Saturday, 9 June 2012

1950's Dress using Free pdf pattern from V&A

1950's style dress with bold print
The finished article.

It all started on the Saturday when I looked in my wardrobe and found that I didn't have either a red, white and blue costume or a 1950's outfit for our 1950's themed Jubilee Party on the Tuesday.
So I turn to the internet and search for free 1950's dress patterns. After searching through a few I come across the Victoria and Albert Museum page 'The Golden Age of Couture, Paris and London 1947 - 1957' and more specifically the link to 'Create a Couture Inspired Dress'.
This page contains links to download the pattern pdf and instructions either in A4 or full size.

My first step was to print out the instructions (Saturday evening) and read through them checking that there were no complicated bits.


Secondly I went to Dunelm Mill in Clydebank to buy fabric, thread and a zip. Not the best place for dress fabric, but the closest to me and most importantly open on a Sunday afternoon. After much pacing of the fabric isles, I chose a pale blue fabric with large brown flowers that were reminiscent of the 50's. 
Sunday evening I print out the pattern pieces, all 56 A4 pages, checking that I've set the printer to 100%, not scale to fit, and wonder how long it will take me to piece together.


Body pattern pieces laid out ready to stick together
I've promised the kids swimming! So off we go, no dress making for me until after lunch.
I finally get down to piecing the pattern together.
I start with the body part. It goes together quite easily once I get the hang of it. I'm missing a tiny sliver of pattern on the long edges, but once I know, it's easy enough to compensate.

I've measured myself to discover that although I normally wear size 12 clothes, I'm actually a 14 in this pattern. Slightly disappointing, but not as much as if I'd made it without taking the measurements first. I'd never have been able to get in it!

pattern for 50's dress
Starting to cut body pattern pieces 

skirt pattern 50's
Skirt Pattern pieces ready for cutting out.
I had a  few problems getting the skirt pattern pieces to line up. I had to cut out the two small skirt patterns as they didn't line up properly, particularly piece 13. Looking closely at the pattern i found that the dots and crosses that help with lining up were closer together than they should have been on pages  29 & 30. I cut the pattern at this point and used some spare dots and crosses from the top to line them up correctly.

Cutting the fabric for 50's style dress
Cutting the fabric

The next step was to lay the pattern out on the fabric. as I had such a bold print I decided that each of the large skirt sections should have a large flower in the centre. As you can see from the picture I have cut two and am lining up the rest to ensure I have enough fabric. I bought 4m, the pattern suggests only 3.5m are needed, but it depends on the pattern repeat.
I also decide that the bust should have a large central flower and have cut this.

One thing to remember when cutting the fabric is that body pieces 2, 3, 4 and 7 need to be cut twice with the second piece mirroring the first.

Time to sew

I decided to start with the body. The instructions are pretty straight forward. Sewing the armholes up was particularly tricky as I've not put together a dress in this way before.
By bed time I had completed the upper part of the body and remembered to take a photo of it hanging over a chair in my kitchen. I've even managed to try on this part with my husband pinching the back together to check the fit.


Party time is looming, 2pm, I've got lots still to do, and cupcakes to bake. I set to work and get the body finished off quite quickly. I get so completely absorbed in it that I forget to take any more photos.
The skirt is quite simple to make up. I found that my hem did not line up too well in places so I just took a measuring tape and marked a 31" length all round to give me my hemline. Once ironed I machine stitched in place before attaching the skirt to the body. The last part in the instructions is to hand sew in the zip - unfortunately I didn't have the time for that so I pinned and machined the zip in place. The stitching is visible, but i don't think anyone would really notice.
The instructions also include a bow on the back. I didn't bother adding this, but if the fabric was plain it might be nice to add this detail.
Dress complete 12.10pm.
Cupcakes made 13.30pm
Dress on and go 2.00pm

One last photo to end the day of my husband and I at the party.
Hope you enjoyed this little encounter.


Saturday, 24 September 2011

Flower Loom Fun

The kids have been back at school for 6 weeks now, and i'm only just getting back to normality.
I discovered a flower loom at my mothers house over the summer and I've been creating lots of lovely brooches with it since. I've been using Drops Eskimo 100% pure wool so they are all lovely and soft. They come out at about 9cm diameter and are just perfect for the autumn season, despite the fact I am sitting here in glorious sunshine enjoying the last of the Scottish summer.
Please enjoy the photos. And if you wish to purchase one pop over to my Folksy shop using the link on the right.


