I first made a Peony dress two years ago, in October 2011:
I still really, really love this dress!
Last year I decided to make another Peony dress, this time with cotton instead of satin…
I didn’t really like this version, to be honest. It’s all well-made etc, and fits nicely, and I love the fabric, but there was something about it that I just didn’t like. So much so, that I included it in my list of my top 5 sewing failures of 2012! Poor Peony dress…
But THEN…a few months ago, I suddenly had an urge to wear it again, and I put it on, and I loved it! And since then, I’ve been wearing it pretty much weekly, it’s become one of my favourite dresses!!! How weird is that?!! In light of this, I knew I wanted to make at least one more Peony.
On a recent trip up to the East Yorkshire seaside town of Bridlington, I popped into the lovely Bridlington Sewing Centre and came away with 3 metres of this gorgeous cotton. Like I said in my last Red October post, I’m always on the lookout for red fabrics and I love me some novelty nautical prints…so this was just perfection!
I love the design of the Peony dress. It’s a simple make but so cleverly designed to be shapely, like the curve between the waistline and the hipline of the skirt pieces – so often the centre back seam of a skirt is completely straight, but this is curved to give shape without anyone really noticing (the side seams too). It’s a small detail but so effective.
Although nautical prints are more closely associated with summer, I just couldn’t wait to use this fabric, and of course Red October spurred me on! The Peony is a nice autumn/winter dress. I considered making the longer sleeved version, but decided the short sleeve was better for if I want to wear a cardigan too – less annoying bunching up of the sleeves as you try to pull a cardigan over!
Have you ever made something that you didn’t like, put it aside for ages, then suddenly rediscovered it and loved it?! I’d love to know!
So, I happen to be good friends with an Anglican Priest (The Reverend Rachel Mann), and one night when I posted a photo of a Sewaholic Pendrell blouse on twitter, she asked me to make one for her. On the weekend she baptised our son, I took her measurements for the Pendrell, and she asked me if I’d be able to make her a clergy top. She showed me one she already had, and agreed to let me take it with me to use as a basis for a pattern.
I was fairly confident that I’d be able to replicate it, but a bit nervous, too. Sewing for other people is hard, especially when they don’t live nearby and you can’t get them to try it on part-way through! Her original top was made with soft, stretch cotton, so I ordered some black stretch cotton from eBay and set to work!
The hardest part of the process was the dog collar. I figured out how to sew it pretty easily – it was just attaching it that was a bit tricky – and I seemed to end up with about an inch spare either side of the centre back seam that I stupidly just trimmed down, only to find when I had completely finished making the top (arrrrgggghhhh) that the collar was way too tight. Silly me, turns out I did actually need that extra bit of collar I so absentmindedly chopped off!!
Luckily I had leftover fabric, so I removed the first collar and cut another, and slightly reshaped the neckline of the shirt to allow me to ease in the full length of the collar. It seemed to work out ok but I was just so terrified it might not fit, and of course it is impossible to tell!
Next I set about making her Pendrell blouse. She wanted something a bit fun and girly for this casual top, so I chose red with white polka dots. Sewing it up was a breeze – I do love that pattern!
I then parcelled up her two new tops with the original clergy shirt too and posted them off to her. My agonising thankfully didn’t last long as the parcel arrived the very next morning and by lunchtime Rachel had tried both tops on and tweeted me pictures of them, and she seemed to be pleased with both! What a relief!
So now I can add holy sewing to my list of achievements! Have you ever sewn something for someone to wear at work?
Hi guys! I’m kicking off ‘Red October‘ early with a second version of Simplicity 2444. After I had worked hard perfecting the fit for the first one, it seemed like a waste to only use the pattern once. Plus, I really wanted a quick project to sew for myself in between a lot of sewing for other people.
I bought this fabric at the Goldhawk Road meet-up in summer. Red is my favourite colour, but weirdly I tend to sew with greens and blues most of all, so I always keep an eye out for pretty red fabrics. At first I thought this fabric was crazy. It’s basically a fabric that would not look out of place on a pair of Irregular Choice shoes. The design is what I would describe as overkill – there’s flowers, ric-rac, polka dot bows, lace trim, bobble trim….lime green, red, coral, royal blue, white, mint green. It’s pretty mental. But, viewed from a distance, it actually looks a lot less mad!
