Saturday, 25 October 2014

Crazy Cat Peasant Blouse

So why was this one of the most fun sewing makes ever? Well, just look at that fabric - guaranteed to put a smile on your face anytime!

Look at him!
Thanks to Miss Crayola Creepy and her Crazy Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, I am now the proud wearer of a crazy cat peasant blouse. I bought this fabric in Tokyo last year with the idea of making a knitting bag but never got around to it and when Erin announced her Sewing Challenge it got me thinking - could I make something so that I could actually get away with wearing this ridiculously cute fabric?

I used McCall's 6346 dress pattern and hacked it into a blouse using a top I already had for reference. I had made the dress version before so I knew my size - yay, no need to toile! All I did was square the side seams from under the arms down to the length I wanted.

I shirred 6 rows 1 1/4 inch apart as this was how my reference top was done. If you're a newbie to shirring as I was - I used this tutorial and it was really easy. I had been wondering how much fabric one has to allow for shirring and everything I had read said to double the amount. Well, I certainly didn't do that and if I had done, it would have ended up enormous. Maybe this was because my rows were quite far apart, I'm not sure. Initially I thought the shirring may not be tight enough but all you do is steam over it with an iron and it soon pulls in.

I whipped it up in an afternoon at my friend Karen's house which is the other reason this was so much fun to make. She has the most amazing new sewing room which I'm very jealous of but also super pleased she's willing to share it! It's great sewing with a friend, we had a good laugh and both ended up with something new to wear!

Thanks Erin for hosting this sewalong that I couldn't resist, be sure to check out what some of the other crazy cat ladies have made. I had a big smile on my face the whole time working with this fabric (though it was a little weird sewing over some of those cute little faces when I was shirring).

Of course they're not as cute as you, Koko!
I'm off to Japan again next week where I'll definitely be picking up some more fabric - I could do a whole collection of crazy cat blouses - how awesome would that be?

Saturday, 18 October 2014


It was a dreary October night, the rain smashed against the window pane and the occasional lightening flash brightened up the gloomy, candlelit room, exposing the mighty creation before me. I had taken one part Simplicity 2512 and another part New Look 6002, unleashed them on a flock of unsuspecting flamingos and lo and behold, my Frankenpattern was born ...

The flamingos were captured on a field trip to the Goldhawk Road in London with my accomplices Marylou and Nicole Needles. I knew right away that they would be perfect for a tiki dress and my search began for a suitable pattern. You can imagine my excitement when I came across New Look 6002 with it’s perfect specimen of a bodice in view C, but wait, the skirt would not do, I had to find the ideal companion to complete my vision!

I turned to my trusted accomplice Nicole for guidance - she had used the Simplicity 2512 Cynthia Rowley skirt to make her beautiful tiki mash up dress - that was the answer! All I had to do was track down the now out of print pattern and bring my cunning plan to fruition. 

At last a copy was acquired and I set about bringing my creation to life. It was just a case of fitting a skirt to another bodice, surely it would be simple? Alas, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. If I didn’t want my dress to end up looking like some grotesque monster from a nineteenth century gothic novel, I would have to toile and toile again. 

Deep into the night I toiled away, a little tuck here and a little tweak there, until she was just right. 

And now, my work is done!

For more details please see my notes on Pattern Review and check out some of the other wonderful creations that have been conjured up for the Frankenpattern Contest - and don't forget to vote!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

One Pattern, Many Dresses

I often think that I'll make a repeat of a pattern but then I end up wanting to try something new - except it seems when it comes to New Look 6699 - turns out I've made it 8 times! But with so many mix and match variations, you don't need to make the same dress twice. I must say, multiple makes of a pattern has advantages too - it's quick because you've done it before and you know it's going to fit with no need for a toile - yeeessss!!!!!

Here is my latest version: The Tropical Blaze dress

I scoured around looking for the perfect dress to make with this fabric - and 6699 kept calling out "pick me, pick me". Although I'd made it 7 times before, I still managed to come up with yet another variation. 

I love the vividness of the colours on this print which I picked up on the Goldhawk Road in London. It's bright and summery, perfect for the coming months ahead.

So let's open the vault and see what other gems 6699 has to offer:

My Very First Dress:

This is probably my favourite version. I guess I have a soft spot for it seeing as it was my very first dress (though I did have a bit of help putting it together) but I love the fabric and I think it suits the pattern so well.

Red & Black Leopard Sequins:

Sequins look fab under stage lights but working with sequins is not for the faint-hearted. Multiple needles were broken in the process (I'm sure there's probably a special needle out there for such things but that didn't even occur to me at the time, I was too excited about the prospect of wearing a red & black leopard sequin dress!). The lining has tulle round the edge to give it more fullness. This was a pretty tight fit at the time I made it and unfortunately I can't get into anymore :(

Jungle Juice Dress:
Pebbles grows up and discovers rock & roll!
You will no doubt notice the superior quality of the photography here, these pics were taken for our "Jungle Juice" cd. We went all out with the jungle look here complete with the jagged skirt edge and turkey bones in the hair. Next up ...

The Monster Dress:

I blogged about this a little while ago here - I  just love the fabric and I love wearing this dress, it's so much fun!

Gingham Copycat Dress:

Moving away from the stage outfits, I made this dress for Peneloping's Copycat Challenge and thought the pattern was a perfect match.

Black Cat Fever Dress:
This is the same combination as my very first dress made up with cute cat fabric purchased in Tokyo. I love the way the cat heads are not really obvious until you get up close.

There was an eighth brocade version but I had such a nightmare with the fabric fraying that it ended up being way too tight, I only wore it once and then it got buried in the giveaway pile which is out of reach at the moment. 

I dare say I'll probably end up making another one of these - do you have any favourite patterns you just keep coming back to time and time again?