Red Wool Skirt

Red Wool Skirt

IMG_8648 I made this skirt about a month ago and it’s been getting heavy use ever since; the fabric is 100% wool and is incredibly soft and cuddly. I didn’t use a pattern, although I was inspired by the Burda wool skirt. The front is gathered, the back has darts and I put in some pockets with some feature fabric around the edge, which looks very cute. I do love my pockets!IMG_8677IMG_8652 It looks really nice with a top tucked in and some tights and it’s perfect to wear to work. I did make the waistband too big the first time and ended up needing to unpick the back and take it in, but I think it’s ok now! I’m trying to get some more everyday handmade clothes into my wardrobe, so this is a great addition. IMG_8649IMG_8651In other news, I mentioned in a previous post that I had signed up for a pattern cutting course. Well I had, but when I went to pay it had been cancelled due to low demand, which is very sad! This is a 5 week course at the local college for £75! Can’t believe no-one in Oxford knows a bargain when they see one, especially so soon after the Sewing Bee finished.

Anyway, I’m on the lookout for another one – I’m not going to give up that easily. There are some amazing ones at the London College of Fashion, which I’m quite tempted by. They’re pricey, but you get a whole week of 10am-5pm tuition, which would be quite a fun little holiday/project. Have you done any pattern cutting courses you’d recommend?

Swirl Skirt (And A Bit About Pierrots)

At Christmas our work party had a “black and white” theme, which I thought was really lame. That is, until I dreamed up this swirl skirt! I unfortunately didn’t finish it for the party and ended up wearing it pinned together at the waist, so here is the finished version!
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It’s essentially a circle skirt, but made up of 6 curved panels of satin (?) sewn together to make the circle. All the curved seams were a massive pain, but it was good practice! I ended up with the waistband being a little too tight, but overall it’s very cute. I’m considering shortening it now that it’s not for a party anymore – I never really wear midi skirts. This was also my first attempt at making the inside look pretty, so that’s an important milestone! I might write a tutorial for a swirly circle skirt if anyone’s interested?

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For the work party, I also whipped up a little ruff and went with a pierrot themed outfit. Not too clowny, just a hint! The picture below was part of my inspiration – who knew there was so much pierrot fashion out there? Make-up’s really weird, but the ruff is so cute! I’ll be honest, I love this sort of flouncy ruff, but I’m not sure I would have the confidence to just add one to a non-costume outfit. What do you think? Can we bring them back into fashion? I guess I can stick with ruffles.  Try googling “pierrot fashion” and looking at the images – there’s some awesome and terrifying stuff out there.

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Between writing this and posting it, I found someone who had created a proper Pierrot costume over at Crab and Bee! Hers is definitely not for casual wear though.

Getting the Hang of Velvet

Red Velvet Knot Dress

When I think of a winter wedding I immediately think of velvet. I love velvet, just going to put that out there. It’s so decadent! I have a vintage velvet jacket, which is one of my all time favourite items of clothing. When I’m really good at sewing I’ll have to recreate that jacket because I couldn’t live without it. I tried to get a photo, but it’s black and you couldn’t see any of the detail – I’m going to get better at photography on this journey as well, I hope! Anyway, so I went to a winter wedding this year and I knew I had to wear velvet. This berry coloured crushed velvet immediately drew my eye and the drape is gorgeous. I decided to go with this knot front dress from BurdaStyle.com, which is a pattern I’ve had my eye on for a while. The pattern is “tall”, which I did not notice when I bought it, so I had a LOT of altering to do to the pattern, but once altered it fit really snugly and I’m so pleased with it. There’s a bit of stretch to the material, so I had a bit of leeway there.

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One thing I would change if I made it again is to reduce the amount of material hanging down the middle. The pattern is for lightweight material and using this heavier material meant that there was a heavy drape down the centre. I think this would be easily corrected though. I found velvet a bit of a slippery character to work with, but once I started pinning and basting like crazy I managed to tame it and it hasn’t put me off using it again. I made this whole dress on my Singer Featherweight, but I bet a walking foot (or the IDT system on my new Pfaff) would help out as well.

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As for the wedding, it was really lovely and I had a great time, but would you believe it, someone else turned up in a red velvet dress (okay, winter wedding, not too surprising) that was also handmade! It was in a pattern that I very nearly made as well, so I’m very glad I didn’t use that in the end. Sadly I was too busy enjoying myself to get any pictures of my outfit on the night! I’ll have to make more effort to get pictures if I’m going to keep up this blogging thing.

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So I just enrolled in a course on pattern cutting and garment construction at a local college, which I’m very excited about. I really enjoy getting a bit of formal training and I also really like the geometry of patterns, so I think this should be really interesting and hopefully I’ll come away a bit more confident that I can get the perfect fit. I bullied the boyfriend into getting all my measurements yesterday, so I’m ready to go!

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