A Dress Named Reeta


Well it may be covered in tigers and its a killer of a dress but this one is no Carole!

Enter the dress by Named Patterns - called  Reeta



The pattern has obviously been around a while but it has taken me until now to try it out. Why did I wait?!

The dress is supposed to be a loose fit midi-dress however I didn't have enough fabric for the full length so it's a little shorter than intended.

This was a lovely slow sew for me and just what my brain needed. I made it over the course of a few weeks, breaking the tasks down into little easy to deal with sections.

Size: I went for a size 16/18 and that worked out quite nicely. Plenty of room at the waist for the drawstring to cinch in and create some shape.

Fabric: This absolutely stunning tiger fabric is an ex-designer crepe from Fabric Godmother picked up last year. I don't think they have it anymore however they do now have their own blue tiger crepe available.

Features: The trickiest part of the make was the lapel collar and yoke construction however with a bit of concentration and a careful look at the diagrams it was doable. I had seen a few people say the collar piece was too small however I managed to make it fit - it did need cut notches and a bit of stretching though to get the curve to fit the markings.


The dress is cinched in the middle with a hidden wait casing sewn to the inside of the dress. The pattern has you do button holes for the drawstring however a friend recommended a bit of hardware so out came the Prym pliers!

I didn't have ribbon for the casing so used a bit of bias binding and that did the job nicely. The cuffs are wide, turned up and stitched down and they feel quite luxurious for that.


Now let's just take a moment to appreciate these EPIC BUTTONS! My sister is a very talented lady and has started a little business making handmade buttons. These are from her 'Baskin Buttons' collection. If you want to see more have a look at @turtlebirduk - and feel free to DM her for any requests!



Results: LOVE.


I would love to make this dress again, with sufficient fabric to make a midi length! Clyde also approves as he shot over to see what all the fuss was in the garden:


 Wishing you all well x

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Experiments in Shorts - Bootiful Musings

So I've had a slight mood shift and instead of getting infuriated by my failed makes and quest for trousers that fit- I realized my scientific brain needed to kick in and appreciate that this is not making, it's experimenting.

It's not as if I have anywhere to wear these things is it? Might aswell make the most of Lockdown Life and use the time to find and try out some patterns - potentially for using next year?!

This also comes with the added advantage that I can use up some of my stash.

I mentioned the Pomona Shorts by Anna Allen in my previous post. Here were the results of this:
At first glance the pink ones look pretty good - in reality they basically cut me in half and I couldn't sit down as my thighs nearly had all blood circulation cut off. After adding in a couple of inches where the side seams should be (there are none by the way) - they ended up looking like a man's boxer short. Not for me I'm afraid.

Things then got a bit crazy as I made myself a 'Fishbowl'. I'll let Phyllis explain in depth.

It basically involves straddling a flexi-rule which is both hilarious and slightly unnerving at the same time. You then get a cross section of yourself to use against patterns to check the crotch curves.

I compared it to (yet another) shorts pattern and there is NO WONDER my ass does not fit into most trousers. That's nearly 2 inches difference in the depth!


Resisting the urge to get all paranoid about my body I remind myself:


Onto the Belize Shorts by Itch to Stitch. These are the pair that I adjusted with my new fishbowl paper to have a small chance of being able to get in them. Anything taken out of the crotch curve has to be added back to the side seams. I initially added too much and had to taper them down a bit after sewing.

Not too bad either! Still not ideal as the gathering at the back waist is present however they are elasticated so to be expected. At least I can actually sit down in these. Something still feels a bit 'off' though. I tucked the hem under quite a bit and think I prefer the shorter length. A darker fabric or jazzy print and they would be passable. Plus I won't likely tuck my shirt in either so that solves the back ruffles.

Edit: I shortened them but the wide leg holes became pretty x-rated when sitting down. Recycled.



