Sunday, 29 August 2010

Hats in Vogue

I am loving the cogs hat in this piece on milliners on It appears to be by Harvy Santos (Harvash Hats) but I'm struggling to find much more than that - does anyone know any more?

This is the article and this is the gallery.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Vogue 1190 - a truly beautiful dress

I’m very sorry to everyone out there that I haven’t been keeping this up to date – I’ve been away a bit and I’ve been so busy making stuff that I haven’t had a moment to sit down and write about it! I don’t know what it is, but I’m full of inspiration and passion for sewing all sorts of things at the moment.

So, first up is Vogue 1190. I haven’t fallen for a pattern this hard in, well, ever. I saw it on the McCall’s website as a new pattern and new on the spot that I would be making it for a friend’s wedding over the bank holiday weekend. I’d already blocked the base of a hat in a gorgeous turquoise straw (more on that another day) and didn’t have anything to go with it.

I popped up to my local(ish) John Lewis the next day to get this fantastic fabric. It’s 100% cotton, very fine and very soft. The drape is fantastic, but it does move a lot when you’re cutting and pinning. As it’s so fine I also picked up a pale blue lining fabric and blue wool suiting for the contrast belt.

I made up a toile of the bodice – this is a very very very nice pattern, the bodice just slid together and the fit was fantastic. I’d measured up at a size 12 on all measurements (rare for me to be so consistent) which may have something to do with that. The pleats in the front give the bodice fantastic definition and the back straps looked fantastic, even in curtain lining.

Lining was a little more complicated. I didn’t want to cause any lumps and bumps under the fine cotton so I basted the pattern pieces to the lining and treated as one. This was a bit of a mission and took a very long time to get right, but the result looks brilliant. It had the added benefit of giving a bit of structure to such a slinky fabric and I think that’s paid dividends in the shape of the bodice. The dress is made up using French seams throughout which gives the inside a very professional finish. The arm holes and back of the bodice are finished with bias binding. The instructions say to use the dress fabric, but I used purchased binding instead to give a little more structure to it, another roaring success (even if it doesn’t look quite so good on the inside, but no-one can see that other than me)

The frills on the shoulders were simple to put together and again they’re beautifully finished on the edges. The instructions don’t say to press them down, but when I’d added them I found them to be a bit bulky so pressed them. Looking at the photo on the packet I think they made the same decision. With a lot of similar pieces (frills and skirt pieces) I labelled everything with little stickers to make sure I didn’t get them the wrong way around. I’d certainly recommend this (even though I still managed to sew two of the frills on in the wrong order).

The skirt is a lovely shape – it curves out just right for the hips and falls beautifully below. It’s exactly the length I love at the moment – short but not indecent. Again, as with everything else in the pattern it all slots together perfectly. The seam to attach the skirt to the bodice is hidden in the contrast belt – there’s a real sense in this pattern that every attention has been made to the details that really matter. I’ve run the bottom through the overlocker but not taken it up yet – I want it slightly longer for the wedding (stitching doesn’t show on this pattern fabric) and will take it up afterwards.

Finally, the zip and the bow on the front. There’s a really clear tutorial for inserting an invisible zip which I wish I’d read several years ago. I don’t appear to have an invisible zipper foot on my new machine so I inserted by hand as usual, but there’s a few tips in there I’ll certainly be using in the future to make me brave enough to try it by machine again one day. The bow instructions are clear and although I’m no fan of bows it really looks right on the front of the dress. It’s clean, simple and smart.

I’ve spent several evenings prancing around din this – it fits like a dream, I feel gorgeous in it. It’s flattering in all the right places and those back straps are just astonishing. I’ve got some grey pinstripe suiting I bought to do McCall 5654 but never got the fit right on the toile – I think I’ll be making up a slightly longer version of this (without shoulder frills) for work.

Finally, the pattern says it’s easy. The instructions are very good for vogue, but I’d definitely say it’s one to try with a couple of other items under your belt as there’s quite a lot of different techniques (gathering, darts, pleats, lots of matching up, invisible zipper, French seams, making bias binding, stuff like that). I’ve seen a couple of others made up online and the results look fantastic in all sorts of fabrics so give it a go!
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