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Pinstripe Salope(tte)

It’s a funny old pastime, putting a picture of yourself on the world wide web wearing something you’ve made, standing on a pile of books, and smiling into your camera which is balanced on a precarious tower of boxes on top of a bread bin.

And I’m a little rusty as it’s been a while since I’ve updated here! Mostly because I seem to find it harder to get photos of what I’ve made these days, through a combination of having less time (or a perception of less time anyway), forgetting to ask people to take my picture when I’m wearing something I’ve made in a nice location, and being less enthusiastic about constructing make-shift camera tripods from household objects when everyone else is out! Oh well! I’ve also definitely sewn less in the last year or so too, and when I have sewn something I’ve not necessarily found it interesting to blog about.

But here I am, taking advantage of a quiet morning and some nice light to get some snaps of this dungaree dress which I made around April/May I think.

The pattern was rubbed-off a second-hand dungaree dress I bought a while ago and adapted slightly. I like the oversized length and I think the bottom section makes the overall pinstripe effect look more balanced. The fabric comes from Gold Fingers and is a lovely thick wool blend with a very smooth lined underside. I initially bought it with fantasies of pinstriped trousers in my mind but then the idea of these dungarees came to me! I still have enough fabric left for the trousers so hopefully those will happen too!

It was my 30th birthday last week and I celebrated with my family in Portugal for a few days which was very very lovely. One of my ‘ambitions’ for my twenties was to learn to make my own clothes so I’m really happy to be able to say to myself that I have done that. So now I need some new sewing goals for my new decade.

And as birthdays are the kind of moments when we get all reflective, I also need to remind myself that life is better when I make time for my funny old pastimes!







On the Terraces

I’ve been wanting to make a ‘swing tent’-style dress ever since my flatmate rocked up in our kitchen wearing a lovely one. A t-shirt dress with evenly dispersed flare for maximum swishing is a style that ticks that much sought after ‘feels like wearing pyjamas but looks quite stylish’ box. After a bit of googling I found this wonderful tutorial from Ebony H’ at ‘SewStylist’. I was half way through making the pattern for this dress when Heather from Closet Case Patterns released her Ebony dress pattern which Heather says was inspired by this very tutorial! I half considered downing tools and just buying the pattern but I’m glad I drafted it myself using my own block as it fits perfectly around my neck and shoulders. The tutorial shows you how to make the dress by adapting the Grainline Scout tee but as I don’t have that pattern I just used my own block to make a simple t-shirt first and then adapted that pattern.

I initially planned to make up a test version in this shiny velour jersey fabric before making the ‘real’ version in some nice grey jersey but I actually couldn’t be happier with how this ‘test’ dress turned out and it has earned a place in my wardrobe in its own right! I’ve had the fabric for a few years now (bought from a stall at the Marché des Abattoirs in Anderlecht) and it was one of those ‘magpie moments’ when you buy something a bit mad and shiny which then sits on your shelf for ages because you don’t know what to do with it. So I’m happy to have finally found a use for it! I like how the dress looks with and without a belt.

The photos were taken in Nivelles (where my boyfriend comes from) when we were having a walk around the town. When I saw this very stylish spectator stand at the running track I thought it would be the perfect spot for an impromptu photo shoot 🙂

Attention to detail

Specks of microfibres at rest on the blade of my rotary cutter.
Pins poised and ready to be deployed.
A notebook, full with the hope of well-organised notes and useful advice for my future self.
A zipper foot misplaced under a jumble of discarded fabric.
A cup of tea stationed a safe distance away.

Take three

In my last post I talked about my first two attempts at developing a pattern based on an initial rub-off of a dress I love. And today here is my third version!

This time I got rid of the gathers and modified the bodice pieces accordingly. I also got rid of the buttons at the front and put in a side zip. I also added a skirt lining and reshaped the front yoke slightly – mostly so I can get it over my head.

The fabric comes from Holm Sown in Castle Douglas and was a Christmas present from my Mum last Christmas (and by last I mean 2015) so I’m happy to finally make something with it. That said I’ve got fabric I bought in 2008 still lurking around waiting for me to love it so just over a year between acquiring fabric and using it is actually quite good going by my track record!

I really like this dress and will get plenty wear out of it. Sometimes you go round the houses to come to a conclusion you knew already – wearing a dress I’ve made and love makes me really happy. Can’t wait to wear it out on my bike in spring with a denim jacket and bare legs.

Now back to the drawing board to see how I can improve the pattern for version four.

Here are some more shots which hopefully give a better idea of the details. (I’m finding it really tricky to get good photos of things I make these days and I’m not sure these do it justice, oh well they’ll do!)

Close up of the front bodice (and my camera remote).

Close-ish up of the back.

The lining

Light of day

I’m a big fan of Pauline Alice’s Rosari skirt sewing pattern, and this is my second version. My first shot at the pattern was last year. The name of the pattern makes me think of the slogan “Get your rosaries off my ovaries”.

The slight downside of this make is that the denim I used was not that good quality. It crumples easily and I think it looks a bit cheap. So I’m going to be on the look out for some good quality old jeans in second hand shops which I can cut up to try and make another version. But perhaps I’m being over critical as I do really like this skirt.
I’d also like one in mustard yellow!

The buttons were actually salvaged from one of my early makes – my Beignet skirt from Colette patterns. I hadn’t worn it in ages and wasn’t really that enamoured with it any more so I decided to use the buttons for something else and salvage the fabric to make a top.

I’ve decided to be more ruthless with things I make to ensure that if they are not getting worn they don’t languish in my wardrobe. While it makes sense to be reluctant to rip apart things we’ve spent time making, I think it is also good to treat them the same way we treat shop-bought clothes (or any other object for that matter): if it is not likely to be worn again, holds no particular sentimental value, or isn’t holding up that well, then it is maybe time to recycle it into something else or give it away if you think someone else might get some use out of it.

That said, I’ll find it hard to part with some of my earliest self-made clothes as they make me smile when I look at them – even if they don’t get to see the light of day that much any more.