Archive | October 2014

lucky accident and a couple of reviews.

Ok, so my new sewing machine is going like a dream. It took me a few goes to get the hang of threading the bottom bobbin as it is totally different from my old system, but apart from that I’ve had no problems with it whatsoever. In fact its sped up the sewing process considerably for me.

So as I mentioned in my last post I had a burgundy Renfrew Top on the go that I’d put a couple of nicks near the collar so it needed some improvising with lace to cover it up, that I was intending to use as my test piece, thoroughly expecting the same to happen as when I learnt to use my overlocker, it come out chewed to hell and completely unwearable. Actually it finished off like a dream. And I’ve got to say, cover up by the neck and all, this is one of my favourite and most versatile tops at the moment, & its the ultimate thing for going with lolita clothing. Also this week the end of my order from My Lolita Dress finally arrived (it took about 5 months, but everything else about the process was lovely) so I finally have a proper petticoat the right length, so I took a load of photos.

first up, top I made with homemade skirt and classical puppets petticoat….

burgundy renfrew top lolita 2 burgundy renfrew top lolita

I’ve done pictures with this skirt before, but its never really worked as I didn’t have a petticoat the right length to go with it. I’ve got to say despite the time it took, i am over the moon with the classical puppets petticoat,i had it custom made and even though it took ages, I am thinking of ordering one in black as well, it is that poofy and full in shape and cuz I custom ordered it I got it exactly the length I needed. Loads of people have raved about these on Egl LJ and I completely agree they are brilliant.

You can also see the top I made properly in these pictures, I really like the way it works.


sleipnir by ergi piratessen 2 Sleipnir by ergi piratessen


Next up is the same top by me with the Sleipnir JSK by Ergi by Piratessen.

This actually turned up a few months ago, but I wasn’t sure quite what to do with it, i’m not thinking I have a particularly impressive co-ord going on here, but at least its a start. Its so plain and such an unusual colour scheme its quite hard to accessorise. (although I have totally non lolita plans involving my boyfriends fishnet top and a plastic helmet and hammer for a lady thor look at some point)

As far as the dress goes I am really quite pleased considering it was quite a low price. The quality is good, in fact the skirt is so heavy I think it will ultimately need a second petticoat. There was the odd hanging thread and the zip was a little stiff at first, but nothing major wrong with it. It is nicely printed and I managed to spill oil on it the first day I got it, so relatively easy to wash too. The bow is nice too and in proportion to my head.The only thing about it I’d say is a pain is the fabric crumples easily so it needs ironing before practically every time you wear it.

I am really looking forwards to having a play with more accessories with this. I have a Victorian Maiden bonnet I’m thinking of playing with with it and I’m on the look out for some grey flowers, and I might make some wrist cuffs if I can be arsed. Or something, at least I’ve got a top to go with it now.

And lastly this cut-sew from HMHM, a taobao seller I bought through My Lolita Dress….


Apart from the long turn around time, there seems to have been some kind of balls up, but Linda from My Lolita dress was  very good at communicating whilst they sorted stuff out and got on with it, my only problems with this blouse are mostly my own fault. I did not realise, probably due to the impossibility of taking a picture of it, (mine are too dark, the websites came out too light,) quite how white the trim and the buttons were, so it was a bit of a shock when it arrived and not quite what I was after. I was also surprised it was made of jersey material rather than cotton, though with thought I do not mind very much as its really quite practical that way. However it fit me spot on and was made well to my measurements and it is really good quality.I think my real problem with it is it doesn’t suit me at all, again totally my own fault, but I have a bit of a double chin and round face with being fat and all and a high necked blouse does exacerbate that and I think make me look fatter. Being prepared for a stupidly long wait I would buy stuff from that brand again as the quality is good and the custom fit was good though. Maybe next time I’ll be a bit more careful with the styling.

I would also buy custom stuff through My Lolita Dress again.

Anyway, I am stupidly busy at the moment with non sewing stuff, but largely thanks to my new sewing machine being a breeze to use, I am halfway through the next dress I was planning to make (it is jersey and stripy and completely not lolita.) and I have given in to consensus from my dancing group and ordered a ready made set of stays (making my own in the time frame needed was never going to happen) so that when I make my Regency dress it is fitted correctly. This means that I won’t be making it till january whatever as I have to wait for the stays to arrive first. So seeing how I go in the next few days I intend to have a go at a lolita dress for xmas, I have my eye on the most gorgeous fabric.

The nice thing about having driven myself mad doing boring basic sewing for the last year and also thanks to the fact the British High Street is getting better and better at catering for plus sized clothes in styles that are not tunics and leggings  or cutesy Zooey Deschanel crap, for the first time in 4 years since I put the weight on, I actually have a wardrobe full of nice stuff with not very many gaps in it, so apart from the Regency stuff and a few things for other people, everything I make can be for fun now, not necessity, (and to be fair the girls side of the Regency stuff is going to be fun too). This is a real relief as I’ve felt very much stuck in a sewing rut the last year that does not accurately reflect what I want to be about. Especially with the new machine I’m really looking forwards to the next few months sewing! 🙂

Though not to taking pictures of stuff, seriously now it is dark after Jon gets home from work its going to be that yellow door all the way!

