July 27, 2011

Tweet tweet!

What’s better than little birds up in the trees?

MAKING little birds, that’s what!

And the Cashmerettes (plus special guest Melissa) will be crafting away this evening. Our flock awaits…. (and photos will follow).

July 6, 2011

Dress in action!

Proof that the dress has been worn *more than once*!

And while eating a deep fried Mars Bar. True Fact.

June 24, 2011

Who *wouldn’t* want to felt a strawberry?

Union Square’s “Union Made” festival with the lovely and crafty Melissa. The Gather Here team’s festival outpost. The opportunity to make a felt strawberry out of weird wool (technically, roving) using a barbed pin.

I mean, who wouldn’t?

June 24, 2011

My first wearable (?) dress

So, there have been a few ill-fated attempts at dress-making Chez Rushmore. Let’s just say none of them passed the ‘ good GRACIOUS that looks home-made by a half-blind gnome’ test (that’s an official test, by the way)
However with 10 months of dormancy behind me, I had clearly forgotten my humiliations, and set out one more time to make a dress, courtesy of my ever-trusty Chic and Simple Sewing Book a.k.a. the no-buttons, no-zips couturier’s dream.
I used some fabric my Mum bought me last summer, and with about two evenings’ work, I had an “Indian Summer Dress” all of my very own. I am quite-to-moderately pleased with it. The shoulders are kind of fun (they are ties), and there is a definite pleasure in a circle skirt. However, it was tricky to get the whole bust/waist ratio right (quelle surprise, regular readers), and it only really works cinched in with a belt.
However, the proof is in the wearing. And I must say that I felt confident enough to wear it to a fancypants dinner (with a brown cardie and some brown Camper wedge heels which rarely see the light of day), and then again to a lobster barbeque, at which a woman of considerable taste complimented me on it *while not knowing it was handmade*. Not too bad! Having since discovered French Seams, I do now have another roll of fabric for an attempt 2, and a slow-but-sure increase to my summer wardrobe.

June 18, 2011

Dress Finished! A.K.A. Victory Over Buttonholes

I am not a patient woman. This is linked to a tendency for over-enthusiasm.

So, the baby whale dress is *done*! Not only that, but I have successfully overcome my fear of doing buttonholes, which is quite the achievement, if I say so myself.
Theoretically, they’re easy, because there’s a special widget that goes on your sewing machine, and as long as you set it up correctly, it basically does the buttonhole itself. However, it’s really tricky setting it up, and you feel like you’re doing something irreversible onto your final garment… so it’s a bit nerve-wracking. Anyway, I practiced for a bit, and finally stumped up the courage. And it worked!

A quick bit of hemming, 40th run over with the iron, and voila! Tis done.

Front (with an inverted box pleat, and then pleating to the sides):

Back (with the infamous buttons!):

And a bit of mandatory seam-inspecting, specially for Lauren.

So, this’ll be in the post soon down to the littl’un and hopefully I can post a picture of her wearing it! Next task: make a version for her 18 month-old sister…

June 16, 2011

Baby Dress Ahoy!

Gosh, it’s been a while.It appears that I only find the motivation to sew in the summer, and lo and behold, the sun came out and I’m fired up once more! Well hurray for that. And even more so, now I’ve discovered the fantabulous new sewing shop, Gather Here, in Central Square. One word: heaven. Oh, the fabrics! Oh, the notions!It was in this dreamy shop that I found two new projects, for the birthdays of my 31 year old best friend from high school, and my 3 year old friend, who happens to be the daughter of my good mate from Geneva (who’s now in D.C… via London. It’s a long story).

So: the first is in the mail, and therefore cannot be revealed until the big day (June 27th!). However, I believe the 3 year old isn’t quite into blog-reading yet, so I can exclusively reveal the creative process without fear of birthday disappointment.

Let’s start by getting overly excited about this:


Now, let’s consider this for a minute:


Clearly a match made in heaven. It is theoretically only “one scissors” difficulty, but it will involve button holes, so wish me luck. This evening, I started on the upper bodice part, in a bright yellow cotton which matches the whales nicely. I followed the wise advice of Jenny K and obsessively ironed every single piece, and I went reaaaallly slowly. Which is very difficult when you’re over-excited.

So, night one: bodice made!

And for those of you with eye for seams, I have to do a small bit of showing off here:

Watch this space for the next installment: whale-skirt!

August 12, 2010

A bold attempt at tailoring

The idea of learning to sew first crossed my mind approximately the seventy-fourth time I bought a wrap dress and thought ‘hmm this really is quite simple, I could probably make them myself’. How foolish! Because of course these things aren’t simple, though no haute couture, I’ll grant you that. However, for we ladies who are comically hourglass-shaped, wrap dresses are practically a uniform (not to mention it feels like wearing your nightie to work, which makes me quietly chuckle), and so it seemed a very good, not to mention obvious, place to start sewing clothes. So I gave it a whirl. I started with a pattern from Christine Haynes’ book ‘Chic and Simple Sewing’ which has great no-zipper, no-button outfits (believe me, there’s a lot a tie and some elastic can do). And the result was…. OK. But frankly, and believe me when I say it’s possible, I’m actually *too* hourglass even for a standard wrap dress.

But then I stumbled across a recommendation on the fabulous Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing for a great book called Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto. First of all, both the prose and photos are a hoot. More importantly, it’s an excellent guide to how to alter patterns to suit the peculiarites of one’s shape – and surely that’s one of the main reasons for sewing clothes in the first place? So: I have started to adapt Haynes’ wrap dress pattern.

First of all, I made a ”FBA”. Yeah, kids, an ”FBA”. (Ok, that’s a Full Bust Adjustment. I didn’t know that last week, either). That involved pinning up and trying on the actual tissue pattern, and then various slicing up and putting-in-of-extra-material on the bodice pieces, so it looks like this (you can see the slices where the text is cut up):

Then, I took the adjusted tissue pattern and cut it out in muslin, which is basically where you make a trial version of the dress out of cheap fabric to test for fit before you use your nice fabric. Here’s the piece and muslin side by side (I forgot to take a photo of me wearing the muslin so you’ll just have to imagine me wearing a potato sack, but a lovingly fitted one):

You can see that I quickly discovered the tissue was too long, so the muslin got slashed back up to waist level.

As for the fabric, well that was the result of a lovely birthday present (one of many) from my Mum this year, which was a roll of fabric samples from Rowan Fabrics, including a bunch of Amy Butler prints. There was a divine purple one with flowers called Midnight Bouquet which I liked so much I went straight to and bought 3 yards of it. Here it is, posing on my dining room table:

Next step, using the fitted muslin to cut out the pieces….

And that’s where I am. Pieces, cut out, on the dining room table. I am slightly nervous to sew them together because then we will discover if all the measuring, tissue-fitting, splicing and dicing was worth it. I’m not sure if it’s better if no-one notices, or if people stop me in the office and go ”My Jenny, how well that dress fits both your bust AND waist! What a refreshing change!”.

What do you think Cashmerette-fans? Have any of you tried tissue-fitting and muslin-making before? Any tips for we first-timers?


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