Holiday Sewing… And Fabric Shopping Plans!

I have been quiet on the blog for quite some time due to work and generally being busy with life.  However, I have still been sewing a lot and have attended a course at Morley College one day a week which has been amazing and I have learnt so much as well as making some new sewing friends!

So … for now I will just show my basic makes for holiday, ie, easy to wash and wear with minimal care.  We are going away for 3 weeks with a small luggage allowance so I’m trying to mix and match clothing!

This is a hack of the Scout Tee, I just cropped it and added a 9″ peplum which is almost double the width of the top (not quite double as I didn’t have enough fabric)!

As you can see there is a seam down the front, this is because I cut it out late at night after a long day at work and I accidentally placed the shoulder curve on the fold thinking it was the front neckline, anyway, it turned out ok!

Next up, another Scout Tee hack with a dipped hem at the back (and no centre seam!)

I love this fabric, such pretty colours, Tilly and the Buttons used it in some of their kits for the Zadie dress.

I also made a knit top from a Stoff and Stil pattern, it’s supposed to be for a woven but I wanted a knit of ease of wear and I love the sleeves with a slight gather at the shoulder and the bell shape.

Apologies for the messy kitchen and lack of head, my photographer was doing his best under pressure to get back to the world of Zelda!

Hopefully I will get back into the groove and catch up with my massive backlog of finished garments .. just need to get all the photos done!

 

Belated Ginger Jeans

I lost my blogging mojo for a while, still did lots of sewing but no blogging and couldn’t get around to taking photos.

However, finally here are the Ginger Jeans I made – finished before summer and then it was too hot to wear them!

ginger back

It’s really hard to photograph dark denim but I did top stitch in a gold/yellow thread.  The construction was time consuming but actually, if you have limited time for sewing it is possible to do 10/15 minutes at a time.  There are so many pieces and stages to sew that I did the pockets one day, yoke the next etc and although they came together slowly, it wasn’t frustrating as I was able to finish each stage and stop.

jeansfly

Putting in the fly front was the trickiest part – as you can see my top stitching isn’t perfect but I doubt anyone will be studying my crotch area that closely!  The main thing is that it all lies flat.

The most frustrating part was getting the back pockets in the right place – when I had them where the pattern markings were, it made my bum look low and saggy!  I moved them up about 1.5″ and it looked so much better but it took about 4 goes of pinning in place, trying to look at my bum in the mirror and re-pinning!

jeans pockets

However, the Mr inspected my rear end and said they were probably the most flattering jeans I had ever worn – so worth the effort.

I made the high waist skinny version in a size 14 with a small wedge taken out of the back waist seam.  The front left leg inside seam very slightly turns towards the front and I have read other blogs that mention this but I think next time I will cut the denim in single layers as I think it is just that the fabric wasn’t completely on grain.  Also next time I will take a bit less of a curve out the crotch to eliminate “whiskers” but they are very minor and these are totally wearable jeans.  I overlocked the seams and if you want to know more about the creator of this great pattern – there is an article on Closet Case Files and the best jeans patterns currently available in this month’s issue of Love Sewing Magazine.

I will definitely be making these again and already have some denim picked out.  The denim I used for these is from Rolls and Rems on Seven Sisters Road.

ginger back2
Ginger Jeans with Plantain Tee

Sorry for the poor photos – I need to get my little assistant back on track.

I have also finished the Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Files and hopefully will get some photos taken soon.

 

Hand Made Holiday Wardrobe

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I’ve had a fabulous summer, a family holiday in Croatia and a week with just me and the kids in Cornwall with some friends.  The British summer has been fantastic where we are and it seems to have gone on for ever!

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Now back to reality!

Before we went to Croatia I planned to travel light and have a mix and match wardrobe as we were traveling about for the first 10 days, staying a few nights here and there so having easy to put together clothes would make life easier and we didn’t want to have a lot of luggage to carry around.

I’m not usually very good at being organized but I was quite impressed with myself!  Before going I made 4 t-shirts, 3 Scouts and 1 Concord, a Groove Dress, Mecury Trousers, refashioned an old maxi dress into a skirt and I had some summer clothes I made for last year’s holiday.  I didn’t get a photo of everything as I kept forgetting but  here are some … I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.

grey scout
Refashioned maxi dress and Scout Tee
pink scout and mercury
Concord Tee and Mercury Trousers
pink scout and cloud skirt
Faye Skirt and Scout Tee
navy scout and mercury
Mercury Trousers and Scout Tee
pink leopard dress
Scout Tee dress
groove
Groove Dress
Hope you all had a good summer!

