Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Vintage pattern pledge; where am I at?

Happy Sunny Tuesday.  The sun makes me very happy and so the current blue skies and temperatures in the 30s are making for a good Tuesday.  I hope you are all enjoying your days.  

So last year I signed up to make 4 Vintage patterns as my vintage pattern pledge.  I failed spectacularly and managed just one.  This year I also pledged to make four, so half way through 2015, I thought I'd take stock and see where I'm at.

I find this challenge really inspirational, the sewing community creates some really awesome stuff, I'm so pleased that Kerry and Marie are hosting it.  And clearly I am feeling more inspired/motivated than last year as I've already made 2 items from vintage patterns.

So what do I have planned?

Well these three beauties just fell into my lap (via PopsVintageBoutique, and they sent me a Thank you card with the order, how cute is that).  So I'm thinking that one of them might be a good choice for my next make.  I'm swooning slightly over the halter dress and as the British summer has finally decided to arrive its shot straight to the top of my sewing list. 

I also really like this 1980s shirt dress  that I have in my stash. I even have an African wax print in my stash that I think would be an ideal fabric match. The pattern's quite similar to the one Kerry recently made. Plus I really feel that another 1980s tie top, in a cotton, would be a good addition to my summer wardrobe, maybe with the omission of sleeves. 

If I manage even one or two of those before the end of summer I'll have completed my pledge even before I start planning my winter wardrobe, when I have plans for a coat! 

How are you getting on with your pledges? 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Blue Simplicity 1717

Happy Friday people.  I am so glad that this week is over and I am planning some fun for my weekend but first I have a skirt to show you.

I think I may have cut this skirt out during Me-Made-May 2014 and it sat in my UFO pile for a very long time while other shinier and more floral projects tempted me away. However Me-Made-May 2015 rammed home to me that I needed some well fitting and plain skirts.  Tasia's post on cake and frosting makes a lot of sense although to be honest, I don't feel like I have enough of either in my wardrobe.  However I know that in order for some items in my wardrobe to come together I do need some basics.  I've made this skirt before but for a friend, this time it was my turn.

I made it up in a blue linen from my stash (no idea where it originated from).  Linen always strikes me as a great summer fabric as its lovely and cool to wear. However, I forget it should really only be used/worn by people who are more acquainted with their iron than I am. I ironed this twice before taking these pictures and it still has creases!

The zip I used was too short and I can't get this on over my hips so the skirt now has to go on over my head. However, my grandma always used to tell me that a lady always puts dresses and skirts on over her head so I'm going to pretend I've suddenly just become super ladylike.

My final feelings are that it's a nice skirt however, I prefer my New Look 6873, made here and here, maybe I should get stitching on a summery version.  

Hope you guys all have a lovely weekend and happy sewing.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

A whole new outfit

I feel like this outfit (and the photos) characterize an inner struggle I have between; wanting to dress up in heels and formal clothes and floating round in maxi skirts with daisies in my hair.

I've been crushing on the Mathilde blouse from Tilly and the buttons for ever.  My lovely father bought the pattern for me for Christmas and then it sat in my stash for months and months! The pencil skirt is a pattern from Gertie's New book for better sewing.

Participating in Me-Made-May made me realise that I needed some decent (and neutral) separates. So I decided to make up the Mathilde blouse in a black cotton lawn that I bought at Simply Fabrics in Brixton. I have no recollection why I bought it but it was perfect for this purpose. I made up the pattern straight out of the pack, and cut out a size 4. Although black may not be the most obvious colour choice for summer, the cotton feels lovely and airy to wear (and anyway, there's still a real lack of sun here in London).  The buttons are some vintage black and gold ones that I had in my stash. 

Now ignoring all I just said about neutral pieces, we move on to the skirt!  I love a good pencil skirt and this one is strongly inspired by this one from Reiss. I loved it but was definitely not about to fork out the hefty price so out came the sewing machine. The fabric is this stretch cotton from the fabric godmother. It was more than I would usually spend per metre but I had a gift voucher. I actually bought 2m and managed to get this skirt out of 1 so I still have one left in my stash which is lovely as it was amazing to work with. 


My thoughts on the outfit: overall I love it but there are things that I would change about both items.  The blouse is cute and I really like the pintucks, I'll definitely wear it as is but I prefer things to be a bit more fitted at the waist, next time I'll probably grade a size down a size or even 2 at the waist.  I had some fit issues with the skirt, it started out too big overall and I took it in at the back waist darts and took loads off the sides, particularly at the bottom.  I still need to remove a little from round the waist but overall I'm happy with it.

I'm probably late to the party but I've just discovered The Monthly Stitch and their Indie Challenge month and as this is my first ever Tilly and the Buttons pattern or one of Gertie's patterns, I thought I'd join in the fun on their 'New to Me' week. Who else is joining in on the fun?

One last photo where the garden was fighting back!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Heart backed Belladone dress

It was my birthday at the weekend and I wanted a new dress to celebrate in.  This Belladone has been a concept in my head for a while now, I wear my first version all the time and really wanted another.  But a combination of the spring/summer colours and light, floaty fabrics that I was envisioning meant that I have put it off until now.  However, it was the perfect birthday dress, especially as the weather has finally got it's act together and finally temperatures have reached above freezing.

