#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!  😀

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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.  😀

Baggy trousers

I said when I started this blog that I would share with you my triumphs and failures.  Well, true to my word I’m posting about these trousers – my least favourite project yet.

The pitfalls were nothing to do with the pattern – I managed to follow it with much less help than expected.  I used Colette’s Juniper pattern, which I’m sure would make a lovely pair of trousers if you don’t make the same mistakes I did, as follows.

1. Trying to make a pair of trousers, simple or not, before you’re really ready.

In a class of about 12 people, I think only two of us have gone on to finish a pair of trousers.  The class started in May last year, and we started making our trousers in October.  I finally finished mine just a few weeks ago – not just because I’d grossly overestimated my sewing abilities, but also because it became quite clear partway through that I was never going to wear them.  It’s hard to stay motivated with a project when you’ve got that eventuality looming over you.

2. Choosing the wrong fabric.

This fabric, from 1st for Fabrics, wouldn’t be too outrageous if it were used for a skirt or a different style of trouser.  However, the red corduroy combined with the (very) wide legged trouser has resulted in an almost comically 70s pair of pants.  If I were to make another pair I would choose a much more muted fabric.  I’m just not sure what my thought process was when I go this fabric.

3. Deciding the trousers fit, when they really don’t.

I didn’t really realise until I’d practically finished the entire pair of pants, but they are just too big for me.  Next time, I’ll go down an entire size and possibly make the legs a little narrower as well.  I have tiny feet (UK size 3), which get completely engulfed by the trouser bottoms – it would only be a matter of time before I fell over and broke a bone.

4. Last, but not least, storming through what remains of the project just so you can say you’re finished.

For months, all I needed to do on these was finish the waistband with stitch in the ditch and hem the bottoms.  They sat in a corner for months before I plucked up the courage to do those two simple things.  I thought, ‘I’ll just quickly finish these and then I can at least say I’ve made a pair of trousers.’  I rushed through it, and consequently, I’m just not happy with the finish.  The waistband is a bit wobbly and my hemming isn’t very neat.  Lesson learnt.

So, there you have it.  I made a pair of trousers.  It took me over six months, but they’re done.  And even though I’m never going to wear them, for all the aforementioned reasons, I’m still proud of myself for not giving up.  I may, at some point, if I can ever bear to pick them up again, attempt to turn them into a skirt of some kind.  There’s so much excess fabric in the legs, so there must be something I can do to make a wearable garment.

I am going to have another go at Juniper – a small hack to try to make a pair of denim shorts for my holiday later this year.  I don’t know about you, but I can never find shorts in the right length.  They’re either too short or too long.  I think I have enough denim left from my very first skirt, so it’ll be a good stash-busting project.

Mario Art

Hello 🙂

Just a quick, long overdue post to let you know I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet. Fear not! I’ve just been incredibly busy recently.

I thought I’d show off a finished project. It’s not clothes but it did involve a needle and thread. It’s a cross stitch! I made this for my brother and sister-in-law as a wedding gift, and last week, over a year late (!!!), I finally got round to giving it to them. They’re both avid gamers so it was perfect for them. The pattern came from a shop on Etsy, called Happy Cupcake Creations.

I don’t cross stitch often, mostly because it’s very time consuming and I’m not patient enough, but I’m quite happy with this. And more importantly, Michael and Lianne like it too! 😀

What else have I been up to? I’ve been finishing my Colette Macaron dress — see my Love-Hate Relationship and Oops! blog posts for a few more details on that. It is finished, but… the zip is faulty, and unfortunately I didn’t realise until I’d already completed the whole darn thing. Oh, it was expletive central when I realised, I’m sure you understand. Anyway, once I’ve sorted that out I’ll share it with you. As well as that, I finished a pair of trousers I’ve been making since September. I don’t think I’ve blogged about these at all yet, but there will be a blog about them soon.  I used Colette’s Juniper pattern. I’ve also been busy making a skirt for Simplicity’s Star Sewist competition — how exciting! I’m entering under the Newcomer category. I have a skirt to finish and a blog to write, all before 31st May — eak!

That’s all for now, folks. Keep smiling and watch this space for blogs on all of the above 🙂

P.S. Sorry about the quality of these pictures — it’s sooooo difficult to get photos of a photo frame without lots of glare or reflection. I wish I’d thought to get some before I framed it.

Oops!

Just when you think things are coming along nicely, this happens!

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This is the result of me getting too overexcited with a seam ripper  😦  Unfortunately it’s right on the centre front of my bodice.  You know that beautiful bodice pieces I made last week?  Yep?  The front is ruined!

Well, I’m being a bit dramatic – it is fixable, but I’m still really angry at myself.

Rather than starting the whole front bodice again (which, for a few horrifying moments, is exactly what I thought I’d have to do!) I’m just going to move it up a few millimetres to cover the hole.  This may not work with all patterns, but we had a go at pinning the waistband a bit higher to see how it looked, and we don’t think it will alter the look of the dress.  I’m just relieved that I managed to put a hole right on the seam line rather than in the middle of nowhere, otherwise I’d be doing lots of unpicking and more cutting out.  Thank goodness for a few millimetres of wiggle room.

