Sew My Style – April

I know what you’re thinking.  Maybe it’s a bit late to be posting about an April make?  That may be true, but I have a confession – I didn’t actually finish this in April.  I finished it much later than that, and now I’m playing catch up.

So far, I’ve shared my Toaster sweater, Saunio cardigan and Virginia leggings with you, and April’s Sew My Style pattern pick was the Bridgetown dress from Sew House Seven.

I love this dress and I was pleasantly surprised to find it suited me a bit more than I thought it would (though I did size down a lot).  I love the backless design, although, a couple of people on Instagram pointed out that it is reversible!  I was worried that the sleeves may have had a tendency to slide off my shoulders and that I might end up with ‘flashing issues’ (Bridget Jones, anyone?), but I have found that they behave themselves quite well actually.

The fabric
This was the most challenging bit – working with a super slippery viscose.  It’s beautiful and so, so soft, but it’s a slippery little sucker.  I got this from Sewisfaction, my new favourite place!  I so wish I lived in that neck of the woods so I could visit.

The pattern
Bridgetown, by Sew House Seven.  The instructions were easy to follow and this was a surprisingly easy make.  There are no fastenings or zips, no darts or shaping – just the elastic working its magic.  You even only have to hem the skirt because of the way the sleeve is designed.  I made no modifications whatsoever.

The cost
The fabric was £24, but I got 3 metres because I managed to get confused about how much fabric I needed.  I have absolutely loads left – enough for a top for sure.  And the pattern was around £9 with Sew My Style discount.  £33 in total.

 

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#TheBigStitch

I love a good refashion.  I love the idea of taking something unloved and turning it into something wearable again.  So when I heard about the Big Stitch campaign from the British Heart Foundation, I hopped straight on the makers’ train!

The Big Stitch is an awareness campaign, encouraging crafters to create unique additions to their wardrobes using items purchased in British Heart Foundation Shops.  A bit of fun for a great cause.  Here’s what I came up with.

I’ve said it before, but for me, refashioning isn’t about creating jaw-dropping pieces – it’s about making something you will wear.  What is the point in spending all that time and effort making something if you don’t intend to wear it?  So, after much deliberation, I decided to make myself a neutral top.  It’s the most grown up thing I’ve made in a long while.

The fabric
My starting point was two men’s shirts – one being 100% cotton and the other a cotton linen blend.  They both had a similar texture and drape though, which is what I was after.  I used the black check shirt for the bodice and the plain black for the collar and facings.

The pattern
I used my very first Seamwork pattern.  I have been a subscriber to Seamwork for ages, but rather shamefully, haven’t made anything until this.  It’s the Addison top.  It was a very easy pattern to follow, but I still got to try out a couple of new techniques.

  1. I have never sewn a v-neck before.  Now, if I’m being totally honest, I found this part to be really fiddly and difficult.  However, I confess to not having done any research into the ins and outs of v-necks before sewing – I just jumped in.  Next time, I will most definitely look into it in more detail because I must have been doing something wrong.  It’s still a bit funky and I’m not 100% happy with it, but it’s hidden by the bow so I’m not getting too bent out of shape about it.
  2. The way the facings and side seams come together is really interesting and completely new to me.  It’s hard to explain how it’s done, but I’m wondering whether it’s the ‘burrito’ method I’ve heard about?  Whatever it was, it worked!

Modifications
I did the pussy bow hack provided by Seamwork as an members’ extra.  I thought it would make the most of a contrast collar and waste less fabric.  Although the pattern doesn’t have a button band, my shirt did, so I kept it for a bit more interest.  It is sewn closed at the top so it is a purely decorative feature.  I switched out the boring shirt buttons for prettier ones from my stash (which were rescued from a holey cardigan).  I also reused the hems on the shirt as a time saver, so the shape of my Addison is slightly different to that of the pattern.

Notes
I love this top, and I really like the fit.  However, if I had traced and cut my pattern according to the body measurements, as suggested, it would have been huge.  I ended up going two sizes down, after looking at the finished garment measurements and realising that there is rather a lot of ease involved.  I would definitely advise a look at the finished garment measurements before you trace or cut – decide how much ease you’d like and go with your gut.

