<![CDATA[Zoe & Ted - Blog]]>Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:47:59 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Sweet Sally]]>Thu, 21 Jan 2016 19:50:20 GMThttp://zoeandted.weebly.com/blog/sweet-sallyJust before Christmas I saw a tester call for one of my favourite people who was designing her 1st dress pattern for one of my favourite companies.  Jeanine is already well know in the sewing world, both for her work with Scientific seamstress and for her own free motion embroidery company Stitchart (seriously check it out! it is addictive) 

The Pattern that Jeanine was designing was the child's version of the Angie dress Which if you know me you will know is a staple in my own wardrobe. 
So on to Sally. 

Sally is a quick easy dress to make. ( I timed it.  This one took me 1 hour and 30 minutes to make from printing to finished!) 
Sally is sized from 3 months to 14 years 
It has the option to have visible bias tape (as seen on the arms of the dress above) and hidden bias tape (as shown below) 
She can be a simple summer dress (Swan lake dress), have a sash (Alice dress above) or with a double skirt and sash to make it something really special! (Narwhal dress) 
Yes I made 3 during the test period.  Not because I needed to but because I wanted to, it's just that awesome. 

OK down sides ....... um ....... I ran out of cute fabrics ;) 

As with all sis boom/ Scientific seamstress patterns the pattern comes un-nested which if you are printing one size is awesome.  Unfortunately I have miss tall and skinny so I usually have to blend sizes this means I have to print out two sizes and blend them by laying one over the other.  No big deal but it is a downside for me.  However I love the way the patterns are written and the way they go together enough that this doesn't bother me.  The pattern comes with all the usual instructions to get the perfect fit and has a variety of skirt length to make even me happy! Jeanine has kept the same style of writing and instructions that we all know well with thee patterns and has come up with a pattern that not only matches the awesomeness of the Angie but surpasses it with all the various options available.  

With the options and unlimited fabrics there is no reason why any two Sally's will ever look the same.  

​You can Pick Sally up here

<![CDATA[Mystery Challange]]>Wed, 27 May 2015 17:31:10 GMThttp://zoeandted.weebly.com/blog/mystery-challenge

A few months back I was talking to a few friends and they mentioned this thing called the Mystery Challenge. It sounded like fun.  What is The Mystery Challenge? Basically it is a blog tour but it is a little more complex than that.  everyone signed up via Elfster and you were then nominated a person who you had to give an idea/challenge to that fell within the perimeters of the overall challenge (this time being Moments and People in history) I was given Sandy (check out her blog on Jane Austin HERE) And in return I was given Suffragettes by Barbara.
This gave me lots to think about, not only about what I was going to make, but what materials i was going to use and how I was going to stage it.  Now I am ashamed to say that I knew very little about the suffragette movement (pretty much what I had seen on TV) which when you think about how recently this happened and how influential these women were to modern life seems absurd right? So my first step was to do a bit of research. To start with I focused on the kind of clothes the women wore and I found a few images that I planned on using for my inspiration 

Then I started looking at places where I could go to have photo's taken for this. My Photographer lives in Bath so that seemed like a perfect place to have the photo's taken as I had already decided that Location shots would work far better for this theme then studio ones.  My next task was to do a little more research on Bath and how the Suffragette movement took place there. Some of the Rallies took place around the Assembly rooms and some of the more wealthy suffragettes came from The Circus and The Royal Crescent. On the day of the photo shoot I also got talking to the Housekeeper for No. 1 Royal Crescent who explained that the housekeeper there was also a member of the Suffragette movement (so of course we had to have a photo! 

Anyway back to my challenge.  I decided that creating something with a suffragette theme was just not challenging enough ( I know right ;) ) so I set myself the additional challenge that this was going to be an up cycle project.
I went to my Mum's house and raided her linen cupboard and came away with 2 Cypriot table clothes, 6 napkins and a lace parasol I purchased in Venice years ago.  

