Sunday, 18 December 2016

Fabric Shopping in Amsterdam

I was lucky to have a little weekend in Amsterdam last weekend. Although the weather was absolutely miserable it didn't detract from what a beautiful city it is. While I was there, I took the opportunity to do a just a little bit of fabric shopping of course!

I was only in Amsterdam for the weekend when the largest fabric market (Lapjesmarkt) turns into a farmers market so I visited Albert Cuyp Market instead. Lots of the fabric stalls were actually shops which had some fabric on a stall in front of them. There were some truly gorgeous fabrics for sale.

There was one particularly beautiful shop which sold catwalk fabric and had accompanying swatches of what it had been used for. The fabric was truly stunning (as is the organisation of the shop) but it was sadly too expensive for me. A gorgeous jersey by D&G was 162 euros! Definitely worth a visit though just to see such fabulous fabric.

I ended up buying just a few bits. I'm calling them souvenirs!

Two striped jerseys because who doesn't need striped tshirts...
A spotty taffeta which I'm imagining will become a gathered skirt (hopefully in time for Christmas).
I was also totally seduced by this flamingo sweatshirt which I cannot wait to sew into a Linden.
There's also two metres of silver velvet in there because you know it's December so we all need a bit of velvet in the stash!

With so many sewing plans in my head all I need is the Christmas holidays to begin so I can crack on. Happy stitching x

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Falling in love with Cleo

If you have been reading many blogs or perusing through social media, I'm sure that you have seen the huge popularity of Tilly and the Buttons recent release; the Cleo dress. It's a gorgeously simple dungaree dress with a range of pockets...and who doesn't love a pattern with a range of pockets!

I have to admit that when Tilly began teasing us with glimpses of this pattern I bought the fabric for it before she released the pattern. I was that keen! I bought a mustard corduroy from the Knit and Stitch show. The buckles were easy enough to source and came from John Lewis.

The dress was exceptionally quick to make and as ever Tilly's instructions are very clear. The only alteration to the fit that I made was to lengthen the dress by about 8cm as I find that Tilly's patterns sometimes come up short on me.

I decided to use top stitch thread for my Cleo. I absolutely love how thick it made the stitches but sadly my machine didn't! I think that a combination of top stitch thread and thick corduroy was just too much for it and it ended up spending a week at the repairers.

Because of my thick fabric choice I decided to use a cotton fabric for the facings which I had left over from another project.

This dress has been worn pretty much incessantly since being made (as has the cat top which is another Lark tee). I'm already dreaming of a black and white wool version... if only there were more sewing hours in the weekend.

Happy stitching x

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Pattern Testing- Megan Nielsen Karri Dress

I was lucky to be chosen to pattern test one of Megan Nielsen's new patterns the Karri dress. It feels like such a long time ago that I made it which is a true testament to all the hard work which goes into designing a new pattern.

The instructions have been tweaked since making this dress but they were beautifully easy to use even in their draft form. The pattern is so well thought out and includes a design page in which you can experiment with the beautiful lines of the dress and also ideas for tweaking the dress such as by including piping (an option I was seduced into using).

This dress has some gorgeous design details including pockets, a multi-panelled front with princess seams and is also fully lined so there's plenty to get your teeth into! Because of all these details it's certainly not a quick make but sometimes it's nice to take time over a longer project.

Alteration wise I needed to take 2cm out of the bodice which is an unusual one for me. I also needed to take it in slightly at the bust which is an alteration I frequently make.

I decided to add piping to some of the design lines. I haven't used piping before and it definitely made my life more difficult as I tried to navigate pattern matching the gingham!

The pockets are a lovely feature, after all who doesn't love pockets in a dress.
I lined the dress in a bright blue which is a nice contrast to the monochrome gingham.
I really like the pattern especially how versatile it is. You could have so much fun experimenting with the multi-panel body and I've no doubt I'm going to be impressed with the creativity it will inspire.

Happy stitching x

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Sewing resolutions....complete!

During January this year I wrote a post about finishing some rather large UFO projects. Obviously I tackled the smaller projects first which only left the quilt. I finally got the drive to finish it as we put an offer in on a new place and I began to imagine it laying on the sofa.

The quilt itself is a Kaffe Fassett design called Dotty All Seasons Garden from the books Kaffe Quilts Again. I bought the fabric online from Glorious Color (an American company) and the cotton batting from Cotton Patch. The quilting threads were bought from a local shop, I used a variety of colours rather than a variegated thread.

The quilt is a mixture of zip-zags, straight lines, semi-circles and free motion quilting. The free motion quilting was rather challenging and I went through a fair few needles trying to get the hang of it!