I also squeezed an age 18 month baby dress out of this fabric too, for a friend’s daughter. I used my favourite baby dress pattern for that – Burda 9750 – you can see plenty of my other versions of this dress here.
There’s not much to say about the construction of my Simplicity 2444 that I didn’t say the first time. I did a lapped zip last time but a centred one this time, just because I felt like it and I don’t have a particular preference. The one negative thing is that this version is a teeny bit loose, because I’ve lost a tiny bit of weight recently (actually I don’t own scales, so I’m just guessing I’ve lost weight, according to the way my clothes are fitting me). It isn’t unwearably loose, of course (as you can see): it’s just I could comfortably lose an inch at the waistline. My bust seems to be sticking at FF/G cup (depending on the bra); I seem to have lost the weight on my waist and hips, which I guess is a good thing! IF I continue to lose weight, then I’d have to redraft my modified pattern pieces to make this dress again!
Anyway… the photos were taken by the beautiful Beverley Minster. It was hard to get any really picturesque ones because the Minster is surrounded by buildings and the public are not allowed access to the gardens, which is a shame because there’s a fantastic plum tree there!
By the way, ‘Red Octurber’ is the way in which people with a typical Hull accent would say ‘Red October’. The ‘o’ is often pronounced ‘errrrr’ – making ‘toast’ sound like ‘turst’, ‘load’ sound like ‘lerd’, and ‘notes’ sound like ‘nerts’.
I have more projects lined up for Red October, it’s just a matter of finding the time!
Yes, I know that is the most unimaginatively titled blog post EVER, but I’m keeping this brief and to the point!
I put your entries (both from Twitter and comments on the blog) into two teapots – one teapot for Simplicity 1612 and the other teapot for New Look 6587, and got my daughter to choose one name from each teapot.
So this is the draw for Simplicity 1612:
The winner is Cotton Heiress!
And now for the New Look 6587 shirt dress:
The winner is Mild Peril!
Congratulations to both of you – I will be in touch soon for your addresses. Thank you to everyone else who entered, and thank you to Hannah at Simplicity who provided the patterns for the giveaway!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks!
Earlier this year, Simplicity contacted a few sewing bloggers asking them if they’d like to host a giveaway of two of their patterns, and I wanted to be able to host a giveaway here at Thread Carefully, too, so I contacted them and asked them if they’d send me some patterns, and they were only too happy to oblige!
I had a hard time choosing the patterns, to be honest because of the sizing! A lot of Simplicity patterns are issued in two different size ranges, and I was concerned about excluding some readers from the giveaway based on the size that I had chosen. Soooo, I opted for the following multi-size patterns:
First up, Simplicity 1612 (size AA 10-18) - a pattern specifically designed for knit fabrics!
I love the cut-out back on this design and the plunging front, and the other view is really cool and quite unusual.
It looks awesome as a maxi dress, or a knee-length dress. The Amazing Tara Cat recently made this dress – you can see her maxi version here if you haven’t already. It is lovely!
Next up is New Look 6587 (size A 8-18) – a simple shirt dress pattern with lots of cute variations.
This is a really versatile dress and shirt dresses are just a classic wardrobe staple in my opinion, whatever your style.
So – what do you need to do to win one of these patterns?
- Leave a comment on this blog post telling me which pattern you would like to win, and what occasion you might wear it for (or tell me where you would wear it).
- Follow me on Twitter (@tabatha_tweedie) and Simplicity too (@SewSimplicity) if you don’t already, and then tweet ‘I want to win a @SewSimplicity dress pattern from @tabatha_tweedie on Thread Carefully – do you?’
You can do either of these, or both to double your chances! I’ll post anywhere in the world. Please make sure your contact details are attached to your profile thingy so that if I pick your name I can contact you easily.
The giveaway closes a week today, on Friday 20th September, at 21:00 London time (GMT + 1:00).
I’ll pick the two winners out of a hat, or a cup or a bowl or something…
The Sunday before last, I went to an afternoon party at a friend’s house, and I ended up drinking rather a lot of Cava, followed by Raki, followed by red wine, followed by gin…or was it vodka? I can’t even remember!
I came home earlyish to put the baby to bed, and, as husband was doing work-related stuff, I sulked, disappeared into my sewing room and made the very unwise decision to get cracking with my second Tiramisu dress. I did half-heartedly wonder if it was a bit foolish, but the overwhelming urge to just get on with it and make myself a new dress prevailed. I’d already made a Cake Patterns Tiramisu dress before, so I knew what to do, and I knew it would be a quick and easy sew.
