Sunday, 13 July 2014

Stash busting half way

Ok so it's half way through the year. How have I done compared to what I had planned? I have sewn 56 metres but still have about 80 metres. This isn't all of it. There is more in the loft! I have continued to buy fabric. But now I really want to focus on simplifying my life in lots of ways, which includes stash, as all the things I want to do, just don't add up time wise. I don't feel like making complicated things at the moment. 

So here is another Coco, with short sleeves. I love it, but know I am too old to wear batman teeshirts in public.  

So my new Coco is to be worn when exercising. It's been trialled this morning at 7am when I went for an eight mile ride in the sunshine. I am going to cut out another Coco today. You never know I might take part in one week one pattern that Handmade Jane is organising in September! 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Sewing Bee Sew Your Own Wardrobe - full skirted dress

I have had this beautiful fabric in my stash for about nine months, awaiting a special occasion to sew it up.

 Now I have one, a friends special birthday celebration in London.  I had thought about buying this pattern from  but, I would never make the tulip skirt.

I got the latest Sewing Bee book "Sew your own wardrobe" for my birthday.  It included a  princess seamed bodice, which I liked  especially when it said the waist seam in the dress lies above the natural waist because that is the more forgiving to most of our figures, and is definitely more flattering for me.  I think you need to be a reasonable seamstress/sewer/sewist to use this book. It's things like - on the pattern layout, the back bodice and front side bodice are labelled the wrong way round.  On the actual pattern, it doesn't tell you that you need to cut the front bodice on the fold. The biggest mistake, is that the notches are in the wrong place for matching up the princess seams. In the picture below there is no way the two notches can match up!  I matched the second notch with the point marked waist seam on the pattern.  I would still recommend basting the princess seams before you sew them for real. I ended up unpicking little tucks on both sets of basting - a princess seam requires some careful stretching!

Anyway,  I made two muslins of the bodice, involving adding two inches to the length and moving the back dart down by two inches and increasing the armscythe. I like princess seams because I find it easier to allow for your own figure. For example I need to do a shallow chest adjustment , because I always seem to have a bit of extra fabric on my upper chest. With the Princess seam, I just needed to pinch out a small darts worth out of the top of each seam, and nothing else.

I am making the sleeveless version, the book uses facings. I have self lined instead  so used the Elisalex sew along instructions here which are fantastic! I  made the full skirted version of the dress.  I have stabilised the neckline and waistline and lined the skirt , and am  really pleased with the final result, especially considering this is the first time I have used a pattern out of a book and the problems with it. One little niggle, I ended up with a lump of fabric above the waistline on both side seams, which required unpicking and jiggery pokery. I think it is due to how the skirt waist is cut, I will have to compare it to other circular skirt patterns.  I still don't feel I have a dress pattern which is perfect for me, which I can keep repeating yet. I guess I just need to keep trying!

I handpicked the zip according to Sewaholics instructions here, and also followed her instructions for attaching a waist stay.  The zip was one I bought at a vintage fair. Here is the inserted zip, both inside and out. I am really pleased with the way it looks.

  I also lined the skirt part, and trimmed the underskirt with lace I bought from another vintage fair - so hooray I am using things that I bought just because I liked them, but I am managing to find a purpose for them.
 Here is the dress hanging up.

And here is the dress on me at the party!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Belcarra sewalong

I love this Belcarra top, and can see me making lots more. I liked it the minute I saw it  revealed on the Sewaholic blog. It's a feminine shape and comfortable to wear. I want to try a knitted fabric next. 
The fabric was £2 from a charity shop, a lime eyelet or broderie anglais as we used to call it when I was a lass!

I underlined the front and back with some fine cotton voile, free  from a vintage fair (because I had bought other fabric), so I only had to buy some thread. 
A photo of the pinned cuffs - just trying to take photos as I sew.  I wasn't sure about the cuffs, but they add a lovely finishing touch.
Conclusion - a wardrobe staple, pretty and practical!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Me made May the end!

Just a little summary for the end of May.

Most worn patterns 

I wore clothes made from these 6 patterns on 22 out of 31 days, so 2/3rds of the time.  The ballet dress is the clear winner, and I think will continue to be. The main lesson learned is don't buy patterns unless you are going to make them up straight away, with all these patterns I did exactly that. 