Enjoy the last of your summer.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Folksy and Facebook

It's been a while since my last post. I've been a little busy with something, although I'm not sure what! Perhaps life got in the way.
Loch Lomond in April
One of my best designs! Thomas is even on his way over the bridge.
Carsaig bay in March

As you know I sell a some of my crafts on Folksy. I've been struggling with the promotional side of things, where to and how to, so I have decided to set up a Facebook page to promote myself and my lovely bags, brooches and things.
I'm sure there must be some way of doing this without it taking hours and hours, but I've yet to discover how to do it quickly. I've finally managed to upload some photos and get the Folksy app to work on the Facebook page. Only took 3 hours (ish)
You can view it using this link JDArt
Now it's started I hope I can keep it updated and this blog too!

bye for now,


Monday, 7 March 2011

How to take apart & fix an X-Cut Impress Machine

Well this blog was going to be about my trip to the Hobbycrafts & Creative Stitches show at the SECC in Glasgow at the weekend, but on return I broke my X-cut Impress Machine trying out my new dies!
oops! I thought, then I was off to find the screwdrivers.

1. Under the rubber foot there are 4 screws - I took this photo after putting it all back together.
First unscrew these screws, once undone the base can be pulled off a small amount to reveal the split-pin holding the suction foot lever in place. This pin has to be removed (pliers are necessary) and then the metal bar holding the foot can be pulled out (this bar has a bend in the middle). Once removed the base will come off.
2. Your machine will now look like this from the bottom. These screws can be removed next, or left in place,  as I didn't know that at the time, I removed them.
3. The next step is to find the hidden screws under the label on the sides of the machine. They unscrew from one side only. Picture shows the nuts on reverse side. Once these screws have been removed, the sides can be pulled apart. The winding handle will stay attached.
4. Once inside I found the reason for my troubles, so many teeth had fallen off that the cogs wouldn't turn. I had always wondered why it rattled, and occasionally made a snapping noise when in use.
5. These cogs were fine, no missing teeth.
6. After a little thought, I decided that it would still work without these cogs. Only the lower bar would rotate with the handle, and the upper would be free rotating as the plates passed through. With a little help from my husband, we removed the offending cogs, and checked I was right. I was, it worked.
7. I then put it back together in reverse order, choosing not to replace the suction foot as I have never had much success with it anyway.

That fixed, I could try out my new Marianne Design dies, there were so many lovely ones I had trouble choosing. The X-Cut is quite a narrow machine, so that did help to reduce my choices.

These hearts are really lovely,  and I'm looking forward to trying out some new card designs with them soon.

The bird on a branch is really sweet, I wasn't quite sure it would fit through my X-cut, I promised my sister she could have it if it didn't, but it does so I get to keep it. I bought a Martha Stewart border punch too!
I also bought a dozen fat quarters, half blues, half greens, and some strips of material with tractors and pirates on. No doubt they'll be showing up in the blog soon.

bye for now, Julia

Monday, 28 February 2011

Flowers and things

It's been a flowery week - not just in my crafting world - i've also had a snowdrop in my garden, just the one, the others I planted back in October refused to produce flowers. Spring is finally on it's way.
Felted flower brooches.
Made using a variety of felted woolen jumpers and scarves.
Put your woolens on a hot wash and hey presto they've shrunk and felted.
Tumble drying can add to the effect, as can a second wash.

Cast on, Cast off Knitted flower brooches.
Read on for how to make them. Really easy.
I even intended to try out a ribbon one like these,
but didn't quite get there.
'I'm SEW Cheap' for how to make one yourself.

Cast on, Cast off Knitted Flower
It's really as easy at that. I've used 15mm needles and Sirdar Bigga Wool.
First cast on 10 stitches, then cast off those 10 stitches keeping the final loop on the needle.
Using that loop cast on 9 stitches so there are 10 on the needle, then cast off again.
Repeat this process 5 times, once for each petal of the flower. 
Leave a 5 inch tail for stitching up when casting off the final stitch.
You should be left with something that looks like this.
I pinned this out to make it easier to see

Tie the two tails together and then use them to tie in the petals to make a flower shape.
Add a brooch pin or alternative fastening.
If you can't be bothered with all that, take a look in my shop and buy one.

Striped Star with yellow button
Blue Rosette
Circle Star with blue beads
Striped Flower  with pink beads

Pink Star with polymer clay
pink sparkle button

Hope you've enjoyed my flowery day.

Do come again.