Saturday, 3 October 2015

Green Moss Mini

So after saying there will be delays, I'm back almost on time with a new post! Thanks for all your good wishes for the potential house. All is still going smoothly and I've now turned my attention to slowly packing up the flat in an attempt to avoid that pre-move crush. Well, that's that theory anyway! I've cleared out some of my patterns and fabric and this weekend will be tackling the monstrous mound of scraps that I seemed to have accumulated. I can't quite believe how much of a hoarder I have been with the scraps! If anyone has any sensible ideas of how I can clear them out, please let me know in the comments. Textile recycling seems to a winner at the moment.  

Moss Skirt green

Anyway, enough packing talk - I have my favourite self-sewn skirt to tell you about. This skirt started with the fabric. I popped into Darn It and Stitch hoping to bag a payday treat a few months ago and they didn't disappoint. I walked out with this gorgeous green cotton twill and plans to match it with the Moss Skirt by Grainline Studio, a pattern I had been meaning to buy for ages especially after seeing those made by Carolyn

Moss Skirt green

I wanted the twill to be centre stage with this make and kept it simple. I was very tempted to continue my obsession with edge and top stitching but it seemed too much. Instead, I kept it to the back yoke, pockets, waist band and at the hem. The twill washed well and construction was plain sailing as it behaved itself perfectly. It also a delightful fabric to wear although it crumples extremely quickly as you can see from the photos. As this was intended to be a summer skirt, I didn't line it. I'm starting to regret that decision a little as I would like to keep wearing it throughout the autumn but it sticks to my tights forcing me to constantly pull it away from my thighs - not a good look! Like many of us, I wanted some interesting pockets and chose this feather cotton fat quarter from my stash which also came from Darn It and Stitch. It's a shame you can't see them but it makes me happy to know they are there. 

Moss Skirt pockets

What surprised me most about the Moss skirt is the fact that I didn't need to make any changes to the pattern. It fitted right out of the packet without any excess around my hips - a standard problem for me. The length is that of the pattern and at the beginning I thought it was a little too short but I got used to it very quickly. The second surprise was putting in the zip. I have limited experience inserting a fly but this method was so easy and clear to understand. I'll definitely come back to it for future projects. I'm very tempted to make a winter version, lengthening it slightly and definitely lined. Another project to add to the list... 

What are your seasonal sewing plans? 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

We interrupt this service

Hi everyone! How is life treating you? Well, I hope. I'm writing today with advanced notice that it is likely that this little corner of the internet will become quieter over the next few months as I just don't have the time to keep up at the moment. The reasons are a mix of normality and potentially exciting opportunities. 

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Starting with normality, we've entered the busiest three months at work and I've got some stretching targets for this year. I'm not complaining - I've been pushing for a couple of projects and I've finally been given them. Hooray! The potentially exciting part is that Adam and I are trying to buy a house! We came home from holiday to the news that our flat was to be sold and it seemed only logical for us to attempt to get onto the property ladder. We're moving along rather quickly, according to my colleagues who have been through the process, and many of my evenings and weekends are currently taken up with paperwork and clearing out the flat. We're aiming to complete sometime between mid-November and mid-December but we'll have to see how that goes.  I know there are no guarantees until completion but the fact there's no chain is a huge advantage. I'm trying not to get too carried away in case something goes wrong but it's a pretty exciting time! Especially when I think of the dedicated sewing storage space I might get...

I really hope that it won't be too quiet here until we complete - I'm still snatching short periods of time to sew and have some makes waiting patiently to be shared. They will be up as soon as I find the space to get photos and write the posts. In the meantime, I'll have to get my sewing fix through you guys and ask that you keep everything crossed for a smooth ride as we purchase the house. 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

A Simple Nicola

Hi everyone, thanks for the great response to my Mary Poppins outfit. Fancy dress won't feature again for a long time, I suspect. Today, I have a very simple make to share with you. As I was slowly packing for our holiday, I realised that I didn't have enough dresses for the evening to take with me. I'm happy to spend most of the daytime in shorts or mini skirts with a tank top but I like to feel a little more put together for the evening. I don't have to look too smart, just a little more "normal".

