Nina Lee - In The Kew

I'm not sure I need another summer dress pattern.... I found my perfect version!

And made it three times.

Enter the Kew Dress into my life. To be honest I've swerved Nina Lee patterns as they always seemed rather 'girly' and I wrongly assumed that they were only for very slender petite figures. I could not have been more wrong.

The pattern cropped up as a result of a Minerva project #minervamakes a little while back where I was kindly gifted some digital print cotton and challenged to make something that showed off the print. The result was this absolute beauty:

I won't say too much about this as my project post will go live on 25th September on Minerva's blog where you can have a browse of the pattern hacks. I'll give you a little peek at how I felt about it though!

I was all prepared for a week's worth of pattern adjusting and fitting, having just fully given up on a Deer & Doe Magnolia dress (oh the hours of my life I will not get back).

Checking measurements carefully I went for a size 14 at the bust graded to 16 at the waist and hip. To my utter astonishment - it fit!!!!!! Not one adjustment was made to the patterns. No broad back, no bust faff, Nada. Unbelievable. Even better is that this dress totally covers bra straps which is pure genius.

My tulip field version is a soft cotton poplin and sewed up really well and without issue. The zebra print version is cotton fabric from Fabrics Galore I bought an age ago at the Sewing Bee Exhibition!

This one was made for my sister who really liked the print and colour - and of course the pockets ;-)

My last and favourite dress is this beautiful viscose from Sewisfaction called 'Divine Landscapes'. It being slippy and slidey, the dress was much more of a challenge to make and the back did stretch out quite a lot and the buttons gaped.

I MAY have fixed this with bond-a-web. Gasp. So it's pretty on the outside, but held together inside by string and glue. I also had to rip out the pockets and move the placement as I seemed to have sewed them in at the knees. I can't unbutton it now and it has to go on wriggled over the head but never mind.

None the less I love it now and the extra room is quite nice and comfortable, plus it makes me feel all nice. 

Just to evidence that I do leave my back garden sometimes, here is the dress in action actually being WORN. Result for me.

The dress passed the day out and mega-lunch test on a trip to Urban Jungle with The Fabric Wrangler. Awesome cafe, would highly recommend.  

The buttons on these dresses are lovely and fairly unusual. I found them on Textile Gardens and they are made of cotton!The colours in real life are like 'bright pastel' and they have this great matte texture to them.

Summer 2019 - The Year of the Kew. Love it.

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Dotty Anza Dress - Itch to Stitch

It's that gauze again!

Last seen on my Cielo dress in black, here's the green version in action. (The yellow is still biding its sweet time).

This dress is the Itch to Stitch - Anza Dress (& Jumpsuit) pattern - in dress format obviously.

I came across the dress on the Love Sewing magazine cover and liked the casual style of it. There seemed to be lots of details and a nice shape to the neckline so went for the download. It was inevitably massive so I admit to having it printed. Ain't no-one got time for that.

There it all came unstuck as once I'd cut my pattern pieces out - and just a warning - there are many, I could not figure out the magazine instructions for the life of me. So I bought the actual pattern, got proper instructions and felt generally much better about life.

(Well it feels a lot of pattern pieces to me, who makes 3 piece t-shirts all the time and rethinks life-choices if there's more than 6...)

It was a good meaty little project this one - after sewing many basics, it was nice to have a go at something a bit more involved. I wouldn't say more complex as the separate features are not massively difficult, just more time consuming. I think it took a couple of weeks in total, just doing bits of it here and there in my lunch break.

Can we just take a moment here to appreciate the god's of haberdashery who were on my side when it got to button day. It needed 4 buttons for the front bodice and low and behold, 4 glorious matching buttons were in my stash!!! (Found a while back from Textile Garden - my go-to button gal).

The pattern is really well drafted - there is cup-size options as well as normal sizing so a lot of folk will love that. I went for B cup and therefore no darts were needed. Lazy girl's dream. I graded the pattern between 12/14 without any modifications and it seems to be spot on. Next time, the bodice could come up by 1cm ish but that's just a minor niggle.

