Sunday, 27 September 2015

I'm lost without you...

Last weekend tragedy poor singer sewing machine broke! I was felling very proud of myself as I was sewing a UFO which I wasn't particularly enjoying making when my tread take up snapped. It appears that a very long screw has been coming loose for a long time and had finally come out far enough to obstruct the thread take up. After staying calm and hoping that perhaps a spare part existed...I have had to accept that I need a new one!
This has led me to trawl the internet high a low for a possible machine! Before my singer I used to sew on my mums Janome, which must have been around for about twenty years, so I'm leaning towards a Janome. The Janome CXL301 seems to be very popular.
Does anyone have any thoughts on it? What do you sew on? Any recommendations for my next machine?

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

I was a very lucky lady a few weeks ago and was treated to an overlocker for my birthday! Not wanting to waste any time I quickly delved into my jersey stash and bought the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress PDF. I prefer PDF patterns, they seem to take me less time than tracing paper patters.
Now I have two machines I definitely need a sewing room, right?!
I bought the jersey from the man outside Sainburys at Walthamstow. It was the end of the fabric, so I didn't actually have enough fabric to make it true to the pattern, so you'll see I have made a few alterations! I absolutely love the swam print! I think that I had just under a metre and a half. Sewing on the overlocker felt quite scary to begin with, knowing that mistakes weren't so easy to rectify gave me an uneasy feeling at the start! However, I absolutely love it, especially as the zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine is so pathetic.
I made a size 8 and didn't make any alterations, I think that if I made it again, I would make the back smaller as it does gape slightly when I relax my shoulders. I had to make the sleeves three quarter length as I didn't have enough fabric for full sleeves. I also only had enough fabric for one tie! I thought about buying a piece of plain black jersey for the ties, but I decided to go for ribbon instead. I actually really like the result! Jersey ties have a tendency to stretch when you wear them, where as the ribbon feels more secure.
I am really pleased with the dress, and I love the fabric. However, like many wrap dresses, I find it hard to wear. Despite the facing being top stitched and being very fiercely pressed it still constantly seems to roll to the front of the dress, which is frustrating. I also seem to live in fear that it's going to gape at the front. Any suggestions as to how to stop either of these problems would be fantastic!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

My dear, dear, Deer and Doe

I came across a beautiful piece of Liberty Tana Lawn Pauly Parrot whilst trawling on ebay. It was a steal at £10 a metre. I thought that it would be the perfect match for the Deer and Doe Datura. The Datura is a loose fitting blouse with a buttoned lower back. There are two options, either a triangular cut out neckline or a Peter Pan collar. I choose the Peter Pan collar!
I'm pleased with the outcome of the top. It's very comfortable and easy to wear. I think that if I team it with a cardigan I'll just about get away with wearing it in the winter too.
The instructions were very clear and easy to follow. I made a 10 in the top, which is slightly larger that I would usually make but I'm happy with the fit. Whilst sewing the only difficulties I had were joining the sleeves together at the top, which took me a couple of attempts to get a good finish. The top is lined which makes it beautiful both inside and out. Deer and Doe recommended finishing the hem with bias binding, which gave the curved hem a truly stunning finish. I used faux pearl buttons at the back, which I think look really delicate and suit the fabric well.
I ended up cutting the Peter Pan collar three times to pattern match it to the top! But, I'm pleased with how it looks and think that it was worth the effort.
The third member of my little family, Ruby the schnauzer, was feeling rather playful whilst we were taking pictures and I couldn't resist introducing her to you!
Happy sewing everybody!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Francoise in scuba cat

