Saturday, 31 October 2015

Sew Over It Box Pleat Skirt

A few months ago, for my birthday, I was bought Lisa Comfort's Sew Over It: Vintage. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it but I avoided using it due to the self drafting element of the book.
After taking a few deep breaths I decided to have a go and draft a pattern for the box pleat skirt. The skirt has two box pleats at the front and is gathered at the side to the zip. I used a turquoise rayon which I bought at The Knit and Stitch Show. Once I got my head around the maths behind it all I managed to create a self-drafted pattern. It was a little daunting to then cut into the fabric as I really didn't know if I had made the pattern correctly! However, the drafting went well and it has produced a beautifully fitting skirt. Because it was self drafted I made no alterations at all which was lovely as I find fitting a garment the hardest part of sewing. The instructions were clear and easy to follow but are definitely a little more bare than those on her patterns.
The rayon makes the dress feel floaty and really nice to wear.
The box pleats are sitting quite well and I love how they merge into the gathers.
I decided to keep the skirt long as I think that I could then transition it into summer as well!
I have to say, the waistband looks rather wonky in this photo but I'm hoping that it's just that I'm not standing straight!The construction was unusual at the back, with the zip only being inserted to the bottom of the waist band. I then secured the waist band with two hook and eyes. If I made the skirt again I would either extend the zip to the top of the waistband or extend the waistband over lap and have buttons instead to make a design feature. I will definitely have another go at self drafting and will use the book again! I have got my eye on the 1950s cape. Happy sewing!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Coco take 2

I know, I know it really wasn't long ago that I made Tilly and the Buttons Coco but they're just so snuggly that I couldn't resist! You may have caught a glimpse of this Coco in my post about my new sewing machine. I decided to make it after seeing this dress in Boden.
I found a giant dogtooth Ponte de roma on the Minerva website but sadly it was out of stock so I went for a smaller version. I ordered 2 metres which meant that I was able to sew long sleeves this time making it even more snuggly.
I decided to make a size 2 on top this time, which fits much better across the back. I still think that I would like to add a little more ease in this area next time though (that's right, I'm already searching for more ponte de roma).
This time I was able to sew Coco using my serger, which made the whole process so much easier and gives the dress more stretch. When top stitching I used a walking foot which has resulted in my pockets feeling more secure and substantial. Once again I absolutely love this dress, if you haven't made a Coco yet I definitely recommend making one for the up coming cold winter months!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Foxy Elisalex

I have admired Elisalex by By Hand London for a while. I love the beautiful shape to the skirt and I've seen some truly fabulous ones online so I decided to take the plunge! I found this fox print fabric at a local market, it appears to be a heavy cotton canvas. Probably designed to be used for a child's bedroom curtains and it was a steal at £4 a metre.
I'm happy with the finished dress. The colour is a little too light for my skin tone and I wish that they had sold the fabric in a different colour way but I just couldn't resist the fox print. I made the dress in a size 8 which fit beautifully on the top at the front. For my size I should have graded out to a 10 on the bottom, but as the skirt has so much ease and volume I decided not to and I'm pleased I didn't.
There are some fitting problems at the back of the dress, which gapes slightly. However, I decided not to alter it as I didn't want it to feel tight and wanted enough movement to dance in it!
The dress is lined, which makes it feel beautiful to wear inside and out. I decided to line it with a small blue spot cotton lawn to pick out the blue bow which the fox is wearing.
The dress was straight forward to sew and the instructions were very clear. I did however have a bit of drama! I forgot to over lock my back seems before inserting the zip so I decided that as it was so beautiful inside that I would try and do it after. This was a big mistake and I ended up catching the skirt and cutting a large hole in it! I thought that the dress was ruined as I didn't have any left over fabric to cut another skirt. After a few deep breaths (actually a full on toddler strop) I decided to try and bring the skirt in to hide my mistake and I just about get away with it. There is a rather strange fox on the back which is at a different angle but I think I just about get away with it!
Despite its many imperfections I definitely have a soft spot for this dress. I'm already plotting a Christmas version!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

High on the Trapeze

I have always looked at Merchant and Mills patterns longingly, never sure if they would end up looking like a gorgeous garment from All Saints or a sack on me. I decided to take the plunge and bought the Trapeze pattern and I'm hooked! It is indeed a sack on me, but it is a gorgeous one!
The dress comes in with three choices; sleeveless, cap sleeves or long sleeves. It was extremely quick to sew and was only made from four pieces. I made the dress in a size 8, which took a metre and a half (exactly what Merchant and Mills recommended). The only alteration I made was to shorten the dress by about 4 inches. I used a 100% wool fabric which I bought last weekend from The Knit and Stitch Show. I then cut my facings from a scrap of Liberty Queue for the zoo that I had left from a previous project. I was worried that the lining was just too different from the dark wool but I like the contrast. The wool I choose was very soft so I only used the facings. However if you had a wool which wasn't you may need to line the whole dress/the top.
There are absolutely no darts in this dress and so it is not fitted at all, it does however have an absolutely beautiful shape which I think makes the dress quite dramatic!
The dress was very simple to make, until it came to attaching the facings to the arm holes, which was very fiddly. It's worth noting that the back of the dress is not cut on the fold, so if you have a pattern there will be a element of pattern matching there. I was quite pleased with how mine turned out as I often mess up here!
All in all, I am really pleased with the dress! I'm already considering making another with capped sleeves! I also currently ogling the Factory dress and the Camber dress by Merchant and Mills. Has anyone had any success with these patterns?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Orla- something special!

