Mazakon Makes

Mazakon Makes

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Two new dress patterns ordered

I have been making an effort to sew wearable stuff over the summer - and my two Monetas and my summer tops have got a lot of wear. However the time for sensibleness has passed and I have ordered two dress patterns today that I am very excited about.

In the Mandors sale I bought three yards of a gorgeous Liberty wool:

Isn't it lush? It was my only impulse purchase as everything else I bought that day I had a pattern in mind for. Autumn is my favourite clothes season, chunky tights and skirts and warmness and I thought that this would make a lovely dress that could be dressed up or down. 
So I began a hunt for a dress pattern. I have been reading lots of other dressmaking blogs and they have made me want to make woven dresses that actually fit me! My most successful dress (that I will blog about next week) is lovely and I wear it but there is something weird happening across the top of the chest. So the plan for this lovely wool is to find a gorgeous pattern, make a toile and make sure it fits properly before I make it.

After much fretting I finally decided I would make the Anna dress from By Hand London. My favourite blog is Roisin at Dolly Clacket and she has made multiple amazing Anna dresses. I love the pleats in the bodice for the boobs. I am a bit worried about if it will suit my roundy tummy figure but hopefully the toile will let me figure that out. I want to make the shorter one and I figured I would get a cheapy lightweight cotton to make my toile in and hopefully it would be wearable.
So I ordered the pattern this morning. And then when I was wandering around the sewing interweb I found this picture:

How gorgeous is this? It is New Look  6909 and it is out of print. I tracked it down from an Etsy seller and ordered it as well. A rummage around Pinterest showed up lots of cute versions of this dress and I am very, very excited. I think it will be gorgeous in the brocade material that I am going to make my sisters dress out of, remember it?

 So I am now thinking I will make a summer Anna and save my lovely wool for this Jackie O type pattern. Very excited.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Maeve's Mad as a Frog dress

The middle daughter has inherent good taste - much better than mine I suspect. This is the second time she has chosen fabric that I have thought secret bad thoughts about and it has come up trumps. I give you Maeve's Mad As A Frog dress:

Maeve's Mad As A Frog Dress
How cool is that? The frog is quite unexpected in this flowery material. We bought it a few months ago and she kept going to look at the material and have a laugh. So I positioned a big frog right in the middle of the front bodice for maximum giggles:


I had been looking for a very basic pattern to crack out a few dresses for the girls. Most of the dresses they have go by the basic shape of a sleeveless bodice and gathered skirt. My friend Judith passed on a pattern to me that her mother had got in the Prima magazine in July and didn't want and it was perfect (and free). It will be easy to customise and embellish (which I can be bothered thinking about that).

It has an invisible zip which I was feeling quite trepidatious about inserting. As it turns out I had good reason. I watched a free Craftsy class on zipper insertion and felt that I could give it a whirl. I have an invisible zipper foot and it LOOKS okish but  a) the bloody zip is too short (argh!) b) the zip is hard to take up and down - I think I sewed too close, but the invisible zipper foot meant I couldn't go further away c) I put it too high up so you can see it sticking out of the top d) there is a wee gap at the bottom where the bodice meets the skirt. So basically I need to do it again. Being impatient I wanted to get it up here anyway and will fix problems soon.

Invisible zipper: looks ok, but it's crap
She is pleased with it and wants it to be her party dress. Bless her heart, she is a mother maker's dream - her current party dress is one I made for her big sister that she refused to wear but she loves.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Retrospective: Butterick B5285

Hello all, the schools went back today in Scotland. This means the end of our summer travels (we got back from Ireland visiting family at the weekend) and also means I will be going back to work in a few weeks. The flitting around the place has meant less time for sewing, but the going back to work will affect that even more. So I would like to knock out a few projects over the next couple of weeks and then spent what little time I will have making a painstakingly perfect woollen dress for the winter. I have the fabric bought for this and have been agonising over patterns but think I have decided on one. That will be another post however. 

I am about to make my third version of Butterick B5285. This pattern has a story. I know. Exciting.

