Ho Ho Ho - Merry McCalls M6884!

A little pre-holiday festive post today!

Following the success of the bug dress last week - which was a wearable toile of McCalls M6884  I went on to cut my 'real' dress which was to be this years Christmas party outfit.

The adjustments made were exactly the same as the last version - I also used the 'super ponte' from Anglian Fashion Fabrics as it is just such great quality and a real jet black.

In true maker fashion, I finished sewing about 2 hours before we were due to leave for said office party - and so I could only grab some pictures before the cab was arriving! I also forgot to wear the belt in the photos aswell but I did remember it seconds before leaving....

The neckline gaped quite heavily on this version so I had to use 'lingere tape' (tit tape to us commoners) to stick it down a bit and avoid a wardrobe malfunction mid-turkey dinner.

Once again though - I would really recommend this pattern, a quick and satisfying make - with a slightly asymmetric hem to make it interesting. Went for a bit of a vintage vibe with this one - the long sleeves were great for the colder weather.

So whatever you may or may not be celebrating this year - I wish everyone a good break and mini relax this holiday :)

(It's also a mini-farewell from Clyde for the time being with fewer photo bombs until Spring as he heads into hibernation shortly!)

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McCalls M6884 - L'├ędition des insectes

Let me just start by saying - I LOVE THIS DRESS. It's one of the few makes I'm actually quite proud of, in so far as it fits, and it works, and its a bit weird. And its a bit...French? I have no idea why but just a feeling. (Apologies all French people out there if I have offended your chic-ness).

In addition to my crazy pom-pom fabric purchase at Anglia Fashion Fabrics - I also picked up this really nice jersey. Bug print! (Or 'Crispy Crickets' as they were called) It is not actually that stretchy but the inside is like flannel! Super cosy. I have also recently seen MinervaCrafts selling this in various colourways. Ooooo.

The pattern I'm using here is McCalls M6884 - with View A extended for a midi-length. I was searching high and low for a great wrap dress pattern when a kind soul on the Facebook MCalls Group suggested this one. Perfect!

(It was not without controversy however - when I asked for a v-neck/thigh slit wrap dress, much to my confusion there was much horror from several very conservative folks who basically suggested that I was an inappropriate slut for choosing such a pattern and showing my body - don't you just love the Internet. So much for female solidarity and the right to wear what you want. Therefore if a glimpse of my knee and non-cleavage causes you to gasp I suggest looking away now.)

ANYWAY - back to the pattern. This is an absolute gem as it only consisted of 3 pattern pieces - 4 if you want a belt. I cut and used a size 14 however it did come out a little big. Thanks to the forgiving shape and simple pattern I just pinned out the excess and whizzed up the sides with my overlocker.

The instructions were very easy to follow although I did largely ignore them and just went for it. Next time I would try not to accidentally cut through my notches at the waist as the only tricky bit was getting the two front pieces to lay evenly over each other.

I made the belt however it gets lost a bit in the print, a nice touch none the less.  Despite concerns about how high the split goes, its actually really 'secure' and gives good coverage. I did one minor alteration and that was to stitch the neckline closed so it didn't gape. Only took an afternoon to make so that was very satisfying!

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Here's looking at you... Modified Grainline Lark!

Ahhhh that moment when you stare into your wardrobe for something to wear...and it can stare right back at you.

It all started after I went on a fabric shopping bender at Anglian Fashion Fabrics as part of our Norwich Sewcials group. We had a lovely late night shopping event in the store, with some great demonstrations about sewing with jersey.

Then the graphic print jersey was cracked out and I lost my mind. I was heavily mocked, but come on - pom poms with eyes...what's not hilarious and amazing about that.

How menacing is the blue one!

This could quite easily have been filed under Oona Balloona's infamous 'what were you drinking' category - however after much deliberation over what to actually make with it, I like the result!

It was going to be a skirt, then a t-shirt, then some leggings - but it ended up as a Lark!

The Grainline Studio Lark Tee fast became one of my favourites - it was a basic staple last Chrismas, I've aready butchered it once into a vintage floral dress, and here it is again today having its moment as a lovely boat neck tee dress.

The pattern was modified by raising the neckline and extending the shoulders to form a built in cap sleeve. I exrended the patern down from the hipline and then slashed it where the contrast panel was to go. Its the same backward as forwards.

The black fabric is also  from AFF and was described as 'Super Ponte'. I am in love with it. It was a dream to sew, the black is BLACK and its thick enough to be flatering on the body and hold its shape but thin enough to drape. LOVE IT.

Now what to make with the leftover pom-pom creaures.....

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Yes Duck! Simple Sew Pattern 'Duo of Skirts'

After much delay on the sewing front - it was a pleasure to get my sewjo back again with this fantastic pattern by Simple Sew.

It quite literally is what it says on the tin - it is simple to sew, therefore a perfect beginners project.

With this pattern you get a choice of two pencil skirts - the first is a more 'relaxed' fit tie waist version which the lovely Eleanor of Nel Nan and Nora made up a little while ago in floral print. The second is a typical 'wiggle' version which I have used here!

