Some MMJ and Holiday Wardrobe Challenge outfits

Monday, May 30

What a weekend its been.

I've been involved in an epic battle battle with a cold. I've downed more lemsip syrup this Weekend than my entire life. I really did overdose on Lemsip( yeah it was that bad). I did some sewing too ( when I felt better between spoonfuls of lemsip).

I finally put the zip on the other Vogue 8232 dress I was working on. This pattern seems to be my go to pattern, as this is the second time I'm making it (first time seen here). I also used the skirt for another dress I made a couple of months ago.

This time I found the zip really easy to insert. All that Lemsip probably unlocked some part of my brain. I think I need to stock up on lemsip syrup. I'm not saying I'm going to turn into a Lemsip addict....well if it does have anything to do with easy zip insertions, then I might.

I also did 3 maxi dresses. I did not use a pattern for 2 of them, just some personal measurements and elastic on one, and some ribbon on the other. For the 3rd one, I used Simplicity 2638 and the fabric I bought in April when Iwent to visit my in-laws.. The good thing about maxi dresses is that they are so easy to sew, and do not take an awful lot of time.

With this one I measured my hips, and cut 2 rectangles with that measurement, and my desired length . Then I made a casing at the top for the elastic, and hemmed the bottom. Simples!!

Simplicity 2638

With this one, I made two rectangles with my hip measurement and desired length. I left some inches off the top side seams, which act as the armholes, then made casings for both parts of the top, and put a ribbon through it. Job done.

Then I decided to do a little refashion. I had a not-so-new top I had at home, which i realised I did not wear often. So i decided to give it some love.

So old top and some fabric

Cut the top at the waistline

gather the top of the skirt

Sew it to the top. Finish off the seams and hem the skirt.


So that's what I've been up to. I still feel really horrible, but the lemsip is doing its job.

Have a nice week everyone.
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New Look 6816 top

Friday, May 27

006 by Dibs and the machine
006, a photo by Dibs and the machine on Flickr.

Yesterday I made a top for work today (I wish this could happen everyday). I decided to do a quick project, as sewing after work can be very tiring sometimes, so I picked New Look 6816 purely because it said it was a 2 hour project. It took me less than two hours (can you believe it?), but only because I decided to sew it with my overlocker.

I made the red version with the short sleeves, and put ruffles at the neck. I used my overlocker for the side seams,then used my regular machine to sew the hem, as I wanted it to have a wavy look. I used a tight ziz-zag stitch for the hem, and a looser one for the sleeves.

009 by Dibs and the machine

For the ruffles, I simply cut four strips of fabric, gathered them, and attached them to the neckline.

This was my first time sewing with Knit, and I found that you have to guide it all the time, or else it will keep twisting. I also noticed that knits(or at least what I was using), don't gather as easily as woven fabric. When I tried to gather the two rows of stitches I had done for the ruffles, I found it very difficult. So i added another line of stitches, and that solved the little issue.

It was a fairly easy top to make, and I will make this again.

Holiday Wardrobe Challenge

Tuesday, May 24


I think I hate myself. I keep complaining about the stress of an impending me made june and of me not having enough clothes and all, and here I am about to talk about another challenge.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was going to sunny Marjoca this summer. August to be exact, and that I was thinking of making my own wardrobe for that. So here I am today, declaring that

I, Dibs, of Dibs and the Machine, pledge to sew a holiday wardrobe for my 2 week vacation to Marjoca. For the duration of my  holidays, I shall only wear clothes/accesories made by me!!

"Everything" excludes shoes and bras, and sunshades.

So there, I've gone and done this time haven't I.

I seem to relish the stress ( i know that sounds strange), but sewing for Me Made June has made me realise that with sewing, like many other aspects of my life, I thrive on deadlines. Knowing that deadlines are around the corner , makes me work harder. So, I think setting myself the challenge of sewing my holiday wardrobe, and declaring it publicly, will actually push me to sew.

Is there anyone going on holiday and resolving to sew their own holiday wardrobe?

Style Crush: Michelle Obama

Monday, May 23

I was stalking Eugenia just now, looking at the two tshirts she's just made, when she mentioned that Michelle O was due in the UK tomorrow. I had completely forgotten. I have the biggest style crush ever on Michele O. I love most of the stuff she wears (if not all). However, some of them will look pretty ridiculous on me, because she is so tall, and I am so very short, I'd probably only reach her knees if I stood next to her. I kid you not. I am that short.

What she and I do have in common though, is a love for colour, full flowery dresses, cardigans and of course, the ability to wear any colour, no matter how bright. I really like the fact that she wears what she wants, and does not restrict herself to boring colours or outfits. Its always very exciting to watch her. she always manages to look effortlessly cool.!!

TRÈS CHIC photo | Michelle Obama



I can't get enough of her. But I think you'll probably all be thinking i'm some pychotic madam out on the run. I can most def assure you I am not. I am just having the biggest style crush ever of my life.

Have a nice evening.