Simple Nicola

I had a spare afternoon and decided to whip up a simple dress. I had been meaning to make another Nicola dress by Victory Patterns. I absolutely love the wrap and the shape of the skirt and I'm reminded just how much when I wear my original. However, the sleeves, despite being a lovely feature, can be a little cumbersome, especially if you want to wear a cardigan or jacket over the top. This time, I skipped the sleeves and I'm so pleased I did. This version works perfectly underneath a cardigan. I finished the arms with narrow white bias binding, a technique which has now cemented itself as my favourite way to finish arm holes. You can see how this dress came together in pictures here

Simple Nicola

In addition to being short on time, I was also feeling a little burnt out from my sewcation. This really affected the way I approached this dress. I decided not to line the dress, mainly because of the high summer temperatures. The hem is a narrow hem - simply overlocked, turned under once and hand stitched in place. This still gives me the opportunity of lining the skirt should I want to in the future without it being a lot of work. The fabric is a French crepe by Robert Kaufmann purchased from Barry's during last year's Sew Brum meet up. It is a fabulous fabric and I will definitely consider buying more in a different print for future projects. 

Simple Nicola

The bit that bothers me the most about this dress is the fit of the bodice. After taking forever to fit the first version, this one feels too big around the bust. It is one more indication that my needed pattern adjustments are changing and I have to accept the fact exercise has changed my body and I need to stop being lazy with the fit. If I want to repeat patterns I made over six months ago I will need to check the fit and be prepared to start over if necessary. I think I can get away with it with this dress as it is though. What do you think?

Simple Nicola

Despite my reservations over the fit, I love this dress. It has quickly asserted itself a "must wear each week dress". The crepe is delightful to wear, needs very little pressing after washing and dries incredibly quickly. The colours work across seasons and I can see me wearing this in the autumn with a slip underneath. Yay for versatile makes! Are you sewing this weekend? If so, what's on your sewing table?

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Becoming Mary Poppins

Last weekend, I went to the Hen Party of a good friend who is getting married at the end of this month. We went camping at a beer festival in Frocester, Gloucestershire. We've been a number of times before and it is always a great weekend but this was the first time we had gone without the boys. It was also the first time that fancy dress was needed. The theme was any Disney character, except the princesses. So many options! I eventually settled on Mary Poppins. Given that I had less than two weeks between my holiday and the hen party, I originally thought about buying my costume but they were so expensive! £60 for a full Mary Poppins costume that weren't a good likeness. 

Mary Poppins

I was certain that I could make one for less. A quick mental search of my sewing patterns, a scan of the Minerva website, and within an hour I had a plan for a costume at half the price. I would pair the Bellatrix Blazer from Papercut with a the skirt of the Betty dress by Sew Over It. Minerva got this blue polyester bi stretch suiting to me in record time. I chose to pre wash it as I didn't want any potential shrinking in the rain at the festival, and also because there was a chance I would use the jacket in the future. As time was short, I left out any additional details and every seam is finished on the overlocker. Handstitching was kept to a minimum. 

Mary Poppins skirt


The skirt was incredibly simple and quick to make. I also took a number of shortcuts as I knew I wouldn't be wearing this as a normal skirt. I lengthened the Betty skirt by 15cm so it finished mid calf. Now the slightly embarrassing bit: I didn't add a waistband, opting for a bias binding finish and quickly put the zip in off centre as it turns out. Given that I would be wearing the blazer on top and no one would see it, I left it. Thankfully it all stayed in place and survived the evening. 

Mary Poppins skirt inside


I spent a lot more time on the blazer. No changes were made to the size of my first version. I forgot how much interfacing was needed for this pattern. I used a fairly tightly woven fusible one as I'm beginning to run low on interfacing. It isn't my favourite interfacing to use as it makes everything stiff and rustles as you move. However, it worked very well with the poly and was easy to work with. It gives the blazer a structured look and it feels that way when wearing it. I used some white poly from my stash to line the blazer. It was smooth to work with and gives the inside a nice finish. I added three buttons to each sleeve as Mary Poppins has but will remove them for future wears. 

Mary Poppins jacket

Finding a hat was the most stressful part as I had left it too late to get a straw hat to spray paint black and decorate. eBay came to the rescue when I found this shop which seems to specialise in Mary Poppins related items. I'm very thankful to Charlie060249 who fast tracked this made to measure felt hat so I would have it in time. It was the perfect addition for the outfit. 


