Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Distorted fabric. Unsatisfactory seams and lie. Helen's red silk dress part 2.

I was quite flat tonight,  I'm afraid. Not because it is Blue Monday. (I'm not going to use the word ‘depressed’ as my background in mental health doesn't allow me to demote the meaning of that word to something simple and every day like being a bit fed up because something hasn't gone well.) I ran into problems with the dress I'm making for Helen.

I went to my sewing bee, complete with green crepe dress to move it on a bit and ensure that my ideas for attaching the pockets to the dress were okay.

I finished pulling through all the edge stitch thread ends at the corners of the pockets (after making sure I didn't have to redo them because of a bit of raw edge which I hadn't thought to overlock early enough. I didn't as that raw edge is enclosed in the seam at the top,  though I made it longer on one side than it should have been.  Sortable.

I haven't pressed the edgestitching yet in this photo

Anyway,  the dress was at the stage where I had sewn up the main seams, the hem was pinned up, the bias binding around the neck and armholes was attached but not yet topstitched. I hadn't earlier marked the placement for the pockets as I first needed to check with Helen whether she wanted them lowered along with the lowered waistline or kept at the same level. The answer was at the same level. I also have to top stitch and attach the pocket flaps - oh and buy some poppets and attach. Maybe a little more than I thought!

Rory examined the original red dress and realised the maker had attached the pocket flat to the front before the side seams were sewn and then the part that crossed the seam was sewn afterwards. She said this would be easier for me when I come to do the silk dress. Noted. This also applied to the back band.

I laid the dress out ready to mark where the pockets were going to go. I was feeling quite positive. I had earlier redone the back band the way that had been recommended in class and felt I was nearing the end of the process. Just pockets, back band and bias binding top stitching to do.

BUT I noticed that the hem was wonky. By that I mean the dress length was shortest at the side seams and curved markedly down to the front but less so to the back. This wasn't satisfactory. I took out the hem. I put the dress on a dress form in class and measured from the floor to get an even hem. I was worried that I'd  lose all the extra length I'd  added but,  fortunately, I'd had a 3 cm hem and I can reduce that to around 1 cm by just overlocking and turning over and top stitching. I don't think this really shows up on the photos.

So I spent a while pinning the hem length and then marking it with thread. Quite a bit would need to get cut off the front, graduating to zero at the sides. Less needs removed from the back, also graduating to zero at the sides.

Then I noticed that the side seams on the dress as worn by the model were not lying straight and vertical. Size wasn't too crucial an issue as this is a loose fitting dress, so I wasn't too concerned about differences in size between this model and Helen.

One seam moved forward, the other back. Certainly not vertical.
Left side seam, not as bad as right

Do not adjust your set! This is a vertical photo and you can see how far back this right side seam angles
On the original dress they were not perfect,  either, but clearly distortion from wear could be responsible for that.  My dress was supposed to be symmetrical. On the original dress,  the waistline (back of dress) clearly dropped at the sides. On the green dress, the sides did not match. One side curved up and the other was straight. The relationship changed if the dress was shifted. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo in class where this was clearer than it was later.

It seems that my fabric has distorted either before or after cutting.

Rory suggested taking out the waistline seam (it's rather up and down ie wiggly) and adjusting the lie on the model. It was the end of the sewing bee by this time so I decided I'd take out the seam at home ready for next time.

I discussed it with David at home.  He reminded me that this was,  in effect,  a toile,  a practice for the real thing,  the silk dress, and I shouldn't get too distracted by trying to achieve perfection in this one. He agreed that if it didn't take too long I should do what I could, though, when I said that I thought Helen was quite interested in this one, too.

We tried the dress on Missy.  Really,  it didn't look so bad!  However, there was a definite problem with one of the seams, more noticeable when the dress was laid flat outside in. This seam was rather puckered and there was excess fabric in the skirt part attached to that seam. The photos here are all on Missy as I didn't take any in class.

