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Preview: Lazy Seamstress

Lazy Seamstress

Updated: 2018-02-11T14:47:25.497+00:00


Spinning Plates !


Wow! Hi there! It's been a while, is there anyone out there still reading?
Don't you hate the culture of "busy"? I know I do, but you know what, I have been really flipping busy! I started a new job last April as a Textile Technician at my local sixth form college. Only two days a week, but add that to my work at Ministry of Craft and for Sew Now magazine, plus the volunteer work I do for LLLGB and my WI sewing group......hmmm you get the picture?

I am determined to manage my time better this year, and set realistic goals.I'm keeping a bullet journal ( not a pretty one, or I'd spend all my time doing the pretty and not the stuff! ), plus I have again bought the fabulous Makers Yearbook which I hope will keep me on track.

I have of course sewn for myself in little pockets of time, plus a couple of quilty gifts for special people....though I am so not a quilter!!
This year though I'm going for quality over quantity; I'm not promising I wont run something up quick when the impulse takes me, but I feel I need a good quality basic wardrobe, and for me that is classic fit and flare styles, and because I have a passion for good underpinnings, and can NEVER find a decent underslip that fits my boobs, I'm adding those to my to do list too!

So, if anyone is still out there, let me know in the comments what your sewing (or otherwise) plans are for 2018.

Shed Love


It is at this time of year, when I can fling open the doors to my shed that I probably love it most. In the winter I love it because it is cosy, but the summer gives it a whole different feeling. I think it's about 3 years now since I took over the garden shed and made it mine. I'm so very glad I did too. Our house has 7 people in it and the shed is my quiet little sanctuary.

Sadly though, I am outgrowing it. I have a studio space in a nearby mill which I am very lucky to share, but more and more I am hankering after a larger space in the garden.
I've been looking online and making plans. I have measured up and I think I can get something decently sized which means I could have all of my sewing and art equipment in one place, instead of spread between the house,studio and shed.
So, I'm trying to save might take me a while!
Dream with me a little though.......

Look at this beauty from Waltons Sheds
Or this one....

Woody has his eye on my current shed for his hobbies this rate the children will be left to fend for themselves while we retreat to our respective sheds!!

I've planned the inside too. Lots of storage, and a cutting table, and a wooburner.....
Take a look at my "Studio Envy" board on Pinterest .

Meanwhile, you can see my shed in action in my latest video on You Tube.
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I'm off to dream some more. x

Three Dresses.


                                So here we are again, another May of Me Mades's. Head on over to Zoe's blog to find out more. Honestly this year I've started out without a pledge or plan, just chucking on my me mades as usual, but today I think I have decided on my focus for this #mmmay17Yes that is a giant pile of clean laundry on my sofa! #mmm17  day 3 and I have been feeling guilty for not giving myself an actual challenge this year. I wear me mades most days, but I have gained a lot of weight recently....gotta love the peri menopause and a knackered thyroid 🙄 Trying hard to focus on body positivity instead of diets which make me sad....anyway this all means that lots of my clothes just don't fit well anymore, so this month I am weeding those out and starting afresh! Today I am wearing a #maudeskirt  Which co incidentally I am talking about on my You Tube Channel; this week it is part 2, just search Lazy Seamstress on You Tube to find me 😊A post shared by Jeanette Archer (@lazyseamstress) on May 3, 2017 at 12:22am PDTI ran one up quickly to see what I would think. I used a vintage sheet and random bits of bias hanging around in my shed. Once finished, I was pretty pleased with the dress, on the hanger at least...but oh dear, trying it on was a whole other matter! The tucks and ties were in the wrong place for my bust, and I just hated it on me. I'm still a bit sick about it really, it's super cute, just not on me, so I'm sending it to someone else who it will no doubt look so much better on...and hoping she doesn't look too closely at my hasty stitching!Not to be defeated however, I set to making myself another. This time I used some left over lightweight cotton blend left over from a project I'd completed a few weeks ago for Sewing Made Simple magazine.I intended to put the tucks and ties in at the end once I could work out where I wanted them to be, but while trying it on to determine that, I decided actually I liked it without.So, there you are, three dresses in a week, when really I should have been working on my final collection for college....oops![...]

Denim Maude


It's been a while since I made myself a Maude Skirt. I do love this pattern so much; I can squeeze it out of a metre of fabric usually, it stitches together super quick, even with the pockets, and it's a flattering easy style.
I had made one up recently for a future issue of Love Sewing Magazine (you'll have to wait to see photos of that one.), and I was reminded how much I love making up this skirt, and also how I have wanted to make a denim one ever since the very talented Jayne had made a denim one when the pattern was still being tested.

