Archive | September 2013

grey skirt and frankentights.

We finally caught up on the ironing at the end of last week and so I had nice stuff to wear with the skirt I made……


top is self designed one I made ages ago. Skirt is my second attempt at the Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt. And this time its come out perfectly. I was so worried after the disaster of the first one, but it turned out perfectly. I made it even harder for myself as I only had a meter of the fabric (£2 from market stall, isn’t it gorgeous!) and was determined to get a skirt out of it, despite the pattern suggesting you need considerably more if you are my size, so I cut the pocket pieces in half, roughly along the inside fold and sewed them back together as I was assembling the pockets.

I love the fabric though, it is a burnout/devore style fabric, with the top being black velvet and the base being some kind of thick grey jersey. It is very stretchy and so far the velvet bits have been impervious to being scuffed and put in the washing machine, which is often a problem with the cheaper of that sort of fabric.

New Look did a load of similar skirts this year, but for some bizarre reason they figured only people size 16 and smaller would want to wear them, so I am very glad to have had the opportunity to make my own (though slightly pissed off that I had to!)

Here are a couple of pictures where I faffed with the contrast to make the skirt pattern stand out more….


And here is a picture of the skirt laid out on my bed….


The other sewing project I did last week was a completely accidental one. I went to see Emilie Autumn, a goth/steampunk/cabaret act with my boyfriend and decided to dress lolita.


I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to wear this outfit for ages. Its my humbug top, my black Bodyline jsk and a pair of black and white stripy tights.  With hindsight and looking at the photos I think its a bit St Trinians, however those photos were taken after we got back, so not only was it midnight, but we had been enormously rained on as a torrential downpour had been going on all evening and so my hair was fairly wrecked and the skirt of the dress was soaked.

The tights however, are not all they seem from the outside….

I looked on the internet for a pair of plus sized black and white striped tights, which on the surface shouldn’t have been too difficult as all of the fancy dress shops carry them and there are loads on ebay and amazon. In the end I bought a pair of  2xl by leg avenue which purported to be large enough for someone my height and weight. When I opened them to put them on that morning (luckily I didn’t leave it till 5 minutes before the gig to get changed) they went about half way up my thighs and then stopped. I would say not recommended at all for anyone over 5’4″! As I paid £8 each for two pairs of these I was most pissed off.

I didn’t really have any other clothing options. I am dreadfully short on Steampunk/goth/clubbing clothes at the moment, so I didn’t have an alternative outfit planned. So I cut the tights off by the crotch (or about halfway up my thighs) and cut off a pair of normal black tights I knew would fit at roughly mid thigh length. I then sewed the stripy tights to the crotch of the normal tights, stretching out the nylon as I sewed so that the seam would fit round my leg. To my utter amazement it worked.

One side was a little prone to falling down and I had to keep pulling it up or it would show under my dress, and it wouldn’t be suitable for wearing with a much shorter skirt, but I have one succesful pair of frankentights! They’ve even survived the washing machine since.


Obviously if anyone knows a source of plus sized stripy tights that are actually likely to fit a 5’9″ size 18/20 without cannibalisation I’d be eternally grateful!

beautiful monsters – the ones that didn’t quite make it.

So I’ve actually been sewing quite a lot lately and am well behind in documenting what I’ve been doing.

A large reason for this is that two out of the last 3 things i have made were more or less disastrous and so i have had fairly little motivation to photograph them.

The first thing actually turned out competely wearable and is really beautiful, just not wearable by me I’m afraid! 😦


This was supposed to be the dress I was going to wear to my boyfriends cousins wedding. I had a little trouble during construction as the net on the petticoat slipped as I was sewing it and I had to unpick a load of it, but its really well made, really well finished and the same style/size as one I made a few months before when if anything I was a little heavier than when I planned this, so it should have been perfect.

However, two weeks before the wedding, the drugs company decided to ‘temporarily’ run out of the medication I’m on and I therefore had to switch from the syrup format I usually take to a lactose based tablet format. Apart from making me so tired that even two weeks later I had to leave the wedding early at 6.30pm as I was too tired to function properly, which is a side effect of messing around with my dose, I am completely allergic to lactose. This has given me loads of digestion problems and caused my stomach to swell and my waist measurement to increase by 4 inches pretty much overnight. 😦 ( I haven’t actually put on any kilograms at all with this, its all bloat)

As the dress is boned so was designed to fit very closely, this was bad enough, however to make matters worse, the fabrics I had used in this version (unlike the original unicorn version, which I haven’t actually tried on since this happened)  have absolutely no stretch in them what so ever.

So it doesn’t do up by about an inch (inch and a half to be comfortable) round my waist. I will have to wait till november for it to be possible to try it again, as that is when they think they will have my medication back in stock at the earliest. 😦

The fabric is so pretty though…


It is from a range called Nightshade by a company called Tula Pink (See link to etsy here, their own website is crap!) and is technically quilting cotton, but in reality is really good quality for dressmaking.

I even finished the petticoat with this amazing lace I found on etsy….


It has little skulls and crossbones on it! isn’t it cute! 🙂

So yeah, I am properly gutted this one doesn’t fit!

the next cock up was my first attempt at this pattern by Sewaholic…. I’ve been looking for a decent skater skirt pattern for ages, and I’ve seen very good results off other people on the internet, and actually despite what happened, I really like the pattern and have continued using it.

The entire fiasco was a major lesson in why one does mock-ups first, why I should not sew whilst tired and ill, and why if I get something wrong I should walk away for 15 minutes and have a cup of tea rather than try and fix it immediately and risk making the problem ten times worse by panicing.

Luckily I just used a thick black jersey off the two pound stall on the market, that I have plenty enough left of to make another attempt (indeed which is currently sitting in my sewing pile cut out.)

The problems started when i accidentally used the wrong weight of interfacing for the waist band, and continued when I didn’t really get the instructions in several places until after I had finished, used 3 different seam finishes as I folowed the instructions for the first seam, sewed a bit on backwards so needed a french seam, and then got bored and just overlocked things, which is not what you were supposed to do. I also ripped it as I was sewing which I had to fix, and failed utterly at topstitching the waistband on without catching pleats into the fabric, and god knows what happened with the zip, totally didn’t get the instructions till after I’d done it and so it just looked a state!

Anyway, heres a token photograph from a suitably far away distance you can’t see all the reasons its so awful…


Having made the unsuccessful first attempt, I am happy to say I have subsequently managed a version of this skirt that is pretty damn near perfect on my second go, however I haven’t photographed it yet as all my nice tops are in the wash so I’ve nothing to co-ordinate it with.

But I’ll have a picture of that next week. I have also cut out another version out of the black jersey, as I do actually need a black skater skirt, so it is actually a useful pattern. 🙂