Last of the Summer Sewing - Part IV

Today I wanted to round off the summer months with what has become somewhat of a personal blog tradition with 'Last of the Summer Sewing'.

Me-made in Barcelona (the dress, not actual me. I think.)
This time it comes in the form of a self-drafted shirt dress, which, I'll be frank, went seriously awry.  None the less I just wanted to share it and give the fabric a royal shout out because it is like wearing MELTED BUTTER.


Blue yarn-dyed stripe viscose come to mama and stick on my body. Actually more to the point it did NOT stick on my body and that's why it makes the ultimate comfort wear for 30 degree Spanish heat. This gorgeously soft piece of deliciousness was from Fabric Magpie - a shop who is rapidly becoming one of my favourites and who has recently taken most of my salary.


I used the very same template I used for my polka-dot maxi but for some reason this turned out huge. Granted it's a loose fit and needs a belt but the bust darts were way off! I have no idea what I've done wrong but for a casual, cooling and wearable dress it's still a keeper.
 
 And let's just skip past the Harry Hill style collar and say no more about that shall we.

As you can see I only had 2m of fabric to work with so some stripe placement playing occurred and I really liked to effect. Does it have pockets? Is the Pope Catholic?


I very nearly omitted pockets (::gasp in horror and hides face::) due to having really used every last inch of the yarn-dyed viscose however I found some scraps and voila, the pockets were born. Mish-mash patterns but again, I don't mind and it seems to have charm!

The dress above was made for a late trip to Barcelona where we experienced  La Mercè - a festival celebrating the end of Summer. Interestingly it was really nice to put a full stop on the end of summer as the next week did then feel like the beginning of autumn was like opening a new chapter.  

Now bring on that knitwear!  

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Frantically Finishing Fiona - Closet Case Patterns strikes again!


Nothing like a self-imposed sewing deadline is there? (Why do we do this people.....WHY?!)


I cut this out weeks ago and had a bit of a sewing lull for a while. Then decided a few days before our Norwich Sewcials Super Sew Day that it would be a great thing to wear on the day.

It is of course - the Fiona Dress from Closet Case Patterns (yes I hear you all yawning - the next one will be a different pattern maker I assure you!)

The thing that drew me right in with this is the back - check that sexy navy t-shirt out. In my mind I was going to wear it with nothing underneath - it was the heatwave when I cut it out. Then I totally bottled it because I felt a bit exposed and whacked a tee underneath for the milder weather on the day.


Fitting situation: this was a dream!! Usually skirts do not fit me and I have to mess with them for an age to get the waist/hip/sway back just right. I cut the pattern as per directions. Grading between 10/12/14 and the result was fabulous. No messing needed.

I did however make the mistake of using my normal bust measurement - forgetting that going backless means no bra - which meant the top looked a little sad and baggy with nothing to fill it out - hence the t-shirt was not just weather related but it also made the dress fit way better on top.

In all fairness I think it will get way more wear with a t-shirt anyway - for the handful of days its hot enough to wear this and nothing else, was not worth the epic alterations it would have needed to change the fit.

The straps I found super tricky. Even yoga could not prepare me properly to pin the back straps in alone. I also decided not to sew the top facing bands down until the very last minute as the straps also needed a little adjustment for length and angle to get them to sit flatly on my back and shoulders. It was like the rubix cube of construction.

These pictures were taken at stupid o'clock in the morning and the fabric isn't very clear - but its a lovely blue and white stripe chambray from Higgs and Higgs. Soft and easy to wear but it had just the right amount of structure to hold the shape of the dress.


Let me tell you though, if you're not into button holes this is not for the faint hearted. 15 of them keep this beauty from falling off your body. 15.

Fortunately I am lucky enough that my machine does some pretty nice button holes and it made short work of them. I did rotate the top buttonhole however as I did not want to play chicken with the final hole and have it chew up by bodice band. There are a lot of layers in there and no doubt it would have got stuck in them.


Once again the instructions and construction method of this pattern were flawless and gave beautiful results inside and out. Although it took a while to materialize, I'd definitely recommend giving this pattern a go. Just don't forget your bra.

It got finished just in the nick of time and I had some lovely comments on it from people at the Super Sew Day (thank you :blush:) Thank you again to all the sponsors involved in the day, attendees and suppliers of tea for making it a great success :)



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Amy Jumpsuit - Closet Case Patterns

"My jumpsuit brings all the torts to the yard....."  (That's how that song goes right?)


