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.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

New Look 6145 - Mark 2

Greetings all! It's been three weeks since my last sew, but I'm feeling okay about it. A week ago, I was strangled by this lack of creativity, but I know now this hiatus will pass. I do have something to share, though: a blouse that somehow escaped the blog previously.

The pattern is the one I got free from the simplicity blogger challenge: Newlook 6145. It is perfect for my style, easy to wear, loose and not constricting.

I used the modified pattern from previously (I had raised the waist by an inch and a half and redrawn the darts back and front accordingly) then cropped it to blouse length. As this fabric didn't contain any stretch, I reduced the seam allowances to 1cm, to give me a little more wiggle room. My previous version made with stretch cotton can be seen here.

The fabric is called "sunflowers" in coral, 100% cotton. It's from fabricland and comes in loads of colourways. I only bought a metre, but it was more than enough for this - it's always good to have a pattern you can make with a metre! There is just enough in the tiny scraps for the bodice of a little girl's dress too!

I think this is a year-round make. Perfect for this hot sun we are currently having, but it will layer beautifully in colder weather too.

Again, I made this without adding a zip; frankly, I wonder why the pattern needs one. There is so much ease that it slips over my head effortlessly.

I have worn this lots and lots, and I love it. I'm sure I will make more of these blouses when I next find some fabulous fabric.

Goes well with my jeans too!   Happy sewing folks; it won't be long before I am joining you again too.

Monday, 22 June 2015

More refashioning, with embroidery

Hello there. I feel a bit of a fraud blogging, as truth-be-told I have done no sewing for almost two weeks. It's really depressing me. I have three half-finished projects sat next to my machine and I just don't have the "Oomph" to sew them. I don't know if it's the lack of sewing that gets me down, or that when I'm down I can't sew. But either way it's not good.  

However, I do have something to share: a Delphine skirt from "Love at First Stitch". This is my second incarnation of this pattern; my polka dot skirt is in heavy rotation as it seems to go with everything! I do love the shape and fit of the Delphine, so I very much doubt this will be my last one either.

This, like my previous refashion, was an attempt to use up fabric from worn-out jeans that were past giving to the charity shop, but still contained usable fabric. Apart from folding out some length, I made no other alterations and sewed a straight size 3. The fit is pretty perfect for me.

The waist band and back are from a pair a maternity jeans, and the front is a plain vintage linen with applique flowers on. This piece of fabric was very small and only just matched the front pattern piece.

I can't really take credit for the design. I found this piece of fabric neatly folded in my late Nan's fabric stash.

She had carefully cut out the flowers from a sample book of curtain fabric, and arranged and stuck them on with bondaweb. Nanny had then presumably not known what to do with it and put it away. I myself had previously got it out many times wondering how I could use it.

I added machine embroidery to give the applique more texture, and to ensure they didn't flap off in the wash

After this, there was much deliberation over what to do with it. Perhaps I should have framed it. But selfishly perhaps I saw it as a skirt panel!

Sadly, I'm not entirely convinced this is successful. I think the linen is too thin in comparison to the denim. I will wear it happily, though perhaps only in summer. I also want to replace the zip with an exposed one. I have even bought it, just need to sew it on. Motivation - come find me!!

Hopefully, I will be back on my machine very soon; until then, I will continue to enjoy reading other people's sewing adventures.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Refashioned jeans to Simplicity 1787

Hi fellow stitchers! I have wanted a colour blocked denim tunic for ages, and now I have one. And I love it!

I started out with a pinterest board, pinning lots of gorgeous denim tunics; you can view my board here if you are so inclined.

Then, I started to see other bloggers creating beautiful denim shifts (I love Su's newlook tunic from "Butterflies and Lemondrops", and "Justsewtheraputic's" denim Laurel). Suitably inspired, I began.

My first decision was to recycle some old jeans for colour blocking; I then decided upon a pattern. I went for a dress pattern I had made before and love wearing: Simplicity 1787.
The shape of the pattern pieces immediately lends itself to colour blocking. The dark blue is from my old (non-fitting since having baby No. 3) jeans, and the light blue was gifted to me by a friend. The level of stretch was very similar, so they worked well together.


The pockets are the best feature of this pattern. Useful, but stylish too. I lined them with scraps of floral fabric so they are pretty on the inside too.

I love the Sixties vibe this dress gives off, it almost feels like it should be on Star Trek! But it is still modern enough to get compliments. I need to get brave enough to say "I made it" in reply, I usually just say thank you! 

For the back, I was determined to have an exposed zip, as I felt that aesthetic would suit the denim. I lost count of how many overly complicated youtube tutorials I watched on how to do it!  In the end, it was relatively easy to attach the zip. Though having said that, I did break THREE needles putting this in! My machine just did not like going through the double thickness denim, facings and zip tape! But it was worth it.

I did originally play around with the idea of sleeves, which do look nice. But in the end sleeveless won out.
It is just what I wanted and planned; this is why I love sewing - it is truly a very addictive hobby.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Hers and Hers

Hello all! The sun has been shining all weekend here. It's been glorious, so warm and summery. The girl and I have been posing and playing in our fun summer skirts - we are all matchy-matchy!  It's actually been rather fun.
My skirt pattern is the "quick knit pencil" pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. I have made this before here, and it is so quick to put together that it almost makes itself.  As I did last time, I folded out 5 inches in length! I am getting a complex about being short!

The fabric is a beautiful printed jersey called "Rose Journey" from fabricland in Brighton, and it is very pretty. I only bought a small amount of fabric (as I am an eternal scrimper and saver) so I didn't bother with pattern matching, and its fine.  A ready-to-wear skirt would be no better, so I don't mind.

I made up the pattern for my daughter's skirt: it is just a basic A-line shape, cut bigger than her waist measurement then gathered by an elasticated waistband to fit her. I am a huge fan of elastic -  so comfy. She loves it (always lovely to get a positive reaction to ones sewing!) and is thrilled that we match.
These are perfect weight for summer holiday wear - they will be easy to pack without needing an iron afterwards. I can't wait to wear mine for a paddle at the beach.
It has a great shape too, I found myself walking with a definite wiggle today!

Fingers crossed for more lovely weather.  Mind you it's our kids' summer fete next weekend, so I'm expecting torrential rain!