Mary Poppins hat

The red bow made from some red cotton in my stash. It is two rectangles turned right sides out and fused together and held in place with a safety pin. I borrowed an umbrella and a bag the shape of a carpet bag from a friend and wore my red shoes to finish the outfit. When I tried on the outfit at home I felt so self-conscious as this outfit is so completely out of my comfort zone. I anticipated that this would fade at the beer festival as I would be part of a group that included the Queen of Hearts, Tinkerbell, Olaf and others. I was right - it was great fun to dress up for the evening. 

Have you stitched a fancy dress costume before? If so, what did you make? 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Back to Pink: A Belcarra

Well, hello there. It feels a little bit like it has been long time, no speak as I took as I took a little blogging break to coincide with returning from my holiday. I’m back now and will be sharing with you the rest of the makes from my sewcation over the next few weeks with a fancy dress costume thrown in for good fun.

Long-term readers will know that I have an odd relationship with tops. For some reason, I can never find ones that I like. There is always something that puts me off buying or designing them – perhaps I’m just too picky? Anyway, an additional top, at the very minimum, was needed for my capsule holiday wardrobe and I chose to repeat Sewaholic’s Belcarra.

Pink Belcarra

The eagle eyed among you might notice that the fabric is different to the one I had planned. The main reason for this is the Liberty lawn didn’t match the rest of my makes as well as this pink. The fabric is an unknown cotton mix with embroidered flowers over two different tones of pink. I found it in one of my local charity shops for £6 when I was stocking up on old sheets to make toiles with. It had been overlocked into a tube with a rectangle of black cotton added to the top. The black cotton had faded badly and wasn’t worth saving but there was enough of the pink to make a top.

Pink Belcarra

While I was right about the amount of fabric, I had to spend quite a bit of time working out how to cut the pattern and make the most of the flowers. Because the two pinks are separated by a definite line, I needed to make sure it, and the flowers, lined up. This left small pieces for the sleeves and I just managed to squeeze them out in the lighter pink. I even managed to get a flower on each of the sleeve cuffs.

Pink Belcarra

I made a number of alterations on this version. On the paper pattern, I raised the neckline a couple of centimeters. The one thing that really annoys me about my first version is how the top falls off one of my shoulders. (Being hand wash only is also super annoying). Trying this one on after completion showed that I probably need to take the neckline up another 1.5cm in future. It also revealed that the pattern was one- two sizes too big around my waist. I hadn’t noticed this with the silk version due to the silk’s drape but it was glaringly obvious in this cotton mix. To make it fit, I kept taking in the side seams until I was happy with the fit.

Pink Belcarra

As you can see in the photos, the fabric crumples badly. The photos were taken after wearing the top for half a day, most of which was spent walking around Lucca. We visited the garden of Palazzo Pfanner which was beautiful and quiet enough to get a few snaps for this post without the risk of another tourist photo bombing. Lucca is a worth a visit if you’re in the area and I preferred it to Pisa.

Anyway, back to the top. The sheen of the fabric and the flowers means I can wear this top in a number of ways. It feels as at home with jeans and other casual trousers as it does with a smart black skirt. I still like the shape of the top, and with some customisation, I can see a few more of these coming out of my machine in the future but how quickly depends on when I can summon the energy to retrace the pattern…


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Step by step

Many of us watch the progress of an item on Instagram and it is fun to see how it takes shape. As I was making a last minute holiday make last weekend, I wondered how it would look if I documented each step. So here's a different post for you today, with a fancy collage! It isn't as detailed as it could be but I think you can see how the dress progresses. It was fun to pause and take a quick pic before moving onto the next step.

Nicola in progress

I used Victory Pattern's Nicola dress and dropped the sleeves. I'm saving the rest of the details for a future post with much better photos of the finished dress! I hope you're all having a good weekend. Are you sewing? 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

A Polka Dot Vintage Shirt Dress

Hi there. Have you had a good week? Mine has been rather tiring and trying as I strived to complete a massive pre-holiday to list at work. But that none of that matters anymore as the out of office is on and I can finally unwind and get excited about being on holiday. I'm also excited to share this make with you.