So this is what I decided to do :

Completely remove the back skirt section.
Measure it on the flat
Re-cut this section. I fully expect this to be required as I do remember that the shape didn't seem absolutely correct but I didn't realise the significance at the time. I had thought it was okay. Also,  I cut this in class,  on the fold which clearly can lead to slippage.

I have enough fabric.
It won't take long to cut out the piece, probably as fast as trying to rehang the other.
I'll take the opportunity to  put the pockets on the front, at least semi-flat. ditto back band.
I will not change the front or the back bodice and will not take further apart than I've described.

Wish me luck.

I hope to know by Wednesday whether this is salvageable or not

Okay, it's Tuesday now.

I unpinned the side seams from hem to waist and was quite surprised at the difference in lie. It didn't take long.
I hope this shows up in these quickly taken photos. I feel that the front is lying reasonably vertically at the sides. Maybe not perfect but this I'm not going to change.

Left side unpinned - not too bad

Back view after side seam released - there is quite a bulge on the right side, though left lies reasonably well

Left side at waistline

Detail of waistline on right side

Right side unpinned. Quite a problem!

I then unpinned the actual waist seam. Now my waistline curved slightly down, as intended.

I then laid out my fabric from the unpinned skirt. Look at the distortion in this back skirt piece!! No wonder I had problems!
Hem marked at the bottom. Rather distorted. This is as it lies, not due to the photo.

I assume this is due to the fabric being off grain when cut on the fold. You can see that I can place the edges together, but there is excess fabric on the side which isn't showing. It looks reasonably okay from this side, which is presumably what I saw. I can't see the fabric distorting by this amount afterwards.

I don't have time today to go any further - well, I might get the skirt pattern piece redrawn if I'm lucky but I won't be cutting out today. I go to bridge on a Tuesday evening.

Lessons learned -
  • If not absolutely happy with a piece, check again. It's easier to redo when it's still flat than after it's sewn up!
  • Listen to that inner voice
  • Cut on a single layer. In my defence I had been told it would be okay to cut double. I cut in class. However, as I'll be doing the real dress single layer I should do this one too. I hadn't realised that crepe could be so badly behaved.
Do you think it is salvageable?

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Hacking a Red Silk Dress for Helen - part 1. The original. And I'm Slimmer of the Week!


A long time ago, Helen bought herself a sandwashed silk dress in red. She loves this dress and has worn it again and again over the years. Its cost per wear is negligible as it has been worn so many times. I would say worn to death, indeed, but as Miracle Max said in the Princess Bride, it's not dead yet, just nearly dead!
Helen wearing the original red silk dress under a kimono - I don't have a photo of her wearing it on its own

Front on Missy*. The front is one piece
*for those not aware, Missy is the model we altered to my daughter's sizes when I was making her wedding dress last year. She's not perfect but not too bad. Helen did change shape for the wedding and lost a little weight , don't know where she had it to lose, but is probably back nearer to Missy's size again. Their shapes have never matched perfectly.

Back on Missy. Bodice has centre and two princess seams and waistline casing with tie, over seam.
You can see the pocket from the back as it crosses over the side seam.
The back waistline is clearly too high on the original but I can't show that here
There is no lining in this dress. The seams are overlocked together, folded to one side and topstitched in a double row - is that a mock fell seam? The hems is simply turn up and the raw edge turned under. It is badly worn, with separation of the layers at the fold.

Fraying at hem fold
From my point of view, the biggest issue is with the pockets. There is a pretty large gusset pocket (not sure of description) on each side,  with a flap. There are metal poppets for closure. The flap is two layers of silk, but not apparently interfaced. The flap gets very creased and its shape has distorted somewhat. The pocket had a simple double turned hem (or more likely bias binding turned to wrong side) at its open edge but the poppets are placed below this. Not surprisingly, there are a number of holes in areas of strain.

Overall pocket view

Pocket with flap opened. There is only a single layer of silk where the poppets are - they sit below the hemmed edge.

