Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

My new favourite dress: adding a Peter Pan collar to Simplicity 3833

May 6, 2012

Lately I’ve been revisiting my stash of vintage and reproduction vintage sewing patterns, and the associated stash of fabric to go with it. First up is Simplicity 3833.

This is a reproduction of an original 1960s Simplicity pattern and there’s an interesting comparison of the original pattern with the newer version here.

In the past month, I’ve made this pattern twice.  The first is the simple short sleeved dress in some owl print Japanese indigo fabric I had bought about 3 years ago for it.

simplicity 3833

The second version has been more of a challenge.  I’m a sucker for a Peter Pan collar. I have been known to wear multiple layers of peter pan collar in an outfit. I believe that there are very few dresses that I would wear that could not be improved with a peter pan collar.  So, I wanted to add a peter pan collar.

Now, the problem with adding a collar to a pattern is that necklines are unique to both the individual pattern and the size you make it in. Those universal peter pan collar tutorials will work as an accessory, but don’t really integrate into the dress as they’re not quite the same size.  So, I made my own pattern using the front and back interfacing pattern pieces as a template for the neckline.
Simplicity 3833 collar
I think the end result turned out quite well.

New dress: Simplicity 3833 with collar modification
A few extra details: The collar and patterned buttons are made from a fat quarter of fabric from Ray Stitch. I made all that bias binding myself to make sure I got an exact match to the red in the patterned fabric – the edging of the collar is 1/2 inch tape, made with a bias tape maker. The neckline (a late edition when I decided I needed a bit more of the plain red) is 1 inch, made without the bias tape maker. This tutorial on the Colette website for continuous bias tape is great.

This is now my new favourite dress
New dress: Simplicity 3833 with collar modification


Rekindling my Echino fabric love and another sewing pattern

March 13, 2012

At the start of last month, I took a work trip to Amsterdam and the Hague. During the cold snap that gripped much of Northern Europe over that first week of February.  The things I noted during that trip were

  • The Netherlands railways are so reliable that, when it gets so cold that the points freeze, everyone is so outraged that they can talk of little else.
  • The railway staff are, in fact, so horrified on behalf of their customers that they give you free coffee because your train is 10 minutes late.
  • If you select Filet Americain from the sandwich platter, you actually end up with raw mince in a roll. The very rare roast beef is a much better option.
  • Stamppot is exactly the meal you need when it’s about -10  outside
  • Being able to commute by ice skating down a canal looks pretty cool.
  • The great little fabric shop by Amsterdam Centraal shuts disappointingly early in the afternoon (dammit)
  • My beloved Kokka fabric kindle cover went missing somewhere before I got to the hotel on the first night. I think it may well have been at City Airport (damn you, City Airport)

The first kindle cover - it served me well

The loss of my kindle cover ended up being an excuse for indulging  one of my small fixations – the Echino fabrics by Etsuko Furuya for Kokka.  They are used by Clothkits for some of their skirt kits (so there’s a money saving tip straight away), they are lovely heavyweight cottons and cotton linen mixes and they are interesting without being overly twee.  And they are available from my local favourite Raystitch and  new mail order favourite Eternal Maker.  The camera print for the original cover was an Echino.  So, for this one, another small piece of Echino fabric, this time the car print, and this time with a contrast lining.

Kindle cover mark 2 Escort mark 1

Consulting on FB, Daz identified it as an Escort Mark 1, as modelled by Doyle in The Professionals (thus confirming how little the classic car ID service while watching it took effect). Rosie confirmed it as being the same as the first family car we had – Ertie – aka the white car.  It’s a white car, it looks a bit late 70s/early 80s. I like the print. I’ll probably forget that it’s an Escort in a while.

Anyway, this time, I kept the pattern template and wrote up some pattern instructions.  They are here.  It’s a quick project – one for an hour or so on a rainy afternoon. It’s a great excuse to buy a little piece of very nice fabric.  I may make another.


November 1, 2011

So, I’ve joined a Movember team as a (grits teeth) mo-sista. It’s not a work team, but does involve some people I work with.  I’m on board to offer support to the others’ fundraising by the selling of handcrafted moustaches and being sponsored for wearing said moustaches in the workplace.  You can find us here

I posted about the crocheted moustaches before – mods to the pattern to follow – but this evening I did a special commission for someone – a moustache brooch, in grey felt with a simple red stitched trim.

I made you the moon on a stick

October 24, 2011

We’re in need of a bit of a laugh at work at  the moment. My boss keeps saying that people are asking for the moon on a stick. Now, in fine Lee and Herring style, we can give it to them.  But not for long as I’ll be taking it back off them.

It’s a quick project – just a couple of circles of felt, embroidered with the face of the man in the moon. It also works as a handy pencil topper.

I’ve also been working on the crochet moustache pattern again and made a couple of mods. This time it’s a magnificent military moustache and there may be a plan for it next month.


September 26, 2011

Yesterday, we took a trip to the seaside to visit Jenny and meet the baby. It’s been far too long since the six of us were all together in one place and it was a great day. There was an excess of cake, a brief spell of sunshine as we walked along the side of the beach, lots of laughs, some contemplation of whether the presentation of lots of knitted gifts in childhood would cause a later fear of knitted things and, of course, a very cute baby.