The gorgeous vintage stripey fabric was another reclaimed length of fabric from my granny's house and is made from something lovely.  It's obviously a natural fiber and I'm going to pray that it's a seriously high quality cotton lawn, because if its the silk/cotton blend I'm more convinced that it is, I'm not sure that the sewing gods will forgive me as I obviously shoved it in the washing machine before I started cutting it.  It survived fine though!  It's a really fine fabric though and as I didn't want to be wandering round in a see-through dress, I lined it.  The lining is a cotton sheet that I bought in a charity shop ages ago.  I had already used it as a Halloween costume so some creative pattern placement was needed to be able to avoid the head/arm holes and fake blood spatters!  I have no idea where the pink fabric I used for binding and the waistband came from but it was a perfect match so I'm seeing it as a stash win!

At work one of the nurses keeps commenting on how girly I am and I think I'm doing some reverse rebelling and its actually making me more girly!  This combination of floral and pink fabrics started to scream "hearts" at me and so I upped the girly factor by creating a heart back Belladone instead of the usual crossover back!

I followed the tutorial on the deer and doe blog for the heart back.  The tutorial was great and really straightforward but if I made it again I would slightly change the shape of the heart, I want a more pronounced point at the top.  I made some changes to the pattern; obviously the back, I added 3cm to bodice and graded up a size between the bust and waist.

Realistically the main fabric is too floaty for a Belladone but the crisp cotton sheet lining gives it an appropriate amount of body for the shape of the dress and I really love the final result, even if my boyfriend described me as looking "like Little Bo Peep!".  It was perfect for a sunny birthday in the park and garden, however, my back is clearly not used to being exposed to the sun as I now have a burnt heart shaped patch on my back!

Here are a couple of me holding court/being bossy on the day. The dress held up really well to rounders, copious Pimms drinking and food and I'm sure I was dancing in it at some point.

Birthdays are great!  This dress feels like a fitting entry for the Sew Sweetness Dress Up Party.  Anyone else entering?  Marie made a lovely Belladone for one of the Dress up Party reviews, so I feel like I'm in very good company.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Bank holiday trip to the Giants causeway

Before it gets too far away from the first May bank holiday I thought I'd write the post I've been promising. This post is very different to my usual ones so if you're just here for the sewing and have no interest in scenery or reading about me whitter on about Northern Ireland, look away now!

So as you may have seen in this Me-Made-May photo, I went home to Northern Ireland for the weekend.  This is only my boyfriend's second trip to Northern Ireland so we decided to do some site seeing with him and took him to the Giants Causeway.

The Giants causeway is on the north coast and is a UNESCO world heritage site. I want to say it's made from rocks but what I actually mean it is a rock formation. Lots of rock columns in hexagonal shapes:

So these rocks were formed when lava came up through the ocean (clearly not a geologist speaking here).  

This photo shows the column formation better

Lovely weekend trip with my father, sister and boyfriend :)  It was good to get a photo with all of us as really I'd just made them take photos of me!

The views are incredible and you can see lots of wildlife including seals, at least everyone apart from me saw a seal because I am legendarily terrible at spotting stuff! 

On a clear day you can see Scotland, that might be it in the background of this photo but I doubt it, this was not a very clear day.

My sister and I were really surprised by how many people were there and by a fancy new visitors centre. We haven't been in 5/6 years and last time we were there neither the crowds or the visitors centre were there. I guess it's a sign of how far Northern Ireland has come since the place it was when we were growing up. 

It was a really fun weekend and its nice to see these things through the eyes of others who haven't seen them before.  Anyone else done this, or are planning a trip to Northern Ireland? Tempted by a trip to the north coast?

MMM days 30-31 and reflections

So May is a wrap! Taking part in Me-Made-May has been a really helpful process for me although I do now have a long to sew list, and I'm not going to lie, it will be a relief not t have to think about taking photos.

What I wore the last couple of days:
Day 30
My Anna dress which I wore to a friend's wedding. It was a really lovely day and we all had so much fun but man was it windy!

Day 31
My plantain t-shirt. I was way too hungover to even think about taking a photo!

My reflections on my wardrobe:
I wear separates a lot, it feels like they're more appropriate for work and then I get to keep my dresses for fun stuff. This may also be because I feel much happier with my dresses and how I can style them.  I need to plan my wardrobe better, I don't own any bottoms that I like and that are appropriate for this time of year. I also find the colours and lengths of my tops are not compatible with my bottoms. At the age of 28 (I'll be 29 on Saturday) I should finally be able to work out how separates go together and own coordinating outfits-maybe this should be one of the things to do before I'm 30!

I need better cardigans/jumpers that work with my outfits and are an appropriate length to go with my dresses/skirts. Clearly I need another navy cardigan, my one RTW one got a lot more wear than I realised this month, this is probably reflective of how much I wear it at other times.  I'm planning on taking part in the OAL hosted by Andi and Lauren (although I'm not following the official patterns) so hopefully this will kick start my cardigan knitting.  

I have a lack of me-made lounge wear. Although I think I might quite like to make some pyjamas I don't really feel the need to create other lounge wear.

Thanks so much to Zoe for creating and hosting the challenge.  I really appreciate the focus me-made-may gives me on my wardrobe and how it makes me think about how I can make my wardrobe work better together and for my life.  I'm looking forward to next year already.