A Malvarosa and some fall sewing plans...

A Malvarosa and some fall sewing plans...

I let the dogs out early this morning and there was a definite chill in the air, I hate to admit it but summer is winding down.

Its been a good one though, lots and lots of family time, a major much needed (and cathartic) clean up of the house, and a lovely vacation.

but its time to get back to my blog, I've missed it....and all that it brings.

I've really done very little sewing in the last month, I was feeling without purpose and  not sure what I wanted to achieve.  I like to feel that I am moving forward, whether in reality that is true or not, be that by reading, taking classes or repeating a previous fail....but the last few months have bought me little sense of satisfaction.

Although , I will always be the  first to admit that sometimes being stuck in a rut is a good thing.   It forced me to take a long hard look at where I am, what I am doing, what I want going forward and just how I can achieve that.

I like my Monday blog post and always want to have something interesting to say or show, but I think its been detrimental to some of my garments as I find myself rushing to finish them..

I've set myself some non achievable deadlines, that stress me out and make me feel that I am cutting corners...so I am going to stop that, if a garment is not finished by Monday - then its not finished ...some weeks might be a little boring, but I want this blog to grow with me, not dictate...so lets see how that goes...(and I welcome the "this is to boring to post" comments!!) 

I have also made some sewing plans for the next few months that will not only let me continue to learn but also remain fairly open ended as they won't yield a specific end result but a journey..







Bias-    I tend to avoid bias clothing, having had four kids back to back,  I've never wanted to bring attention to my stomach I guess but then I had a really interesting conversation this summer with Norma and Kenneth about bias.  

We have all made a garment that had bias in the skirt or dress, dutifully hung them when construction is finished for a few days and then hemmed them - only to find that the fabric continues to grow and grow...

and we got talking about just how long it could continue to do so, and what was an appropriate time to leave a garment hanging..

So, we thought a little experiment would be fun, and that, of course,  really appeals to me.. 

Cami picture courtesey of Orange Lingerie, blog post shown here.

Next week, I am going to make a cami using Norma's hand drafted pattern (which is not available to purchase yet) with a yard of bias silk charmeuse that I will have cut this week. 

While cutting that yard, I will also cut five additional bias yards and hang them.  Then on the first week of every month, I will remake the cami using the same methods for six months in total.

I'll go into more details next week, but I am curious to see just how much of a difference hanging fabric for a longer period of time will make.. (and I have it on good authority that it is a lot!)


Draping - I spent my vacation literally carrying around two draping books.  I loved the draping class I took earlier in the year and just want to learn everything.

This book was a revelation for me.  There was so much overlap and reinforcement between what I learnt in the class this year, and what I still want to know.  It is just a bloody marvelous, well explained, incredibly well illustrated book! (with a CD included)

and while there can, of course, be no substitute for a master class such as Julien's, I think is a great place to start for anyone really wanting to learn the fundamentals of drape.   I really wished I had found this before I went to Baltimore...

The book above, is for the next stage of my draping education..  I have all of Helen Joseph Armstrong's books and refer to them often, so I knew this would be excellent.

Its expensive, but at over 600 pages seriously worth the money.  It is a lot more technical and detailed, and covers many more garment possibilities..

So, again I will get into more details later but I have just bought a new dress form with legs (for pants)...and thought I would start with a post next month of preparing my dress form with padding and bolduc and then each week continue with details of what I have been learning to drape.....



Fit frustrates me constantly, I want each and every garment I make to look perfect and they just never ever do, and while I know its virtually impossible to fit yourself ....I desperately want to find a workable solution going forward.

I don't flat pattern very often, I find it tedious and boring.  I love numbers and puzzles, shapes and sizes but flat pattern making...it just defeats me.

I work better with visuals, and so, I think again, drape is going to help me here.... but I am also hoping to take it to another level by using the commercial patterns I already own as a comparison to the pattern draping I will be doing, to see if I can start to correlate my fit problems to the patterns I use on a regular basis...

and from there, try to find a way of melding the two for future use?!  hmmmm....



Following on from fit and draping, it has often occured to me that I need a basic knowledge of undergarments...and the making of them.

I have never made a bra, a cami or a pair of underwear..nor had any interest,  if I am being honest.

But, being friends with Norma of Orange Lingerie,   I have become intrigued.  She is deeply knowledgable about lingerie, and has worked so very hard this year to produce an amazing first pattern, and I am curious to learn more.

I really had no idea of the tremendous amount of work involved in producing the highest caliber of pattern, and now having witnessed it first hand,  I want to make one...as her bra is not only versatile but also seriously gorgeous..

It goes without saying that we have had many conversations this year about fit, and garment construction and I have finally!  come to the conclusion that you can't get a great fitting garment without a great fitting bra..(yeah yeah!)

So, I am going to be heading up to Boston next month for a lovely get together with Norma and some serious instruction on bra making, which, of course, I will post about in detail :-)

and when I emailed Norma earlier asking for a photo of her pattern, she also offered a 15% discount code for readers ....

Her Etsy store is here and the discount code is BRAMAKING - which is good until September 7th..

Do let me know if you make it, I would love to hear what you think before I start mine! ...


Pants  - The next few months will be all about pants.  Draped, rub off, commercial patterned....cigarette, jean, dress etc...made in a variety of fabrics....as well as underlined, lined..you get the point!

If anyone has any links, advice, books to suggest....anything for a complete novice please do leave me a comment.. it will be much appreciated.



I've been watching a lot of Pauline Alice patterns pop up on various blogs this year, and I really like her design style.  

They feel like elevated basics, highly wearable and easy to construct..perfect for a slow summer project.

The Malvarosa in particular appealed to me as I loved the unique shaping on the shoulders and was intrigued about the construction...so I bought the pdf last month and started working slowly on a wearable muslin.

I thought a hammered silk that I bought in B&J a few years ago would be perfect, its got some weight and structure and can be worked like a cotton... but is so soft and breathable, great for summer and fall garments.

and I followed the instructions as is.

They were really clear and easy to read, and this dress came together easily (it was also interesting - below is the half front pattern piece)

The skirt is made by self drafting two long rectangles and gathering them.. the pattern consists of a half front, half back and skirt...with a sleeve if desired.

As my fabric was a little heavier I did use stay tape on the pockets but gathered them loosely so they fell open a little, liking that look.

I left out a lining, catch stitched the hem and facings and pinked the seams..easy sewing :-)

and after some thought, I did decide to take each side in at the waist by 1.5" graduating it from the top of the bodice to the skirt seam, and it does make a difference.  There is a subtle shaping to the dress now and it make it look more fitted.

I have worn this a ridiculous amount this summer, especially with boots and a hat..its the most comfortable of dresses.. highly recommend!!


So thats it, finally, I had a lot to say!!!

I will be back next Monday with a cami project..

Wishing everyone a lovely week :-)


 A lost week...

A lost week...

Playing catch up...

Playing catch up...