Monthly Archives: September 2016

Sad News

I debated about not doing this post, and to be honest I’m not one of those, ‘lets put all our feelings out on the internet’ type of girl, but Denise has been such a big part of my life in recent years and we have known each other for over 20 years.

Last Sunday, Denise, my sewing buddy for the last three years and before that my card-making buddy, and before that my very dear friend lost her fight with Cancer. Denise had suffered with ill health her entire life.

She had to give up work in 2006 due to pulmonary hypertension, and had a very successful Liver transplant the following year. Three years ago she was diagnosed and beat cervical Cancer, earlier this year they found another growth this time by her lungs, she was told this was a totally unrelated Cancer to the first. After treatment for this they found another lump, which was hiding behind the other one.

Feeling better but unable to walk far, we made our plans, Denise had wanted to go to the Knitting and stitching show at Olympia this year but had been feeling too unwell to go, so I checked with Cooks Coachs and we could go to Alexandra Palace in October, we would take her wheelchair and Denise announced this meant we could buy more ‘stuff’  because we could hang it on the chair and not have to carry it.

In and out of hospital over the summer with pneumonia, she was still looking forward to our trip in October, then while on holiday in August she lost the use of her legs, they found another tumour, this one pressing on her spine, she then spent a couple of weeks waiting to be transferred back to Southend from Chichester.

Once back in Southend, I visited, the trip wasn’t mentioned, I think we both knew it wasn’t going to happen. she was in a lot of pain but still showing a brave face now talking about plans for having a real Christmas tree set up on her decking, Denise loved Christmas practically the whole of December her house was an obstacle course of Christmas Trees, I’m sure last year there was at least 5 and that was just downstairs.

13th September I bought her some books and we talked Lynsay Sands and Argeneau Vampires, she was having difficulty concentrating she said, so wanted something not too brain tiring, she was also worrying that she wouldn’t get home to see her cat Poppy again. I arranged to come back to following week.

The following day she text to say they were sending her home, but she wasn’t happy about it as the Respite Team had said maybe the following week. The Hospital changed their mind, when I asked the following day if she had gone home, she was still in the Hospital.

She passed away on Sunday, she had fought so hard and overcome so much that I suppose I thought she would come back from this, that she was indestructible.

The  beginning of the year she had so many plans, we had so many dressmaking plans, we were going to complete some fitting classes on Craftsy, she had just found the Swallow fabric that she had been hunting for, and we were going to dress up for the Knitting and Stitching Show – Big Vintage Sewalong.

Denise had a large circle of friends, a passion for life, Star Wars, Harrison Ford (not sure if those two are related :-)) and she was always making plans, doing something, going somewhere, she wouldn’t have been happy being bed-bound, but she would have got on with it, she would have been there with a smile and a positive attitude, and I would have been there trying to keep her amused and maybe make her laugh.

Good bye Denise I will miss you.


Tanya Whelan – sew many dresses

Just a quick post to show you the equivalent dress from Tanya Whelan’s dress book so you can compare it with the one from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress book

Here are the two back peices Tanya’s one is on top it has an extra shoulder dart, which Gertie’s didn’t it is also drafted without the seam allowance which is why it is over slightly. After wearing both dresses I think that the arm holes and back neck fit better on Gertie’s but the rest is better on Tanya’s.

Here are the dress pictures, I bought the fabric from Olympia earlier in the year, it was a lot heavier than I thought it would be.

Kenneth D King – Craftsy

Simon, asked me if I could copy a pair of jeans for him, he has finally found a pair of jeans that he likes the fit on, they are Gap and of course, not only are they the most expensive pair Gap does they are always sold out in his size. Initially I said no, not without taking them apart, but I was browsing through craftsy where I came across Kenneth D King jean-ius! :reverse engineer your favorite fit.

Before depriving Simon of his favourite pair of jeans for at least a couple of days I thought I would try it out on a pair of my jeans, as I said on my previous post I have this very nice pair of low rise Levi jeans, I have no idea on the model number (do jean even have a model number) but I have been trying to replace them from ebay but if you don’t know what they are called it is a bit hard.

I’m not going to go too deeply into the actual class, just a brief overview, if you want any more detail you’ll have to get the class, (on sale it was £16.99). Kenneth D King is very easy to listen to, the explanations are easy to follow and he is a very able presenter. After walking you through the getting of the pattern he then goes on to take you step by step to test the fit of the muslin and make changes and on to creating the finished article.

One thing that I don’t remember him mentioning is that you should probably give your jeans a quick iron, just to get the pocket edges and the crotch seam to lie flat. You trace your pattern off on to organza and from there to paper, where I discovered this amazing gadget a double tracing wheel, if I’d have known about these when I was dabbling with Lutterloh and Haslam it would have made life a lot easier! 

I do have a problem with the inseam, it wasn’t as noticeable with the first pair and I only had a problem with one leg of course I assumed that the leg that didn’t have the problem was correct, apparently not 😦

I discovered that if I pinched a bit of fabric out by the knee this straightened up the lines, what also made it a bit better is if I stretched out the back, it also pulled the seam round to the back, luckily I had already added an inch to the bottom so it was alright to lose an inch, this obviously is a cheat, I’ll correct it properly on the next draft.

So after unpicking the side and in-seams, and redoing the stitching and top stitching I tried them on, the top stitching isn’t totally right, but right enough that I won’t mind wearing them, I tried them on, disaster them struck, I obviously hadn’t tightened the stops at the top of the zipper enough as one of them popped off and the zipper tab with it, while I unpicked the fly facing and cursed Kenneth D King, I decided for my next attempt I would stick to the Lauren Dahl method of zip insertion which I did, the zip went in beautifully and there was no chance of zipper failure.

I just have the waistband to finish belt loops and button, maybe rivets ( I have to tackle them sometime. 

There is one part of the class that I have a problem with, let’s say conservative  estimate 85% of people taking this class do it to copy ‘blue’ jeans Kenneth seems to have pickup a pair of nondescript ‘jean type’ trousers, there is probably a copyright issue on actual ‘named’ jeans, however the construction method that he uses makes it impossible to put some of the top stitching in. He tells you to stitch the out seam before the inseam, we have several makes of jean in our home and they all have top stitching on the inseam and a tiny bit of top stitching over the hip on the out-seam. I must admit that once I had the pattern, 90% of construction was from my baste and gather Birkin Flares. If it works why use something different.

Bye for now


Two Projects – craftsy

I’m working on two projects at the moment, both craftsy classes and both ‘trouser’ projects.

The first class is Kenneth D. King – jean-ius Reverse engineer your Favourite Fit the second is Pattern design – the pants Sloper with Suzy Furrer.

This is just an overview of my two projects, I’ll  do a review of both classes at a later date.

I have a very nice soft pair of Levi jeans which are getting so thin that they probably don’t have much more wear in them. When I saw this class I thought it might be ideal for copying them. The first thing I did was to wash the jeans to make sure that they had ‘shrunk’ back to size. I decided on which side to copy, I went to the side without the knee hole :-).

You stitch around the seams and copy on to organza, from the organza you then copy to paper, and then from the paper to fabric.

here is the first version of  my jeans.


I have quite a few of the Suzy Furrer Craftsy classes, I haven’t yet finish one but I keep trying. So far I have created my first ‘pants’ sloper and made it up in an old sheet, this might be too thin to get a correct reading on the pattern but i’m relatively happy with the fit, here is the first version of the Trousers.

I don’t know about you but I feel the trouser sloper has a very 80s vibe, Simon thinks it is the high waistband.

I’ve managed to take a whole load of photos, so expect some more posts coming your way…..