Instead of having the usual side concealed zip, I opted for a centre back exposed metal zip, which I am really pleased with. And yes, lots of top stitching in contrast thread....always makes me nervous, but I'm actually pretty pleased with how it turned out, a bit wobbly in places, but nothing is ever perfect eh?

I can really see this skirt being a real wardrobe staple.

Want to try the Maude pattern for yourself ? Then head over to my Etsy store where you can buy the instantly downloadable PDF pattern for only £5, or wait until it is featured in Love Sewing Magazine and get it for free! ( Maude is only available in my Etsy store for a limited time, once it is published in Love Sewing it will be taken off sale for 3 months. )

My feet ache!


I've been working at Ministry of Craft today. I love my job teaching classes, even if I do go home with aching feet like I have today.
Ministry of Craft operates mainly out of the basement at Fred Aldous, right in the heart of Manchester's lively Northern Quarter, offering classes in almost every craft you can imagine; embroidery, knitting, screen printing, paper's a very long list!
I teach most of the advanced beginner classes, focusing mainly on pattern cutting and fitting. Today was an Introduction to Bodice Fitting. A class I always enjoy, it's intense and the students always work so hard...there is a lot to fit in to five hours, but we always manage.

I know if I wasn't already teaching at Ministry, then I'd definately want to be taking a class there! I might get to sit down more if I took a class, but I really don't mind the aching feet, I know how lucky I am to be teaching a subject I love to people eager to learn and in great surroundings!Plus of course aching feet equals a shopping opportunity for comfy but cute shoes!

Ponderings and a new frock.


So, I had a birthday, I'm now the grand old age of 47, and feel every second of it recently! Angus often jokes with me that I have outlived my biological usefulness now that I am no longer having babies or feeding them, lately I have felt, all too keenly the truth in that joke!
India turned 20 on Saturday, and spent her first birthday away from home. I can't quite believe I am the mother of a 20 year old! She has grown into a lovely young woman, but she will always be my first baby. 

Raising babies for the past 20 years has been the most amazing and wonderful time, even the sad bits, even the heartwrenchingly sad bits, and now as my family grows I'm spreading my wings a little and taking on more freelance work. I regularly contribute to Sewing Made Simple magazine and have had some of my work published in Love Sewing magazine.  
I teach most weekends at Ministry of Craft   and I'm putting together my final collection for my Level 3 City and Guilds in Fashion. Life is busy!
I've so much to be grateful for, and so yeah, I'm 47,my thyroid doesn't work properly, and my bones creak. I have wrinkles and am beyond my "biological usefulness", but the sun is shining, and I am grateful. x

Bodice Fitting


I'm still working on perfecting the fit of my new bodice block. I've been working on this dress on and off for a few weeks now, finally finishing it last week only to put it on and realise despite all my tinkering it still doesn't quite fit right!
I re drafted the front into a princess seam, which I think works well on a larger bust, but kept the back bodice darted, which hasn't worked well at all!
My upper back is rounded and wider than might be expected, while my rib cage is actually very narrow, so fitting my back is often more of a challenge than fitting my bust....the problem with learning about fit is the more you know, the more you find there is to learn....actually that's how it is with sewing anyway, and why I love it so much!

You can see here how I tried to fix my gaping shoulders with small darts that were intended to fit over my rounded upper back, and they do (my dress form doesn't have the same shape there. ), but there is too much looseness around my back rib cage, while the darts fit nicely into my waist.
I was going to abandon this dress, chuck it in a charity bag, especially with spring on it's way. The dress is a medium weight wool blend and fully lined! Today though it snowed, and so I might have a chance to wear it soon, if I fix it. I intend, as a quick fix to take in a seam from the tip of the waist dart to the tip of the shoulder dart, trim away the excess fabric, resulting in a faux princess might work! I hope it does!

I will keep you posted! Oh and I did press it, this fabric is stubborn, and holds too many creases!

Dress Form


I've had my dress form for several years now, she was rather broken, picked up from Freecycle. Back then I taped her back together and replaced her stand with that of an old standard lamp, also picked up on Freecycle. My first attempt at making her my size was moderately successful, but after a while I pulled her back to her naked self, covered her with a tube of cream ribbing and just used her as a stand.
Like so many of us, I've seen various ways to DIY dress forms, on Pinterest and other blogs. I had been planning to make a calico toile and stuffing her, but yesterday after being up half the night thinking up various designs I'd like to try draping, I thought I'd give the Duck Tape version a try!

