Sunday, 26 August 2018

A Simple Pattern Hack - Adjusting a Neckline

The original pattern.
I've been sewing up a storm. I've made three dresses this month! Having left my sewing machine in its box for nearly a year, this is amazing.
Three things have motivated me: One is that I have been watching The Sewing Quarter on freeview in England on channel 73. It's brilliant. So many tips for sewing. Hubby laughs whenever he come in the room as it is on again. Two is that I am feeling very guilty about the enormous stash of fabrics I have been hoarding. Three is probably the very hot weather in London. I have been able to hide in the sitting room - the coolest room in the house and sew. Also, I have been able to produce things to wear in the heat.
This dress is an example. It is very easy to make. It has a back zip and just a few darts for shaping. The blogger 'Handmade Jane' ( showcased this dress some time ago.   Having made tops from another , very similar New Look pattern two or three years ago, I decided that although I liked the dress shape, the neckline would be too sloppy on me.  The necklines on the tops don't stay in place. They move from side to side when I move. Wearing a crossover bag is a disaster as it pulls the neckline right out of shape. Although they are cool, I just feel untidy. The simple solution was to make the neckline narrower on the dress.  I didn't make a toile this time; I just cut the pattern carefully, raising the waist and allowing for my less than hour glass figure.
The New Look Top which drifts around when I wear it.

As for the neckline I made it smaller by one inch on each side, front and back  (See photo.) and then just traced around it for make the facings. I knew I could make the neckline larger if I didn't like it. However,  the result was a very pretty and flattering neckline - one that would not slip around.

I made the pattern adjustment by adding one inch to the front and back necklines and then using a French curve to blend in the cutting line. The dark lines are the neckline on the original pattern.

I used this Japanese fabric  which has been in my stash for two years. I'm very pleased with the result as the neckline is flattering and it stays in place. It's amusing how much the dress reflects the 1960's.  It would look great with 60's accessories, like pointy shoes and a Biba hat.

The new neckline. Note the Japanese fabric. 

The finished dress. Just add a hat and a large straw bag, perhaps the one in the pattern.

N.B. Most of my friends will not wear sleeveless dresses any more, but to quote Sandra Bullock in Hope Floats, 'I'm fearless that way'.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Yummy Spinach and Bacon Salad

Saturday lunch in our house is usually something like hamburgers, sausages and beans, full English breakfast and such like. Supper is a light meal in front of the TV if we are not going out.
Last Saturday we were invited to an early evening barbecue, so I made a light and healthy meal for lunch - Spinach and Bacon Salad.
It was delicious and I will make it again. I served it Jamie Oliver style on a platter to show off its loveliness.

This recipe makes two generous servings. Simply spread spinach leaves on the platter.  Add chopped fruit (in this case, a nectarine and some white grapes but you could use any seasonal fruit, such as apples or even oranges or satsumas). Add chopped pecans. Chop up the bacon and fry it. Remove it from the pan and make the dressing using the crusty bits on the bottom of the pan, about 1/3 cup olive oil, a couple of Tablespoons of runny honey, a teaspoon of mustard and a Tablespoon of red wine vinegar.Drizzle thjs over the salad.  For a vegetarian option you can omit the bacon and add cheese, such as goats cheese or feta which you place on top so as not to mash it up.  Make the dressing in a jar or a bowl instead of the frying pan.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Retro Sewing

The original pattern, circa mid 80s.
Liberty tana lawn.
Going through my stash of patterns, I found this one from the 1980s.  As you can see by the price, it is the original.  I made it for myself when my children were tiny but I received some comments about whether I was expecting again. I wasn't and decided I didn't like this dress all that much. However it was very comfortable and just the thing for hot holidays in the Dordogne in August.

This summer our daughter is pregnant with her first child. What better pattern than this one to accommodate the bump. I made it out of some beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn and she wore it for her baby shower when she was seven months. To my delight, she looks beautiful in it and there is plenty of room to grow for the next month.
In fact, I was tempted to make it again for myself during this exceptionally hot summer in London, but I have found some other old favourites which I will be blogging soon.

Cornflower blue buttons add back interest.

The inspiration - a photo in a magazine.