Sunday, 8 January 2017

A winning winter dress

Last year I made a lady skater/Renfrew mash up and I loved it.  I wore it so much last winter that this year I knew that I wanted another one.  This one was made from a vibrant jersey that I picked up in Classic textiles on Goldhawk road.
Construction wise, this was really easy.  Basically you just cut the Renfrew off at the waist, taper so that it matches the skirt pieces for the lady skater and construct as normal. Sometimes you just need a lovely, easy to put together, jersey project to make all seem right in the world.

There are some patterns that just keep on giving and are so worth repeating.  The lady skater pattern is one of these for me.  For extra ideas you can see my hack post here.  This dress is so easy to dress up with tights and boots and I'm good to go for another winter.

These photos were taken on a walk when I was back in Ireland for Christmas and as well as photos of the dress, I got a couple of the views for your enjoyment.  We had wonderful weather this Christmas and it made leaving the house a lot more enjoyable.

Hmmm, this all feels like a very long time ago!  I hope your return to reality has not been too grim and that you're squeezing in some sewing.

Monday, 2 January 2017

2016 Round up and 2017 Goals

Happy New Year!!!  Inevitably at this point in the year we all start reflecting on what we've done over the last year and making plans for the next.  Quite honestly 2016 has been a bit grim overall but there have been some good moments; I turned 30 this year and had the most fun celebrating in a variety of ways, including an amazing surprise trip to Amsterdam with my sister and a really great party with family and friends, I have also done a lot of travelling this year which has been awesome.

Travel, family and friends.  What could be better?

This year has been a bit manic, work and life wise but despite that I've made a number of things that I've been really pleased with.
I've loved the clothes that I've made from my vintage patterns this year, including my coat and 1960s knit dress, I'll definitely be signing up to the #vintagepatternpledge again this year.  Making trousers like these ultimate trousers makes me feel like a boss, having well fitting trousers is one of the awesome things about sewing my own clothes.  I profited from my birthday celebrations this year by making 2 dresses which can be seen here and here, gotta love a good dress! Being able to use some amazing fabrics have contributed to my love of certain items, like my Liberty top and my shirt dress, I'm embracing my love of super bright fabrics again!  This year I also managed to finish a quilt, which despite being a fairly easy quilt, felt wonderful to complete. I haven't done as many refashions this year as I have on previous years but I've loved doing them and this off the shoulder top was one of my favourite makes.

This year is going to be full of some fairly big events.  Hopefully I'm finally going to complete my doctorate, go travelling and start a new job, all of which may get in the way of my sewing time. However there are still some sewing goals that I'd like to achieve.
I'd love to make some more dresses this year, particularly ones I can wear in winter as most of the ones I have made this year are summer dresses.  I really want to make a pair of well fitting jeans, I'm going to start with the Mia jeans as I've already got the pattern and I know the ultimate trousers fir me well so hopefully the Mia jeans will be as good.  I really need some more tops and am still searching for the ultimate top pattern, particularly woven patterns so hopefully there will be a few more tops in the next few months.  I'd love to try and make another coat this year, maybe another vintage one or perhaps I'll try one of the new ones that have been released in the last couple of years.  A number of friends and family members are having babies this year and I'd love to make a baby quilt for at least one of them.  Finally, I'd really like to take on (and actually complete) a knitted jumper this year.

Right I'm off to stare at my stats now and pretend that actually I'm not dreaming of my upcoming sewing projects!  I hope 2017 is a very happy year for you and full of much sewing.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Embracing the colour

Months ago I ordered this stretch cotton from SewCrafty with the express purpose of making a pair of Sew Over It, Ultimate trousers.  However, when the fabric arrived I got it into my head that I hadn't ordered enough (no idea why, as it was the perfect amount) so the fabric got relegated to my stash.

However, recently I pulled it out again and came to my senses!  I sewed it up really quickly into another pair of Ultimate trousers.  I don't really have a lot to say about this as I've made a number of other versions before here and here.  I love that I now have a pair of well fitting trousers that as an added bonus, come together really quickly.  

I really needed some more trousers for my wardrobe and while these are fun and fill a gap, the next pair should maybe be in neutral colour!  Although I think the next pair of trousers I make may be a pair of Mia jeans.  I've had loads of compliments on these when I've worn them though which is always a bit of a boost to my confidence.

 Most of these photos were taken by my flatmate in our extremely messy garden (thanks Grace) and she managed to catch one of me picking the only apple my little apple tree produced this year.

I hope you're all enjoying preparing for Christmas and I look forward to seeing the wonderful outfits that pop up on your blogs.  I'm off to finish some last minute Christmas presents.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

An unusual vintage make

I'm squeezing in another vintage make before the end of the year.  I've been really enjoying making clothes from vintage patterns this year and this is now my eighth vintage make of 2016.  I've far outstripped my pledge.

I bought the pattern in a charity shop earlier in the year and the price of 75p is still attached.  However, I've forgotten where I picked it up.  It's an unusual pattern, the Wikia entry tells me its from the early 1960s. This means that in addition to sewing up 8 of my vintage patterns, I have also covered three decades with these patterns.  This was my only pattern from the 60s, one was from the 80s and the rest were from my beloved 70s.

The pattern is meant for knit fabrics and is the oldest knit fabric pattern that I've ever seen.  However.I found some of the construction details a little odd, as it uses darts and facings and suggests a zipper closure in the back.  This maybe because I've previously only used more modern knit patterns.  I was wondering if it was because knit fabrics were relatively new back in the early 60s so the patterns were still adapting to the qualities of the fabric?  Let me know if you know better.

