#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…

Cleo Dress

Like the rest of the sewing universe, I’m sooooo in love with this pattern!  To tell you the truth, I’ve never been entirely sold on dungaree dresses – I’m quite curvy and always thought they would just make me look a bit round.  Enter Cleo, who started popping up on everyone’s Instagram feeds and seemed to be universally flattering 🙂

So, my friend Rachel and I decided we’d ‘host’ a #SewingCleo Insta-party, along with many fellow sewists.  Off we went to the Centre Front Studio to get up to mischief.

img_3252
Alex, Isabel, Charlotte, Rachel and me at the end of our #SewingCleo party

Now, it was an interesting day, our Cleo party – kind of a plague on all our houses.  Rachel’s machine broke a couple of hours in (luckily, the studio had spares she could use, but that was still very disorienting for her).  A couple of days later, my sister and I were trying to finish our Cleos and both our machines started doing very strange things, before mine finally gave up the ghost entirely.  Rachel and Charlotte have since managed to fix their machines with a bit of TLC, but I had to succumb to buying a new one (yay!).  Anyway, it wasn’t until a few weeks after the party, when we’d all dealt with our respective machine dramas that we’d all eventually finished our Cleos, and boy are we glad we did.

The pattern
In case you hadn’t already gathered, it’s Tilly and the Buttons’ Cleo.  I’m wearing it here with my refashioned Agnes top.

Modifications
None, in the end, but I did spend a lot of time debating whether I should do proper flat-felled seams.  Maybe next time.  Also, next time I will staystitch all the curves.  I didn’t this time because the pattern doesn’t advise it (at least, I don’t think it does), but when I came to attach my facings the shell had stretched out of shape, particularly at the back, which made it so difficult to sew.  I’ll staystitch next time to try to avoid similar difficulties.

The fabric
A fairly stable classic indigo denim from John Lewis.

The cost
This is truly shocking, but I genuinely can’t remember.  About £15 for 1.2 metres, I think.  The dungaree clips were £2.50 from a local department store (Fenwick’s, if you’re a northerner) and the topstitching thread was around £2.  Let’s call it £20 then (although that doesn’t include the cost of the pattern).

I absolutely love m first Cleo!  I’m even very impressed with my topstitching, which is the part I was dreading the most – if you’re going to topstitch with violently yellow thread, you’ve got to get it right!  I’ve already bought myself a Cleo kit for Cleo number 2.  I went for aubergine needlecord, because, purple ❤  I can’t wait to sew it up, but goodness knows when I’ll fit it in with such a busy sewing year ahead!

Molly Top

Who doesn’t love a staple Breton striped top?  You can’t have too many of them, I feel – they’re perfect for casual jeans days and layering.

The pattern: the Molly top from Lisa Comfort’s My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break e-book.  This is only my second make from this book so far (following on from my Alex shirt), but I assure you I’ll be making it all at some point!  All the patterns are so beautiful, and they really do make a capsule wardrobe 🙂   This pattern couldn’t be an easier sew!  What makes it so easy is the sleeves.  They’re grown on at the cap and the length comes from adding the bottom half of the sleeve later on.  It’s added in the flat and the seam line is virtually straight – much easier than set in sleeves.  I think I sewed this top in a couple of hours – super speedy!  I also tried a new stitch on my sewing machine for the top stitching and I love it.  The only thing I will change next time is the size.  I think I could go down a sizer at least, especially if I want to try the dress version – I don’t want the dress to be too relaxed in fit.  Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I bet this would be very easy to take in.  Hmmmmm…

The fabric: a lovely purple and cream stripe from Girl Charlee UK.  This fabric is super soft and comfortable.  I have a little left which will most definitely be used for something – I’m thinking the cropped Megan Nielson Briar tee for Sew My Style because it’s drapes nicely.

The cost: I got the fabric while Girl Charlee were having a sale, so it only cost £10.90 for two metres.  I already had everything else I needed 🙂  And as I say, I think I have enough left to squeeze another top out of it, so that’ll make it even more of a bargain.

2017 Sewing Resolutions

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope you’ve all started the year with a bang 🙂

I can already see that 2017 is going to be a busy year for sewing – hurrah!  As well as once again vowing to sew from my stash and have fewer works in progress (I must start finishing garments before starting another project!), I’ve decided to take part in two challenges, so I’m going to have an awful lot on my plate.  With that in mind, I thought I’d attempt to get organised and write down some resolutions.  If I have it written down here, I’ll feel more obliged to complete them, right?


Firstly, I signed up for Sew My Style, thought up by Alex over at Bluebird Fabrics.  This is a brilliant initiative promoting the slow fashion movement (something I feel very strongly about!) and encouraging young people to learn to sew.  The general idea is to sew a set garment each month for the whole year – you can read much more about it here and also take a peak at the schedule.  Lots of big names are involved – you’ll find By Hand London, Named Clothing and Megan Nielsen in there.  It’s just going to be brilliant!