This then gave me the idea of what I was going to do.  I wanted to make the lace work a focal point of the outfit I was creating so that took a great deal of fiddlng and laying out before I even got as far as cutting 
When I was happy with the layout I finally started to cut and sew.  I used the bodice from the Jocole Endless as my start point. I lengthened the front into a princess point and downsized on the width.  I also chose to use the higher neckline.  For the back I adjusted the pattern to be able to add a concealed Zip (I had purchased little pearl buttons too but they vanished!) 
When it can to adding the skirt I wanted a slimmer fit than the pattern called for so I shortened the width of the skirt but also increased the length.  I then cut the princess point (what is that actually called? ) into the front panel of the skirt and lining before attaching them and enclosing the waist seam.  Once I added the Zip the dress was finished (Yehaw!!) 

Then I had to do the accessories (I mean no outfit is complete without accessories right?) 
I took Zoe's Easter Bonnet and stripped it down to the bare hat and then added a green and purple rosette.  For the sash I measured Zoe from her hip over the opposite shoulder and back to the hip added in a seam allowance and then dug some satin out of my stash and cut it out like a beauty pageant sash.  I added green and purple ribbon to either side and that was it finished.  I thought that I was done but when I put it all together something was missing.  The outfit didn't look done :( 

I went back and looked at my inspiration photo's again and realised one of the things they all had in common was a picket sign.  So off I went back to the craft box and 30 minutes later Zoe had a picket sign ready for the morning. 

So here it is.  My Suffragette Mystery Challenge.  Photo credits to Pete Souster Photography (who was absolutely fantastic with Zoe and kept her going even when she was more than done and got some amazing photographs for us) , The City of Bath, Bath Assembly Rooms and No. 1 The Royal Crescent 
If you enjoyed this why not go and check out the rest of the tour :) 

5/25│ The Berry Bunch - Frank Lloyd Wright │ Sew Not Perfect - Lucille Ball, I Love Lucy
5/26│ Friends Stitched Together - Prohibition/Roaring 20's │ HaCunha Matata - Jane Austin
5/27│ Zoe and Ted - Suffragetes
5/28│ House of Estrella - Woodstock/Fall of the Berlin Wall  │ Pen Seb Rox - Piet Mondriaan
5/29│ Friends Stitched Together - Impressionist Movement │ Wining Wife - Judgement of Paris
5/30│ Super Stay at Home Mommy - Madame Tussaud │ Keep Calm and Carrion - Jackie Kennedy  │ Gloria June - Florence Nightingale
5/31│ Sofilantjes - Andy Warhol │ Busy Little Bee - Marie Antoinette │ Amanda Rose -March 9, 1959 Barbie
6/1│ Pienkel - Bianca Jagger │ Huisje Boompje Boefjes - Anne Frank
6/2│ Taking it Up a Notch - Queen Victoria │ Amazing Adventures with Bubba and Bug -1964 New York World Fair │  Kelly's Sewing Creations - Steampunk Mary Queen of Scots
6/3│ Mae & K - Tesla │ Pretty Little Blog - Moon Landing │ Knot Sew Normal - Lutie Eugenia Sterns
6/4│ Sew Starly - Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II │ Hibbadoray - Amelia Earhart │ Sew Far North - Countess Markievicz (1868-1927)
6/5│ Made By Sara - John Dillinger/Roaring 20's │ Create 3.5 - George Sand
6/6│ Country Bella - 1900's World's Fair/Art Nouveau │ Lulu and Celeste - Rosie the Riveter
6/7Sew Domesticated - 1960's/Civil Rights Movement │ Rebel and Malice - French Revolution/Joan of Arch │ The Fabric Hoarder - Gypsies
<![CDATA[Terrific Mum's Tee]]>Wed, 06 May 2015 20:43:25 GMThttp://zoeandted.weebly.com/blog/terrific-mums-teeEvery so often I decide that I don't have enough to do and I test a PDF sewing pattern for a designer.  This basically means I am one of the 1st people to make the pattern and help the designer get the fit and process right to make the best product that they can.  Often this involves many remakes of the same design some of which end up in the rag pile.

Well this last week I was fortunate to test the Terrific Mum's Tee from Plucky Butterfly designs.  I came in on the second round of testing which meant most of the main issues had already been picked up.  