When Tilly and the Buttons released a new pattern I was very quick to begin sewing. Before I had even ordered the pattern I had chosen the fabric from my stash! I decided to use a drapey cat print fabric I bought from Walthamstow at the start of the year. I have never been that sure if I loved or hated the fabric. Katie from 'What Katie Sews' made a dress in the same fabric a few weeks back. I decided to make the pattern in a size 2 as Tilly and the Buttons patterns can sometimes be a bit too small across the back for me.
I was pleased with the outcome of the blouse! I made a few alterations when sewing, I needed to adjust the front darts to come up higher for me and I also needed to adjust the sleeves as they were too long on the shoulders. I'm now pretty pleased with the fit of the top.
The exposed zip definitely posed a challenge for me! I cut the slit for the zip before actually buying the zip and next time I would definitely make this a centimetre smaller as I had to place the zip in quite low to fill the space. It's always good to learn a new skill though and Tilly's instructions are, as ever, very easy to follow.
I absolutely love the collar which is very feminine and is such a pretty shape! I (unsuccessfully) attempted to pattern match, but I didn't properly allow for the curve of the collar. Oh well, there's always next time. Despite this I am very happy with my new blouse and will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for some more drapey fabric to make another one! If you looked at my last post from The Knit and Stitch Show you might have noticed me wearing this top. I got an overwhelming amount of compliments throughout the day about this top so I definitely think that everyone should have an Orla in their wardrobe!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Knit and Stitch Show

I have just returned from a fabulous day at The Knit and Stitch show at Ally Pally! It was so inspiring to see so many enthusiastic people who enjoy such a range of crafts!
Here is my mum and I on the tube and full of excitement! There were so many fabulous fabrics and patterns, I had to be very restrained (my stash is far too large at the moment!). It was nice to see some of my favourite independent pattern designers there too, seeing Lisa Comfort at Sew Over It, Tilly Walnes and Merchant and Mills!
I'm wearing my new Tilly and the Buttons Orla top here...I'll hopefully fill you in on this top this week because it's a beaut to sew! It was also lovely to see the installations, some of which were absolutely amazing! Who would have thought that these fish were knitted?
There were one or two which were slightly more unusual...
Here my purchases from the day...
I bought the trapeze dress from Merchant and Mills and a black and grey 100% wool to make it with. I also bought a metre of light pink 100% wool from Merchant and Mills, which I think will make a beautiful Cami. I just couldn't resist the pink cat fabric (I hate to think how many cat print fabrics currently reside in my stash) and a rather bright floral drapey fabic (which I'm not so sure about now it's home). On that note, I'm off to put my new fabric in the washing machine...

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Coco...oh how I love thee

I'm afraid my Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress has been around a while, so much so that it was made pre serger and was sewn with my old machine. It's taken me a while to blog about it because it spends most of its time either being worn or in the wash!
I made the dress in a size one and graded out to a size 2 at the hips but after trying it on, it was far too small across the back. I unpicked the arms and reattached them with a dinky seem. I then preceded to have a huge paddy as it was still too small, shoved it at the back of the wardrobe (where all the failures live-tell me I'm not the only one?) However, one chilly morning I thought I'd try it on again and despite the obvious fitting issues I love it. It really is the most comfortable item in my wardrobe. It feels a bit like getting dressed and putting a blanket on! It was a fantastically simple sew and was easy to sew on a regular sewing machine. I bought the fabric from Walthamstow market and a metre and a half cost me £2.25 and so it was an absolute bargain! I believe that it is double-knit fabric. I had to make three-quarter sleeves as I didn't have quite enough fabric to make full sleeves!
I have got a feeling that there are going to be many, many more Coco dresses in my future handmade wardrobe! Happy sewing!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Gifts from afar...

At the moment my brother works out in Doha in Qatar and last week my parents went out to visit him with a stint in Dubai. Whilst out there my mum decided to head for the souks, which are known for having some lovely high quality silks. Luckily for me, she didn't forget me and bought a couple of gems back for my stash!
The mink coloured fabric seems to be a silk dupion and can definitely hold it's shape. It was bought from a souk in Dubai. I have two metres and was thinking of making a full skirt or perhaps a dress? Do you have any suggestions for a pattern you have sewn using silk dupion?
I'm not sure what the other fabric is, but it's reversible which I think it very exciting. I can't even decide what side to use! Again, I have two metres of this but it's much more drapey that the silk dupion. I was thinking of a cami of some sort. Maybe even one with detailing so I could use both sides. If you have any pattern suggestions they would be greatly welcomed!
Happy sewing!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

A happy ending...

After the trauma of a broken machine last week I started a huge amount of research into a potential new one and was given a fantastic amount of advice from the sewing community on google plus! So thank you very much to all of you! I decided to go with my initial gut feeling and bought the Janome CXL301 because I felt that for the money it offered me the most and I trust the Janome brand. I bought the machine from a rather fantastic shop called GUR sewing machines which had brilliant customer service. I phoned them to place the order and they were able to offer me a discount over the phone which was brilliant! I placed the order at 12 o'clock on Thursday afternoon and it had arrived by 9 o'clock the next day! I couldn't have hoped for a better service. Needless to say I was desperate to get home yesterday.
You can see the excitement on my face here!
I just couldn't resist a play last night! I can't believe how quiet it is compared to my other machine, which caused a complete racket and rumbled around as I was sewing. It also does some nice embroidery stitches, so I definitely see some embroidery details being added to hems and pockets in the future. Needless to say I am one happy girl this weekend! to finish my UFO...