Well, Sammy and Clyde got extremely curious when I was taking pictures of today's creation and they came scooting on over to join in!

I didn't think I was a jumpsuit kind of person, especially RTW where there's actually no chance my top and bottom halves would be the same size. I also didn't think I'd be making any more warm weather gear this year either but here I am with Amy.

The Amy Jumpsuit by Closet Case Patterns seemed to come out of nowhere and initially I was not wholly sure due to it's romper style in the pictures. As more tester pics came out though, and the version with the belt materialized I became a bit obsessed with it, and to get that out of my system, made it.



This fabric is BEAUTIFUL black Tencel from Fabric Magpie.  Perfectly flowing but sturdy enough for an easy sew without it shifting around. Jet black soft natural fibers....yum. A perfect pairing for this pattern.

This was the Craig David of jumpsuits really - bought it from Heather on Monday, pdf printed on Tuesday, arrived and cut it on Wednesday, Thursday sewing it up and wore it on Friday.

Much thanks to Sarah of Print Your Pattern who got this out within minutes of ordering or so it seemed!


Size-wise the instructions said that there was no real need to grade between sizes due to how roomy this jumpsuit is. I spanned 10/12/14 so decided to grade between 10 and 12. It does fit but it's not as loose as others look and it is a tiny bit tight on top. I think next time I would go up a size to a 12/14. I do like however the slightly more fitted feel of this though as the back looks nice and smooth.

I love this jumpsuit but my only gripe is that the zip isn't long enough for me to get in and out of it comfortably. The side zip ends at the top of the pocket, which wasn't quite low enough to get it fully over my hips. (Have I done this wrong?!) I do have to do a rather spectacular wiggle to get in and out of this. It's a one cheek at a time situation. (I'll leave you with that wonderful image) Big booty issues. Not a huge problem but it does make me worry I'll break the zip if I'm out and about! Always travel with a safety pin?

It may also need a slight body lengthen for me however perhaps the larger size would have accommodated this and the zip entry issue, I'm not sure. I wonder also whether the zip could go up the back instead for extra length. I do not want to forgo the pockets as they are obviously a keeper-feature.


The pattern is of course beautifully executed as always, simple but beautiful. The bodice has a lining and the method of attaching this, by rolling the zip seams inwards, was a wonderful new technique to me. The top very much reminded me of the Ogden Cami however I do prefer this method of construction as there's less faffing about involved with the straps.

The shaping of the back is just beautiful and I would love to hack this into a dress version next year. The thick straps get a thumbs up aswell as you can still wear a bra. I reckon this would be good dressed up or down for daytime. What an all rounder!

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Norwich Sewcials - September Super Sew Day!

Myself and Pippa (aka The Fabric Wrangler) are so pleased to announce that we are hosting a Super Sew Day on 8th September!

We created a little sewing community in Norwich in August 2016 after realizing there were absolutely no dressmaking groups, social groups of that sort in our area. And mostly because we decided we needed more friends that loved stroking fabric and chatting all things pattern related. Norwich Sewcials was born.

We now have a wonderful group of regulars and often have people drop in when they can for our monthly evening coffee meet-ups. We have been hosting Sew Days since that time, pretty low key, where we hire a hall and spend all day whipping up projects fueled by tea.

To mark our two year sew-aversary we did however brave up and decide to run a Super Sew Day to treat our lovely sewcialists! We have loved seeing all these meet-ups pop up over the country but alas we have missed out by dates or distance - so we created one for us out here in the sticks!

Super Sew Day will consist of a morning coffee, and attendees will be getting some absolutely AMAZING goody bags - and I mean AMAZING. We'll be having free sewing all day, breaking for a nice lunch and a massive pattern and fabric swap. Let the rummaging begin. We have accumulated an incredible amount of stuff over the 2 years so anything left over will be donated to charity.

In the afternoon we'll be providing an afternoon tea with cakes and drinks, and announce the winners of our Super Sew Day Raffle!

