12 months 12 projects: Dress making

I started the dress making course in June. It was meant to be a 5 week course around sewing a skirt, but everyone in the class really wanted to make dresses. We were warned that it was unlikely that we’d get that far in ¬†weeks, but we were OK with that.

I chose a butterick pattern, and have, predictably, lost the packet with the image of the dress on it. However, I’ve just done a quick google, and here it is

Butterick B6016 dress

The pattern is Butterick B6016


I loved the class. It was so relaxing. It’s rare that I stop to concentrate on just one thing for any length of time. I like that you have to be quite accurate and patient, and have to take the time to measure and press things. And I was well aware of how much I’d have to unpick and re stitch things. All part of the process.

So, I had my 5 lessons, and by the end of this I had one fitted bodice with a lining complete. Whoop!

Then I did nothing…..until this weekend. 5 months later, and I very nearly have a whole dress!

I got it out last night and sewed the skirt panels together, skipping over pockets but making sure that the pleats were correct. I was very proud, and then this evening I attached the bodice to the dress. Oh it was coming on wonderfully.

And then I held it up in the bright lights of the kitchen. And I realised that I’d sewn half of my skirt on the wrong way round. Eek. It was going to happen. The fabric is dark navy and it’s quite hard to tell the front from the back. So I have spent this evening unpicking my wonderful evening’s work. And decided that I shouldn’t sew in the dark until I have a bright lamp to help me see what I am doing!

So, while it may not look like I’m much further on than I was 5 months ago, the fact that I was really really close to finishing (just the zip and hemming left to do!) means I am confident that I can finish this dress off next weekend and will be able to say that I’ve achieved my New Year’s resolution for 2014: make a dress. Yipee!!!

And then I can safely go out and purchase the amazing shirt dress pattern I desire (below), and get cracking in January. Whoop whoop!

MCcalls shirt dress

The dress is McCall’s pattern M6696


And I have just come across this lady’s fine blog in which she is sewing many shirt dresses this autumn. Yeay! I particularly love the brown polka dot one here. I had a lovely version of this from H&M for my graduation ball. Almost 10 years ago. Wow. I feel old.

12 months 12 project: Hexagons

One of my 12 months 12 projects is the haxagons quilt, in shades of purples, blues, greens, whites and a hint of pink.

I found this gorgeous Liberty fabric and just want to sit and look at it all day long, it’s so pretty.

purple hexi

And here are a few hexies, forming a flower.


I think I’ll arrange all the flowers on different coloured backgrounds of purples and maybe even some turquoise, as per the photo. My biggest issue at present is finding the original hexagon template I used as the ones I keep finding online are slightly different sizes. Must get to the photocopier on Monday and copy the few remaining hexagon templates I have, before I run out! So, I have about 20 haxagons complete, only about 108 more to go!

Inspired by Gran

There are so many exciting things I want to write about today, I just don’t know where to begin. I will give some snippets and write fully about them all in due course.

I went home for the weekend and spent a magical (if slightly dusty) time with Grandma taking inspiration from her creative past times and photographing her quillow of inspiration. It’s always been very confusing to me as I’ve never worked out how she packs it so neatly back in to the flap/case, and always manages to get the log cabin block on the outside. Low and behold, this time, I took a thorough look at the make up of the thing and I realise that I’ve been tricked! There is another log cabin block hidden in the flap section so that you can pack it all away and have the log cabin block showing. Years of mystery and failure washed away on a rainy afternoon in November!

Here’s the fabulous quillow in all it’s glory:

quillow out

as a neat little pillow

quillow as pillow

Gran also got out her prized quilting creation, her pyjama case! She is very proud of this as it uses a technique called Japanese paper piecing. And it looks rather fine don’t you think:

japanese paper  quilting

roy courage tag

I like that she sewed in Grampy’s name into it so that it wasn’t ‘borrowed’ by anybody else when he was in hospital, and also that she always signs her creations:


While I’m displaying works of creative genius by Gran, let me show you my beloved cat blanket which has travelled far and wide with me and my friends, keeping us warm wherever we are. Here it is keeping us cosy on the road during our three peaks adventure earlier in the year:

cat blanket en route

All the¬†quilting was done by hand – and that’s one big blanket! And she made three of these, one for my brother, sister and I. Not all covered in multi coloured cats. Somehow my sister got dolphins – hilarious considering she was in her most angry gothic stage of life. Maybe Gran was trying to cheer her up?