In love with FASHIONARY...

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Hi Guys,

Sorry if you're sick of the sight of me, but this is my my sewcation and I'm feeling inspired!

Today, don't worry I haven't a new make, but I have got a new book that I want to show and tell!

And so I present to you - FASHIONARY

Some of you might have come across these awesome books before. 
For those who don't know, the name 'FASHIONARY' comes from 'Fashion + Dictionary + Diary'. 
FASHIONARY is a sort of Fashion Design Dictionary, Diary, and sketch enabler.

I have decided recently that I want to start learning the art of pattern cutting, and remembered how I used to have a sketchbook as a young teen, where I would sketch clothes whenever I got inspiration. 
I thought this would be a good idea for the present, so that I could try to get my creative juices going again.

Then I remembered that I had come across FASHIONARY a long time ago, and was very tempted to buy one. 
And so I decided it was about time to bite the bullet and do it. 

In the A5 book, the first 34 pages are the Dictionary. 
They are filled with all sorts of things from a Brand Index, to a Bibliography of Fashion and Sewing books, to a Body Measurement section, to Fabric Information & Seams and Stitches.

The remaining 130 pages are the Diary.
On these 130 pages, the 'Diary' has 400 barely visible figure templates (3 per page), to enable faster and more consistent fashion sketching. They are formed of dots, and are barely visible, so you can use the pages as regular pages also, if you like.
Difficult to get a good photo of!

It's really a very inspiring notebook. 

I chose the A5 instead of the A4, as there are only 3 figures per page in both sizes, and you get more figures overall in the A5 size (400 vs 280). I guess it depends on how much detail you want to include on your drawings. Also, its the perfect size for sticking in your bag, for when inspiration strikes.

They do have other memo pads and things you can buy too, and you can download a free pdf of the templates to give them a go. Pretty generous in my estimation.

To see the notebooks in amazing action, check out
I can't believe the detail, and the difference in all of the sketches.

The website is American, but I bought mine from Amazon for about £16.
I know, a bit pricey for a notebook, but sometimes you need to pay for beautiful things.
You can buy them direct with free shipping, but the Amazon price is actually almost the correct conversion.

I'll leave you with some of the book specs!

Emmie xx

(disclamer : I bought this notebook with my own, hard-earned, funds and this is an independent and 
un-biased review)

Finally Finished! Victoria Blazer - By Hand London

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Hi Everyone,

I know, you only saw me yesterday, but I'm on a week off at the moment, and these were my 'plan-free' days. Therefore you get lots of me on your feed! Makes me look like a prolific sewer too so win win.

SO... here I present to you my finished Victoria Blazer...

I chose to do the cropped version, as I have a few 'boyfriend' blazers that I don't really wear any more, and I thought the cropped one would look cute over full skirted dresses. However after seeing some long ones, I may be tempted.

I don't know what I can say about this pattern that hasn't already been said! It's very cleverly drafted and comes together so quickly. I was stumped by the front dart/collar step for about 24hrs but then I saw the light (after a lot of twitter help), and it really is ingenious. The pattern instructions are as clear and well written as always.

I'm a UK 12, but as the jacket is quite loose, I cut the UK 10 as I like my jackets more fitted. I did measure some of my other favourite jackets first. Even at that, it's still very loose fitted!

My shell fabric is from the Birmingham Meetup (thanks to whoever donated!) and the lining was a scrap that I just managed to squeeze the pieces out of. I loved the thought of contrast cuffs, and this was confirmed when I saw Marie's blazer.

It does kick out a bit at the back in the cropped version. I feel a bit like a bell :) 
I love certain details in the pattern, like the turned up cuffs, and the fact that the collar seam turns into the front dart.

Onto the aforementioned cock-ups.

I had trouble cutting out the blazer front. The UK10 and UK12 lines are both dots (the size 10 dots are slightly bigger and slightly more frequent) and they made my eyes a bit googly at times as I found it difficult to differentiate. I had problems where the neckline dips down to the dart point as the different sizes, and both sets of dots, all overlap. I did manage it in the end though. 

However, as I was putting the shell together, I realised that I cut the front of the blazer too short. 2cm too short. All of the bodice sizes are spread out, so I had cut the 12 crop line instead of the 10. Stupid me.


I decided that I wasn't against it being shorter so I cut the back to match.

Now some of you out there, may have realised the repercussions of such a decision, but I shamefully did not until I had attached all the lapels, and stitched the lining in at the front.

For those of you who have yet to click, The lapels were now stitched along the full length of the front, with no fabric left below them to hem the blazer. 


I did even see that they were the full length, before stitching in the lining, and it didn't click.

After that I also noticed that my cuffs were the wrong way round, with the outer kick on the inside.


And so I decided to go to a barbeque instead of getting angry and wrecking it.

So on Sunday I put it back together the way it should have been (with some 2cm trimmed lapels) and finished it off. 

