Friday, 22 February 2013

DIY I Do : Hen Party Dress : Inspiration & Planning

My first DIY I Do post was way back in September of last year…and then I disappeared! Obviously DIY-ing your wedding is more time consuming than I thought!

5 months down the line and I am back and hopefully able to get back to blogging about the process. To be honest, I don’t have much to show for the last 5 months, physically speaking – but I have, at least, finalised all my plans, gathered all my resources and am ready to get going…with only 4 months until D-day (or should that be W-day?!!)…eep!

One of the things I am hoping to sew is a dress for my Hen Party. Now I know this is not strictly ‘wedding’ sewing, but come on…you can’t get married without having a Hen Party can you?!!!

I have had the most beautiful 100% pure silk red dupion in my stash for the last two or so years, which I bought on a business trip to Zagreb. I bought it purely because it was the most beautiful fabric I had laid eyes on, but because I loved it so much, I haven’t been able to settle on a style or pattern to use that I feel would do it justice. I even started a Pinterest board dedicated to inspiration and planning for the ‘red dress’, but I couldn’t find a pattern to match my inspiration photos, plus I didn’t have an event ‘worthy’ of such a special dress (although, do you really need an excuse to make a special dress?!!!) However, when I started thinking about the possibility of sewing a dress for my Hen I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to finally use my red silk!

Here are a few images that I have accumulated as inspiration (click images for sources):

fc5c57e3eafbd2691493da6a6caf28ff   17d07ec3a555414f9940ba3a79e44b0b   e3b5098f6f569d495a241bc8b5e51f8c

Now these are all very nice, but they weren’t just perfect enough for my silk (I know, I’m picky!). However, I was browsing through one day, looking for inspiration for bridesmaid dresses, when I came across this beauty:


*sigh* just look at it – sophisticated but with a hint of sexy and dash of fun – perfection I tell ya! So that was it, I had decided on the style I wanted for my dress. Now to figure out how I was going to make it…hmmm…harder than I thought. The skirt part should be simple enough to draft without a pattern (two big inverted box pleats), but it was the cross-over bodice with the raglan sleeves that was proving difficult to source – definitely not in my drafting capabilities! I scoured all the big 4 websites for possible patterns, but you know what – raglan sleeve patterns are hard to come by. I thought about mashing a couple of patterns together, but it all seemed a bit complicated to be honest. And then Gertie came to the rescue and released this gorgeous dress pattern through Butterick:

B5814   9f7177a3a1f57649081ea58b9ce8bbb0

Oh.My.God. – how perfect is this pattern (B5184)?!!! OK, there are a few differences, such as the waistband and the length of the sleeves, but essentially it is exactly what I am looking for!

So there you have it – my plans for the Hen Party dress. I may try and lengthen the sleeves a little (although not quite sure how you do that). I am also thinking about adding a fun element of pink to the dress, since I discovered that a newly acquired necklace of mine looked so fab with my red silk (this was the sneak peek that I shared last week):


The pink fabric on the left is some lovely Irish Linen that my mum gifted to me from her stash about three years ago (again, too gorgeous to cut!). I’m contemplating making a pleated obi belt/cummerbund out of the pink linen to tie in with the necklace, but would mean I could also wear the dress with other colours by removing the belt, therefore giving me more flexibility (I’m thinking it would make a fab Christmas dress too you see). I’ve also bought some matching bright pink grosgrain ribbon for the waist stay, and I’d like to add pink lace to the hem of my lining – but I can’t source any! I have checked Ebay out, and some online fabric shops, but can’t find anything suitable. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I might be able to source this online (pref in the UK)?

Anyway, so far I have made a muslin for the bodice, but unfortunately there are a few fitting issues which I’m unsure how to fix. I’ll take some photos and share with you and hopefully some of you lovely readers might be able to give me some suggestions.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Jenny Skirt

So as I mentioned in my post last week, I may have been away from blog-land but I have still been sewing, so I have a few finished projects that I need/want to post about. Today let's check out my finished Jenny pencil skirt!

Su Sews So So Purple Jenny Skirt


Making a pencil skirt was actually on my 12 in 2012 list, which some of you might remember, and I did manage to get this finished in 2012. I actually had most of it sewn up ages ago, but it sat in my sewing room waiting to be hemmed forever! Why do I fear/loathe hemming so much? Whenever I do eventually get myself around it, it's never quite as horrific as I'm expecting. Saying that though, I'm not actually happy with how I hemmed this skirt. The skirt is lined with a fun bright pink (a colour which seems to appear quite regularly on this blog!) poly lining and due to the vent at the back I wasn't really sure how best to hem the lining and the actual skirt fabric. In the end I serged the lining and then treated the lining as one and turned them up together and then slip stitched the skirt to the lining fabric. It looked good. But then when I went out wearing my skirt and sat down, the fact that the skirt fabric could move around meant that the hem would droop a bit, which I don't like. So I wouldn't recommend doing that!!

