Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Autumn: Kids Clothes Week

Happy half-term, sewing friends! Wow, I hadn't realised it had been so long since my last post, never mind. Hope you are all well. Last week was 'Kids Clothes Week', the initiative that encourages you to sew an hour a day for seven days, solely for the little people in your life.

This year, the theme was 'Disguise'. I had lots of ideas, but in the end I went with a button-up shirt for my eldest. The headache-inducing fabric was chosen by the lovely boy himself, and it would work well if he ever chose to disguise himself as a zebra!!! 

I have never made a shirt before; even though it's not my finest work, I really enjoyed sewing it.  Oops, just noticed in the photographs: I haven't removed all my basting thread on the shoulders - will rectify that when the boy takes it off.

The plackets caused the most bother; I unpicked and re-stitched several times, but got there in the end.  I even got to use my button foot to sew on the buttons by machine! Cool.

This was also my first attempt at a rolled hem; again, I used a specialist machine foot. It worked fine on a single layer of fabric but as soon as I came to a seam the foot did not want to play ball. But it'll do. It was good practice, and I now want to put rolled hems on everything!


The pattern is Design Q from Sew Chic Kids. I love this book and have made several items from it. I find the illustrations and list style instructions easy to follow.  I recommend it if you have kiddos to sew for between 2 and 10. My scrummy boy is 9 and a half; this is the age 8 size but it should fit him for a long time to come.

My favourite feature is the cute pleat on the back yoke; made me feel very accomplished making it.  Always a good feeling!

I am tempted to try again on this pattern now I understand how all the pieces fit together; it should be much easier and quicker next time round. I have a huge list of things to make for ME, though, so it's unlikely to happen for a while! So that's my contribution to Kids Clothes Week. Have you made anything for Autumn KCW?

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Scrap busting with simplicity 1412

Hi there sewing friends. I hope you're all well, and sewing up a storm! I didn't get my birthday dress finished in time. Boo! But it's almost done, just the hem to go now. Despite this, I had a lovely day. I was brought breakfast in bed by my eldest, and given lots of lovely prezzies. Nearly all of them were sewing related - how fabulous!!!

In the meantime, I still have something to share with you all and this is from the "its so easy" range at Simplicity. I made it before here. And the darling daughter loves a good pretty dress; who doesn't?

The dress uses up the smallest scraps from this top;bearing in mind I only bought a metre of it in the first place, I would say the fabric has done me very well indeed.

The rest of the dress is a pillowcase cut up and refashioned. It is lovely fabric, and only got consigned to the cut-up pile as it had a small stain that just would not wash out. 

I love the ric-rac embellishment, I think it really makes it special. I hand-sewed it on at my first visit to the monthly Brighton Sewing Bee. It was so exciting getting to meet so many other people, all crazy for sewing and nice cake.

Do you go to any sewing groups or craft clubs? I feel really pleased to have found the Brighton Sewing Bee group. Sewing can be an isolated hobby, so I am very grateful to social media, blogs and meet-ups for keeping us all in touch.

Bye for now; will see you soon with my finished dress...

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Most used pattern to date: NewLook 6216

Hello there! School has started again, and - by some strange coincidence - my house has become less messy and chaotic almost overnight. I am sure there is no correlation between those two facts. Okay, maybe there is a link!

Anyhoo... this is my new top: a blush viscose jersey made into the short sleeved top from Newlook 6216, my most made pattern envelope ever! I have made the trousers twice here and here and the long-sleeved top twice here and here. This make completes the envelope. Considering I bought it during a half price sale, the cost per item is in pence rather than pounds. Kerching!!

I did add the pocket which was considerable effort, only to find that the placement was under my arm going by the pattern markings! I am not alone in this: Hannah from Hannah Knits Stuff made this top recently and did exactly the same thing! The placement on the pattern must be off.

