All posts filed under: Sewing

Things I sew – historical and modern

Emily's Wedding Dress,

Emily’s Wedding Dress

In celebration of her first wedding anniversary, here is Emily’s wedding dress! I’ll only do wedding dresses for very, very special people anymore, and Emily definitely qualifies. Not only is she a dear friend, but she’s the genius who keeps my blog and running.  Emily herself blogs at, though her blog is on hiatus. As with all the wedding dresses I’ve made, the end result was a collaboration between the bride’s ideas and my sewing experience. Our inspiration for the dress was late 1950s & early 1960s cocktail and evening dresses by designers like Balenciaga and Jacques Heim.  Emily liked the overall silhouettes, and the lush fabrics used. Key design points we wanted to incorporate were a fitted bodice with scooped necklines, little cap sleeves, a natural waist, and full bell skirts with lots of swish, and flatter fronts.  Plus amazing embroidered fabric.  We settled on a slight dropped hem, to take full advantage of the fantastic fabric. I draped the pattern myself, using my princess-seamed dress block as a starting point.  For …

Sewing Magic Stella Skirt

A Sewing Magic Skirt

My sewing goal for Summer 2017/18 is to get my PHD (project half done) pile reduced by half.  Which means finishing at least a dozen projects, because it’s a little out of control! I’m getting a little help in the push to finish things thanks to the re-launch of the Sew Weekly (ooooh!), though it’s Instagram only this time ( 🙁 ).  But I can still show you the things I make here, and be able to talk about them in depth. First off: something for the way-too-easy-to-be-on-theme-for ‘UFO’ challenge: This skirt has been on my PHD pile for over a year, ever since I started it along with a class I was teaching.  Things begun along with classes are the problem with half my pile. As a textile fanatic (aka, snob), printed ikat-look fabrics usually make my head hurt. The weave is so intrinsic to an ikat. This one, however, managed to win me over.  It’s a heavy stretch herringbone twill, and the weave of the fabric and the colours of the print just …

Winter 1915-16 dress,

The ‘waiting for bluebells’ winter 1915/16 day dress

I’m extremely excited to be showing you a fully done, properly photographed, newly sewn historical outfit.  It seems so long since that has happened! Too long… This outfit was also a long time coming. It was on my list as a wardrobe hopeful for my Fortnight in 1916 experiment, based on fashion advice articles which extolled the virtues of jumper dresses over skirts and blouses, as a wool jumper frock was more durable, and could be worn for many more days than a cotton blouse without needing washing. I based my own ever-so-practical jumper frock on this page from The Pictoral Review Monthly Fashion Book, Dec 1915:  I loved the double-button detail, and the asymmetrical crossover bodice, both so typical of the mid 1910s.  It just seemed to period-perfect, but also so classic. I also liked the severity, especially with the grey, black & white colour scheme, though the palette on these pages is so limited that it’s not the best indication of what colours the frocks would be made up in.  I’m quite certain …