Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Me-Made May. What has it taught me?

Hello Me-Made-May-ers!  This is my first year properly participating in MMM, the challenge set by SoZo to wear handmades consistently for a whole month.

I tried last year, but didn't have enough clothes. This year, I have joined instagram and found it to be really motivating in daily encouraging me to document my pledge.

some Instagram pics of my Me-Mades!
What have I learnt so far?
  • I have to be in the mood to wear certain clothes! I pick what I wear depending on how I feel. Restricting my palate to me-mades has been hard - but not impossible.

  •  I have really enjoyed seeing other peoples wardrobes. So many new-to-me patterns and fabrics. I now NEED a Linden and an Emery in my repertoire. I have seen so many fantastic versions of both of these this year, and not one I didn't want!


  • I have no me-made trousers (yet...)

  • No me-made pyjamas.  (Fixing this one right now.)

60s pattern I am working on.

  • Lastly, I have found that I LOVE Instagram. I stayed away from it for so long thinking it would be just another drain on my time (which I suppose is not that far wrong) but wow it's fun! It's just wonderful to connect so quickly to other people who love sewing as much as, if not more than, I do!

With less than a week to go, how have you got on with MMM?

Friday, 15 May 2015

Simplicity Star Sewist - New Look 6145

Hello everyone. Have you heard that Simplicity are searching for a "star sewist"?  To do this, they are running a competition with a choice of free pattern. I chose to make Newlook 6145. According to twitter, they have had over 300 entries. Wow! And today I am adding my entry into the mix.

New Look 6145

Originally, I wasn't overly inspired by this pattern - it didn't jump out at me. But then I started looking at Boden online and found my inspiration: a simple shift with a 60s vibe.

Boden Inspiration

I am loving the 60s-look at the moment, and I had the perfect fabric. A stretch cotton sateen with bold flower pattern. This fabric was gifted to me by a friend. I would never have chosen it myself  (I steer clear of mainly white clothes with small children!) but I love it. I did wonder if I could carry off wearing such a bold dress, but I decided to just go for it!

I did a couple of flat pattern adjustments before I started sewing. I am substantially shorter than whoever these patterns are designed for, so I had to take out over an inch and a half in length, both below and above the waist. By taking out that length, though, I had to redraw the darts, which did take a little head-scratching and googling to check I was doing it right.

I made a quick muslin out of a very old and threadbare poly-cotton sheet, and it fitted perfectly.  More than that, because it is such a loose fitting shape, I realised that when I used my stretch fabric I would be able to do away with the zip! And it fits perfectly without it.

Gosh, I'm standing awkwardly in the above shot! Anyway, there is a little pleat at the bottom. I don't really feel the dress needs it, and I likely won't include it in my next version. Yes, there definitely will be another, maybe another two or three.

I love the silhouette of this pattern, semi-fitted but still loose enough not to be constricting. I feel stylish in it, but without trying too hard.


This fabric was a dream to sew. I had been nervous about stitching stretch wovens, as I had heard that they can stretch out of shape and seams can pucker easily. But I was careful, slow and I staystitched. All went well.  Hope this was not beginners' luck, as I have just bought some more!

Version number 2 is halfway there (this time as a blouse) and the fabric for number 3 has been bought and pre-washed. I am really thrilled with this pattern and am looking forward to having a few of these hanging in my closet.

Also, I think it is kinda close to my Boden inspiration, so I am very pleased. Thank you Mags for the lovely fabric, and to opening my eyes to the new world of stretch cotton.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Kids Clothes Week #2

Hello, hope you're all well. My last week has been an utter right off: the little girl and I have been poorly with cold/flu virus and it's been truly horrid. It felt like my head and chest were stuffed to the brim with cotton wool; too ill to sew, too ill to even think about sewing. Bah!

At last, though, we've been well enough for her to put on the new dress I made during Kid's Clothes Week, and for me to take some photos.

So, my last entry for KCW - a cute birdy dress for my little girl. She is so sweet, I just love making anything for her. When I showed her the fabric I was going to use, she kissed it and danced around singing "a dress for me, a dress for me"!

It was touch-and-go if I could squeeze a dress out of the piddly amount of fabric I'd purchased. No idea why I bought so little. There was a lot of head-scratching and the sleeves are not on grain, but I think it works. My word, though, it could do with a press! A mixture of laziness, and a determination to photo this before another day went by, prevented me from ironing.

The fabric is from FabricLand and is 100% cotton; the print is so cute, and looks just like Muffin from "3rd & Bird", if you know your Cbeebies.

The pattern is Simplicity 1412 from the "it's so easy" range.

The only difficult part was telling the pattern pieces apart, as they all looked very very similar. But once I'd re-labelled everything, it came together very quickly.  I think it has a lovely shape. The girl loves it too, particularly its twirl factor!

I have really enjoyed KCW, and am looking forward to next year already.

