Thursday, 12 January 2017

Catching up with 2016....

I *still* haven't caught up with all the blog posts I wanted to write, about all the items I made in 2016. This post is going to be the catch up post so get ready for a long one, probably with lots of pictures! If you follow me on IG you may have seen some of these already.

Tie and bag for summer wedding:
I have done a couple posts already about my garments for this wedding. I also made Husband a tie to match my dress, using an old tie of his as the pattern
I also made myself a little bag for wedding day essentials, lippy and tissues! I basically made it up as I went along, lined it with the green silk I had used for the sleeves of the jacket, stitched the handles to make them feel more substantial and fashioned a little tassley thing to make it pretty

Pinafore dress for Eldest
I got a free pattern with a sewing mag that was a pinafore/dungaree combo (Cotton + Chalk Sunday Set).  Eldest asked me to make the dress and chose so fabric from the stash.  Unfortunately there wasn't enough for the skirt, which was a gathered circle skirt. I drafted a half circle skirt from her measurements and just about manage to squeeze it out of the fabric

She likes to keep her phone in the front pocket, which forces the bib down when being worn. We have just this week bought some dungaree clips so that I didn't have to bodge shortening the straps for her!

PJ's for Youngest
Youngest was in desperate need of more nightwear but was adamant that she wanted shop pj's.  I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandria Palace in early October and bought some lovely jersey that that I thought might appeal. As soon as she saw it she asked for pj's out of it in exactly the combo that I had envisioned!

I almost had a disaster when trimming down the neckband, in that I nicked a tiny, but obvious hole in the centre back of the top. I made a quick fix with some fray check and sewed a contrasting patch over it. I used the True Bias Hudson pants and the Sewaholic Renfrew top

Skirt for my friend
Earlier in the year I made a skirt for a friend of mine who has trouble getting skirts to fit properly. I finished it just in time for the weather to warm up so didn't get any photos until a few weeks ago.  The fabric was a great find from MRosenberg (Stitch Fabrics) and I drafted the skirt from her measurements

Skirt and top for me
I made a jersey skirt using the free Lindy Petal Skirt pattern by Itch to Stitch. I had quite a bit of this blue marly knit that I think is ex-Paul Smith left from other projects (Hudson pants, skater skirt, skater dress) so used it for this skirt and for a raglan sleeved top, pattern Newlook 6230, with some more leftovers as a feature in the front. I can't remember what size I cut for the skirt. It fitted pretty well straightaway but I did trim a little off the side seams in the hip area to get a smoother fit.

Fancy dress party
Husband and I were invited to a friend and her husbands joint 40th and 50th  birthday party in November, the theme being Dead Famous.  There were many variations on a theme, but I decided to go as Prince from a specific video. I made my jacket, the frilly cravat thing and at the very last minute, stretch crushed velvet leggings from a skirt from a local charity shop. The jacket pattern was McCalls 6844. I made a medium (12-14) but could heave easily gone down to a small or even extra small.  The front is supposed to meet at the centre front, but mine overlapped considerably. I made view C with a high/low peplum.
can you guess the Prince video?
Self drafted shift dress
I have been attending pattern cutting classes for a few years now and haven't used many of the patterns that we have drafted. I thought it was about time I did, and wanted a simple dress to show off some fabric.  I decided that I wanted french darts in the front, which we hadn't actually covered in class, but I used my block and found a tutorial on the Internet (can't remember where though) and worked it out. I am very pleased with the result, although it needs taking in a little
as is
pulled in a bit

 Pink sweatshirt for Eldest
I picked up some lovely sweatshirt fabric from a fabric swap earlier this year without much thought about what to do with it. Eldest saw it when I was looking for something else in my stash and asked it I could make her something.  The piece was quite small but I managed to get a cropped version of the Newlook 6230 raglan top out of it. The edges rolled like crazy, but Eldest liked that and asked that I leave the edges unfinished so that they curled up

Late night photos means the colour is a bit off, but it is a lovely soft pink.

Husbands Christmas present
For the last 5 or so years I have made Husband a shirt for Christmas. We both felt it was time for a change so I started making him a waistcoat. Unfortunately, I got really poorly just before Christmas and was sent to bed by Husband so that I would be well in time for the festivities.  Spending the best part of a week in bed threw all my plans out of the window re sewing and everything else really.  I got as far as I could, wrapped it up and gave it to him with an IOU! Even though I had checked his measurements and checked the finished garment measurements it is a fraction too small. However, I am going to finish it as it has the best welt pockets on that I have ever done, and Husband is on a mission to fit into it!

