Sunday, 25 October 2015

Autumn/winter sewing plans

Ah back to the lists again! When I posted my summer sewing plans I kind of thought they were quite ambitious and yet, here I am, doing the same again. What can I say, I like lists! The summer list had 10 items on it and I got 3 finished. Those 3 items have already had a lot of wear though so I'm happy with that. I made my Marilla Walker sailor top, Dress 'D' from the Stylish Dress book, and the geometric Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank. I also made other items not on the list - two VERY quick jersey pencil skirts and a Victoria Blazer which had been a work-in-progress for about 2 years - all of which have quickly become favourites.

Woven fabric sewing plans

So, onto my Autumn/Winter sewing list.

Woven fabric  - clockwise from top right: Navy geometric fabric (from my summer sewing plans) now destined to be a Marilla Walker Maya top; the blue/beige & brown/orange prints were both lining options for the bottom left - a gorgeous terracotta/brick coloured wool or wool blend that is going to be a full length, long-sleeved, Victoria blazer. I've decided to go with the orange/brown print fabric as it matches so perfectly (so now I need a project for the lovely pale blue/brown fabric which I think is a voile). Last but by no means least top left is a lovely pink twill to be made into a Brumby skirt.

Jersey fabric sewing plans

Jersey fabric - clockwise from top right: The navy and burnt orange jersey are going to be combined to be a Jalie drop pocket cardigan. The purple and purple printed jersey are going to be Plantains. I just can't decide whether to make the printed fabric into a plantain dress or just a top, I need to have another feel of thickness of the fabric to decide if it's suitable for a dress.

And that's it, ha! If I even get two of these things done I'll be happy so we'll see how it goes. What are your autumn/winter sewing plans, or spring/summer if you're in the Southern Hemisphere?

Monday, 12 October 2015

Dress 'D' - Stylish Dress book

This Japanese pattern book was a lovely spontaneous present from my husband, just because he thought I would like it.  He was right and I've looked and dreamed of making up the pattern since he gave it to me about 2 years ago. When I was pregnant there were a few smock top and tunic styles I thought would be good but of course I never got round to them.  However a trip to Merchant and Mills in Rye on a weekend away with pals a few months ago led to me coming home with 2 metres of dark blue chambray, perfect for a version of the dress shown on the cover. I am so pleased with the finished dress, I've already worn it 3 times since I finished it last week which is a sure sign of success!

First wear, a trip to the local park

My Dress 'D', Stylish Dress Book

Sleeve close-up of my Dress 'D', Stylish Dress Book

I love the style of this, and have seen so many great versions, particularly on Instagram (if you search for #stylishdressbook lots of versions of Dress D come up). I also admired Louise's versions and these versions - it seems to be a pattern people love to make multiple versions of!  What do you think of this style? It is very loose-fitting and billowy, a style I don't usually wear, but it's so comfy and I think it looks pretty stylish too. Have you sewn with any Japanese patterns?

Pattern used: Dress D from Stylish Dress Book

Size cut: S

Fabric: Dark blue chambray at £7 a metre from Merchant & Mills, bought 2 metres. I still have enough left for some toddler clothes too, yay!

Issues/changes I'd make:

  • As you can see in the image above, the instructions are pretty sparse! Now when, like me, you're used to the detailed instructions, photos & sewalongs most indie sewing pattern companies treat us too, this can be a bit intimidating at first. However I did find that the diagrams provided helped a lot and there were only a few moments of head scratching.
  • Next time I would go down to an XS to make it less billowy & lower the neckline as it's already a bit higher at the neck than I'd like.  
  • Both my front & back facing pieces were too short. I couldn't work out why as I checked and I'd definitely traced the right size & added seam allowance. Luckily it wasn't much of a gap so unstitching the facings and using a smaller seam allowance gave me enough room.
  • Add length if I make this again. There's a nice deep hem on this which I wouldn't want to sacrifice but I would like a bit extra length so I'd need to add this on.
  • The pocket placement seemed a bit off to me. They seem to be placed really far to the sides and I wasn't sure about the look of this. However I've realised maybe that is the style as I've seen a few high-street tunic style dresses with side patch pockets recently.
Cost: The pattern was a present and the thread was left-over so the total was £14 for the fabric.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Victoria, Victoria

My first jacket! I may not look too happy about it here but I really love it! This is the Victoria blazer by By Hand London. I cut the fabric out almost 2 years ago so this blazer has been a long time coming!