Even without the pocket I love the simple shape and cute detail of the bands on the sleeves. Plus the neckline does not gape. Wahoo! Really pleased, as I need a few more tee shirts for layering now it is getting cold. So, this pattern may appear again. However, I am ridiculously busy at the moment, and eager to make a new dress for my birthday. And some fancy trousers too. So there will be no tee shirts coming anytime soon!

I am fearful that the dress for my birthday will fall by the wayside under time constraints. Do you have lots of makes on your wish-list? How do you cope when they don't get made up?

See you all soon.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

McCalls M6958 (or the dress it's now too cold to wear!)

Hi everyone. It's been a while since my last blog-post, and I have to be honest and say I have no idea where the time went.  A blur of day trips and camping, and the Summer has been and gone.

Today I am sharing my only summer make! The pattern (McCalls M6958) was purchased with a magazine I picked up in Sainsbury's. I don't often buy magazines with free patterns because, well, they aren't free, are they?! But this mag had three patterns with it, all of which I actually liked, so it seemed like a good idea.

I did a few standard-for-me alterations, changing where the bust dart fell, and lopping off inches in height so that the waist actually hit my waist! The dress itself was an easy make, but took me simply ages - just a lack of free time, I guess. It sat patiently waiting to be hemmed for over two weeks!  Then, after finishing it, the weather has been too cold and wet to take blog photos.

I have finally braved the weather to show the dress off. I am really pleased with it, and think that the shape suits me. It has a much more fitted shape than I normally wear, but it still has lots of ease, so it is comfy.

The camera has decided not to capture the colours at all well. The fabric is a lovely burgundy colour with grey and black geese flying in all directions. It is also the first piece of fabric I ever bought. I promptly decided I'd likely ruin it, so had better practise on old sheets and curtains first! But, two years on, I was determined it should sit in the stash no longer.

The colours are clearer here in this mid-make shot. It also documents my first invisible zip, which I am pretty proud of: it wasn't as bad as I had expected, but actually (and I know I am in the minority) I really like the look of a good lapped zip. I am pleased to have tried it, though, and have even bought a few more for future projects.

It does look rather blousey here; this is because the shaping is achieved with dart tucks, so it poufs out slightly. But not too much - I do like the overall shape.

I am hoping to be able to wear it with a cardie and tights to a party, but - other than that - this won't get worn till next year. A shame that, as I adore it.

I suppose it's all Fall/Autumn sewing for me from now on...

Sunday, 9 August 2015

New Trousers.

Greetings all. Week three of the summer holidays, and I am so exhausted I can barely move! The kids meanwhile career around with seemingly boundless energy. In the oft spoken words of my youngest: "it not fair!"  Despite this exhaustion, I have somehow produced new trousers.

Super comfy slouch-about-in trousers is what I needed, and what I made. The pattern is NewLook 6216, which is the same pattern with which I made my Mum's pyjama trousers. They were especially easy to whip up, having made them before.

Having said that, I did sew the buggers together wrongly! But it all worked out okay: I was able to use the duff sewing to create French seams! This was possible as the design of the trousers is quite wide and baggy, so they were able to lose a little width to extra seam allowance!

The fabric is a lovely dark burgundy red in linen-look cotton. So easy to sew, and fabulous to wear.  Like linen, they do crease, but perhaps not as fast.

The true beauty of these trousers lies in their elasticated waist. So comfy. Though, I think I feel confident enough to give "proper" trousers a go now!

I have worn these babies almost constantly since they were finished, and actually they look much nicer with a close fitting top. They seemed determined to photograph badly, though (or perhaps my unmotivated 9 year old photographer was just bored of the task).

I am really pleased with these and could easily see myself making them again if the right fabric caught my eye.

Now, back to the exhausting task of entertaining three kids before they trash my house!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Where's Wanda?

Hi there, sewing peeps. Summer is here in the UK and it is hot in the South of England. I am so lucky to only live 5 minutes from the sea. Sometimes I can take the seaside for granted, so I am trying to cherish every time I get down to see the beautiful sparkling water.

