Vogue 3015 – Part 2

Flushed with success from my first attempt at this pattern I decided to give it another go at an attempt for perfection. I bought this Rennie Mackintosh fabric from the School of Sewing shop when I did my Chanel Jacket course. (The fabic looks a bit yellow here but that is because my yellow cutting mat is showing through).


I love the fabric but the border runs down the grain lengthwise so although I would have liked to have the border at the bottom of my blouse I decided that cutting the pattern out across the grain was probably not a good idea. Unfortunately when cutting this most of the border disappeared into the facing on the blouse but managed to squeeze a small amount of the pink/black check on the buttonhole edge. I wanted to cut out the cuffs and collar from the border but as I cut out each piece individually rather than fold the material I had to incorporate a seam in the collar and then managed to cut out 2 collars facing the same way – Doh! I then didn’t have enough material to get the whole cuff out of the border – another doh! I really need to stop making these silly mistakes.

Alison Smith School of Sewing – Chanel Jacket

I have always been fascinated by the Chanel Jacket and longed to learn how to make one. As I cannot afford to fly to the US for a workshop with Susan Khalje I decided to take 2 days off work last September and paid for a 2 day Chanel Jacket course at the Alison Smith School of Sewing. The cost of the course was £192 which was paid in advance.

I was very disappointed with the course in terms of value for money – I cannot fault the tutor who was very knowledgeable and very patient but the facilities did not allow for 3 of us to have enough space to cut things out simultaneously, there was only one ironing board which meant a queue – a lot of time was spent cutting out a pattern and doing some hand sewing and not much time on the actual construction of a jacket – to be honest it would have been better if the tutor had just showed us these elements of construction.

I think the thing that got me the most was that on the second day I was asked to pay £45 for materials. There was no mention of this on the booking form or confirmation letter. I was a bit miffed about this to say the least especially as I went home with half a jacket that was of absolutely no use to me at all. I would have a hard time justifying a £45 spend on fabric when there is nothing to show for it. Unfortunately this did taint the whole course for me. I paid up reluctantly but not without complaining first.

I have noticed that the school now offers a 3 day course in which you do actually make a Chanel Jacket for yourself – this is a much better idea. When I came home I thought that it would have been much better if, in preparation for the course I could have gone with a toile that fitted me, the materials for the jacket and then spent the course putting it all together. I cannot, with hindsight, see what I got out of the course that a bit of research and trying out for myself could not have achieved. Not recommended for anyone with a serious intention of making a Chanel Jacket.

On the plus side the staff there were lovely and the shop does have a lovely range of fabrics. I would be interested to know what others think of this course if they have been on it.

Vogue 3015 – Part 1

One of my objectives this year was to add some TNT patterns to my stash. I picked this pattern up from a local charity shop recently and decided to give it a go.


I had to make quite a few pattern adjustments – I always make a toile for a new pattern as I hate to spend a lot of time making something only to find it doesn’t fit. There are some adjustments I always have to do – I have narrow shoulders so always need to reduce the shoulder seams plus a narrow back as well as being short waisted. The other thing I find with vintage patterns is that the bust point is always too high for me – either women used to have high, pert busts or mine are sagging a bit nowadays.

With the toile I found I had to lower the bust point, narrow the shoulder seams, decrease the width of the waist dart and increase the side seams for my increased girth.

When I make my muslin I use old sheets, duvet covers that I pick up in charity shops – I use a long machine stitch to make it easy to rip apart and don’t bother with details such as collars etc as all I am looking for is a basic fit. For my first go at a pattern I usually select cheap material – this was a nice polyester that I purchased in the John Lewis sale for £5 a metre. It has a very silky feel to it and drapes beautifully.


I decided a few things after making this blouse:

1. Never to use iron on interfacing again – I can never get it to go on without wrinkling the fabric. I ended up tearing it out in the end which is not recommended and 2. Always stabilise buttonholes with extra interfacing as mine are a bit ragged to say the least.

Anyway despite the above I am really pleased with the result and now hoping for some warmer weather to wear this. I don’t really want to hide it under a black cardigan!!

Clover Create-A-Strap with Nancy Zieman *

I purchased this out of interest to see if it would help in making straps for my bags – the concept seemed like a good one – a pre cut, fusible interfacing with perforations for easy folding.

NancyHowever the interfacing is lightweight and didn’t really add any strength to my bag strap plus for the price of this pack (£11 + from amazon.co.uk) you could buy a lot of interfacing to do the job. I notice that there are some 5 star reviews for this product out there. It makes you wonder who writes these or am I missing the point?

