Donna Karan makes it to the party

Seven weeks of procrastinating; seven hours of sewing!  I was thrilled to be picked by Beth of SunnyGal Studio Sewing and be the recipient of her pattern whispering. I wanted to do her, and myself, proud with a special make for my special night. So here she is…..

V1342

The pattern is marked as ‘difficult’. To be honest, I didn’t think it was too bad, or at least not as bad as I was expecting. What’s tricky is that the outer dress is made from one gigantic pattern piece, with a smaller piece attached. Cutting and marking took time as the all of the gathers, pleats and drapes needed to be marked. It was hard to fathom the construction at first, but once I got going it wasn’t too bad. I did struggle with my hungry sewing machine munching the fabric now and then. As it’s a one-off occasion dress I tried not to worry too much about construction. So you could say she’s a bit of an artist’s impression!

V1342

That said, I made an early mistake when attached the front right sleeve piece. But, as it’s only two pieces sewn together, that was quite a significant error. I tried to rectify it, with mixed results: the ruching no longer draped elegantly across the bust. As you can see, it’s leaving me a little lop-sided! Nevertheless, I persevered. I matched all the other marks and ended up with a working dress. The fabric (which I love) drapes beautifully, and has been quite kind to the numerous minor mistakes. Once I attached the power-mesh lining, the whole thing draped into place. It is, however, rather less elegant on the inside -no close-up shots today!

v1342

This dress is the last sewing project of the year, marking a real milestone in sewing achievements. It’s time to let the Janome cool off over the festive season. And the party was a blast, thanks for asking. Life begins…. x

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Donna Karan Says It’s PARTY TIME!

Vogue 1342 dress

Regular readers may recall that I won the Pattern Whisperer lottery a few weeks ago! Beth of SunnyGal Studio Sewing kindly posted some suggestions for a perfect dress for my forthcoming birthday party.

I am excited to report that I have now purchased the Pattern Whisperer’s number one suggestion: the Donna Karan for Vogue (V1342). I’m busy selecting fabrics at the moment before I get my head down and start sewing.

Vogue 1342 drawing

I have to say I’m a little intimidated by this dress. It’s classified as an ‘Advanced’ pattern. I thought I was up to the challenge, but going by my recent balls-up on a beginners’ pattern (the gorgeous Colette Patterns’ Dahlia), I’m beginning to wonder if I might be over-stretching myself. I’ve had a browse of the blogosphere and the only reviews I’ve found suggest it’s not the most straightforward pattern to follow. Have a look at this gorgeous peach version by Bloom’s Endless Summer. Clio & Phineas also posted a review here. Hmmm. I’m trying not to be intimidated. But hey, Beth believes in me, and that’s half the battle. I guess the worst case scenario would see me being stapled into this dress pre-party. I just hope I look more ‘Hot Mama’ than ‘Hot Dog’!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some serious sewing to be getting on with. I won’t be posting the finished article until after it’s been covered in champagne bubbles!

The Blog Hop Stops in South London!

The girls

Greetings Sewistas! It’s been a busy few weeks in South London, and my sew-life balance is seriously out of kilter. That said, I managed to squeeze in another Mathilde blouse last week, this time in leftover Liberty Tana Lawn from my recent and beloved Sureau. Despite life-threatening fatigue I just couldn’t help myself!  Blog post to follow….

One very exciting sewing development of the week was being selected by Beth of SunnyGal Studio, aka The Pattern Whisperer, to help me find the PERFECT party frock. She offered her pattern whispering skills up to help her blog readers select sewing patterns. I couldn’t resist and she has very kindly agreed to help me find the perfect pattern for my forthcoming birthday celebrations. A lady never tells, but it does have a zero on the end, so it’s imperative that I look KNOCK-OUT!! I can’t wait to see what she selects, and will report back!

I was also thrilled to be nominated by Clarinda of Clarinda Kaleidoscope to contribute to the blog hop. I enjoy her blog enormously, and feel that we’re at a similar point in our sewing odyssey. Forging supportive links with other sewists is exactly why I wanted to burst into print and share my makes with the online sewing community. There’s sew much sewing love going on!

Belcarra in Liberty Mitzi

So without further ado, here’s my blog hop:

Why Do I Write?

I love words!! Like most bloggers, I’ve always been a massive reader and bit of a scribbler. I’ve got childhood/teenage journals detailing every event between the ages of 11 and, er, now-ish. Wouldn’t that make an interesting post…?

I started making clothes again last year after a twenty year break, and was so overexciting by my makes that I wanted to tell everyone that my clothes were handmade. I spent, and continue to spend, countless hours reading blogs for inspiration, sewing tips, and scouring images of patterns I wanted to make.

So my decision to start a blog was two-fold: I could channel my pride in dressing handmade into a blog where like-minded folk could seek it out, thus saving my dear colleagues and friends from having to feign interest in my wardrobe. Secondly, I have improved my skills immeasurably from reading other blogs. My sewing experience has been enriched by being able to see other people’s makes. Once I had made a number of homemade garments it was a natural, if scary, step to start a blog where I could contribute images of my pattern and fabric choices in my size. It’s all part of being a community.

What Am I Working On At The Moment?

Ooh! That’s an easy one. I was ‘trying’ to let the sewing machine cool down for a week or two, but I had signed up for a sneek preview of Colette Patterns’ Dahlia. As soon as I clicked on the email, I immediately bought a PDF copy of the pattern and had my two pre-schoolers helping with the glue & sellotape! I’m partway through making the first toile, but should probably wait for the sewalong to get the bust adjustments right.

Rose Red

I’ve also got some very pleasurable knitting on the go. It’s Ysolda’s Rose Red hat pattern, and my first foray into lace knitting. I’m enjoying knitting a few rounds each night and knowing it won’t take long to complete.

How Does Your Blog Differ From Other Blogs?

Do other sewing blogs include knitted prawns?! Seriously though, my blog only differs because it’s me and my sewing choices. I wouldn’t say I had a particular niche or USP. I find sewing an immensely satisfying hobby which has become part of my life. I don’t envisage making this into more than a hobby, so I’m not trying to launch a new career. It’s just a very satisfying outlet for my passion for sewing, and I am excited to be contributing to the huge online resource of sewing patterns in different fabrics and sizes.

Emery Dress

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I’m usually thinking in sentences when I sew. There’s always a few ‘incidents’ that I want to record, so I jot a few thoughts down as I’m going along. The real writing only gets done when I’ve got the photos taken and get the laptop out. I was worried that I might find the blog-writing an added pressure to my already jam-packed life (career, kids, husband etc). But the truth is the writing takes very little time, and the posts kind of write themselves. And I’m going to be sewing anyway.

Nominations….

The blog hop seems to have travelled some miles, so it’s hard to find someone that hasn’t blog hopped, but I would like to nominate Attempts at Being a Grown-Up to hop on to the blog hop next. I always enjoy reading her posts on all manner of crafty activity, and I’m willing her on to knit her second sock! Toodlepip!