Saturday, 22 November 2014

McCalls M6696 update

It has been a busy sewing week or two. I have almost finished my McCall's M6696 shirtdress that I started at the Ray Stitch workshop with the lovely Clare from Sew Dixie Lou.
The photos below show the progress I have made. All I need to do now is to hand-sew the internal yoke and attach the sleeves - yeah! I decided to not use buttons with the traditional buttonholes but use big press-studs instead which I am pretty happy with.
The other ladies on the course were lovely and it was interesting how different our shirt-dresses looked because we all used such different fabrics. Below are a few photos of the last workshop on Tuesday 11th November.

Danny tackling her top-stitching!

Lisa showcasing her amazing almost-finished shirt-dress (she did loads of homework between classes!)

Fitting the collar onto my shirt-dress.
You can see the black polka dot inner collar facing popping out! 
The lovely Clare from Sew Dixie Lou with a fellow sewer also called Danny!
I couldn't resist taking a shot of the Ray Stitch counter 'after-hours' on my way out! It looks so lovely!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

McCalls M6696 shirtdress progress

Part two of the Ray Stitch McCalls M6696 shirtdress was really enjoyable. Due to the crazy state of my house renovations I was unable to use a sewing machine to complete my homework - I hand basted everything in place. Luckily I managed to catch up on my homework by getting to Ray Stitch a little bit earlier and cheekily asked if I could use a machine to catch up. Thanks Ray Stitch!


So, what did I manage to get done on Tuesday? As you know from the previous post the M6696 is pretty pattern piece heavy and there are lots of individual steps.
This is what I achieved between 6pm - 9.30pm (including my homework):
  • Attached the external back yoke to the altered back piece
  • Sewed the side seams of the bodice
  • Sewed the shoulder seams
  • Attached the internal back yoke
  • Trimmed the side seams and applied satin bias binding
  • Hand-stitched the internal yoke
  • Attached the external waistband
  • Created two simple pleats facing outwards on the back piece to take out the extra material left from the removal of the gathering
  • Attached the internal waistband
  • Sewn sleeve seams
  • Gathered the top of sleeves
  • Sew the four skirt darts
  • Attach the pocket linings
  • Under-stitch the pocket linings
  • Attach the pockets
Woah! When you list it like this it looks like I was working like a maniac! Unfortunately I haven't been able to do any sewing this weekend due to a number of DIY house chores (fixing-leaking-roof kind-of-stuff) and preparing for next week at work where I will be having Senior Management reviewing the department (scary!).

Here is a sneak peak of the bodice with lovely neat bias-bound seams and the black spotty contrast cotton. You can also see one of the two small pleats I added to take out the fullness of the lower back.
Fingers crossed I can be a speedy sewer again on Tuesday to get to the final stage of the shirtdress.


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Ray Stitch Shirtdress Workshop

On Tuesday's for the next two weeks I will be skilfully guided through making the McCalls M6696 shirtdress by the lovely Clare from Sew Dixie Lou at Ray Stitch in Islington.


I booked this course a while ago pre-finishing my MA dissertation as a little treat to look forward to. I originally bought a textured grey 100% linen to use but when I got it home and saw how the grey looked against my face (too similar a tone ie. pale) I decided to search for another fabric (don't worry the linen will make a lovely skirt / trousers).
The first of three sessions was on 28th October. I managed to cut out all sections of the 3/4 sleeve, straight skirt version of the dress (View D).


The only sewing I managed was to create gathers in the back and attach to the yoke. It was at this point I realised the the slight bulk of the corduroy would be a disadvantage with certain aspects of the pattern - I just didn't like the puffy effect on the corduroy that doesn't drape as well as other fabrics such as viscose, silk or a lightweight chambray.... I was getting a bit tired at this point of the class and decided to unpick / re-do this part at home.


To get rid of the gathers I did this... it may not be right but hey, you live and learn!

I am looking forward to the next session on Tuesday and hope that my free-styled modifications will match up with the waistband part of the dress. If it doesn't I could always add a little box pleat and call it a design feature. Seeing these photos made me realise I really should iron my bodice to get rid of the ex-gathers!

Friday, 31 October 2014

Lego + Mex

After reading Time Out's great review for the Art of the Brick exhibition and then a very favourable write up about DF/Mexico it turns out they are both in the Old Trueman Brewery building at Brick Lane which seemed like it was meant to be. Rachel was my cultural partner in crime and we had a great time oohh-ing and ahhh-ing over the creative fun and sheer volume of Lego bricks used in Nathan Sawaya's sculptures.

It is a really fun exhibition!


And then onto the lush Mexican feast at DF/Mexico.... build your own tortillas with steak, peppers and onions, red colslaw, hand-smashed guacamole and corn tortillas. Soooooooo good!


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Coat fabric research

In a week or two I will be embarking on an exciting adventure that is outer garment making. Yes, I will be making my first ever winter coat. I have decided I need help in this area so signed up for a workshop at Sew Over It at their Clapham shop.
Lisa Comfort of Sew Over It designed the coat based on a 1960's silhouette which I think is really simple and stylish. Here she is below modelling two versions:



I am not sure whether to go for a statement bold coloured coat or a more neutral colour?!
I have collected a few samples of 100% wool coating from MacCulloch & Wallis, John Lewis and Shaukat so far.

I love the idea of making a striped, checked or dogtooth coat but recognise that I really should just cover the basics of making a coat first without making it too difficult for myself by adding stripe or pattern matching into the mix.

The 100% boiled wools in the left middle and centre bottom look gorgeous but at the moment I am veering towards the navy and white herringbone fabric at the bottom right. It feels lovely and I am thinking of adding a very bright coloured lining to make it a little bit special.

I am taking a trip to Gold Hawk Road on Friday to do some more research (and hopefully find some cheaper versions). The costings of the 100% wool fabric from the above shops range between £17 - £30 per metre so I can't afford to make a mistake when I need 3 metres to make this coat!

What colour do you think I should go for?
Any suggestions for shops that sell 100% wool fabric in London?