And there were presents.  We handed over the blanket we’d collaborated over and sewn together one afternoon in May on the South Bank (and lined by Amanda after we finished)

Louise gave her the fab little dog that she’d made.  And I finally got to hand over the bootees which I have been hiding for the last few months.

Two bootees, one face

I wanted to do something a little different to the traditional animal bootees you see. I got the idea for the bootees from a pair of Japanese socks I bought a while ago in Covent Garden. Those had a single panda face over the two socks and always make me smile when I know I’m wearing them.

The other big event was that we  planned a secret surprise for Amanda’s big birthday – a big basket of craft related presents. I made a case for a pair of good sewing scissors –

Grey felt, red embroidery. I’ve always loved the combination of red and grey. I’ve always thought of myself mostly as a knitter, but it seems these days that I sew more often than anything.

Rainy afternoon quickie

August 20, 2011

A few weeks ago, as I looked out of the 341 bus window on the way to work, I saw something interesting – a new haberdashery? opening soon? So, I took a trip down to Ray-Stitch this morning (it’s now possible to do a little crafty magpie crawl along from there to Loop, taking in Cass Art along the way) and came away with the intended indigo thread purchase, but also with a nice little fat quarter of a Japanese camera print fabric.

This weekend being one of those rare ones which is completely free of any commitments to anyone else, and the lovely rain this afternoon making me feel less inclined to head out and do stuff, I’ve stayed in and done stuff instead.  I made this cover for my Kindle.

From drawing out the pattern to finishing it was less than a couple of hours work, done to a soundtrack of Belle and Sebastian Write About Love (minus that bloody Norah Jones collaboration), Pet Sounds, and Village Green Preservation Society. And a very bad singalong.

Now, I may actually get around to sewing what I intended to start this morning, which is that sixties dress pattern I’ve had knocking about for around two years in the Japanese Indigo owl print fabric that I’ve had almost as long.

Or if I find any fabric with a picture of, maybe, a phone on it, I may make a cover for my camera, to carry on the theme.

Phone cosy

February 13, 2011

My old phone was slowly dying. So, it was time for a new one and I succumbed to both a contract and a smartphone. Not an Iphone.  It was never going to be an iphone. I wouldn’t try to persuade other people not to buy them, but they are not for me, for a number of reasons. Yet they are almost so synonymous with smartphones (are they the Hoover of the smartphone world?) that the first question anyone asks is “Did you get an iphone?”. So, when making the cover for my new phone, I thought I’d wear my colours on my sleeve.

My little red dress

October 18, 2010

I was away in Whitstable for the weekend from Friday to Sunday.  It’s a weekend trip that I’ve done a couple of times before with some knitting friends.  We hire a gorgeous cottage overlooking the sea and spend our time eating, drinking and knitting.

This time, however, there was a difference.  Over drinks a couple of months back, we decided that it would be a laugh to have a colour coded night where we went out to dinner each dressed from head to toe in a theme colour.  I got red.  Now, this was a stroke of luck as I could identify that I had a red coat, 3 pairs of red shoes, red hair and (I thought) a red dress.  But it turned out that, when I tried on the dress on Wednesday evening, it was a) a little bit too cheap burlesque looking and b) didn’t go with the style of my coat and hair. So, Thursday required emergency action.

Help came in the form of a tunic dress from Primark and some trimming from McCulloch and Wallis.  Here’s the dress before

Now, the first thing that springs to mind when looking at the dress is OMG! Bling! Horror! But, I spotted that underneath the bling was a nice simple 1960s style tunic dress.  So, I had a little look at the finishing of the dress in the shop and, sure enough, cheap finishing meant all those studs were quite loosely sewn on so could be easily removed.

The next step was a little trip to McCulloch and Wallis, as it was handily close by.  I got myself some charcoal grey crocheted wool ribbon. It had handy little rounded flowers in the lace pattern. I though this would make an excellent basis for a peter pan collar. I do like a little peter pan collar. So, I bought some. I made the collar.  It was easy.  Here’s the end result.


October 3, 2010

If you were to speak to my boyfriend, he would tell you of his conviction that I am trying to stab him to death very slowly.  You see, I have never really used a pincushion. The pins and needles stay in their boxes when not in use and, as I usually do my handsewing sat on the sofa, I find that the arm of the sofa forms a pretty damn good pincushion.  D does not agree when he puts his arm down on a forgotten pin or needle.

So, spurred on by an idea I formed while working with a couple of friends on a soon-to-be revealed project yesterday, I decided to make a pincushion. It looks like pants. Why not?

I’d been wondering about that headache

May 10, 2010

I made myself a little felt mini-me for the Stitch Yourself project which Stitch London are running for the Science Museum and drew up the sewing pattern for the doll’s body and a dress-up set of clothes for the doll (anyone remember Bunty?).

Here she is

Three things concern me right now.

1. For some reason I feel the need to stick a pin in my own head.

2. My doll is more recognisable as me than I am.

3. Everybody who has seen the doll in the flesh has lifted the skirt up to see if she’s wearing knickers.

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