Sunday, 21 December 2014

A Christmas skirt! Ho Ho Ho.

Season's Greetings folks. I'm starting to feel very festive now; the kids are off school, and it's time to party. To celebrate, I made myself a new skirt.

I think red is the most festive of colours, and I'm loving this deep burgundy with cream polka dots.

The pattern is the Delphine skirt from "Love at First Stitch", and it fits like a glove. I have finally embraced my changing figure, and accepted that my tummy needs extra room to breathe! It has taken me some time to come to terms with my new shape, but I guess that is what happens when you have three kids.

The fabric is a heavy weight cotton with a linen feel. I decided it needed lining, to avoid it sticking to my tights, and I am so glad I did as it looks fantastic inside and out. It's a cheap poly lining in pink, but with matching burgundy stripes.

I followed the pattern exactly, except for the zip. Because everything for this make was from my stash, and I only had a navy blue zip, I ummed and ahhed about leaving it until after Xmas to get the right colour.  Then realism hit: who the hell will be examining my zip?! No one. So, dark blue zip it is. I did a lapped zip and no one would ever know.

I wore it out yesterday on a family trip to the cinema to see 'Paddington' (highly recommend it by the way - it was baby girl's first cinema visit, she is two and three quarters, and she loved it). The skirt was great to wear; I felt stylish but not over the top. A great make, and I can see more of this pattern being made in the future.

Anyway, enough witter.  Merry Christmas to all!

Above photo shows us posing by the tree in the glorious Dome Cinema, Worthing (which was where, coincidentally, my beloved and I got married)!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

More Pinnys!

Inspired by Kids Clothes Week back in October, and my little strawberry pinafore dress for my baby girl, I have two more pinnys I have been working on to show you. I cut them both out in a flush of enthusiasm weeks back, but then somehow forgot about them!  I was really cross with myself when I lifted some new fabric and found two half made dresses underneath!

This green floral dress used to be a pair of my Nan's old and faded curtains!  But the finished dress is so pretty I doubt you'd think "curtain" looking at her in it. The pictures were taken on a gloriously sunny Autumn afternoon.  I love days like this.

After taking these photos, I was concerned about those drag lines on the front of the bodice.  So I have very simply let out the elastic at the back of the dress by just over an inch and problem solved, drag lines gone, phew! Funny how you don't always "see" things until you photograph them.

On this version I have added a band of green ribbon at the hem, topped by a line of purple ric-rac. This embellishment though simple makes me positively giddy, it looks so fabulous. I also decorated the top of the pockets with ric-rac too.  Too cute.

This is her other pinny, and it started life as an adult's soft chambray skirt. I had to include the skirt's central seam in the dress in order to fit all the pattern pieces on while still following the grainline.

She loves this version as it is so soft.  It's not showing well in this photo, but I did all my topstitching in orange thread. I thought it went nicely with the blue.

The hem and the pockets tops I embellished with the cutest scallop stitch. It's a small detail but it makes the dress really special.

Baby girl particularly loves the pockets, and they are roomy enough for lots of toys! She's such a good model too - very keen to swirl and pose.

With these two dresses plus the earlier strawberry one, it makes it six buttonholes under my belt with this pattern. I've stopped being so scared of them at last. Might be time for me to tackle a blouse soon: I just need to decide on the pattern.

I've loved sewing all three of these.  They have really been fun to do.  Its especially satisfying when they are loved by the recipient too!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Asymmetric Coco

Same fabric as my last make, but a very different dress. This is Tilly and the Buttons' "Coco" and is made using that fabulous border print jersey from fabricland. I'd originally bought 2.5 metres, and that was more than enough for two fab makes.

Even though the fabric is quite striking in its own right, I feel the finished makes are very different in style and tone; this feels more adult, and I feel rather glamorous in it.

I decided to go for the basic Coco shape without the funnel neck, and although I cut out the pockets, I decided against adding them as the finished dress seems so sleek and chic without them

Construction-wise, this is really simple - three pattern pieces only! And as I had made it before, it came together in a matter of hours! Result.

I really like the pattern motif down the side; this dress makes a big statement.  Everywhere I have worn this, I've had so many compliments.  It's easy to wear, wash and care for.

Wearing this feels like a dressy garment rather than casual; my other dress with the self-same fabric feels very every-day.  Perhaps this is because this one is more fitted and figure hugging.

 I did grade out a little from my last Coco. 