Polka dot Vintage Shirt Dress


Hot off the heels of my first Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress, is another version. I hadn't planned to make another so quickly and this was the surprise make of my sewcation. I totally blame the fabric. I had popped into Masons to get buttons for my sleeveless Granville and spotted the polka dots hiding underneath the counter. After thinking that  polka dots should never be stored out of the way, I spotted this dusty pink and white beauty. I knew immediately what it would become. I honestly don't think I have ever put fabric into pre wash as quickly as I did with this, that is how excited I was to use it! 

Thankfully through the excitement came a little voice reminding me to lower the arm holes a little. They fit much better in this version although I should have taken them a tad lower to be fully comfortable. 

Polka dot Vintage Shirt Dress


Due to the easy nature of cotton, this dress took no time to complete. The most time consuming part were the buttonholes. When buying the fabric, I decided to get the buttons too. I chose small white ones and knew that I would need more than the eight suggested by the pattern. I settled on twelve. Making the button holes reminded me of a lesson I knew but had forgotten. Sewing machines are, rightly, fussy eaters. I had the prefect matching pink thread that made the white buttons stand out from the fabric. Sadly I couldn't complete my plan as the thread is of poor quality and my machine just churned it up or snapped it with amazing ease. After the second failed attempt I switched to white thread. Lesson firmly re-learnt! 

Polka dot Vintage Shirt Dress


I lowered the hem by 1.5cm on this version and used my blind hem foot. I did manage to use the pink thread for this and it worked well although it did snap a couple of times. This should have been fair warning for the button holes as I hemmed the dress before adding them. The hem is pretty neat on the outside so no one will know that the inside isn't quite up to scratch. 

Polka dot Vintage Shirt Dress


Needless to say, I absolutely adore this dress. I seem to have settled on styling it with a white belt and pink sandals or white flats. It feels very 1950s, or Sandy before she met Danny as one of my colleagues told me. Do you agree?

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Adventure Springs Granville

Hello, everyone. I hope you've all had a good week. I'm here with a quick post for the first of my makes from my recent sewcation. After the mixed success of my first sleeveless Granville, I knew that another one would be needed. I love this pattern and wanted a wearable sleeveless version to hand while I waited to fix the side seams of the Remember Me version (I'm hoping to do this before the end of the month, but we'll see). 

Adventure Springs Granville


The fabric is Adventure Springs by Art Gallery Fabrics. I was drawn to the jewel tones and then the white arrows. I thought it would make a great top and snapped up 1.5m from misformake. For this version, I made a couple of tiny alterations - raising the arm holes by 1.5cm to help with the gaping in this area and reducing the shoulder seams by 0.5cm. The pieces were cut out at a sewing day with Vaire Gwir and Hannah. It took a little while to do this, partly because I wanted the arrows to line up as much as possible, but mainly because Vaire had her eye on the fabric and would have stolen it if I had left it unaccompanied for too long! Thankfully, making it sleeveless ensures that this beauty remains mine! 

Adventure Springs Granville
Adventure Springs Granville

I didn't have enough fabric to get the two yokes, so used some pale green cotton from my stash for the inside. The arms are finished with a pretty floral bias binding. As this is my third version, I don't have anything new to say on the construction. What I love most about shirts, are the details. For this version, I chose topstitching. And lots of it! Every flat felled seam has two rows of stitching, the width of the seam apart and I did the same with the hem. The button placket and collar have two narrows rows either side. Despite the amount of top stitching, it remains subtle as the thread is only one shade lighter than the green. 

Adventure Springs Granville

I've worn this shirt a couple of times and it feels good. It is just loose enough for warm days and fits well underneath a cardigan or jacket. The arm holes no longer bother me. It works with jeans for a casual look or with a pair of smart trousers or a black skirt for work. Overall, a useful and versatile make. I think I will be putting this pattern away for a short time - three versions seems enough (here's the first in case you haven't seen it) although I'm sure that another sleeved version will pop up during the winter. 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

2015 goals: 6 month update

Just over six months ago, I shared some goals for this year that I wanted to achieve. This post is a slightly late update on how I am getting on. Straight up, it has been difficult to keep up over the past three months as the breakdown below will show. There are, however, good and important reasons for why as a course and work have been taking up a huge amount of time. 

