Oh dear…

…MAY was the last time I blogged. This is not a good state of affairs. So what’s been keeping me off the internet over the last few months? Well, it turns out that hours of bus commuting to college and hours of hand sewing aren’t particularly compatible with maintaining regular blogging.

So what’s my news? Well, I haven’t been idle, so to keep it simple I’ll break it down into a tailoring update and a non-tailoring update. Here’s the non-tailoring news:

I’ve learnt to make pretty silk roses:Rose 1Rose 3

I took a class to learn how to make boned ballet bodices. I decided to make a bodice to go with my plate tutu (the sticky-out one!). Here it is as a work-in-progress.

 Bodice
Apparently some ballerinas are rather naughty and will take their nail scissors to the costumes to cut out bones, thereby destroying the costume. You therefore make ballet bodices wth a few different techniques to a normal eveningwear bodice so that if that happens it doesn’t require a full re-make of the costume, which is both expensive and time consuming. My bodice is not yet finished, but I’m nearly there, so check back for a finished photo later in the summer.

I’ve made two silk dresses in very different styles: the silver one for a 50th birthday party (its a bit baggy on the stand but looked great on the person), and the teal silk as a performance outfit for a talented young soprano.

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I’ve conquered my fear of sewing suede and soft leather and learnt a few tips and tricks. I’ve practiced samples of quilting, seams, pockets, zips etc on scraps and I think I’m now ready to move onto a garment now. Watch this space for a blue suede mini skirt!

RecentlyI decided it was high time I turned my hand to some bridal alterations. Have you ever seen the inside of a wedding dress? Its a strange creature!

Wedding dress inside

I’d always been a bit scared to try my hand at bridal alterations – afterall its someone’s dream dress! – so I took the cautious approach. I spent several days with an absolute expert, who showed me how the dresses are made (which helps know how to take them apart and put them back together), how its best to do some of the most popular alterations (letting the side seams in and out, adjusting the length for various types of hem, adding darts, adding extra loops in the back etc).

Wedding dress
It turns out that wedding dresses are not anywhere near as scarey as I’d thought, and my lovely mentor told me to go forth and alter, as my sewing skills were definitely up to it. I’m hoping to get back to spend a few days with her later in the year.

Wedding dresses sewing

Its great to have someone willing to share top tips, industry knowledge, and all the expertise gained from decades in the business. I’m hoping to tackle construction of gowns and bridal bodices next time: so yet again, ‘watch this space’!

And finally…you know how I said I’d been spending hours commuting? Well, that has given me loads of time to do bit of tailoring handsewing on the bus, and also to practice hand stitched buttonholes.  But also, in the last week of my commuting for this academic year I finally finished the embroidery design I’d bought in the first week of the course back in February. Hoorah! (I’m definitely the bus wierdo.)

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So, other than a growing amount of alterations, that’s my non-tailoring sewing news. I’ll let you know how the tailoring’s been going very soon!

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