I used this cotton jersey from girl charlee and made up view B, with the fabulous cowl collar.  And I've only just realised that I've made up a very similar dress to the pattern art version, although I've got squares rather than flowers.  I mainly followed the instructions, although I omitted the zipper as the dress was roomy enough and had enough stretch to pull over my head.  There are no instructions about using zigzag stitches or adapting to the knit fabric in any way.  I don't know if this is because they assumed we knew to do this or because people didn't adapt to knits in the same way in the 1960s.  Anyway I treated it a bit like a woven, since I figured it wasn't going to be stretching much and so just used straight stitches.  I've worn this a lot since I made it and so far no stitches have popped out so hopefully this was an ok decision.

The dress is a little big on top, although it fits great on the bottom.  I guess that's the curse of one size patterns (and lazy people who avoid making adjustments where possible) but it's not too much of an issue and I quite like the slightly blousey effect when it's worn with a belt, which I always plan on doing as the total lack of waist is not a look I go for.
I love the collar on this dress. My favourite 70s patterns all have big collar details, maybe that's what drew me to this 1960s pattern.  I think this may be my favourite vintage pattern make of the year!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Time to curl up in the warm

Todays post is a bit of a funny one.  I have some lovely, snuggly new pyjamas to show you, however I also have a warning.  I'll kick off with the serious.  I was in a cycling accident a few days ago; a car hit my bike and sent me flying.  Now relatively speaking, I'm fine.  I have an impressive collection of swollen and bruised bits and some stitches to my face but I'll be better in a few days.  I was wearing a helmet so the damage to my head was minimised and my stitches are a result of my smashed glasses. However, the bike accident is too common an incident so my warning today is to both cyclists and drivers.  Cyclists, please do all you can to make yourself visible and WEAR A HELMET and drivers please be bike aware, we have just as much right to be on the road as you but are much more vulnerable.

Normally I'd make sure I was a bit more put together for these photos, even though they're photos of pyjamas but I decided to take these now, when I'm still a bit battered, just as a reminder to everyone to be careful.
Anyway in what might be the best timing ever, I finished a super snuggly pair of Sew Over It's Ultimate pyjamas a few days before my accident.  Just what was needed for several days lying around and recovering!
You're getting a very special preview of my Christmas pyjamas.  For the first year in a long time, I'm spending Christmas in Ireland again so snuggly pyjama bottoms with a Belfast t-shirt is very appropriate attire I think!

I bought the pattern as soon as it was released.  Sew Over It are killing it with their pattern releases, I never fail to want all of them and am finding my will power useless at resisting snapping them up instantly!  They sell it as a super easy and speedy sew and I can verify that this is so true.  In addition to this pair, I have also made a pair for my sister.

Now lets get real about this, pyjamas are never going to be the most flattering of garments.  Particularly as I fell between a small and medium and so I made up a medium and they are pretty roomy but they are so comfy.

I love the elastic waist with extra ribbon tie, usually patterns have one or the other.  I've been hunting for a good pyjama pattern, as the Carolyn pyjamas and a big 4 pattern I've tried just didn't quite hit the sweet spot.  However, this is it.  I used a brushed cotton that I've had in my stash for ages.  I bought it on Goldhawk road years ago, as part of some bargain bundle one of the shopkeepers convinced me into buying. This was it's perfect use, its so warm and cosy.

Anyway I'm off to have another nap in my new pyjamas.  Happy sewing people.

Monday, 28 November 2016

All the sparkliness

This dress was a combo of random events! In a post-assignment high I started searching sparkly fabrics to reward myself.  Some people buy jewellery or shoes, I bought fabric!  Specifically gold sparkly, sequin fabric from Guthrie and Ghani, its out of stock but they still have silver.  To be honest I wanted the midnight blue sparkles but they were sold out and in my post assignment frenzy I needed something.  I may need to go away and thing about any addiction like symptoms I'm showing here but maybe after I go dance in sequins at our Christmas party!

I knew I needed a simple pattern without many stitching lines, to avoid the number of points I would be feeding sequins through my sewing machine.  I settled on the Ultimate shift dress pattern from Sew Over It.  

Making up the dress was actually relatively simple.  I was prepared for my machine to baulk at sewing through the sequins but it really didn't.  However as soon as you touch this fabric, to either cut or sew it, it sheds sequins EVERYWHERE!  My flatmate and I are now resigned to finding them everywhere for the rest of our lives!  I lined the dress in black peachskin which I've had in my stash for a few years, hopefully this will prevent the sequins jabbing me too much.

This is actually the first time that I've managed to make a Christmas dress, usually things get too crazy and I run out of time but this year is a win!  Time to go dancing and sing loudly to Christmas songs!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Brr its cold outside

After a warm and beautiful October, November arrived with a COLD bang so I was really pleased that I'd finished this make.  I've had no time to sew recently which has been a bit sad but I did manage to knit up this scarf, partly because knitting is portable and partly because this wool is so chunky that you get a finished make pretty fast.  
I'm not sure why I look quite so exhausted in this photo, apparently having my photo taken is extremely tiring!

This scarf is a fairly basic make.  I used Debbie Bliss Paloma yarn in ecru which I bought from Karelia House and just followed instructions for a honeycomb cable and kept knitting until I was pleased with the length (very scientific!)  I used about 4 skeins for this scarf.
This is the second of these scarves that I've made.  I made an identical one last year and the first time I wore it, I left it on a train!  This was devastating on so many levels.  We don't count the cost of our own labour often in handmade items but a year ago when I was a much less confident knitter, this represented a lot of work for me.  Labour aside, this wool is also not cheap and so I had essentially just dropped about 30 quid on a train!  However, on the approach to winter this year, I knew I still wanted a lovely, warm and snuggly scarf, so I just needed to let the last one go and start again!

I'm so pleased with my lovely warm scarf and I'm determined to be more careful for this one!  Bring it on winter, I'm ready for you!