Monday, 3 September 2018

Sweet as honey

I really loved the honeycomb shirt and dress by Ana from Cocowawa when it was released but I attempted to resist buying it as my sewing output has reduced and I’m so I’m attempting (and failing) to reduce my fabric and pattern buying too.  However, there were so many gorgeous versions popping up on my instagram that I couldn’t help it.  I love a shirtdress, they must be among the most worn items in my wardrobe so the fact that this pattern offers a dress and top versions is a real bonus.

This was my first Cocowawa pattern, while I love some of her other patterns, they are a bit too casual for my mainly work wardrobe, although the Chestnut gives me all the heart eyes and is seriously calling to me.  I was really impressed with the pdf, it seemed to have be planned with economy of paper (and sticking time) in mind and is only 28 pages for all the different versions. 

I made up a size 4, grading to a 6 over the hips, as per my measurements and found it to be pretty accurate but this is a loose fitting top.  I used the remnants of an old duvet cover that I had bought in a charity shop and used to make my vintage halter neck dress.  I found the instructions for the most part really good.  Everyone has been raving about the burrito method for closing the yoke but I wasn’t paying attention at this point and so just stitched my yoke shut and finished it in the way I would any other seam so mine is not so pretty on the inside.  The only thing I struggled with was buttonhole on the mandarin collar, I was struggling to get a neat buttonhole on the collar because of the fabric bulk and then I realised that it wouldn’t close over the other side properly even if I got one so I simply decided to sew buttons on both sides of the collar and call it a feature.  I had a little look on instagram and there seems to be a mix of buttonholes and no buttonholes on the collar so I don’t know if that’s something I fluffed or not.

I love the bow details and can’t wait to make a winter dress complete with the sleeve bows too!  When we were taking these photos, I realised I have a gaping problem between the buttons.  It’s not going to bother me enough to do anything about on this version but on a future one, I think I’d add in more buttonholes, I have space for them as I lengthened the bodice so I could definitely get away with one more.  I used these super cute little strawberry buttons from my stash, I bought them on a market years ago but I don't remember which one. 

Although my face seems huge in this photo, it's probably the best photo of the top so I'm just going to have to deal with looking like a bobble head doll! 

I really recommend this pattern and am looking forward to future versions becoming part of my shirtdress wardrobe!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Expressing my love for the African wax print

Today I have a very colourful dress to show you.  This is my fourth African wax print dress and each time I wear the others I swear that I'm going another as they make me so happy.  I feel like they fit my style well as they are colourful without being novelty and I also love the great interactions I get with other people when I wear them.  People come up to me on the street or the hospital that I work in and talk to me about the prints which is awesome as Londoners tend not to do that often.

I used the Sew Over It Ultimate shift dress pattern.  I've made this pattern so many times but I'd never made the frilled shoulders before as I'm not a massive frill fan but I don't know what got into me and I just went for it and I'm really pleased as these frills I love. 

Despite making this pattern a lot of times, each time I do, I think that I need to lengthen it.  I think I forgot because several of them are winter versions that I wear with tights.  However, this is definitely a summer version and it feels like it should be a smidge longer.  However its been doing me well in this heat wave we've been having. 

And just because if there's ever a giant pink flamingo around you, you should definitely give it a cuddle, particularly if you're wearing a dress to match!


Friday, 13 July 2018

Starting to feel a bit put together

Today I have another double act for you, however this one worked out just as I planned. Another pair of Sew over it ultimate trousers and a Schnittchen patterns Coco jacket. The jacket was a new make for me and it was good to push myself out of my comfort zone. 

I’ve made at least 5 pairs of ultimate trousers and I love them but I don’t have a lot to say at this point about the construction. This pair were made in a textured cotton from Simply fabrics in Brixton. I spotted it on my last visit there and fell in love instantly, I had it made up into these trousers within days. 

Before I launch into a critique of my new jacket, I should say that it was always meant to be a wearable muslin and as that I think it’s pretty good. 

I’ve had this pattern in my stash for years! I won it as part of a monthly stitch competition at one point and never got round to making it. I’ve always had a cardigans and jackets gap in my wardrobe and really wanted a jacket in this style but it just felt like it was going to be too difficult. 

