Anna dress V.1


I am very cold in this picture…’s not warm enough for this dress yet….

I was so enthused by the success of my darling ranges dress  that I started my Anna straight away. I popped down to Dalston Mill to pick up some cheap fabric to make a practise version first. Unfortunately I accidentally came across some really special cottony fabric which was quite expensive (well as much as Dalston Mill is ever expensive) and I had to buy it! I’d been warned that the Anna dress can have a few fitting issues so I didn’t want to risk cutting into my pretty fabric straight away. I dug about in my fabric box and I found some cheap fabric I got over at Walthamstow market ages ago. It’s entirely inappropriate for Anna as it’s got a very busy pattern and I am far too lazy to bother with pattern matching… its a light fabric but in wintery colours.  It was the only fabric that I had enough of so I decided that it would do.

I was very good with this pattern and I took the time to trace  off the pattern rather than just cutting it straight out. The pattern was super easy to follow and I didn’t run into any problems with it at all. As I got sewing I started to like the fabric more and more realised that it wasn’t quite such a hideous pattern after all!


I have no idea why I’m pulling that face but I’m quite enjoying the picture!

For some reason I was feeling very well behaved and I actually hand sewed the sleeves. They look very pretty awesome even if I do say so myself!

I haven’t had the greatest success with invisible zips in the past. To improve my chances I decided to take the plunge and invest in an invisible zip foot. I found a cheap generic one online and it fits my machine perfectly.  I am very pleased with my purchase- it pretty much did all of the hard work for me. I still struggled a little bit with my pinning and tacking and it took me three goes to get it right but I got there in the end!

I’m really pleased with my dress, I think it’s even good enough to wear in public! As the fabric is cheap it’s not the most flattering to wear. It’s a little bit unforgiving and tends to cling a little more than would be ideal…..The fabric I’ve got for my final dress is thicker so fingers crossed  I won’t have that issue again.

I need to make a few alterations for the final version. I think I need to allow myself a bit more room at the waist. It’s nice to have the bodice properly fitted but it emphasises the size of my bum far more than I’d like at the moment! I’ll also make it a bit shorter – I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me when I was cutting out the pattern pieces that I should  check the length.

I am very excited about the final version of the dress!


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!


Should you give up on a sewing project?

urgh this is not my finest work (or my finest photo)!

Several months ago I started to make the Colette Ginger Skirt. I like the style of the skirt and it looked to me like it would be flattering for a pear shaped girl like myself and also go with most things. I was also keen to try another Colette pattern as I really enjoyed making the Sorbetto.

I was very excited when I started. I got myself some lovely grey fabric and made a start at cutting it out. All was going well while I was sewing the seams and the waist band. Then came the zip….. I was very frightened of the invisible zip so I put the skirt back in the sewing pile until I worked up the courage.

This weekend I finally got started again. I put in a passable zip (thanks to this Colette tutorial). Technically the zip isn’t quite as ‘invisible’ as I might have liked but it’s in the skirt and looks alright so I gave myself a pat on the back and carried on.

When I tried the skirt on problems became apparent. There are several:

a) The fabric isn’t the best choice. It drapes nicely but it’s a little too clingy on the hips. My hips are not my best area so this is a very bad thing.

b) The waist band isn’t level all the way around. I’m not entirely sure how I’ve done that…

c) The waist band is too big. I have smaller waist than my hips so I should have anticipated that this would be a problem.

d) My under stitching is too far away from the seam making the top of the skirt bulky and emphasising the fact that it is too big.

one side of the waist band is bigger than the other.....

I am feeling very grumpy about the whole thing as I suspect that most of the above problems aren’t fixable at this late stage (and with my limited sewing skills). I can’t help but think that there’s no point in finishing a skirt that I can never wear so I may have to abandon the whole thing. I hate giving up on project as it feels like a waste of time and money but I can’t imagine that I will drum up the enthusiasm and time to work on something I won’t wear.

I am doing my best to cheer myself up about the whole thing by focusing on the new skills I have learnt. I’ve  (almost) figured invisible zips, attached a waist band and worked out how to make interfacing work.

That’s not really helping to cheer me up about it so here is a cute picture of Coco instead:

Coco is queen of the castle