To be honest, the dress did come together fairly easily, all except for one major flaw. When I was attaching my neckband, I TOTALLY buggered it up. And I did it on the overlocker, so there was no going back. I can’t even really put into words exactly what I did wrong without it sounding overly tedious, but basically I had to add a new bit on and overlap it with the old bit and it didn’t all line up. These are the perils of sewing whilst drunk. But, I wasn’t going to let it stop me! I was determined to have a new dress by the end of the night, and I finished it around midnight!
I used a really beautiful silk jersey that someone kindly donated at the Birmingham swap. If it was you, let me know! The fabric is beautiful. The white stripes are a tiny bit shimmery and the black stripes are a tiny bit velvety, and overall the fabric is beautifully soft and floaty light with a fantastic drape. I wondered if it might be a bit sheer to use as a dress, but with a waist slip underneath it’s fine even in direct sunlight.
The stripe matching turned out brilliantly and I’m really pleased with the chevron effect. I only have one other stripy dress – my Colette Hazel – but this dress feels much more practical and wearable. Despite the major fuck-up with the neckband, which is glaringly obvious being centre front, I am very fond of this dress.
Without further ado, I will leave you with some pictures of my drunken creation:
Back in March 2012, we moved house, and my first decorating project was to turn the front reception room into my very own sewing room. We have a large back family room which we knew we would spend all of our time together in, so this room was surplus to requirements. It’s a beautiful room. The house was built in the 1930s, but the front room is Victorian in style, with a bay window, an open fireplace, picture rail, cornice and ceiling rose, and original floorboards.
If you click here you can see what my sewing room looked like shortly after completion (and what it looked like before we moved in!). So why am I blogging about it again? Well, there are two reasons: 1) We have more readers now and 2) There are a few things I have acquired since last year that I want to show you!
The first thing to show you is this beautiful artwork by Annette Tirette. A few weeks back the very talented Anneke shared with us some of the art work she had produced for her masters in comics and illustration, and she mentioned that she would like to make and sell postcards of her work. I fell in love with the images from her story ‘Josephine’ (a story about a seamstress!), and ordered six prints for my sewing room, which I then framed. I love the prints, and I’m so glad to have supported such a talented artist!
The next thing to show you is just my mega-expanded collection of thread! I recently inherited all the sewing notions and haberdashery that had belonged to my mother and my grandmother (and maybe even my great grandmother!). I had to throw away quite a lot as it was just too dusty or dirty, but I salvaged quite a lot of thread. I don’t normally associate these spools with machine sewing, but I don’t know why as it turns out that they fit onto my machine just fine. I don’t think I’ll need to buy thread for a long time now; I have many, many different colours! I did consider buying a spool rack, but I quite like the way they look in the drawer of my sewing cabinet, and it keeps the dust off them too.
I also have a picture that my Mother-in-law bought me for Christmas, of a load of vintage spools of thread arranged into a heart shape. That’s hanging above my sewing machine cabinet at the moment:
What else? Well, you can’t exactly call this a new addition, but my 7-year-old guinea pig now lives under my cutting table! We moved him into the sewing room last year to make more space in our living area. He is called Scruffy, and he keeps me company as he scurries about in his house and munches on hay etc. I have to be extra careful about dropping pins now that he has taken up residency in the sewing room!
I LOVE my cutting table. It’s just under a metre high, so I don’t get back ache when cutting or pinning or tracing, which is a blessing!
Here are a few more pictures of my sewing room in its current state. I love it, and I know I am very lucky to have such a nice, bright, pretty space to sew in.
It always makes me laugh that so often the book ’1000 Nudes’ is in clear view when I photograph my projects!!!
My sewing machine can be pushed down inside the cabinet and the table tops fold back and cupboard doors close, meaning that everything is kept dust free and the cabinet can take up much less space if necessary. When it’s all unfolded like this, it’s almost two metres long! To be honest though, I sew so much that I practically never hide it away. I don’t need the space for anything else, luckily!
This is my 1930s teacher’s desk, where my overlocker lives. My old Elna machine is in the corner there but I only use it for quilting. The chest of drawers houses more yarn, more patterns, stationery and the like, and the desk has my paints inside. I haven’t done any painting in a while, but I would like to get back into it one of these days.
So there you have it – an updated view of my sewing space!