Tuesday, 30 August 2016

There's nothing subtle about this

Hi folks, I hope you all had lovely bank holiday weekends and are not too blue at the return to work.  I spent a really lovely weekend with family in Wales and managed to persuade my sister to take some fun photos for this blog post.  A couple of months ago on a shopping trip to Walthamstow, I bought this royal blue and pink African wax print cotton.  I couldn't resist but as the colours were pretty vibrant I figured that it really could only be used as an item of summer clothing.

I've been wanting to make a sleeveless Vintage shirt dress since I made my sleeved version.  This fabric seemed like a good option for my next version.  From the last version I knew I needed to make certain alterations, I sized down in the bodice and lengthened it by 5cm.  I then took 5cm out of the skirt.  However, I seem to have lost more length in the skirt as this dress is considerably shorter than my last version!  I'm not quite sure how this happened.  I like it for this dress as it adds to the summery vibe but I must pay attention for the next version.

I used some plain black buttons that I had in my stash. I figured that I really needed to go as simple as possible with the buttons on this. Although I did sew them on with royal blue thread to match the dress! This is also one of those occasions where I should have paid attention to pattern placement as the slightly off placement of the circles on each side has slightly the effect of an optical illusion. As I don't have to spend much time looking at it, it's not a problem for my brain but if my friends start going cross eyed and throwing up around me, it may be a problem!

I watched the Great British Sewing Bee with a group of lovely ladies pulled together by Ana and Elena.  When international week happened, we all went a bit nuts for the fabulous dresses made from African wax fabric.  I'm so pleased to finally have my own version but there's no doubting you definitely stand out in fabric this vibrant.

I'm sure my aunt an uncle would have been delighted had they seen us taking these photos on their picnic table!  They also had a tree house which I happily climbed up!

Thanks so much to my lovely sister for taking the pictures and putting up with me as I danced round the garden in my dress and demanded that she take even more photos!  I really love this very summery dress which hopefully I can eek out a bit more wear from if the good weather holds but it will definitely form part of my holiday wardrobe for when I go to Lisbon in a few weeks.  

Sunday, 21 August 2016

I made a shirt!!!!

I'm really excited about the make I've got to show you today for multiple reasons.  Firstly, I made a shirt which feels pretty epic.  And ok, I know I'm about a million years after the rest of the sewing world but I really don't care.  Secondly this shirt allowed me to use multiple things from the darkest depths of my stash.  I bought the Grainline Archer pattern in a black Friday back in 2014 and then managed to ignore it for almost 2 years!  Also The fabric is one that I inherited from my Grandma's stash and has been lingering for a long time in my stash.

Now I'm going to put this out there right now, I know there is quite a lot wrong with this shirt however, it still isn't killing my euphoria at having successfully made a shirt. To start with it's huge!!! I made a size 10 and I feel like I'm drowning, I know it's meant to be oversized but this is ridiculous. Although I recently wore this to a sewing class (more on this when I'm done) and the teacher didn't think it was too big, so maybe I just don't like the oversized look, I prefer my clothes to be a bit more fitted.

I followed the online tutorials which I found really clear and such a good resource. My brain couldn't quite grasp the written instructions and the tutorials were so helpful. Actually as everyone in the sewing world has mentioned, the instructions/tutorials are so good that they take the difficulty out of the many steps to making a shirt.

I took my time over this shirt and it all came together like a breeze. Actually the only difficulty I had was in some of the top stitching but this is because my machine really doesn't like more than 2 layers of fabric. I'm hoping to upgrade my machine soon which hopefully will resolve this technical issue.

While it had taken me ages to put this fabric to use, I love how it works for this shirt.  I also love how it allowed me to play with the direction of the checks.  The pockets and yoke are cut out on the bias which gives it a fun contrast. Clearly I'm not the only one who enjoys playing with gingham, Karen's ginghamalong is here to inspire us all to play with gingham.  This is going to be my entry for her ginghamalong, however, it has also inspired me to go back to a gingham refashion that's been lingering in my UFO pile for at least a year, you can't beat a bit of gingham!

I'm excited to have another go at this pattern with some sizing alterations! I would also like to try a more fitted style shirt. One of the things I love about independent pattern designers is the confidence they can help us to build with a really well designed and explained pattern! Thanks to Grainline for helping me build a new skill set. 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Flashing my shoulders

It's really rare that I get on board with something as obviously on trend as the off the shoulder look and for a long time I was steadfastly ignoring it.  Particularly as lots of the tops have ruffles round the top and I'm a bit allergic to ruffles!  However, when this off the shoulder top popped up on my radar, it was love and the refashion lightbulb went off in my head.

And to create the look, I had the perfect shirt in my refashion pile. It was fate! 
This shirt was a seriously nice quality Ted Baker shirt and I had a momentary feeling of guilt as I cut into it. This was one refashion that really needed to work or the waste gods would smite me. *Spoiler alert* it did!

Obviously mine has shorter sleeves than the inspiration garment.  I figured that if it was warm enough for bare shoulders, this also meant short sleeves.

Red detail binding on the tie sleeves plus bonus glimpse of a friends bike (I really must take better care to take photos in an area free of random objects)

I really love this top which surprises me as I didn't think it would suit me at all!  If the UK weather was only a bit better, I make a few more but unfortunately this is really not an item I need too many of.  However, I'm happy with just this one great one.

For those of you who fancy jumping on board the off the shoulder trend, I've put together a mini tutorial. 

Cut off the top, using the back yoke as a cutting line. 
I was planning on using the front of the shirt as the back of my top and so I unpicked the pocket. Portia did a post as part of the refashioners series last year about getting rid of the holes when you unpick a pocket.  Next I cut a length of 1" wide elastic to fit around my shoulders where I wanted the top to sit. Just a tip, this needs to be quite snug, it's the only thing holding up the top.  I speak from experience, I had to unpick my top and tighten it, trust me that's an annoyance you don't want to have.   Finish the top edge in your preferred way. Then there are a couple of ways to do the next step; you could create a channel for the elastic and feed it through and then sew the ends of the elastic together.  Or do what I did which was to sew the elastic together and fold over the top edge of the top over the elastic and create the channel with the elastic in place.

One of the things I loved about my inspiration top was the sleeve detail.  To recreate these, I cut the sleeves into this kinda shape (I have no words for what this shape is):
The long thin bit is on the side of the sleeve furthest away from the body.

Slit down the middle, continuing to cut until your slit extends beyond the length of the other side of the sleeve.  This will give you nice long ties, maximising the decorative effect.

I got lucky with this shirt as it had some cute details like the contrasting yoke.  I made use of this by cutting it into binding to add detail to the sleeves.  
Sadly there was only enough to bind part of the sleeve but I made binding for the rest of the sleeve from other off-cuts from the shirt-maximising the refashioning!  However, you could use some other contrast binding if you felt like it.  Once the sleeve edges are bound, your shirt is pretty much done.

I tried the top on at this stage and I wanted it to be a bit less huge at the waist so I added some darts in the back but this is a matter of taste and personal preference.

Enjoy your new top!