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Topics - Francesca

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Your Favourite Suppliers / Frocks & Stock Canterbury
« on: August 20, 2019, 20:24:58 PM »
Whilst visiting Canterbury at the weekend I stopped in at Frocks & Stock which is a charity shop with a very large haberdashery department. The entire downstairs room is fabrics (some on rolls, most on hangers), plus patterns, yarns, accessories, buttons, and sewing machines.

I saw lots I liked but was sensible and came away with 2.5m of a really lovely burgundy jersey. Has very strong recovery so I suspect a decent spandex and cotton. It was £6. They had loads!

Fun with Fabric / Textile 9 on eBay (quite cheap dress fabrics)
« on: August 20, 2019, 16:36:45 PM »
Recently discovered Textile 9 on eBay. They sell loads of different fabrics but all specifically in 4m cuts for very cheap. 4m of jerseys, fleeces, scubas etc for as little as £8 (for the full 4m piece that is, not per metre).

I ordered some snake print fabric from them. It isn't the highest quality but for £2pm it's exactly what I wanted to make a wearable toile for a skirt pattern and I'll probably still have some leftover.

Technical Help / MOVED: Displaying photos
« on: August 19, 2019, 19:49:34 PM »

In the wardrobe / James Bond dress
« on: July 08, 2019, 15:13:08 PM »
I really need to get on with this even though I'm not in the mood because the event is the weekend after next.

I'm going to Secret Cinema Casino Royale and have been given the colour "gold" to wear. The identity I've been given is MI6 agent Juniper Blackthorn which sounds a bit like a prostitute but never mind.

I've decide to make a separate top/skirt combo in the hopes I might actually wear the top again and the outfit won't be a total waste. Also as I have decided I'm not keen on my original plan of a figure-hugging dress. I just don't think I'll feel comfortable with something clinging to my belly in a bright gold foil...

The fabric I've bought is this lightweight jersey with embossing. It's pretty cheap but that's OK for a costume.

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I've bought the P4P Wiggle Dress as my plan was originally to make the fishtail of the shoulder version but I just don't want something so close fitting. So I am going to make the top part only. I may actually wear just the top a second time.

And for the skirt I've been hunting for something slim fit but ruched. I need some ruching to break up the skirt across my stomach. I ended up stumbling on the Studio Faro site which has lots of "puzzle" pattern block examples utilising twisting and ruching:

I found this skirt pattern I really liked. However I would prefer the ruching go the other way (be on the wider part of the dress) but it seems it should be doable to flip it.

The block looks complicated so I'm hoping I can manage it! But I'm usually quite good with flat-pattern manipulation.

In the wardrobe / Birthday Party Dress
« on: July 04, 2019, 10:22:57 AM »
Thinking about the next project before I've finished my current one...

It's Kris' birthday at the beginning of August and we have booked out a space in a pub garden with 45 people coming. Decided I'd like to make a nice new summer dress for it.

I've had this blue poly crepe in my stash for a long time, and want to make something pretty and full-skirted.

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I thought this Simplicity wrap dress looked nice. I'd probably shorten it, and shorten the sleeves slightly and make them flutter sleeves instead of straight.

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I love the look of wrap dresses but I have never made one. I've attempted to wear them, but never managed to get one that fits. I think this is probably a mixture of fitting issues. They are always too long in the bodice (I have a short body) and they always gape (I have a full bust but a small frame and narrow shoulders). I think shop-bought ones in my size always assume a bigger frame with a big bust. My bust doesn't fill them out so there is nothing for the wrap to pull against and thus they hang loose. Even if I pin a higher point on the crossover they still look odd as they sag below the pinned point.

I think I have a bit of a solution, and that will be to take out wedge shape at the neckline but tapering to nothing at the armhole. Like a reverse bust dart. I think this will reduce the length of the front neckline so it hugs closer to the body. I think even still I might have to use some elastic to hold it close to my chest. And I think it'll still be a bit booby (I don't have a cleavage though so it doesn't look bad if I wear lowcut).

Anyway, lots of fitting challenges. Toiles definitely needed. My fitting adjustments so far will be:

- Narrow shoulder adjustment 1"
- FBA from the size22 adding 5" across the bust

I'll try on at this stage and pinch out the wedge I think I'll need so I can see how much, then make another toile with this adjustment

- Wedge taken out of neckline
- Flutter sleeves
- Slightly shortened skirt

Wish me luck  :S

Sewalongs and Competitions / Stashbust in 2019
« on: February 11, 2019, 14:35:04 PM »
Based on the success of the stashbusting competition for January, some suggested they'd like to carry on. So I introduce our non-official 2019 stashbust!

