Melilot - Of Bugs and Buttons

Coming at you today with BUGS.

I have been looking for a casual shirt dress pattern for ages, something with a collar and all the features but with a loose vibe about it. After a couple of disaster makes, I tried a the suggestion of an extended Melilot shirt.

The pattern here is of course the Deer & Doe Melilot shirt which has been extended past the hip line to about knee length. I used the short sleeve version which gave a beautiful drape and reshaped the collar to a traditional point, just because I'm not a round collar kinda gal.

The size is 46/48 however I did add about an extra 1cm to the side seams to be sure it got over my hips for a dress version. It was fine!

I also changed the placket on this one - having previously made an invisible placket version  as I love a good button and wanted them on show.

As luck would have it I raided the stash and found this epic galaxy pink and turquoise buttons, that matched the colours of my bug applique perfectly! A bit of sewing fate there.

The fabric used here is buttery soft viscose linen blend from Sew Me Sunshine in Aqua. It is so lovely to the touch and very airy for hot days.

So this dress was actually a 'test dress' for a black one I want to make, much actually I think I like my bug toile more than what I was planning!

I will definitely be using the Melilot again for future dress incarnations as the shape is one that agrees with me.

Wishing you all well on this bank holiday! 

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Sirocco - Secret PJs

Hey folks

Just hopping back on the blogging wagon to share a little make that I absolutely love, in contrast to last week's rambling!

I did make this ages ago though.... back when my brain was at better capacity. As you can tell from the sunshine (and the last remaining colour in my hair before it returned to a weird lockdown-brown-grey)!

It is a repeat of the fabulous Sirocco Jumpsuit by Deer & Doe. 

My previous incarnation was made in a sparkly denim and had a bit of a festive vibe about it so jet black was the order of the day.

This gorgeous organic cotton jersey if from Jelly Fabrics - absolutely perfect weight and consistency for a jumpsuit.  (LOVE that site, it's one of my go-to jersey peoples).

The size is 44 on top and 46 on the bottom, and a pattern alteration making the waistband twice the width. This gave me a bit more length in the body but without bringing the neckline down further. I don't know if it's the colour masking things but this version seems to fit way better than the previous. (Granted the previous did get hacked a bit so I lost a few cm on the top)

It makes me feel quite chic wearing this. Plus it's an epic option to throw on with trainers or whack on heels for times when we may see the outdoor world again.

I'd like to wear it with some crazy necklaces or some colourful earrings. Just a little shout out to SapphireFrills  who made me some AMAZING clip-on earrings. She has done this rainbow range for NHS charity donations and I'm thinking they'd be fab with my new jumpsuit. (This is not an advert or sponsor by the way, I just really like her and her indie business).

So there we go - not much to say apart from great jumpsuit, perfect for pear shapes, super comfortable especially for these days at home!

I shall admit to having bought yet more jersey for a blue version however I shall spare you a third blog post about that!

Hope everyone is keeping well out there - stay safe!

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Stitched Up - Sewing Fails

Happy Sunday all...

On a different theme to my usual project posts, I've just come on today to have a bit of a ramble and share some sewing 'fails'.

I really have lost my sew-jo over these last few weeks. Everything Midus touched turned to gold, everything I'm touching turns to crap.

It leaves me wondering. Is this a lockdown thing?

The whole lockdown thing bothered me at first and mega anxiety returned - however after switching off the news for several weeks and just carrying on as 'usual' I thought I was ok. I work at home anyway and that hasn't changed so staying in was not unusual. But it feels different.

I've worked more than I ever have pre-lockdown and feel tired (no I'm not complaining about having work - just an observation). I'm getting continually fat despite trying to exercise everyday and eat well, and now my hobby is annoying me.  And don't get me started on the guilt I feel for not making scrubs or PPE right now.

This is not a 'woe is me' post - I am more than aware what people are doing out there to save lives and give their all. Me feeling a bit odd pales into insignificance. But just sharing - in case anyone felt the same.

