Friday, 22 January 2016

Unselfish sewing: Simplicity 1544

At Christmas time I decided to brave unselfish sewing. I love making clothes but they always have their quirks; a sleeve slightly too short or a button hole too tight. I wasn't sure if it was possible to love these 'quirks' if you hadn't spent hours slaving over it!

I decided to make a shirt for my boyfriend. After lots of consideration I used Simplicity 1544. I debated with using Colette Negroni but I wasn't too sure about the collar. Does anyone have any experience of Negroni? I made the shirt using brushed cotton which I bought from Ebay. After beginning cutting out I probably would have chosen a plain fabric rather than checks for my first shirt as it was hard to match these up. Although I have to say I am pretty proud of how well it matches up across the front.

There were lots of new skills to master when making this shirt which made it a really enjoyable project. It also gave me plenty of opportunities to practise the dreaded top stitching! I'm pretty proud of the straight seems which are top stitched but the curved ones are a bit more wobbly so it's definitely a skill I need to continue to practise!
The fit of the shirt is nice and runs true to size for the most part. The cuffs however seem to be huge! I should have compared them to one he already wears to check but I didn't think of this. If I made it again I would definitely reduce these by a couple of centimetres.
The shirt was very well received which has made me feel much more confident in making clothes for other people. How do you feel about sewing for others?

Friday, 15 January 2016

Cape crusader!

I blogged last week about The Emery dress I made for my brothers wedding. As this was a winter wedding and was going to be rather chilly I decided that I wanted to make a cape to wear on top.
I made it in wool fabric which I bought from the man outside Sainbury's. It is an old Hugo Boss wool and is a wool/poly/merino mix. The merino makes it feel really luxurious to touch and gives it a nice drape. I lined it in a light weight cotton which was also from the same place.
The pattern is from Lisa Confort's book Sew Over It Vintage. Her book doesn't contain any patterns but instead walks you through pattern self drafting. I absolutely love self drafting, any items I have made using it have always fit beautifully and I'm yet to have a failure (touch wood!) using this method. I would recommend a dress makers ruler though to make sure that any curves you create are accurate.
I'm really pleased with the combination of fabrics. The lining picks up the brown from the cape whilst the blue background seems to lift it.
Lisa completes her cape with leather buckles. I decided that I wanted a softer look so I made a bow which attaches to the other side using a popper.
The cape has plenty of volume which makes it beautifully easy to wear and gives it a floaty feel.
Whilst the cape is beautiful and kept me warm for a special occasion I definitely need to wait for the weather to warm up a bit before it becomes a well worn item. Roll on Spring!

Friday, 8 January 2016

An Emery...made just in time...

My brother recently decided to get married (with a few weeks notice) so I quickly began dreaming up dresses to make. I wanted to make a tulle dress similar to the one Carrie wore in the final episode in Sex and the City. Alas it just wasn't meant to be. I'll blog that failure when I've worked up the courage.

After messing around trying to make the 'Carrie dress' I had five days to make a dress and cape. That doesn't sound too bad until you factor in that three of these were taken up with Christmas eve, Christmas day and boxing day. This meant that the dress I settled upon needed to be a pattern I had and fabric from the stash. I settled on Christine Haynes's Emery dress and some gorgeous silk my mum bought my from Dubai.

All in all I'm actually rather glad that the previous dress failed. I felt so comfortable in this dress and in the end it felt more 'me'. The pattern was easy to make and I have to say that hands down her instructions are the most comprehension that I have ever sewn with. I sewed a size 2 grading to a size 3 on the hips. I didn't need to make any alterations to the pattern and I like the fit.
The silk worked beautifully with the pattern and provided a nice shape for the skirt.
The skirt has pockets which I always love having in skirts and dresses. The bodice is also fully lined which made the dress feel just that bit more special. I lined it using some Liberty Tana Lawn I had in my stash. I think that the muddy print worked perfectly with the silk.
The dress comes with two options; either a collar or a bow. I decided to go for the bow, which I'm pleased about. I used interfacing on the box to give it more body but it hasn't meshed well with the silk and you can see some bubbling. I definitely need to research which interfacings should be used with which fabrics. Any tips?