windowpanes. They match up (mostly) at centre back and side seams.

DSCN7259

Merchant and Mills no longer sell this pattern and I’m truly wondering if this is the only one ever made – please let me know if you’ve made it too or know somebody who has.

DSCN7255

Should I sew another one?

 

 


36 Comments

Sea of Silk

DSCN7240Look – photographic evidence that sometimes, just sometimes, the sun does shine in all its glory here.

More blue and I really mean true, royal, luscious, rich, deep, drown-in, indulgent blue crepe de chine. Thank you very much to those of you who commented out loud (or silently) that this is a good colour for me.

A bit (mind you, quite a bit) of silk crepe de chine was left over from the Donna Karan slip and of course, just absolutely and categorically,  had to be put to use.

Apparently, the dress I’m wearing today is the most popular pattern from Vogue this summer and here’s me, who thinks I’m above following fashion trends, but still apparently fell unconsciously into the trap….mind you, every version I’ve seen of this dress looks so unique that it would be difficult to say that they’re all from the same pattern.

 

DSCN7236

Vogue 9253 – sort of a caftan dress but better: kimono cut on sleeves, high waist with ties, pleats rather than darts at front but darts at back, very deep V neckline, centre back zip, huge in-seam side pockets, any length you desire. My pattern description, not Vogue’s. 

DSCN7237

Let’s start with what I didn’t do: centre zip was eliminated – more on this later; only one pocket added; deep V neckline not so deep.

What I did do: trimmed the neck edge with some cotton jersey instead of a narrow hem; raised V neck with some hand stitches; shortened the waist ties made in same cotton jersey; pocket opening/closure instead of zip; length of finished dress was determined by amount of available fabric and not the pattern skirt length.

There was no way on earth that I was going to put a zip into this ethereal silk but the waistline is somewhat fitted and really did need to be opened for dressing and undressing situations. Problem……..

Problem solved: the two pocket pieces were sewn top to top, trimmed down and sewn in the side seams as usual but all the way up to underarm.

DSCN7221

The side seam and pockets were then sewn, creating a very large ‘pleat’; the pocket is the pocket and the above bit becomes a gusset.

DSCN7223

A very useful hook and eye were then sewn to the waist seam to close the pleat, a bit of smoothing of the pocket to the inside and now I can get in and out of my dress without a zip. And if I hadn’t shown you this, you’d never know it was there.

I started one of those Instagram thingies. I’m not very good at it and am always forgetting to take photos along the way and any I have taken I haven’t added #.  Anyway, if you’d like to follow a very erratic and learner then here’s the name – ruthforrester.corecouture

DSCN7239

If you’ve made this dress or are about to make it, McCalls are running a V9253 competition mccallpatterncompany Announcing the #v9253 contest! Featuring the hot dress pattern of the season. You could win $100 worth of fabric from @stylishfabric & $100 worth of new patterns! The competition is WORLDWIDE!

DSCN7241

I probably won’t be entering the contest as most entries are made in fabulous prints or stripes but we all want new patterns and fabric, right?

 

 

 


30 Comments

Border Debate

Blah…blah…blah ….That’s all we hear on the news these days, what with Brexit, border polls, import/export and other stuff – what will happen to the border between Northern Ireland (UK) and Southern Ireland (EU)? At the moment, there isn’t a border, we just drive along a road and all of a sudden the road signs are ringed in green and the speed limit is in KPH instead of MPH.

I’m not here to discuss political borders but border print fabric – much less contentious and infinitely more colorful.

I purchased two panels of border print polys from some or other ebay shop and they just lay about the sewing room for ages while I waited for inspiration to hit. Eventually I just took the scissors and cut….

First up is Fave top (another freebie) in a huge blue flower border print. This pattern is designed for stretch knits but even as there’s no stretch in my fabric it sews up fine because the top is so loose. If using a woven, just cut a little more generously and/or reduce the seam allowances.

DSCN7159

Most important measurement with a woven is the sleeve hem, so take note and make this a little wider than normal.

On my left it’s all white and on my right it’s all swirly blue flowers.

 

Next, a straight up and down halter neck holiday dress for sultry evenings on a location much closer to the equator than where I am presently; cocktail in hand, gentle waves in an azure blue ocean quietly breaking on white sandy beaches with a full moon and no mosquitoes – Yeah, like my life is like that!

DSCN7235

There’s no pattern with this one – here’s how you too can sew this up in about 1 hour and stun your friends and relatives with Cote d’Azur style in the Irish summer rain.

  1. Find border print fabric in a suitable weight and drape – rayon, poly, silk etc.
  2. Measure the widest part of your body (hips) and purchase enough width of fabric to go around plus about 4″ (10cm) minimum wearing ease and don’t forget about seam allowances.DSCN7114
  3. Cut fabric into two rectangles – front and back.
  4. Sew sides seams up to a comfortable underarm wearing position (mine is a tad high, so take care). Leave 6″ (15cm) open at the hem for two side splits to allow for walking.DSCN7115
  5. Shape the neck, front and back, from the underarm by cutting triangles off. The angle and size of these triangles will determine the ‘coverage’ at front and back. Cut with care first and then gradually increase the angle as you become bolder.
  6. If you feel it’s necessary, add a couple of bust darts for better fit.
  7. Turn under a narrow hem at the sides and sew. Make a channel at the top edge of the necks. But do it neater than I did!DSCN7215
  8. Purchase, source or re-purpose a necklace that is about 18″ (45cm) in length. DSCN7216
  9. Thread this through the neckline channels and secure the chain in place with a few hand tacks. Some minor adjustments may be needed to ensure even gathers at the neck edge. I have some to do yet……Make sure you leave the clasp easily accessible. This is your means of getting in and out of the dress.DSCN7218
  10. Hem, if you want or just leave the selvedge edge (as I did).
  11. Style and wear as desired.

This can truly be one of those day-to-night dresses. With a belt, the dress can be hoiked up to any length, the top draped over and may even resemble a skirt and top…….

Sewn in a finer fabric and with possibly a bit more width, it would also make a perfect pool cover-up so you can go and fetch those cocktails in style.

So there you have it – dress and jewellry all in one and in under one hour!

DSCN7233

Happy summer sewing people – may the sun shine on your beautiful clothes.

Are you thinking of next season’s sewing yet?