Sunday, 13 May 2018

Simple Sew Patterns, Lucille Dress

It's taken an embarrassingly long time for my Lucille dress to reach completion. The dress comes with two different skirt options- a lovely 50s style circle skirt or a sexy fitted pencil skirt. As much as I was tempted to go vintage and swish around in a circle skirt I knew that I would get more wear from the pencil skirt and also that it was about time I focussed on fitting those back darts down to a T.

Choosing the more fitted option meant I had no choice but to toile up first. I grabbed my calico and got cracking. Toile making however coincided with the Easter Bank holiday when we had yet another freak outburst of snow and my heating broke! It was so cold in my house, prancing around in my underwear trying to make adjustments to my summery dress was just too much for me!

Luckily the weather didn't last and the following week I got my toile into some form of assemblage. I instantly fell in love with the neckline. The pleats on the bust look really effective and professional, but they were really super simple to put together. If you make sure you cut your notches then the magic really happens when you line up your centre fronts and the overlap creates this sexy plunge.

I found the cups a little too roomy so I pinned out some of the upper bodice before the shoulder seam. This made my arm holes significantly smaller so had to increase the seam allowance at the back arm holes to allow for movement. I took also pinned a little out from the underarms making the bodice a little more fitted around the bust.

I like the use of pleats instead of darts on tHe centre front skirt, but you have to be super precise otherwise it is REALLY obvious if they aren't symmetrical! I changed the hip shape in the skirt a little to allow the pleats to sit nicely, then in true Angela fashion I make the whole thing about 4 inches shorter haha!

I keep on putting off fitted skirts because I absolutely hate adjusting the back. I have a tiny back compared to my front so always end up having to play around with darts which is dead hard when you're wearing it! So further delay was caused when I spent a good two weeks redrawing various different dart placements with pure guesswork. In the end I called on my good friend Aimee of Wrong Doll, the best sister in stitch anyone could ask for. In less than 24 hours from my panicky text I was in her flat with a cup of tea talking about boys and getting my back darts SORTED. Now she'll say she didn't know what she was doing but the results suggest otherwise. I was SO much happier with the results than anything I'd come up with in my room.

With new adjustments fresh in my head I got home and altered my paper pattern. My next toile was cut from an old bed sheet which was a similar weight to my lush fabric sent over from Doughty's Online. Over the course of time it had taken to get to this point (feels like we've been through allll the seasons!) I'd been working on getting my body into shape and building some core muscle. This caused even more fitting adjustments as I went along! Every day seemingly a different shape! No wonder toiling was taking so long!!

Finally I took the plunge and made the cut into my beautiful bird fabric. I think a few of my Insta followers were holding their breath too! I decided to line the skirt, as the cotton lawn was quite thin (though I must add wonderfully sturdy), and I really wanted to build a bit of form in the skirt pleats. I faced the bodice using the same fabric, adding a lightweight interfacing, again to add some structure.

I used a dark navy satin from Hillsborough Fine Fabrics to line the skirt. I made the lining about 1.5cm shorter than the dress and did a double turned hem.

Thankfully I didn't come up against any more major hitches, no more snow, no more body changes and no more fitting drama. I tweaked a few little areas as I went along but nothing major.

My favourite part of this dress has got to be neckline on the bodice. Now that I've got those cup shapes perfect I'm keen to make a few tops using the same pattern and maybe insert an underarm zipper.

So glad I got this guy all finished the week before my birthday! Got a few nights out planned and can't wait to show Lucille off!

Has anyone else made a Lucille? What fabrics did you use? Next time I would like to use something a little sturdier to add a little more form to the skirt shape. Loving my summery florals though!


Location: Redmires Reservoir, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Stop, Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club

Monday, 7 May 2018

Inserting Eyelets

There's no need to be scared of inserting eyelets. I was until I rocked up at my local fabric shop and asked if they had a tool I could put my eyelets in with. What I got instead was a full show and tell on how to insert them. The eyelets I had were Hemline 10.5mm. They didn't have an actual 10.5mm tool in the shop, so instead we tried an 11mm and it worked fine.
Here's how:

You will need-

Front Eyelet // Back Eyelet

Bottom Tool // Bopping Tool

1- Mark eyelet placement on fabric

2- Make a small hole by folding the fabric to a point and snipping

3- Place front eyelet into the hole, make sure the face of the fabric is face down

Back // Front

4- Slot front of front eyelet into bottom tool

5- Place back eyelet piece onto the back, ridge side facing the fabric

6- Place rounded end of the ‘bopping tool’ (!) onto the back of the eyelet

7- BOP! Use a hammer to hit the tool on top of a hard surface (I used an anvil)

8- Remove the tools… Mwah!


Currently listening to: Express Yourself, NWA

Sunday, 15 April 2018

McCalls M7634, Tracksuit Bottoms

Part two of my McCalls M7634 pattern sporty set!