Top for New Year
Having had my sewing plans scuppered in the run up to Christmas I was determined to whip up some thing for the new year.  I made a couple of tops, a Burda raglan top ( Raglan shirt 02/2013 #127) that I have made a lot before, and a MyImage cowl neck top that I have also made a few times already. Both of these tops are out of the same fabric. I picked it up from MRosenberg pretty cheaply just before Christmas, but it was full of flaws (this was reflected in the price!) that required some creative layouts. I currently only have a picture of one of the tops, but may blog them both properly in the next week or so.
I really like this picture! I looks like I have put s crazy filter on it, but it is just the lighting in my sewing room.

Phew, that is it for last year.  I have been sewing nonstop in the last week, so hopefully will have some finished items to show soon.  Happy New Year and Happy sewing!

Monday, 5 December 2016

FO: Mouse house creations Julia Cardigan

I made this cardigan/jacket to wear with my BHL Anna Dress that I wore for a wedding earlier this year.

The fabric is a navy blue ponte knit that I bought locally and have had for a couple of years. I bought it to try and knock off a dress that I had seen in Crew Clothing and had never got round to making (I even have the sparkly fabric too).
Women's Anastacia Dress in Navy from Crew Clothing:

The pattern is the Julia Cardigan from Mouse House Creations, which I bought as part a pattern bundle a couple of years ago. It is a downloadable pdf. I quite enjoy putting these together, unlike many people! It takes me back to living in NZ and rediscovering sewing with free downloads from the Burdastyle magazine.
I just about managed to squeeze the pattern out of the quantity of fabric that I had. I think I had about 1.5 metres and the pattern calls for considerably more than that. I employed some creative cutting and ended up piecing the inside of the back edge.  I choose the view that has the double layer at the collar/edge as it doesn't need hemming and I wanted it to look good with my dress - I wasn't sure that turning the edge under and stitching would look as nice.
I had minimal scraps left after cutting

piecing inside the back edge

lots of pins
I really like the pattern, it was an easy sew and the instructions were fine. I am pretty sure that I put it all together with my overlocker and just did a spot of top stitching on my sewing machine. Once done, I tried it on with the dress and even ordered some shoes and a bag to go with it all.  It looked good, but I felt it was a bit casual and I had in the back of my head that I wanted something a bit more striking - and the BHL Victoria Blazer was born!
the shoes and bag got returned
Having worn it as a cardigan alot over the summer I really like it and would like to try it in a different fabric for a more slouchy version.  If I make it again I think that I would grade up to a bigger size across the back of the shoulders. I feel that this one is a little tight and the back of the armscye is distorted when I wear it.

Friday, 2 December 2016

FO: A BHL wedding outfit, part 2 - Victoria Blazer

In my previous post I showed the Anna dress that I made to wear to a wedding.  Here is the jacket that I wore with the dress.  It is, as one commenter asked, the By Hand London Victoria Blazer. I have had this pattern for a while as my reward for supporting BHL in their Kickstarter efforts to start printing fabric.

I have seen many versions of this over the few years with varying opinions on the pattern and style.  I have not been that sure of the style especially the longer length, it being quite slouchy but cropped version looked quite cute in most of the versions I have seen.

I picked up the fabric at a fabric swap that I went to in London in May or June.  I don't know who donated it but there was loads - at least 3 metres if not more. I wasn't sure what the composition was or whether it was washable so I cut a square, zigzagged the edges as it frayed like crazy and popped it in the wash with a bunch of similar coloured stuff - just in case the colour bled out.  There was no discernable shrinkage but the colour did seem fractionally paler. I then chucked the rest of the fabric in the wash on its own and was very thankful for my large washing machine! My mother-in-law informs me that it is almost certainly silk.  It pretty thick, feels quite rough and a tiny bit scratchy.

Because of the thickness of the fabric it was really hard to cut - not helped by my scissors not being the sharpest. The lining for the body is taken from an old White Stuff skirt that I had hardly worn - I liked the fabric but not as a skirt and the colours looked really good with this coral.
The pattern doesn't have you line the sleeves, but I knew that I wanted to line mine. I used the same fabric for the sleeve lining as I used for my Sewaholic Minoru sleeve lining. Again it goes well with the lining of the body.
too lazy to change the thread on seams that would never be seen!
I had noticed in my internet researches that many people commented on the lining of the jacket going right up to the front edge of the jacket and that the lining often peeped out when being worn. I found an excellent post by Nicole Needles describing the steps for drafting a facing for the front edge. This also involves slightly redrawing the front lining pieces. I followed this and drew out my own facing which you can see here:

I wasn't 100% sure it would work due to the thickness of the fabric but fortunately the fabric pressed really well so I steamed the heck out of it and it was fine!

