Saturday, 4 March 2017

Sometimes you just need to geek out

I was so honoured to be asked to be part of the SewCrafty design team and when browsing their selection of fabrics a few of them jumped out at me.  It was so hard to select what I wanted to make first.  In the end my first order looked like this:

The dark fabric is for a slightly more complicated make that will feature soon but when I spotted the sewing machine fabric and tape measure ribbon, I knew that they had to be paired in some way.  Although I love bright colours and patterns, novelty clothing is a step too far even for me so this pairing was made into a pair of pyjama bottoms.

I'm a little bit obsessed with the Ultimate pyjama pattern from Sew Over It.  I made about 5 pairs before Christmas (mainly as gifts) and decided to bust it out again for this fabric.  As I've made so many of these, I know that I can squeeze them into a meter and a half, so this was the amount that I ordered.  However, clearly I haven't made these in a metre and a half of directional fabric as I struggle to fit these on and in the end just had to ignore the grainline, but realistically they are pyjamas, who is going to know (apart from you guys) or care!
I love the combo of this fabric and ribbon (although it was surprisingly difficult to photograph) but I'm very aware that this is probably the geekiest thing that I've ever made!  I'm struggling to care though and these pyjamas have been in heavy rotation since I finished them.  I whipped up a Sewaholic Renfrew, minus the hem band, as a coordinating top.  The fabric for the top has been in my stash for ages and I now have no idea where it came from.

For Christmas I made some of these pj bottoms, with matching eye masks and lingerie bags for my sister and some friends.  They were really pleased with them and if I say so myself, they were pretty cute sets.  A little inspiration for you, if you're looking for some lovely and speedy gift ideas.  They can be luxurious in a silk or satin or fun in a printed cotton like these pjs.  When I've made eye masks, I've used this pattern and tutorial from Tilly and the buttons.
Thanks so much to Sew Crafty for the fabric and I can't wait to show off my next make.  See you soon.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Making vintage

I've loved taking part in the vintage pattern pledge the last couple of years and last year I was particularly prolific with my vintage makes. I made 6 patterns from the 1970s, 1 from the 1960s and 1 from the 1980s.

The challenge isn't running this year and I thought about making my own pledge anyway, however, apart from 'make vintage patterns because you love them', I couldn't think of a specific pledge.  So this vague, 'make vintage' mission statement is going to be my pledge for this year.

 A few weeks ago I pulled this selection of patterns from my stash as some of the patterns I'd like to have a go at this year.  However, I'm clearly fickle and almost as soon as I'd put the selection together, I remembered this pattern and decided to have a go at it, instead of one of this carefully curated collection!
This pattern is from 1989, so despite not being as old as I am it still counts as vintage-I'm not sure I can cope with this concept if I think about it for too long, so moving swiftly on...  Despite being Vintage, this style of top feels pretty on trend as its one that I see everywhere at the moment.

It's a pretty simple design and construction was so easy.  Although, basically its constructed like a woven, including no instructions for a knit interfacing.  While the pattern is meant for stable knits, I do find this a bit confusing, particularly as the pattern is really not that old.

Apparently I'm incapable of standing like a normal person, my flatmate yelled at me to stop my feet being at crazy angles and there isn't a single photo where my shoulders are level.  Damn! That's my career as a model down the tube then.

I used a ponte that I'd bought from classic textiles on Goldhawk road, and while they have some lovely fabrics, this was not one of them.  Once I finished making it, I ironed it and actually managed to melt a bit of it and while I love the polka dots, the fabric doesn't have the cosy feel I'd like from a sweater. While it's fitting a gap in my wardrobe at the moment, this may end up being a wearable muslin.
The sleeves feel pretty big and I'm trying to decide whether to trim them down a bit.  I feel a bit like I could fly with the way that they are at the moment but a) I'm lazy and b) I've had lots of complements on the top as it is.  Anyway, I'm off to ponder that and make a start on my next project.  Have a good week everyone.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Francine jacket and class

So today I have what I think is a pretty epic make but has been a seriously long time in the finishing! Back, last summer, I signed up to take the Sew Over It, Francine jacket class and it's taken me until now to finally finish up the jacket and blog about it!  Plus you get some bonus pictures from my recent trip to Paris.
 Classic tourist shot!

I've taken a couple of classes at Sew Over It, both with Julie as the teacher and while they're not cheap,  definitely think they're worth it.  The fitting advice that Julie provides is invaluable and I love that they have toiles of all the makes so you can get an idea of fit and size, without having to make up your own toile, which I'm always too lazy to do.

