Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The LBD - (Little Bacon Dress)

I was shopping online for fabric (as you do) when I came across this.

Oh yeah. It's bacon fabric!

At first, I cackled and rolled around on the floor laughing for a bit thinking 'What kind of crazy person would want to buy bacon fabric?!!' Until I sat bolt up and realised the answer was 'me'. I am the crazy person, and I want to buy bacon fabric. You can quote me on that if you like.

But really, I mean the puns alone make this worthwhile (and you know how I love puns).

I thought about using it to make an apron or something, but decided I really wanted to go the whole hog and make a dress. (See what I did there?)

In the interests of personal authenticity, I had to explore this idea further. I did a bit of a poll to see if people thought making a dress out of this would be a good idea. It was a landslide victory in favour of the bacon.

The people have spoken. To those 2 rouge voters who were not on board with my brilliant and tasty moment of inspiration, I can only say this:
Potate away!
So then I had to make it, because democracy (and peer pressure) said so. You can never go wrong by listening to the mob, right?

The company that makes this fabric is called 'Timeless Treasures', which is fitting really, because you can imagine anything with a food theme print is destined to become an heirloom. If you find yourself itching to get your hands on some (and who wouldn't be?), I got mine from www.fabric.com. They have baked potato fabric too.

It seems to me that a bacon dress should be a classic, sexy shape. I don't want it to look tacky or anything.

So I went with a simple dress. It's got a princess line with a sweet-heart neckline. If the bodice looks familiar in shape, it's because I used the pattern I drafted for my wedding dress, with the skirt simplified.

The skirt is essentially a straight skirt, made pencil shaped by tapering in from just below the fullness of the hip. I also included a vent at the back, because hey, gotta walk. I might rustle up a sketch on how I did that in a following post.

I think it's almost office appropriate. (Almost). Which would make sense because you could wear it when bringing home the bacon. [I did initially try and write about women's rights on this one, but the link got a bit tenuous even by my standards... you might say there were more than six degrees of separation on those topics].
Tee Hee!
Going to go right ahead and make this look glam now.

 Oh yeah!

Guess what's shakin?
Yup. Bacon. Bacon is shakin.

I think I look smokin'. Or smokey. As in smokey bacon. And Jon tells me it's certainly the cutest bacon dress he's ever seen.

Oh hey - since you're here, why not sign up as a follower, or follow by email? You get posts in your inbox. I promise not to spam you. ;)

[I'll be here all week. :D]

PS: Quick disclaimer - no actual piggies were harmed in the making of this dress. Morris is fine.

UPDATE: Full drafting notes here.

Monday, 12 May 2014


Once upon a time (last week) a tiny and adorable auburnette (that's me) went for a walk to the market.

I stopped at the newsagent in the hope I'd see my favourite sewing magazines. And I was quite distressed when I couldn't find them.

On the other hand, I did find this. It is the 'Pro Guide to Sewing' by Alice Blackledge (2014)

Without any particular hopes, and already feeling blue that my favourites were not in stock, I had a quick look inside.

There was a bit of information on elastic casings, which made me shrug a bit because I'm not sure I'd call elastic casing a 'pro' technique....



...then I saw this!!!

Hello gorgeous!

I need to tell you that I have lots of things on my to do list. All of them dropped off the list for the day because I NEEDED to make this pig. I went and got some pink fabric and scurried home.

I went for a quilting weight cotton rather than a fleece. I'd like to try it in a fleece as well but liked the texture of the cotton.

The design was a bit complicated - the kind of complicated and shapely shapes I love. The arm is a raglan shape, which is inserted and then stuffed. Fab! And seriously, how cute are these ears?

The instructions are really good too - heaps of illustrations. Had I read them first, I wouldn't have had to unpick the arm and put it in a second time.

Here is Morris. I don't know why that's his name, but it clearly is.

He has an elasticated tail. You can tug on it, and it springs right back!

Aww! Isn't he adorable. I think making this pig was a much better use of my time than cleaning the house. Don't you agree?

I think I'm going to need to make three.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Sewing with Fake / Faux Fur


In the last project, I've been learning about fake / faux fur. I've not done a lot of work with fake fur before (although I have done some) so it seemed a good idea to do a little reading and report on my findings and experience.


This stuff gets everywhere! The key to cutting fake fur is to cut through the base layer of fabric, but not through the fur itself.

There are two terms you will want to know.
Pile is the strands attached to the base fabric. These will vary in length, thickness and composition.
Nap is the direction in which those strands lie.

When you are cutting out, the first thing you will want to know is which way the stands should lie. This should be noted on your pattern pieces. On my bear, each piece would have the fur lying in such a way that if you stroked the bear downwards the fur would rest comfortably. The ears went the other way so they tufted upwards. In most coats, the fibres will want to fall down the body as well. Be aware of this as you place each piece.

Because fur is so thick, you can't cut it out on the fold. You also need to to work on the back, rather than the furry side of the fabric.

Pinning was a bit ridiculous, and I abandoned that idea quickly.

Being mindful of the nap, trace out the pieces you require. Keep in mind that you may need to flip some to face the other direction. I used a fabric marker to trace out the shapes. Be sure to include any markings.

Flip and trace to create a mirrored pair. These are sides of the teddy bear's head.

From here, cut with a sharp craft knife rather than scissors or rotary cutter. This is because scissors will cut the pile, and this will create a blunt edge in the finished result. By keeping the strands uncut, you can get a more professional finish. You can use scissors if you snip carefully to avoid clipping the fibres.

This is what we're aiming for.
Once you've cut, brush off any excess bits and comb the fur in towards the centre of the piece.


When you are pinning the fabric together, you need to take care to tuck in the pile as much as possible. You can do this by pushing it in with a thick needle or knitting needle as you pin.

Random bit of fluff holding on there...


Use a longer stitch than normal when sewing fake fur. My seam allowance on this pattern was 5mm. I think next time I'd make it a bit more, and then trim it back. Fur is bulky. I've also read about using a zigzag stitch, but didn't try it. Make test swatches!

Teasing out the Pile
When you finish your seam, some strands will be caught in the stitches. Use a darning needle to delicately pull out the strands. Work in small sections, angling the needle to pull away from the seam (not out of the fabric itself).

When you're done, you will definitely have to clean your machine. Probably the room.

That's pretty much a basic overview of fake fur. Its fussy and can be slow going, but it isn't complicated or scary.

Readers: Any other tips out there?