However I recently managed to psych myself up to just do it! I decided to use 2 fabrics from my stash that I wasn’t too precious about as a way to not get too uptight about how to make it perfect. I think I received the pattern before they had English instructions, either way there were no instructions with the pattern so I was reliant the tutorial on the blog.  Most of the construction was fairly straightforward but I struggled with attaching the lining around the back hem and it keeps rolling out of the sleeves (although this may be because of the outer fabric).  
I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern and made it up as instructed.  For the most part, it fits really well but the arms are too tight.  I'd seen other people on the blogosphere commenting on this but decided to give it a go, as drafted, for this wearable muslin.  I really like this jacket but it's unlikely to last me more than a season, the outer fabric is a cheap polyester, that I bought on Walthamstow market and used some of for the lining of this coat and the lining is a viscose from Minerva crafts that I bought on sale and then thought was a bit garish for a dress.

Despite the flaws, I love this outfit it makes me feel really put together.  I have worn the jacket with almost everything since it was finished and definitely need to make another one.  I've already bought some fabric, anyone want to take bets on how long it takes me to get around to actioning this?

Monday, 18 June 2018

When things don’t work out the way you planned

Todays makes were ‘made’ a couple of months ago but somehow took another couple to actually feel properly wearable and be photographed.  However, you're getting a bumper set of makes!  For this Sew crafty design team project I had a really clear vision of a Nettie dress in this gorgeous monochrome jersey with a mustard Coppelia cover up in this jersey. However, the even the best laid plans don’t always go as planned.  

First up is the Nettie dress. This pattern has got to be one of my most used patterns. I reckon this is at least version 10, I’ve made it, I’ve hacked it, it’s great. However, in some fabrics, I really need to go up a size in the hips/lower stomach as I could do with some more wiggle room. I’ve become a lot more self conscious about my stomach recently and sadly when I wore this dress during me Made May I just felt too uncomfortable. I knew I just wasn’t going to wear it after that and so started to think about what to do to rescue the fabric which I loved!  It really wasn’t the biggest leap to cut it shorter into a top.

This top works really well tucked into trousers or skirts and I’m glad I was able to rescue the fabric as I just love the print.  It’s also made me realise that the one version of the Nettie that I’ve never made is the body suit! One to go on the list! 

The coppelia cardigan has been on my to make list for the longest time. However, when I was making it up I really struggled with instructions. I’ve gotten so used to indie pattern instructions being super clear that I was really disappointed by these ones. At times they really had me scratching my head.  I've had so many people tell me recently that the instructions for papercut patterns are so good that I was starting to feel particularly dim, however, on reading through some more blog posts about this pattern, others seem to have struggled in the same areas. 
I made the cropped version but lengthened it a little as I have a long torso-turns out that was a mistake! I should have left it alone as it’s now slightly too long. I’m also really bothered by the seam line right in the middle of the ties. It feels like a sloppy design but I don’t know if I put it on incorrectly as I've been stalking other people's versions and they don't seem to have this issue, or if it's a design or instruction fail.  I feel like this join should be at the side and I'm trying to decide if I can bother taking it off and reattaching where I think it should be.  

I’m not sure what the fabric content of this jersey is as it’s not stated on the site but it’s really drapey and feels lovely. I’m not sure if it was the greatest choice for this top. It may be a little too drapey, it may have worked better in something with a bit more structure. I'm still undecided about this cardigan, I may make the adjustments and I may even make another to fully decide but at the moment it's not love!
 The sew crafty shop has recently started stocking all the rainbow colours of fold over elastic which got me a little bit excited as I could then make knickers out of the jersey scraps I've got knocking around!  I used the Jennifer Lauren Nixie pattern and they were so quick to knock up.  The fact that I have a matching pair for my new Nettie top gives me a geeky thrill! 
This was my first foray into underwear and it was a really nice one to get started with, some fancier bits and pieces may hit the blog at some point!  

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Time passes so much faster than you think!