We cannot get over how kind the sewing community and businesses have been in helping us put this day together. A massive thank you to those who have donated goodies for the bags and for raffle prizes. A little shout out goes to the following businesses for their donations:


Fabric Magpie; Simple Sew; Girl Charlee Fabrics, Helen's Closet; Love Sewing Magazine; Minerva Crafts; Sewisfaction; Naked Wines; Empress Mills; Janome UK; Sew Me Sunshine; TiaKnight; Print Your Pattern; Fehr Trade; Pink Coat Club; Sew Over It and Closet Case Patterns

I cannot tell you how much restraint I have been showing in not sharing the entire contents of these bags and raffle with you. Not to spoil the surprise too much, but here's a little glimpse, seeing as I have already released these pics into the wild this week (oops). 


Fingers crossed this all goes well and people want to come- for two fairly socially awkward people this was quite an achievement to put together in the first place.

If you fancy a trip to Norwich, tickets are available now! x

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Pony, Seasalt and Seagulls

This is a pretty mish-mash post today but thought the patterns and fabric were worth a share. And the seaside theme seemed appropriate for the weather :)

First up is a pattern new to me - which is the Chalk and Notch 'Pony Tank'. This totally appealed because me and things that go over leggings will always be friends. And a loose tank that covers the butt - yes! Also I recently been on a mission to find the perfect tank/vest top to make some basics.

Of course, I did not make it basic. I made it seagull.

Breton stripe with a twwwiiiiiisssssttt!!


If anyone was interested the amazing seagull and chips necklace is from Sugar & Vice and was part of a collection for the Maritime Museum.

The fabric is a really soft cotton jersey from Caboodle Textiles, a great source of novelty print and jersey. I've bought a few things from there now, including some Breton stripes with dinosaur! (Will I ever grow up?)

As for sizing, that was great. The shape is not fitted around the waist and hips so I went by the bust measurement and that worked just fine. The original is supposed to be a bit looser I think but that's why I love jersey, so size forgiving!



Having found a bit of leftover fabric in my stash whilst having a clear out, I made my sister a dog version! She's not a fan of tight fitting either so fingers crossed this will fit just right. You may notice a slight 'make it work' moment on the side where I had to add panels in the sides as the fabric was just a tad too small for the entire front piece.


Second up today is the ever so amazing Closet Case Patterns and the Ebony Tee Dress.  This stemmed from a trip to Southwold (the loveliest seaside town ever on the Suffolk coast) where we also took my sister on a recent visit. Beach huts, seagulls and chips there were a plenty (although oddly we could not find a doughnut anywhere) as well as Seasalt shop for browsing.  My sis loves this store and was in heaven and picked out a great stripey dress - however in true crafty family style we thought.....let's make that.

The idea of a simple stripey dress got slightly amplified.

Voila, the Southwold Seagull Ebony Tee was born. Now with added pockets.


I'm happy to report this has been tried and tested and fits. Yay! Selfless sewing success.

Although not that selfless as I bagged the leftover fabric to make the Pony Tank above. Oops.


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Sasha FIERCE

BOOM. Heather Lou drops the mic with another absolute beast of a pattern for Closet Case Patterns.


When this pattern first came out, I didn't rush to make them as I have trouser-fear in so far as there would no doubt be so...much...fitting....

I cut the pattern pieces according to my measurements - grading from a Size 12 at the wait to a Size 16 at the hip, remembering to do the same for all the pocket pieces! To my sheer amazement, when I cut a toile in preparation to spend the next 5 years trying to make them fit - there was nothing wrong!!!!!! The only ::teeeeeennnnyy::: change was to nip it the back seam very slightly for the curve of my back. Barely a scratch in the world of trouser fitting.

These trousers are a real classy affair, with that tailored look to them. You can see from the technical drawing how the pockets and details lay. (My jazzy floral pair make it hard to see!)

Pic from Closet Case Patterns
I went for view A with the diagonal pockets...because pockets. I did however wimp out entirely in making the welt back pockets as that particular thing is not in my repertoire yet and the fabric pattern would have just drowned it out anyway.

After lamenting the sad loss of my Trigger's Bloom floral trousers which never really did fit, I always fancied a floral pair again. Like the speed of light, 3 years later another pair were born! This fabric is stretch sateen from Minerva Crafts bought a little while ago (ahem...about 2 years in the stash).

The construction of these (welt pocket aside) was relatively straight forward and I made them in 30 minute lunch break sections over the course of a week.  If you need a fly front zip tutorial - I have one here!