I also found out that when I had cut out the lining, some of it (the underneath bit when I matched the sevledges) was much shorter than the other bit. So in the end I had to do some careful alignment when stitching it down, to make sure that I could in fact stitch it down. 
I decided to copy a dress of mine, and align the lining at the armhole with the armhole seams and finish the lining against it instead of handstitching. 

My sleeve had no give in it in that direction to ease in the fullness, so I had to gather the sleeve heads.
No dudes. I am terrible at gathering, but I had a small epiphany for doing it on the fly in this situation which worked a treat. I might do a small example blog for you guys if anyone is interested?

Now my dear friends, I have a surprise.

I didn't even realise it until I finished the blazer.

I made a suit

 Some of you may be thinking - when did this happen?
Some of you may recognise it, but you're not quite sure from where.

This is a skirt I made back in April, I never blogged it, but I wore it to the London Blogger Meetup in April.
It was Butterick B5285 (View B). I meant to blog it, but it sort of got left behind! 

What do you guys think??



I present to you - Anna dress, By Hand London

Monday, 22 July 2013

Hello everyone,

Sorry I've been gone a couple weeks... thought I might get my Victoria Blazer finished to show you last weekend but there were some unforeseen cock-up circumstances, and I had to run to a barbeque...
Therefore... no blazer

That being said, it has been finished, and will be along (and explained!) very shortly in blog form!

This evening however, I'm gonna show you my new Anna dress - and I really love it. 

I wasn't expecting to love it this much... I have always loved bodices with kimono sleeves so I knew that would be perfect (and aren't the bodice pleats beautiful?), but I was very tempted to put the bodice with a fuller skirt. I felt that, for at least its first incarnation, I should stay true to the pattern and bring it to life as it was dreamed.

And until I tried it on, and saw these photos, I wasn't convinced.... But now I'm hooked.

I'm so proud of it!
I started tracing it during last week, and took it slow, but it came together so fast, it was a pleasure to sew.
A very satisfying make.

I was torn between a fitted 38" bodice and a roomy 40" bodice, so I traced off both, and overlayed to see where the grading was. I went smack bang between the two, (keeping the smaller waist) and it has turned out really comfy. No FBA, no nothing. (add: I did cut the skirt panels longer than the midi length)
I was seriously concerned that the waist was going to be too small about halfway through sewing it up, but clearly I had nothing to worry about.

I was a bit scared that I would mix up the skirt pieces and sew the wrong ones together (as there are 7 pieces!) so I took it slowly, and did the front pieces first, and then the back. The notches did help, but I am wont to forget about these helpful hints sometimes.

I didn't line the dress, as the pattern intended. With the current heat, I thought it would be nice to have something lighter! 
I finished the neckline with the facings included. I tried to get away without topstitching the neckline, to keep it clean, but I think I will go back and topstitch it later as it keeps trying to peek out!

I pinked all the seams, as I felt it would be nice for a change. It all feels nice and soft against my skin, and nice and light for this weather!

The floral cotton is very light. It was purchased on Goldhawk Road back in April.
 I was worried about what fabric to use - with all the skirt panels, I didn't want it to look all funny directionally (depending on the pattern of the fabric), but this floral doesn't even show them very much!
Or is it my excellent pattern matching? 

Happy Happy!! Can't wait to try it with a fuller skirt soon :)


Frankenstein Pencil Dress!! Vogue V8789 and "Great British Sewing Bee" Pencil Skirt Patterns

Sunday, 7 July 2013

This dress has been a long time coming dudes!

The dress is a Mash-Up of Vogue V8789 (view B) and the "Great British Sewing Bee" book's Pencil Skirt patterns

I decided I had wanted to try my hand at my first Full Bust Adjustment, as I do indeed have a full bust. Patternwise, my high bust is a 12 and my bust a 16 so I chose the V8789 pattern as the bodice had clean simple lines, and a horizontal and vertical dart, which is what I was most familiar with adjusting. I realised when I started that the bodice was supposed to have buttons and loops at the shoulders, with neck facings, but I fore-went that, and did a regular shoulder and full lining. 

I did the FBA as I had been shown in my classes (Thanks CL!). As in the class I ended up with the darts being quite large. I did about 1" of an adjustment (I suppose thats 2" in total), but when I looked back, we had only done 3/4" in class. I could've probably got away with 3/4" actually, but the extra doesn't do me any harm. 
I love a good deep breath. 
I did sew this bodice up, but once it was done, I was worried it was giving me square boob. I have a haphazard pic I took of it pinned to my dressform. 

So I decided to go back and put in a third dart, a french one, as that's what we chose to do in the class and it gave some nice shaping. I pulled out my shift dress pattern to lay in front of me so I could ensure I was doing it right. This pic is a before and after - (but they're laid out after and before!). For safety I decided to recut the bodice as I had loads of fabric.

I used a Houndstooth wool(ish) fabric I got in Walthamstow for about £1.50/m if I remember correctly. Thankfully it pressed fine and didn't melt or anything, although the thread I used sizzled when I put the iron on it first. Must have been pure polyester or something. Thankfully I was just the ends but they did melt to my iron and I had to scrape them off!
I did have some issues transferring the markings, so I pinned the fabric and pattern down on my corkboard, pulled the pattern off and used chalk pencils to draw the darts between the pins. 