“In The Clouds” Roberts Jumpsuit

jumpsuit bride2

Another Roberts Jumpsuit from the Marilla Walker pattern, the third item I have made from the pattern and it still won’t be the last – this is absolutely the best pattern I have ever bought! (And I’ve bought A LOT!!)  You can buy it from her shop on Etsy.

The fabric is a very soft rayon I bought on Ebay which was a real bargain and I washed it twice just to make sure it was properly pre-shrunk!  I love the clouds and the blueness of it (please note my new blue shoes that go very well too!)

Jumpsuit2

The photos are taken in Venice where the lovely Mr took me for my birthday at the beginning of June.

This time, to make it look different I put in a chunky white zip instead of buttons and had to take away the overlap and seam allowance for the button placket.  This tested my maths ability for a while but I got my head round it.  I also took 1″ out of the crotch length and 2″ off the leg length as I didn’t want these to be turned up.  I made it all with the overlocker except the hems and zip, I then top stitched all the seams down.

The zip looks really great but as it is a chunky zip and the rayon is very light weight, it did slightly pull the v-neck down a bit and I was conscious of too much cleavage so I wore a camisole underneath but I’m happy with that.  Standing up straight it would be fine but I was worried about what would be on display if I bent forward.  I actually wore it to breakfast at our hotel without the camisole and the Mr said it looked fine but I lost my bottle and quickly put a camisole on before going out for the day!  It must be a sign of my age because when I was 21 I wouldn’t have cared at all!

jumpsuit back

It looks like my left leg is a strange shape but it was just a bit breezy!  I’m very pleased with this make and I’m sure it will get lots of wear this summer (I’ve already worn it a lot as I made it a month ago).

I would love to hear your comments!  Next up Marilla Walker Mercury Trousers ….

Dungaree Dress

dung dress full

First of all, apologies for the photo quality in this post, my little photographer was having an off day.

I love my new dress, it’s another Marilla Walker Roberts collection (that pattern just keeps on giving)!  I used some Hugo Boss linen I bought from Ebay, it’s a medium to heavy weight and I thought it might be a bit too heavy but it hangs really well.

I cut a size 4 skirt and waist and size 5 bib as I didn’t want it cutting across my nipples!  Not that it would have, the pattern is really well drafted.

dung dress full length

I wore it with boots as it’s still a bit chilly but in the summer I can wear it with sandals or flip flops.  I like the shaping on the back and of course it’s got pockets which is always a win!  I lent forwards as this photo was taken and it looks like my shoulders are massive – they’re not really that big!

dung dress back stripe

The pattern suggests using flat felled seams or French seams which I did on my jumpsuit but this time I just overlocked the whole thing. I used left over fabric from a top I made for the back facing and to line the pockets.

babi

It took me ages to decide which buttons to use but in the end I went for some painted wooden buttons that I have had in my stash for quite some time, bought for a knitting project that never happened!

dung dress buttons

I am pleased with how this turned out and it will get a lot of wear, I’ve already worn it 3 times and I only finished it last Saturday so that’s a good sign!

Breaking New Year’s Resolutions?

At the start of 2016 I made a promise to myself that I would try and finish a sewing project before starting a new one, and I have stuck to it!  Until now …. I have been wrestling with very frustrated sewing plans!  First of all, I decided to make jeans … yes JEANS, not jeggings, not pull ups with an elasticated waist but proper JEANS!!!!  I saw the Ginger Jeans pattern ages ago and was in awe of all the fabulous creations people have blogged about but the thought of making jeans was just a step too far for me, like making my own bra or nickers, why would I?  However, I decided to challenge myself and give it a go!  And I was doing really well BUT … I ran out of top stitching thread!

jeans pockets

I am surprised how little thread is on a spool, after all, the manufacturers must be aware that people will need to rip out seams, especially when top stitching, but it seems there is just enough thread on a spool for 1 pair of jeans …  I did a proper fly front and top stitched the pockets etc.

jeansfly

I was quite impressed with myself, the Mr said “you’ve even done the thingy stitches” (bar tacks) and although not perfect, I am more than happy to wear them, when I get them finished!  I need to get some more thread but obviously it needs to be the same thread but I bought it in Sailsbury and I live in London …… I will figure it out.  Maybe send my Mum a bit of the thread (from a ripped out seam!) and get her to buy me another spool from the same shop.

