My new dress in Italy

II’ve just got back from Italy where it was warm enough for me to wear my new dress! As you can see it’s not perfect but I really like it. I did make the belt to go with it but I made it in the same colour as the dress and it juts looks kind of odd. If I get around to it I’ll make one in a contrasting colour which I think will look much better.

I’m going to make this dress again (although I won’t be able to wear it for a good while as the autumn is on it’s way….). I’ll make it shorter, make the neckline and bust smaller and also make the wait of the skirt and the bottom of the bodice in the smaller size rather than easing it out at the end of the bodice.

In case you’re interested here are a few pictures Ostuni which is where we stayed in Italy. It was very pretty!


Yay! I made a dress that I could wear in public!

Sorry about the slightly dark photo and the rubbish around my mirror and in the back ground , oh, and also my slippers…..

Because I haven’t been able to knit much lately I’ve spent a bit more time on my sewing than normal (well a lot more- I am rather slack with my sewing) as a result I have almost finished my Peony dress!

I am so pleased! This is the first dress I’ve made with a bodice that needs attaching to the skirt (and I made a smaller size for the top than the bottom) plus it’s only my second ever invisible zip so it could have gone horribly wrong but it’s totally wearable. I went for a longer length as I have lots of short dresses and I’d like a few longer ones for when I’m feeling more demure (or indeed hairier).

Here’s a view from the back


Of course it isn’t perfect. In a few places you can see where I need to improve my technique; the hem isn’t quite straight, the zip isn’t quite as invisible as I’d like and it could be lye flatter, the gathers could be more even and it could have done with a little bit of adjustment for my shape.

Here’s what  I’d change:

  • I’d make the waist area a little smaller. I thought that it was going to be too small but actually the waist is pretty big on me. Obviously this is better than being too small but as it’s a little big it a tad unflattering on the tummy area.
  • I’d use less stretchy fabric. This one is only a little bit stretchy but that means it can sit a little oddly if it stretches over.
  • I’d work out why the neckline sticks out a bit at the back and fix it.
  • I’d move the pockets forward and up. At the moment the pockets are a slightly towards the back and I’m not sure why.
  • I’d take some length out of the bodice at the waist. I’m pretty short and I think it sits a little low.
  • I’d narrow the neckline. It’s a little too wide for me. I suspect I may have narrow shoulders.

I still need to make the belt so we’ll see what it looks like with that but for the moment I’m thrilled!


Dusting off my sewing machine

My awesome 70s Singer sewing book. I would have used a nice portrait photo but WordPress didn’t like it for some reason

After a rather long hiatus I have once again started work on the Colette Peony dress I have been making for what seems like one hundred years. I am rather monogamous with my knitting and my sewing so once I’ve started I tend to carry on until the end rather than having lots and lots of things on the go. So, my main motivation in starting this up again was to get it finished, so that I can start something else. Something much easier which will task my brain in no way! My other motivation was the sight of my lovely sewing machine starting to look a little dusty and unloved and the table it sits on fast getting so cluttered with other random items that it might disappear!

So, I dusted off the machine, cleaned up the table, ironed the pattern pieces (which were looking rather creased after some weeks in the sewing box) and made a start. I’d come to a stop because I was having problems with setting in the sleeves. I just couldn’t get them to look right. I’d sewn the gathering stitches and tacked up 2 or 3 times and it still looked rubbish.

This time around I decided to take the same approach to sewing as I usually do with knitting; just have a go in a slightly slap-dash manner and hope for the best (substituting the mantra ‘it’ll block out’ with ‘it’ll press out’). I think I’ve been too precious with my sewing in the past; really wanting it to be perfect and so giving up every time I hit something hard because I don’t want to mess it up. This time I am just going to get on with it and have faith that it will turn out okay.

I hand sewed the gathers to make sure that they were good and close to the edge and then tacked the sleeves. I took advice from my awesome 70s Singer sewing book and ironed the sleeves after tacking and before machine stitching. This seemed to help and I took the plunge and machine stitched. They are not the best looking sleeves that the world has ever seen, and I still prefer setting in knitted sleeves because you can easily bodge it and make it work by pulling it a bit, but they look okay and I am rather proud!

Buoyed by my success I made a start on the skirt. That was much easier and involved no worrying at all. I’ve gone for nice purple pockets to contrast with the light purple of the dress and I’m planning on a purple zip to match (well as much as it is possible to match things when ordering on the internet). I had to go for the pocket option as I love pockets and it’s one of the things I look for in a skirt or dress.

The wrong side of the skirt and purple pockets

The next step is going to be the fear inducing task of attaching the bodice to the skirt, I have never done that before. However I am going to take the precaution of tacking it up first and then sew it right up! Wish me luck!