The best bit is the clashing print on the inside of them. #prettyguts

If you thought these were loud on the outside you should see them inside out. To quote another Only Fools and Horses classic...."Hello?! Can you hear me over those trousers?!"


There's also a cute aqua blue YKK zip in there, just because I thought they needed that extra pop of colour ;-)

The fit on these beasties is absolutely dreamy - they are stretchy and comfortable and for some reason make you feel like you can handle the world wearing them. Have I worn them? No.

But I will. I swear.


If anyone has seen instagram I've had my tattoo updated so my entire back is floral - what with my floral leg aswell my other half remarked that it was difficult to tell where I end and the trousers begin.

These are potentially a tad too cropped - but I don't think it matters as I'd be wearing them with sandals anyway.


Another marvelous feature of these trousers are how the pockets don't stick out like cat ears, which can happen when you have larger hips. I'm pleasantly surprised that the front is nice and flat, but even if it had been a problem, Heather Lou has a solution for that too! Bar tacks on the top and side keep it stuck to your body.

Another Closet Case Patterns love affair starts.... I would make them again as they are wonderful, but I just don't have much need for more tailored trousers right now. A good one for the arsenal though.

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Pin It and Spin It - Maxi Shirt Dress

It's this year's labour of love!


Firstly - let me explain the faux flowers. There has been some complaint (Paula I'm looking at you) about the lack of vegetation on my trellis is the background of my pics. Voila. I hope this is satisfactory for now! (There are passion flowers and Jasmin growing now so hold on!)

To the sewing...

It appears to be some sort of unintentional annual tradition that I crack out the Winifred Aldrich pattern cutting bible and spend forever trying to realize some pipe dream idea.

This time around it was this picture that kicked it all off:


I had it on my Pinterest board for ages and just loved the casual vibes of what could actually be a fancy dress. And of course, it's just beautiful.

Merci to The Fabric Wrangler for some assistance with this, as I spent several weeks at sewing class drafting out the basic bodice, then altering everything to have button plackets, sleeves that actually go around my bicep and a lovely collar and stand.

I did want this to be a loose fitted dress, taken in with a belt however I do now feel it should be a touch more fitted. The original draft has small horizontal darts in the front and vertical darts in the back to shape it to my body a bit.


Unfortunately I added double seam allowance at the waist in a drafting error and so this fell very low. It bothered me for ages so I dismantled the whole thing in the quest for some satisfaction. Whilst I was at it I also added some extra vertical darts in the front although it's still very loose.


I am generally quite pleased with the outcome - but a mini gripe is that as I took up the waist level, this shortened the dress so a bit of an awkward mid-shin length rather than the intended flowy maxi I had envisaged swanning about some Italian piazza with wine in hand in. I also feel a bit 'wide' wearing it which is annoying. Basically what I'm saying is that it didn't magically turn me into that woman in the Pinterst pic haha.

Potentially I'm being rather harsh on myself as at the end of the day, I drafted a bloody shirt dress wooop!! The looseness is also rather handy for the heatwave so it's probably a good job its not any tighter.


Time to get it worn now!

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Sailing Away with Kalle...

No you're eyes do not deceive you. Yes its the Kalle dress. Again.

Old English sea shanty - "Yo ho ho, those are the pasty knees of an Englishman..."

I know I can't do much of a review here as I've made 4 already... so really that's all the review you need I think.

I did make some very minor changes to the pattern on this one though so it's not technically identical! (::trying to justify it to myself::) I omitted the deep curved hem and just cut it straight across. This was just you're basic shirt dress so no leg flashing necessary, I'm fairly tall so found the height of the curve came pretty high up my thigh last time. Leveling off the hem still gave it that nice dipped shaping which I quite liked.


Vogue Edit - "White Leg and Trucker Arm Tan all the rage this season"
Second minor hack was to miss out the sleeve cuffs. The pattern calls for a couple of bands around the arms but to be fair it really doesn't need them, its just a nice addition to the full design. This print is pretty busy anyway so I left them out.


I do need to rave for just a second about this awesome fabric. It's from Cotton Reel Studio
and is the most beautiful drape viscose. Yummy. As luck would have it I also had the best buttons for this project in the stash. Now these buttons were bought right when I first started sewing, I had no clue what to make with them I just thought they were nice and ended up with about 50 of them! They've sat in a jar all these years so I'm so pleased they got to fulfill their button destiny after all this time, especially on something I know I will actually wear. (Anyone else get sentimental about their stash?!)