This little pattern is a dream to whip up in an afternoon! Upon gauging my size according to the chart I cut a 16 (just for reference , I am a UK 12 in RTW so this shows you how sewing sizes can vary - pick for your measurements not your ego!)

If you are between sizes, you can just grade from waist to hip - in this case as my hip is the larger measurement I used that size, knowing that as this skirt just has 2 side seams - it was so easy to adjust to fit in the sewing stages. Once you've whizzed up the skirt pieces - try it on and pin to fit! In the end I shaved about an inch each side from the waist, 1/2 inch each side from the hips and 1/4 inch down each side to the hem. When you've got it all snug and fitted, then move onto the waistband.

The fabric is a wonderful linen-look cotton from Minerva Crafts  - it is medium/heavy weight and  was a bit worried about how stiff it would be but it turned out to be ideal for a pencil skirt as the thickness creates the shape and holds well, hiding lumps and bumps in the process! And yes... those are embroidered ducks. Little individual embroidered ducks.

Inadvertent duck matching at the back vent/walking slit!

The combination of this pattern and the fabric hit the nail on the head with my ever elusive ideal style of 'quirky chic' (quacky chic in this case ;)

This skirt is unlined but I've worn a vented waist slip underneath it from good ol' M&S that stops clothes sticking to tights. Nan's know what they're doing.

And should there be judgement on my choice as an adult to wear tiny rubber ducks...do we care?.... Do we duck.

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From Porto With Love - or Norwich....the sentiment was the same.

Today I'm just sharing an attempt at a bag I made for a very special friend who helped me through one of the crappiest months in ages. Here's to November - October can do one.

I'm hoping by now she has received it and knows what it is otherwise I have just ruined the surprise - sorry mate!

I really enjoy making bags and its something I would like to improve upon next year - they are great but really time consuming to do properly with all the bells and whistles. I would have like this to have had far more features than it does but time ticked on and it needed to reach its new owner...

The fabric is by Sarah Watts for Cotton + Steel and is called 'From Porto With Love' - I thought this was perfect for my pal as she's a big cat lover and is currently flitting between here and the Mediterranean for her love who is placed there at the moment, so she's not had it easy either.

 It's just a really simple leather bottomed tote bag, leather straps and a navy blue contrast top stitch and lining inside. Hopefully it will get some use!

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More McCalls M6044 - Things Got Nautical

After a what seems like (and what actually is) a very long break from sewing - I finally have a few mins to myself to get back on the blog and share a couple of makes I finished before me and the man went to Florida!

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of the McCalls M6044 shirt pattern - its a good looking shirt that's really quite straight forward to put together, and comfortable to wear so I'm told.

Haing previously made this octopus version -when Cotton + Steel brought out the same fabric in those gorgeous blue colours we knew another shirt was destined to happen. I used the sapphire fabric for a skirt and the navy on white was perfect for a summer M6044!


As a nice accompanyment to the shirt - we even found Kraken Rum - which turns out is delicious.

The biggest compliment ever was when the fella wore this out to a restaurant, and the manager came out from the back and asked where he got it - then asked me if I took orders! I have actually made the chap some cushions with the fabric I had left over - fingers crossed he likes them - shout out to The Drayard Smokehouse in Norwich for such good taste in fabric (and food!) ;)

As ths shirt was a hit - another one followed shortly after - lobsters this time! I'll spare you another post and just add it on here. This was cotton poplin bought from Fabric Godmother.

Just need to try the long sleeve version next!

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An Archer in the Stars

As part of my night class assignments we had to make, fit and create a shirt.... what a perfect opportunity to try out the Grainline Studio Archer Shirt!

This shirt has been on my 'to make' list for ages (and apparently my 'to blog' list aswell having finished it in May!) - having already stalked several hundred versions on the interwebs as inspiration. One of my favs is Meg's version on Cookin' & Craftin' - I even went so far as to buy the exact same fabric as her. (Girl/Shirt Combo-Crush). In winter. Being as it was coming into summer at the time I made it - a hot flannel shirt was probably not the best of ideas. (Although to be fair it is the UK so you never know.)

A cooler breezier fabric was needed - enter the amazingness which is.....Constellation Cotton! My inner space nerd is happy.

This super-geek fabric was obtained from Fabworks Mill some time ago. I WAS going to add space buttons aswell but,,,,that was a bit much really.

The pattern itself was lovely to assemble - and once I'd found the step-by-sep sewalong pages the instructions were very clear.

I made a couple of alterations to the pattern after making a toile.

Toile Version
The sleeves were quite billowy therefore I removed 4cm from the length at the shorten line. I also wanted more of a tunic length to wear over leggings therefore I added 10cm to the length of the body of the shirt. I also found some lovely blue pearlescent buttons that matched quite nicely.

I ignored the instructions for the collar and went with The Fabric Wrangler method which is also the version on Four Square Walls - so much easier to get a neat finish - have a look if you've not tried this :)

Weird smug face - I could get no decent pictures today!