Now before I get into telling you my thoughts on this pattern I thought I would show you what the designer herself had to say about the pattern and where the original idea came from.  
"Did you know there is a story behind each and every pattern I have created??? There is not ONE single pattern I offer that doesn't have a deep story behind it. Many of you know I sew a lot for children with disabilities, mainly being sensory issues and cancer. I also sew for homeless children. Right now I have a true addiction to helping homeless children feel pretty. I personally never ever take time out for myself. I never stop to look in the mirror, fix my hair to make it beautiful, nor do. I take time to throw on make-up before running out the door. Taking time out for myself means less time spent with my own children or less time devoted on running off to deliver food or clothes or water. That is how the MumsTerrifc knit shirt came to be. Because I took on a challenge as a self healing/acceptance project and was forced to stop and acknowledge my own self and realize that I too was important. That. I too mattered. I am a big mama, I call myself Full of Life, not plus size!!! I will tell you over and over again, be kind, offer someone a hand up in this world, rather it is a smile or random act of kindness. you have no clue what journey each person in this world is on and you don't know their pain. Some of you may know my pain...I have shared bits and pieces here and there. but do you know, that through this journey on creating this awesome Mums pattern for you, I myself have gone through some tremendous heart aches. Facing fears I have never dreamed of facing in my life. I could have thrown my hands in the air and said I can't do this, but truth is, I pushed even harder for all the Mums in this world. This new pattern getting ready to hit the final stages of testing soon is a true labour of love...it's a true journey through pain. I am sitting here waiting to hear the hardest news of my life. And while I'm waiting I'm thinking of all the Mums out there that need to feel loved and appreciated and feel as if they matter in this world too!!!! Please know and understand that I, Ms. Plucky, am unusual. I truly create from the heart. I create to tell a story. I don't create to bring you the latest up to date fashion....I create with a story to tell you and BOY and BOY, this is the best story to be told wrapped up in a free pattern. Why?? Like I said earlier, offer someone a hand up in this world. You have no idea the journeys one is walking or the pain they are going through. But what we all know, is MUMs are Terrific. And that my friends is what this story is all about...MUMs of the world. So hold tight and in a matter of time, you all will have one awesome. Mums Terrific Classy. Knit Shirt pattern in your hands!!!
 Ms. Plucky"

How awesome is that! Right! 

OK on to the shirt itself.  I decided right off that I was going to make 2. one for me in the biggest size ( I am politely called fluffy or plus sized ..................I'm not, I'm fat and I know I just like chocolate too much ...... but I digress!) For my self as I said I made the largest size 3x and I chose to make it in a very light weight 4 way stretch jersey.  This was the 1st draft of the pattern (see the green top for the amended version) I liked on this version that it had a slightly slouchy fit and I will be keeping my original copy of the pattern just for that fit ;) 

Normally I don't show something that is an "issue" that has been fixed but I do genuinly like how this has the slouchy , wear over a vest on the way to the gym (ok who we kidding, while sitting and spend the day sewing) feel to it.
The pattern is very well written with the designer's sense of humour shining through it. one of the key differences to this pattern to other t-shirt patterns I have made is that the neck line is hemmed rather than use a binding.  This allows the scoop to lie totally flat and is very comfy and flattering.   The pattern calls for using a double needle here but the sewing fairy's (or Zoe) have hidden mine so I used a simple stretch stitch on all 3 of mine.  Unfortunately this didn't give as polished a finish as I wanted but I know that with a double needle as the pattern calls for I will get that nice clean finish.  

One of the issues I have as a fat girl is that sleeves are always too tight and they dig in or cause pulling and making it look like a top doesn't fit as nicely as it does on my skinnier compatriots.  With this top that wasn't an issue.  the sleeves and arm scythes are roomy enough without being too big and flappy (you know what I mean here right? ;) )  .

When I made the revised version of the 3XL The issue of the neck slipping of the shoulders was fixed and the top looked even better 
In order to put this top through a totally thorough test I decided to make one for the fussiest, most particular (when it comes to clothing) person I know ........ Zoe's Mawmaw!

I looked though my fabric very carefully and picked out a pattern that I knew she would wear. this was a slightly heavier weight jersey to what I made my shirt out of. 

When she tried it on she commented how nice the fit was and that it was something that she would wear on a regular basis (High praise indeed!!)
To sum up I will say that this is a pattern that every seamstress needs in her wardrobe. It is a fast and easy sew (to give a "mummy" time frame the green top took me from the opening credits of Frozen until the opening strands of "Let it go!" so under an hour from taping to wearing! Everyone can find that small amount of time to make themselves something pretty right!? 