Just proving I ironed my fabric this time, check out the back crease hehe
I totally messed up the position of the button holes so I have one right next to the waist band that sticks out, and the top gapes a bit so I've sewn in closed. The dress can just pop over your head anyway its pretty roomy.

The dress is super comfy, there's a bit of a belt and braces job at the waist which is a bit weird. It has elastic casing AND a waist-tie. I did myself a favour by mistake in this respect as I didn't fold over the waist casing and applied it more like bias binding. Turns out it was a good job as the casing would never have been big enough for the elastic and tie as it was on the pattern piece.

If you're going to make this dress - double the width of the casing strip!! I've since since some other reviews of this dress who also say the same thing so glad its not just me being daft.

All in all a good and useful project - I've worn it several times now so a good sign!

Just a little note - not all projects are a success I just generally can't be bothered to write about the disasters (unless it was particularly comical). For example - my usual love of Closet Case Patterns designs was slightly blighted by the worst fitting trousers known to mankind when I tried the Pietra's! That was definitely a case of what suits one person will not suit everyone! The quest for trousers continues....

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All the Ogdens...

'Tis the season of the Ogden.  Buenos Dias you beautiful basic.

This year I joined in with the Ogden Swap #ogdenidaswap2019 organized by Jen @jenlegg4 and Samantha @purplesewingcloud through Instagram.

This was an 'international stash-busting swap' and sounded good fun. People signed up, then we all got assigned a swap partner who you could insta-stalk to see what they may like, then make them a little cami top in secret!

The reveal date was yesterday and my swap partner, also an Emma did an absolutely spectacular job! She absolutely hit the nail on the head with this top. The fabric is called 'Slow and Steady' from Tula Pink in the colour 'Tortoise Shell Kiwi'. Perfect!!!

I was really overwhelmed that a stranger had taken the time to make something so lovely, I feel very lucky. There was a beautiful little tortoise key ring included aswell as a nice note and the top itself is immaculate. Thank you so much Emma :) One of my favourite touches was this label:

In return I had been plotting an Ogden cami for her, and having seen her sporty photos, love of Liberty and nice colour choices I decided to use some of this Liberty of London Strawberry Thief fabric. I really enjoyed the research part of this little project and seeing what someone may like, all very exciting.

Not part of the swap, but also going elsewhere, I have made several other Ogdens this summer, these one's out of jersey for a soft and stretchy fit for my good pal in Barcelona.

She, like myself, is obsessed by Snoopy, so when I saw this Woodstock fabric from Flamingo Fabrics
there was no way I could let that lie.

 Not stopping there I also made her a chameleon version - look at those colours! This is also a beautifully soft cotton jersey from Olumis fabrics. I was quite taken with this fabric so went back for some more to make myself something. I'm sure that will pop up on here at some point. 

I've been having some fit issues myself with this one so had to reprint and size up from my previous pattern. Since gyming I clearly have a broader back which is causing some sewing issues however the size 12 now seems to fit - so more Ogdens for summer here I come!

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Un Cielo Estivo

A Summer Sky - quite literally when I took this photos on one of the hottest days of the year so far...

It's no secret that I'm a massive Closet Case Patterns fan, and I pounced on the new Rome Collection when it launched!

Pic: Closet Case Patterns Insta
 Within about 15 minutes of it going live on their site, I'd already added the Pietra Pants and Cielo dress to my cart. I resisted the full bundle however, as Me Made May pointed out, I just don't do skirts and I didn't really fancy Fiore.

I used to live in Rome so I think this collection, just by name alone, brought back a bit of nostalgia and spurred me on to get the patterns. (Weird fact, I discovered not long ago that myself and Randomly Happy were living there at the same time!)

In the week I bought this, the weather was super hot so I had the Cielo dress printed, taped and cut out within a few hours.

There are loads of sleeve and dress combos in this pattern but I just love the simple version. No frills. I didn't add the front pockets either as I thought it may be too bulky for the fabric I chose.