From the end of May to the beginning of July, I attended a mindfulness course run by Mind. I wanted to explore this as a way to develop resilience as well as trying to manage the periods when I sink into murky waters. The course was wonderful and I may share my experiences in a future post. I attended the sessions every Wednesday evening and then needed to find time for formal practices during the day. This, with a temporary dramatic increase in my workload, threw out my routine and my ability to keep everything on track. 

Running

I finally hit 50% of my target a few days ago, a couple of weeks overdue, but it felt really good to get there. This means I have covered 376km this year! May was my best month where I set personal records for calories burned on one run, longest duration (just over an hour) and the furthest distance (10.49km).

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A few observations:

  • I'm still enjoying going out but it's been harder to find the time. I have worked late for more evenings than ever before which sucks up the time I rely on during the week to put on my trainers. 
  • I am finding it easier to run up hills. Ok, they aren't very big ones but I do include at least one in each run. 
  • I love running to podcasts. Recently I have been listening to Modern Sewciety. They are guaranteed to last the length of the run and I find many of them inspiring.

Eating well

This is one area that I have been keeping up with successfully, although not necessarily using my cook books. The BBC Good Food website stepped in for two months while Jamie's 30 Minute Meals provided inspiration for the other month. I didn't keep track of the meals but the one that stands out is the Asian Style Salmon from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals. I remember this very well as it is about the only homemade meal that I took a photo of! 

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Reading

Wow, have I struggled with this one. I've even fallen behind on blog reading - my blog roll is currently at 300 or more! Obviously this means I haven't finished the books that I mentioned in my last post. However, I am slowly working my way through two different books. 

The first is the book that accompanies the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibit that I saw in May. I'm also lucky enough to be seeing it again later this afternoon as I'm currently in London with Vaire Gwir and Hannah. But I digress. I am enjoying this book and as it is a series of essays, it makes it easier to pick up and put down. It is fascinating to learn more McQueen, his collections and his process. 

Untitled


The second book is The State We're In by Adele Parks. I'm not sure when I got this book, I think it might have been one of those free books Amazon gives you on certain purchases. I'm a third of the way through and it is readable. It is a chick lit (I generally don't read these) and tells the story of Jo and Dean - they meet on a flight to Chicago and each other's opposite. That's as far as I have got. Some of the characters are intriguing but some seem to be rather irritating and I can't work out if Jo will remain as ridiculous as she has been so far. 

In a few weeks, Adam and I will be going on holiday to Tuscany and I'm looking forward to the chance to read. We will be travelling around a little by train and I often pick up a book while I'm travelling. I'm starting to think about which books to take me. Is there a good read that you would recommend? 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Lessons from my sewcation

For the past week, I have been at home merrily stitching my way through my plans for a summer wardrobe while watching a lot of Wimbledon. The sewcation was strategically planned, allowing me enough time to go and buy items for my upcoming holiday if I didn't have time to complete these items. I did well though - seven items will be completed by the end of tomorrow evening. The Vintage Shirt Dress has already made its way here and I'll get the others all up as soon as I can but here's a photo to keep you going.


To make up for the lack of photos of a shiny new item, I thought I would share some observations, lessons learnt or reconfirmed over the past few days:

  1. Always buy more black and white thread that you think you need. You will run out of both at the most inconvenient moments.
  2. It is always the right decision to buy zips of a single colour in multiple lengths. 
  3. You may need to actively remind yourself to eat and drink. 
  4. Fray stopper will transform your button holes.
  5. Your machine will become fussy. Feed it good thread, especially for button holes.
  6. Button holes are so much easier when you grade your seam allowances properly.
  7. Use a bright coloured thread where possible to baste so you can see them. It makes it easier to remove them or reminds you to do this step. 
  8. Do as many steps as you can at once before moving. E.g., pin as much before stitching, stitch as much before pressing....
  9. Your blind hem foot works beautifully as a guide for edge stitching/ top stitching.
  10. Always buy 8 or more buttons. I never have enough, or any spare in case some come off.
  11. It is far too easy to still be in your pyjamas at 11am for a couple of days in row.
  12. If you don't tidy as you go along, your sewing space will look an absolute tip and will make visitor's eyes widen when they walk in to deliver a large bag of items for some unselfish wedding related sewing. 

I'm sure I've forgotten many more points that should be included. Are there any points you would add from your experience of sewing for a full day or more?

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Vintage Shirt Dress

Over the past year I have watched many shirt dresses pop up in my blog reader. The almost constant supply of inspiration made me want to join in but I didn't go looking for a pattern. Then the Vintage Shirt Dress from Sew Over It appeared and landed in my letterbox a few days after it had been released.

Vintage Shirt Dress 1

I hatched a plan to use this gorgeous white eyelet that has been sat in my stash for a few years. I bought it on my first visit to the Birmingham Rag Market. It was a piece that I was happy to let sit there as I knew that the perfect pattern would eventually come along. I'm sure the eyelet is polycotton as it didn't take well to a hot iron which caused a few problems getting the facings and the collar to sit properly. Underlining was essential for modesty. As the eyelet is fairly thick I chose a lightweight cotton in a bright blue from Minerva to add a fun element to the dress. The two fabrics work well together and I hope that you can see the glimpses of blue through the squares. 

Vintage Shirt Dress 3

I was surprised by the amount of ease in this pattern. It's not a bad thing, just that I like my clothes to be a little more fitted. I went down a size or two and then did a 2cm FBA, sharing the additional fabric between the pleats and the gathering at the shoulders to ensure the pleats weren't too deep and noticeable. I made no other changes to the pattern, although I'm starting to think that I should have lowered the armholes by a centimetre - they feel a little too high but are comfortable enough to wear. The hem is the suggested 4cm and it hits higher than my normal hem level which is perfect for summer. I would lengthen it for an autumnal/winter version. 

Vintage Shirt Dress 5

Stitching this was an enjoyable experience. The dress goes together very well and I didn't find any of the steps too complicated - a beginner willing to tackle buttonholes should be able to get through this as the instructions are very clear. I had to seriously grade the facings and collar seam allowances to reduce the bulk from the eyelet. The button holes took some figuring out as I needed to avoid the bulky squares as much as possible - my test samples showed the needle struggled a little. To prevent fraying I used Fray Stopper from Hemline and it is only of those products that I should have used many projects ago. The finished result is very neat. I'm also happy that the rows are continuous across the buttons. The buttons are pale blue to allow them to blend with the dress.

Vintage Shirt Dress 2

I love the little details of the pattern - the gentle gathering at the shoulders, how the shoulder seam is towards the front and the pleats. It is a simple, classic pattern and I hoped that my plan would stay true to design. I'm delighted with how this dress turned out. I was worried that the eyelet wouldn't work as well as it did and it took until hemming for me to realise that I was adding a nice and much needed dress to my limited summer wardrobe. What's on your sewing table, please? 

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Planning a sewcation

What do you do when you find yourself with a lot of annual leave left and three months to take it? Book a sewcation, of course! The first week of July sees me staying at home, trying to work through as much of my self made holiday/summer wardrobe as possible. Why do I always seem to be short of summer clothes? 

I've spent the last couple of weeks planning and preparing. The preparation hasn't gone as well as I would have liked - I've been distracted by a gorgeous white eyelet.  All together now, "Mmm, eyelet". However, a number of projects are cut out and a few toiles have been made or are ready to be stitched. I've probably lined up too many projects but as a number of them are repeat patterns, I like to think I'll get them all completed before August. So what's on the list?

Sewcation 1

Vintage Shirt Dress, white eyelet underlined in blue cotton
Moss Skirt, emerald twill
Gabriola skirts, in paisley viscose (to be stitched assembly line style to save time) 

Sewcation 2

Sleeveless Granville, in Art Factory cotton
Georgia dress, in duckegg cotton viscose
Kim dress, in liberty silk 
Belcarra, in liberty lawn 

I'm rather excited about the prospect of getting all of these projects completed although I'm sure the reality will bite when at least one project doesn't behave itself. The Vintage Shirt Dress is already in progress and I'm hoping I can clear through my household chores quickly today to get back to it. I'll be posting my progress on Instagram of all of these projects if you fancy following along. What's currently on your sewing table or what projects are you lining up?

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Scrap busting: Jewellery roll

Today's make is a small scrap buster and a symptom of the fact that I cannot believe I have wait another six weeks before I can escape to a different climate. I don't often wish time away but I would be very happy if August arrived tomorrow. 

Planning what jewellery to take away with me is always a difficult task, mainly because I don't have something suitable to pack it in and know the pieces will survive travelling. Why I didn't buy a jewellery roll before now is beyond me but that doesn't matter anymore because I made one! I had some reasonably large scraps left over from my Betty Dress that were perfect for the job. It feels good to have used them rather than send them to the local textile recycling bin. 

IMG_7128

I loosely based my version on this tutorial by Haberdashery Fun. As I wasn't using vinyl, I wanted to cover my zip edges. I realised after I stitched one side of each zip that the roll would be too small if I repeated this action on the other side. Luckily I had a few short ends of bias tape in my stash that matched the fabric and I made a design feature from the zips. Well, I use design feature loosely - I was mainly playing around having fun and not really worrying about how it turned out. I think it has come out ok, I like how the colours all work together. 

IMG_7135

The tutorial calls for two layers of batting and I would agree with this if you have a thinner option than mine. This roll is pretty thick, too thick for my personal preference - one layer would have been enough but at least I can rest assured that some of my most loved and sentimental pieces will travel safely. Because of the thickness, I chose not to add bias binding to the edges. The tie is a long piece of white ribbon I have no idea how I got. Do you find that with ribbon? I have loads of it but I'm not sure how as I don't buy it. The end is finished with a piece of silver bias binding to prevent fraying. 

IMG_7131

There's not much more to say about this piece except it is a great stash buster and a very quick make. I went from cutting to completion in about 2 hours at a leisurely pace while working out the design details. So there you are, a happy little piece of tiny travel luggage. How do you use your scraps?

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Remember Me Granville

When you stand in front of your wardrobe is there a thought that goes through your mind often? When I reach for a pair of trousers or a skirt, I am always thinking "I really must make more separates". I just don't seem to have many tops that I like and those I do are on constant repeat and therefore beginning to look a little old. Recently I have been trying to resolve this regular morning conundrum. Let's say it is an interesting experience - more on that in future posts. 

Remember Me Granville 1

After my fairly successful first attempt at a shirt, I thought making another Granville would be a perfect place to start. This time I wanted a more casual version. Something I could wear with my jeans, skirts or shorts in the summer. Sleeveless sprung to mind. Cotton lawn too. A plan was being formed. I had picked up 1.5m of Atelier Brunette's Remember Me in the M is for Make sale. I highly recommend this cambric - it is bliss to work with. It's a little different to what I normally wear but I just couldn't resist the stars. Thankfully, the light taupe works perfectly with my separates. 

Remember Me Granville 2

I didn't make any changes to the fit except to raise the arm holes a little. I forgot to change to the top and as a result the shoulders come a little too far. The most annoying thing is the arm holes stretched slightly in the making and I can feel the excess when I'm wearing the top. I should really take it in a little but I'm rather proud of my flat felled seams and I don't want to unpick them. Talk about lazy!

Remember Me Granville 3

Can you spot something out of my comfort zone? I added pockets! I wanted a little more interest to the shirt and pockets seemed like the right thing. They sit very well and don't bother me now. I say now because it took me a full day of wearing this top to like it. The arm holes really bothered me as did the pockets - they made me feel rather self conscious but that disappeared as the hours went on.

Remember Me Granville 4

I'm very pleased with how this turned out. My edge stitching is so much better on this version. This is mainly because the cotton is more stable than the silk, and I was stitching at a reasonable hour of the day. I finished the arm holes with bias binding and stitched it in place to continue the flat felled look. All in all, a nice little make to see me through the summer. 

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Another go at Simplicity 2442

The last couple of months have been defined by repeating patterns. I have been known to repeat but not as frequently as I currently am. Given my lack of time and energy, I've been turning to patterns that are easy to make and only need a few tweaks. Today I have my second version of Simplicity 2442 to share. 

Simplicity 2442

I love my first version but sadly it isn't suitable for the office. As I'm still struggling for clothes I can wear in a warm office during the summer, I decided to make another version. To make this suitable, I raised the neckline by 1.5cm. The fit is good, it less revealing and I'm much more comfortable wearing it without a slip or cami underneath the bodice. I think I need to raise it a smidge more for me to be fully comfortable and this is something I'll bear in mind if I make a third. 

Simplicity 2442

Style wise, I left out the gathers at the waist. This is mainly because I squeezed the dress out of 2m. I also felt it would be more flattering in black. The fabric is a viscose from The Cheap Shop in Essex. It was easy to sew with although it frayed a lot. The bodice is lined in a black poly lining from my stash. I didn't have enough to line the skirt so I'm relying on a half slip to maintain my dignity - the viscose is a little sheer. I chose a lapped zip rather than an invisible one. Lapped zips are quickly becoming my favourite zip insertion - they look so clean and neat. 

Simplicity 2442

I've worn this dress twice since completion, and both on warm days. The dress is surprisingly cool, very comfortable and feels flattering even after a 14 hour work day. Win! I'm sure that with tights and a cardi, I will be able to wear this dress all year round. Double win! I think this pattern may just become a TNT and it is a great feeling that I'm developing a shortlist of trusted patterns. 

Simplicity 2442

The repeats continue as I'll be sharing another soon from a different pattern I've recently finished stitching. Do you find repeat makes boring or inspiring? 

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Sew Over It Betty Dress

How are you all? I hope you're all enjoying your weekend. May has been an impossibly long and busy month for me with many evenings curled on the sofa trying to regain some energy for the next day. This culminated in a big event a few days ago that also left me on the sofa, almost unable to walk as I strained my ankles running around so much. Needless to say I'm very, very pleased to see what back of this month! I did, however, have the energy to make a dress. 

This is a dress that started with the fabric. I've long adored the Betty dress by Sew Over It and finally scooped it up a couple of months ago when my By Hand London fabric arrived. I had ordered an extra metre from the girls to make sure I could fit a Betty out of this gorgeous design. The fabric is Sweet Female Attitude in pale grey and pink and I just love how they work together. 

Betty dress front

Before launching into the construction details, can I start with what makes me sad about this dress please? I was so excited when the fabric arrived. It was beautifully presented with my other goodies (I've not been parted with my mug while sewing since it entered the house). It washed and pressed very well, and has a good hand, like a lot of high quality cottons I've used in the past. I had high hopes for it but they were dashed a little. You see, this cotton is a little unforgiving. Pins left marks and I have permanent lines where I ripped out poorly sewn lines or removed basting stitches. These permanent lines are now white and glare at me constantly. No one else seems to notice it though. Despite these issues, I'm still very pleased that I paired this fabric to this pattern and I hope you will agree. 

Betty dress side

I was first drawn to Betty by her feminine style and back neckline shaping and she hasn't disappointed. We did have a little argument though over the bodice. I had to make a series of alterations: lowered the armholes by 1.5cm, hollow chest adjustment of 2cm, moved the back darts closer to my centre, and pinched out about 2cm from the back neckline. My second toile fitted perfectly so I merrily cut out and during a sewing day with VG, stitched until the bodice was attached to the skirt. I got home, delighted with my progress, only to find that she didn't fit. The centre back seam didn't meet. Fabric was thrown and a few tears were shed. I'm still not fully certain what happened but I suspect I took too much out the paper pattern when I altered the pieces from my toile. Thankfully I had enough left over fabric to recut the entire bodice at the original size and just pinched out the excess at the back before inserting the zip. 


Betty dress skirt

The skirt isn't as full as I had originally envisaged. I struggled to get the full skirt width out of the fabric so removed about 10cm of width from each piece. I also shortened it by 3.5cm to ensure the white borders of the fabric were hidden. I rather like the effect. The cotton hangs beautifully and I love how it flows over my hips. It seems that there is the right amount of fulness for this fabric. Construction was easy. I love that the facings are all in one even if I got a little confused on how to finish the shoulder seams cleanly. Turns out it very easy in practice, not so easy to describe in words! 

Betty dress back

Despite our rocky start, Betty and I have made it up completely. She is a very welcome addition to my wardrobe and I love how versatile she is. I can wear her as a summer day dress or dress her up for smarter events and thankfully I have enough accessories to match her subtle colours. Except shoes, I need to buy shoes - now that's a hardship isn't it? How about you, do have an item that you fell out with at the beginning but wouldn't be without now? 

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