Apologies if the photos are a little washed-out and dull, but it is a bank holiday in the UK, so it's only to be expected!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Kids Clothes Week # 1

Hi Folks! Here is Part One of my makes for Kids Clothes Week. What's Kids Clothes Week?  It's a challenge to sewers to make garments for children, pledging to sew collectively, an hour a day for one week. Instagram floods with all the lovely clothes being produced, and we all support each other. It's really fun and inspirational, and this time around it had a theme, "Wild  Things".

I chose to make shorts for my two boys, with added animal applique: snakes for one, and fish for the other.

They are not the best makes in the world; they definitely would not pass for ready to wear, and the applique is fabric from an old thread-bare nightie! But they are fun, I like them, and - more importantly - the recipients like them too.

The pattern is my vintage staple from the 1970s "Children's Wardrobe" cut to below the knee to make summer shorts, although - now I'm looking at these pictures - I think I will hem them a little shorter. I increased the seam allowance at the waist to hold wider elastic, more comfortable in my opinion. 

The fabric is a nice double knit jersey left over from my easy pencil skirt here.  So again an essentially free make!


My boys really need clothes that are robust enough to stand up to the hammerings they get in the park and then after in the washing machine. And these lovelies are growing at such a fast pace that any fancy sewing would be outgrown heart-breakingly in next to no time! By that requirement, these are a definite success.


The best thing about them is that they are the same enough for jealousy not to ensue, but different enough to tell them apart when sorting the laundry at speed.

Wahoo!  But I haven't neglected my darling girl: next up is a dress for her,  made of a pretty bird fabric.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Using up scraps

Evening all. I am super pleased with today's makes; I have utilised the smallest scraps of fabric to create three little vests. It always makes me feel great when there is zero waste, it appeals to my inner scrooge!

Not only did this pattern use up my scraps, it was super quick to make too. In fact, I made all three in a day, which is unheard of productivity for me. I'm normally rather slow. The pattern was scooped up in a massive haul of half price patterns over at www.simplicitynewlook.com
As you can see, it's a very basic shape: the back has a little bit more interest as it has a racer style to it. I graded the pattern from an 8 at the shoulders to a 14 at the waist. The arms and neckline are merely folded over and topstitched in place. Not the most complex make, but actually a very, useful item of clothing (or three).
They will all get lots of wear, and I can see myself making more as and when I have single jersey to use up. They are particularly good for exercising in, as they are close fitting which is perfect for my latest fad... hula-hooping! 



And I dropped it! Next up... Kids Clothes Week!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Selfless Sewing #2

Hello all, look what I made: trousers for my Mummy!

Well, truth be told, these are a trial-run made in pyjama fabric! They are New Look 6216; it says 'easy' on the packet, and they were. I am chuffed to have made some trousers, and I'm very pleased with them.

As they are pyjamas rather than outerwear, they can be a bit more fun - the fabric has the cutest little owls on. It is brushed cotton, comfy and cosy. The waistline is a mixture of wide elastic and drawstring. And they fit!

The trousers have cute little pockets, which came together remarkably easily!

It has taken me ages to finish these as I stumbled on the hemming; I was being lazy, avoiding it, for all the other fun sewing jobs I wanted to finish first. But once I'd finished, I saw a pair that are an absolute match in Marks and Spencer, so feel confident this is a going to be a good shape for summer trousers.

I am hoping to soon make my mum some more, as actual trousers, in a blue linen. And these were a good size for me too, so I may make myself some after that.

PS. As you'll see from the photos, my garden is ablaze with tulips. I LOVE this time of year.

Friday, 10 April 2015

It's warm enough for a spring dress- just!

Hello everyone! I have been away from the blog lately because of Easter hols, but still finding time to read other blogs, and most importantly to keep sewing. For a change, I now actually have a backlog of finished items that need to be photographed and blogged. Up first: a Spring dress! 

It's just about warm enough to wear this, another of my Vintage Pattern Pledge entries. It is McCall's 6676.  Looks to me like c. mid 1960s.

Sadly, I don't look as glam as the lady on the cover; even so, the dress is a favourite already. It is made up from a cotton from my Nan's stash. I have never had a fabric behave so well! It pressed and sewed beautifully. Rather a cute print too.

The picture on the cover shows the dress just hitting the knee. When I held the pattern piece up to myself it hit my ankles! I had to fold the pattern up by over 8 inches!
The dress has French darts, a kick pleat at the back and a centre back zip. I really enjoyed making this, and everything inside is nice and neat with cute facings for the neckline and arms.
It goes perfectly with my favourite (thrifted) yellow glass necklace. They were made for each other.
The dress also sports a rather jaunty little belt. The belt is supposed to be held on by bar tacks at the hips. I tried that, but it feels more natural just slightly below my waist.

The dress has an extra seam down the front as the fabric was only a small remnant. I see this dress getting lots of wear in the summer, as it is so light and airy. For now, it's perfect layered with a light jacket.

Hope you have all had a good Easter. We still have a few days till the boys are back at school, so a bit more hanging at our new local park is in order.