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Monday, 18 January 2016

The 'Orla' top - Tilly and the Buttons

My first project of 2016 was determined by the need to find something to wear to a work event at the end of January and by the fact that my Mum had ordered this pattern before Christmas and I had been dying to give it a go.  As she is on holiday for the whole of January, I convinced her to lend it to me before she had even made it herself.  I will start by declaring my love for Tilly's patterns.  I have made three Mathilde blouses, a Bettine dress, an Agnes top and most of the patterns from Love at First Stitch.  I'm such a geeky fan, I even had my photo taken with her at The Handmade Fair back in September:

I had originally wanted to make the Orla top in a green crepe which my Mum bought me as a remnant from Sew Over It, but alas, there was only enough for the bodice.  I had some dark grey cotton lawn with tiny bow-tie design from Maud's Fabric Finds which I had earmarked for another Bettine.  Keen to get sewing, I decided to use it for this instead.  I was unsure whether to include the snowdrop collar - I wasn't sure if it would look right, or if I had the skills to sew it well (and sewn badly, it would make the whole thing look truly awful).  I cut the pattern pieces for it anyway, thinking that I didn't need to make an immediate decision.  I did debate making the collar in plain black cotton lawn to make it really stand out, but I thought this might look too much, and would be even harder to get right.

The Orla top was definitely a step-up for me skill-wise, and I enjoyed the challenge.  The instructions weren't as detailed as for other Tilly patterns, but I guess that this is aimed at a more experienced sewer (I'm always nervous of putting myself in this category when I see how good others are!).  Apart from one session when I was suffering from sleep deprivation (teething baby) and I sewed everything together wrong and had to unpick it, I managed to sew even the tricky bits well first time.  The collar was difficult, but I purposely took my time and decided to include it in the end.  I did find that I had to take it in on the upper body and the sleeves.  I've never used a facing on a hemline before, and I really like the effect.  I decided to apply fusible webbing to the hemline facing to keen the clean lines without any visible stitching.  

The finished result:

On reflection, I wish I had gone for the contrast collar as I feel like you can hardly see it here.  I would also make it with short sleeves next time.  Overall, I am pleased with the final result and I will be wearing it to my work event, but I don't think it will become a wardrobe staple in the same way my trusted Mathildes are.

Before I sign off, I would like to share a very proud moment from last week.  Thomas asked me if I could teach him to make his own clothes when he gets bigger.  Of course I can lovely boy xx

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Hello (plus a round up of my Xmas 2015 sewing projects)

I'm not sure if anyone will read this, or if it will just be my personal record of sewing triumphs, frustrations and progress.  Either way, I'm delighted to finally be starting my own sewing blog.  I received a sewing machine as a Christmas present three years ago.  Since then, I have attended several courses to improve my skills and become pretty much addicted to sewing.  I'm always on the lookout for a new and challenging project, and I'm looking forward to sharing these adventures in fabric here.  Learning to sew has been a real challenge, and reading other sewing blogs has taught me so much.  In the spirit of new years resolutions, I promised myself that 2016 would be the year that I share my own adventures in fabric!  I'm completely new to all of this, so would love to hear any feedback!

Homemade Christmas 2015 and other festive projects

For the last 4 years, my family has had a 'Homemade Christmas'.  We only give homemade presents (for the adults, we do buy presents for the kids or that would just be mean!).  Coming from a family of knitters, sewists and crocheters, the quality of gifts has got better each year, and being a tiny bit competitive, I have felt the pressure to up my game.

I am most proud of the Slouchy Gilet from Simple Sew (free pattern with Love Sewing magazine) that I made for my Mum.  It was a bit of a nightmare to sew to be honest, I found the instructions confusing and it was made in jersey with an open-ended zip which were both tricky to work with.  I used a medium weight jersey knit from Abakhan fabrics in Manchester with a large dogtooth design, and I'm pretty chuffed with the result:

I made a tweed patchwork scarf (pattern from Love Sewing magazine) for my Dad, using fabric cut from old trousers and skirts from a local charity shop:

My sister has started going to the gym regularly, so I was excited when I found the gym bag pattern in the Cath Kidston Sew book.  I used a lightweight denim with a circle design and hot pink for the webbing and zips:

Then I made some matching Star Wars pjs for Daddy and Thomas (brilliant Star Wars fabric from Frumble; t-shirts printed myself):

Thomas started reception in September, so it was his first 'proper' nativity play at school.  He was given the part of 'King 2'.  I was ridiculously excited about the challenge of making his costume (my Mum always made ours), so rushed out to buy some regal fabric from Abakhan.  There wasn't a dry eye in the house (although some may have been tears of laughter at his 'comedy' King act!!):

Each year, I normally buy myself a new dress to wear to my work Christmas party and also on Christmas day.  I decided that this was the year that I would make my dress, and I have been dying to make the Ruby Dress from Love Sewing for ages.  I haven't made it before as I was pregnant when it came out, and have been losing weight since I had Polly seven months ago so have only sewn everyday type stuff for myself recently.  As I'm almost at my target weight, I decided to finally go for it.  I bought some polka-dot cotton sateen from Sew Over It (from Lisa herself) at the Handmade Fair in Manchester in November specifically for this dress, and it turned out brilliantly:

Finally, I needed to make something for Polly.  As we love to match in our family (see pyjama photo above!), I had to make her a dress to match mine using the leftover fabric.  I used a pattern from a book called Cute Clothes for Kids that I bought AGES ago and had never used.  She looks gorgeous as you can see:

Handmade Christmas was a success yet again.  I'm already starting to put aside patterns and fabric for this year, although I've got a few clothes for myself that I want to get under my belt first.  The first project for 2016 is already well underway - watch this space....

A xxx