Testing my new BFF

Sunday, May 22

So, my excitement over the new overlocker has gone down(just a teensy weeny bit), and I am testing it. I'm currently working on another vogue 8232 dress, and I'm really happy with how professional it looks inside because of the overlocking. My regular machine has an overlocker foot, but the results are so much better with the overlocker. The speed for instance, is out of this world, and I was quite surprised when I went back on my sewing machine and noticed how slow it was in comparison to the overlocker.
I was quite lucky that the overlocker came already threaded, but when I started sewing, I noticed something was not quite right. Upon closer inspection I realised one of the threads was not there, so I had to rethread it. That took me a good part of 1 hour, and that was just 1 thread. In the end, it all made sense.I think threading the overlocker is not as scary as we all think. Doing it the first time might be daunting, but when you get the hang of it, it becomes easy.
So, if like me you were scared of using one, the best way to overcome this, is to buy one, and just go for it. It's not as hardcore as we think.

Have a lovely week.

Is it too late to nominate myself for an Oscar?

I've done it!!
I finally have an overlocker. All those days spent acting out my frustration at not having an overlocker, for my audience of one finally paid off.

It was not easy though, as my husband could not understand why I needed two machines, when in his opinion, one could have done the job. Imagine me having to explain the differences between a regular sewing machine, and an overlocker. He still does not get the difference, but at least he got me the overlocker, and that's all that matters. So I reckon I deserve an Oscar nomination, for actually convincing my husband i needed one...granted at one point I seriously looked like I would have a nervous breakdown if I did not get one, but its amazing how all of life's problems seem like nothing when presented with a new sewing machine. I have not eaten all day. Am still in the skies right now.

Choosing the right overlocker was a real pain. I was not exactly sure what brand to go for. I previously blogged about the brother 1034d I got off eBay, which was swiftly appropriated by my mom before I even had the chance to use it. But this one will be hidden the minute my mom tells me she is coming to visit. We don't want a repeat of the brother incident do we?

So after countless hours reading about various overlockers, I decided to go with the pfaff hobbylock 2.0. Purely because my seeing machine is a Pfaff, and I love it. So I guess I am a confirmed pfaffiologue( I don't care if this does not exist).

I should at this point mention that I am scared to use it. So for now I shall contend myself with admiring it, carefully placed next to my Select 4.0.

Happy Sunday everyone.

2 down, 1 leaving me stressed

Saturday, May 21

I finally found time to sew my assembly line tops.

These are the two I've finished. On the first one, I cut of part of the hem, and and replaced it with a band because I wanted to have a tie band top. I don't know if thats what they are called. Gosh I seriously need a camera. My phone really is not the best.

I know I did a good job with this one because my husband did a double take when he saw me in it, and asked me if I made it ( with total disbelief on his face when i said yes.)

For this one I added ruffles at the front. When I made this pattern last time, I mentioned I wanted one with ruffles similar to a Boden top. In the end, I decided to place my ruffles differently, because I did not have enough fabric.

Sun getting the better of me
Now, the last one is supposed to have Peter Pan collars, and that, dear friends, is the source of all my issues with my assembly tops. I actually drafted the pattern for the collar, which was easier than I thought. Attaching it to the blouse is proving quite difficult for me. I don't know what to do right now, and I have just given up on it ( for now). Sewing should be exciting, and I see it as way for me to relax, and when I started shouting at myself every time I did the collar badly, I knew it was time to stop. So I am going to tackle this collar when I get a burst of inspiration. Hopefully that should be before June!!

Has anyone done Peter Pan collars before? Any advice on how I could proceed with this? Come to think of it, I have never made anything with a collar before. This was going to be my first, and I was really excited about the fact that I drafted the collar myself. Oh well!!! 
My goliath
Sewing these tops assembly line style has taught me a couple of things. 
  1. Do a lot of planning before you start production. I started out with the intention of sewing the same top with three different fabrics, but then changed my mind after I had already cut them. This resulted in delays. If I was actually in a clothing factory, I would have lost customers because I would not have delivered on time.
  2. If you are going to do an assembly line project, you have to make sure the fabric can all be sewn with a common thread. There is nothing more annoying than having to change thread every time you want to sew something else. The purpose of the assembly line technique is to sew all the items simultaneously, and if you have to change thread all the time, you will end up wasting a lot of time, and the experience will not be enjoyable. I was lucky enough that I used black thread for all three of them when sewing the main bits, but I had to change thread when doing the bias binding for the all of them ( not amusing at all).  
  3. Following Miss P's advise, I finished off the edges before sewing the pieces together. This was good because that meant I did not have to worry about that later, and it made sewing a lot easier for me. I use my machine to overlock my edges so changing presser feet every time I have to finish seams off is always a hassle. I did all the darts and back seams first, then attached front and back together and did the side seams. From this point I started sewing them individually because they all had different finishes. 
I would definitely try this again, but this time, with skirts. I do not have enough skirts, so this might work. 

The sun is out in full force today in London. I best go out and enjoy it.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.


Mad Men is ruining my life.