Enter the gold dotty double gauze from Higgs & Higgs.  So good I bought it thrice. (Mustard, Black and Peacock Green ;)

The fabric is gorgeous. It's opaque, soft, cool, easy to press and sew and well...dotty.

With regard to the pattern, it put me at a 14, so a 14 I did make. I do feel however it's potentially a bit big. I don't know if it's just the style, but the pics of other people wearing this don't seem so voluminous. I guess I could shave a bit off the sides but actually the big roomy nature of this was great for the heat. Clothing that doesn't touch your body.

The dress sewed up in a couple of hours, a simple make however I did go for the simplest version possible. As usual the pattern is very well drafted and the pieces all fit together nicely. Don't you just love it when pattern pieces fit how they should...Sleeve satisfaction right here:

There is a bust dart which gives the front a bit of shaping and I found that to be a nice touch. There's also the option to bind the neckline or use a facing. I didn't have enough fabric to cut the bias binding strip so used some black jersey binding from the stash. Worked a treat.

I'd say it wasn't the most interesting thing I've ever made but it certainly is the comfiest and quickest! Now where to go sightseeing....

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Suki Robe Trio

Hello! It's been a while since I last blogged - I got married!

How coincidental that this post is about what I made for me and my bridesmaids... I really wanted to make them a little gift box with something special inside as a thanks for being great gals and what better way to spend the morning getting ready together, than in Suki Robes!

This would have been far better executed had I not found this pattern only two weeks before the event, but hey, I like a challenge. By far the most difficult part was finding bright tropical fabric!! Perhaps I was just a tad too early in the season for viscose with palm print but I couldn't find it anywhere.

I finally found some fabrics on Minerva Crafts which I thought my ladies would like. One is a Derbyshire/Spanish lovely with a plant obsession so I chose the leafy print viscose for her. Sadly when it arrived it was not as brightly coloured as expected but I had to press ahead. I think she like it regardless :)

My other bridesmaid is a lovely English Rose who has just had the cutest baby, so floral viscose seemed to call out.

I also had some bird print cotton lawn in my stash from Fabric Godmother, so I used that because....birds.

This pattern from Helen's Closet is a robe with alllllll the bells and whistles. All of them. Possibly too many of them?! We have side belt loops, hanging loops, inner ties, inseam pockets, fixed tie belts. THE LOT. (I would omit the side belt loops next time - as the belt is already attached I didn't find them necessary)

I made 3 different sizes and from what I gather they all fit everyone so the sizing is great. Mine was a Large and I can say it was fine although even an XL would work a treat. It is a robe after all so quite forgiving!

I went for the option of having the contrast band all around the front rather than doing the original design. It's a simple hack to just extend the front contrast band and there's a tutorial here.

The inner ties are a brilliant feature, bit of extra security preventing exposure always a winner.

Not going to lie, I struggled with the position of the side belt loops, and the position of the back belt and pockets generally. I found the pattern had the pockets too high and belt and loops too low. The only way I could do this was to actually put the robe on and pin in place. Sorry guys - I've worn your robe in the name of creativity. 

 By the second robe I ignored the instructions and made it my own way. The instructions are so labour intensive, having you over lock all pieces first, then doing seams and pockets separately.No mate. Not for me. Whizz it up the sides on the over locker. I haven't got all day.

This robe is an absolute dream for the hot humid weather at the moment. So light and breezy to waft about the house in.

My favourite features are the sleeves which fall at just the most beautiful length and don't get in the way of anything, and the fact the belt is attached so you don't lose it!

I would definitely like to make more of these and think they would make excellent gifts for people you care about as you can pretty much guess the sizing and the end result is lovely. It's Suki Love.

Massive shout out to Winston Sanders for capturing our day beautifully, and getting this little guy in shot!

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May Make Do and Mend

So here we are at the beginning of June already! HOW?!?!

As Me Made May is now over I thought I'd just do a very quick round up of how it went.

Not well.

Told you it was a quick round up.