Then I thought, “I love that Marilla Walker jumpsuit, I’ll make another one!”  I was inspired by this jumpsuit by Plumo.

I found some cheap fabric on Ebay and thought I would give it a try but to make it different I wanted to change the buttons at the front for an exposed chunky zip which I also bought on Ebay but the seller is away for 2 weeks so I’m waiting for the zip and can’t get any further along till it arrives, this is the fabric, not the same obviously but I like it.

cloud jump

So, that’s 2 projects I can’t get finished!  I have decided to make a quick, easy skirt whilst I’m waiting, another Marilla Walker pattern, the Ilsley skirt, it’s a free pattern you can download but she is raising money for a cancer charity so it would be good to make a donation, the link is on her blog.

skirt plan

Finally, I have a pattern, fabric, elastic so hopefully this will be a project I can finish!  The fabric looks denim but actually it is a chambray/viscose mix I got on Ebay and it is very soft with a lovely drape.  I notice there is a bit of “Style Arc” in the pattern but it’s from a piece of scrap paper I used to lengthen the skirt by 2″.  The Style Arc pattern I downloaded and pieced together is the Milla dress which I plan to make in a double knit cotton jersey with a white bodice and yellow bottom half.

Simple but stylish slip on dress

 

Anyway, that’s my progress, or lack of it.  I’m letting myself off the New Year’s Resolution rule as I am unable to finish the projects so starting another in the meantime doesn’t count, what do you think?!

Starting Again!

I’m not keen on New Year’s Resolutions generally but this year I have decided to make a few sewing/knitted related ones:

  1.   Only make things I am going to wear.
  2.    Use up fabric and yarn from the stash.
  3.    Try to blog regularly (technology permitting!)

With this in mind – last night I unraveled a sweater I made.  This is the pattern, which is lovely

pattern image

The trouble is I am not a willowy, waif-like woman and it made me look like a house end!  Nothing to do with the pattern, just the wrong style for me.  I had actually knitted the whole sweater and sewn it up!

jumper

I did enjoy the process as I quite like knitting lace patterns but the sleeve increases, whilst keeping the pattern correct, were a bit of a nightmare!

My youngest enjoyed helping me unravel …

unravelling

The wool is Debbie Bliss Paloma yarn which is a chainette chunky weight, knitted on 10mm needles, but its very light to wear, it’s also quite expensive so I didn’t want to just let it sit in the drawer as an unworn garment.

cast on

This is what I have cast on.  It is a Debbie Bliss pattern that uses Como yarn, now discontinued, but the Paloma seems to be a good substitute.  I have actually made this pattern before, but knitted a size too big, then felted it to make it smaller but it came out child size!  So .. I put a zip in the front and my son used it as a winter jacket (he was 5 at the time!)

All in all, this is why I prefer sewing to knitting!  However, I think it is just a case of getting the size, choice of yarn and pattern style right and disciplining myself to knit a bit each evening when I’m at home so it doesn’t take a year to finish!  Hopefully this time around will be a success story!  We shall wait and see …

It Looks Like Babycham!

Sorry for the silence, I haven’t blogged for ages due to computer failure!  It has been very frustrating to say the least but FINALLY we are back up and running, hooray!!

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This is the Blouse Cézembre by Anne K Courture which has been  in my list of makes for quite a while but I only made it a month ago.  It has ended up being my Christmas top for a couple of “dos” and I really like it.  Initially I thought it might be too big but I think I like the slightly oversized look and it is great for eating too much Christmas fare!

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These are the flowers the lovely Mr bought me for our anniversary on December 18th.

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Back to the sewing!  I made a size 44 as I wanted it to be very loose fitting but I think next time I will go down to a size 42.  I took the size according to my bust measurement but it is very generously sized.  It’s quite a quick, easy sew, the trickiest bit being the curved hemline which has a facing.  You can see the high/low look:

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I got the fabric online and it is really one of my best buys from ebay.  Karen wrote a post, Putting the fun back into black from Did You Make That made a shift dress in the same fabric.

babi

My youngest took the photos on my phone and he’s not bad but can get a bit fed up after a few minutes!