Plus I thought I'd share some project 'fails' to mix things up a bit and amuse myself with a bit of comedy in the ridiculous  :)

Terrible Trousers

My first bright idea was to have a go at another foray into the world of trouser drafting.... this time with Suzy Furrer on Bluprint. (What used to be Craftsy).

It must first be said that after doing about 4 pages of mathematical calculations I wasn't sure if I was about to wear these trousers or launch them into space.

After a considerable amount of time and effort, I made my toile and...... well, I wanted to cry a bit. They went in the UFO pile. Today they went in the recycling. Who needs trousers anyway while we're all at home...

Shit Shirt Dress  

Finding a new love for Style Arc patterns I treated myself to some glorious black tencel and a Mara shirt dress pattern to make myself a chic looking outfit. The universe had other ideas. 

It sewed up like a dream but as soon as I put it on the dream was over. My Hulk Hogan arms didn't fit through the sleeved and it was too tight on the hips. Turns out I'd made a 14, not a 16 and just hadn't noticed because the pattern only came in a 1 size format. I tried to salvage it by making it sleeveless. I was a handlebar moustache and cap away from being some dude called Chad riding a pick up truck. Project abandoned.

I've kept this one though as it's since been chopped to hip level and will be made into a tunic just so I can ease my conscience about the fabric...


Melilot Le Merde
Just to clarify the pattern is not le merde, it's rather wonderful,  it's just that my project is not.  
Following the shirt dress pattern fail above, I went on a mission looking for a flared skirt one that would work better for my hips. As I loved the Melilot shirt so much, altering that could be a good option. 
Off I went with a bit of turquoise leopard. Doing my best to cut every piece carefully, following the notches etc. I was so chuffed with myself I managed to get it on the fabric.
I sewed it up - then realized I cut two left front pieces. There was no salvaging that. Recycle.  

Knit Happens
I'm including this just because it's quite amusing but t be kind to myself, this was the first garment I have ever knit so that in itself was a mini win.  
I got a lovely Wool and The Gang kit a while back in the sale and have JUST finished it.

There are stray threads everywhere but again, cutting myself some slack as I have no clue how to 'weave the ends in' and just kinda winged it. However, I still can't help being a bit disappointed that it just doesn't fit :(

Once again it's an arms thing. My arms are just squeezed tight by the dropped sleeve seam. Whilst the sleeves flail about in the wind. If anyone knows a well dressed Orangutan that would love a sweater let me know.
Not really a fail though - I did enjoy making this and that was the point of the knitting was just the action of doing it.

So with that I shall now have a little sewing break! I'll post some more in coming weeks as I made some things pre-sewjo-loss that I haven't managed to take pics of yet.

For now I think I just need to concentrate on waking up, showering and dressing myself. The rest can come after that....

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Wrapped In Love - Ellie & Mac

The other week Norwich Sewcials had a 'virtual retreat' instead of the actual planned holiday that should have taken place. But let's not dwell on that. As part of the retreat I just fancied making something a little frivolous to perk myself up.

I had stashed some gorgeous stripe jersey from Fabric Magpie a year or two ago with the intention of making a maxi t-shirt dress for summer - this never materialized. It's beautifully soft and opaque and I loved that the stripes were irregular. I think she still has this for sale!

Pic from Fabric Magpie
For some weird reason I had an email pop up from Ellie & Mac - a pattern company I had never heard of before. It's got some fairly cute designs, very similar feel to Patterns for Pirates and that kind of thing. Low and behold a maxi dress popped up on sale so I thought I'd give something new a try!

The Wrapped In Love pattern is a basic(ish) t-shirt bodice and a faux wrap skirt. It takes up a LOT of fabric but fortunately I had hoarded 3m and it was just right to fit on.

I think I made the XXL size but as the skirt is a wrap style it's fairly forgiving if you don't get the exact size cut.

It whipped up fairly quickly however I did have to make some adjustments. The bodice was too short so I added a 'waistband' strip onto the bottom of it (about 2"). To be fair the instructions do tell you to make bodice adjustments for just this but I sort of....did not read them at all.