I think that the infinite number of needles I snapped are worth it though as I love the end result.

The back is made using one colourway from the front.
I have a feeling that I will be spending many an evening hand stitching/knitting with this on my lap in the coming months.

Happy stitching x

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top

I am head over heels in love with this top. I wanted to make a peplum top for ages and when the peppermint pattern turned up on Instagram I knew that it was the one. The fact that it was free was also a total bonus!

I used a piece of fabric which is the longest standing member of my stash. Double bonus! Sadly it was only 112cm wide and I had just over one metre so pattern matching/consideration of print had to go out the window.

The fabric is a quilting weight cotton which gives the peplum shape which results in a gorgeous silhouette.
The instructions and construction of the top were easy to follow and resulted in a top which was pretty both on the outside and the inside. Because of fabric constraints I couldn't make the full neck line bias binding/arm hole binding so I used shop bought for the sleeves. For the neck line I cut out the back facing to keep the nice shaping at the back then finished the front neckline with shop bought bias binding.
I joined them together as you would two separate pieces.
I'm already planning another version in a brighter African wax print. I'm hoping that I will love it just as much.

Happy stitching x

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Malvorosa take 3!

I have been lusting over this Victoria Beckham dress for a while now. But as it was made a good few years ago and carried a rather hefty price tag I decided that I would have a go myself.
I already had the Malvorosa pattern by Pauline Alice which I thought was a pretty good match. It even has the same pockets at the front. I have tried to hack this pattern before into a dropped hem dress but I wasn't very happy with the result. This time I decided to drop the hem on the back bodice piece and I'm far happier with how it has turned out.
I bought the fabric from Minerva Crafts. The quality it really nice but I was disappointed with the colour when it arrived. It was labelled as grey but the fabric is so dark that I feel it's more black than grey.
The skirt was tricky to gather onto the back bodice due to it being cut on the curve. On reflection I should have stay stitched it to stop it from stretching out of shape. The gathers definately have more of a bulge on the back rather than the neat gathers I wanted.
For the facings I used some fabric from an old Topshop dress I didn't like anymore. I love the black polka dots with the fabric.
To recreate the original hem on the dress I made a strip of HUGE bias binding from a piece of plain grey cotton. I really like the effect of it as it draws attention to the dropped hem.
Whilst it's not as luxurious as Victoria Beckham's dress I'm really pleased with how it has turned out. It will definitely get a lot of wear in the coming autumn months.

Happy stitching x

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Swooning for Marylin...

When I saw Ralph Pink's Marylin pattern I absolutely loved it but it's very different to how I would usually dress. My wardrobe has definitely changed since I started sewing and I have more confidence to try new styles and step out of my confidence zone so I decided to go for it! Because I wasn't totally comfortable with having a huge amount of my stomach on show I lengthened the bodice by an inch and a half which also means that I used an extra button.

I made the two piece set using a linen and silk mix from the man outside Sainsbury's. I'm kicking myself for not buying more as it's completely gorgeous.

The cut of Ralph Pink's patterns are beautiful. I love how they are so different to other independent pattern brands. Just looking at his patterns makes me feel very inspired. His instructions however are sometimes quite sparse. Because of this, I always read through them first to check that I understand where I'm going! I made a few alterations; choosing not to top stitch the facing down, and also changing the order slightly when sewing the fly. I also finished the skirt pieces before sewing as there aren't any instructions as to when to finish the seams.

Fit wise I made no alterations to the skirt which is incredible for a pencil skirt! I made a few alterations to the top; shortening the straps, taking the side seams in by about one inch each side and slightly altering the shape of the darts so they aren't too pointy.

My machine didn't like the fabric and it snared it a few times when sewing the button holes. Luckily they unpicked easily and there aren't any holes.
I used plain blue buttons as I wanted them to blend into the fabric.
Overall I love my Marylin. I think that I will get much more wear out of the skirt with a different top. But for those special, warm days I will certainly have the courage to wear it as a two piece.

Happy stitching x

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Emerson Crop Pants

I love culottes! I have a few RTW pairs which I live in when it starts to heat up. So I decided it was time to make some. After a lot of searching all I could find were culottes with pleats resulting in very large legs. I knew that I wanted something a bit more streamlined.

Lucky for me, True Bias released the Emerson pattern. As soon as I saw them, I knew that I wanted them!

I have a confession to make...I am a lazy sewer. I never make toiles. It's always a dangerous game to play and I have more than a fair few failures which probably could have been avoided. As they were trousers I decided that I would break with tradition and make a toile, and I'm glad that I did. I ended up adding 4cm to the crotch seam to enable them to sit a bit higher (and more comfortably) and I also added 3 inches to the length of the trousers.