David's hand in pocket showing gusset

Closer view of flap

Silk torn around poppet as no reinforcing of any kind here

Helen asked me to hack this dress for her Christmas (instead of the tartan skirt I had planned).  I agreed but said
  1. I need to borrow the dress. Helen agreed provided that the dress wouldn't be destroyed by my hacking.
  2. It won't be ready for Christmas

Helen initially said the dress was just ‘perfect’ but then said she'd like the waist position 1”/2.5cm lower. However she said the length was perfect and she didn't want it any longer.

My first task was to get some matching red sandwashed silk (or bottle green as a second choice). I didn't manage on line so planned to visit Goldhawk Road in early December when I was in London for a few days. In the event, Helen wasn't able to go with me, as intended. However, I took the dress with me and matched up some silk. Helen saw the silk at Christmas and said it’s ideal.

I've washed the silk so that Helen can wash the dress rather than paying expensive dry cleaning bills.  The silk isn't ruined. I didn't measure before and after. I think it should be fine. There is ingrained staining on the crinkled bias bound edges of the original.

The neckline edge isn't that well sewn

Ingrained staining. This is inside of neckline, showing selg bias binding strip.

I then looked at the dress carefully.
Armhole dart
The front part is one piece with a small dart from armhole towards bust on each side,  no waistband plus two gusseted pockets with flaps,  closed by poppets.

The back is 5 pieces - skirt, centre back bodice x2 and side back bodice x 2 - plus a waist casing and tie

The seams are overlocked and top stitched.
The bottom hem is simply folded over,  approximately 1” deep
The armholes and necklines are double folded narrow hems,  as is the pocket edging or more likely bias binding. I'm going with bias binding
The pockets cross over the side seams so will have to be added at the end
This was a little more complex than I realised at first!

I carefully laid out the dress and pinned through the seams into paper. With wearing,  there had of course been some fabric distortion. Fortunately,  the dress is symmetrical - when I was hacking an asymmetrical dress for myself, it proved very complex to get the pieces matching;  in fact I haven't managed yet but plan to move it on in February when Nikki,  one of my co-students, and I will be attending a pattern hacking session. I can true up my pattern there.

After I drew out my first attempt,  I altered and trued it. I did this in my sewing bee and had available help from Rory and Dan.

Helen had asked that the waistline be moved down 1” but that the dress length remain unchanged. I therefore then lengthened the bodice pieces by inserting paper into the pattern on the back bodice pieces only and removed that amount from the back skirt. Distortion around the waist seam caused me some problems. It wasn't clear whether this seam should be curved or straight and this would have to be sorted out at toile stage. I made it curved in this rendition,  longer in centre back, shorter towards the sides.

With Dan's help, I trued the pattern. I managed to cut out the main pattern pieces but didn't, however, get a chance to sew up the toile until after Helen arrived for Christmas.

I haven't shown any photos of the pattern cutting process but will if I'm asked.

Helen tried on the toile on Boxing Day. This is a loose fitting dress,  but even so,  this appeared rather too loose at the back so I agreed to take the princess seams in just a little. I don't think I took any photos of that, stupidly - at least I can't find them

Helen felt that she would like the waist seam even lower. I had pinned out the curve I had drawn into the back bodice, thereby shortening it in the centre but this looks like it was the correct length to start with. On the pattern, I lengthened the sides to match.  This means that the waistline will be straight rather than curved.

Interestingly, Helen decided that she liked the length she tried the toile on at. It didn't have the hems sewn, so basically I need to add additional length. I did that while sorting out the waistline.

Helen wanted to keep the pockets the same as in the original. She doesn't use them,  rather they are decorative (why then have they been torn?). Rory had advised interfacing in the pockets but Helen didn't want this,  at least not in the pocket body. She reluctantly agreed to a very soft interfacing in the pocket flap. Even that took a little work.

I drew out the pocket pattern and Helen checked the sizing for me.  The pocket,  I think, will be the most complex part of this but I will get any required help from Rory and Dan. I took photos of the red dress and thought Helen would take it back with her, but she decided to leave it for  reference. The above photos are new ones I took today, Sunday 5 January, as I'm posting this first part.