The cost
The shirts were £7.50 (for both) and the pattern set me back one of my Seamwork credits, which we’ll call £3.  I already had everything else I needed.  That’s a grand total of £10.50.

Update

Hello, everyone!  It’s been a long while, hasn’t it?  I haven’t blogged since March.  How rude of me – please accept my sincerest apologies.

I’m afraid it’s been a classic case of real life taking over.  For the past 18 months I have been working two jobs across two different cities, working a very strange shift pattern, and for the most part, relying on public transport.  An awful lot of my free time was taken away – I would often leave the house at 7:30 am and not return until around 10 pm.  And when I wasn’t at work, I was catching up with family and friends, running errands, that sort of thing.  I also had all sorts of other stuff going on that had to take the front seat – kind of an everything all at once situation.  I could barely find time to sew, let alone blog about it, and the last few moths have been a bit too stressful.

However, I’m pleased to say that I started a new job at the beginning of July!  I’m working much more sensible hours and I’m back in one building at all times – what a luxury.  Most importantly, I’ve managed to snatch back quite a bit of free time, so I’m hoping to give my shamefully abandoned blog some attention and reconnect with all you sewing lovelies.  Yay 😀

What have I been up to while I’ve been gone, then?  Well, I have managed some sewing.  Nowhere near as much as I would have liked, but I’ll include some sneaky peaks of what’s to come. My love-hate relationship with jersey continues.  My fabric stash is more out of control than ever because I’ve been so time poor and just can’t get through it quickly enough – nothing to do with me buying too much fabric, of course 😉  Do you remember my sewing resolutions?  Well, I’ve made quite literally no progress with my Make Nine – only two of the makes complete.  Am I allowed to switch out a pattern or two?  I have managed to keep up with Sew My Style (sort of – one of them was a month late!) and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the patterns.  I also took part in the Sew Together for Summer challenge.  I’ve discovered a couple of new sewing gadgets – where have they been all my life?

Mostly, I’ve been dreaming about having more time to sew and getting back to blogging!  I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things.  Thank you for sticking around during my hiatus – you’re the best ❤

Happy sewing and ta-ta for now!

xx

Sew My Style – March

Let’s talk about leggings.  I must confess, I’m not a leggings wearer.  Not because I don’t like them, but because I rather feel my thighs aren’t quite slim enough.  If I wear leggings I wear them under dresses in place of tights.  Or because I’m  doing exercise.  I wouldn’t wear leggings as trousers.  I hate the idea of making something I wouldn’t wear – that seems very wasteful to me.  I was so convinced February’s pattern pick wouldn’t suit me that I made it for mt friend Rachel.  So when I saw this pattern for #SewMyStyle, I said to my sister that I’d either have to make boring black leggings or completely whacky dog-walking leggings, otherwise I just wouldn’t wear them.  And who wants to make boring black leggings?  Not me!  Not us!  We made matching marble leggings 😀

The pattern
Megan Nielsen’s Virginia leggings.  I was really surprised at how easy these were to make!  I don’t know why, but I had always assumed the would be tricky to sew.  But there are only two pattern pieces for these Virginia leggings – the leg (of which you cut two) and the waistband.  The instructions are really easy to follow, and the construction couldn’t be easier.  I traced off my pattern, cut my fabric and sewed these in less than three hours!  Perfect for my hectic lifestyle – I don’t get much free time to sew these days, so quick projects are all the more satisfying.

The fabric
An amazing marble print scuba from Fabric Styles.  It was really easy to work with, and I will most definitely be using scuba again.  I actually bought more of this fabric – I think a Tilly and the Buttons Zadie dress in this fabric, and black side panels would be perfect!  My sister’s fabric is also still available.