I made the trousers in a wool rayon mix which has a really nice drape. I bought in on a recent trip to Walthamstow market. The construction was very straightforward and I didn't need to make any changes to the instructions or construction of the trousers.

I really like them and I think that the fabric means that they will transition nicely into my autumn wardrobe (I know, I can't believe it's that time of the year again either).
The only element of the trousers which I'm not sure about is the waistband which is gathered at the back. It may just be my fabric choice but it feels a bit bulky.
Any there any other culotte patterns out there which you recommend?

Happy sewing x

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Inari the incredible

Named clothing called this dress Inari which is a Japanese name meaning successful and I have to say that this dress is more than aptly named! I actually made it a few months ago bit it's spent most of its time either on my back or in the wash basket.

Whilst the end product is indeed successful, there was a bit of a journey to get there! A few months ago I bought a metre of gorgeous silk from Walthamstow market. I thought that I might be able to squeeze the Inari out of a metre and after tryin more than a few layouts I managed to squeeze it on. Triumphantly, I strutted upstairs to iron the fabric. After ironing I began cutting out only to realise that I had started using a layout which didn't work. I was fuming with myself. I was desperate for more of the fabric so I jumped on a train to the market but sadly they has sold out. I reluctantly settled for this piece of blue rayon instead. Luckily, I'm pleased with the dress which has got lots of wear and I have a growing love for the fabric!

The dress was a very quick sew with impeccably written instructions. It has a relaxed, baggy fit which made fitting very easy, I only took it in slightly a the bust.

Despite appearing very plain it has some beautiful details such as the dropped split hem and a cuff on the arms.

I have also since made a silk version which I wore to my friends wedding...
I hope you avoid any disasters similar to mine! Happy stitching x

Monday, 8 August 2016

Evie La Luve Rosie

I'm currently a very lucky lady as it's the summer holidays! Because of this, I have been sewing up a storm which made me want to try a new skill. I turned to my underwear pattern stash and choose the Evie La Luve Rosie pattern.

The language and seemingly endless list of supplies has always put me off sewing underwear but over time I have managed to pick up most supplies (apart from the strap elastic). I bought no new fabric, using all scraps from left over projects. Bra making is brilliant for using up jersey scraps. Because of this, the lining is rather an unusual colour for the bra!

The instructions were fabulously straightforward and I only came unstuck when trying to create the straps. However, after reading them out loud to a friend they became much clearer. I would definitely recommend the pattern for any bra beginners like myself.

There was something so gloriously satisfying about the whole project. With each step it seemed to change so much and develop as an item.

I love the back detail to this bra, with the straps coming out from the hook and eye.

The rather random mix of colours means that I have some funky thread on show on the inside but as it's my first bra it doesn't bother me too much.
Fit wise, it's pretty good. I made a novice error when cutting the elastic for the bottom band and didn't cut it small enough to provide a huge amount of support. So this is definitely something to bear in mind when making the next one. But it's beautifully comfortable to wear and it's so nice not to have under wiring digging into your ribs.

I'm keen to continue to develop my skills and sew another, are there any bra patterns you recommend?

Happy stitching x

Sunday, 31 July 2016

No moaning about Moana...

I feel in love with Papercut Patterns Moana dress as soon as it was released. I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to get around to making it...but I'm very pleased that I finally did!

The pattern can be a top or dress and I must admit that I loved the top instantly but it took me a while to warm to it as a dress. It sat on my dress form as a dress for few weeks before I finally asked Instagram followers what they thought. Upon their advice I decided to keep it as a dress and see how it went. Since finishing it, it's had more than a few outings and I am so pleased I kept it as a dress!

I made the dress from a drapey rayon I bought on a trip to Walthamstow. It took just under 2m of fabric as a dress but I wasn't being especially economical with the cutting out so it could be possible to squeeze it out of less.

I made the dress in xxs sizing out to xs at the waist. The top was rather baggy at the bust to I took this in either side by about 2cm.

I love the peplum detail with the dropped waist. I was fearful of hemming the peplum and decided to use my rolled hem foot for the first time. After a few practises (and more than a few YouTube clips) I jumped in. The full circle made it more tricky but considering it was my first time using it I'm rather pleased with how it turned out.
Moana has an exposed zip detail at the back. The instructions recommend a metal one but I used a plastic one instead (I couldn't find a nice coloured metal one). Because of this I didn't feel the need to interface the facings which I'm pleased about as it keeps the dress relaxed and floaty. I always find exposed zips tricky and ended up having to do a little bit of hand sewing a the end.
Definitely pleased with this dress. I'm already dreaming of Liberty silk version...

Happy stitching x