What can I say, if a piece of fabric has a cat design, I rarely leave without it! I bought this fabric from Walthamstow for £5 a metre. I had a lot of reservations about it as it's scuba, which I haven't sewn with before so it's been in the stash for a while. I decided to make Tilly and the Buttons Francoise dress as this pattern needs fabric which can hold its shape, which scuba is perfect for. This is a lovely pattern which has French darts and raglan sleeves, which creates a really pretty neckline. There are also lots of options including sleeves, a collar and a front placket. I had some concerns before sewing, thinking that the dress could possibly turn a little 90s teenage angst. But I am absolutely in love with it (even though it is a tad 90s teenage angst)!
I couldn't help but style it with the classic 90s shoe, Dr Martens!
Sadly, I didn't notice when I bought the fabric that it does have some flaws in, however they are small and I'm hoping that they don't really notice to anyone else!
The pattern was a dream to sew with. As ever, Tillys instructions were clear and easy to follow. I made the dress in a size two and didn't need to make any alterations at all to the dress. I decided not to include the placket at the front of the dress, as I thought that the pattern was too busy for this to work and I'm happy with my decision. I will definitely be making a long sleeved version for the impending winter months!
I just couldn't resist a picture with Belle in my cat dress! What are your sewing plans for the weekend?

Saturday, 5 September 2015

A Simple Simplicity 1252

I think that it's safe to say that this isn't a pattern which would catch your eye from the pictures alone. However, the end product is one which I frequently choose from my wardrobe.
During a visit to Walthamstow I purchased one metre of a rather beautiful ditsy floral needlecord for £4 a metre. It was some what sadly buried at the bottom of a pile cottons and I almost passed it by. Having recently invested in some Liberty needlecord I have to say that I wouldn't be surprised if this was indeed a Liberty fabric. By the time I was on the train I had decided that I wanted it to be a pinafore dress, which led me straight to Simplicity 1252!
This is an incredibly simple pattern to make. The dress is made from only two pattern pieces. It has three darts, two at the bust and one at the front down the middle of the dress. Because of this middle dart the dress is more suited to a either a plain fabric, or one with a small print. The only alteration I made to the dress was to shorten the length which I used an RTW dress for. I made the dress in a size 8 and comfortably cut it out of one metre (there is even some left for a collar perhaps). There is an option to add a belt to the back of the dress. I decided not to do this as I loved the simplicity of the dress by itself.
This dress was not only a delight to sew but is also is a dream to wear, it's incredibly comfortable and doesn't feel restrictive at all. In fact I wore it on one of my first days at my new job! Have you found any pattern gems which might not appeal at first?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Last Summer Sew...Simplicity 1887

I have decided that this is my last summer sew and that it's time to move the cotton lawn to the bottom of the stash pile and the wool to the top. I can't really count these trousers as a success but I also like them too much to count them as a failure. So I'm going to sit on the fence and call them a wearable toile. I love light comfortable trousers in the summer and that it exactly what they are. The pattern is very versatile and can be a pair of shorts, two skirts and three pairs of trousers so there are plenty of options to take your fancy! I decided to make trouser A but with a tie as I like tucking tops into high-waisted trousers and skirts and thought that this could be an interesting detail. The fabric, which I bought at Walthamstow market, was an absolute steal at £3 a metre. It was the end of the bolt, but I managed to squeeze the trousers on, with just the inside of the front waistband panel being made in a plain dark pink cotton.
Understandably for trousers I made a lot of alterations. Before cutting, I lengthened the trousers. After making I also drastically took them in from the pockets down to the heels as they were quite large on the leg, about an inch each side at the widest point, which also allowed for me to taper them a bit more at the ankles. As you can see from the pictures they aren't quite sitting high enough on my waist. I have only used a tiny seam to join the waistband to the trousers in order to get as much length possible but it still isn't quite enough. When I make my next pair, I will definitely add an inch and a half onto the top of the trousers so they sit correctly.
I love the pockets on these trousers, which were easy to insert and had very clear instructions. I am also pleased with the decision to keep the tie, although I would lengthen this next time so that it could also be tied into a pretty bow!
Whilst, I do like this pattern, and definitely will be making them next summer...I still don't think that I have found the elusive perfect trouser pattern. Do you have any patterns you suggest?