My Satin & Lycra Weekend

My weekend mostly went like this…


On Saturday morning I got up for a 2hr 45min (16+ mile) run in the rain with my two good friends, Chris and Juell. We got soaked, ran along Regents Canal to Camden and then through the heart of the city and back through Shoreditch to home. We were soaked to the bone, but had a great time and I furthered my knowledge of myself, my glycogen storage capacity, and my stomach’s ability to digest medjool dates as a gel alternative. That, and I feel a bit more confident now that I’ll be able to finish Copenhagen marathon now, having dialled back my expectations after being ill for so long.

Then Saturday afternoon I set out to do some more work on what will be this year’s Birthday dress (it’s next week, aaah!), the Burda Matthew Williamson sheath dress from the September 2012 issue:

The above uses the official photo from when I bought the “Ravissant Duchess Satin Plum” from three years ago, but below you can see the actual colour and exactly how much gorgeous lustre it gives off in the light. On the inside, I’m using a lovely floral lining fabric gifted to me from Veronica when I was in Paris last Spring.

For once, I decided to be a good girl and make the lining first, since I didn’t feel up to making a muslin. First, though, I made the only Burda adjustment I ever need – raising the waist seam by 2cm. I love that they’ve provided wholly separate lining pieces for this dress, which just has a waist seam and very simple fitting pleats instead of darts or intricate seams. It did mean there were more pattern pieces to trace (14 in total!), but you end up with a much nicer finished garment.

These still need to have the neckline and sleeve facings added on, mind…

I tried on the lining, checked the fit (good, though little tight getting the non-stretch pencil skirt on over my hips), then pinned and cut out the satin. Then I fused all the facings, and also reinforced a few of the diagonal (ie: bias, and prone to distort) seam edges and neckline with Vilene bias tape, so it’s ready to sew on my next available free evening, which I believe is Wednesday.


After an acceptably long lie-in, I quickly cut out the leggings I drafted from the Kristina Shin book a few weeks ago (but never quite tested) in a muslin jersey. I quickly checked the fit, and it’s awesome. So awesome in fact, I’ll be keeping these even though they’re in an ugly, thin, canary-yellow rib knit. Though just around the boat.

Then I headed off in the afternoon for a sewing play-date with my friend Sanchia from my running group. She took some sewing courses in the past, but really wanted a refresher on using her overlocker and wanted to be able to make her own leggings like she sees me wearing each Tuesday. Me? I was just up for a fun afternoon and teaching someone who wasn’t a total beginner for once!

First, we measured her up for the leggings draft, which required: Waist, hip, knee, and ankle girth, then waist to hip, waist to knee, and waist to ankle lengths.

Then we unrolled some brown paper on the floor and got to work drafting her a pair of leggings from the Kristina Shin’s book (Full review coming soon!). I guided her but let her do the actual drawing and measuring, so hopefully she might be able to do the teeshirt draft on her own. Drafting the leggings only took us about an hour, though, I reckon, which is time well spent.

Then I threaded up her overlocker (a decent old Toyota she got given!) and got the tensions adjusted triumphantly, but then the cutting blades were either dull or misadjusted so we replaced those, and only made things worse, boo! So off to the shop it goes to have the blades adjusted properly by someone who knows to millimetre precision exactly how they should sit.

But not to be defeated, we pulled out her sewing machine, which ended up doing a great zigzag stitch so we made the leggings on that, using some scrap lycra she’d found stashed away, plus some elastic I thought to bring along. Success!!

The fit was so good she was dancing all over the flat! Her main fitting issue is that no leggings are long enough in the legs, and often look weird in the bum, too. But these are great! A second set of thumbs up for the Shin leggings draft!!

So in one afternoon she gained the ability to recreate her perfect leggings over and over again! I love sewing!

(The central photo is me proving to her male friend that I really was sewing with her and not some guy over for nefarious deeds, haha!)

Oh, and James and I made a kick-ass batch of Chicken Haleem in the slow cooker, too.

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