I finished sewing my Macaron dress!
Sewing projects always trick me into thinking there’s hardly any work left. When I wrote my previous post about this dress, I basically thought I was done as I had constructed the bodice, skirt and sleeves. I hadn’t factored easing in the sleeves, lots of seam finishing (a step I was initially planning to skip), joining the pieces, inserting the zip and finishing the hem.
In between the two phases of making the dress, I had my sewing lesson to help me fit the bodice. Turned out that it was a fairly straightforward fix of reducing length in the back. We took a curved line out of the upper bodice so as not to disturb the style line of the pink fabric. Apparently, this is an alteration that is commonly needed if you have a larger bust and an upright posture. In fact, I have had issues with the back bodice in other dresses, so this is definitely a hot tip for future makes.
Things I’ve learnt for my next Macaron:
- Be careful to transfer all markings from pattern to fabric
- Be precise when sewing bodice seams so the pieces match at the sides
I don’t know what it is about this pattern, but it really emphasises the waist, which I absolutely love. I’m confident that I will be able to wear my dress to parties without foundation garments, eat and dance all I like, and it’ll still be flattering.
I’m really looking forward to starting work on my second iteration of this pattern. After being inspired by a dress on Pinterest, I’m on the look-out for some lace to complement the Liberty fabric. I do love a challenge!
Pattern: Macaron by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Under 2m pink rayon from Indonesia. Contrast fabric from Goldhawk Road, used less than 1m
I’ve got to admit that after my final class, I was worried that I would never finish sewing my Ultimate Shirt. The remaining tasks seemed very daunting for me to tackle on my own. But I went for it, and I’m glad I did!
Here’s how the shirt looks with my specially made tulip skirt. I re-did the hem, which I put off for months because I knew how dull it would be. I was right, it was boring and took two hours, but it looks much better. Having a steam iron (thanks dad!) also makes a big difference, although looking at these pics makes me realise it STILL needs more pressing.
I think this shirt is really only wearable tucked in, but shirt tucked into skirt worn on the waist is a look I rock at work a lot, so that’s fine.
Notes on steps taken after third class
Hand-stitching the cuff facing seemed okay as I had already used the same technique on the collar stand. Emboldened by my success, I attached the second cuff.
I next spent about an hour pressing and pinning the hem. Like my unicorn top, the hem looks shit in places, but I don’t want to redo it so I think this is something I will live with for now. I will mostly be wearing this shirt tucked in anyway. Looks like I have found my sewing nemesis- shaped hems.
The next step was scary. Buttonholes. I spent ages thinking about which colour thread to use, which turned out to be a bit of a waste of time. I don’t think I’ve ever machine sewn a buttonhole before because my mum lost the foot for her machine years ago.
I did something I normally never do- consulted the handbook of my machine for advice. I then used some scrap fabric to practice, and the resulting holes looked pretty good.
It was time. I tried on the shirt to ensure that a button would cover the fullest part of my bust, to reduce the risk of gaping. I then measured and marked each buttonhole, which worked out at every 7cm.
I did manage to make one really stupid mistake. I accidentally started one of the buttonholes on the ‘top’ mark instead of the ‘bottom’, meaning that it was about 2cm out. Next time I mark buttonholes, I will use different colours for the top and bottom marks to avoid this happening again.
Since my buttons are fluorescent pink, I knew this error would be very obvious. It was time to do something I had never wanted to do on such a light cotton voile. Unpicking. I practiced unpicking one of my practice buttonholes and managed not to break any of the threads in the fabric. Heart in mouth, I unpicked the errant hole on my blouse. I won’t keep you in suspense, dear reader. I survived, and I don’t think my silly mistake is too noticeable.
I’ve got to say, I absolutely love this outfit! Go me. I’m hoping to engage with Me Made May a lot more this year, and I think this outfit will be a key player.
I wanted to join in with the Pussyhat Project, but I knew I couldn’t make the march, and I missed the postal deadline for donating hats. SO I decided instead to use this pink yarn I was given as a secret Santa present to make some mini cat hats.
- A small amount of fingering weight pink yarn
- 2.75mm DPNs/circular needles
- 3mm DPNs/circular needles
1. Using smaller needles, CO 40 sts. Join to work in the round
2. K1P1 rib 6rnds
3. Change to larger needles. Work in stocking stitch for around 18 rounds, until total piece measures around 5.5cm/2 1/4in
4. Rearrange stitches onto two straight needles and Kitchener together
I’ve finished my holiday shorts!