Woody taped me up over an old T shirt, which you will have seen if you follow me on Instagram .
He then cut me out, and I draped the resulting body over my dress form. She looked rather saggy and sad at this point, and despite our best efforts, Woody had managed to squish my boobs smaller than they are.
I taped her back up along the cut, and then stuffed her with poly toy stuffing. Added a bra to give her more definition up top, carefully measuring along the way to make sure I wasn't over or understuffing.

Once I was as satisfied as I could be that she was a reasonable representation of me, I covered her in a tube of cream ribbing and added her tapes.

Weirdly she has an almost Edwardian silhouette, which I guess so must I! Now to get on with some draping!

Cats in Paris


One day last week while feeling rather sorry for myself I nipped in to the local furnishing fabric shop. They have a room full of remnants that I like to browse just in case they have anything interesting.
Before I even made it to the remnants however, I noticed the shop was now stocking some rather lovely printed canvas fabrics, including this Paris scene with little black cats. I couldn't resist and buying just 3 metres cheered me up no end.

The pre wash faded the colours quite a bit more than I expected, but it's still a cute fabric, and I kind of like the faded denim style of the blues and greens. Perfect fabric for another try with my new bodice block. And after a little play with the waist darts I'm much happier than I was in my last post. (Don't worry, that dress has not been thrown out, I'm working on it!)

I'm reluctant to make myself clothes at the moment. I've gained a lot of weight recently, and have finally after several years of various symptoms been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Some of my joint pain has already begun to subside after starting drug treatment, and I'm hopeful that once my ideal dose of thyroxine has been worked out, I will start feeling healthy again, and maybe, fingers crossed find it easier to lose weight.

What do you think of my whimsical necklace that I bought in Shoreditch a few weeks ago? I love it with this dress, looks like she is going for a walk through some Parisien streets.

Dressmaking I haven't blogged.


I don't always blog everything I make, but I do usually share most things on Instagram
With February almost did that happen? I thought I'd just do a quick and dirty blog post of my January makes, the good, the bad and the downright disastrous!
Firstly the Doris Sweater above. I love this version so much. The fabric is a super soft loosley woven wool blend, and it is so cosy. I feel the cold even in this mild winter we are having, so any excuse to cosy up is most welcome.
It's been a bit of a Doris'y month actually because I also ran up this quick Doris Dress from some vintage fabric I found in a charity shop while visiting my Mum who lives in Somerset.

And this Doris Dress sample for Ministry of Craft.

I also ran myself up a lovely wool blend A line skirt. Fully lined in some pretty ditsy print cotton.

And finally this disastrous dress.

I have rather sadly gained too much weight for my bodice block, and have had to re work it, this is the first dress I have attempted with my new bodice block, and it just doesn't work. My own fault really, I was in a hurry and didn't toile the dress, and now I have something that needs completely reworking or chucking in the charity bag...I haven't yet decided which it will be......

Little Luxuries


I love modern technology, browsing other blogs, joining in sewing forums, watching videos on line, but nothing quite beats curling up on the sofa with a cuppa and a magazine.
I'm really thrilled to now this month have my work in two great sewing magazines!
Firstly Love Sewing Magazine has a free supplement this month called Learn To Love Sewing, especially designed for beginners. There are fab tutorials in there, many by my fellow tutors at Ministry of Craft, and including my lovely Flossie's Pinafore. I'm so happy with the photos and design of the pages, the pinafore looks lovely.

Another great magazine is Sewing Made Simple, Guess who made the pink blouse on the cover?

And inside are two tutorials by me;

I have thoroughly enjoyed working on all of these projects...and a few others yet to be released, plus hopefully more in the future.
And this might explain my lack of posts lately here on the blog, I've some catching up to do.

First make of the year!


The children all went back to school and college today, India is still home from University, but she was out today and I made the very most of the peace, and most importantly lack of demands to be fed, (children do need feeding so often! ) and spent a very happy morning in my shed running up this Weekend Doris Dress with a twist...or two!

It is a basic Weekend Doris, made with a retro style wool blend. (I sized up to accomodate the woven fabric.) I added in seam pockets*, a wider neck band to form a 60's style "cowl" neck, and hem band. The dress and sleeves are lined.
I'm really quite pleased with it, the lining has made it a substantial winter dress, so I'm ready for the coldest most miserable winter months of January and February, even if it is so mild at the moment that the daffodils are popping up at the park!

A close up of the fabric, and the little inseam label at the hem. I'm always so ridiculously pleased with myself when I remember to add these little touches!
And below, the lining:

You can see it is caught in place at the neck, cuffs and hem.

I must apologise for the not very focused photos, a combination of dark dreary days and having to use the self timer I'm afraid.

* Don't forget my inseam pocket tutorial if you want to add in seam pockets to a Doris dress, or any other skirt or dress.