Free Motion on Friday

Last weekend I went a little bit mad for free motion embroidery.  I hadn't done any for a while, I've taught quite a few classes, but I don't actually get to "play" while I'm teaching so it was fun to get my box of scraps out and do just that. 

I needed to make a picture for a charity auction a friend is holding later this year, and decided that I'd do one of my old favourites for this, a teacup and saucer.  I decided this time to add a biscuit too, because we all need a biscuit (or two!) with our cuppa don't we?!

I delved into my selection of Liberty print scraps for this, choosing one fabric for the outside of the cup and the saucer and a different one for the inside.  I made the biscuit from a little scrap of quilting cotton - Moda Grunge in Mustard - and the biscuit filling is an even tinier scrap of silk dupion.  Fancy biscuit eh?

By then I'd got the bit between my teeth and didn't want to stop playing.   I chose another old favourite - a pair of high heeled shoes - and some more Liberty print and stitched this one, adding a fancy button to the front of each shoe.  I'd love a pair of shoes like this, but I doubt I'd be able to walk in them!

Then I thought if I've done some high heels, maybe I should do some flat shoes too.  Yet more Liberty print scraps and some pretty coral pink lace from my scrap jar and we have these.  I'd love these too, and the bonus is I'd actually be able to walk in them!

That's what I spent last Sunday doing, wonder what I'll find to occupy myself with this weekend?

Made by Me: Ailakki Dress

I'm back finally, on what is the second hottest day of the year so far.  Finally summer has arrived in the UK, and already I'm moaning about it.  When I went out yesterday afternoon the thermometer in my car said it was 35 degrees centigrade... too hot for me!

But it gives me the perfect opportunity to wear my new dress. 

Wearing my new dress in the Cornish sun last week.

Just before I went on holiday I suddenly had an urgent desire for a denim pinafore type dress, one that could be worn over a t-shirt or alone - after the summer we'd had up until then I never thought I would actually be wearing it without a layer underneath, but there we go. 

I looked online, because I was going to buy one, but the one I really liked was sold out in my size.  However it had a bodice very similar the Named Patterns Ailakki jumpsuit.  I'd admired that pattern many times, but knew I'd never make it as a jumpsuit, not having the height or the figure I think it needs to pull it off successfully.  I'd never considered making it as a dress until now. 

I had a couple of metres of denim in my stash, so I promptly downloaded the pattern and set about making a toile of the bodice.  It's a good job I did, as I had to make loads of changes. 

Bodice alterations in progress.

I shortened the length of the bodice by almost 2 inches, just removing this amount completely from where the bodice attaches to the waistband, and also taking a good inch from the top of the shoulder straps on the back bodice.  Strangely the front bodice straps didn't need shortening.  Shortening the straps at the back meant that the armholes cut in too high under my arms, so I just re-traced the shape of them an inch lower on both back and front, tapering them in to match up with the cross neckline on the front. 

Ailakki dress back - when I'm wearing it my bra strap doesn't show.

The darts from the waistband up to the bust had to be widened to take in some gaping in the front armhole.  This alteration, together with shortening the bodice meant that the cutout disappeared from above the waist when I put everything together, but I'm not worried about that.  No one needs to see my untanned, untoned stomach!  You definitely need to be slim to get away with that. 

Ailakki bodice.

The final alteration I made was to deepen the waistband - I added about an inch and a half. 

Once the bodice was made I had to decide on a skirt style.  I procrastinated for a while, then decided on a Burdastyle pattern for a maxi skirt with a deep inverted pleat at the centre front and side pockets.  Cut to just below knee length it used every remaining scrap of fabric I had and is exactly what I wanted. 

I ended up topstitching the bodice so that I could permanently join the overlapping fronts together - I kept getting in a mess putting it on, and was also slightly worried about it moving and exposing things I didn't want exposed while I was wearing it. 

Topstitched bodice.

I'm really pleased with this dress and have already worn it a couple of times.  I'm going to dinner at a friends house on Friday evening and plan to wear it then as well if the weather holds.  I haven't actually tried it with a top on underneath yet, which is strange as that's how I'd envisaged wearing it when I started making it. 

I'd be tempted to make this again, I think it would look amazing as an evening dress with a long skirt, or as a classic with a twist little black dress.  I also think it would look lovely as a jumpsuit with wide legged trousers, but the slim legged look of the original pattern isn't really me much as I admire it on others.