It feels like today’s make should have happened so much earlier than it did. I love my first Sallie jumpsuit and wear it a lot and each time I wear it I think it’s time to make a new one and yet it’s taken me almost 3 years since my first one to make this one. However I’m glad I did. 
Each year I make myself a new birthday dress and I decided to mix it up this year with a birthday jumpsuit. The closet case files Sallie jumpsuit is a pattern that gets less airtime than some of Heather's other patterns which I think is a shame as it's such a lovely pattern.

I used this petrol blue viscose jersey that’s been in my stash for years. I think it came from fabricsforsale. I didn’t quite have enough of the fabric for the jumpsuit so the lining is pieced together from some other jersey scraps. It’s a party on the inside of this jumpsuit!  I've worn this jumpsuit in pretty solid rotation since I made it and the only negative point is that the fabric still leaks colour really badly, I have ruined a few other items by putting them in a washing cycle with it.

I made a couple of alterations to this version from the last one. Instead of using elastic to stabilise the neckline and shoulder seams, I just used strips of a woven fabric. The neckline on my first version stretch out a little and doesn’t sit completely flat. While using a woven to stabilise the neckline made it easier to get a flat neckline, there is no give to it while pulling it on which feels a bit wierd when the rest of the jumpsuit is so stretchy. The other alteration I made was to use a slightly wider elastic than recommended as I only had wider elastic in my stash and I wanted to get this done. It’s worked fine. Apart from that, I followed the instructions entirely.  I think I probably need to take it up a bit though as here I'm wearing it with heels and it's still pooling around my feet, the pattern is clearly designed for Amazons!

This is the ultimate secret pjs outfit. It looks pretty elegant but is so easy and comfy to wear.  Perfect for summer events! I may have taken this to the limit by essentially having a nap in it in the park!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Me Made May Days 17-31 and reflections

Me Made May is the sewing challenge I love the most but I'm always glad when it’s over. I get so sick of taking photos. I know Zoe explicitly states the photos are not obligatory but I love having that documentation for my records, but it gets old over a month! However, I think I only missed one day this year which is a personal best for me! This is was really thanks to my sister who took most of my photos (the good ones) and was good at pushing me to do it even when I didn’t feel like it.  I inevitably fell behind with my blogging though but if you're interested, sit back and prepare for one super long post.   

Day 17: My African wax print Sew Over It Vintage shirt dress.  This is my favourite dress so I'm surprised it took until this point in the month for me to wear it.

Day 18: Tulip Megan Neilsen circle skirt and black Mathilde blouse.  Again another outfit that I love.  

Day 19: Sew Over It Mia jeans and a Sew over it silk Cami in a liberty tana lawn.  The fit of this top is way off but I love the fabric so it continues to be worn, I like the shape of the top though so I need to do some work to get the pattern to fit better.  On the other hand, the jeans fit great but were made from a really cheap denim which is wearing poorly which makes me sad. 

Day 20: Sew over it ultimate trousers (I think my obsession with Sew Over It patterns is becoming super obvious by now!) and a hacked belladone top in a liberty tana lawn.  

Day 21: A By Hand London Charlotte skirt in a stretch cotton with a RTW top, another outfit I love.  It makes me happy when I feel like my wardrobe is rocking in the way that I want.


Day 23: 1960s jersey dress another dress that I love, I made this almost 2 years ago and it has been in consistent rotation since, I'm not sure how I haven't gotten round to making another one yet.

Day 24: Alex shirt dress.  I like this dress and wear it regularly but it doesn't entirely fit my usual aesthetic and so sometimes I struggle to work out how to wear it.  Luckily the warm weather meant no coordinating items were required.  

Day 25: I made this dress for my graduation in January. It’s the Sew over it 1940s wrap dress in a liberty wool. However the bodice sits funny, I don’t know if it’s the pattern or the fact that I made some alterations to it which I then tried to undo and I interfaced the collar with too stiff an interfacing. Whatever the reason I do not feel comfortable in this dress. I’m considering taking the bodice off and using the skirt as a stand alone wrap around skirt. I think that could be cute. 