This one was made to be belted and the blousy-ness lends itself well to that, the back pleat looks lovely and straight even when nipped in.




I think I shall be hanging up my Kalle obsession for a little while and trying something new - however like all addictions it will be difficult to kick the habit.

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Union Street Party - Dress Hack

Sooooooooo........ this pattern lends itself pretty well to a tee dress. 

::disappears stage left to make ALL the tee dresses::


Don't get me wrong, I love a Lodo like the next guy but damn there's something juicy about the Union Street Tee. It's my new favourite basic dont'cha know. It's all about that bass...no wait, I mean drape. I just LOVE how this relaxed tee hangs. 

Much to my dismay/reluctant acceptance I can no longer wear anything too body clingy or tight. I just ain't shaped for that any more. My brain and body has taken a right ol' bashing this last year and I've dramatically changed shape, for the larger. That being said I've started weight lifting (shout out to Sallie Oh and Gemma Lipstick, Lettuce & Lycra for that help and recommendation) so some of that is becoming muscle....which is nice.....but not all. Anyway what I'm saying is, I need new summer clothes and this fits the bill! It's loose but not a sack, its comfy and its so easy to throw on and go. My ideal criteria as you may well know.



This hack from t-shirt pattern to dress was really as simple as just drawing a line down from the hip. The t-shirt pattern itself is already quite long i.e. it hits the hip rather than above it and so drafting downwards was quite straight forward - in fact there was no drafting involved, I just laid out the front and back pieces with enough room below and kept on snipping.
 
So how about this fabric?! My love for a sea creature continues and I was lucky enough to bag a bit of this Cotton + Steel jersey fabric in 'Mystery Food' from Sew Me Sunshine.

Harriet has been absolutely killing it recently with her fabric stock, so much so that the next purchase turned me into a fabric-hunting-lunatic and was checking my phone daily for restocks. Then it reappeared! Yes, it's that rainbow jersey that is all over Instagram (or at least it was - there's always one late to the party).



Those colours, those lines! The reason I was obsessed about this is because it reminded me colour-wise of a Sonia Rykiel dress that played on my mind for years. Sad, but true. Of course unable to afford an original I gave up, however H&M brought out an affordable(ish) range in 2010 but alas that sold out within about 60 seconds. In fact that was about the time I started sewing...

source: H&M

But like fate, the stripes came back into my life and now I can make my own dress! There was a time where I only ever wore black, so the fact I'm willing to pop on a multi-coloured stripey dress is bizarre. Yet great. Life now has colour in it :)


Wishing you all a good week x

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Thread Theory - Strathcona Men's T-shirt

A bit of selfless sewing here today - one for the gents. This one is the Strathcona T-Shirt by Tread Theory.
 

I was in two minds about posting this as the shirt is so far removed from the original pattern that I'm not sure it counts as an actual Strathcona t-shirt anymore... In fact I spent the entire time calling it Strathclyde by mistake. I guess that is fitting. (Unlike the first attempt at this tee).

The men's t-shirt pattern was recommended to me by the lovely Laura of Fabric Habit who has made several for her fella and highly rated it. 

I had just under a meter of this amazing Octopus fabric (Mystery Food by Cotton + Steel) from Sew Me Sunshine leftover from another project (coming soon ;) and really wanted to make a present out of it as my other half loves this print.


This was my first foray into Thread Theory patterns and I am a bit of a convert now I think. I bought the PDF ad had it taped up within the hour. This was an XL which looked huge once cut out but actually ended up fitting really well in the important places- so the measurement chart is very accurate I would say.

The only odd fitting part was that we found the length of the t-shirt to be really long. I cut a bit off - however I obviously misjudged and cut too much off - therefore I folded that piece into a band and sewed it back on. Impromptu hem band.

I also totally messed the neckline up as the neck band was way too big and therefore gaped horrendously. After putting it down and mulling it over a while (look no hissy fit, my how I've grown) - it was fixed by pinching the excess out of the front and creating a mild v-neck instead.


So considering the Strathcona is actually supposed to be a rounded-neck, Henley style shirt - this one looks nothing like the packet. Although that is entirely my fault. And the end result is entirely wearable and the best bit is he loves it too :)


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