The best laid plans of mice and monsters….

So at the beginning of last week I began the next item in my program of boring sewing ready for winter and started a plain long sleeved Sewaholic Renfrew in the same burgundy jersey as my last top, to use as a basic underneath things.

It started going fairly badly, I cut the neckband slightly too short, so there was a pleat on one side by the collar, and then I managed to put a couple of small holes near the neck when I was cutting the seam allowance down, all of which was fixable, but it didn’t look great (seriously that jersey is a nightmare, I had problems with it with my bloused top as well, the smallest nick to the fabric turns into a gaping hole pretty much immediately!) . So I gathered a length of the burgundy  lace and turned it into a neck ruffle to hide it all. I got half way into sewing it on, and it was looking like I’d properly rescued it, and then disaster struck. My sewing machine broke. & by broke I mean the main shaft either snapped or popped loose so the whole thing wasn’t connected up. Not a thing that can be fixed by a bit of cleaning or greasing or using a pair of pliers.

My machine was a Janome 1550 I’ve had for 10 years, so very basic, but its always done me a good job, but as it was pretty much the cheapest model out there 10 years ago, and there is no sewing machine repair shop anywhere easily accessible to where I live, the only sensible option was to buy a new one.

So I went to John Lewis on Saturday, and have ordered a Janome 7025, which is a computerised model, which I wasn’t sure about, but the lady in the shop says they are just as robust and last as long as mechanical ones these days. It is also a student model, so I can use it as much as I need to and it won’t get tired (I got a very pained response when i said how much and for what I’ve been using my old machine, its a lightweight model for occasional repairs apparently!)it also comes with all sorts of snazzy features including an automatic button hole maker! 🙂

So that arrives on Friday. So at first I was all kind of eek, I’ve lost two weeks sewing, but then I decided to use the time to cut patterns and fabric pieces out and organise what I’m going to do for the rest of the year, as my planning was getting into a bit of a panic.


What I had planned to do, in the order I was planning to do it,

Burgundy long sleeved top

Top for my friend (cowl neck Renfrew)

Orange Halloween jersey top

Red jersey blouse top

Red Renfrew top

Regency dress

Regency stays

Striped top for my friend

Skirt for my friend


So basically, as the deadline for most of this was January and even though most of those are super simple patterns at my fastest I manage an average of something every two weeks, that really wasn’t going to happen.

So having thought about it and organised stuff, this is my sewing schedule till January instead…

Burgundy top – I am half way through this and as I now have a new machine and all the features are different from my old one. I need something to practice on, as I have already buggered this one up to a certain extent I am not too worried if I muck it up completely.

Striped jersey dress – I realised as I was pre washing the fabric and getting the lace out that I wasn’t completely happy with what I had planned for my Halloween top and it wasn’t doing it for me. The jersey I’m going to be playing with instead is the black and purple stuff I got the other week, so its still slightly spooky, I also need to practice stripes before I have a go at the top for my friend, as I’ve never really tried that sort of pattern matching before, and its not fair to experiment on other people, also I intend to use the kitschycoo lady skater pattern, the last time I made it, although I followed the construction instructions to a certain extent there were a load of things (specialist jersey stitch, double rows of stitching) that I had to ignore as my machine couldn’t do them. My new machine can, so this gives me a really good opportunity to test a few of its features.

Top for my friend – this is fairly simple, and by that stage I am pretty sure I will be good enough at using my machine not to screw it up!

Regency dress – about a month ago, Jon and I started Regency Ballroom dancing lessons as after the taster at Worldcon, we found we both enjoyed it and it was something physical I can do despite my Chronic Fatigue that doesn’t put me in bed for days after. However the whole point of Regency dancing is ultimately to dress up in Regency gear and do it at balls and tea parties. The first gathering we want to go to/feel we will be good enough to cope by that time, is a few weeks after New Year, that means we need to start thinking about outfits. Unfortunately Regency costumes are either super expensive or super tacky, and while we are going to buy Jons we can’t really afford to buy one for me as well, so I am going to have to make one. I have something I can use as a chemise, so I need to sort out stays and a dress. However in the interests of saving time and because the event we are going to is an informal one put on by our local group, I am not going to bother with the stays till later and just focus on the dress. I know this is naughty, but it is better to have something to wear than try and be super authentic and end up with nothing at all.

If I have time I might slip in something lolita for xmas.- I have just acquired one of the Otome no Sewing books and it has got me all excited.

This means my friends other clothes will have to wait till February, but I have warned her of that already, and I will have to do without any red long sleeved jersey tops this winter, which is an arse, but I coped last winter. But it is a much more realistic sewing schedule and one that does not leave me going up the wall with boredom for making the same things over and over again.

I’ve already cut out everything except the regency dress, and I plan to do that this week before the machine comes as well, so it is really just a case of sewing everything up when I’ve finished.

Im actually kind of glad I had to take 2 weeks without a machine to re-evaluate what I’m doing, and I’m super looking forwards to the new one arriving. 🙂