My first steps are:
  • Preparing the silk fabric - done
  • Altering pattern and truing again - done
  • Making a test pocket (this is the bit that scares me) - done, though not attached
  • All that before I cut into the silk and make the bias binding


I've had two sewing bees since Christmas. I had altered the pattern before going along but asked for a quick check of it. I then went ahead and cut out my pattern pieces from dark green crepe. I said to Helen that I'd like to make another dress, a wearable toile if you like but designed to practice all the components, and offered her blue silk-like material or dark green crepe. She chose that even knowing the fabric was thicker and spongier.

So the red silk dress I was making us now a green crepe dress. Bear with me!

The first few steps of construction caused me no problems. Then I ran into some issues:
The fabric is too thick to have French (?) bias binding at armhole and neckline. Is it French bias binding where you attach on right side, turn to wrong side etc and stitch? I’ve decided to go with commercial bias tape, after trying out various techniques, and following advice at my sewing bees. Helen doesn't mind as it won't show. The red dress will have self fabric as that is much finer and will crease better.
I had allowed 1 cm seam allowances including at the top of the pocket. Rory advised a double turned edge with interfacing for stability. I did that but the resulting fabric was difficult to turn nearly and stitch. I did manage though

I spent Wednesday evening in class constructing a pocket. One of the other students is a professional upholsterer. She showed me how to do lovely boxed edges,  like you get on chair cushions, which applied to my design. I did one in class and have since done the other at home. The original is edgestitched and I'm going to try that but this fabric is awkward. Here is a taster of my next post on the dress.

Pocket for green dress, wrong side. Pocket edge has been double folded and top stitched. The gusset has been attached and raw wedges overlocked. The hand stitching is holding the pressed edges together ready for edgestitching
Slimmer of the week

In other news - I was Slimmer of the week at Slimming World on Thursday past! I joined between Christmas and New Year, lost 2 lbs in my first week and 4 lbs in my second. So only 1 lb to go to my half stone award. I'm particularly pleased as we were still entertaining for part of that time and using up Christmas goodies. I'm happy to say I'm already starting to feel rather better - more lively, less sluggish. I got a step counter for Christmas and I'm still getting nowhere near a reasonable number of steps in a day. No wonder I was gaining weight even on a reasonably healthy diet! But small steps as they say! I'd like to lose 2 lbs per week if possible as that seems a safe and reasonable amount. So for my birthday in 26 weeks I should have lost everything I want to - but I know it doesn't go like that and gets harder and harder. I'm feeling really rather inspired just now!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Bias cut top for my Mum, using modified Simplicity 2594

Simplicity 2594, modified

Back - modelled on Missy

Front - modelled on Missy

I used the same pattern, Simplicity 2594, version B, as I used in my PR Sewing Bee round 2 to make my mother a bias cut top. It's her birthday on Wednesday coming; she'll be 89. She always says we give her too much for Christmas, she doesn't need anything etc. This year, as part of her Christmas, I made her an infinity scarf using a remnant of fabric from fabric that she gave me when she could no longer see to sew (she's registered blind/partially sighted from macular degeneration). She absolutely loves the scarf - not so much for the scarf, I think, as she would have preferred it longer, I'm sure - but for the fabric. This fabric really brought back memories. Memories of happier times. Because of her response, I decided that I would try to make her a top using this fabric, which she had also given me. There is actually a fair amount of fabric, so I wasn't short.

What to make?
My mother loves cowl necks
I didn't have any sizes for her, though I could make a guess based on RTW sizing.  She is becoming more 'wizened' with age
My mother has a marked spinal kyphosis (I don't like the term dowager's hump combined with significant forward thrusting neck!). She doesn't have the fat pad over the upper part of the back that is often associated with this. She has lost a bit of weight (she doesn't need to lose weight and is trying to put it on again) and is actually rather bony - each of her vertebrae is visible.
My mother was a tall woman for her generation - she was 5' 8 1/2" which meant she towered above her peers, male and female. She has shrunk considerably as can be seen from the photo of her with my two older daughters. They are about 5'9", I think, both less tall than either Helen or me.

