Do you ever get stuck on something stupid? For me it’s the thought of making sure my lining is straight and centred on my curtains when using different width fabrics for each. Somewhere along the way I declared 2014 would be the year of the curtain. The year I stop letting my heat sail out my uncovered windows. The year I go back to using my lovely little parlour room in winter and not be on show to the road due to lack of curtains. The year I sew those many metres of fabric I so excitedly chose and make my damn curtains. And here we are, in November and still the only room with curtains is my bedroom.
Until I had a brainwave… my non bedroom curtains don’t need to be lined. D’OH!!!

I joined in with the Follow Your Arrow Mystery Knitalong run by Ysolda back in January and when I was done knitting I discovered the magic of blocking. I’d never properly blocked anything before, it was kind of unnerving stretching my precious knitting out but it led to a spate of blocking…

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Molly of Toferet’s Empty Bobbin has experienced first hand the extreme levels of procrastination and perpetually running lateness of Louise, but we have completed our Sew Bossy swap and I think it’s pretty cool to have both come out the other side with wearable garments, I know mine is in regular rotation in my every day wardrobe.

So Molly sent me the most amazingly mustardy yellow fabric with a deadly stubby texture, which I believe has come all the way from her grandmother’s stash. I don’t know fibre content but it’s super soft to touch and although it appears at first glance to be a dense enough weave it’s pretty shifty once you get into it. My sew bossy project didn’t use up the very generous length that Molly sent me so I’ll be excited to make something else from it too!

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I had a choice of pattern and went with McCalls Fashion Star M6600. I made View A, which comes with a self fabric belt but I didn’t like the belt at all so I hit upon the idea of stuffing some elastic into the waist to make it more fitted so I’ve actually ended up with a finished object more closely resembling View B which features an enclosed drawstring waist.

The fabric is dense enough not to need lining, and I used some old left over wool on the inside of the back yoke instead of a self lining. I also let the hem swoop down along the back as I think it sits nicely.

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I think this might be my first Big 4 pattern… I figured from the size of the pattern pieces that there was plenty of ease built in so I launched straight into the swapped fabric without a toile. Obviously this is why I ended up going back in with the elastic waist but I love the finished result. Yes the elastic placement should really have been checked and marked rather than eyeballed, and yes, it probably would’ve been easier to put it in before sewing up the sides but in this instance all’s well that ends well!

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Molly also sent me a selection of buttons but I’ve saved them for another project, and instead used little black ones that I rescued off one of my older and more experimental makes, mostly because the cuff is teeny and I wanted to have functioning buttons on them so I could roll my sleeves up and down.

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In summary, swapping fabric and patterns is fun yo!!! Thanks for thinking of me Molly & I hope you get as much wear and enjoyment from your make :-)

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My bike greeted me with a flat tyre when I came out of the office so I found myself sitting waiting for a bus with no knitting, no book & no music; no entertainment. Time to write one of the many over due blog posts so!!!

One of the things I enjoy most about creating my own clothes is that I can dream up an idea and then make it happen. If you’ve been here before you probably already know that I also love to draft my own patterns. Usually I spend so much time thinking about it and going through both the drafting and the construction in my head that I then run out of time and suddenly the event I planned on wearing my new clothes to is looming and I rush the toiling, changing things on the fly and foregoing nice finishes. This is something I want to change and this shirt is one of the first of my new leaf!

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A few years ago Carolyn posted a triple collar sleeve/shoulderless shirt and the sleeve/shoulderlessness stayed with me. I’m a fan of exposed shoulders and like the juxtaposition of a halter type view from the front with a smart collar sitting on top! This shirt is the first of a few, I made a couple of toiles beforehand and this one is totally workable but the pattern hasn’t reached it’s final iteration yet.

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For now though it serves me well. The shoulder action, breezy boxiness and preppy collar all add up to a happy Louise! Oh and I discovered that the wrong side of a lovely floral cotton I didn’t quite know what to do with makes a lovely subtle biasbinding which I used to finish the armholes and the curved hem.

Cheers to my sis for the use of her lil sewing machine while mine was in getting serviced and to my dad for the impromptu photography session! (Which, by the way, is also why you’re seeing my slightly rumpled and worn out & about for a day, impromptu doesn’t really allow for freshly ironed!)

