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!  😀

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!

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.

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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!

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 🙂

Sew Dots Take 1

If you sew, and if you use Instagram or Twitter, you must know about the #SewDots campaign.  Sew Dots was brought to us by the wonderful Rosie Martin, author of the recently published No Patterns Needed.  When she’s not sewing or writing books about sewing, Rosie does fantastic work for the RNIB – the Royal National Institute of Blind People – helping people with visual impairments use modern technologies, such as mobile phones.  Sew Dots came as an extension of the RNIB’s Wear Dots Raise Lots, a campaign aimed at highlighting the impact of Braille, and Rosie, because she’s brilliant, thought she could rally up fellow dressmakers to try to raise even more awareness.  The idea was to sew something dotty (dots like Braille), share your creation/s on Twitter or Instagram and donate £5 to Rosie’s Just Giving page.  I sewed, and I donated, so let me share my first Sew Dots project with you.

The fabric: a white Swiss dot I picked up on eBay.  I liked the idea of Swiss dot because I wanted my projects to have 3D elements.  The dots on this fabric are perfectly reminiscent of Braille.

The pattern: I’m sure you’ve seen the latest release from Lisa Comfort at Sew Over It.  My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break has taken the sewing world by storm.  And rightfully so, everything in that e-book is beautiful!  This is my first (of many, I’m sure!) make from it – the Alex shirt.

Modifications: just two.  I used the tab from the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine pattern instead of the one provided, as the Bettine tab was a bit wider and less fiddly.  Because I’m lazy – there, I said it.  Also because I’m lazy, I was very naughty and didn’t bother with the buttonholes.  The shirt is so loose fitting that it slips over my head just fine.  In fact, I may even go down a size for my next Alex Shirt.

The cost: the fabric was £6.99 per metre.  I bought three metres, but didn’t use it all.  I used self-cover buttons, which were £2.50.  In total, that’s about £23.50.

I think Rosie has struck gold with this idea, and I’m really hoping it sticks around in future years.  This is something that means a lot to me.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned before that my father is blind.  He uses the services provided by the RNIB extensively, especially their talking book and Braille libraries.  I know he would be lost without books.  The work the RNIB does really is invaluable, and I’m a fan of any campaigns that support their work.

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 🙂