My mother, wearing the infinity scarf , with Alison and Joanne

She has a hiatus hernia and finds bras uncomfortable - I therefore didn't know where any bust fullness would fall in a top
There was too much fabric simply to make another scarf. You can only wear so many scarves, anyway!

Most of my patterns were in a bigger size range.
I didn't want to make her a pattern with side bust darts
I found a couple of patterns but was really unsure as both required a fastening at the back of the neck and I wasn't sure if my Mum would manage that.
I had a pattern for a nice top with a cowl neck which was for stretch fabrics and this isn't a stretch fabric, but I thought I could adapt. However, I had got the pattern in a pattern swap or some such and there were many pieces missing. It wasn't worth trying to develop the missing pieces and try to adapt from stretch. I gave the pattern to Rory who said it would be pretty easy to recreate the back, which was the major piece missing in my mother's size range. All of the pieces were missing for my size range.
I therefore realised that the only potentially suitable pattern I had was the one I had used for the PR Sewing Bee.
I say potentially suitable, as I had to downsize the pattern.

I ran into problems when I thought I had lost the pattern and instructions. I asked for some advice on PR about the instructions but fortunately found them - where they had been all along and where they should have been!

So, the pattern:

I decided I would make a size 14. I hope this isn't too big, but it's based on my mother's RTW size UK14. Some of her current tops are too big, for her, though it's difficult to be sure how much of that is due to her body shape.
I didn't have too much difficulty scaling down the pattern.
At that stage, I had still lost the pattern and didn't have the yoke pattern pieces. I did have the yoke piece I had done for me (size 18). Thanks to David, who asked me what I needed to do about my mother's kyphosis - I hadn't even thought about that! I read up about the pattern modifications required and realised that she needed more length in the centre of the back. I took the pattern to Rory for some advice. She advised that the yoke neck would need built up and that I would need additional length in the body portion of the back, rather than the yoke portion. I made the pattern modifications in class but didn't cut out the fabric.
This is the amount added to centre of back - tapered to sides

Overall view of half of modified back. The back piece has a very marked curve
Modified neckline - don't worry! The peak is just from the way it is lying. The curve was smooth

Detail to show amount added at neck. Note above comment re centre.

Rory felt that the cowl fullness would mean that I didn't need to alter the front. I had wondered about a reduction in shoulder to bust length but was also aware that my mother's bust is lower than it used to be. Rory hasn't met my mother, of course, and I realised that she had started by assuming that my mother had a mild kyphosis, rather than the marked version she has. Everything was guessing as I have never measured my mother. I hadn't intended until now to make her a top.

So, I made up a pattern guessing my mother's sizes and guessing at the amount of curvature of her spine. Not a good start, really, is it?

The fabric is a rich, colourful silky fabric, labelled 'Dishine crepe high count CMY no 2514'. I hadn't used it for myself as these are not my colours. I'm not sure of its composition. There is no stretch in it. It wasn't too difficult to work with, though a couple of bits slipped without me realising.
I had no major issues making up the top, except that I was using a fine needle on my machine as this fabric is fine and silky and the needle basically couldn't cope with the seam junctions when I was topstitching around the armholes/yoke. There are several layers there.

I used the burrito method for the yoke
The shoulder is turned over the seam allowance of the front and topstitched. This is how the pattern says to do the yoke but I prefer the cleaner finish of the burrito method.
The hem and the armhole hems are double turned and topstitched.
Not a difficult top to make.

I'm posting the top tomorrow, so she will get it for her birthday on the 11th. There is zero chance that she can let me have a photo of her wearing it. I hope it fits.

