An Overlocked Megan

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I’ve seen some lovely, Winter Coco dresses on various blogs of late, so much so that I was almost tempted to change my overlocking plans, but I stuck to my original instinct with the Megan Dress instead (Tilly and the Buttons) : A pattern I’ve already made up twice before, here and here. Β Those princess seams are really flattering on my body shape. Maybe a Coco next time…

I spotted this lovely, light-weight, sweatshirt fabric at John Lewis. At Β£8 a metre (half price in the sale), I was paying a little more than I usually do, but I knew it would be perfect and worth paying that little extra πŸ™‚ Happily, it turned out well!

As for my previous Megan, I cut the smallest size, but added an extra inch or so to the length. I lengthened the sleeves to 3/4 length (my favourite), using the Coco top sleeve pieces (thanks for the great tip Teri). I haven’t adapted a pattern like this before, so I was a little apprehensive. The two different sleeve patterns were pretty different shapes, but I kind of tapered one into the other, which thankfully worked out just fine. Phew!

I started on my sewing machine, sewing up the darts and tucks, but then switched to my overlocker to attach the various body pieces to each other. I’m not sure what I’ve done with the placement of the darts on this pattern, (maybe I traced them slightly wrong?) but I’ve never yet managed to line them up perfectly. They’re not too far out, but the smaller things like this are starting to annoy me more, which I’m presuming is a good thing. I must check my tracings before I attempt this again.

Switching between the sewing machine and the overlocker certainly provides the best of both worlds in terms of stitches and finishing, but it’s not easy when you don’t have your own sewing room. I’ve promised myself I can only have one out at a time, in an attempt to keep the kitchen reasonably tidy of sewing clutter πŸ˜‰ This plan is certainly keeping me fit, traipsing up and down the stairs. It’s a pain, but maybe a good pain as it did force me to pause overnight and therefore slow down, as I couldn’t face switching them over yet again.

When I got my overlocker out again a couple of days later though: disaster struck! I stupidly didn’t raise the thread arm before I began, and yep, you’ve guessed it: two of my threads snapped as a result 😦 Oh well, it was going to happen sooner or later! And at least it wasn’t all four of them… It took me several attempts, but it finally produced that lovely chain again.

I hesitated at sewing both the facings and the sleeves on my overlocker, but decided to just go for it! The sleeves went in just fine, and I was dutifully careful with my pins, taking it very slowly and removing them well in time. I was warned that overlockers and pins really don’t get along too well on my course, much more disastrous than running over one on a normal machine apparently.

Next time I must remember to cut both facing pieces on the fold if I’m using a knit fabric and avoiding zips. The flappy bits were annoying, and frustratingly resulted in me slightly misaligning the two back bodice pieces at the top. It’s a good job I wear my hair reasonably long, so no one’s going to really notice, but annoying all the same! As I’d used the overlocker, I couldn’t really unpick it either, so there are disadvantages too… Not too many though πŸ˜‰

However I LOVE this dress! Spending a little extra on the fabric really does seem to pay off for me πŸ™‚

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My husband put a selfie stick in my stocking this year! Do you think he’s trying to hint at something?! Anyway, today was the first time I’ve attempted to use it. Quite frankly it made me feel ridiculous! I’ve seriously got the giggles in these last two photos and I can’t quite manage to cut out the stick, or my daftly raised right arm from the finished photos, but at least you can see a close up of this beautiful fabric πŸ™‚

 

A Tweed Delphine

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I had such high hopes for this make and it’s ended up being a bit, well, average to be honest…

This is the last piece of fabric from my John Lewis sale splurge in the Summer. (Still using up…). It’s a beautiful, tweed fabric, labelled as ‘check boucle’ which is cream with shades of blue, lilac and black in it. The first half of this make went perfectly. Unlike my previous two Delphines (see here and here), which were both made from linen, I decided to line this one. There’s an online tutorial on Tilly’s website (Tilly and the Buttons) for guidance as to how to do this. And as usual, Tilly’s instructions were clear and informative. I was so proud of my progress that I even took mid-make photos…

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This was bizarrely the first time I’d inserted a ‘normal’ zip (really not sure why I selected this one and not an invisible one actually, but there you go). I consulted my ‘Sew, Step by Step’ manual and followed their instructions for inserting what they called a ‘centred zip’. I was really pleased with the result (above left). I was also really pleased with my lining (above right) which looked very professional once the inner waist-band was attached πŸ™‚