I was so in love with my hoodie, there was no way I wasn't gonna make the matching bottoms. I had some left over fabric, grosgrain ribbon, ribbing and drawstring lace. My only addition to my stash for this project was some wide elastic to add to the waistband. Although the pattern doesn't mention it, I thought it would be a good call to save any embarrassment whilst doing my starjumps.

The bottoms include two side pockets and a bum pocket. The shorts pattern include two bum pockets, so you can mix and match that bit up if you fancy. I added a 2cm strip of medium weight interfacing to the seams joining the opening of the pocket to the trousers so that the pocket didn't gape. I thought it might be a bit risky not using a stretch interfacing, but seeing as that area shouldn't stretch anyway I thought I could get away with it. The pockets are then pressed, understitched, then topstitched for a nice clean finish.

The bum pocket is just a square of fabric with the edges folded in. Again I used a little strip of interfacing to add some sharpness to the top fold.The pocket is then edge stitched onto the bum between the placement dots.

Next is the side seams. I stitched up with the recommended 1.5cm seam allowance then pinned the inner leg seam. The trousers fit my legs but I knew that if I was ever going to wear them for sports I would have to crop them to just below knee length and add a rib cuff. I took 41cm from the bottom of each leg. This also meant narrowing the legs to avoid a genie trouser situation!! I stitched a new seam about an inch inward from the outside leg seam (so 2 inches in total), which I then graded back out to meet the original seam just below the pocket.

It is essential to get this seam perfect at this stage, as the next step is sewing on your ribbon stripes before the inner leg seam is closed up. This goes over the outside seam, so to change it later on you'd have to remove your stripes which I guess would be a real pain.

After attaching my Badidas stripes, but before committing my inner leg seam, I pinned in the crotch seam and tried on. It's reaaaally hard to tell how/where they are gonna sit before the waistband is on there, but it was clear that there was a bit too much 'bag' going on at the front and also a little gape at the centre back. To start with I changed the pins so that I took an extra triangle out at the centre front and centre back seam. This was better but the front still had too much fabric, so I changed the curve, taking more in across my lower hip line, effectively making less fabric wrinkles around my girlbits.

It's hard to tell how your bums looking at this point, even with some creative mirror placement, but I felt there was a bit too much fabric there too. This time I think it was coming from the inner leg seam and I would have to remove some of this too. So again I re pinned about and inch inward from the bottom. The new seamline ended up a bit crazy, with about an inch taken in all the way up then quite a sharp curve to the crotch point back to 1.5cm seam allowance.

Basically there was no mathematic formula, I played about with pins for ages until my ass looked good then took a deep breath and committed to stitch. Once happy I overlocked the leg seams, then stitched, reinforced and overlocked the crotch seam. I did that much changin I didn't trust altering the paper pattern to try and match for next time. The bagginess in the legs would have been fine if I'd been making the full length version so I didn't really want to make any major changes.

As I mentioned before, the pattern uses only a piece of ribbing as a waistband. Might be alright for sitting around on your bum all day but if yer going running or anything the last thing you want on your mind is your trousers falling down. I decided to add elastic for safety as well as a drawstring, both for extra reinforcement and an excuse to get the eyelets out again! I had to wing it all a bit as none of this was in the pattern. I was convinced it would go a bit wrong at some point so was totally amazed when it worked out.
So, to make my waistband:

1- Cut ribbing to required length (I tried on the unfinished trousers then wrapped the strip around to try and gauge.)
2- Open out and stitch centreback seam in waistband with right sides together.
3- Find centre front of waistband by folding. Measure out 2cm either side from centre and mark for eyelets. Remember to not include seam allowance when measuring upwards.
4- Cut another square of ribbing to line up with the centre front. I wanted to add some extra strength around the eyelet holes but did not want to use fabric that would not stretch.
5- Insert eyelets through front of waistband and stability square.
6- Gauge length of elastic required (remember to include seam allowance) and cut. Stitch ends together then line up with the centre back seam of ribbing which would sit against the body. Stitch down through the centre back seam and elastic join. It is important to do this on the body side not the outside of the waistband as the drawstring has to run freely around the outside of the elastic inside the ribbing. OK?
7- Pin waistband closed at notches and thread through drawstring. Try and keep it flat otherwise you'll hate yourself later.
8- Match mid points on waistband to CB/CF and midpoints on the trousers, right sides together and matching raw edges. Deep breath and then overlock together, stretching out the waistband as you go. DONE!

As you can imagine, I was very pleased when this was attached and I was allowed to breathe again. I was even more pleased when I tried on and they sat exactly where I wanted them!!

Final stage was to add ribbing to the bottom of the legs. I guessed the length of ribbing and seemed to get it okay. It's the same process of stretching out as you sew. I could maybe have done with a little less fabric in the back leg (still a little genie!) but I'm HAPPY with them. In fact in this moment as I type this I am feeling HAPPY in general, and it's real nice. Everyone loves a week off work yeh!


Check back on my previous post to see how I made my McCalls M7634 hoodie. All together they look a bit like this:


Location: Ellis Street Car Park, Shalesmoor Sheffield
Currently Listening to: Disorder, Joy Division