My first Southport dress turned out to be a fairly straightforward and rewarding sewing experience. I realise the waist tie is way too long but for some reason I wasn’t ready to cut it when I wore this dress for the first time.
Here’s a side view. This dress has been great to wear in the recent heatwave in London. Only one metre of light, breezy cotton, yet it’s formal enough that I understand feel comfortable wearing it to work.
Pockets are life.
Notes about the changes I made can be found here.
Pattern: Southport dress by True Bias
Fabric: 1m Liberty tana lawn
I’m happy to say that my second sewing session at Sew Over It went well, and I managed to come out with a pair of Carrie trousers that I’m pretty pleased with.
Constructing the waistband was quite a lot of work. First stitching the two parts, then lots of precise folding and pressing.
One of the final steps was elasticating the back waistband, then testing the fit before stitching the elastic down and finishing the front waistband.
The last thing of all was the cuffs. I lengthened my trousers by a couple of inches but still had to do a tiny hem. The challenges of having long limbs! The only thing I didn’t have time to do during the workshop was finishing the cuff hems, so I hand-stitched them.
Pattern: Carrie Trousers by Sew Over It
Fabric: 2m Liberty tana lawn in Tiny Dancer print.
I would say it wouldn’t be possible to squeeze these trousers out of a smaller amount of fabric. So far I think tana lawn is a surprisingly good choice of fabric for these trousers. They’re not creasing too badly. Oh no, suddenly I can see lots of Liberty print trousers in my future…
I made the size 10 with no mods except lengthening the legs by about 3cm. I’m happy with the fit and I think the slim leg helps these trousers to look quite smart. An advantage of the pattern is that the fit on the waist is easy to adjust using the length of your elastic. If I was to make them again, I would actually lengthen them even more.
I have had a crazy few weeks with very little time for craft. As things have calmed down, I have found myself being drawn to creative tasks again, which is a sign that I’m feeling better. Mostly I’ve been planning exciting projects for the summer and beyond, but I’ve also been doing a few rows of my League sweater here and there, and somehow I have nearly finished the boring knitting on the front, ready to start some intarsia.
I got quite a bit of work done on this while watching Serena winning her historic 22nd major title in tennis, which was so inspirational. Watching her eponymous documentary courtesy of the BBC was very emotional and it’s nice to know that those memories will be associated with this sweater.
I fancied doing another sewing workshop and these Carrie trousers caught my eye.
They look like they will be very useful for smart casual summer wear and travelling. I got time to go shopping on the Goldhawk Road to get some fabric. I love imagining the joyful projects made from fabrics like these.
I decided I needed to see in person how the minis looked next to different colours and textures of yarn so I made a pilgrimage to Knit With Attitude in Stoke Newington. It was strange to be back in Stokey, where I lived for three years in my early twenties. The staff in KWA were great but unfortunately nothing in their stock was quite right due to my pickiness. It was a very helpful trio though. I had envisioned using grey as my background colour but no greys really made the minis pop. This slightly muted blue was the best option.
I later popped into a second LYS, with which I have a chequered past, and found this stunning aubergine yarn.
I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can swatch.
It’s nice to have projects to look forward to.
Part 3: After the wedding
This is where most of the work and creativity in this project lies, as well as a lot of the fun.
Create your centrepiece
See this post for further information.
Buy batting and fabric for the trim and backing, if you haven’t already
I spent a long time looking for flannel or brushed cotton for softness and settled on this baby-friendly bunny print. I had to improvise slightly and use some binding fabric either side as the fabric wasn’t as wide as the quilt.
Check and double-check the instructions on the fabric pens. You may need to iron the design onto the fabric in order to make it colourfast.
I had to iron mine for five minutes. 50 squares. For five minutes each. Yep.
Decide on final design
Lay your squares out so you can see what your finished quilt will look like. I decided that I didn’t want any matching prints to touch each other. I wanted an even balance of colour too.
Here’s an early draft.
Here the balance is off, with more light patterns at top left and more dark bottom right. I later realised I had enough white squares to make an alternating pattern, which helped with balance.
If you can’t keep your squares laid out like this for the duration of the project, pick them up in order, row by row so that you can sew them together in your chosen pattern.
Sew squares together
Mum convinced me that we should overlock the squares together. While this gives a strong seam, I would recommend using the sewing machine. It’s easier to stretch the fabric in undesirable ways when overlocking, and I think simple machine stitching would have given a more uniform result.
Also watch your seam allowance and try to keep it uniform even if this means cutting people’s messages. Unevenness will come to bite you in the arse later, mark my words.
I sewed each column together first, marking their order with post-its.
Then carefully pin or baste the column together.
And stitch the columns together.
Iron your patchwork thoroughly. Do not iron seams open as this can allow the batting to come out. Instead, iron towards the darker fabric.
Also iron your backing fabric.
On a large, flat surface, lay your backing out RS down.
Lay your batting on top.
Finally, lay out the quilt on top, RS up.
Carefully pin and/or baste all three layers of quilt sandwich together, starting in the centre and working out. This step is essential for a neat final result.
It’s time to stitch the quilt together. You must use a walking foot on your machine. Seriously. Again, use the start in the centre and work out rule-of-thumb. Don’t sew top to bottom or left to right. Instead, start in the middle and sew to the edge.
Roll the quilt up like a scroll to make it easier to fit into the crook of your machine.
This will also help with not sewing multiple quilt layers together, which happened to me and was infuriating.
Also stitch or overlock around the edge of the quilt to aid with the binding.
I’m in a bind
Make your own if you’re a masochist like I am. Follow an online tutorial. I was going to write one but I don’t think I used the best method.
Start by stitching the binding to the back of the quilt. I followed this tutorial for mitered corners, which I think looks pretty good and was nice and clear. This is how my corners turned out.
Here’s what the back looked like at this stage. Apologies for blurred pic, it was raining.
Flip the binding over and top stitch.
Snip off all of your loose threads and basting stitches. Neaten the corners with hand-stitching if you need to. Rejoice, for you are done!
Here I am presenting the blanket to the bride, who by this point had been married for nearly six months. Oops.