La Dolce Vita - When Life Gives you Lemons... B6453


There are so many beautiful pictures on Pinterest of those gorgeous summery lemon print dresses by Dolce & Gabbana and every summer I've wondered...hmmm....maybe I could make one of those?

The lovely Dita in D&G

I hunted high and low and finally managed to track down some great lemon print cotton poplin fabric from eBay - and although it shipped from China it arrived really quickly! (Since buying this I note that Pigeon Wishes also now stocks it if you want to get some from the UK :)

After debating for a while whether just to make a skirt which may get more wear I came to the conclusion that...I just wanted a lovely lemon dress. I know full well it may never/hardly ever get worn but it was one of those projects I did because...I wanted to.


The patten used here is Gertie's B6453 for Butterick. The absolute perfect sundress pattern in my opinion. I made a wiggle dress version here and so the fitting had already been done and I could just whip it up without too much hassle!


Alterations to the original pattern include making the skirt a half circle skirt... I really don't like gathers at all and I find a half circle way more practical and flattering. I also raised the waist line 1.5cm but I'm now not sure if that was unnecessary and is now a bit high....small details.

The skirt is also hemmed with a really nice lemon bias binding I found on the market.

OF COURSE IT HAS POCKETS.

I know I went on about it last time aswell but THE best feature of this is that it has sliders. So much more practical for getting real wear out of something. I found these rose gold ones on eBay aswell.


The shaping on the back of this dress is excellent and I do personally love a low back/v-back dress or top as I find them quite elegant looking. But let's be honest its all about the lemons with this one!!


Well...it's now September and the chances of going anywhere that requires a dress like this is slim however I'm glad I made it. I enjoyed the process a la Randomly Happy and found it came together in about a week as I did it in little sections in the afternoon/evenings. Sewing this way has been quite fun as you don't notice how quickly everything comes together when concentrating on one task at a time. I do feel that as this was made with mindfulness and concentration on its individual parts - I have ended up with a well made and joyful dress!


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Talking trousers - Geometric 'ponte pants'

I may have cracked the trouser code!? (I hope I haven't spoken too soon) And oh my......are they so so comfortable.

In my eternal quest to get trousers to fit - I have basically learnt that the whole things rests on the crotch curve. Get that bad boy right and everything else may be a straight forward fix. Now that elusive crotch curve is not easy to find let me tell you - I've had years of searching! Prime example here.  It has taken a lot of trial and error to find the exact right fit but the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans and Carolyn Pyjamas just about has it spot on for me. So I use that curve on most trousers that I make (which to be fair is not many.....).


 The other pattern which I found quite useful was Simplicity 1696 which helpfully let's you pick your size through many measurements not just waist and hip...but booty size too! I've written about these here but unfortunately those lovely trousers have long been gone as I put on weight. I had intended to remake them in a larger size however have not got round to it...

Letting comfort reign supreme however I did decide to use my very butchered version of Simplicity 1696 to make a pair of pull-on ponte trousers! My floral trousers had been made from this pattern but changed and altered so much that they barely resembled the original. It did however provide me with a base TNT pattern to use for other projects such as this with some stretch.

The pattern for these is really no different - I kept the hip curve and even the back darts for shaping - the only difference is that as ponte is so stretchy, there's no need for a closure at all. The waistband is simply a strip of fabric with flat elastic inside.

Top = Ogden Cami

The fabric has been in my stash for a while however it was bought with the intention of making these, so its nice for something to actually materialise for its intended purpose! It is a geometric print jacquard ponte from Fabric Godmother (which I have just seen is on sale!) It's very nice as although stretchy, its got good body and texture making them a bit more interesting.

Apparently navy is my new favourite colour...

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Ikat Lodo - True Bias with Space Invaders!

You know a pattern is a great one when you make multiple versions... and the beauty of the True Bias Lodo Dress is that it only takes a couple of hours and results are glorious!


I've posted about this dress before when I made a classic stripe version so won't go on too much today but once more the construction of this is a thing of greatness. Check out the space invader insides! This was just some leftover cotton from the stash.




The fabric for this one was Ikat ponte from Girl Charlee UK  and one meter was perfect! It's a slightly thinner ponte that my stripe version however its lovely and soft and stretches well. 


This dress certainly meets my 'throw on and go' criteria that I love so much!

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Sewing Weekender 2017

This time last week I was lucky enough to be at the Sewing Weekender! Hosted by Kate and Rachel (The Fold Line) and Charlotte (English Girl at Home) this took place at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge.

I must have had a good time and been rather occupied as I seem to have a complete lack of photographs for most of the weekend!

This year's event was absolutely fantastic - there was nearly a sewing machine per person and the tables laid out in long rows this year which made walking around/chatting and general logistics much better. The fabric and pattern swap had grown so large it had its own room alongside Elle (Sew Positivity) who was doing embroidery machine tutorials!