It’s a love-hate relationship…

I’m having a bit of a love-hate relationship with sewing at the moment.

At home, I’ve been working on ‘easy’ projects that I’ve enjoyed putting together.  I have cut out all two (yes, only two!) pattern pieces to make the Simple t-shirt from The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe.  [Just a quick side note: chiffon is flipping horrible to cut out!]  I’m looking forward to attempting to use bias binding for the very first time.  I’ve also made almost an entire Delphine skirt from Tilly Walnes’ Love at First Stitch, using an indigo cotton canvas.  All that’s left for that one is to add some buttons on the front to give it a nautical look, and to add some patch pockets on the back.  I’ve never done patch pockets before either so wish me luck.

I heart sewing! 😀

However, at my sewing classes, I’ve moved on to my first ever ‘intermediate’ pattern, which took weeks of brain power before I was able to make my first stitch.

I hate sewing! 😛

I’ve been working on Colette’s Macaron, using the lovely Michael Miller Marionette’s cotton.  First things first, I had to do was decide what size I would be.  Not surprisingly, I had to grade my pattern down from the bust to be smaller at the waist – I had expected this.  The mistakes came in later on.

First mistake.  I decided to make the contrast yoke out of a sheer fabric – instant changes to the instructions for construction.  Cue lots of brain power trying to figure out what I’d have to do differently.

Second mistake.  It then occurred to me that I didn’t particularly want to make the waistband out of the same contrast fabric I’d chosen for the yoke, because then I’d have a visible midriff.  ‘What should I do?  I know!  I’ll just lengthen the bodice piece.  That will be easy enough, right?’  Wrong!  So wrong.  I just could not get my head around lengthening that bodice.  After lots of maths, three different approaches and an entire sewing class, I gave up.  I think I sort of did have it figure out towards the very end, but it occurred to me that if I came across any problems later on they would be twice as hard to solve because my pattern pieces would be completely different.  I landed on making my waistband out of plain white cotton  in the hope that it won’t look that odd.

Then, last week was all about starting to cut out the fabric and making sure all the markings were there.  I discovered tailor’s tacks, which are quite magical.

Finally, this week – week five of a ten week course – I was able to make my first stitches.  And look what happened!  😀

I have bodice pieces!  Bodice pieces that look like they’re going to fit me.  They went together very quickly once I started sewing, and I’m starting to feel really good about Macaron.  I’m back to loving sewing!  I have sewn on the yoke differently to the way Colette have instructed in the pattern, mostly because I thought their way would take longer.  Only time will tell if I’ve made another fatal error there…

What have I learnt?

  1. It’s one thing to make small changes to a pattern, but I’m absolutely not ready for full on pattern hacking.
  2. As much as I want to get a good fit etc., I much prefer the construction process. The paperwork requires so many brainwaves.
  3. Even when I hate sewing, I love to hate it!

Plush Addict haul

Happy 2015, everyone!  I hope you all had an enjoyable festive season.

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me for #SewingFrancoise.  I was a runner up and won a £100 voucher for Plush Addict 😀  £100 of entirely guilt-free fabric shopping!  Thank you so much for voting – I only started sewing a few months ago really, so I’m blown away.  And thank you so much to Tilly for running the contest!

I’ve never bought anything from Plush Addict, and I was so excited when I realised how much I had to choose from.  The fabric is all great and it came really quickly.  I’ll definitely buy from them again.

Since my purchases will probably make up a large percentage of my 2015 projects, I thought I’d show you my haul and let you know what I’m planning to make.

I have Tilly to thank for my spoils, so I thought it only right that I make some Tilly clothes 🙂  Also, all her patterns are lush, so I don’t mind in the slightest.  I bought some indigo canvas to make the Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch.  I got some striped jersey to try a Coco dress, which I’m very excited about because I’ve wanted to make Coco for ages.  Aaaannnnd… I got some red faux silk to attempt her Mathilde blouse.  That one is scaring me slightly because it looks a bit fiddly.

My non-Tilly projects will include Colette’s Macaron, for which I bought the lovely Michael Miller Marionettes cotton. I haven’t got the contrast fabric for this yet.  I got some polka dot chiffon to make the simple t-shirt in the second Great British Sewing Bee book.  And finally, I bought some Michael Miller Marbles cotton to make the Colour Burst dress from the latest Mollie Makes Sewing magazine.

Phew – quite a haul!  I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.

Buuut… before all of that, I’m going to make a pair of pyjama bottoms.  I’m going to use the Margot pattern from Love at First Stitch (of course).  I’m making them from this Dalmatian print cotton.  Woof!  Do you remember the cave girl costumes I made?  Well, after making those, I was invited to take part in Jungle January by Pretty Grievances.  So, I’ll be making my PJs before anything else so I don’t miss the January deadline.

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So there you have it.  My sewing plans for what must be most of 2015 (or possibly the rest of my life!) by the time I’ve finished.  All down to Tilly and Plush Addict. Thanks, guys!

What’s on your sewing tables at the moment?