Baby steps

Finally knuckled down to ANOTHER muslin for my silk blouse and can now move on.   Thankfully all it needed was the neckline redrawing to finish at around 13cm from the midline.  It is still quite fitted, so I’ve chosen 2cm seam allowances to give me some room for error and also to simplify the process if I do use French seams:

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Various methods to avoid using pins! The coppers are great – you can tip them out in the middle of the pattern pieces and spread them out evenly from the centre and get them right along all the edges. Even my silk/bridal pins have marked this silk.  I’ve had to cut out with pinking shears and thread trace the seam allowances.

Lots and lots of basting around the neck tucks:

tucks tuckss

and on the facings:

facing button

Speaking of which, I originally planned to finish the top with bias binding.  But then I saw this set of tutorials on learning to love facings and decided that would give a much cleaner finish (particularly with sleeves).  It also means I don’t have to give much thought to the construction steps.  Yah!

I turned the facing hems under by stitching as close to the raw edge as I could:


Then, trimmed the excess quite aggressively and folded up again before stitching a similar distance from the edge:

weave hem finish

I usually start an inch or so from the beginning and then turn to try to avoid that awful silk-beneath-the-plate moment.  Actually that STILL happened – like an idiot I forgot to swop my needle for a shiny new 60 size.

Ta da:


Gah! Look what all my marking has done to the poor table.

I have to decide now whether to baste the basic pieces minus the facings to double check the fit or just go ahead.  I’m still not confident after three muslins!  I think I know the answer already…



Fitting silk button blouse

I am mid way through the fitting and drafting stages of my green silk blouse in this lovely fabric:


I am envisioning a button back sleeveless (probably…) blouse with four tucks at the neckline and a relatively fitted shape.

I use my sorbetto to fit all tops at the moment.  I rotated the side dart to the neck and turned it in to two tucks near the middle.  I think I need a very small FBA with slightly larger darts though – you might see what I mean later on.


Er, apologies for the endless mirror selfies.  My husband just isn’t that into taking pictures for me (it can be difficult enough to get him to pin me up!).  As you can hopefully see I have pinned into the centre back where the buttons will be until I was happy with how it sat over the curves there.  In the end I measured how much excess there was and took it off the side seams before restitching and checking.

And yes, I keep accidentally ordering ACTUAL muslin then remembering that it’s a touch too lightweight for many purposes. Bah.

There is quite a bit of gape at the back there (hard to see from that angle but we are talking a good three inches!)  I have heard that you can pin out a dart where you have the excess and then rotate that excess elsewhere which I tried when I starting the pattern in this sail boat cotton:

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Yep, that’s it at the back arm scythe.  So the next step is to get rid of it from there (darts I guess) and also lower the opening at bit as its a tad high:

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These diagonal drag lines on the bust suggest to me that I need a little more room just to the left and below the bust but I am not entirely sure.


After the addition of small bust and back darts:

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Much better! I think I will hash the changes on to this wearable muslin and find some buttons but probably go back to the muslin fabric to do a final check before using the silk – and make the dart at the neck on the back!

So…thats three muslins so far then. Sigh.  At least I can still remember how to knit:


How do you feel about taking a long time to get a fit right? I think I am still not experienced enough to see exactly what will happen when I have made changes and perhaps in the future it will be clearer and take less time.  For the time being I am learning each time and enjoying it!

Colette Ginger – So far

So, all, I finished the wedding dress nearly a year ago now.  I was too stingey to pay for it to be dry cleaned again so it is still a bit muddy and creased!  It is hung where I can see and appreciate it every day though.

After that marathon I didn’t sew for about six months – then what I did produce was surprisingly poor quality.  Maybe I was overconfident?  Anyway, maybe I will get round to blogging them in due course but I now have a bit of a backlog.

My current work in progress is Colette Ginger:

     I LOVE the curvy waistband, normally I would shy away from a high waisted skirt but it’s enough of a feature to make it      irresistible!

I wanted to put boning in the waistband, following this tutorial by Gertie.  I used boning in the dress, so not too big a deal.

I also wanted to convert it to a pencil skirt, and being not too curvy (about 10″ difference waist to hip measurements) I’ve just brought the side seams in to more of a hip hugging shape.  If I were to do it properly I should have used some darts at the hip but it doesn’t pull too much.





Like an idiot I wrote on the RIGHT side of the front piece.  And with biro.  I’m hoping something will happen in the wash – otherwise I will tear my hair out even more.

Many bloggers suggest using silk organza to strengthen zips and various other areas to avoid adding extra thickness.  I found some organza-like ribbon which seems to work in a similar fashion (at least, it doesn’t stretch on the grain and is lightweight).  And I like that you can easily wrap your seam allowance in it for a tidier finish.  Obviously my ribbon above needs a little persuasion under the iron!


This is my “basted fitting” – i.e., with the final fabric, cut with a larger seam allowance (I often use about 1.5″) and stitched together with longer stitches (sadly, my machine only goes up to around 4mm in length which is still a b***ch to unpick at any speed).  Hence the unpressed state of my seams.  I’ve already made up a muslin in size 0 which was toooooo snug so I stitched this as a 2.  It’s a promising start.

For some insane reason, I’ve been cutting randomly around my pattern pieces with the wider allowance, then marking on the seam lines from the pattern, either with pencil or a long stitch.  Why am I doing this? Surely it would make infinitely more sense to cut a uniform seam allowance of two inches or whatever and then use that to guide my seams? Duh!  I think sometimes I just breeze along with my sewing without thinking too much.

Which brings me to point out – part of the reason I started this blog was to equal up the balance a little.  By which I mean, there are many many blogs out there which I devour, look at a finished item, think, I MUST have one of those and make a mental note or, oooops, go ahead and buy the pattern in readiness.  Which is wonderful, and does a lot for independent pattern makers etc.  But I suspect lots of people wouldn’t want to post their work unless they were happy with it as a result.

So, I decided to jump in the deep end and start putting up my mistakes as much as my triumphs – because I sure as hell have learnt from them, and maybe a few fledgling sewers would be heartened to know how many mistakes it can take to eventually turn out a beautiful and well-fitted garment?  Maybe I am wrong.  I’d be interested to know what the general opinion is though?

 In the interest of full disclosure, here’s a disaster for you.  I initially had in-seam pockets in the skirt, but placed them a bit low and they gave me awful saddlebags over my hips!  Being a doctor, pockets are absolutely essential as bags are not really permitted on wards and there are pens/patient lists/pentorches/neurotips/medical tape/spare forms to be carried and kept to hand.  So I thought I could use the welt pocket technique on the front and reuse my pocket pieces while putting the pockets on the area of the skirt with a little room to spare – you know, between the thighs?

THEN, I thought I didn’t want the fuss of the welts, I just wanted a slit in the skirt to lead to the pocket.  This technique doesn’t exist on google, but it was just an adaptation of something I had tried before, so fine right?




Here are my little welt facings, folded and pressed back towards the inside of the skirt.  Because the opening was about 1mm wide, there’s a nice little slit in the fabric.  However, you can see how awfully it has puckered around the edges – probably due to not being able to clip neatly into the corners as you would be able to on a standard sized window.  And because the stitched line and the cutting line are adjacent, essentially the whole lot pulled apart the instant that I pressed it back – there’s no seam allowance!

So, people, slit “welt” pockets don’t seem to exist.  Unless there’s another way?  I guess bias binding or something might work.

The current plan is to re cut the centre piece and stitch it in in place of the destroyed piece! Gah.


I also have some possible fitting issues to sort:

But I will keep you posted.



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