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!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Getting back to basics

There are times when making a basic can be so satisfying!  I had a metre of this gorgeous wool in my stash, which came from Simply fabrics in Brixton a year or two back.  I think I'd bought it for exactly this purpose but as any of us with a sizeable fabric stash know, buying the fabric happens much faster than sewing it up!

I used New Look 6873.  I've made view C a couple of times before, here and here and really wanted to try view B.

I love making patterns that I've made before because a) they come together much more quickly and b) its really easy to know the adjustments that need to be made.  I lengthened this pattern, by about 5cm and added a lining but other than that, I made it up as instructed.

The lining was made from some gold rayon scraps that I had in my stash.  You can see the threads that make up the dots from this side too.  I thought the wrong side was really cool and if I'd had more of the fabric I'd have been tempted to use the wrong side for something too.

The skirt and waistband are really not this wonky, I just couldn't get it to sit correctly on my mannequin.
I love the curved yoke on this skirt, it makes it sit so well on my body (although not on my mannequin).  However, trying to get photos where you can see how awesome the spots look was really difficult!

This is my entry for Rosie's sewdots challenge.  Go and check out the other makes and donate some money to this worthy cause!
I'm really happy with my new, perfect for twirling skirt!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Taking a circle skirt up a notch

Today's post is about a total basic, the circle skirt.  However, this one has been made super fabulous by the awesome fabric, which is so summery!  Plus I had a great backdrop and wonderful photographer taking these photos so it all worked out pretty perfectly.  

 This is the Megan Neilsen Veronika skirt pattern which I've used once before for my pleather skirt which is still a big winner in my wardrobe.

The fabric is a gorgeous stretch cotton with tulip print that I bought on Goldhawk road.  They had 5m left in the shop and my cousin and I split it.  I think we both may have made the same skirt so we'll have to be careful not to wear it at the same time as I'm not a fan of the whole matching outfit thing, to be honest I don't reckon she is either so at least we'll be on the same page.

Aside from hemming the skirt, which was as lengthy as circle skirts always are (also despite the above photo which makes the whole thing look lopsided, it is straight).  The whole thing came together quickly, its really just a few seams and an invisible zip. 

I love this skirt and this was the perfect backdrop as I also love London, even with construction stuff going on, which is lucky as it's also a feature of the London skyline!

These were taken by my lovely friend Dominika (thanks Dominika).  Fingers crossed for more lovely evenings like this with lovely clothes, lovely friends, lovely weather and lovely settings (and if my mother ever reads this sentence with this many lovely's in it, her head will explode!)
I'm entering this as one of the makes in Allie's Social Sew, this month's theme is 'hot, hot heat', come sew with us.  Happy summer all!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A pretty take on London transport

When I spotted this liberty fabric a few months ago in Simply fabrics in Brixton, I knew I had to have it.  It combines some of my favourite things in a fabric print; bikes, flowers and stylised London transport, how could I resist?  From the beginning I knew I was going to make another Mathilde blouse with it, it just took me a few months to get round to it.

Like my previous version I made a straight size 4, which fits fine, however maybe next time I make it I will narrow the neckline slightly as my bra straps are often on show with both versions.  I love the huge sleeves and really enjoy how they showcase this fabric.  I've worn this top a few times now and have got so many compliments on it, it's clearly one of my most popular makes.

I used some buttons from my stash which Kristi had sent me as part of a thrift swap we'd been partnered in a few years back.  They are a really unusual colour and they match some of the flowers on the fabric perfectly.

As I was making up this Mathilde, I realised how much progress I've made in my sewing skills in the last couple of years.  I remember struggling with some of the instructions last time and this time it was a doddle.  It also helped that I was making this on my new sewing machine!  The buttonholes, which my old machine struggled with, are a thing of beauty.  Sadly I couldn't get detailed enough shots of them, so you can't see but you can take my word for it.

I took these photos on a trip to Whitstable with my cousin this weekend and there were all these beach huts which made such a great backdrop for the photos.  We went for walks which gave us views like this:

We even managed to sneak in a little sewing related tourism.  I spotted this industrial Singer in a sewing machine shop on the high street:
And I bought these patterns and notions.  The dress came from a charity shop and the lingerie pattern and buttons came from a vintage shop.  The lingerie pattern is one I've been searching for on ebay/etsy etc for a while and it was in my size, it was very exciting! 

I'll leave you with this photo of the cutest houses ever.  I hope you all have a good week!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Lisbon photos and a couple of Anya bags

Last week my sister and I spent a few glorious days in Lisbon and I finally got round to taking some photos of the Anya bags that I'd made us.  Zoe sent me this pattern to review almost a year ago and although I've now made 4 versions, I haven't gotten around to writing up my thoughts about the pattern yet, sorry Zoe.