Colette Jasmine blouses  4
Colette Violet blouses 2
Tilly's Coco top 4
Deer and Doe Airelle blouses 3
Dixie DIY ballet dress 5
Vogue pattern 2238 4

Guess what?!!  I haven't bought any fabric or patterns this month, which is a first for this year, despite trying to bust my stash! I have made 3 tops (plus one wadder) and one dress (still to be blogged).  I am not sure I will continue blogging after this year, but I would like to do Me Made  May in 2015,  and hopefully have made some trousers and skirts by then, so I can have more   total outfits that are made by me.  

 26th May - another Dixie DIY ballet dress - the fabric is quite a thick interlock, but the pattern is very summery, so I think I might shorten the sleeves. It was actually a very hot day when I wore this - amazing for a bank holiday monday!
 27th May a day at home - my  teal Coco and jeans

 28th May my New Look top again

29th May - work and my ballet dress again!

 30th of May - Dress down friday - my new Liberty afternoon top.  The liberty fabric was a joy to sew with, purchased from the lovely Susan at Sewbox. I got the idea for the 3 buttons from Roobeedoo 

31st of May a Colette Violet with vintage french buttons.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Me made May week four dissatisfaction and resolutions!

Day 19 - New Look pattern. I wore it to work as it was still hot,  and "spotted" at least 2 other people wearing navy and white polka dot dresses - one was sat opposite me and one was our director. Although every dress was different, it felt a bit wierd!  I tried not to  make this stupid face at work, but it's boring thinking of new poses. 

Day 20 Coco number three, worn to work with trousers then     jeans in the evening.

Day 21 starting to get a few repeats - so my Dixie DIY ballet dress again - but it's so comfortable and appropriate for a range of occasions 
Day 22 Colette Jasmine again 
Day 23 another different version of this pattern again! Probably the most flattering version. 

Day 24 my swirly top with jeans 

Day 25 Deer and Doe Airelle with jeans

Lessons learned
1. I am starting to miss my shop bought tops
2. I really really need more bottom halves
3. I don't like that swirly top - I know I am box/apple shaped - but it's not in the least bit flattering. I don't think I will wear it again. 
4. I think I will narrow down my sewing to a few silhouettes - empire line mainly, a few colours ie blues and fabrics - ponte roma, good quality knits and drapey cottons and viscose. 

Still no fabric or patterns bought, but I did buy a pair of sandals and a pair of shoes. The shoes I bought  are cherry red which are now no longer on the Clarks website. I needed sensible sandals, but just loved those big buckles, so I still need to find some very sensible sandals that aren't too boring and I can walk miles in.   

So last five days of May - will I complete the challenge, and can I stick to not buying any fabric or patterns?

Monday, 19 May 2014

Me made May week three

Day 12 Vogue  dress pattern again 
                       Day 13 Dixie DIY Ballet dress
Day 14 Another colette Jasmine 
Day 15 Colette Violet blouse
Day 16 New Look blouse 

Day 17 Simplicity 2444 bodice with emery skirt. and Brigitte scarf.

Day 18  My tape measure dress, because it was still lovely and hot - I laid on a sun lounger sipping a glass of wine ( in between cooking for 14 people, but that's another story!)

Lessons learned

1. I need to buy or make some skirts and trousers for work.  I don't like buying or making separates for my bottom half - but the situation has got ridiculous and I really need more than one pair of trousers for work and no skirts!
2. I like my violet blouses better than my jasmine blouses, I have always thought that this was the other way round. I have found that I am always tugging the collar and sleeves down.
3. Documenting my me made clothes just makes me want to sit down and sew up all my remaining stash, so I have more to wear and can look at more fabric!
4. I haven't bought any fabric or patterns this month - do you think I can keep it up until the end of the month??

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Coco one two and three!

Coco number one - very big polka dots!

Coco number two, very small polka dots

Coco number three no polka dots!

This fabric was from my haul in Leicester market. Its very stretchy but resilient, with a criss cross pattern in the fabric. The basic garment took no time at all. But then I shortened the sleeves, shortened the body and cut off the slits. I also made a pocket, double layered no less.

I had intended to put a large button on the pocket, but when I tried it on, the pocket just looked wrong... 

I wanted to use these lovely vintage buttons. 

I sewed two to each shoulder - but they looked wrong too!  Anyway I am happy with where I placed them. Maybe I should have made a fake placket....  Anyway I am coco'ed out for now. I am sure I will make more, I can see me wearing this style of top forever, but not just yet. 

 I want to have a go with a few of the patterns in Love at first stitch, maybe the pyjamas, Megan dress and Mimi blouse, but it will probably be the autumn before I get chance to do so. There are a couple of dresses I must get cracking on with.