The cutting out and machine sewing took about fifteen hours. I’m a bit baffled by the sizing on these shorts. My original cigarette trousers, a 10, are quite big, but these shorts are on the small size despite only being an 8 at the waist, and grading up to a 10. I also forgot that there is an error in the waistband piece of the pattern, which nearly caused me a big problem as I didn’t have any leftover fabric to cut out a spare.
Here I am trying them on. I had to let out the crotch and side seams a little. At first, I was stressed out because the waist looks a bit crap, but then I pulled my t-shirt down and remembered that the waistband will never be on show. It can be hard to maintain perspective when you have spent hours and hours working on something.
Overall I would say that I am very happy with this make, which, sadly, is unusual. The fabric only cost £12.20 including delivery, so the total cost of the materials was well under £20. And I think it’s safe to say that I am the only person in Rio strutting about in hot pink zebra pants.
Pattern: Cigarette Pants by Sew Over It
Fabric: 93x112cm remnant of cotton, plus about 0.5m of contrast fabric
I was idly scrolling on some full website the other day when BAM! I spotted a remnant of hot pink fabric printed with zebras. I had to have it. And not just because I wanted to write fuchsia some more.
I’m going on holiday soon, and I am seriously lacking in the shorts department. It’s so hard to buy anything other than hot pants, which I just feel uncomfortable wearing without tights. So the obvious solution was an exquisitely tailored pair of pink zebra shorts. Easy.
These wil be Shark Shorts 2.0. Although Yikes! is probably my favourite fabric print on earth, the shorts have some issues. They were winged based on the Ultimate Trousers pattern, and I think the end result has some issues. I prefer a more meticulous approach to craft.
This time, I am using the Sew Over It Cigarette Pants pattern. My original trousers aren’t a perfect fit, and I think the problem is the waistband, so this time I cut the waistband in a size 8, grading out to a 10 in the rest of the trousers. Since I have only just over a metre of fabric and little time, I decided not to attempt pattern matching at all. I hope this won’t come to bite me in the zebra-clad arse.
I’m using the leftover double gauze from my Unicorn Cami as my lining fabric. Loving how the two prints look together.
Even though this is meant to be a quick make, I couldn’t resist finishing the edges of my pocket facings with black bias binding. You’re meant to overlock, and I didn’t want ugly zigzagging showing. I think it looks really cute.
This is my progress after an intense five hour sewing session, having come home from work to find the fabric waiting for me.
Sewing is such an interesting experience for me. I find it totally immersive and addictive. I almost forget to breathe as I am so focused on the task at hand.
I’m pleased to say that I’ve finished sewing my Sew Over It tulip skirt.
Having looked at the pictures, I still need to press the skirt some more, and I may redo the hem. I think it’s bunching a bit because I made it too narrow.
When I stopped my previous post, I still had lots of work to do on this skirt. Further issues I had surrounded the pockets. I had to pin the pocket openings of the two sides together to ensure that the openings lined up without gaping. If I make this skirt again, I will draft my own pocket pieces as I would like the pockets to be a bit deeper. I tried to freehand this a bit when I was cutting out, but it didn’t really work. The positioning of the pockets is also a bit low, so I might try to address that too.
The invisible zip insertion was also stressful. I may invest in an invisible zip foot for my machine in future. However, I’m very pleased with this one for a first go. The first time I inserted the zip, my stitching lines were around 2mm away from the zip’s teeth, so it was totes visible. However, I remembered the trick of moving your needle across to sew closer to the teeth, and this fixed the problem.
I also have to say that once again, I have found the sizing on this pattern totally off. Having measured a skirt that fits me perfectly, I cut a size 12, which is meant to give a 30.5″ waist on the finished garment. However, when I tried the skirt on before putting the zip in, I could see that it would be way too big on the waist. In the end, I had to take a 4cm seam allowance on the back seam (the only place to make the skirt smaller without a MASSIVE headache) for it to fit. Overall, I made the skirt 5cm narrower, which means that I should actually have cut a size 8. I almost always buy size 10 in RTW garments, and my tummy is my ‘problem area’ so I’m really not sure how that works. Still, a victory for making your own clothes and trying on as you go.