In order to finally get this made I took a day's annual leave from work and spent the whole day sewing - and it was bliss! The fit on this is great, I've got room under the arms (something I often struggle with when sewing up tops and sleeved dresses) and I like the width of it.  However when I finished this I really wasn't too sure how much wear I'd get out a cropped blazer. I'm pleased to say I've surprised myself by how often I've worn this. I think it goes with jeans & skirts & I chucked it on yesterday as an extra layer in case the sun disappeared so it's going to be quite handy for autumn.

The outer fabric is from The Shop on Cheshire street, London - a brilliant shop full of vintage fabric. I'm not sure what the fabric is but it pressed beautifully & is very soft, though it frayed terribly! The lining is Liberty, the print is called Dr Tulloch, and I picked up a metre of it in the remnants bin during a Liberty sale. This was my first time working with Liberty lawn and my goodness I can see the appeal, it was really easy to press & sew. I do wish I'd made this full-length now rather than cropped but that'll be my next one.

I'd written up a whole load of notes about this - problems I had, things to do differently next time etc, however I managed to drop my phone in the swimming pool on holiday and there went my notes. Of course now I'm wearing my blazer I can't remember any of the problems I had - does anyone else find that? I really need to start writing a blog post, or write my notes on paper, to have a record of the sewing process.

Has anyone else sewed this up? Did it start you on an outwear mission? I already have plans for the Republique du Chiffon Gerard coat and a vintage jacket pattern I have but first up, another Victoria. I have the fabric already, a gorgeous wine coloured wool blend, and just need to get my lining fabric. I'm going to extend the sleeves to full length and line them. I'd also make the outer fabric slightly longer than the lining as on this one you can see the lining peeking out at the bottom sometimes. In these fabrics I've not had a problem with the lining peeking out on the lapels as a lot of people seem to, probably because both fabrics pressed so well. My next fabric is a wool blend so as it'll be thicker I think I'll play it safe and understitch the lapels. I can't wait to get started on my next one! Thanks By Hand London for such a lovely pattern!

A few close-up shots

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Jersey pencil skirts

In the past few years - read, since having a baby and losing all time to iron clothes/select outfits/look in the mirror before leaving the house - I've grown to love jersey pencil skirts. They make me feel put together and slightly dressed up without having to think about it.  I just pick out a nice t-shirt or tank top and that's me sorted. In the winter they'll work with tights and a sweater as well so they're pretty much a win-win in my book.

B/w skirt, worn with tank top (top of maxi-dress)
Worn here with my new Tiny Pocket Tank

These two were both re-fashions, though not exactly taxing ones. The black and white one was a short-sleeved dress from H&M that was too short and kept riding up. I just cut it off under the arms and then added elastic. Easy peasy! Now it's longer and doesn't ride up, plus it was a double layered fabric so no transparency issues to deal with.  The pink/purple jersey was once a tiny pocket tank maxi-dress. I wore it loads when I was pregnant but the fabric was just too heavy really and I kept having to re-hem it as it stretched. Plus as it was heavy it meant it was also pretty warm, too warm really, so I haven't worn it much this year. I decided it would get more wear as a pencil skirt. This was a quick and dirty re-fashion - I simply laid the b/w skirt on top, drew round it with a coloured pencil, remembering to include a seam allowance, cut it out, turned it right sides together and stitched, then added an elastic waist. I even re-used the original hem so this was another quick make.  Not wanting to waste the top half of the dress I took a bit off the length then re-hemmed it - new tank top, ta da!

Quick refashion in progress
There's not much else to say about elastic waist tube jersey skirts. Except, except that is that this tutorial from Lladybird totally changed the way I looked at elastic waistbands. As Lauren says herself there's loads of tutorials and instructions out there for doing this but I hadn't seen them before so I was really grateful for this quick and clear tutorial. It looks nice and neat on the outside, and best of all no twisting!

Does anyone have any other quick makes that they find really satisfying?