The cost
The fabric was £4.50 per metre, and I used just over a metre, so let’s say around £6.  The PDF pattern was £8 once coverted from Australian dollars, including the Sew My Style discount.  That’s £14 for my uber-cool marble leggings 😀

#MonetaParty Dress

Have you ever ended up with a fabric and had no idea what you’re going to make out of it?  I’m sure you understand.  This was one of those fabrics for me.  I was completely dazzled b the sparkles.  Like a niffler!  I wanted the sparkles, but I had no clue what to do with them.  Then came the #MonetaParty on Instagram, organised by the Triple Stitchers (sewpositivity, sewabigail and rach_wain) and Colette Patterns.  I wasn’t initially sure I’d have time to take part, but then I saw Abi’s sparkly Moneta and knew I had to make my own!

The pattern
Moneta by Colette Patterns, of course.  It was third time lucky for me and Colette Patterns, having tried and failed to make a pair of Juniper trousers and a Macaron dress and having rather a a traumatic time of it for both projects.  Moneta, on the other hand, was super easy and I love it!  The instructions were easy to follow and the construction is really simple.  I think I probably sewed it in about three hours.

Modifications
I swapped out the gathers for pleats, because I thought it would give the dress a smarter look.  I put inverted box pleats where the notches on the front and back skirt are.  I’m surprised at how well they’ve worked on such slinky fabric.  I also omitted the pockets, again because I didn’t think they were suited to the style of dress.  The most exciting thing though (after having a spangly dress to flounce around in, of course) is that I learned to use a twin needle!  I’m a little too excited about this, and now that I’ve cracked it I’ll be a twin needle fiend.  Sadly, because I used matching thread (silly me!), nobody can admire my handiwork on this dress, but just wait until I have the chance for contrasting topstitching!

The fabric
A very slink, very sparkly lurex jersey from the Textile Centre.  I was worried my machine would try to eat this fabric, but it actually handled it just fine – nice surprise 🙂

The cost
The fabric was an absolute bargain – a grand total of £4.48 for two metres in the Textile Centre January sale.  The pattern was about £10, and I already had everything else I needed.  Less than £15 for a party dress – win!  😀

Sew My Style – February

I have to be completely honest and confess that I was never a huge fan of February’s Sew My Style pattern – not because I didn’t like it, but because I knew it just wouldn’t suit me.  The shape isn’t right for my body.  Luckily, I knew just the girl to make it for – my sewing buddy, Rachel 🙂  As it happens, she had already made herself a Saunio cardigan, so I knew it would suit her and that she’d like it.  A plan was hatched – Rachel would buy some fabric and I would sew it up for her, so as to keep my involvement with Sew My Style going.  A few weeks later, this had happened!

Hello, Rachel!  Looking rather marvellous in her new jacket, isn’t she?  Don’t you agree it looks much more like a jacket than a cardi in this fabric?  It goes to show how versatile patterns can be.  You can see some photos of Rachel’s other Saunio here and here on her Instagram – you’d never know they were made using the same pattern.

Rachel says…
I recently made myself a Saunio out of some slightly mad Missoni wool – it’s one of my #2017makenine projects.  So when Vicki offered to make me a second Saunio for February’s #sewmystyle, I obviously said yes!

I decided I wanted this second Saunio to be a smart one I could wear to work, so I bought some navy Italian boiled wool from Fabric Godmother and gave it to Vicki, along with my traced pattern pieces and my Saunio toile.

And I absolutely love the Saunio Vicki’s made for me!  The boiled wool makes it more structured than my Missoni Saunio and makes a real feature of the back.  Also, the wool’s texture means that I can wear the cardigan closed without needing a fastening.  And my favourite thing about it is that Vicki (knowing my love of hand-finished garments) blind-stitched all around the hems and the facing so it looks really perfect from the outside.

Thanks, Vicki!  And you know, if there are any other #sewmystyle makes that aren’t your thing, I’m open to suggestions…

I guess you could say Rachel’s pleased with her cardi then!  I’m so pleased you like it, Rachel 🙂

The pattern
The Saunio Cardigan by Named Clothing.  My goodness do I wish this pattern suited me!  I could do with some new cardies and it was sooooo fast to make!  I think the cutting and sewing (well, most of the sewing – more on that in a minute) took about two hours.  Magic!  The instructions are a breeze to follow and the construction is possibly the easiest I’ve ever come across.  Bravo, Named Clothing!  Thumbs up from me.

