dress form a la Mrs G

I can rarely buy trousers off the peg within my budget that fit me and since I actually took an evening class course on how to construct patterns, I thought it was time that I made my own again. I’m an avid fan of the Great British Sewing Bee, even if I don’t always agree with the judges, and I’m sure that watching the latest series played no small part in my decision to put pattern to fabric once more, that and the fact that if I make my own clothes I have no-one to blame if they don’t fit.

This week my pattern drafting books were brought back into the workroom from the garage where they’ve been for ten years and I began again to construct base paper patterns. In one book I had entered my measurements as they were then, twenty years ago – the last time I actually did any proper dressmaking, and I was slimmer then by almost two sizes. I consoled myself at that point by reminding myself that I am now a mature woman and it’s alright to have a mature figure to match but I don’t much like me this way so the calorie counting starts again Monday.

I knew that making the patterns would not be too big a problem but without a fellow dressmaker to hand, checking the fit of the resultant muslin would be. I had bought what is really a shop display dummy (as opposed to a proper dressmaking form) from a charity shop a decade ago but the size was too small for anything but checking hems or hanging scarves from, until this week when it struck me that I could simply pad it out to my size. In a trawl of local charity shops yesterday, I bought a padded cot bumper and an extra-large simple sleeveless cotton knit dress. The bumper wadding  was used to roughly pad the form where necessary and then stitched to the original stretchy cover and the dress was made into a new cover. I think I now have a workable dress form and although it’s not an exact copy of my shape, the essential dimensions match me sufficiently to be of use and the wadding can be removed or, heaven forbid, added to easily. The wadding also makes it a little squidgy in places, just like me.

dress form 1

dress form 2

the owl

Hmmm. Yesterday I quite liked the detached buttonhole work on the owl’s body but today I didn’t like it at all even though it had taken several hours of stitching, so it just had to be ripped out, ready to stitch again more neatly. Just as well there’s no deadline for this!

August 4

feeling better

Today I am feeling much better and I’ve hardly coughed at all. I’ve even been thinking of needles and threads and possible projects that I might sew or embroider. Today also, our internet connection suddenly re-established itself, after nearly a week of sulking and refusing to play. I neither know what caused the outage or the sudden reconnection, but I do know that this problem is occurring more and more. Another annoyance is that each time the telephone is answered, the internet connection drops out (when we have one that is). A check on the Virgin website via my unreliable phone showed that they were not reporting any faults but nothing I did with our modem fixed the problem. I was not best pleased to discover that we’ve been paying Virgin for our broadband internet service for the past eight years but according to their website, they don’t actually provide internet services to our postcode area! Who has been our internet provider then???  This week’s outage along with all the previous outages has made us consider a swift switch to BT,  in the hope that they can give us a speedier, more dependable service. It certainly can’t be any worse than it is. Can it?

As a result of not logging on to Feedly when I was with Big Sis, followed by several days when I just felt too unwell to sit at a computer, plus a week being denied internet access of any kind, I have 409 blog posts to catch up on.  Those will keep me busy for a while.

This embroidery of tansy was started on my journey northwards and completed before starting on the little buildings. I thought I might turn it into a slip cover for a notebook at some future date. Or not.  The towers piece was a stitch and colour trial for the buildings but I like it better than the tansy.

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Meet Beryl

I’ve had a hankering to do some stumpwork portrait-type pieces for a while now.  After spending a couple of hours on the internet this morning in the hope of finding additional tutorials but only finding images of finished pieces, I bit the bullet and just had a go based on Barbara and Roy Hirst’s book Raised Embroidery which I bought at an exhibition at the NEC Birmingham 18 years ago but which I have always backed out of using for a specific project.

Beryl was the first name that came to my mind for this first ever stumpwork portrait but it seems to suit. Her nose isn’t quite right but I believe stumpwork noses are often difficult to do. Barbara Hirst only gives noses a faint suggestion in her book and Beryl is the very first stumpwork portrait I’ve ever done so I think it’s ok. With practice, hopefully I’ll improve my technique. I intend to put Beryl in a little picture frame but as there are other head shapes on my hoop at the moment, she’ll have to wait until they’ve been given some character too. Beryl is 3.5cm across the shoulders and 3cm from the top of her hat (excluding feather) to the base of her wrap.

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