There are no rules or regulations. This is about you deciding how you want to stashbust, defining your own goals and cheering others on along the way.

This thread will run all year, and conclude at the end of 2019. Whether you choose to diligently stashbust along and record your numbers or just join in the thread is up to you.

I'd recommend if you want to take this seriously, defining your goal statement in a post here, and keeping track of your numbers either in a spreadsheet or in your signature. If you want to copy my signature, here is the code, just copy & paste it into the "signature" field on "Profile > Forum profile"

Code: [Select]
<b>Stash Busting 2019</b>
Goal: 100 metres
So far: 0m metres

If you're keen to get a handle on your stash this year I also have a dummy version of my stash spreadsheet. Just copy all the cells into your own sheet on Google Docs or Excel:

Patterns Discussion / Twisty headband pattern for woven and knit?
« on: January 09, 2019, 12:23:40 PM »
I've recently fallen in love with the trend of these twisty headbands. Problem is my head is too gigantic to wear shop-bought ones as they squeeze my head, give me a headache, and cause my hair to puff up like a mushroom cloud.

But I thought they'd make good patterns for scraps - especially nice when I have a favourite fabric design that I'd like to get more wear out of.

I've been able to find lots of knitting patterns for them, and several for knit fabrics, but I ideally want one for woven (with an elasticated back portion that ruches so it can fit my head). Has anyone seen one?

Tech Know How / Whoopsie: Sorry for funny looking posts!
« on: October 15, 2018, 13:06:22 PM »
So while fiddling about improving the image attachment page I managed to break the posts page...

I've rolled back to a previous version while I work out where the bug is in my new code, so things might look a little different for a while.

Sorry  :|

Tech Know How / A bit of server slowness this weekend
« on: October 12, 2018, 16:10:12 PM »
We've been informed by our hosting provider that they are doing some upgrades this weekend, so there may be slowness.

This is likely to be overnight (probably between 1-4am) and is supposedly going to be mostly on Sunday night.

Just in case you experience any slow-loading pages or image uploads... this is likely the cause.

A bit of a 'do' / Roman Statues Dress
« on: October 04, 2018, 12:03:44 PM »
I haven't finished the first dress yet but I'm already planning my escape/freedom.

My next dress will be for a 25th wedding anniversary party at a hotel (boyfriend's aunt and uncle).

No particular dress code but I figured it's a nice party so nice dress it is!

I've had this fabric in my stash for yonks. It is a black sateen panel print with this amazing print of marble statues. It was sold as "seconds" and I got it dirty cheap. Supposedly there are points where the black ink didn't take so there are small bits of white on the surface but I absolutely cannot find one? And at worst if I did I'm thinking I can cut around it or put a drop of black dylon on it.

The statues are pretty large, I'm expecting them to take up at most of the length of the skirt, aiming to have them "finish" a few inches below the waistline. Then I will cut out the bodice from the black portion of the fabric so it's all black on top.

The pattern I'm using is a Vogue Kay Unger one. I'm hoping it won't be too difficult to adjust. I will need to do an FBA and take some height out of the bodice, I will add boning to the bodice just like I did for this current party dress I'm working on as it's really easy to do. I am also going to try and increase the depth of the cap sleeve things as they look a little narrow for my liking.

I haven't decided on lining yet. I may just self-line again as I think I'll have enough fabric, and doing so gives the boning something to really support properly vs a silky lining.

Previous sewalong entries / Sew Red VOTING
« on: October 01, 2018, 12:28:02 PM »
Please cast your votes for the Sew Red Sewalong, who gets your vote (or rather two votes)?

If you are inspired to do so, please donate towards our Sew Red fund for The Eve Appeal:

The Eve Appeal, the gynaecological cancer research charity, are running a campaign called GO RED in September encouraging awareness and fundraising for this vital research into the 5 gynaecological cancers – womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal.

In order to join in, and in memory of our beloved Vegegrow we decided to put on a special sewalong, SEW RED for September!