All in all, I’m quite pleased with it!  Let me know what you think in the comments box.

And for those of you too young to remember what Babycham is,

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year! x

Overlocker, You Mean Another Sewing Machine? No, An Overlocker!

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to attend a class at The Thrifty Stitcher in Stoke Newington.  For those who don’t know, The Thrifty Stitcher, aka Claire-Louise Hardie, is the Sewing Producer for The Great British Sewing Bee.  I did the “Overlocking Basics De-Mystified” taught by the lovely Layla Totah.class group

For most people, the fear of the overlocker is the threading, and yes, it is a bit tricky.  I’m so glad that I did the course before purchasing my Janome 6234XL, as Layla came by with her trusty scissors and snipped the threads a few times, which was very alarming!  However, making us thread the machine a few times really gave me confidence and I had less fear when my machine arrived at home.  class overlocker

We made a t-shirt in the class and it is amazing how quickly it came together!  When researching overlockers, people always said how much quicker, easier and professional it made your sewing but I didn’t really get it until now!  If you have ever considered getting one and you are dithering – do it now!  You will never regret it, the expense is totally worth it and my thinking is that I will never have to buy one again, or at least not for about 20 years!

me in class
The T-shirt I made in class, over the top of my dress, so not that flattering!
theresa top
Theresa’s t-shirt

And this is my new Janome 6234XL sitting next to my beloved Pfaff, I think they will become the best of friends!Machines

Once it arrived, I threaded it straight away, it worked first time and I made a “test” skirt in under half an hour!  Job done I reckon.overlock skirt

Not my favourite fabric, but bought on Ebay for 99p and a wearable muslin, and the t-shirt is the one I made in class, I may add a band to the bottom of it so it sits better on my hips. The skirt is the Fay by Style Arc, it’s supposed to be a double layered skirt with a bagged out hem but I didn’t have enough fabric and it’s a thick Ponte so I just made a single layer and stitched a hem.  My youngest took this photo and said “it makes you look skinny, you should make more of these”!  I’m sure I will!

So, what sewing extravagances have you indulged in?  Click the “comments” box at the top of the page and let me know!

A Holiday Wardrobe!

front trousers

 

I have made several things for our up coming holiday – only 1 week to go!!  First of all these Hawaiian print trousers.  I made these using the jumpsuit pattern from the Sewing Bee book (a fantastic purchase – so many patterns from one book – and great information about fabric choice etc). This is the pattern hack of the jumpsuit which you can make into trousers by tracing off the lower waist line.  I LOVE this pattern, for lots of reasons.  A) It fit me right from the pattern with no adjustment at all (I usually do a FBA (I know this stands for Full Bust Adjustment but for me its a Full Bum Adjustment ha!).  B) It has no zips or pockets so is quick to sew up. C) It has an elastic waist so no fitting issues there and the design is loose and roomy so no worries with fitting at the hip either!

side of hawaii trousers

I love the fabric too, which was a cheap find on ebay, about £2 per meter I think, and I used it as a toile to check the fit but they are totally wearable! I tried to take a back view myself in the mirror which was not easy! full length back trousersI wanted to show the back as I think the fit is really good.  I’m a RTW size 14/16 and I cut out a 14 which was perfect, the waist band was a bit loose so I just cut off 2″ of elastic and redid it and it’s fine.

The top I’m wearing is yet another Scout Tee!  Made from a white cotton/poly mix with some stretch.  I wanted a couple of basic tops for the holiday that I can just wash and wear easily.

white scout

 

Not the best photo but I had no photographer that day!

I also made a pattern hack of the Coco Dress by Tilly and the Buttons with a flutter sleeve pattern that I got from Muse Patterns – they sell a Knit Sleeve Pack that can be used in knit garments, its excellent value at $3.

 

 

 

 

Pink flutter sleeveI look a bit odd in this photo but it was about 34 degrees and I was feeling hot and bothered!

Flutter sleeve

 

The flutter sleeve!  I also made a Coco Dress in a fabric with trees and sunsets but don’t have any photos.  Hopefully I can get some pictures of all my outfits in action when I’m on holiday!

hawaii fabric closeup

 

Just love this fabric!

If you’re going away, have a great time, if you want to comment, click on “comments” at the top of the page, it would be great to hear from you!