Thursday, 15 June 2017

Book Review: Complete Dressmaking by Jules Fallon

Complete Dressmaking by Jules Fallon. Published by Quarto Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group (£20). Out 8th June.


Available from Amazon

I have got the chance to review a new book out this month and on dressmaking what could be more perfect.

On the inside of the fly leaf is the comment:

'There is no better compliment than when someone asks, "I love what you're wearing, where did you get it?" Any you reply "I made it myself"

This is so true to be able to make something that cannot be found on a rail in a colour and pattern that is unique to you, so special and with this new book a possibility.

Essential skills and techniques for beginners.

The book is broken down into 5 excellent sections covering:

Essential equipment - starting out this can be daunting and you could end up buying so many things you do not need when as this chapter explains a sewing machine and good sharp dressmaking scissors (no using for paper cutting). Pins, tape measure and a few other useful additions to your sewing basket.

This chapter also explains about the machine needles which is the best to use for different weights of fabric. This is knowledge worth knowing as you would never sew denim with a 75 or organza 90. The needle and correct thread are the best starting point once you have chosen your fabric.

Also included some details on the basics of a sewing machine which also come in all sorts of styles and decorative stitches. Not to mention the machine feet and what is best to use.
Thread types and trims.

Prep - How to choose the correct fabric for the pattern you intend to make. All the different types of fabric in the shops. One of the best ways is to hold the roll up and see how the fabric falls. What do you want to make, does it need to be washable or dry cleanable..

Which interfacing to use again a few types to decide on. Does the fabric need pre-washing and make sure you know the right and wrong sides.

How to read a pattern from the envelope information to the pattern pieces and placing onto the fabric correctly to cut out.

Checking measurements always best to check and recheck these as once cut too late to make alterations. Toile patterns and how to layout a pattern on the fabric, patterns and matching, pinning and marking.

Make - This is the fun part, all the pattern pieces have been cut out. Iron at the ready, machine threaded. How to create darts to enhance the shape. Gathering, pleats and tucks, seams. How to make a curved seam work with notches. How to finish the raw edges of the seams. Pockets, openings and closures, buttons and buttonholes, other closures including inserting zips. These can often fill a novice with dread but this book gives you step by step images to make it so easy.

How to insert a sleeve, facings, cuffs and collars, yokes on shirts, waistbands. Decorative features such as making your own bias binding, piping and frills and flounces.

Stretch - This section covers how to start with stretch knits such as t-shirt fabric, tips on how to stitch including using a twin needle for hems.

Finish -  This is the important chapter as you want the item to look so good no one would know you made it yourself. Bound edges, facings, under stitching and edge stitching. This ensures the facing lies flat. How to finish a hem by hand and machine. Linings for skirts and tops.


The final pages are - Resources this gives an estimate as to the quantities required to make a garment a brilliant idea as something you could copy and take with you shopping. Pressing guides how hot to have the iron etc as unlike bought clothes fabric does not come with  a label.

To sum up this book is an encyclopedia to take the fear out of starting dressmaking, clearly written with excellent images to follow. A perfect gift for a budding designer and suitable for any age group. An ideal accompaniment with a new sewing machine or to treat yourself if you are just starting out.



Sunday, 11 June 2017

My mojo is back

Following from my despondent post last week about when to give up, have sprung back, my mojo decided time to return from holiday, hope it was somewhere warm. Okay did not start making until Friday for some items but got there in the end.

Another knitted bodice baby dress, two more balls of wool ordered in a light magenta and lilac. Have just the fabric for the skirts.




Continuing the Queen Bee collection this time some tissue cases


and a couple of  small make up bags.


Looking at the weather widget looks as if going to be a good week with the temperature getting as high as 25. I expect at that point we will all be wilting and wishing for a cool breeze. Us Brits and our weather, lol.

Have a good week







Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Knowing when enough is enough

This is the title of a fantastic blog I have just read by Patricia  , the full blog can be found by joining Women Only Connected, then follow this link. Joining WoC is free and well worth it if you are a business or just want to interact with other women.



I won't ruin your read but after reading the 2 sections titled 'When to Stay With it' and 'When to Go and Try Something Else' some of the questions in the latter section rang a few bells for me. One being: 

  • You have tried “everything” and it’s just not working

I think we have all been at this point at one time or another and sat back and thought 'why bother'. I often ask myself this and do wonder, the problem is I have a passion to create, yes I take a 'holiday' and do things for myself, read catch up on some box sets but keep getting drawn back to my machines and needles. Something in me keeps me going even though my sales do not. 

I am lucky that I do not rely on my makes to live but that does not change the fact that I would like to sell more. See some reports of Etsy sellers having sales of £100's a week, look at their shops and think why? others that like me have no sales again check out their shops and cannot see why not. Maybe I like things others do not but how do you know what people want?
Are people really selling or is it just to make them feel better.
Is it pricing, too high too low?
So many questions and every answer you look at is different. 

We are in funny times and maybe by Friday things will be clearer (or not) depending which way the votes go.

Come to the conclusion very true that 'nowt so queer as folk'. We are all different, all like different things which is good and I know that some where out there are my customers, who have not found me yet. So for me I will keep plugging on, still making things to sell as I love what I do.

On an aside my fur baby was 6 on of all days 'D' day, he has grown so much and these years have just zipped past.



The sun is out maybe a spot of gardening, have fun













Saturday, 3 June 2017

Bluebirds and Queen Bees

Another beautiful week here in Hampshire England, so much so that I have not done much at all, so bad lol. Did sell 2 of my lavender ladies and replaced the stock so busy knitting.

Finished off the vinyl key fobs for both bluebirds and Queen bees.






This then leads me to more stitching for the Queen Bee section of my website. Make up bags, tissue holders, mug rugs and more.

Loving these new photo boards and think they look good and add dimension without distracting from the actual product.

Off to sit in the garden with a delicious cup of coffee, slice of coffee cake pure decadence and a good book. Must make the most of this glorious weather as checking the weather widget 100% rain on Monday and cooler, eek! Just in time for a visit to the dentist yukk! on Tuesday.

Have a good week and see you next week