I bought this pattern absolutely ages (years?!) ago and never printed the PDF so forgot about it. Everything has it's moment! These are a straight up XXL. I didn't make any changes to the crotch curve as the pattern is already really deep and nearly matched my 'fishbowl' in any event.

Despite being a bit rough and ready - I like them! I think they have a good casual/sporty vibe which I'm more comfortable with. As with all P4P patterns, this comes with about 100 variations aswell so plenty of scope for making them your own. (Curved hems, cuffs, pockets, patch pockets, drawstring etc...)



Linen Loungers take the win here! I made them in a bit of leftover black linen from Raystitch.


I'll spare you any more of this trouser tedium today but save to say - I've just brought out the big guns in the form of Jenny Shorts by Closet Case Patterns. Wish me luck, I'm going in....


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Pants Off - Arden v Easy Pants (and a few extras)

Hello all,

It's the trials and tribulations of trousers on the blog again.

I've been trying to find my ideal pair of woven joggers, you know, casual cool and easy to wear. However it is proving IMPOSSIBLE.

I though I'd share some of the patterns I have been testing out just in case it was of interest to anyone looking for the same.

These are straight up, cut to measurements, none altered/none fitting issued versions of the pattern.

My waist is currently 35 and hips 47 inches and the charts were used based on this. 

Ding Ding Round 1 - we have Helen's Closet Arden Pants in one corner and Wardrobe By Me Easy Pants in the other. Into the ring they go...


Helen's Closet Arden Pants

Size: 18 graded to 20


Oh how I wanted to love these. I had been waiting for the release ever since Helen hinted at them at Christmas. 

The construction is super easy, the pocket is formed from one piece and folded which I liked and altogether they were a super quick make.

I made these in teal tencel, which in hindsight was not the greatest choice as they both look and feel like wearing scrubs. They made me feel a bit crappy. I wasn't into that.


 I found the back pockets gaped quite a lot but I think that's because there's a large difference between my waist and hip and the fabric gets bunched at the top.

They were never going to be classy trousers I realize that but they just didn't feel good at all. Such a shame as other people have been making some excellent versions.

Conclusion: A quick, easy, casual make for some throw-on-and-go trousers. Just not for me unfortunately.

Wardrobe By Me - Easy Pants

Size:  16 graded to 20

These packed more of a punch and it was certainly a more sophisticated pattern in terms of construction and design.


From the front they look ok, minor issues with the rise but I think tweaking could help. I just don't have the patience for a second pair. Loved the taper on the legs and the turn ups.


The pocket detail on these is brilliant, interfaced on each side, separate facings, much more of a time consuming and detailed sew than the Ardens.

The fabric was a better choice for these, some linen blend from Barry's of Norwich.

Back view however just is not flattering at all....


Unfortunately I could not wear these at all because they were also a size or 2 too small. When I sat down my thighs pretty much nearly tore out of them.

Conclusion: A very classy and sophisticated version of pull on trousers, a more complex pattern and flattering on someone with lesser booty than mine!!

All was not lost as although these were not made for me, I passed them onto a sewing friend and they fit her perfectly, so both pairs have a happy new home!

I declare a draw. 

Rational me should just realize I don't suit this type of style, however obsessive me took over for a while. I also went and made some Anna Allen Pomona Shorts -  that was a nope.

Then I went for Tilly and the Buttons Safiya Trousers  Much better but more like palazzos with none of the detail.

THEN four pairs of Joan Trousers from Friday Pattern Company got cut out as I knew they fit me - only to discover that all known laws of physics had changed since the last time I made them and low and behold. NOPE.

Conclusions: Wear more dresses.

Edit: At this point I had a mini meltdown about my body, sewing skills and general life itself however my lovely sewing friends (Hey Thursday Group!) sent some amazing encouragement advice. Not to give up.

Yoga, tea and a rest led me to reflect that I keep making 'quick' clothes and easy stuff. This is clearly not working out so a deep breath is needed, and a proper tailored pattern....and time.

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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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