Little Red Georgette

Remember this pattern that I showed you weeks and weeks ago, in fact, probably last year even?

Well I finally finished it! I seem to be a little slow at everything I do these days, so it took a bit longer than I had planned, but here it is.

I knew that I was pregnant when I chose the pattern back in December, and while it isn’t maybe something I would have chosen normally I thought the pleats would work really well with my expanding belly.

Thankfully I started the dress with making a toile.

I know I’ve moaned on about it before, but I’m finding sizing a bit tricky at the moment as my bust is quite out of proportion with the rest of me. Because of this I made the toile in the biggest size I had, a 14, as this was closest to my bust measurement at the time. By doing this my bust fitted perfectly. It meant that the rest of the dress was a little roomy, and I was able to slip the dress on with no closures (zips etc). The extra room is actually quite comfy at the moment so I decided to use a belt to give it more shape, and not having to put in a zip made the lazy in me very happy! The only alteration I did was to move the princess seams outwards a couple of centimetres so that they fell over the bust point and therefore looks like a much better fit.

I also decided not to have sleeves on the finished dress as I can then hopefully wear it for longer in to my pregnancy.

The georgette fabric I used was a bargainous £1 a metre from Saheed’s Fabric on Walthamstow High Street! All wonderful until it was hanging up to dry at home and I realised how see-through it is – not very appropriate for a preggers lady now is it?! This meant that I had to line it, which was a good learning experience for me as I had to work out how to attach the lining. The georgette was also the slippery-est (yes, am just making words up now I think) fabric I have used so far, and I did find it a bit tricky at times! The hems aren’t great because of this.

And here’s my little bump! It is a baby, promise, although I did eat rather a lot at the weekend so it could be mistaken for a food baby at the moment 🙂

Oh, and finally I kept some extra length at the front to allow for the bump to grow and keep the hemline even.


More of my drawings: 1920s & 1930s

On Fridays I have a class called Vintage Fashion: 20s and 30s. I love it!

What could be better than actually being allowed to spend a whole lesson in the library, just looking at beautiful dresses?

That’s what we did last week as research for our moodboards, which will then inspire our own designs, from which we will create patterns, toiles, and possibly finished garments for. Exciting!

For those who aren’t sure, here are a couple of 1920s dresses from this amazing website.

Callot Soeurs dress

French beaded flapper dress

Think straight, angular silhouettes, a boyish figure with a flat bust and low hips, and the waistline dropped to the hip.

Embellishments such as beading, sequins, embroidery and applique were popular ways to adorn garments.

By the 1930s the silhouette was much more feminine, emphasizing the natural form of the woman’s body. The waistline moved back up to its natural position, and many dresses were cut on the bias. This meant that the fabric clung to the body, hanging in a smooth vertical drape.

Here are some stunning examples by Madeleine Vionnet.

So here is my moodboard:

And here are the drawings I have done so far from this inspiration. I was trying to think about what I wanted to learn about (bias-cutting), what I would actually wear (more likely a day dress), what would flatter my shape most (1930s), and what would look pretty (sparkles!).

Does anyone have any favourites – I’m only allowed to choose one!

Image sources 

V&A Fabric sale – whoopee!!

You’re either going to love me or hate me for today’s post, but thought you might like to know that the V&A Museum are having an up to 50% off fabric sale!!

Check out all the fabric lovliness on their shop website, and with payday hopefully coming up soon maybe you can treat yourself? 50% off is a bargain for normally far too expensive fabric!!

These are some of the ones I love:

There is also an info pack you can download to find out how to care for the fabric, and where some of the designs come from. Now you don’t get that kind of service on Walthamstow Market :-).

So far I have managed to fill a shopping basket of approximately £100 of fabric, best go back and delete some before I accidently press the checkout button hadn’t I Dave?!

Dear Lorna

We were very sorry not to see you at school yesterday. You can’t possibly imagine my reaction when I realised you weren’t going to make it…

I thought you might like to know what you missed though.

First we finished cutting out our adjusted pattern pieces. Then we lay on the floor to be photographed with them.

Then, we studiously pinned, cut and marked our fabrics.

The room was filled with my favourite sound in the world – scissors cutting though fabric.

Next week we are going to cut out the fusible interfacing (email me if you want to know what to get!), which caused great confusion to the lady in the black and pearls. A man even had to come and explain to her!

I very much hope you will be back at school next week! x

Image sources

Run for your lives!!

Like a bad episode of Dr Who, my worst sewing nightmare has come true! No, I didn’t break a needle, or cut out something wrong – it is far more sinister than that!