When I was a teenager, I preferred the sea in the winter when it was strong, rough and climatic.   Nowadays, I can appreciate the calm sparkling summer sea: perfect for paddling in and forgetting one's troubles.

This is our local beach. It is lovely, sandy at low tide and not very busy. It's accessible via a lock at the nearby port, so it is kind of hidden and secret. Though when school is out it will heave, as everyone round here spends all summer at the beach.

Anyway, enough waffle: this dress is the pinafore pattern "G" from Stylish Dress Book Vol 2.  Easy- peasy to make up, and perfect for the heat. The pattern is five simple pieces, and the construction is simple; no zips or closures, this just pulls on overhead. The only alteration I made was to shorten the length so that it finishes just at the top of my knee. The other difference is that I haven't done the pocket yet; this isn't a design decision, more desperation to wear the dress rather than wait! It will be sewn on as soon as the dress is back out of the wash!

I had this pattern on my to-do list since I got my hands on the book.  But I was dithering between this and a similar pattern in Sew Chic. Then Blogless Anna and Marilla Walker made up my mind for me with their stunning versions. 

Anna uses a dark denim, and I think I might try that too come Autumn; for now, I wanted something lighter and brighter. The fabric is a linen-look cotton, and under £5 per metre - bargain!

The colour is beautifully bright and vivid. I have since been back and bought some more, as I think it will make great trousers.  The cotton was great to sew with, and presses really well.

I decided to use an orange topstitching thread, as it goes well with the blue, but it does show up my wonky stitching!  Accuracy is something I really need to work on.  It was a lot easier to top stitch the straps as they were interfaced; the dress isn't, but I may interface the facing next time to help with the top stitching.

I started this dress before my sewing break, and I kept fantasizing about ripping out the topstitching and starting again.  But, in the end, laziness won out!

As to the title of this post, a very dear friend of mine said "Where's Wanda?" when she first saw me in this!  Note to self: don't wear striped top with it again. The top, by the way, I found in Sainsbury's for £2.50, I couldn't even buy the fabric for it at that price. 

Hope you are enjoying the sun, or - if it's winter where you are - that the sunny pics make you feel just a little bit warmer!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Back on the sewing horse! Butterick 3772

Hi there. I finally did it! I have resumed my sewing. The stresses of the last few weeks have passed, and at last life is calm enough to crank up the sewing machine once more.

This is Butterick 3772; it was one of three patterns that came with a magazine I purchased, in an attempt to motivate myself to stitch again.
The McCall's pattern will be made up before long too, I'm sure; the tucks at the front look really interesting. But, for now, back to this little dress...
The pattern is super easy: two main pattern pieces, plus facings. It was very quick to sew.
I discovered that whilst I have to lop inches out of any pattern I make for myself, my daughter is tall for her age. Despite only just turning three, this is rather short on her! To save precious length, I used bias binding for the hem and finished it by hand so it does not show from the right side of the garment. Next time I make this pattern, I will definitely add some length.
It is a lovely loose shape, which is perfect for the current heatwave in the UK. The little girl is very pleased with it. I was worried that it would be gape excessively around the armholes - the made up examples in the magazine looked very roomy. It is loose at the arms, but you need lots of movement space when you are three for climbing and clambering, so I won't change the armcycle. 
You might  recognise the fabric - it is leftover from my Simplicity Blogger Challenge. She loves that we have the same dress. We wont wear them at the same time, though - promise!
One feature I really like about this pattern is the button on each shoulder strap. It makes for a lovely wide opening to take the garment on and off.  Perfect if you are three, and have just eaten jam in your new dress!
Not much more to say. You can knock one up in next to no time, and it demands very little attention: perfect sewing, and perfect for my first project back. 
Cheerio for now, and thank you everyone for your support when my sewing mojo vanished. I love how supportive the online sewing community is.