Since these are my third and fourth versions of this bag, its safe to say that I am a fan of this pattern.  It's a great stash buster and results in a cute bag which holds a surprising amount of stuff.

This photos was taken just before we left for the airport.  At this stage my bag was holding my passport, wallet (which is a beast), phone, bottle of water, kindle, ipad and bunch of house keys.  It's doing pretty well isn't it?

My sister chilling with our drinks in the 31 degree heat, coming back to the UK was a bit of a shock to the system. 

My version is made from a Cath Kidson upholstery weight fabric, with a polycotton lining and my sisters is made from scraps of the tulip stretch cotton left over from my circle skirt and it's lined with the pink waffle fabric I lined my 70s coat with.  While both work fine for summer bags, the upholstery fabric holds the pleats better and makes a greater feature of them.

I made a couple of small changes to to the pattern.  I shortened the straps slightly, the pattern calls for the straps to be 80cm each and I made them about 70cm as I wanted the bag to sit a bit higher so that it would be a bit more securely under my arm and the contents safely away from pickpockets.  Instead of a button for the tab I used some magnetic snap closures for an easier fastening.  With very few pattern pieces, the bag comes together in an hour or two and the instructions are really clear.  I reckon I've got another few of these in me, they'll make good Christmas gifts in some more wintery fabrics.

And now you get a few of my Lisbon photos, so look away now if other peoples holiday snaps bore you!  I would really recommend Lisbon as a city break for anyone who hasn't been, it's so pretty and has great food and wine.
 There are lots of gorgeous views across the river, this was such a perfect lunch spot.

 I spotted this sewing machine at the flea market, it would have made such a good souvenir but sadly I don't think I could have got it through the Ryanair luggage allowance!

 A bit of silliness at the Castle walls.

 There are all these gorgeous tiled building everywhere.  Why don't we have these?

 They have lots of cool graffiti everywhere, this cute fellow caught my eye and we made friends!

Thanks so much to my amazing little sister for helping me to have such a fun holiday and for bearing with all the photography I insisted on! I hope you're all having a great weekend. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A tale of 4 pairs of jeans

I love the refashioners series and despite not thinking I was going to get time to participate in this years event, I was still buying pairs of jeans any time I saw them cheap in a charity shop.  I really wanted a dungaree dress and when my flatmate moved in and brought her 2 versions for me to covet, my envy was tipped into action.  When I also found myself with some unexpected spare time I realised that I could also join in with everyone else on the refashioning fun.

So I started with these 3 pairs of jeans (as the title says, I originally had 4 but then I realised that one of the pairs that I had bought in a charity shop actually fitted me pretty well as they were so they went into my wardrobe!)  The pair on top were an old pair of mine that actually when I came to harvest fabric from them, I realised were too threadbare almost everywhere to use (it's embarrassing that I was still wearing these not all that long ago).  So I was left with the bottom 2 pairs which were each bought in different charity shops in Penge for a couple of quid each.  The dark pair were a large pair of men's jeans and the light ones were a size 8 women's pair (not a lot of fabric-grr!)

I had this Simplicity pinafore pattern from 1973 in my stash which I've been returning to and meaning to make over and over and finally there was a pattern and fabric match.  I used the bodice pieces but knew I wasn't going to have enough fabric from the jeans to use the skirt pieces.
Image result for simplicity 5862

I started by unpicking the back pockets on both pairs of jeans and I loved the designs that they left, particularly on the pale jeans and knew I wanted these to be used in the bodice to make a bit of a feature.  Ideally I would have stuck them front and centre but I didn't think the pocket boob look they gave would have been a good one.  I did get to use the actual pockets on the front which I think look cute and are practical.  

I always have to extend the bodice pieces of my 1970s patterns, I guess I'm taller/have a longer torso than your average 1970s woman.  However, I didn't do it this time and I really don't know why.  I guess I was focused on the refashioning part of my task and neglected to engage my usually sewing knowledge!  It's a shame because the shortness of the bodice is the one thing I don't love about this dungaree dress.  Having made the bodice, I simply created 2 panels of the denim with darker strips on the outside and lighter ones in the middle and then cut them to fit the bodice pieces and round me  and finally I hemmed it.

I think the dungaree dress with a stripey t-shirt is such a classic look.  I am wearing the dress with my newest Dolores t-shirt in these photos.

In the photo below you get a better view of all the top stitching that I did/redid on the straps, hem, around the pockets and waistband.

My sister took most of these photos on a recent trip to Lisbon.  I have a sneaking suspicion these may be the best photos you get for a while as the daylight in the UK is shortening rapidly.  I hope you all get a chance to get your refashioners projects finished in time.