The other thing I failed to spot was that the waist is gathered. Ughh. Me and gathers are not friends.

The above picture is attempt number 1 and I just felt so frumpy and massive around the middle. In slight despair that I'd wasted the day making this, I had a Tim Gunn 'Make It Work' moment and took the scissors to it.

Off came the bodice, out came all the gathers and I reshaped the skirt as an A-line shape to match up with the waist seam. Much better!

Here I am feeling it. Feeling less of a dumpling anyway.

I think it helped that the sun was shining and I went out for a lovely glass of wine on the patio whilst wearing the dress pretending I was in San Tropez or something.

Without gathers the back is also a lot more flattering as it takes out all that poofy volume.

The dress comes with a waist tie which I quite like as it breaks up the designs and hides the waist seam nicely. The only change I still need to make is to sew down the leg split a bit because when you sit or the wind gets up, it gets a bit x-rated.

So not the greatest thing I've ever made but not the worst either. I have worn it which is something, but promptly spilled curry on it so spent the next 2 days trying to sun bleach turmeric out of the front. It worked. Phew.

I feel a bit indifferent to this make which is a shame however it is a nice break from leggings/t-shirt uniform of home working and the sleeves make it a good choice for cooler weather. It's not been written off - perhaps it's a slow burner and eventually I'll be Wrapped In Love.

 You may cringe now.

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Melilot - What a Star

Greetings Earthlings.

Does it all feel a bit alien right now? In an attempt to crack on as normal I though another blog post was in order - and this time a new pattern! (To me..)

WHY haven't I cracked on with the Deer & Doe Melilot shirt before now?! I'll tell you for why.

I've had this pattern in the stash since it was released, however in my inexperience, I did try this in some super slippy viscose and completely messed up the hidden button placket. Rage ensued - the fabric got recycled - and the pattern went back in the box. And there it stayed.

A few years older and slightly more wiser - and with the knowledge it's ok to ask for help - I revisited this pattern at my weekly sewing class.

Some nice black viscose from Stoff & Stil fit the bill for this - it had been destined for a dress but it turned out to be a little too sheer for that. A top would be fine for it but no-one wants a semi-see-through butt. The fabric itself is jet black and perfect for what I intended with this starry night shirt.

I traced the pattern off again from scratch - Size  46/48 - which is the upper size for this paper pattern (however they have now released larger sizes in PDF format).

In the spirit of 'eat the ugly bug first' I thought I'd tackle the dreaded placket straight away.

With the assistance of The Fabric Wrangler and encouragement of pals I cracked it - lots of marking, lots of ironing, and a folded paper version for reference!

As it turns out, it's one of my favourite features of this shirt - hidden gold stars!!!

I made the long sleeve version as I wanted to test the pattern in full - if that fit no doubt the short sleeve version would be fine.

There were 2 minor alterations made to the pattern:

1. Straightened the collar point (I just don't like rounded collars)
2. I didn't do the proper chimney cuff plackets - I went for a strip of fabric, where you fold it over like bias binding - no idea what this is called properly! This is because I knew I'd mess the other kind up and at this point I liked the shirt and didn't want extra hassle.

The finished item is great! I love the length of the shirt, it's got good coverage for leggings but isn't necessarily a tunic length so also looks smart with jeans etc. The dropped shoulders make it super comfy and it's basically an all round awesome pattern.

 So let's just address the elephant/frog in the room here. Yes there is a star gazing frog on my shirt.

I don't imagine anyone will have been paying that much attention to my ramblings but he did already make an appearance on my Willamette shirt here.

That shirt just never got worn - the wrinkles on the front bothered me and the fabric was a bit too thick. So I unpicked the frog and tried version 2.0. The stars are cut on my Cricut Maker using some Happy Glitter from Happy Fabrics - this stuff is amazing.