Actually that's not entirely true, but about half way through the month I stopped actively picking me-mades to wear as pledged and just grabbed what I usually would have done. Which by pure chance included me-mades without me actually realizing, which was nice when half way through the day I'd suddenly remember I'd made my trousers or something.

So what I actually learnt is that I'm a lazy dresser who does not make a great deal of effort on a daily basis! But I'm ok with that, and so the whole point of Me Made May was to establish that fact and make things accordingly.

Things I did learn however were:
  • I do not wear skirts. Ever it seems. 
  • I do not like feeling too 'dolled up' or uncomfortable 
  • I live in comfortable trousers and a tee for working at home - I find it pointless to dress up if I'm home alone all day
  • I wear very few clothes! I don't mean I roam about naked all the time - I just repeat outfits a lot
  • Lounge wear is my friend and I have lots of it (it seems daft to make more for the sake of it when I already have sufficient RTW)
  • Gym tops are a necessity I don't have which is highly frustrating
  • I love texture - that was new to me. My blue trousers above are textured and I've fallen hard for double gauze of late. I suppose it makes the basics more interesting 
  • Casual dresses such as the shirt dress are my God for feeling relaxed but a bit 'done up'
What should I be sewing?
  • Gym wear
  • Ponte trousers
  •  ALL the shirt dresses
What should I be doing?
  • Getting out more by the sounds of it
What have I been doing?
  • Making these Derwent bad boys from Wendy Ward 'Sewing with knitted Fabrics' book. Trousers you can work/lounge AND pop to the shops in. Win!
  •  Having a clear out and fixing stuff!
 So May was that time of year when you get your sunny day gear out and nothing fits. A lot got donated and recycled however not being defeated this year I went on a Make Do and Mend rampage.

 Old tops got cut up and widened, long sleeves got chopped to short sleeves and the best thing of all I discovered you can widen tight sleeves and alleviate bicep restraint on RTW by making an 'arm gusset'. That word again. Sigh. But yay it meant I saved a few dresses from the recycle pile.

I still have a pair of jeggings to widen by popping a stripe down the side seams. Fingers crossed it works.

How was your May?

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I AM Lucienne

I AM Lucienne. Or am I?

This is not my greatest piece of work as it was a bit rushed however this Lucienne pattern by I AM is pretty glorious. If you're after a simple yet chic, in that oh-so-French kinda way that they do, I AM has you covered.

The pattern is described as a 'vaporous and relaxed shirt' which I think is a better way of saying 'wafty'. It's certainly relaxed that is for sure and there is some serious room to manoeuvre in there.

The pattern put me at the largest size of 46 and therefore 46 I did go. I mean it is huge, but I think it's supposed to be. It's also described as perfect for a holiday in the sun and I'm pretty sure this breezy little number fits the bill.

The size was a little too large for me though and I admit I did nip out about 2 inches on either side to just bring it closer to my body a bit. I left the sleeves alone though. It's got a bit of a kimono vibe about it and the side vents are a really nice touch.

I was whisked away for a surprise hen do the other week and told to wear something galactic. I had the leggings so I needed a top! Enter some buttons from the stash...

I was after a pattern that I could whip up quickly and this was ideal. Although it's a shirt - the sleeves are rectangles and are inserted in flat. The whole thing is essentially a series of rectangles and squares which makes it very beginner friendly.

Even the collar is not so much a 'collar' in the strictest sense. It's a collar piece that's just sewn on. If I made it next time I would bind the neckline seam as if you're wearing the shirt open, the seams are exposed. To be fair the pattern does say to bind if you're going for a more professional look. I did not have time on my side and I had also run out of black thread!

If you intend to wear it buttoned up it's not so much an issue. I'm not a buttoned up kinda person though.

I used fabric from the stash which is a black double guaze. I've never sewn with this before but I'm a convert! I love the texture of it, it's soft, opaque and drapes really well. I'll definitely be using it again for summer projects for it's easy-breezy breathable quality.