But then I attempted to hem…. Hmmmm, well, the outer skirt went fine. Deciding the fabric might be too bulky, I just folded under once and used some pretty ribbon (no photos sorry, but it looks mighty pretty, you can take my word for it). I’d seen many bloggers use this method and I was really pleased to try it out. Then I attempted to hem the lining. Oh dear! My first attempt was ridiculously wonky, far too wide and when I measured it against the outer skirt, also far too long: not a good look 😦 Out came the unpicker… I’m thinking maybe I should have used a finer needle on my machine to keep it more even? Second time around wasn’t too bad, but then over to the ironing board, and yes, you’ve guessed it: I’d forgotten to turn the heat down from pressing the outer skirt, grrrr….. Luckily I singed the inner, seamed side, so once attached to the outer skirt it wasn’t too noticeable, but still, mighty annoying…

I attached the lining to the top of the waist-band, as per Tilly’s instructions, but couldn’t fathom sewing around the zip at all. Maybe, by using a ‘normal’ zipper I’d made this an impossible task? I recalled doing this particular bit of my BHL Charlotte Skirts by hand, so I improvised and hand-sewed instead (after under stitching the top of the waist-band to keep it flat). Time-consuming, yes, but it worked well and my hand stitching is slowly getting neater…

Overall I was really, pretty pleased with this, despite a few hiccups. But then I tried it on and was just completely underwhelmed 😦 It’s kind of fine, ok, not bad… But I’m nowhere near loving it, as I thought I was going to! The fit’s really good. The high waist is still flattering, although the bulkier material is less forgiving than my Summer, linen versions ( maybe that’s more to do with the excess food and drink from our half-term holiday though?)

Ever found this? Maybe it’s not the skirt, but me. I’m just not really into it. I’m also feeling pretty exhausted from being back at school, even though we haven’t even done a whole week yet…. Not a good sign! Maybe I’ll force myself to try it again when I’m feeling more upbeat? I did manage to smile for the camera, but only because my son was taking the photos for me…

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A Megan that fits

Delving right down to the very bottom of my fabric stash (still on my self-imposed ‘diet’), I found this very pretty John Kaldore, knit fabric, that I do believe was one of the first pieces I ever bought. I’m amazed at my beginners’ naivety! I purchased it on my first ever visit to Leon’s in Chorlton and to be honest, I think I was a bit bewildered at the choice and just grabbed a couple of bolts and ran. Although one of the assistants (I did remember to pay before I bolted πŸ˜‰ ), obviously sensing my bewilderment, did enquire as to whether I knew I needed to treat it differently than I would a woven fabric. And it’s sat at the bottom of a drawer ever since…

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I thought it would be perfect for another Megan Dress, from Tilly and the Buttons’ ‘Love at First Stitch’. This time, however, I was determined to make a version that fitted, and was therefore more flattering. My first version is a really comfy ‘staying at home’ size, see here, and this fabric was far too pretty not to be worn out. So, firstly I trimmed down my pattern pieces to a size 2 (last time I tried a size 3). However it still looked a bit big. Tilly’s instructions helpfully included ‘finished garment measurements’ which appeared pretty generous, although if I made this in a woven fabric, I’d stick to the size 2. So I took a deep breath and trimmed them again down to a size 1, gulp! And I’m glad I did.

Again, as I was using a knit, I didn’t bother with a zip, which made this a much quicker make. And again, my darts didn’t quite match up, though they were closer than last time, so there’s that. I probably need to actually match them up like for like, before I sew them. There’s always a next time…

This was a pretty quick make, well by my standards at any rate. And it’s by far the most neatly ‘finished’. I’m really very pleased with myself πŸ™‚ It’s a bit of a change from my normal colour choices too: it’s a mid green with darker green leaves/petals/leopard spots (my daughter contributed the last suggestion). It reminds me of a few of the prints Boden tend to use for their wrap dresses.

This certainly wasn’t a cheap fabric, hence it’s languished at the bottom of my stash for so long as I was too scared to use it, but there does seem to be pattern forming that my favourite me-makes are the ones where I’ve spent a little more on the fabric, such as my Miette skirt, see here, my Galloping Horses dress, see here, and my Spring-time Charlotte, see here. There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule: despite the torture of sewing it, my 70s Clemence skirt, see here, has been worn again and again; my favourite Burda top, see here, made up from left over fabric which didn’t cost a whole lot to start with, and of course my navy, linen Ginger, see here, which cost very little. Maybe it’s because I tend to take my time more with more expensive fabrics? Or maybe they behave a little better whilst sewing and hang a little better when worn? Maybe a mixture of all of the above? But I really want to not only wear, but enjoy wearing my me-made items, so it’s an interesting point to note going forwards.

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There’s been a definite nip in the air of late, and as you can see our garden is awash with leaves, although at least they came down in one fell swoop thanks to the tail wind of Hurricane Gonzalo hitting us here last week. Although of course, I could layer thus up with a cardigan on top, or long-sleeved t-shirt underneath, I’m thinking it would be great to lengthen the sleeves on this pattern to 3/4 length. I’m thinking this would be simply a process of lengthening, or would I have to narrow the width at the end too? Any advice, as always, would be greatly appreciated πŸ™‚