Tuesday, May 17

It's 11:30pm, and I am going to bed a very disappointed woman.
Today of all days, when I was inspired to sew, was the day my other half decided to watch Mad Men. Normally I sew in the living room, and he never bothers about the sweet music of my sewing machine. Today however, was Mad Men day.
I tried ignoring the steady increase of the tv volume. Firing away on my machine. The harder I pushed my foot pedal, the louder my machine squeaked, and of course, the louder the tv became. In the end, I gave up, turned off my machine, and resigned myself to another wasted night of no sewing. I started counting the seconds, realising with dread that every one took me closer to a June of limited outfits.
Sitting idle did help me though, because it gave me time to evaluate my assembly line tops. I decided to make each one different. They only have the same base obviously, but I want each one of them to have a unique feature. So, one will have a peter pan collar, one will have ruffles down the front, and the other one will have a band at the hem which will be tied.
I spent the rest of the evening figuring how to draft a peter pan collar, using my pattern drafting books, and ended up with this.

Assembly line tops

May is almost over, and with each passing second, my anxiety builds up. I don't know what on earth pushed me to sign up for Me Made June. Are sewing challenges always this stressful? I have a couple of dresses, 1 skirt and 2 tops. Which by all accounts is clearly not enough for 31 days. So, I'm having to cut corners by

1) sewing the easiest projects I can find.
2) trying out all time saving tips with my projects.

I'm currently making 3 simple tops at the same time, so I'm calling them my assembly line tops. I'm using the New Look pattern I used last time for my 1 hour top experiment. Yesterday I cut all three at the same time. Magic?.....NO. I layered them, and pinned the pattern at the top, and cut them with my rotary cutter in order to avoid shaky scissors manipulations.

Place folded fabric on top of each other and pin pattern in place

Using a rotary cutter and cutting mat, cut out pattern pieces

My phone is acting up hence the shaded bit at the bottom.

Today after work I plan on sewing them. Fingers crossed I finish them tonight.

Does anyone have any time saving tips for me please?

What a fandango it was

Monday, May 16

I've been a very naughty girl, I went out on saturday, and bought a lot of fabric. I can assure though, I am entirely blameless. It was all Karen's fault. Karen, you see, is the special lady who organised a super duper shopping trip to Goldhawk road, for UK based sewing enthusiasts. This is the second time she is organising such an event, the first being a trip to Walthamslow Market. I missed that one, because at that point I was so lazy with my sewing, I did not even know where my sewing machine was.

You can find a more detailed account of the Goldhawk Road trip on her blog.

The day started with me waking up at 6:30am ( I NEVER wake up before 7am. even on weekdays). So my husband knew my bank account was in trouble. The only time I woke up earlier than 6am, was last year, when the Next sale started. but I digress......

Goldhawk road is a 20 minute ride from my house, so I would have been fine to leave the house at 2pm. But NO. I had my sights on one of Karen's shopping bags she made for the 1st 10 people. So nothing was going to stop me from getting there early. Not even the promise of a hot Zingger burger.
Picture stolen from Karen's blog ( sorry Karen)
I got to Shepherd's bush at 12:30, and decided to stop by LK Bennet in Westfields shopping centre, to have a closer look at the Selina dress I blogged about earlier. Next stop was Goldhawk road, just because I could not help myself anymore. It was my intention to buy nothing, but then, Goldhawk road is Goldhawk road is Goldhawk, and I am yet to find anyone (who loves sewing) who has been to Goldhawk road, and came out empty handed. So, I bought a couple of things I found in the remnant pile.

I met up with Karen and other girls in a nearby pub. By "other girls", I mean Zoe, Jane, and Winnie, all of whom I have been cyber stalking so much, it might be considered illegal.
Karen, Jane, Winnie, and Zoe
After downing a pint (badly needed), I followed them to where the action was.

Can you identify yourself?
She divided us into four groups, and asked us to go forth and conquer. and conquer we did.

It was so exciting being there. My group was made of Justine, Adrienne, Marie and Melizza, and we spent our time oohing and ahhing over fabric, then haggling like there was no tomorrow. We managed to get some bargains though.

At the end of it all, we met up with the rest of the girls at Vesbar, again pre-arranged by Karen ( is there something she can't do?). Kronnenberg never tasted so good.

Melizza and Marie

Now, to the fun part. What did I get?

I went there with the intention of getting fabric for my beignet skirt, a shirt dress from Lisette pattern, and for the selina dress. Did I buy any of those. NOPE!!!!!

I got these instead




A remnant to cut out the flowers and use as applique

and these (I'm not sure which), to make this dress
With this Butterick pattern 
Butterick 5416

Phew!!!! That was a long one. I am all spent now. 

I'm off to watch Mad Men. I only started watching the 1st series yesterday, and I can now understand why everyone talks about the dresses. I watch it with a pencil in one hand, and a notebook on my lap. My husband pays attention to the storyline, while I am nearby, furiously drawing the outfits. Expect to see a Mad Men-ish influence on my sewing projects in the not to distant future.

Have a nice week,