I went out and bought some matching thread before attempting to slip-stitch the hem. When I tried on again before hemming, I wondered if the bottom of the skirt was too poofy. But I don’t think it is. One of my weird things about sewing is that I often forget about how the garment will be used when I’m making it. For example, I will forget that you need openings to get in and out of a dress, or I will fail to factor in that a knee-length skirt probably shouldn’t be skintight.
Pattern: Tulip Skirt by Sew Over It
Fabric: 1.1m of wool crepe
Even though it’s still not finished, I decided to make something to go with my floral Ultimate Shirt. Julie, the instructor, made a throwaway comment about getting a pink skirt in the final class, which I initially dismissed because I don’t really wear pink. I just don’t think it suits me as well as other colours. However, the idea must have lodged somewhere as I found myself thinking more and more about a skirt project.
At first, I planned to finally tackle the pencil skirt. I should probably finish the Sew Over It pencil skirt that’s been languishing in my WiP pile for well over a year, but I’ve really lost my motivation on that project. I remembered seeing the Tulip Skirt in a sewing magazine a while ago and falling in love instantly.
The best thing about this skirt? POCKETS, BABY! Since SOI recently launched a PDF pattern, I decided to ignore my hatred of printing my own patterns and go for it.
I have a couple of wool skirts in my wardrobe that are incredibly useful workhorse garments; sturdy, smart-looking and easy to wear. My favourite navy skirt is a charity shop find that is starting to look a bit shiny, and the zip has a weak point in it that scares me every time I do it up. I’m hoping to create a garment to stand the test of time just like the navy one, so I decided to invest in some quality wool crepe for my new skirt.
Goldbrick Fabrics has become my favourite shop on the Goldhawk Road as I find the staff in there friendlier than most of the other shops. Fortunately they had some beautiful (though pricey) wools.
I wasn’t really intending on making such a statement garment, but the two colours that caught my eye, and that I thought would work with the ultimate shirt, were the two brightest. I decided to be bold and plumped for the hot pink.
Putting together the printed pattern wasn’t quite as horrifying as I remembered from the one other time I did it, though it still took well over an hour.
My beloved navy skirt has a 30″ waist so I decided to cut a size 12. After reading lots of conflicting advice about preparing wool, I decided to ignore all of it and hope the fabric was preshrunk. Real talk: I don’t wash my wool skirts that often anyway.
I did spend some time ironing a swatch of fabric to see if there would be any shrinkage. I used my new silk organza pressing cloth as I don’t want to risk scorching the fabric.
One thing that bothered me was the fabric recommendation given on the pattern, which clearly states that all sizes need 1.8m of fabric. My pieces only needed 1.1m. Actually I just measured and it turns out that my fabric is 1.56 metres wide, which is a non-standard width. Something to look out for in future.
Since decent wool crepe is over £20/metre, that’s kind of a big deal. I doubt I need two fuchsia skirts in my wardrobe, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with the leftover, which is about 0.8m.
Cutting out seemed to go fine, and I prepared the pleats on the front of the skirt and darts on the back. The next step was finishing the raw edges. I was concerned about this because I don’t have an overlocker (I wish I did!) and a previous attempt at zigzagging looked rubbish. However, the crepe frays quite a bit and I don’t think I’ll get a chance to pop to a sewing cafe any time soon.
Fortunately I found this very helpful tutorial on zigzagging by Tilly and the Buttons. She mentions using a special overcasting foot, and when I checked the accessories that came with my beloved Janome, there was one in there! Double zigzagging all of the edges took FOREVER but it looks okay, and I hope it will prevent my edges from fraying. It also used up two full (small) spools of thread and bobbins. I need to remember to buy matching thread for future projects.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a sewing project of mine without at least one really stupid error. This time, when I was pinning the side seams of the skirt together, I noticed that one side was a lot longer than the other. Turns out that I managed to cut the pattern for the long version of the front of the skirt (the version I wanted to make), but the short version for the back pieces. What the hell is wrong with me?
Although I had enough fabric to cut out new back pieces, the idea of doing the darts and zigzagging again was too much. I held the pieces up to my body and, actually, I think that if I do a slightly narrower hem, the shorter skirt should still hit around my knee, which is the length I want. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed!