What I wore on my summer holiday

We’ve just returned home from a lovely holiday in Majorca.  We stayed in Puerto Pollensa, which is a beautiful place – lots to explore, nice sandy beaches, plenty of yummy restaurants.

I made a little resolution to myself that I’d take at least enough handmade items to wear one for each day we were on holiday.  And I did it!  I even took more than enough with me, but I didn’t get round to wearing it all.  Still, I’m mightily impressed that I have enough to get me through an entire week!

Day one – refashioned denim shorts.

Day two – Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top and Jennifer Lauren Vintage Cressida skirt.

Day three – Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt and the Lauren Guthrie Simple Sleeveless Top (from Learn to Sew with Lauren).

Day four – Sew Over It Silk Cami and refashioned denim shorts (again).

Day five – Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top (again).

Day six – Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield Quilting Bee dress.

Day seven – Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt.

Pool days – Espadrilles.

And not to leave out the nights – Tilly and the Buttons Margot PJs.

There’s a couple of tops in that list that I haven’t blogged about yet.  I finished the Simple Sleeveless Top shortly before we went away, and I only finished my Agnes top the night before  🙂  I’ll blog about those very soon.

We had a lovely holiday, but it was a bit of a shock coming home to British autumnal weather – brrrrrr, it’s so cold!  Time for some winter makes.  Luckily, I got a head start with this while I was away.  I took a knitting project with me, a jumper, and I never missed an opportunity to squeeze in a few lines, regardless of location!

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Macaron dress

I’ve mentioned my Colette Macaron dress a few times in previous blog posts.  It’s been in the making since January – I had lots of fitting issues and accidental-holes-in-fabric traumas and the like.  I thought I’d finished it at the end of April, when disaster struck.  I was trying it on (luckily!) the night before I was meant to wear it to my friend’s wedding, only to realise I’d managed to insert a faulty zip.  Cue small panic attack and a last minute outfit change.

I should mention that the snags I had were nothing to do with the pattern, which was very easy to follow.  The problems were all my own doing.

Firstly, I decided to swap out the solid cotton yoke for a see through tulle, which meant adapting the pattern accordingly – no facing, figuring out a way to tidy up the seams and so on.  Secondly, I managed to cut my fabric pieces out too small.  I’m not sure how, and of course, I’d completely shunned the idea of making a toile – zzzzz.  Not having enough fabric left to re-cut a larger size, we (and by ‘we’, I mean Dan, my sewing instructor) sorted it out by creating side panels to match the contrasting waistband.  Thirdly, I twice (yes, twice) managed to put holes in my fabric and then had to figure out ways of covering up said holes – I had to move my waistband seam up and my neckline down by a few millimetres.  Then I had the zip fiasco.  It took me a long time to forgive the dress for the endless trauma it had already caused and pluck up the courage to swap the zip with a new one.  And once I’d finally fixed that I decided I didn’t like the sleeves.  I didn’t like where the shoulder seams were sitting, so I cut the sleeves off and used bias binding to finish the edge.

And ta-da!  Finally finished!  Ten months later.

What did I learn?

  1. I am far too heavy-handed with a seam ripper.
  2. This pattern hacking business is sometimes not as easy as you think it’ll be, especially when you throw in a delicate fabric.
  3. As much as I dislike the idea, I need to start making toiles of some of my garments (preferebly wearable), especially for anything with a fitted bodice.

So, there you have it – not the most pleasant of sewing experiences, but I learned a lot.  I’m finally able to wear my finished dress, ten months after I started it.  😀

Copy your clothes

We all have shop-bought clothes we get really attached to, don’t we?  So a while back, I attended a Copy Your Clothes workshop (I think it’s called ‘pattern hack’ on their website) at Centre Front Studio in Wallsend.  You take along clothes that you like and draft a paper pattern from them so you can recreate them once they’re past their best.  How cool is that?  I took two dresses along – one is pretty much on its last legs, but the other one is just a dress that I happen to like a lot, so why not take a pattern from it?

The basic principle is that you lay your clothes out on top of pattern paper and trace the shapes off using various methods – drawing around them, using a tracing wheel, pricking through seam lines with a pin, or anything else that comes to mind.  The fabric will sometimes require a bit of manipulation and it can be a bit fiddly in places, but we managed.  We even moved a dart on one of them!  I was so engrossed in what I was doing that I completely forgot to get photos of this part, but I did manage to get some photos of my patterns!

You end up with a bit of a wonky pattern which will need neatening up.  I re-traced all of my pieces onto a new sheet of paper and kept my original as a master copy to adjust as necessary.  The pattern won’t include seam allowance, so if you do this make sure you add it in all the right places before you start sewing anything.  I remembered to do this on my first test garment, but after making a couple of small adjustments to the pattern I made an entire second toile before realising I had forgotten to add seam allowance onto my new pattern.  Despite that, I’m happy to say it seems to have worked!  My first toile was actually okay, but I wanted to get the fit just right.  Hopefully sample number three will be a keeper.  You can see I have a very technical way of keeping track on the right side of my fabric when I’m making samples!

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The toiles look a bit uninspiring in calico, but I think once I’ve made something up in pretty fabric it will look fine.  I can’t wait to have a go!  I’ve been getting distracted with loads of other things recently, but I’m caught up now and I’m hoping to have another crack at this soon.

It’s definitely worth booking onto a workshop if you want to have a go at this.  If I hadn’t had Dan and Rory to help, I’m sure it wouldn’t have gone half as well.  But I [kind of] know what I’m doing now, so the workshop was well worth the money.  And it was good fun as always! 🙂

Aisling jumper

Good news, everyone – it’s autumn!  That means woolly jumper weather is upon us!  And that means I get to wear this beautiful jumper I knitted 😀

I’ve been working on this jumper for ages, so I’m really proud of myself for finally finishing it, especially since it’s the first wearable item of clothing I’ve ever knitted.  Until now, I’ve only ever made scarves and hats and things (and one completely failed attempt at a jumper!).  But this one looks okay, I think!

It’s the Aisling jumper from the Rowan Fazed Tweed pattern book.  It’s a really nice book – I want to have a go at making a few of the other jumpers from it when I get the chance.  The wool is so lovely and soft!  I got the book and yarn from the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate last November.  The pattern was really easy to follow, and it knitted up quite quickly, but by the time I’d almost finished it winter was on its way out, so I put it down for a while.  However, in a recent attempt to get through at least some of my works in progress, I was inspired to finish it.  And now it’s ready for me to wear this winter!  I shouldn’t have to wait long for that in good, old England, should I?

I’ve been wanting to knit myself some clothes for a while, so I’m glad I’ve got the ball rolling on that.  And I’ve already started my next jumper 😀