Mr Frog and his Happy Glitter choices...
 I'm actually quite chuffed at how I managed to scatter the stars 'randomly' and they extend just over the back and down the sleeve.It's really difficult to capture in the photos but they are 'antique gold glitter'. (The top gold in the pic above)

The shirt has already been worn out in the wild (before the stay at home situation!) and even received some complaints on it's quirky nature. Of course I flashed a bit of placket ;-)

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Villanelle and the Mighty Sports Bra

Sliding in a little late to the Killing Eve references but did not want to miss the chance to share this little number...

If anyone watched Series 2 no doubt you will have seen Villanelle's rather marvelous Pyjamas/escape outfit. It had the news going mad for where you could buy a set. But from where?!

Turns out it was custom made from good-ol' British Funkifabrics!! I definitely could not resist this little fabric purchase. And it was little, as I could only get 1 meter. Pj's were definitely out of the running - however the material is flex-Lycra so you wouldn't want to be sleeping in them in any case!

What is brilliant and what you can't see in the show, is that there are also silver glittery bits adding that little bit 'extra' to fabric that's already quite extra in its own right.

Pic from Funkifabrics

So I was reading a post the other day, and it had also been mentioned in Yoga with Adrien that power poses can affect how you feel. Makes sense. Apparently standing like a super hero lowers the levels of cortisol in our blood and increases levels of testosterone, which elevates confidence. Feeling a bit hefty of late let's give it a go.....

Confident like Villanelle? Not sure about that. Paranoid about my neighbours watching me do this, yes.

This little number consists of The Mighty Sports Bra by Evie LaLuve.

I had heard the pattern ran quite small but I cut my measurements as per the chart provided and it was great! It's obviously very stretchy and therefore forgiving but this bad boy is going to hold you in for any sport that is for sure! For the first attempt at the pattern I went full bells and whistles to check all the elements.  I would definitely make another of these, even just the basic version without overlay.

It's far from perfect as my attempts at fold over elastic were a bit wonky and stretched out however the overall effect is ok. I'm also bigger than the mannequin so the wonky bits actually stretch out and sit flat on mine when I'm wearing it.

The top is compressed and designed as a sport bra rather than a lounge bra and therefore it has good length. The interior is double lined and there's even room to pop foam inserts for extra oomph and support. My cover stitch did NOT enjoy the thick elastic band at the bottom.

The leggings are whipped up from Apostrophe Patterns 'My Fit' Leggings.

You input your measurements and hey presto, a leggings pattern pops out. These are plain and simple ones with a contour waistband. I've also encased 1.5" elastic in the top of these aswell for extra hold around the middle! Ridiculously comfy.

Now to be honest, I will never wear this whole outfit out of the house like in the pics, and if I do it will be with a more appropriate vest-top over it! That being said it's a fab 'costume' and would be good for something like a fun run or Tough Mudder etc. So much fun to make!

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Shall we get us thingies?

A weird title yes, but highly relevant to today’s make. Well at least to me anyway.

The Fennel Fanny Pack.

Or in my mind, French holidays in the late 80’s and 90’s with my cousins which are now etched into my memory as synonymous with THE BUM BAG.

Who would have thought a bum bag would bring up so much emotion! Armed with these wonder bags strapped to our fronts, feeling like the cast of Fresh Prince, off we’d wander into foreign towns, solving mysteries like the Hardy Boys and being chased on bikes by dogs. Warm air on our backs, cicada beetles humming and laughing ‘til we dropped down. To cool off, our Fab Four would attempt to order refreshing Soleros in our best school kid French - before delving into that bum bag for those holiday centimes... a few confused exchanges between les enfants anglaises and the moustachioed shop keeper led to ‘shall we get us thingies?’ in broad Yorkshire dialect, and as if by magic - the ice cream was ours. Joy.

All that from a bit of fabric and zip.

These are fun to make, relatively straight forward (except trying to wrangle rectangles into corners) and best of all - the joyful bit of Snoopy lining inside! The only change I made to the construction was to make the main bag and lining bag separately and drop the lining inside, hand stitching it to the zip closure. This meant no need for binding all the internal seams!

Vive la bum bag. I’m happy it’s back.

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