Signature style - Going Nordika with another 'flipped Tinny'

Saturday, 21 September 2013

UPDATE Oct 3, Signature Style Project Run and Play.
See below!
 So I was going to sew-along something special for Project Run and Play's Signature Style Week, see here for details. But then I thought - this dress has everything that is my signature!
1 - Gorgeous fabric 
Lovely prints are what inspire me to sew every time...
2 - Piping.
Scan through this blog and you'll find it on most of my posts!
3 - Pintucks
My new fave. Slightly nostalgic, slightly structural. Love them
4 - Dresses
Can't help it. I'm a girly girl for my little girl

Um...remember how I said a few posts back I was going to be a little more thrifty about buying fabric? Nope? 

Well neither did I when I saw this wonderful print.

Resistance was futile...

Actually I was quite proud that I resisted buying more from Jeni Baker's Nordika collection. I love Nordika's colours, the blues and pinks and greys, the geometric prints and strong florals. But my craving was satisfied with this print, Whimsicol in Tide,  bought here at M is for Make
It seemed to have it all; florals, hearts, bold colours, subtle hues and more. Oh, except it didn't have a geometric pattern ... oh well, that was easily remedied with a fat quarter of another Nordika print, Stellar in Starlight.

Such a stunning print calls for a simple dress pattern, so once again I used Straightgrain's Tinny dress pattern, with a few modifications or flips. This has proved to be such a versatile pattern. With a Tinny bodice pattern and skirt options, I can make anything (almost!)

No sleeves, evidently, but a fully lined bodice instead, in pink cotton - I find a lining often easier than a facing, and I like the flashes of pink just visible. The bodice has also been cropped, to make way for a maxi skirt and that lovely print!

I cut the gathered skirt way longer. It's a maxi now. This was partly to make the most of the Whimsicol print, but also to ease my thrifty conscience. Summer hit the 'off button' here a couple of week's ago, autumn and winter are looming, and I really should not be sewing cotton dresses, says the sensible voice in my head. So this is one dress that is sewn to last. I cut Size 5 in the bodice pattern, but also slipped the pieces away from the centre fold to make the bodice wider. You can see it's slipping off Missy's shoulders. This is deliberate!

I was trying to keep things simple, but I always end up fiddling.
I added a pin-tucked placket to the bodice in the stellar print. Graphic lines of the print helped a lot when sewing the pin-tucks, and the real mother-of-pearl buttons add a glint of light. And yes...there's a touch of piping, of course, around the placket.


I also added a sash, long ties in the Whimsicol, lined in the stellar print, which 'lifts' all the colours somehow. The sash is a bit long, and I experimented with crossing them over and tying them at the front, which  looks better in real life than it does in the photos. It looks like a kimono, said Mr As-it-Seams.  
The fabric may be Scandinavian inspired, but Missy had other ideas. Every new dress means one thing to Missy: dancing! She pulled this on in our living room, and her first words were; "Mummy, can I have reggae?"
So if the last 'flipped Tinny' turned her into a ballerina, this is the reggae dress for jumping around to some Trojan classics.

I'm considering this dress work-in-progress. It wasn't even completely finished when I took the photographs.  It needed a proper iron and the lining hadn't been stitched in place, but now it has, it sits much better.
But I had to make the most of the moment that was available to me. It was perhaps the last warm day,  I wasn't stuck in the office and Missy was in a good mood. So it was a case of now-or-never (Or at least wait weeks and weeks for the next photo-opportunity window).
But I may yet tweak around with the skirt - it is very long and I've got other this space for a possible Nordika update....

Galloping with Galahad (and giveaway update)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

After a productive August, I've hit a September sewing bottleneck. There are two half-cut dresses in my sewing drawer and all the bits ready for a third project, as well as infinite new 'sewing babies' forming in the crafty corner of my brain.
But my little windows of time keep disappearing. 
So, given that I always underestimate just how long a sewing project will take (not to mention finding the perfect moment to get Missy to cooperate for photographs) I thought I'd share this, until I get round to blogging the next complete garment!

Meet Missy's trusty steed, currently named Galahad...

He's actually a year old. I set out to make him for Missy's second birthday - and she's three and a half now. And  she was probably about two-and-a-half when he actually rode into her life (...did I mention that I underestimate projects?).

This was a pretty simple project. Some buff coloured stretchy fleece fabric cut out in a large 'sock' shape, on the fold, so not much seaming. He's stuffed with the insides of an old pillow. 

I tied a strong thread very tightly around the nose to give it a more 'horsey' nose shape. This thread is now covered with the blue cord which forms a bridle. The ears are simply triangles of fleece stitched together and stitched to the head in a curve.

Eyes are bits of felt and I had a 'Eureka' moment when I used scraps of net for eyelashes. I also made very strong stitches into the body of the head (does this make sense?) to create dimples where the eyes are, and give it more shape.

Then I went CRAZY in the haberdashery department of my local shop, buying home furnishing trimmings. Fringes, pompoms, tassles etc etc. Galahad did once have a bell as well, but that has probably disappeared into vacuum cleaner heaven.

Missy has named him Galahad, and that's pretty cool with me.  She's wearing her Secret Squirrel outfit (details here) on what I fear may be the last hot day of summer.

And, I don't think I've mentioned this before but Missy's nickname at her nursery is 'The Opera Singer', and she really loves to sing.  I often get her to sing her long made-up songs when I'm photographing her, as it makes her stand still! Here she is in full voice! Maybe one day I'll add sound to this blog!

There are a couple of things I learnt when making Galahad this, which I feel I should pass on.

Attaching the head to a broom handle was my weak spot. I simply tied it on. And it kept falling off. Mr As-it-Seams eventually etched a groove into the wood and then tied it on VERY tightly. It doesn't look very elegant, but I really can't face doing anything about it.

And I made Galahad too big. He's fine now that Missy is 3 and a half, but when she was 2 he was just too heavy for her, and she couldn't counter-balance his weight very well.

Now of course he's perfect for adventures...

Giveaway update - you may remember my lovely Echino fat quarter up for grabs? Thanks to all those who entered, Maria Del Mar Hunt, over on the FB page, was picked out the hat by a very sweet little girl named Rosie. Happy sewing Maria!

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