Su Sews So So Jenny Collage 1

I'm quite pleased with out these photos turned out (sorry if they are a bit grainy though - indoors, after work, during UK winter!!), they make me think that I should wear this skirt more often. However, looks can be deceiving unfortunately. I just find the large waistband on the Jenny skirt far too high on me. I have quite a short torso and this skirt doesn't do me any favours! The skirt section is good though, so perhaps I should try again with a narrower waistband, which I see being done quite a bit on other blogs.

It goes really well with one of the cowl tops I've made, so I'm pleased about that (that was a fluke, but I guess I'm drawn to certain colours, so it is perhaps inevitable!). 

Su Sews So So Jenny Skirt


Not too much to say about the project really. So I shall leave you with a sneak peek at another project I finished last year:


Su Sews So So Cape Preview


Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Valentine's Day Sneak Peek

Just thought I'd share a little Instagram pic of one of my upcoming projects, since the colours are rather appropriate for today! This is 100% red silk dupion, bright pink irish linen and some gorgeous pink and gold bling (which I originally bought for my honeymoon wardrobe - I've got a major crush on hot pink at the moment!) - plans coming together nicely for a dress for my Hen Party. I'll share more thoughts another day - for now, I'm off to get dolled up and have dinner cooked for me - woohoo!
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

I'm back!

So, I seem to have taken a bit of an unintentional blogging sabbatical for the last 5 or so months - seems like planning a wedding takes up a lot more of my free time than I thought! Even though I haven't been blogging, I have been quite busy crafting and sewing. If you follow me on Twitter  or Instagram you may have spotted a few of the things I have created over the last few months, as well as quite a few sneak peaks of the wedding prep!

There's so much to catch up on - recent makes, a rather belated summary of 12 in 2012 (!), wedding planning and related sewing, honeymoon sewing plans…so I had better stop chatting and get on with it!

Let's start this off with a really quick jersey dress that I whipped up towards the end of last Summer. This is the PERFECT quick-fix when you really want to get that satisfaction of making something, but just don't have the time, or the energy that a 'regular' dress from a pattern would take.  


I contemplated making a tutorial for the dress, but to be honest there really is so little to it that it would take far longer to photograph and make diagrams for a tutorial than it would to actually just make this dress!!! Here is a really quick summary anyway, incase you fancy giving it a go yourself:

You need:

- About 1m quite wide jersey fabric (at least as wide as you want the dress length to be)
- Elastic thread
- Regular sewing thread


- Making one selvedge as your hem (cuts down on the sewing!) measure how long you would like your dress - trim to size.
- Sew small hem along top edge of fabric
- The next part you can do 2 possible ways - either sew your fabric into a giant tube (the full meter, or meter and a half, etc - whatever works best for your size) and then shirr (with the elastic thread hand wound around your bobbin - Google it if you haven't tried shirring before, it's very easy, and very satisfying!) the top section in a continuous loop until you get to about just under your bust. OR - Make enough rows of shirring at the top of your fabric until you have enough to cover your bust, and then sew your fabric into a 'tube'.
- With the fabric you cut off at the beginning make a plait (cut into three strips and plait together). Knot either end. You have a belt!
- If you are blessed with a larger bust than me (not hard!) then you might want to make straps or a halter neck. Again, you could use any excess fabric and plait it and then sew in place. 


Purple Dress Collage 1


 As I said, super fast and easy! I recon this would make a really quick and comfortable maternity dress as well - you could either forgo the belt, or tie it just below the bust for an 'Empire Line' style dress.

Sigh- how I wish it was warm enough to wear this dress at the moment. I'm pretty much done with this cold weather now thank you very much! These photos were taken at Lough Erne Yacht Club (N.I.) where my fiancé's family have a caravan (and boat), and where I spend a lot of my weekends during the warmer months of the year.


 I splurged out recently and bought an iMac computer, so I'm not quite sure what my post will look like as I'm writing it in 'Mars Edit' (an annoying thing I discovered post buying my computer was that Window Live Writer doesn't have a compatible version for the Mac - grrr!) - so please excuse me if this post looks odd. I'm also working on improving my photography, and how photos are displayed on the blog, so again - I hope this transfers properly to Blogger! We shall see when I hit the 'publish' button I suppose! (If you have seen this post twice it's because I'm trying to sort out the photos!!)


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