The was quite a bit of hand stitching involved with the lining, but I quite enjoy that.

Here are a couple of details:

I tacked the lapels down to stop them flapping about
The jacket is quite swingy at the back and initially I didn't like it. I considered putting in darts at the back like Shannon at The Modern Tomato did with her blazer, but once I tried it on with the dress, I actually liked the shape with the nipped in waist of the dress.
walking through the woodland from the church to the reception
This was actually the second jacket I made to wear with this dress. I am really glad I went to the extra effort for this jacket as I love the pop of colour. The first is fine but not as smart and will have a post of its own soon (ish!)

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

FO: A BHL wedding outfit, part one - Anna dress

Earlier this summer, Husband and I were invited to a wedding.
The happy couple in the rain!
The groom was one of Husband's many cousins, the second eldest of a family of four boys. I first met these boys when they were teenagers and younger and have seen them grow up into lovely young men.
the brothers in age order!

I wanted to make something for the wedding and had an idea to make a long version of the By Hand London Anna dress. I have made the short version some time ago.  I found the fabric at one Geoff Rosenberg's fabric sales at Trumpington Village hall, Cambridge, for the princely sum of £6 a metre. I think I got 3 metres and it was 160cm wide.  It was a lot of fabric to lay out, and I had great fun trying to work out which way up the motif should go.

I decided to make the V neck bodice this time around, and was very sensible - I made a toile of the bodice before cutting into the fabric.  I only needed to alter the length of the bust pleats - which I had to do on my previous version. I also decided to have a split in one side. I hand stitched the seam allowances of the split - the stitches disappeared into the fabric pattern really easily.  I realised quite early on that I would have to line the dress and because of the side split decided to do a half lining ie to the top of the split.

When I tried the dress on I noticed that neckline was gaping quite a bit. I am sure the neck had stretched out as the fabric was pretty tricky to handle. I don't think the instructions say to stay stitch the neck, but if I were to make this style again I would definitely stay stitch here. I solved the issue by using some clear elastic thread in the seam allowance between the main body and the lining. I pulled it in slightly, just tight enough to stop the gaping, but not so much that it looked gathered.

I tried to get one of my girls to take photos before the event, but for some reason they were all of of focus - although this is another fabric pattern that looks out of focus anyway!

I haven't much else to say about the dress. It is an easy sew and easy to wear, I certainly felt pretty glam wearing it!
Walking from the church to the reception

With the groom's mother (in pink) and her best friend

Monday, 7 November 2016

FO: Simplicity 8014 - The Shirtdress

So following on from my last post, once the fabric was washed and the jet lag subsided, I started to look at shirtdress patterns.  I narrowed it down quite quickly to two patterns that fitted my vision: Simplicity 8014 and McCalls 6885.  The McCalls was the right shape and had cuffed sleeves and a terrible envelope picture.  The Simplicity won out because it had a yoke, the right sleeves and buttoned all the way through.

I haven't got that many pictures of the construction.  Having cut it out I did a quick baste together to assess the fit which seemed fine - I didn't change anything. At some point I managed to lose the cut pieces and the pattern piece for the sleeve tabs. It was very frustrating, but I had just enough scraps to draw out replacement pieces. I kind of guessed at the size - seemed to work out OK! Really annoyingly, I was having a tidy up the other day as my sewing space is going to occupied by a Spanish exchange student for the next week, and I found the missing pieces - bit late now, but at least I have the proper pattern piece again!!
 There was lots of top stitching:
I found the perfect buttons at my local fabric/haberdashery shop and bought all that they had
 Modelled by Lola - rolled sleeve and full sleeve
and modelled by me - Slightly out of focus, taken by one of the girls at about 7am, hence the bleary eyes.

and here worn at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally at the beginning of October, with Charlotte from the Sewing Bee
I am really pleased with this dress - it is exactly what I was planning. I love the buttons, it is the perfect length and I love that the fabric came all the way from NYC along with the memories of that trip!