Apparently this little guy was a fan of my cuffs and plackets
 Will definitely be using this pattern again - perhaps the flannel version will get made soon for autumn/winter wear!

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Ogden Cami - True Bias

I needed a quick and easy project for the Sewing Weekender and the Ogden Cami by True Bias seemed to fit the bill.

Turns out when you're surrounded by people and massively distracted it was neither quick nor easy!

After measuring and using the size chart I came out as an 8 - 10...which rang alarm bells as I haven't been a size 8 in any sewing pattern ever. A quick toile was required to satisfy the suspicions and I'm glad I did. The front fit quite nicely however I was completely trapped in at the back and way too broad for the size. I flexed my arms forward in hulk style and it ripped straight down the centre back!

Mini panic set in as I had to pack that evening and I had no idea how to fix the pattern - however lovely boyfriend stepped up and pinned a spare bit of fabric into the gap made by the rip and drew the V back in! Genius. So the toile got dismantled and I was able to retrace the Frankenstein back piece into a new pattern piece.

We're off on our holidays to see some giant tortoises soon, so a tropical turtle print fabric from Minerva Crafts seemed appropriate! It's a cotton batik and therefore not particularly drapey which is a shame so the effect is a bit boxy.

In theory it should have been quite simple to assemble but I managed to mess the straps up several times by not reading the instructions properly - as I say I was very distracted! Due to the pattern alteration I had to make the back V does sit very low but I think it looks ok. I'm also struggling for decent pictures of this one but here is the general idea:

It is really enjoyable to make as its very neatly finished, its also half-lined for modesty and ease of bra-lessness in hot weather.

 I also had some liberty print left over from my Anna Dress last year and managed to squeeze another Ogden out of it! Seems a little fabric goes a long way with this pattern. This is cotton lawn and just a fraction softer for draping - but still not quite what the pattern calls for.

I do have a third one on the go! Goldilocks style the third fabric choice might be just right. Its a buttery soft viscose from The Textile Centre in Royal Blue. Mmmmm..... drapey, soft and lovely.

An extra 1cm of seam allowance was cut aswell for a bit of extra under arm room on this one. Fingers crossed it turns out well as I love the colour!

Update: It was lovely!

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Crafty Clyde goes to The Sewing Weekender!

Well what a weekend it was!

I arrived late Friday to be greeted by a concerned security man as I had wandered into the gardens of the Cambridge University campus in the dark and he'd picked me up on CCTV. Hilarious.

Punting in Cambridge - didn't have a go but just watched :)
Once settled however the weekend, organised by Charlotte of English Girl at Home and Rachel and Kate of The Fold Line - was outstanding! I even got to join them for breakfast on Saturday morning and was made to feel welcome despite my ridiculous nervyness. 

Charlotte and Kate 
Right from the start there was a serious excitable buzz going on as we were handed some amazing goody bags and a box of supplies from Adam Ross Fabrics. So many sewing ladies all in one room!!

I was on a table with Pippa from The Fabric WranglerEliza Sew-Little who works in Guthrie and Ghani,  and Melissa Fehr of Fehr Trade! They were an absolute comedy dream, very funny ladies.

tiny sewing machines
 I didn't actually get a great deal of sewing done - was too busy chatting, drinking tea, being overwhelmed by all the 'sewing celebs' in the room- but did finish an Ogden Cami just in the nick of time and wore it out for dinner. Turtle print - naturally. I'll blog about that another time as I have a second one in the making aswell...

A very tasteful Ogden Cami...
Sewing prefects were fantastic and went from table to table helping out and chatting away. I couldn't believe my luck when Elena from Randomly Happy stopped by for a chat. #fangirl I also failed to remain cool when Rachel from House of Pinheiro made an appearance, and even selected some of my fabric in the stash swap!

Day 2 was a little calmer as we had several talks on different subjects. I absolutely loved Rachel's discussion on inspiring creativity and the idea of 'finding your sandwich' (basically if you were to make a sandwich that represented you, what is it?!). Here is my sandwich! As someone who works in a very black and white industry (law) it was such a refreshment to hear about all this creative thinking and ways of getting your brain free to design and edit your own thoughts.

Marilla Walker was also fascinating to me because she has a clearly obsessive and inquisitive nature - I mean who else would make 20 toile versions of a bra...just because!! She gave a brilliant insight into her processes and why she does what she does.

Elena gave a talk on creating a meaningful wardrobe - which quite frankly made me fall in love with her a bit. That woman is hilarious. It certainly made me re-evaluate my ever growing sewing list and personal style. I really do think I'm going to delete the list and liberate myself from these self-imposed shackles of guilt induced by 'patterns bought but never made'.

Tilly and the Buttons (minus the Buttons) gave a very insightful glimpse into how she started and the behind the scenes of how a pattern comes to life - she also hinted of September and January new pattern releases!
Sewing talks
There were so many other lovely speakers and attendees that I could go on for ages - but needless to say it was a pretty epic weekend!

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