Edited to add. It's my mother's birthday today and she told me the top fits. I haven't seen it,  though. She told me the fabric was silk bought in Thailand in 1992.  I asked Rory to test the fabric at my class tonight - regrettably, as I suspected, this isn't silk. I won't tell her,  though.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Goals and Plans for 2017

Goals and Plans for 2017

Again, I'm linking to Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow in the top 5 of 2016

These are in no way New Year's Resolutions.  Those are just too easy to break!

These are those goals and plans that relate to sewing.

Strangely,  though not so when I tell you more, my first goals concern weight and health.

  • Many of my clothes have become too tight
  • My bras were strangling me and I had to buy new ones (I do not have any plans to make bras)
  • I saw a couple of RTW items that I liked but I was too big for the biggest size (regular range,  not plus sized range) or they are too short (one of the reasons I started making my own)
  • I was becoming breathless far too easily
  • I felt unwell
  • I was sent for heart tests because of some enzyme and chest X-ray abnormalities and need to get a 24 hour monitor in January. There isn't a major problem. My heart rate is fast, probably because I am unfit. I have a minor ECG issue. I had heart surgery in 2000 to repair a congenital hole in the heart, found by chance after I'd had a couple of brief  transient ischaemic attacks which can be stroke precursors. I've been fine since.
  • I have been getting no exercise since not playing golf,  that's since the end of September. I can only imagine increasing my fitness will benefit my heart!
  • My knees hurt more than they did. They're having to carry more weight.
  • I didn't like what I was seeing in the mirror.
  • I had put on weight, but not as much I thought as would account for the way I was feeling and looking. I'm out of shape even more.

Today, I went back to Slimming World. I've been before and did well. David doesn't need to lose weight beyond the 2 or 3 pounds he's put on over Christmas but will be supportive. He doesn't see why people need to attend such things as Slimming World but I need that input. I was heavier this time than when I started last time. That time I lost 2 stones;  this time it needs to be nearer 3.

In addition, I will restart golf. I find that type of exercise more enjoyable than a gym.

Alison gave me a watch that measures steps etc and I've set some goals on that for daily activity. Even on a day to day basis, I'd become less active. Unfortunately, sewing is not a particularly active hobby. So far,  I've met my goals on daily activity,  but I did start easy!

Being slimmer will allow me to wear some clothes that I can't currently. Both those that I have that are currently too tight and those I might buy.


I will sort out my blocks after I've got about half way with my weight loss. I have to do this. I will sew for where I am, though, as well as thinking about where I want to be. So I won't delay until I reach a weight goal - that was one of my previous u=issues with making trousers and I didn't ever finish.

Sewing Plans:

Last year,  I didn't actually complete a wearable garment for myself. That wasn't intentional. Sure, I was busy with wedding sewing for the first half of the year but found it difficult to get going afterwards. So in 2017 I will be sewing for me.  Not exclusively, as I do enjoy sewing for the family, but I'd like to get a few garments made for myself.

I have issues with RTW relating to fit (sure - quality too but I'm referring only to fit here). Some of the issues are related to my height (5’11”), some to my basic shape (pear), some to my ‘maturing’ body shape - more around the middle than I ever had and some because I'm overweight.

These are the items I find hardest to buy:


RTW issues
  • crotch length and depth too short;
  • waist gaping as my waist is much smaller than my hips.
  • My thighs are quite chunky,  too.
  • I don't tend to have problems getting the legs long enough - and there are some specialist companies catering for tall women, should I need that.
  • In addition, I don't like low rise. I prefer my waistband at my natural waist, or just below.

I intend 2017 to be the year of trousers.  I have consistently failed to get trousers to fit,  either RTW or me-made.  I attended a jeans making class; I can sew them,  but they don't fit. In class we drew up a pattern using Dennic Chunman Lo rather than say Aldrich  and it just didn't work. I wasn't the only one in this position. We tried to make changes but again the term ended before we had got far enough and I had no desire to continue.

My tutor  is going to help me get a decent trouser block. I believe she is thinking about draping though I'm not entirely sure.