The donation link is here:


Lowena's teacup pincushion

BrendaP's red jeans

Sheilago's Autumn Hare cushion

SewRuthieSews' coatigan

Bogwoppit's top

Bowerbird's tunic top

Fiona M's reversible apron

Sewmuchmore's skirt

Sewmuchmore's tunic top

Iminei's quilt

Pearl's Manx log cabin block

Starryfish's red top

Fun with Fabric / Fabric Shops Around The World
« on: September 03, 2018, 11:52:42 AM »
I see we get lot of requests for fabric shops in locations other than the UK. So why not have a thread?

Please post any recommendations of fabric shops in places you've visited beyond the UK.

Sewalongs and Competitions / Sew Red for The Eve Appeal
« on: August 08, 2018, 19:39:19 PM »

The Eve Appeal, the gynaecological cancer research charity, are running a campaign called GO RED in September encouraging awareness and fundraising for this vital research into the 5 gynaecological cancers – womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal.

In order to join in, and in memory of our beloved Vegegrow we have decided to put on a special sewalong, SEW RED for September!

This is going to be a pretty simple sewalong... sew something red and share it with us and all your friends. We encourage all entrants to donate whatever sum they can, plus share their makes with their friends and family to encourage more donations.

The donation link is here:

Read more about GO RED here:


1. You shall make a minimum of one sewn item in a red fabric or majority red design.
2. If you want to make more than one entry, feel free to do so, but submit them in separate posts
3. Any type of sewn object is fine. Garments, quilts, bags, toys, embroidery on existing objects, deco items...
4. Sewing starts on 1st September, you can prepare and cut beforehand but please don't stitch
5. Please post pictures by 30th September midnight

Edit: The rules above are a little more loose than normal sewalongs as this is a charity sew. So if you don't quite hit the mark on one of the rules just let us know.

In the wardrobe / Sew Over It Doris Dress
« on: July 29, 2018, 00:28:09 AM »
Finished baby dress toile so decided to try out something for myself that isn't the self-drafted skirt that is driving me mad right now...

I love the look of this dress but sadly it only goes up to a 20 and I need a 24, so grading must happen! I am going to do a 4" FBA (2" each side) which should make the bust fit however I also need to add a total of 7" to the waist and hip. I am trying to decide whether to add the extra in those multiple seam lines (the skirt is made up of 4 panels) or whether to slash through each panel and add it that way...

If I can get the fit right on this it could be a real game changer for me. I have been searching for a summer dress that works well in a drapey fabric for quite a while. I have lots of viscose challis in my stash but it's hard to get dresses that work well in it due to it being so unstructured. I really like this dress because it has a flippy skirt (very me) and also grown-on sleeves (great for me, with narrow shoulders I struggle with set-in sleeves as they always overhang and need adjusting). I've got a dress sort of similar to this, though cut differently, that I wear all summer long. But it's too small on my bust really and I need a replacement (or 6).

So far I've just traced off in the largest size. Need to:

  • Do 4" FBA (2" each side)
  • Add extra 3" somewhere to waist (expand back pleats by 1.5" maybe? Or expand back pleats by 0.75" each, then 0.75" at each side seam too)
  • Increase hip. Supposedly need 7" extra but due to flippy skirt can get away with less
  • Increase length by 1.5". The short version looks VERY SHORT
  • Possibly increase sleeve circumference, haven't measured yet
  • Buy a zip so I can actually wear it...

A bit of a 'do' / Flower Girl dress
« on: July 19, 2018, 11:17:05 AM »
Realisation that I have so much sewing to do so I think it's time I get on with this as it's probably the most important thing I have coming up (SWAKOP and my own outfit can be held).

I am making a flowergirl dress for a 1 year old for a wedding on the 6th October.

Pattern(s): Elinor and Ruffle Diaper Cover

Fabrics: Burgundy cotton velvet for the dress, oyster-coloured raw silk/cotton for lining and knickers.

Edits to pattern: I am going to fully line the dress as the pattern is only lined on the bodice. I am going to add a little ruffle round the bottom of the skirt too as I think that will be nice to add some fullness. Baby will be 1 year old come the wedding day and will probably walk the aisle but will be carried/crawling a lot too I imagine so hence my suggestion for little knickers so if she's playing about she still looks formally dressed with no nappy on show  <3

I'm also going to be making a toy Velveteen Rabbit as a keepsake for the day that she can enjoy when she is older (I still have the ragdoll made for me from my Auntie's wedding, I was 3 so I don't remember the day but I remember the doll!)

I've just printed out the patterns to take home today. Off away this weekend but they'll all me put in a project bag ready to go next week! Need to order fabric for the wearable toile...

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