Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Lilac Stripe Dress

Today, I have this to show you:

What do you think?  This is the Lilac Stripe.  Isn't she pretty?  You can't see her whole form at the moment, because she's rather creased and needs a good press.  However, I did a little work on the ribbon detail last night and was rather pleased with it.  Obviously, hand sewing, I couldn't get the zigzags completely uniform, but I am rather chuffed with how even the stitching is.  I was going to machine sew the ribbon on, but thought it would actually be more fiddly to try and keep the dress out of the way of the needle.  She's not finished yet - I've just got the second piece of ribbon to sew on, and the bottom hem to finish, and she's ready for me to wear to a fancy dress party on Saturday :)

Sadly, Miss Lilac Stripe and Miss Black Stripe are a little short, as I didn't buy enough material :(  And all of the dresses are rather tight in the bodice, because the pattern we used is a small fit.  We expected size 14 (UK) to be just fine, but it looks like we needed just a cm or so extra.  Not to worry - learning curve!  Next year's dresses will be perfect fits.  Mind you, I'll have been cycling all year, so I'll probably be smaller anyway.

I've also got this to show you:

This is Miss Blue Beaded Bracelet.  She's almost finished.  I might finish her in the next few minutes, since I'm simultaneously blogging and beading.  I keep having to rest my fingers, because I'm making my own jump rings out of head pins, because there were no head pins left in the right colour.  It's quite painful on the fingertips, making jump rings.  Homemade jump rings are not as neat as ready-made ones, but I think they kind of look nicer; and of course, they're more satisfying to look at on a finished piece, because one has the smugness of knowing that the bracelet was more difficult to make.  I have six links left to fill with beads, and then I'm done and I can wear the bracelet today :)  Bear with me a minute; I'll try to finish it quickly now...

Nearly done ...

Here she is:

Ah.  Sorry, that is not the best picture in the world - my camera is on the verge of breaking and I get only a second to take a picture before the camera switches itself off.  But you get an idea of what Miss Blue Beaded Bracelet looks like.  I must save up for a new camera though.

Nice to blog again :)

Monday, 6 August 2012


Only about six weeks to go until the Jane Austen festival in Bath, and I've only got one dress done.  Cripes, eh?  Every time I make a start on an evening of sewing something goes a bit wrong (my thread gets all tangled in the machine, and I cannot fathom what I have done wrong) and it takes me much longer to finish bits than I would like.  I've still got four dresses to make, with linings and handmade button holes, and lace and ribbon trimmings.  I've also got to make a couple of hats, a spencer (jacket) and a couple of reticules (bags).  I think that's all.  I've just ordered boots and white tights.  I've also got to try out some ways of doing my hair - it's a bit short so it'll be tricky to make it nice.  I've left it a bit late really.  But I am in the mood to sew, so perhaps in the next couple of weeks I'll make some headway!  My mum has finished her six dresses - she's much faster than me, obviously.  She's also sewn up two of my jackets, as well as finishing two hats of her own and a spencer and a couple of reticules.  I wanted to do everything myself, but time was getting rather short!

I've only got one photo at the moment - this is of the Green Dress.  You can't tell from this picture, but it's covered in a print of tiny green flowers and leaves.  Can you see my trainer poking out at the bottom?!  I didn't have the right shoes when we made this dress.

Actually, I think my mum sewed most of this one up.  I haven't put sewn a skirt onto a bodice yet - that's what I'm going to try to do tonight.  It's all a bit trial-and-error with me and sewing.  I get there in the end, but I usually get the first attempt wrong and have to unpick the whole lot.  I had to do that last night, when I sewed the lining into my Black Stripe - it was a mess, the material was pulled in all kinds of directions that it shouldn't be pulled in.  But I learn from these mistakes, and I was able to put it right by myself :)  I really enjoy it.  It's very satisfying to take lengths of material and turn them into something you can wear.  And I think I'm quite neat ... in the end.  It's very time-consuming, but there's no need to rush, really - if you're willing and able to take your time over the process and not panic if things go wrong (which they will), it's a gorgeous thing to do.  I am very eager to make more after the festival for next year.

Tonight I will be sewing up the Blue bodice and attaching its skirt, as well as attaching the skirt of the Black Stripe.  I think I can do all of that in one night.  Then I will have four dresses with skirts attached.  The trickiest one is the Black Lace: that has a cream cotton lining, with black lace overlaid, so instead of just sewing together two pieces of fabric, I have to sew together four pieces each time.  Fortunately, I do like tacking pieces into place before sewing them on the machine, and this is what I will need to do in this case.

I'd love to get on and sew right now, but the boys get too curious and want to have a go - of course, they can have a go on the machine, but that doesn't get my dresses done!

Next time I blog about the dresses I'd like to have some finished ones to show you :)  So many things to do - I do so dearly wish I didn't need sleep.