Simplicity Bobbin Winder

Last week Steve and I popped into Hobbyland to buy a belt buckle – an hour later we left the store having spent over £200 between us and no belt buckle but more of that later!

Hobbyland were having a sale and I picked this little machine up for £10 – although my sewing machine does allow you to refill your bobbin without having to unthread I have problems with the bobbin winding – it always seems to get caught up in the spindle and doesn’t really wind the bobbin evenly.

This machine is great – it wound my bobbin perfectly in a couple of minutes and I would highly recommend especially if you have a sewing machine that doesn’t have a separate bobbin winding function.


The London Collection

Weight Loss: 4lbs Weight Loss to Go: 14lbs

Well the weight is coming off slowly and since I am on a no clothes making until I lose weight embargo now was the perfect time to fulfil my intentions with this London theme fabric from Makower.

I spent last week cutting out everything and making sure  I had all the extra bits – it really peeves me that despite a huge stash of fabrics, patterns and notions I never seem to have the right colour of zip, the right bias binding when I go to make something. I then have a mercy dash to John Lewis to find that they don’t have what I am looking for so I go online – then have to wait for the parcel and by this time I have gone off the whole idea! Anyway to my amazement I had everything I needed in my stash!

I started with an A4 cover for my notebook:


This is an adaptation from an article in Molly Makes Issue 9 – I have already made some of the paperback covers. This is a nice, fun project that only takes about half an hour to sew and a great stash buster for those oddments of fabric. Have you noticed the little telephone box attached to the handle – I picked these up in the works for 99p each.


I start my creative writing course tonight and will be taking this along to record all those wonderful pieces of writing the course will inspire. I am a bit nervous as never tried anything like this before but will post how I get along.

I will be putting my folder in this simple tote bag but learnt a lesson with this one – always know what you are going to do before you start as I was going to put red leather straps on the bag but then decided at the last minute that the quality of the bag didn’t really warrant putting £13 straps on and they would be better served elsewhere which meant that I had to unpick the bag  in order to push the straps in – I tried putting them on the outside but it was really messy and I couldn’t get the bottom of the strap to sit at a right angle properly. However I did add a post box keyring to the straps for an extra touch.


Lastly but not least I made 2 easy peasy purses (or that is how Lisa Lam describes them) from a pattern I purchased as part of a kit from Lisa. The kit comes complete with fabric and all notions plus some very detailed instructions. I managed to completely screw this up the first time by sewing the purse upside down – from which there was no recovery – and then wondering why it didn’t fit in the frame! I really must pay attention to instructions in the future. Anyway I made these very quickly but then came to the glueing part! Oh my! Glue was everywhere – on my hands, on my cutting mat – but still pleased with the results.



New Beginnings

Happy New Year!

So many resolutions for 2013 – the first of which is to start and keep up this blog.

A little while ago I decided that I loved buying fabric and wool – I was unable to look at a piece of material or a skein of wool without making a garment in my head. A friend once accused me of enjoying the shopping experience more than the process of making – cruel but fair! I have a considerable stash of both so I am resolved that I will not buy anything else until I have made a considerable dent in my collection. As you can see at the start of 2013 my fabric stash is taking over the spare room!


My wool stash is probably as big if not bigger!

Unfortunately 2012 also saw another gain in the size of my girth – I gave up being a Weight Watchers leader at the beginning of the year as I was finding it difficult to juggle 2 jobs and manage my fabric/wool stash. As a result I took my eye off the ball and thought I had a free licence to eat what I wanted. Of course I didn’t take into account any ensuing weight gain although I should have known better really so as a result I am now at least a stone heavier than my fighting weight.

I am loath to make any garments until I have lost a bit – after all I don’t want to go to all that trouble only to find everything a bit loose in a few months. I am desperate to make Butterick 5707 and have already selected some fabric for this project but will confine myself to a few non-clothing projects until ready.

As I live with a Weight Watchers leader it should be simple – or so you would think – Steve is fanatical about his weight having lost over 8 stone in the last few years. He is very focused and determined not to put on a single pound. As he cooks for both of us and it is all healthy, good for you, boring food it should be easy peasy. All I have to do is stop the secret eating when I am out of his sight i.e. chocolate bars for breakfast on the drive to work or my special treat – Percy Pig and his pals from M&S. Watch this space to see less of me over the next few months. At least if I spend my evenings sewing then I won’t be as tempted to nibble – after all little pickers wear big knickers!!