I always like to make things difficult for myself. 
Note to self. Buy more plain fabrics.

I used a beautiful mauve poly-satin for the lining. I love the colour, and wish I'd bought more. It was £2.75/m on Goldhawk Rd. I went back, but they don't have this colour anymore. Sad Face.

I attached the lining to the skirt and bodice separately and then put the two halves together. 
I matched up at the side seams, and the bodice ended up a little big for the skirt front, and the the skirt was far too big for the bodice back. Wonderful.

For the front, I deepened the vertical darts slightly, for the back, I hacked off the extra. 
Houndstooth is good for this, I just followed the squares! 

I  topstitched around the armsholes and the back neck, but I left the front neckline free as I wanted it to look seamless. Unfortunately, somehow the neckline was sooooo high, it would've been choking me. It also would have looked completely ridiculous. I got my french curve and drew a haphazard new neckline on the inside and hacked off the excess. 
I thought it was going to be a disaster, but the sewing gods were looking down upon me, and somehow - SOMEHOW - it ended up perfectly even and even seems to flow along the houndstooths. God only knows how that happened, as I am not exaggerating the haphazardness.

I did an invisible zip, and got really anal about it, as I couldn't get close enough and it kept gaping. So I repeated my (pre-concealed zipper foot) trick of holding the zip coil open with the presser foot clamp, and going down stitch by stitch, aiming the right place, and moving the needle with the wheel.

That was fine and dandy on the side where the feed dogs moved it along. A little harder work on the side where the feed dogs wouldn't move it along, and I also had to move the fabric along by hand inbetween stitches. I swear it works really well overall!

I was worried about the dress being too snug, so I only did a 1cm seam allowance on the back.

I avoided sewing in the linings for a bit, as I couldn't face it. Its one of those things I hate the thought of until I start and then I find it really therapeutic. Also helps if you put it on the dressform and watch Criminal minds at the same time. By this point I'm not feeling too accurate and I kind of just wing it, and fold up bit by bit without measuring. I do make sure I don't pull too tight, and it's roomy, but still. Naughty.

I normally do a narrow hem, but I usually work with light cottons! I decided to try a bias bound hem, as I was worried about the "wool" being too bulky double-folded. Happily  it was beautifully neat. My best ever stitching and no one can see inside! I took pics for proof though. Thankfully most of the stitching is running through the black squares on the right side so it's almost invisible. 

Smack bang in that crease. 

To be honest. Up until finishing, I wasn't loving this dress. 
I was worried the bust apex was too low, I couldn't press out the darts how I wanted, I took ages to get through it, but once it was done - Hot Damn!! (in the words of Miss Demeanour)

I love it

I wore it to London yesterday to meet The Spoolettes and I was comfy all day. The waist is nice and fitted, but just enough room, the neck is comfy and the length is just right, and that was a complete fluke. 
Clearly I need to wear a bra with thinner straps though! lol

Not the best pics, I'm not exactly standing straight!!
But at least I'm looking really really happy. The Spoolettes will have that effect on you.

Thanks everyone for the encouragement to finish it! It was definitely worth it.

What next?


Club Tropicana - By Hand London's 1st Birthday!

Monday, 1 July 2013

As I'm sure you'll have seen about the blogosphere, the 3 beautiful girls of By Hand London had a tropical bash for their 1st Birthday! I was one of the lucky ones who got to see it in person, and the combination of  the wonderful weather and the tropical colours had me in even higher spirits than usual - 
and that was before I'd had any spirits!

Elisalex & I     :)
 I was rocking some double denim and a tropical print skirt! She was ROCKING a skirt so short it was illegal in 47 states.

After a few glass jars of Cava and their lethal Punch, and not forgetting the Tequila Jelly shots, we were all enjoying the day to the max :)

 Picture of a Hula-Hooping Nicole Needles by SewDixieLou

But back to the reason we were all there. 

The real reason we were all present was to celebrate these fabulous girls, who took a risk in life, and brought us their wonderful creations. And I'm sure I'm not alone in saying Thank You sooo much, and we are all behind you 1000%.

And if you haven't seen their patterns, then please click through to visit their website (and get out from under that rock - it's grubby down there!) 

And I urge you all to buy their patterns, please, because the only way that we can ensure that these girls can continue to make more beautiful, feminine and flattering patterns is by buying the ones that they already have! I've not seen a single person wearing one who hasn't looked amazing.

And I've seen a preview of the next one - its days away people and it is bloody fabulous! I am awaiting it with bated breath and will be buying it the moment it is released. 

So come on people. Paypal passwords to the ready.


I'll leave you with a random array of pics from the party!


Monaco! Courtesy of Clare at SewDixieLou

There are even better and more beautiful pics of the day over at SewDixieLou and House Of Pinheiro

Till next time (I swear that dress is nearly finished)

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs