Saturday 7 October 2017

Fit and flare success.

Hello. Long time no see! As many of you know, I have started on a Masters at University; consequently, I haven't been so busy in many a year: my brain is literally throbbing from overuse! Calm and meditative sewing has been the order of the day, to take the edge off the academic overload.

Today, I have a dress to share with you that has been made a while. I was contacted by Lucy from Sew Essential to ask if I would like to review some fabric. I chose this lovely John Kaldor Isabella teal wool mix fabric. Because of the wool, it's lovely and warm, perfect for this autumnal time of year. The fabric is deliciously soft and is really nice to wear.

Cardi and boots stop it being too girly for me!

I will be honest and say that I was worried at first about cutting out such a delicate fabric. It felt like it was going to slip and slide as I cut it.  But after I washed and pressed it, the fabric settled down and behaved.

The pattern  (McCalls M7160) is a real departure for me. I am more of a shift dress kind of girl, and fit and flare felt very girly.  But I like it, and can see this getting worn a good deal both in Autumn and Spring. I am pleased with how well it fits, so I may well make another. The pattern has lots of sleeve options, but I must have fat arms as they all felt tight and restrictive. Some head scratching and pattern drafting would be needed to add sleeves in any future version!

Loving the twirl factor!

All in all, I am really pleased with the dress. I would recommend the fabric for an Autumn/Winter project. Indeed, a friend of mine has just bought the same to make a renfrew with cowl neck, which would be lovely. And the next post will be less of a wait, I hope (work permitting!).

Saturday 29 July 2017

School uniform Simplicity 8108

Hi all. I've somehow got behind in blogging some of my makes. I made the darling girl a new summer uniform at the start of last term, and she has worn it loads and loads. I forgot to Instagram or blog it - standards are slipping! I have another few makes I'm looking forward to blogging soon too.

I chose this pattern as I'm hoping to make the adult "dottie angel frock" and wanted a trial run first! This is the mini me version of the pattern, and looks so cute on the pattern envelope.

The fabric is a cheap and cheerful gingham from The Fabric Shop, Worthing in tiny uniform style squares. The best bit is the huge pocket, perfect for Lego, small stones or feathers. The pattern has the pocket edged in bias binding, but I chose to line the pocket for strength and so didn't need the binding.

The pattern was easy to put together as its basically just a front,  a back and a pocket. The sleeves are grown on, and very comfy looking; the neckline is big enough to go over the head without being huge or gaping or slipping off the shoulder.

Pre-sewing main dress together

The sleeves are the weak point of the dress, so I have gone over the stitching line several times to reinforce it. It's so far held together through rigorous wearing and washing, but if I were to make another I would interface this area and possibly stabilise with another layer of fabric as well. You basically make a snip into the dress, below becomes the side seam and above becomes the sleeve hem. Easy to do, but prone to weakness. I can foresee the dress ripping there.

But the resultant dress has proved really popular. Easy for the little one to put on by herself with no fastening to negotiate, and the elastic under the bust and at the back cinches the dress in and gives it a lovely shape.

It was a quick make. The pattern goes up to age 8, so I imagine there will be a few more in years to come, for easy uniform or maybe some super cute prints for holiday wear.

That's all for today. A bit of a seasonally inappropriate post, as all the little ones are off for 6 weeks hols now!

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Summer shift: New Look 6145

Hello Friends. Summer is in full swing, lots of hot days, often too hot to want to wear very much. So, a new breezy summer dress was required.

Disappointingly, when I first made this dress I was underwhelmed and felt it was a little "meh". I didn't even instagram it for that very reason! How very unlike me. However, I have since worn it lots and it has risen considerably in my estimations. It's easy to wear, and easy to wash. It's perfectly loose and breezy on super hot days, and best of all I have had lots of real-life compliments on this. I can say now that I put it on and love it. Do you ever have makes you have grown to love?

A bit crumpled, but I have been wearing it all day.

I bought some lovely Koi carp linen from Ditto fabrics at one of their splendid open days. The Ditto warehouse is an Aladdin's cave, full of fabric gems.  I went not wanting to buy very much and typically came out with bagfuls!  But, in my defence, I have used most of it, or at least cut it up ready to sew.

I only bought a metre, which in hindsight was foolish as it restricted what I could make. I think originally I was thinking skirt, but I am glad I went for a shift as there is nothing tight around the middle in the heat.

For the pattern I went with New Look 6145 used before here. It has diamond darts on the back for subtle shaping and long side darts at the front that look rather elegant.

No pattern matching here!

Having made the pattern previously I was happy with the loose shape, though I did make it an inch longer for modesty's sake.  I also omitted the kick pleat, as it is not necessary due to the loose nature of it.

This version has a little gaping at the front neckline, which I did not get in my previous dress.  Could the weight of the sleeves have pulled the dress down better? It's not too bad, though, and it won't stop me wearing it.  Annoying, though, because I cut out another sleeveless dress alongside this, and now I know that the neckline won't be as great on that other one either; this would-be-dress is currently at the bottom of my ready-to-sew pile for that very reason.

Do you cut out projects en masse? It is currently my preferred method of working.  If I have an urge to sew I pick up a project folder and I am ready to go. I think this will be particularly useful when I start uni! It's the cutting out that I find takes the most time and organisation. How about you?

Sunday 18 June 2017

Summer shorts

Hi all! It's June, how is that possible? The days are full of glorious sunshine and fabulous heat; it's with that in mind that our June project is a new fire and fireplace - what planning!!  In the meantime, here is something more weather appropriate: two pairs of cute little shorts for the little one.

I actually made these ages ago and they have sat in the work in progress box for a long time waiting patiently to have the elastic threaded through. It's funny how sometimes such a small task seems too much effort and therefore gets neglected! I'm so glad I finally got around to it as, these have been worn and washed and re-worn lots since, and still look great.

The pattern is a cute one from Simplicity's "It's so easy" range, and it lived up to the title, being a breeze to make. It was also great for scrapbusting; both of these were made from awkward shaped remnants after making my jumpsuit, and - a long time ago - a cute peacock dress.  

I am having to be more ruthless with scraps now, as space has become an issue; so, if I can't see an immediate use, they have to go. Previously, I would have kept even small bits, but I am being more realistic about time and resources now.

Looking forward to trying the skirt and top in the future.

Anyway, this pattern is quick to sew up, and fits nicely. I've jazzed them up a bit with trimmings. Little One particularly loves the pom-pom trim - they wobble about when she jumps!

The other is embellished with a green lace ribbon.  I have a thing for trims and will often buy ribbons if I think they look pretty, rather than with a project in mind. Again, this has to stop now, and I need to actively look for ways to use my box of ribbons rather than just adding to it. Too much conspicuous consumption!

I will definitely use this pattern again, and would recommend it for boys or girls.

Saturday 20 May 2017

Sweet dress book, floral top

Hello. May is being unpredictable in its weather: pouring with rain one moment, and sunny the next. It makes planning what to wear rather tricky! Throughout the Me Made May challenge set by Zoe I have been noticing gaps in my wardrobe: I need more jumpers (that's okay, just made the bunny one), cardigans (need to learn to knit or find a good sewing one - suggestions welcome) and tops (as many of mine are RTW).

This is a top that I've made, and I am really pleased with it. The fabric has not sat around long; it was only bought a few weeks ago at Ditto fabrics open day. I just love how vibrant the colour is, it looks as if the the sun is bouncing off the flowers as I move.

Possibly need a sway back adjustment - what do you think? Or is that normal?

The pattern is from the Sweet Clothes book by Yoshiko Tsukiori. This is a great little book, and I just knew top G would make a good wardrobe staple.  It's obviously more of a faff to trace out the pattern, rather than just cut out your size from a commercial pattern. But it's worth it when you get 23 patterns for the same price as one indie pattern.  The sizing is usually very generous in Japanese pattern books, but I think that is for style reasons, as many of the designs are slightly androgynous. Not this one, though, it looked feminine and about right size-wise. But I did do a quick bedsheet toile, which taught me I needed to take a small wedge out of the neckline so that the top won't gape; plus, I lopped 10 cm off the length. I was really pleased with the fuss free shoulder - no gathering.

Folded a wedge out of the neckline

The make was remarkably speedy and I think part of the reason is that you put the sleeves in flat before sewing the sides. Maybe that's just psychological, but it feels easier and quicker!

Tucked in, probably how I'd wear it with a skirt.

Anyway long story short: I love it, and there will be more in the not too distant future; though I do have a long to-do list which is threatening to eclipse my sewing time. I shall try to accommodate both!

Sunday 14 May 2017

Bunny Jumpers

Greetings from a lovely sunny Sunday early evening. Today's been nice, but the weather in May cannot be guaranteed; indeed, some days have been so cold we've shivered. To that end, I have made some soft and fluffy bunny jumpers for me and the girl.

Bunny ears, obvs!

For her jumper, I used a vintage pattern previously used here, a simple Raglan sleeve sweatshirt pattern. Easy for her to put on without Mummy's help! This is important, as she is very independent.

It's almost impossible to get kids to pose.

My jumper is a Linden Sweatshirt. I have made an oversized one before here, but this one is the correct size for my measurements, for a tighter fit.  The first time around, I had real trouble attaching the neckband, as it just wasn't long enough for self fabric. So, this time I used some lovely grey ribbing, and it went on beautifully.

This fabric, as well as being uber-cute on the outside, is backed in the softest, fluffiest pile. My daughter says its like stroking a real bunny rabbit!  It was so soft, I almost left it as a piece of fabric and used it as a blanket! 

I bought this from Dragonfly fabrics in East Sussex. I went with the Hove Sewing Group, on a pilgrimage to their studio. I was determined not to buy too much, but their fabrics and patterns were just too good. I also bought the paper version of the Tova pattern which is on my make list for the near future.

Look how her scar is disappearing fast!

That's all for now. We will try not to wear our jumpers at the same time, but baby girl is very keen on us matching ("like sisters")!  So we may match once or twice, just for her.

Monday 17 April 2017

Catching up with Cleo

Hello Folks, I felt I needed to post to prove I was still alive! It has been busy busy busy here. Kids are hectic as always, and I have been in the throws of applying for Uni, with essays and interviews stressing me out. The real hard work will begin in September; I am very excited and not a little terrified. In the meantime I am going to use that deadline to get our house up to scratch - decluttering and decorating! I will have to be ruthless, chucking everything out and I will also have to pack up my beloved sewing room as we are going to need a spare room for an au pair if I am going to be out full-time. What will I do with all my stuff? I have so much sewing paraphernalia and up till now it's been luxuriously spread out. Part of me is scheming to see if there is another way to save my sewing room, but I don't think there is!

In the meantime, here is another Cleo, and I love it. I previously made two others here.  The green one has gone off to the charity shop as it was too tight to be comfortable, but the sparkly grey one I wear all the time. There was just about enough of the gold denim leftover from the Anya bag I made my Mum. But only just enough. Luckily, I don't need long straps or I would have run out!

It should have been an easy sew, having made it twice before, but I still had to faff around with those side seams. I thought Id got the pattern just right but I still had to unpick twice!

I am really pleased with the brass clips, they suit the colour perfectly.  And speaking of colour, I have had so many IRL compliments on this. "What a great colour" has often been heard, and one person said "I never find things like this on the high street."  Dead chuffed to be able to blow her mind by telling her I made it!

Not much more to say about this other than to repeat that I love it! I see at least another Cleo in my life, if not two. Bye for now.  Hope you've had a great Easter.