Thank you to Pam for allowing me to test and keep an eye out on the blog as there are some exciting things coming soon! 
<![CDATA[Zoe's Easter Dress]]>Fri, 03 Apr 2015 12:42:36 GMThttp://zoeandted.weebly.com/blog/zoes-easter-dressEvery year I make Zoe and Easter Dress and I always choose a pattern that I know will push my skills to the limit.  Last year I made the Cindy Lou by FooFoo Threads 
This year I decided to push the boat out a bit further and try a pattern from a designer who has closed down but who also had a reputation of her pattern's being tricky to make and get to fit right (I mean why would I make this easy for myself? ) 

The dress I chose was The Esmee Cottage Dress from Amelie and Henri 

Because I knew that there were fit issues this this dress I decided that I would make a muslin. 
A muslin for those of you that don't know is a quick mock up of a dress made with cheap fabric that you won't be too upset if it is spoilt.  They are usually put together with Basting (or long) stitches.
I made a muslin of the bodice in a size 2 and size 3 (Zoe usually wears a 4!)
This is the Size 3 as you can see it fitted Zoe beautifully at the front but was far too big at the back.  So I tried again 

I made the size 2 this time.  As you can see it fitted beautifully at the back but pulled all funny at the front.  My solution? I used the size 3 front and the size 2 back and blended the arm scythes to match. 
After I had figured out what size to make I then had to actually start making the dress.  My 1st job was doing the pleats on the bodice.  Now I am not sure of the "correct" way to do them so I used a fork.  (yep you read that right I used a fork!) The fork I chose was 1 inch wide which is how wide the pattern told me to make the pleats.  lots of folding pressing and pinning later and I had my pleats so I attached them to my bodice and ..............
Yeah so that's not right.  I walked away, had a strop, ate some chocolate, asked a few friends then started again this time I made the pleats 3/4 of an inch (or 3 tines of my fork) and I overlapped them by 1/4 of an inch (or 1 tine of my fork)..... lots of folding, pressing and pinning later and .........
ok so I forgot to take a photo of that bit but you can see how much nicer the pleats are here
From this point on I pretty much did my own thing and walked away from how the pattern wanted me to do things. The bodice went together pretty quickly and I managed to get that all finished in a few hours.  

The next day I tackled the skirt .  I pulled the pattern up looked at how it wanted me to do it and put it away again.  1st of all I sewed the skirt and petticoat panels together and rather than serge as the pattern advised I decided to do each of them with French seams as I wanted the inside to look nice too.
I then serged the lace to the bottom of the petticoat, an hemmed the outer skirt with a 1/2 inch hem.  
I gathered the petticoat to the width of the bodice and then got my trusty fork out again and did 1 inch pleats on my outer skirt, making sure it finished the same size as the petticoat.  To make sure that the pleats and gathers stayed the same size I used a basting stitch and basted the two skirt layers together.  
At this point I checked the pattern again to see how I was supposed to add a placket. The pattern asked me to attach the binding to both skirt layers at the same time (next time I will also do this my own way and add a separate placket to each layer as it wasn't as tidy as I wanted)
Unfortunately at this point I realised I had made a mistake when I put the bodice togeather so I couldn't enclose the waist seam (bugger!) so there went my tidy inside :( (but hay no one see's that bit right? )

Then I had a dilemma.  Did I leave the dress as I had it or did I add a sash? 
I posted to my selling page asking the question "with or without" and shared it to The Handcrafters Lounge Group on Facebook (and look at the reach that post got!!) 
Following the feedback I got from that post I decided to go ahead and add a sash but I wanted to be able to remove it for when a sash just isn't practical.
I had a think and a google and the outcome was this 

I made little thread loops and attached buttons to the inside of the sash. Problem solved!
I then made the choice to use little sew in press snaps rather than buttons as I didn't want to detract from the back of the dress.  