Modifications
As Rachel has already explained, I chose to hand-finish the hems and facings.  The nature of the fabric makes this necessary.  Machine stitching would leave an unsightly ridge all the way around the garment, so I lovingly hand-finished with a blind hem stitch because I knew that was what Rachel would have done.  This took longer than all the other sewing and cutting combined, but the finished look is well worth the effort.  I didn’t use any interfacing, as the fabric is thick and stable enough to hold its own.  I also used a straight stitch, rather than zigzagging or overlocking as the pattern suggests.  The fabric has very little stretch and the pattern is loose-fitting, so I’m hoping it’s be okay.

The fabric
A lovely boiled wool from Fabric Godmother.  I was a bit worried when I first got the fabric because it seemed so thick and I was worried about how my machine would cope.  However, it actually turned out to be lovely to work with – it is a very thick fabric, but its actually very soft and the machine had no trouble with it at all.

The cost
For me?  Not a penny 🙂  But it set Rachel back about £22.

P.S.  I was so right to make this for someone else.  I tried this on and looked like a right wally!

Coco Dress

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  Today, I’m declaring m love for Coco.  Ah, Coco.  Je t’aime ❤

Meet the new Coco — the same as the old Coco.  Almost.  But I love my first Coco so much and wear it so often that it’s now a bit bobbly and looking sorry for itself.  Why wouldn’t I make another one that is almost identical?  With one difference — those heart shaped pockets ❤

The pattern
Tilly and the Buttons’ Coco 🙂  In case you hadn’t alredy guessed.

Modifications
Why, yes — those heart shaped pockets, of course!  I used the pocket tutorial on Crafty Pinup’s blog.  Thanks for the excellent hack, Abi!  Abi has also done an amazing Cleo hack that I’m desperate to try.

The fabric
A black and white striped ponte di roma from Girl Charlee UK.  I think they’re sold out at the moment, unfortunately.  This fabric is far more suitable for Coco that the interlock I used for my first one, in my opinion.  I would recommend going for ponte if you’re on the fence.  Also, it’s easier to work with, both when cutting and sewing, and it holds its shape much better so it really shows off the exaggerated a-line skirt.  The red pocket fabric is a ponte I had left from the first time around.

The cost
The fabric cost £19.90, but I had quite a lot left.  I gave the remnants to my sister and she squeezed a short sleeved Agnes top out of it.  So we got two garments at a tenner each!  Huge thumbs up!

Cosy Stripe Blanket

I think this blanket has made a couple of cameo appearances on my blog now.  Then again, I have been working on it for years.  Literally.  Years.  I think (it was so long ago that I can’t even remember!) I bought the blanket kit in 2014 sometime, so it’s been at least two years.

It’s been a bit of a love-hate relationship.  Well, mostly hate.  I like crocheting, but not as much as I like knitting.  Mind you, I bet if I’d knitted a blanket this big I’d have been ripping my hair out just as much with that.  Let’s take a look at some photos before I tell you the whole sorry tale.

I got off to a rocky start with this one.  I crocheted about a foot before deciding my tension was off, so that got unraveled, I sorted out my tension and started again.  Then, I had a bit of an episode at the start of summer (2015, I’m guessing) when I got far too hot while I was working on it and thought I was actually going to faint (dramatic!), so it got pushed to one side until winter had come back around.  Then, after I’d picked it back up again, I did about another foot before realising that I was doing it wrong and my blanket was starting to lean to one side.  This is what happens when you put something down for too long – you forget what you’re meant to be doing.  Anyway, I figured out what I was doing wrong and decided I’d have to cope with having a slightly wonky blanket (a design feature!) rather than unravel a load of it again.  And then it sat in a corner waiting for its border for months.  Phew – it’s been quite the journey for us!  Anyway, fiiiniiished!  I finished it just in time to take it glamping 🙂  My friend and I (hi, Becky!) went to a wigwam to celebrate my 30th (yep, I’m old now) and I had to take this with me, right?  Worth all the effort, don’t you think?