After I started dressmaking classes and had been plodding through a couple of terms it occurred to me I should look at clothes I like and try to get patterns like them to make. I had had my third baby and was still at classes and struggling through a dress I was making a mess of and I hated. The baby and I were going to a music class run by a lovely German lady who wore nice clothes. One week she turned up in a pleated skirt made in a stiff, shiny, brocade material. The weight of the material meant that it flared out at the bottom of the pleats. It looked fantastic and I wanted it.

I had decided to make myself a shirt for the next block of classes - I am not that into shirts but I thought it would be challenging. As I was up the other end of town I called into the The Dress Fabric Company. My friend Jane had been there and had been very nice about it. It is small but the fabric is lovely and the lady who runs it fabulous. If I lived on the south side I would consider becoming her BFF. She gave me advice on a shirt pattern and then, as an afterthought, I asked her about the skirt. She went rummaging through her pattern catalogues and came up with one she through would work.

I realise then how limited my imagination was. I would never have managed to find this as I was very focused on the material and didn't think about the shape of the skirt. In the mean times as well I found a very similar looking skirt in the Macy's sale when visiting a friend in Calfornia. It had the pleats, the shine and the sticky outness.
I didn't make this one - it is one I found that matched the shape I wanted.

This skirt pattern needs a wide fabric - 150cm. This wasn't that obvious from the back of the packet so I think I had a couple of false starts getting material that wasn't wide enough and so could not get the full length of the skirt in. I had bought a skirt length of a shiny gold knit material at Mandors and the pattern fit on it. It didn't have the fabric weight that I wanted but it had the shine so I gave it a whirl. It was a real nightmare to work with - slippy and impossible to make marks on using anything but tacking (slow and boring). I managed to cobble it together but then struggled with the waistband in that material. Also I was meant to but a zip in! However after I had finished my very perfect but not really worn very much shirt I brought the skirt in to show the teacher and she just suggested I put elastic in. So I did and it worked and no zip trauma - hurrah. here it is.

Shimmer shimmer

Special apology to my friend Julie at Quilty Kilty who hates embarrassing poses for blog photos

 Isn't it lovely? It is the first thing I made that I wore AND got spontaneously complimented on. It is so glittery it is the kind of thing you have to point out. I found it hard to figure out what to wear with it and ended up with that black body on the recommendation of friends. I am not sure I have the styling of it sorted out but it works for now. I have my eye on the Nettie bodysuit from Closet Case Files. This is on my long list.

Happily I also had enough material left over to make mini-me skirts for the girls which they love.
Skirt number one was a success but it wasn't the big flary out affair that I originally wanted. I started a material hunt but couldn't find any nice brocade. I even searched through curtain material but it wasn't what i wanted. It wasn't the end of the world as I did have the version that I had bought in California.

Having a rummage through my stash I found some beautiful stiff silk my mother had given me when I was home visiting one time. It was left over from her bridesmaid's dress and was the most gorgeous bluey black shiny colour. I tried the pattern on it but I didn't have enough to make the original length and so I decided to make a slightly shorter one. It was so easy to make with a stiff stable material. It came together really fast and I put in my most successful zip (forgot to photograph that bit , it is gorgeous). It is rather creased in all these photos so I might have to take some more (but I suffer from a lack of photographer, I made my poor sister take loads of me today when she popped round for a visit).

Ignore the lack of pressing, this one shows the pleats best.
 I really really love this skirt. Really love it. And I have been on the hunt to find some lovely material to make it for my sister. In The Cloth Shop next to my girls' school I saw this in a pile next to the till:

Isn't it lovely? I love the colour and the texture and the pattern. I was so in love with it that I bought five metres - two to make my sister a skirt and the rest for a dress for me (again on the long list).

That is all for tonight. I have a dress for middle daughter almost finished that makes her laugh. It needs hemmed and I need to make sure she can get into it (I think the zip is too short). I also have some dresses that I brought back from Ireland that my mother made and I am hoping (with the help of a seamstress friend) to adjust to fit me. So I will have more to write about over the next few week. 

Enjoy August people.