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I’m sure you’re probably already aware of paprika Patterns formerly known as Lisa from Small Things! She of yellow hoody and folded mini fame?! Lisa is the process of developing pattern(s?) for release, the first of which is a further development of her folded mini’s, the Jade Skirt, which includes a longer length variation. When Lisa asked if I would test her pattern I was delighted to help. After some pondering about making it in a woven rather than knit/stretch and an email discussion regarding ease/negative ease as the case may be, I got to work on the pattern as written, using the recommended stretch jersey/knit, not woven. Although I love a mini length I went with the longer one because I figured it could multi-task as a work skirt. I actually made this skirt in July 2013, and the photos are from April 2014 so you can see it’s holding up well, anyone who saw the flood of self “portraits” that was my Me Made May will have also seen that this skirt gets lots of wear. I love it equally for casual or work and is perfect for when both occur without time to change in between!

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The making was a bit of a puzzle at first, those folds took a bit to “click” in my head but once they did and I could see what I was doing it was plain sailing from there. I have all of the folds machine stitched down in place which gives a nice structure to the skirt. Also, if you think my seams are looking a bit bulky I admit that I didn’t trim before stitching closed and I had pulled the side seams in a bit to get the fit I wanted.

The double thickness of fabric is a super welcome feature in the winter, it’s a result of the all encasing construction method that leaves you with no exposed seams on the inside, as I type this it has just occurred to me that it also saves you from hemming your skirt and the will it won’t it wave rollercoaster that hemming knits can be.

I didn’t want a self-fabric waistband, partly because I just didn’t trust that it would do the job so I went for an exposed elastic waistband instead, a super simple finish but one I really like the look of. I know other people may sneer at elastic waistbands but I like ’em, particularly when it’s just a nice thick length of elastic, no bunch-y fabric casing… there’s something satisfyingly urban about it.

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The pattern isn’t quite ready yet as far as I know but you can sign up for their newsletter here to be alerted re developments!

I realise now that these pics don’t actually show the elastic waistband that I’ve just waxed lyrical about so for the time being you’ll just have to trust me on that score… I’ll come back and update the post with evidence at some point!

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This dress didn’t make an appearance during me-made-may but that was for lack of an occasion rather than any other reason. The one out of my two planned wedding guest dresses that got made, and in fact got worn for one of the intended weddings, a fortieth birthday and another unexpected wedding (as in the invitation was unexpected, not the occasion!). These photos were taken at the last wedding, on a sneaky wander around the grounds while the bridal party got their photos taken. It was cold & damp & I make stupid faces by talking to my “official photographer” so no photo dump overload here!!!

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The fabric is a wool mix I picked up in Murphy Sheehys, there’s definitely some acrylic in there because it dries super quick (both out of the washing machine and when people tip surplus guinness over me!!). The full dress is lined with a nothing in particular lining, it’s navy and I think actually the same as the grey stuff that I lined my minoru with back in the day.

I drafted the pattern for this myself, which is something I love to do. It’s really great to follow an idea through from a picture in your head, to lots of lines on a flat page, to a finished garment. I actually snapped some pics while I was in the process of drafting the pattern with the intention of doing a series of posts from inspiration to pattern to dress because someone said they’d be interested in the process but it’s been so long now I’m sure they’ve long forgotten that and I don’t have access to all my photos at the moment because my MacBook went to the Big Apple Store in the Sky *sob*.

Back to the dress; I folded out the shoulder darts so it’d be fitted through the shoulders but without the line of the dart, cut away the shoulders by coming in a sharp line from the armhole (and I must say I’m pretty happy with the shape of them and the faux collar piece), added an upper back bodice panel and a centre back pleat (for no other reason than I felt like it!) and sliced up from the hem into the bodice to spread and add lots of flare.

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There’s a major flaw with this dress which I’m going to go back and fix… the sh1tty plasticky horsehair braid that I ordered online because I’ve never come across it here in Dublin, that has got to come out, I’ve been putting off posting these pictures because the hem galls me so much!

Other than that I love the sweeping wide hem and the asymmetric buttons and plan on bringing dress into my winter wardrobe as part of a boots, tights & blazer combo. Also of note, this is incredibly fun to cheesy dance to, so much hem movement!

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