I made my jacket from this cream wool which came from my mum's stash and is actually older than I am.  Before the class, I went shopping for a suitable fabric on Goldhawk road and from a red herringbone.  As I have zero will power, I also bought a bunch of other fabrics at the same time.  When I got home, I was a good sewist and stuck my purchases in the washing machine to prewash.  About half way through the cycle, I realised that I'd put the wool in with the other fabrics-mega oops!  The fabric had shrunk in size and was completely unusable for the jacket.  Luckily my mum could come to my rescue (and actually I like this wool better than the original).  The lining is made from a really gorgeous mint silk that I got from simply fabrics in Brixton. I'm really kicking myself that I didn't buy more. I would love a top made from this, although since I'm still in my (eternal) search for a top pattern that I like/works for me, I wouldn't actually have been able to make it up yet. It was a slippery bugger though, and since I'd love to have some more silk items in my wardrobe, I should brush up on my silk techniques because it really does deserve skill and attention.

While the class was great, it was pretty intense and knackering learning all the new tailoring techniques.  Plus there is a lot of hand sewing/tacking involved in making a jacket which is really not my favourite thing to do when making clothes (although weirdly I like it at other times). It was also held over 3 of the warmest weeks in London and none of us in the class wanted to be trying on our jackets during the classes as we were already melting.  August is obviously the logical time to be making a wool jacket!
One of the reasons, I took quite so long to finish this jacket was that Julie told us about the amazing service provided by DM buttons in Soho and I wanted to go and have my buttonholes professionally done.  As they are only open 7-3 on weekdays, and I work 9-5 in a totally different area of London, this was tricky to achieve.  However, I finally made it and was able to finish off the jacket with these vintage black and gold buttons from my stash.

I'm really pleased that I finally got round to finishing the jacket and can now wear it for the rest of our miserable winter.  It kept me nice and toasty for a wander around Paris and little trip to Marche St Pierre.  My long suffering sister took blog photos and then entertained herself by taking pictures of me touching all the fabric!

Personally I think I was fairly restrained, I came away with these 4 fabrics; a couple of gorgeous jerseys, a giraffe quilting cotton for a baby quilt that I'm making and a length of silk to try some of these careful silk techniques that I was talking about.

Anyway, I'm off to dream about what to make with them, while simultaneously trying to write my thesis!  Have a lovely week all! 

Monday, 30 January 2017

Planning from the deep stash

I'm a member of the sewalongs and sewing contest group on facebook, and this quarter's theme is deep stash patterns.  As my pattern stash is getting out of control, this was an awesome theme for me.  My plan currently looks like this:

From left to right; Mia jeans, Ondee sweater, Various vintage patterns, I have plans for view 2 and 3 of Simplicity 5359, Vintage shirt dress, Anderson blouse, Brume skirt.  Most of these I've never made before and I'm looking forward to trying them out.  When I first started sewing, I didn't understand how other sewists had so many patterns that they'd never used in their stash.  Turns out the longer you sew and the more invested that you become in this hobby, the easier it is to just accumulate things!

However, since I have minimal follow through on my planned lists, I'm not convinced that my final makes will look anything like this.  The coppelia cardigan, opal shirt and multiple other patterns are also on my 'to make list' and may be subbed in.  In fact, this top pattern is currently obsessing me and I bought the perfect fabrics on a recent trip to Paris so my 'plan' really is incredibly fluid!

However, I can guarantee that the Vintage shirt dress will definitely be entered as it is finished already!  I bought a length of African wax print in December, with the main purpose of making my sister some ultimate pjs (and other bits and pieces).  However, since the fabric was awesome and I had quite a lot of the 5.5m length left, I made myself a vintage shirt dress.

This pattern was a Christmas gift last year and so far this is my third version.  It's swiftly becoming one of my favourite patterns and I love this version! As my second version was also in an African wax fabric, clearly I feel like the African wax prints and this pattern are a perfect match (watch this space for more, although since I don't currently have any in my stash so this would involve a shopping trip).  The African wax cotton is a bit similar to quilting cotton, although it's a bit drapier and is really easy to work with.  When I first started sewing, I would predominantly have bought this kind of fabric and slowly moved away from them.  Partly due to wanting to sew a greater range of garments and use different techniques.  However, I'm starting to feel a real lack of this kind of fabric in my stash and actually investing in some more.  Maybe it is time for that shopping trip.  However, just a word of warning, one of the big issues with a shopping trip for African wax print is that it is sold in 5.5m lengths and while it is not always essential to buy that much, your incoming totals can mount up quickly.

I did not have 8 suitable buttons in my stash so it did involve a trip to the haberdashery (which is always fraught with peril as there is just so much temptation to try to resist).  However, I was good and just bought these buttons which have a subtle circle design on them, to echo but not clash with the print on the fabric.
This dress makes me really happy, it's smart enough to wear for work but also bright and patterned enough to give a little boost to my day.   I hope you all have colour or sewing or something to make you happy for the rest of the week.

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.