The second challenge I’ll be getting involved with is Make Nine, which is the brainchild of Rochelle over at Lucky Lucille.  This is a list of nine projects to complete throughout the year.  Now, luckily for me, a couple of my Make Nine goals are actually covered in Sew My Style – score!  That will give me a little less to do.  We already know the schedule for Sew My Style,  but without further ado, let me share my Make Nine resolutions list with you.  They are in no particular order here, but I’ll probably do everything seasonally once I get going.

1. Make a coat.
I now have three or four coat patterns lined up in my stash (e.g. Papercut’s Watson and Sew Over It’s Lola from My Capsule Wardrobe), but one thing is for sure: I will at least be sewing up the Named Clothing Yona coat for Sew My Style in September, even if I don’t pluck up the courage to start the others.

2. A new Coco.
I love my first Tilly and the Buttons Coco so much!  So much, in fact, that I’m going to make a second one that is virtually identical to it.  I already have the fabric and everything.

3. Isabelle’s advent calendar.
My sewing machine broke in November before I had time to finish my lovely niece’s advent calendar, so this is on the ‘must finish’ list for next year.  I’m basing it on this lovely calendar by Amy at Stitchery Dickory Dock (excellent name!).  I’ve since managed to fix my stupid machine by the way, by simply opening it up and giving it a very thorough clean and DIY service – the problem probably had a lot to do with a very mangled pin caught in the mechanism.  Whoops!

4. Complete at least one knitted garment.
And I do not mean the cardigan I’m 95% finished, I promise!  I mean something new.  I have two possibilities lined up – this, which I’ll lengthen to make a dress, or this, which just makes me go all heart-eyed.  Thoughts?

5. Sew Over It City Break Molly dress.
I have some lovely navy and cream ponte from Sewn Bristol lined up for this – I’m ready to channel my nautical chic!

6. Complete my Dropcloth sampler.
Won’t this be a lovely addition to my sewing space?!  It’ll be a nice project to get along with while I’m commuting.  Yes, I’m one of *those* people who knits and sews on public transport.

7. Make a pair of trousers.
My first trouser making experience was not a great success.  I’ve been putting it off and off and off…  I need to overcome the fear.  No matter what, I’ll be attempting the Cali Faye Hampshire trousers in October for Sew My Style.

8. Closet Case Files Carolyn pyjamas.
I hope to get at least one pair done in January in nice, warm fabric.  I think my sister and I are going to make matching hedgehog pyjamas – eak, so excited!

9. Something involving sequins. 
In a fit of complete madness, and in a haze of all the beautiful sequinned fabrics we saw at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, my friend Rachel and I made a pact to make ‘something sequinned’ in time for Christmas next year.  We’re resting our hopes on Harrogate having lots of lovely sequinned fabrics on offer again in 2017, so we can pick up our fabric there and make something in the following weeks.  Any tips anyone has on sewing with sequins would be gratefully received 🙂

So there you have it – my sewing resolutions for 2017.  I’m going to try to stick to them as much as I can.  I will try to be good and not stray too far away from the plan.  Wish me luck!

Sew Dots Take 2

Hello, everybody!  I hope you all had a lovely Christmas.  I had a lovely time visiting family in the Midlands and down south, before heading back home to end the festivities.  It’s safe to say I’ve indulged far too much, as one does at this time of year.  I hope your Christmases have been just as enjoyable 🙂

I thought it was about time I shared my second Sew Dots project with you all (check out my first one here).  It’s been so long since Sew Dots, but I fell ill when the time came to get some photos of my makes, so I didn’t get proper photos until recently.

The pattern: the Lilou dress from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes, from Tilly and the Buttons.  As always, the instructions are excellent and the end product doesn’t disappoint 🙂  Anyone else hoping Tilly will release another book sometime?

Modifications: I added sleeves (I used the sleeve head from Mimi in Love at First Stitch, and just drew a line at the length I wanted), side seam pockets (obviously), and I self-drafted a neckline facing instead of lining the bodice.  I also added pom-pom trim to the hem as my tactile feature 🙂  I also may need to make a future alteration – even though I have been busy making toiles of this dress, this one has (annoyingly) still come up a little bit big.  Sigh.  My most recent toile fitted perfectly, so I think it must just be the weave of the cotton.  Luckily, I think I’ll just need to take the side seams in a little rather than make any huge adjustments.

The fabric: a Dashwood Studios cotton from Plush Addict, which is still available at the time of me writing this.  That hardly ever happens!  Being a cotton, it was really easy to work with.

The cost: two metres of fabric at £12 each, an invisible zip and some pom-pom trim.  Getting on for £30 for this one.

On the day I first wore this dress, despite being too disgusting to be in front of a camera, I still managed to host a cake day at work.  I’d like to thank everyone who took part in our little dotty party – whether you baked, wore dots, or donated money.  Between us all we were able to raise £120 for the RNIB!  And another big thank you to Rosie Martin for thinking this whole thing up.  There’s a round up of Rosie’s favourites here 🙂