I took a seat at the end of the room and was soon joined by the lovely Eliza Sew Little and Amy who are just wonderful human beings generally - in fact I was struck by how friendly and amazing everyone was, this sewing community of our really is something special.

On arrival we were treated to the biggest goody bag you've ever seen - thank you to the lovey sponsors. An alien and tortoise pattern! How perfect!


I had a bit of a *swoon* moment when Elena - my all time blogger-girl-crush-fav-sewer - of Randomly Happy fame came over and brought me some turtle fabric that she had found in the swap!!! Unbelievable times. I did however manage to maintain my chill this year which was a significant improvement on last...


One particular highlight of this year was an impromptu 'ninja challenge' whereby Melissa (Fehr Trade) and Fiona (Diary of a Chain Stitcher) were called upon to pick a pattern and fabric from the stash giving Liz and Sue 1 hour to complete it!


Both were incredibly good sports doing this, despite the apparent regret about 5 minutes in, However they produced fairly wearable garments in 55 minutes!! It was declared a draw...


I actually did a fair amount of sewing this time which was odd as chatting and tea drinking were a large part of Saturday! However I made my 6th Ogden Cami so that may account for speed as this has now become a bit second nature. And I wasn't the only one! Check out all these ladies who also made the Ogden!


I missed out on going to the pub dinner at night as by this point I was really struggling with a bad cold and the start of shingles :( so I made an executive decision to stay in my room and sleep it off a bit (not before getting Wagamama's on Deliveroo to the room haha). In fact Sunday morning I nearly went straight home but decided to pull myself together for the last few hours. I'm so glad I did as Sunday was one of my favourite days. It just seemed so chilled out, everyone in good spirits finishing projects and stopping for talks by Melissa Fehr on active wear and Elena regarding mindfulness and sewing.

These were both excellent talks as Mindfulness is something of particular interest to me and Elena's speech about remembering to breathe resonating with everyone there! Melissa was also modelling some excellent sportswear from her forthcoming book - can't wait to buy that and give it a go to make some fun yoga gear! I didn't manage to get pictures of the talks but you'll just have to trust me these ladies were beautiful outside and inside. Great women, very inspiring.

Despite Saturday being an absolute washout weather-wise - on Sunday the sun came out! I managed to get a quick snap of my project for the weekend. A 'faux' jumpsuit comprising of the Ogden Cami and some loose trousers very vaguely based on Carolyn PJs. Essentially I traced a crotch curve that I know works, then just winged the rest a bit. Straight legs that were big enough to go over my hips and an elastic waist band. To much surprise it actually worked!!

The fabric is from Minerva Crafts and is a beautiful soft tropical print viscose. I was kindly given some of this for an upcoming make for them in September (keep your eyes peeled) and I managed to squeeze this jumpsuit out of 1.5m of leftovers!! (It's very wide fabric ;-)


I went to try these on in the toilets and the cheeky Eliza Sew Little STOLE MY ACTUAL CLOTHES!! I was therefore wandering around in my faux jumpsuit for the rest of Sunday. No massive deal but I though the style was too trendy/cool for me however I realised that is ridiculous and just wore it. Talk about secret PJs. We later went on a walking tour of Cambridge at lunchtime and damn were these comfortable.


A massive thank you to everyone who set up, sponsored, helped, and attended at this event - it was wonderful to meet you all :)

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Tortoise News and Variegated Thread Testing with Minerva Crafts!


I was very lucky to get selected to test a product for Minerva Crafts and was send a beautiful box of variegated embroidery threads!  



In other news - I can announce that the namesake of this blog - Clyde - our beautiful Hermans tortoise has now got a brother! (Brother from another mother ;)

 We have welcomed Sammy into the family. He's very sprightly and settled in so well - despite the fact that he is over 100 years old!!!!!  


For more information on tortoise welfare or for caresheets and general advice please see the Norfolk Tortoise Club website and Facebook page.

When Ogden met Carolyn

Just a really quick post today which may not even be worth a mention but here we go anyway...

I thought I would just share how great a combination the True Bias Ogden Cami and the Closet Case Patterns Carolyn Pyjama shorts are for some summery PJs! A match made in heaven...


I actually made the Odgen cami in this Minerva Crafts turtle print last year at The Sewing Weekeneder. Needless to say it did not get worn however I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. This print however lends itself rather well to PJs! Having made some winter Carolyn Pajamas I knew that the pattern fit well and so whipped up the shorts version at Norwich Sewcials Sew Day a couple of weeks back.

The best bit? Pockets of course!


The other little pattern hack I did which was seen on Instagram several weeks ago, was to make the Ogden Cami in drapey black viscose, and added a cross over back strap for detail. I love this version! This is my 5th Odgen! Made in a couple of hours it really is instant satisfaction...