The pattern
The pattern came in a series of blog posts over on Attic 24.  You can find all the posts here – scroll towards the bottom of the post for them.  You could, of course use your own colours, or use as many or as few colours as you want.  If you’re new to crochet though, I would maybe start with a cushion – this might put you off for life.

The yarn
I got all the yarn I needed in a kit from Woolaballoo.  If you live in the North East I would strongly recommend a visit – so many beautiful yarns.  They’ve since stopped doing these kits and focus solely on British yarns made from natural fibres, but you’ll find the Stylecraft Special DK almost anywhere.  And you could, of course, use a different yarn, but bear in mind you may need more or less of it (probably more).

The cost
I can’t even remember now.  I think it was about £25 for the kit.  £25 and a lot of time!

P.S.  Glamping is my new favourite thing!  It has all the best bits of camping – cooking over fire, being out in the wilderness etc. – with the added comforts that proper camping just can’t guarantee you, such as warmth and a comfortable bed.  We went to a lovely place in North Yorkshire called Humble Bee Farm.  It’s not far from Scarborough and Filey, and there were some nice walks around the camp site.  They have some animals on site as well, which is nice.  We had a great time!  Turns out we’re not too bad at the cooking over fire thing – we kept ourselves well fed for the weekend anyway.  And once the fire was going it was warm enough to sit outside, even in January.  I dare say I could quite happily live in a wigwam 🙂

Sew My Style – January

Remember me mentioning Sew My Style in my resolutions blog post?  Today I’m sharing my first make with you 🙂  And I love it!  I must confess, I wasn’t initially sure about this pattern, but I really wanted to take part in this initiative so I thought I would just give it a go and I’m so glad I did.  I love this sweater ❤

The pattern
First up for Sew My Style was the Toaster Sweater (version 2) from Sew House 7.  It’s sooooo easy!  I think it probably took me just over two hours to make, including cutting the fabric, which is incredible.  That even included time spent getting my head around new techniques.  It was my first try at mitered corners – an absolute revelation!  I would definitely use that technique on other patterns.

Modifications
I made no modifications to the pattern, but I did manage to fathom from reading the sizing guide that the sizes seemed to run a little large.  So, in a fit of spontaneity (I say that, but I actually agonised over it for a good couple of days) I decided to risk tracing off the pattern based purely on the finished garment measurements, even though it meant I fell into the extra small category which has literally never happened before.  I knew the jersey would have a lot of give anyway and luckily it paid off.  My sister also made a smaller size than she ordinarily would have and hers looks fine.  Anyway, I think this pattern sizing is on the large size, but as long as you take heed of the measurements you should be alright. The only other modification I might make next time would be to lengthen it a little.

The fabric
An absolutely stunning ponte di roma from the Textile Centre.  I’m devastated because I loved this fabric so much that I wanted to buy more and make something else, but it now seems to be sold out 😦  I will be keeping a close eye out over the next few weeks in case it come back into stock.

The cost
I bought two metres of fabric for £6.74 in the sale – what a bargain!  I think the pattern was about £9 (with the Sew My Style discount) once it was converted from dollars to pounds.  I already had everything else I needed, which means that it was about £16 including the pattern, which is pretty darn good 🙂

So that’s the first Sew My Style project complete and my first resolution ticked off!  Next up for Sew My Style is the Saunio Cardigan from Named Clothing, which I’m actually making for my friend, Rachel (hello, Rachel!), because I’m so certain it won’t be a pattern that will suit me.  Rachel has picked the fabric and made a couple of Saunios herself already, so I can use those as a good indication as to whether I have the sizing right, and I can also use the pattern pieces she has already prepared, which cuts out a load of the boring parts of sewing – score!  This will be about the third time I’ve sewn anything for someone else – don’t you think there’s quite a lot of pressure involved in making things for other people?!  Wish me luck…