Lucienne served her purpose really well and she will certainly get more wear as it's definitely fitting my throw on-and-go requirements. A great basic but not so basic addition to my Me Made wardrobe and for days when it's so hot you can't bear anything touching your skin - this wins.

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Bright and Basic InstincT

Oh yes, it's another t-shirt. It seems not only am I on some sort of leggings mission, I'm also trying to find the holy-grail of T-shirts.

This little beauty is another freebie designed by Sasha of Seconda Piano. Possibly the most stylish person on Earth.

After the Stellan Tee didn't quite hit the mark for me (no reflection on the pattern or maker, just not the shape for me), Sewrendipity kindly pointed me in the direction of another trendy tee that might fit the bill. Enter the Basic InstincT.  I'll let you go read her blog for details of why it is so named!

Size and shaping-wise this was a must better match for me than the Stellan Tee. I had concerns that the fit would be off again, as Sasha and other makers are all very slender. However to my surprise the XL - the largest size it goes up to - was spot on. I didn't make any alterations to the pattern at all as I wanted to see what it was like 'fresh out of the box' as it were.

I like this one. There is enough drape at the waist to be flattering and the rounded shoulder caps sit nicely where they should. The sleeves are a good width, not skin tight, very comfortable. This tee still has that boxy, high-neck modern silhouette but is a nice standard length tee.

This amazing fabric is from Textile Express - now this is a leopard print I can get on board with.  Good quality cotton jersey. Loving the bright colour combos of this print. Certainly less wintry that is for sure.

I've been sporting this tee with my 'me-made' necklace from Pink Coat Club. Mini details that I'm sure only fellow sewists will appreciate is the two tone top stitching. Small things.

A sign of a good me-made is when it gets worn immediately I think. This came straight off the sewing machine and on to me, where it has stayed for a quite a few wears so far!

It's also that lovely time of year when the tortoises get back out enjoying the garden, and little Clyde likes to make an appearance photo-bombing my pics. He's so curious about everything, as soon as something is happening outside he races over to have a look.

I'm calling this a T-win. The quest is not yet over however, I intend to have a go at the Wendy Ward Peak Tee and a further crack at the Union Street.  Then perhaps it's time to call it and declare a TNT.

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My First Me Made May

Me Made May has been going on for 10 YEARS!

Set up by So Zo, ...  it is a maker challenge that really let's you get to grips with your handmade clothes. I've seen so many people take part in this over the years, posting amazing pictures of their creations and I always thought I couldn't participate as I just didn't have or wear all that much handmade clothing. (Ridiculous considering how much I've made - most of which has been donated/recycled.)

Necklace from Pink Coat Club

As it turns out - you don't need a whole wardrobe of me-mades and you don't even have to picture each day. This was a revelation to me. The whole premise is you just create your own pledge and "follow it throughout May. Hopefully, by the end of the month, you will have learnt a whole load about yourself, your style, how you feel about your wardrobe, and how best to spend your clothes-making time going forwards."

My style has been having an overhaul lately, I love a bit of Kondo (yes, before it became popular!) and have started to properly identify with what my new lifestyle (even 2 years since it changed) now requires. The whole 'fast fashion' issue has got to me and I've been giving good though these days to what and where I buy and what natural fibers can be used and recycled. I've also just started reading The Curated Closet aswell so Me Made May seems to have come up nicely and compliments this journey well.

I figured this year was the year I'd give it a go and made my pledge...

"I, Emma (Crafty Clyde), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I endeavour to try and wear me me-mades where possible and attempt to style them, to help me to identify what I like to wear, what I don’t, and identify the me-mades I actually need to make on my quest for a handmade wardrobe during May 2019'"

I know full well I won't be able to wear me-made everyday however I'm looking forward to the experiment and identification of gaps in my sewing :)

And of course I bought the badge...(love how they chose the Pantone colour of the year for this). It's also very cool that 20% goes to Labour Behind The Label, an organization working to ensure worker safety, living wages and  improve conditions for workers in the global garment industry.

Are you participating this year?

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