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Beautiful Blue Whales - McCalls M6044

I am really excited to share this make with you as I'm really proud of how this turned out. It is of course the McCalls M6044 casual shirt.

This pattern is my go-to menswear pattern and I have already made several versions (octopus and lobster version, another octopus version) and now we have a Blue Whale version! Wait a minute....why are all these sea creatures??
 

This beautiful fabric is called 'Fred & Carrie' by Cotton + Steel from the collection S.S Bluebird and bought from The Crafty Mastermind. After its initial wash it turned gloriously soft and was a dream to sew with!

 I made this in secret as a gift and was astounded once more at how simple the construction is and how quickly it got whipped up. 1 day. All the steps are in lovely little chunks making it very manageable and none of it felt like a chore.


The inside seams are overlocked however the hem is a neat rolled hem and all enclosed. The plackets are super neat and easy to sew and the collar goes on a dream with this method - and the only method in my opinion! I even squeezed a little Crafty Clyde label on there!


Fortunately this present went down a treat and I imagine it will get a lot of wear :) You can't see in the pics but the buttons are a 'natural' colour giving it a bit of a beachy summery vibe. The top stitching is light blue.


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Kalle Shirt Dress - Closet Case Files


This woman can do no wrong.

Yet again...another genius of a pattern from Heather at Closet Case Patterns in the form of the Kalle Shirt Dress.

After Heather had blogged about her self-drafted shirt dress last year, looking gloriously styled and perfect in Barcelona, the comments section went crazy requesting this be turned into a pattern. I held out hope this would be the case, even listing this little number on my MakeNine list before it was released. Sure enough - beautiful breezy Kalle emerged! Well of course this was purchased immediately...even if there was some time lag in sewing it up. But her she is!!


Excuse the pics and how creased the dress is - I had been wearing the dress all morning by the time I got round to photos.

This loose and cool dress is the perfect solution for a super-hot day when you want to stay fresh and breezy. Ideal for running errands. Or for all-you-can-eat buffets.

I bought some navy viscose from Textile Express which was wonderful value for money - lovely fabric and didn't fray all that much which was good.

I cut a size 10 on top and graded to 12 at waist and hips and this seemed to work very well. I was actually 14 at hips on the chart but there is advice in the instructions that so much grading is not necessary due to the roomy nature of the design.

Curvy hem!

The instruction booklet is incredible and each step well illustrated and explained. I tried the 'burrito method' of attaching the yoke and shoulders and WOW why haven't I done that before?? The shirt is rolled up into a sausage, stitched and voila....all seams are neatly enclosed inside and out! There's also now a sewalong with full photo illustrated blog posts on each step which I think I would return to next time.

This was a great project to make in bits - snippets of 15 mins here and there as each step is self-contained. The bit that was fiddly was the bias binding on the hem. Viscose being slippery enough was one thing but the bias strips are really thin so turning and enclosed edges really was 'a bind' (::cringe at unintentional pun::)

Many creases.
I'm 5ft7 so fairly average height I think and found the dress length to be spot on - I was worried the front and high side hem would be a bit extreme but its just perfect. Of course.

Dress win. Of course I immediately ran to my stash to see what else could be used to make another! I do however love my navy version - classic and chic - and shall be intended for wandering around a French market!

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Evie La Luve Rosie Bra - Workshop with The Fabric Wrangler!


My partner in crime for Norwich Sewcials, the very talented Pippa (aka The Fabric Wrangler), has recently started her own sewing school and kicking it off was a workshop learning how to make a bralette!

As it happens a bralette was another tick off my Make Nine 2017 list so that felt rather satisfying to have tried something completely new.

The pattern in question was the beautiful Rosie Bra by Evie La Luve. It is a lined soft bra (non-wired) with adjustable straps and bra clasp fastening at the back - a gorgeous bit of lounge wear!


Pippa spent the day walking us through this pattern step by step which was a massive help - turns out its not easy! Elastic and a temperamental sewing machine made for some pretty tricky stitching.

The sizing of this pattern is very comprehensive. The measurements we took were underbust and bust so to get a good picture of which size would best suit us. The stretch nature of this makes this bra a very nice fit as there is not actualy too much shaping to worry about. The advantage of a small bust ;) I ended up cutting a Small.

After tracing and cutting out pattern pieces we were treated to a table full of lovely lace and elastics to choose from! These came from Evie La Luve and also Elise Patterns who both sell supplies. I went for a kit made of coral lace and dark grey knit. The straps were ribbed blush pink with rose gold findings....ooooooo........

The scalloped edge of the stretch lace is used for the top of the bra, and cleverly flipped to the opposite side of the lace to pattern match.


The initial construction took a litle time however this was because we were all going very slowly and carefully - perhaps a little nervous of cutting into these new beauties! It seemed very strange working with such delicate and small pieces compared to dressmaking!