RTW issues
  • Sleeve and body length. Most of my blouses and shirts have sleeves that are too short. While I'm happy to wear some styles over a skirt or trousers, I want to be able to tuck my blouses in securely.
  • Being tall, I sometimes find that bust darts are too high as there isn't enough length between shoulder and bust.
  • I don't like shirts with pockets as the positioning of them is usually not flattering on me.
  • More recently I have found that my bust is bigger because of weight gain I assume and a couple of the shirts I have pull a bit at the front,  not an issue I had previously. I am quite wide shouldered. I am having to do FBAs on virtually all patterns and now feel that some of the. RTW that fitted me previously could do with the same!

As yet, I haven't chosen what I might like to make.


RTW issues similar to blouses and shirts.

Last term my class was on jacket tailoring. We made up a standard size jacket - 10 or 12 (UK). It would have fitted Helen widthwise but would have been too short in body and arms.  No chance of it fitting me! I didn't actually finish it as after we made the practice jacket, the idea was to make our own fitted jacket. We all ran out of time. I have made an initial fitting toile in calico and will make a few changes to the pattern and make up another toile,  this time in boiled wool. I'll give more details at a later stage.

I have also started the Morris blazer from Grainline.

I thought this would be easy but have found it rather more difficult than anticipated. It's a blazer without darts. I chose the correct size for my upper chest and shoulders and made a full bust adjustment, following the instructions on Grainline. Their instructions leave a side dart. I don't like that but don't see how to get rid of it sensibly. I made up a toile but chose a poor fabric - too thin and too stretchy.

After Christmas, I plan to finish this blazer, too. I have had to abandon the plans I had to use striped jersey as it is too thin. I may use a plain boiled wool.

SWAP (Sewing with a Plan)

The Stitchers Guild runs a kind of contest each year. I have never entered.  It involves producing a number of garments (11 this year)by sewing or knitting which work together, by end April. There are guidelines for these garments which are detailed elsewhere so I don't need to go into detail, particularly as I’m not sure which path I’ll take. There should be a combination of ‘bottoms’, ‘tops’, dresses and ‘overlayers’ some of which can be outerwear. They can include one made previously, one bought and although the official start date is Boxing Day,  you can start early. I tried to do one of the tops early (hacking from a RTW top) but ran out of time before Christmas.

Provided I manage the jackets, above, and the trouser block,  I hope to enter the SWAP.  I would put in 2 or 3 pairs of trousers,  plus or minus jeans, the two jackets mentioned above,  some tops and a cardigan. Even though my class next term is outerwear, I don't think I'll be trying any of that for this. If I decide to do this,  I may not finish it in the time available but would continue until I had completed it. I would include a couple of blouses/shirts and try to make a pair of close fitting trousers. Obviously, leggings would be easier and so faster, but I don't wear them.

I'm not yet absolutely committed to this so haven't made any detailed plan. You'll be the first to know if I go ahead! It could work for my reunion weekend.

Helen's wedding dress

I need to reassemble it! I took it apart to try to clean it, but unsuccessfully, and Helen is quite distressed that it has remained that way (disassembled more than the dirty part). So I'll put it together and get it back to her.

Helen's red silk dress

I should get that done relatively quickly as the toile only needed minor alteration. I'm likely to find the pockets most difficult. Interestingly, the pockets are actually gusseted and are like those in outerwear. We'll be looking at those next term. I don't see them as being very appropriate in a silk dress but Helen loves them. I have some photos of the dress but Ill wait until things are back to normal here (Just escaping for a few minutes)

Level 3 Sewing Class

Next term is outerwear and I think the third term is lingerie (can't quite remember offhand). I'm carrying on with the course.

40 year reunion

For our reunion 40 years after graduating from Glasgow University,  we will have a long weekend in a spa hotel in Scotland,  in November 2017. Some of my friends from uni don't intend to go,  which is sad, so I don't know how popular it will be. I plan to make a few garments for this long weekend, a travel wardrobe, maybe. Not sure what yet. I will include an evening dress,  though. Maybe.

I hope you all had a good Christmas break - and I wish you a Happy New Year 2017