Day 26: I wore my new Nettie dress seen on Day 13 but I didn't get a photo and I've decided that I don't feel comfortable in it and I'm going to refashion.

Day 28: Hacked lady skater dress.  This is an old one but still in regular rotation.

Day 29: top from vintage pattern and new ultimate trousers

I'm surprised as I document at how few of the clothes that I love and wear a lot, have not made it to the blog at other times.  I'm a bad blogger.  As I write these posts I think it's a shame that I don't do it more as I enjoy writing them but I really struggle to take pictures.  

This year, as quite often, wanted to use Me Made May to help me to think about how to achieve a cohesive wardrobe that works together and I feel matches my style. I feel like this year I have actually managed to achieve this, which is great. I’m not entirely sure why this was, it may be that actually this is not a process that I could do in a month and this month is actually just part of a journey I’ve been on for years. I’ve now been sewing for long enough to have a selection of clothes that I really like and I’ve been considering for a while how to balance my making desires with what goes with my wardrobe. This second part is really the thing I’ve struggled with the most and this year I was more ruthless and pulled out all of clothes and worked out what had matching items and what were the lone wolves in my wardrobe! Also realistically it helped that we had a crazily warm May so I didn’t need as many layers as normal as I’ve always struggled with cardigans and jackets that worked with the rest of my wardrobe. That’s still a problem for me but I’m pushing achieving some workable top layers to the top of my agenda, even if they’re not ones that I make. For me the process was about achieving a wardrobe I feel and look good in, not necessarily about making all of it. 

Thanks Zoe for hosting, it was great as ever. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Me Made May 18 days 9-16

This is the week where inevitably the standard of my photos start to slip!  Also as I was on holiday, doing some hiking, the limited glamour becomes even more limited!  On that upbeat note!  What have I worn this week?

Day 9: hacked lady skater maxi dress.  This was a fairly early make after I got into making my own clothes and there are so many flaws but yet it gets pulled out on a regular basis every summer, I love it!  It also never achieved it's own post, poor dress but just got entered into my round up of hacks to be made with the lady skater dress pattern.  The very unglamourous backdrop to this photo was Malaga airport because I was off on holiday!!!! Yay!!! 
Day 10:  We went hiking in the AndalucĂ­an mountains and I wore my Megan Neilsen flint shorts and the first true bias Sutton blouse that I made.  I made this a bit big so it's a bit oversized for my tastes normally but sometimes its good to have a t-shirt like this to pull out.  I really need to make some more Sutton blouses as I had another couple that I made in some lovely viscose but they frayed all the way through the French seams and are now unwearable-boo!

Day 11: All set for another days hiking in my very jazzy ultimate trousers and my mustard SoZo Dolores top.   At least they couldn't lose me up in the mountains.
Day 12: I wore the same as yesterday for the hiking part of the day and then had a much needed shower and change into a new Nettie dress for a night in Malaga.  This is my latest Sew crafty project so I will do a proper blog post about it soon. 
Day 13: I somehow managed to come down with a stinking cold, maybe it was all the exercise!  I wore my lady skater maxi again to wander around in the sun feeling sorry for myself.
Day 14: I wore my Sallie jumpsuit to brace the flight home with a cold!  It was so miserable to leave the sunshine and beach behind!
Day 15

I made it this far before forgetting to take a photo!  However, it was my first day back at work and I was ill so I think the rush to get into pyjamas at the end of the day (also me made) was understandable. I was wearing my ultimate trousers and an ultimate shift top. I’m not convinced by this top but since I was so miserable and full of the cold, I’m not sure that this is a fair judgement.

Day 16: Slipping standards!  I forgot until bedtime to take this photo so this was my best attempt with my selfie stick.  I was wearing a pair of flint trousers (I made these in an unidentified fabric from my stash which I'm not sure was meant for garments and I'm really concerned that they are not going to hold out all that much longer!), my liberty Mathilde and a new coppelia top (also a Sew Crafty project so see future blog post). 

What's lovely is I haven't struggled at all this May to find things that I've made that I wanted to wear and were appropriate for the occasion. This is really allowing me to consider style and shape preferences a lot more.