Last night as I quietly (apart from when it went wrong) sewed away at my machine, there were strange going’s on behind me…

I could hear cardboard ripping, sellotape un-sticking, wood and metal scraping. And in true Dr Who fashion I didn’t try escape from the unknown danger I was in. Oh no, instead I swiveled round in my chair armed with a seam ripper to confront the untold horrors and protect my unborn child.

What, I hear you cry, did I find? Remember the Weeping Angels?

It was worse than these. Much worse.

Attack of the Lady Valet’s!!!!!!!

OK, so I may have overplayed the whole thing, and it may have been that they sent me the wrong size, and I may have taken a few weeks to realise that I am not a large I am a small, and they may have sent me the right size, and I may be waiting for them to pick up the big size. But that’s not a very interesting story now it is?!

Scary image source

Basic Bodice Block

This term in my Pattern Cutting class we are working on the bodice. From what I’ve been led to believe, this is slightly trickier than skirt patterns that we were working on last term.

So far we have understood where all the measurements for the bodice come from, and then drafted a basic bodice block using a standard size 12.

Hopefully I won’t get in trouble for using these, but I thought it might be useful to see how a basic two-dart bodice comes together from a flat piece of fabric. It helps explain why we have darts where we have darts.

As far as I know, all images are from Basic Pattern Skills for Fashion Design by Jeanne Price and Bernard Zamkoff.

This first image shows a flat piece of fabric wrapped round the body to create a cylinder.

By creating cones of fabric, or darts, above the bust the fabric shapes to the body. These are called the shoulder darts.

The same is done for the waist. These darts are then turned inside and sewn. The flat version above is the pattern for the two-dart bodice. From this basic pattern or block you create different types of top.

I don’t think I’m quite up to explaining how to draft your own block, but if you’re interested then I found a Basic Bodice Block tutorial on the BurdaStyle website that looks quite good!

Pattern Adjustments

At the moment I seem to be following two schools of thought when it comes to clothes making from commercial patterns. However, as I sit here about to start typing I think I may have just come to the realisation that if I combine the two things will become much easier!

The first way I have been doing things is to take my measurements, find the nearest size that corresponds to those measurements on the pattern and then make a toile. From the toile I then have been making the adjustments I need, transferring them back to the pattern and then cutting out the proper fabric.

In my Clothes Making class it is done a bit differently, and no doubt more correctly! From the tight restrictions we have been given, this is the pattern that I have chosen (option D).

Rather than making a toile, we took all our body measurements and then worked directly with the pattern to make any alterations that are needed. This is what I had to do.

Make front larger than back

Unless I am very unfortunate, I am not anticipating my shoulders or back to grow at all while I’m pregnant! Therefore my measurements are a bit skewed as I will stay a size 12 everywhere except around my tummy.

On a commercial pattern you cut out along the line according to your size. Here you can see the four different options:

For everything except the front I cut out a 12. For the front I cut out a 14. If I just left them like this though, the front and back would not fit together as they are two different sizes. To overcome this the extra fabric from the size 14 front needs to be redistributed. As you can see from the picture, the top has pleats and these pleats can be made bigger to use the extra fabric. Lost?! I was for the first few explanations from my tutor!

Maybe some diagrams will help.

Here you can see the uncut front of the top, with the size 14 being the outer line.

The difference in size between the 12 and the 14 is 1.4cm, as shown in blue on the left.

This 1.4cm can be incorporated into the front of the top, by making the pleat bigger. The pleat is the boxy thing in the middle of the pattern piece, and the red lines show where I have made it bigger – 7mm on each side, which adds up to the 1.4cm difference between a 12 and a 14. This will mean that the front (size 14), and back (size 12) will now fit together in construction. I hope.

As additional bump accommodation, I have also made the middle pleat (here shown on the right of the pattern piece) bigger by extending it to the edge of the paper. Shown by the purple lines.

Shorten the top

I also made the top shorter than suggested by removing a section of the pattern using the double black lines on the front and back pattern pieces.

The distance between the double balck lines and purple line is what I need to remove by folding the pattern up.

New shorter top!

Check the shoulders

I then needed to check the shoulder position. Fortunately I didn’t need to adjust this. But I checked like this.

As you can just about make out on the pattern, the neckline is 6.5cm lower than the nape of your neck (nobbly bit at top of your spine). So I measured up 6.5cm from the neckline using the set square, then used a tape measure to measure across to the shoulder. Thankfully it came to 20.5cm which is just about near enough my measurement to be able to leave it as it is!

Bump room

Lastly I added one little extra, a half circle at the bottom of the front, which will mean that as my bump grows the hemline should stay level rather than lifting up!

Phew, I hope that made sense!

Back to my initial break through at the start of this post… I’m thinking now that if I start by making alterations to the pattern using my measurements, and then make a toile, and then make further alterations from that, I should have a very long-winded but fail safe way of making clothes that fit me perfectly, no? We shall see!