Et Voila! 3 days work and Zoe's Easter dress was finished.  
<![CDATA[Bateau Garden Dress]]>Thu, 26 Mar 2015 23:44:07 GMThttp://zoeandted.weebly.com/blog/bateau-garden-dressThis week I had the honour of testing the Bateau Garden Dress for the lovely Suzanne from Winter Wear Designs.  

The dress has 2 bodice options and a number of skirt options 

Option 1 with the bodice has cross over straps that look so unique and elegant. 
I chose to make option 2 
Option 2 is a scoop back bodice and to me this gives the dress a real 1950's retro feel 

For the skirt you have the option of a rectangular skirt or circle skirt, petticoat, and standard or vintage length. 
I decided to use full circle skirt with the additional petticoat in a standard length (as I was worried the vintage length would be too short on miss lanky legs ;) 

OK on to the pattern. 

The bodice is fully lined and the method used for enclosing all the seams, is not one I have used before but is definitely one I will use again. It is one of easiest ways I have come across to sew a lining to a bodice with a full back, and Suzanne explains it very well.  I made Zoe the straight size four as even though as always she falls between sizes I wanted to test one size. Looking at the way the dress fits her I will probably make the size 3 and merge it with the length of the 5 next time. (miss lanky see ;) ) 

The dress went together fairly quickly and the instructions are clear. I had some difficulty attaching the concealed Zip and getting my waist band to match up 
Quick look away from the bodged Zip ;)
I will state this was entirely my problem not the pattern! my only excuse was it was my 1st time doing a concealed Zip and I was focusing on that not my seams (oops sorry Genine I'll do better next time) I also deviated slightly from the pattern at this point and I chose to hand sew my lining rather than machine sew as I wanted a nice finish inside and and around my Zipper. ( Yay me! ) 

I finished the skirt with a narrow hem but on my next one I will use single fold bias tape as I think it gives a nicer finish (and this is stated in the pattern) 

All in all I think this is a lovely pattern and one that I will certainly be doing again although as I said I will be doing a few things a little differently 

The dress passed the twirl test with flying colours 
And both Zoe and I love the fact that the skirt is poofy all by it's self with out the added weight of a separate petticoat 
As I was going for a vintage feel with this dress I needed a vintage style hair accessory.  I did a quick google search and came across another Blog that had a baby's head tie pattern that was exactly what I wanted.  So I just added a couple of extra inches to it and voilà  vintage hair. find the blog here
isn't it purdy!
You can find the Bateau dress over here via Suzanne's Etsy page, and I happen to know right now if you join her facebook group there is currently a discount code ( but grab it quick it won't last long!) 
<![CDATA[St Patrick's day ]]>Sat, 21 Mar 2015 19:24:06 GMThttp://zoeandted.weebly.com/blog/st-patricks-dayPicture
So I was sat flicking through the telly channels the other night and was suddenly reminded that the following day was St. Patrick's Day. What's the big deal I hear you say? I completely understand your question.  We aren't Irish, I live on the south coast of the Uk and it's not like it is a big thing here.  Well the reason I got excited was this........ I had THE MOST perfect fabric for St. Patrick's day, that my friend Genine from Genniwren had sent me, and I had been saving it especially and now I finally got to use it :D 

So bearing in mind it was 7pm the day before St. Patrick's day I needed a quick dress to make that would look lovely and would pass Zoe's "Twirl test". I didn't have to think about which dress to use for the bodice that was easy I went straight to the Endless Dress from Jocole. I then had a think about how I wanted the skirt to look and I wanted something that when Zoe was walking looked casual and every day but would be seriously twirly.  I looked at a few patterns and again came back to Jocole. I decided to use the skirt from the Circle Flounce

Jodi, The design brain behind Jocole, Designed the Endless dress to be able to be mixed with a huge range of her designs and add on packs meaning it has 1000's of options and is generally the bodice I use as a start point for many of my dresses.

Any way back to Zoe's dress.  I followed the instructions on the skirt and added it to the bodice making sure that I left enough room to add the zip.  (it was late and I didn't want to faff about with buttons) 

From start to finish I think the 2 dresses took me just over 3 hours and Zoe (and Ted) were very very happy to wake up with new dresses on St. Patrick's day _

Model: Zoe Souster
Teddy : Harrods
Shoes : Marks and Spencer
T-shirt/ : Matalan