This is a pattern I feel I could make again if I come across an interesting piece of double knit.  So I shall keep my eyes open.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Simplicity 1787

Thank you sewing bloggers for advice regarding cutting jersey on the crossgrain. I had a big piece of doubleknit jersey with a lovely patterned border along the selvedge, and I wanted to make the most of the great motif. Originally I had in mind to use the pattern as a hem, but upon hearing that it would stretch out of shape, I decided to play safe and use the grainline of the fabric.  Here is what I came up with:

This is Simplicity 1787 Girls. I was a bit worried as it is a child's pattern, but I fall well within the measurements, so I thought I'd go for it. And actually it fits me perfectly.

It comes with a sheet to design your fashion elements! You can add faux piping, metal chain, rosettes, etc. I added none of these as they seemed a little naff on an adult.

I'm rather pleased with this make, I think it is the trickiest I have done to date (sadly that's not boasting much as it is defined as an easy make!). The pockets are fabulous and I adore them.

I feel that the princess seams are rather flattering for me. I'd always thought you needed to be busty to look good with this shape, so I am surprised and very pleased.

The suggested fabrics are wovens but after seeing Thornberry's version that she made for her daughter, I decided to give it a go in jersey. It is so comfy, I have loved wearing it. Honestly, I am ridiculously happy about this dress, comfy and stylish, a win-win

The pattern demands a zip closure, but in jersey you do not need it. I hope to make another version one day in needlecord, and for that I would use the suggested zip. It is loose fitting, so if I curved the side seams in a little on the next version, it would be more shapely and womanly; that would obviously be a plus, but the flip side would be losing the comfiness.  One to ponder...

The yoke was a beggar to sew.  I must have read and reread those instructions twenty times!  I got there eventually, but not without a considerable amount of unpicking and some choice language! It was worth it though, the neckline looks great.

And I also have enough fabric left over for a matching Coco, which was the pattern I had in mind when I bought the fabric.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Two birds with one stone

Squeal! My favourite make so far...

This is a fully-lined pinafore dress with cute curved patch pockets, and I adore it.

Those cross over straps! Love, love, LOVE. Oh, she looks so cute in this.

I think the thread and the buttons are a perfect colour match. My first ever buttonholes, too - not bad for a first attempt. I was a little nervous; but after doing several practice runs on scrap, it all worked out well.

She rather enjoyed posing and twirling on the beach to model this dress.  It's fab that my baby girl likes it as much as I do.

This make was spurred on by Kid's Clothes Week 2014 and by A Stitching Odyssey's vintage sewing pattern pledge.

kid's clothes week

All in all, I'm rather pleased that one dress can tick off two sewing challenges. Wahoo! I love this dress so much that I already have two more (yes two!) cut out already. Below is the picture from the envelope and it is just fab.

The pattern in a McCalls Toddler girl dress from 1975.  It's classified as an 'easy to sew' and I'd say it was. To line it, I just extended the facing pieces to full length.  I sewed the hem by hand (angel halo) only because I was watching the telly. But I think I may sew more hems this way, it has such a neat, clean finish.  It was rather therapeutic too!

Leaving you with one last picture of my little starlet!  Two more of these finished before too long (good sewing karma allowing).

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Book Review: Gertie Sews Vintage Casual by Gretchen Hirsch

"Gertie Sews Vintage Casual" was a birthday present from my husband. How did he know?  Must have been because I put the book in the shopping basket on amazon over and over again for a month beforehand!

What a book.  To say I love it is an understatement!  This is Gertie's second book, I haven't read her first, but am now tempted to ask for it for Christmas. 

The illustrations are aesthetically pleasing; so much so, that I am thinking about tearing some out and framing them, to hang in my sewing space for inspiration.

Gertie guides the reader through the history of vintage casual clothes, which is so interesting; it's like a lesson with a really exciting and engaging teacher.

The book also comes with 10 patterns, each with suggested variations, so you could get a whole wardrobe-ful from this one book.

These are my two favourite patterns, the 40s-Style Blouse, and The Cigarette Pants:

What makes the book stand out above other sewing books (and I own MANY) is that it is not aimed at absolute beginners but at those who want to improve and modify their sewing.  There is not page after page wasted on "how to thread a sewing machine", but instead there is useful advice on fitting, or how to solve those problems of pooling excess fabric, or gaping fabric at the waist or neckline.

I would thoroughly recommend this book, perfect bedtime reading.  Although these fabulous patterns are primarily aimed at curvier women than I am, I am very tempted.

Hope you find this review useful.  And if you can recommend any other titles that I might like as much as this, I'd love to hear about them...