Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The Factory Dress

Ten sewing evenings later the simple and sleek Factory Dress is finished.  

The pattern from Merchant and Mills creates an oversize dress and combined with the heavy wool fabric it looks like a 1940s dress a woman would have donned for work during the war.  I'd give the pattern a impressive 10/10 for design and style; its effectiveness lies in it's simplicity. 

It features a v neck pull over front, bust darts, two types of pockets, collar, sleeves and front pleats

It has handy side pockets which you can only see properly from the back as they're set back from the side seam
Collar finished with black topstitch thread
Collar layering was particularly important with this heavy fabric
The collar has a full facing
Turned up sleeves really create that factory feel

The dress is not lined so keeping the inside tidy was quite important (I even darned in the overlocking thread ends)

Where this pattern is lacking is in the finer details of how to construct the dress, with some instructions simply being missing (how deep should the hem be?)  

After a while I also found myself getting frustrated with the diagrams which are quite simple and they use lots of cross hatching. I felt they were quite confusing as I'm used to precise and technical drawings from the leading brands.  I was also surprised when I came to attach the skirt to the bodice that there was no notch on the skirt front to line up with the bodice centre seam.  I ended up improvising by measuring the centre of the distance between the two sets of pleats and lining this point up with the seam to ensure the front was sewn accurately. 

Thankfully I've learnt from experience to not just take instructions at face value. However I did think this was a real shame for beginners; the pattern should be suitable for them but first it needs some improvements.  

All in all the £13 price tag is steep for the quality of the instructions but the finished design is really impressive.  With only two meters of fabric used (@£14 a metre), two spools of thread and some interfacing (which I already had) this dress has cost a total of £45.  I think it's going to be a winner at work. 

Friday, 20 May 2016


It's been a busy few months since my Easter post in my attempts to get better at crochet.  I've been practising away with a set of six coasters which I thought would help me to try and maintain my tension across different pieces of work.  So inevitably coaster number two was smaller than coaster number one and had to be pulled back.  But after that mishap I managed to get into the rhythm and produce six circles that appear the same size.  

This quick pattern was one given to me on my learn to crochet course at Stitch studio.  I've given them to my mum as a little birthday present; she found them quite fitting as, unintentionally, I have made them in the colour of different grapes, which also happen to be associated with wine and the glasses of white and red that she has already tested out on these coasters!  If you fancy trying this pattern out, head over to Ravelry - you can find me there as CharGoonan; I've put them on there with a link to the designer!

I've also started going along to a social group in Ramsbottom, aptly named 'Crochelize' where I've been making granny squares for a bag pattern.  

It's part of a kit I picked up at 2015's Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate; although I didn't mention it on my post about the show for fear of getting ahead of myself (I'd only been on a two hour taster course)! 

Luckily for me I had taste for a pattern that is actually very suitable for beginners, consisting only of chain, treble and double treble stitches (so far).  It's from Hooked By Design, a Yorkshire based company which sell lots of crochet and hooking kits on their shop here

My Vietnam holiday is only five days away and I've already packed my handmade summer clothes (my Ramie blouse and satin silk dress)!  Now I can focus on deciding what crochet projects I can pack for the flight.  

I'm thinking I might take this Naissance Mandala pattern:
Naissance Mandala by Cotton Pod made with DROPS Paris
This is the work of Sharon at CottonPod (where you can download the pattern for free).  She's also published a tutorial on her blog here.

I'm also thinking about taking the wool for my granny square bags.  I might be able to construct all of the squares whilst I'm away, even if I just do five squares a week and then construct the bag when I'm back.

AND I'm toying with making this floral headband to wear just after landing back in the UK for a Stone Roses gig (it's that or a paint splattered t-shirt). 

Is three projects, two unread magazines and a book a little bit excessive for two 15 hour flights?!  I best order some spare hooks in case they don't make it through hand luggage security...