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 😀

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 🙂

Vintage Vogue 9126 Pattern Hack

My blog has been shamefully neglected recently, but I have something extra exciting to share with you today – my first magazine feature!  I was asked months ago (it’s been torture keeping this to myself!) whether I’d like to be involved with a pattern hacking feature for Sew Style Vintage.  You know I love pattern hacking and refashioning and the like, so I jumped at the chance.

I won’t into my usual detail on here, as it’s all in the feature, but I wanted to share this exciting news and some photos of my finished hack 🙂  I was very kindly sent the Vogue 9126 pattern and a lovely viscose fabric with a vintage rose print.  The feature also shows off a beautiful hack by Abi over at Crafty Pinup – how lovely is her 50s frock?

The magazine is available in WH Smith stores at the moment, or you can buy a copy here if you like.  It’s a very pretty magazine, definitely one to keep, and it includes both Vogue patterns used by myself and Abi, as well as the pattern for the blue spotty dress you can see on the cover – 20 projects in total, so it’s well worth its £9.99 price tag.

Thank you so much to Sew Style Vintage for asking me to take part and printing my hack!  It’s been a real pleasure, and I’m so happy to be included in such a beautiful publication 🙂

#OWOP16 – Bettine no. 7

Right, it’s time for some real experimenting now.  A couple of weeks ago, I spotted a hack of Bettine on Instagram that was just the skirt.  It had been re-jigged it somehow so that it had a waistband, and it looked really great.  ‘Who is this genius?’ I hear you saying.  Her name is Helen, and she can be found on Instagram at @helenmenzies – please go check out her makes.  I asked how Helen had done it and she was kind enough to share, so I owe this project entirely to her – it’s not something I would ever have thought to do myself.  Here is Helen’s lovely, sophisticated Bettine skirt.

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My skirt on the other hand is more on the outrageous side, as you can see.

You’ll have to forgive me for camouflaging in the photos.  Unfortunately everywhere around my house is green.  Well, not unfortunately, usually I don’t mind that at all, but it did make getting photos of this skirt problematic.

The fabric: a slightly outrageous choice, no?  I have a gorgeous brocade-style fabric that I think would be perfect for this skirt, but learning from my disastrous Bettine top hack, I decided not to plunge straight in with the perfect fabric.  Now, this green stuff has been sat in my stash for a while now.  I got it from Resourceful Restoration, a vintage and antiques furniture shop.  Every now and then there’s some fabric up for grabs and I managed to snap up 2.5 metres of this for £20.  I think it’s quite an old fabric, as it’s only 90 centimetres wide.  I was drawn in by the colour and print – I love greens, and I love florals.  The thing about this fabric is that it’s textured.  It has a flocked/velvety/velour feel to it – I guess it was originally some sort of furnishing fabric – so I wasn’t sure what sort of project it would be suited to.  Eventually, I just decided that if it wouldn’t work for a simple skirt it probably wouldn’t work for anything at all.  I decided I’d try for a wearable toile, but I’m not sure how wearable it is.  Thoughts?  Is it too weird?  Anyway,  I do like the shape of the skirt, and this hack has been far more successful than the last one, so I’m going to go ahead and try with my brocade fabric (if I have enough…).

The pattern: a mash up of Bettine and Delphine (even the names sound like they belong together!), both from Tilly and the Buttons.  Delphine is from Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch (which is brilliant, by the way – highly recommend) and you can see my non-hacked Delphines here.

Modifications: yes, I had to make quite a few.  Firstly, I needed to figure out how to make the two patterns work together and redraft them. Additionally, I added a side zip and a waistband.  I didn’t put pockets in this one – I didn’t think they’d work with the fabric.  I’m going to put a tutorial (of sorts) of this hack at the bottom of this post, so scroll down if you want more detail 🙂

The cost: just the fabric, at £20.  I have some left though, but I’m back to wondering what I could make from it…  I used a zip that was given to me and I already had the thread.

Although I’m unsure on my fabric choice, I’m really happy with how this turned out.  In the right fabric it would be beautiful.  It’s like a tulip-meets-pencil skirt in shape, and I think it would be lovely in woolen fabrics for winter.  We’ve hit September so I’m all over the winter sewing now!

And with this, I come to the end of #OWOP16!  What a great idea One Week One Pattern is – it’s great for showing off a pattern’s versatility and encouraging sewists to be abit more adventurous with hacks.  I’ve loved seeing everyone’s creations, and I’ve added about fifty patterns to my wish list.  I huge thank you to Cinderellis Sews for hosting it this year – it’s been a blast!
How I did it

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  1. I traced off the front skirt piece of Bettine onto some new tracing paper.
  2. I drew a line 1.5 centimetres down from my Bettine waistline – the waist seam on Bettine is 3 centimetres, and Delphine’s is 1.5, so I needed to even it out somewhere.  This would be my new waistline for Bettine.  I think I could have started further down if I wanted to, as long as the side seams met up somewhere.  Helen’s skirt looks shorter than mine, and I wonder if that’s why – but it could also be that I’m only 5’2″.img_2451
  3. Then I needed to trace off the top part of the Delphine side seam onto my new Bettine piece.  I already had Delphine cut out, so I placed that pattern piece on top of my new Bettine piece, lining the top centre fold corner with the corner of my new waistline.  I traced the Delphine waistline and side seam until it met up with Bettine, as pictured.img_2453If you have not already cut Delphine, I guess you could place the new Bettine piece over the top of Delphine (1.5 centimetres above the Delphine waistline) and trace it off from underneath, if that makes sense?
  4. I trued up the new curve where the two patterns met with my dressmaking ruler – as you can see from the above picture they met at a slightly funny angle.img_2454
  5. Finally, I cut it out and labelled it properly so I’ll know what the heck it is next time I’m rifling though my Bettine envelope.img_2457

And then I sewed it up using this new pattern piece for both the front and the back and the Delphine front waistband piece.  I mashed up the Delphine and Bettine instructions.  I used the Delphine instructions for the waistband and zip (except that I put the zip in the side instead of the back, because I’d omitted the entire back seam), and I followed the Bettine instructions for the hem.  I think next time I sew this it will be super-quick.  Even with all the technical stuff it only took me a few hours, so next time I’ll whiz through it 😀

#OWOP16 – Bettine no. 5

I’m combining stash busting with re-fashioning with Bettine number five 🙂

The fabric: I used leftover dachshund jersey from my Agnes top  for the bodice.  I won this fabric in a giveaway hosted by So, Zo… and Girl Charlee UK.  I still love it, it’s so soft and comfy.  I paired it up with fabric from a beautiful, coral corduroy skirt I found in a charity shop.  Always look out for fabrics you like in charity shops even if whatever it is won’t fit you – this skirt was far too big for me, but it had masses of fabric so I knew I’d be able to hack it apart and make something else.

Modifications: yep, a few.  Again, I made all the relevant changes for working with jersey outlined in Tilly’s blog post for the bodice.  The corduroy skirt was panelled, so I ended up having to panel mine.  I have two front pieces and two back pieces, and centre from and centre back seams.  It’s really easy to make your skirt this way – just add seam allowances where the fold lines are on the pattern pieces and cut two front and back pieces, instead of one front and back piece on the fold.  I hope that makes sense.  Once they’re sewn together, you can treat them in exactly the same way you ordinarily would.  The other change I made was to make ‘pocket bags’ because I didn’t have quite enough fabric to get full pockets.  As a result I have half corduroy pockets and half cotton pockets.  Again, to do this, I just split my pockets in half and added seam allowances to each piece.

The pattern: trusty Bettine.

The cost:  I already had everything I needed except the skirt, which cost £3.  Bargain or what?!