Now I'm going to level with you - although the pictures look fairly decent - this bra is riddled with errors, mistakes and wonky stitching!! As you can see there is a centre front seam, however I sewed the underarm elastic on the wrong way round and so the raw seams were at the front - I tried to hide this with an extra strip of fabric and a bow!



My machine HATED the elastic and skipped stitches, broke thread and generally threw a hissy fit every 2 minutes. I actually ended up hand stitching the bra straps together as after atempt number 5 of the machine chewing them up it was time to end that trauma...


All in all though a good day was had and a completed bra finally materialised! It fits and it is wearable which is good to know - and as a first atempt into lingerie making it certainly was a great learning curve. This pattern is an excellent stash busted for any scraps of knit you may have around, especially as there are matching knickers/thong to choose from aswell. I think I will try another at some point - after the memory of shredded thread and elastic has faded...



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Busy Bees at Embroidery Night

Norwich Sewcials sewing meet-up took place last week and we were treated to an embroidery demo by one of our very talented ladies, Linda, a long standing embroidery aficionado and all round thread addict it seemed!  

For those of us who had never given this a go, but had been tempted in by all those lovely embellished jeans that are around at the moment, this was the perfect chance to learn some of the basics.

What a wonderful crew!
We covered stem stitch (green stem), lazy daisy (lilac) and a french knot (yellow), as well as satin stitch (green leaves) and a 'rose' technique (top left) in order form little flowers! Here is my rather lame attempt... It's a daisy with petals munched by a caterpillar. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


It was a very enjoyable evening and so nice to give something new a try...although I have discovered a massive impatience with trying to tread all those strands. Never the less we persevered!


For a while I had been a bit obcessed with sewing a bee...and I mean I was talking about this 6 months ago. I have no idea why I didn't just try it - it's like I was trying to put man on the moon or something rather than sew a bit of cotton on to another bit of cotton. Therefore complete lack of skill and pure brazen ignorance of the techniques prevailed... to produce this!

I think he's quite cute. I used a rayon thread which apparently was a massive faux pas - as you can see it went very fuzzy, slipped all over the place and doesn't look particularly neat on the other side. None the less its this side we're looking at so I think that's fine. To make matters slightly worse - and all you embroiderers out there are going to hit your head on a desk - I covered the entire thing in Fray Check after as I didn't trust by stitches not to fall right out!

I haven't worn this yet so I must see if it stands up to a bit of wear and tear and a wash! I don't know if its cute or I look like I work at a children's creche. Will try and style it out!

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True Bias - Lodo Dress

Following with the theme of sewalongs - Kelli from True Bias recently started a mini-sewalong to her latest release, the Lodo Dress.
 

FYI - the glowing whiteness above is a British person coming out of winter after not seeing the sun for some time. Do not be alarmed. I am also misleadingly wearing sunglasses - it is neither hot nor sunny (yet we keep the faith). However, sunglasses means not wading through 3000 pictures for one where my eyes are not shut! I digress...

As soon as I saw this pattern hit social media it was a winner in my eyes! That is my idea of a perfect dress - clean, simple, comfortable but oooohhh such beautiful little details to make it remarkable. (Those woven facings!)


Within minutes I had the PDF downloaded and taped up - which FYI took all of 5 minutes as the pieces are already printed to fit each other ie no cutting involved!

The dress has a couple of options - a very classy looking midi which looks beautiful in black and also a shorter version without back walking slits. As much as I love the midi version and will no doubt make it - I'm on a stash busting mission and only had enough fabric for a shorter version! As fate would have it, I found a leftover piece of striped ponte (bought from Minerva Crafts) from my Sointu project which was the exact size of the pattern! (Seriously, when does that ever happen)

I made the dress in little 15 minute bursts over the course of a few days but you could whip this bad boy up in a couple of hours start to finish I reckon.

The dress does have a back seam however I omitted this in the interests of not making stripe-matching life more difficult than it needed to be.



Using the chart I cut a size 8 bust, 10 at the waist and 14 at the hip and suprisingly it worked without looking crazy curvy as sometimes happens. I think for next time I would go to a 10 at the bust just to give a little more comfort room and avoid slight pull lines at the arms which occurred.



Let's move on to THE best feature of this stretch dress - the non-stretch facings!! The arms and neckline are stable and don't need any give so Kelli as designed this lovely feature of a woven bindings that sit perfectly against the dress. What I adore about this is that you have a secret little design on the inside - a personal touch which anyone else will rarely see but you know is there :)

Again on a stash busting mission - I used some ladybird print cotton to make the facings (and turned the rest into bias binding). Pretty insides!!


Needless to say this pattern has also reached my top favourites list - now if only there was enough fabric for one in every colour.....


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