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Monday, 26 September 2016

The 'famous' Joan dress, mark 2

By sheer coincidence, I was two thirds of the way through this latest project when I found out I was one of the winners of the Stitcher of the Year competition with the same pattern - the Joan dress by Sew Over It. I actually bought all the supplies for this months ago directly from their website when they had a flash sale on. I've put off making it for a while, partly because i knew how long it would take and partly because it's harder to get excited about sewing work clothes!  It is a beautiful dress though and I need some new smart clothes for work, so I decided I needed to bite the bullet. 

The fabric I chose was a dark green luxury crepe with a gold lining. I used the Sew Over It colour-match service for thread and zip which was ace as I received a parcel with everything I needed to make the dress. My Mum made this dress using the same luxury crepe in purple earlier in the year which looked gorgeous so I was looking forward to the finished result.

I didn't enjoy sewing with this fabric at all, it was really thick and hard to pin while also really slippery, which was unexpected. On the plus side, I managed to attach the lining to the kick pleat first time - it really flummoxed me last time I made the dress, not sure why!  The kick pleat itself is probably the worst part of this project, I just can't seem to get it to sit properly. 

This is still a big project as the dress is fully lined, but it definitely seemed quicker than last time (despite stopping halfway through to make the Poppy Playsuit). Hopefully that means I'm getting better at sewing. It is really comfortable due to being fully lined and I know I'll wear it loads. I wore it today and I did find that the collar keeps sticking up so will add a few hand stitches to keep it in place. Here is the finished result (please excuse how tired I look, it's the end of a long day and I was up at 5 this morning to go to Edinburgh!):


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Got my sewjo back - Poppy in 2 nights

I've been dying to get my teeth into a decent project after barely sewing over the Summer and only accessories for presents since then. I also wanted to rectify my recent run of disasters. So I'm pleased to say my latest make was a success. I decided to make the full length version of the Poppy Playsuit by Sew Over It using a black floral crepe I bought from their stall at the Handmade Fair. 

I made the short version of this pattern to wear on holiday, and I loved the fact it was quick and simple to sew. However, I got the sizing wrong with that and felt it looked unflattering because it was too big. I cut it out in the smaller size (8-10) this size and it fitted much better. Because it's a loose style with an elasticated waist, I can wear the smaller size and fit it to my slightly out of proportion shape!  The fabric was quite slippery but I didn't have too many problems sewing with it, except hemming the trousers when I kept getting little tucks and having to unpick and start again. I machine hemmed out of laziness, it would have been better to sew by hand. I actually ended up making the waist too big and having to take the elastic in to get it too fit. The trousers were ridiculously long on me at first, even with heels on, so I took up by an additional 3cm (although I could have taken them up further). 

The playsuit looks really different in the long version made with this type of fabric and it's good to get something new from a pattern I already own. I'm becoming a fan of the pattern and will probably make another short one for next Summer in the right size. The only gripe I have with this pattern is the fabric requirements it states - I bought at least 1.5m more than I needed. On the plus side, it means I have enough to make a blouse with as well. 

Looking forward to wearing this out tomorrow night:


Monday, 19 September 2016

Fabric shopping and very early Christmas

On Friday I made my annual trip/ pilgrimage to the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. This was the third time I'd been and it was as fabulous as ever (at least it was for sewing geeks like me). We also held a ridiculously early Christmas celebration as a family which involved homemade presents all round. 

First, the Handmade Fair AKA fabric shopping heaven. In anticipation of how much fabric I was going to buy, my Mum and my Aunt (who came with me, along with my sister) both gave me early birthday presents of money to spend at the fair. And what a brilliant present it was. Each year, there have been more fabric stalls and this was the best yet, with Sew Over It, Fabrics Galore, Maud's Fabric Finds, Girl Charlee and the Eternal Maker to name but a few. I ended up buying fabric for 15 projects (and heavily supplementing that birthday money) and two new patterns (including the new Rosa shirt pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. My problem now is that I can shop faster than I can sew!

It wasn't just about the shopping - we went to a couple of workshops which were great fun (although our makes left something to be desired) and went to a talk with Patrick Grant (this was a bit of a disappointment as we wanted to hear more about the Sewing Ber than we did. Throw some prosecco, lots of free sewing-themed badges, free Florentines and g&ts into the mix and it was a great day all round. Already planning our trip for next year - need to get saving!

The next day, we had a Christmas breakfast in Knowle - My aunt and uncle are off to Crete for Christmas so this was the last chance we could all get together to exchange presents with them. As ever, the brief was homemade gifts made from materials costing less than £10.

For Glenda, I made the Ruffle Bag from issue 26 of Love Sewing magazine. I used red stretch cotton for the bag and red Liberty Tana Lawn for the lining, both leftover from the Lilou Dress I made back at the start of the year. The bag was relatively straightforward to sew, with the ruffles themselves taking to most time. I already ad a red zip in the right size, so this actually cost nothing - bonus! I left out the inside pocket because I didn't have a small enough zip but I still think it's really useable. The only thing I struggled with was attaching the straps as the instructions weren't very clear - I will go with my instincts next time I make it and will attach it the way I would normally. Hopefully she will be able to wear it for all those nights out in Paleochora!

For Brian, I made the tweed patchwork scarf from issue 21 of Love Sewing magazine. If this looks familiar, it's because I made the same scarf for Dad last Christmas. I used the remaining tweed trousers and skirts bought from charity shops and soft needlecord for the back of the scarf. It's a simple project but looks really professional thanks to all the topstitching - this won't be the last time I make it. Yet again, this was a stash-busting project so effectively cost me nothing!

Final bit of news this time is that I found out that I was one of the winners of the Stitcher of the Year competition in Love Sewing magazine and I have won a Janome Coverpro machine. I'm over the moon and a bit overwhelmed as I've only been sewing properly for 3.5 years.  Can't wait to try out my new machine- just need to find space for it!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

A series of sewing disasters...

I've been pretty quiet of late, partly because we have been on holiday twice so not much time for sewing, but mainly because my latest makes haven't exactly been my proudest sewing moments.  Unusually, my latest projects have all been for other people (I'm usually a bit of a selfish sewer!).

It is my Mum's birthday next week and I decided to make her an arrowhead ribbon necklace from Love Sewing magazine. I had to search for ages to find 5cm wide grosgrain ribbon, but managed to source some gunmetal grey ribbon which I thought would go well with her wardrobe. I've never used this kind of fabric manipulation technique before and I enjoyed seeing the arrowhead design come together as I was sewing and ironing. As I was sewing, it was obvious that something wasn't right. The necklace was much wider than the version pictured in the magazine. I even posted a picture on Instagram and the pattern designer confirmed that the width of the ribbon should have been 2.5cm and it should also be longer than stated in the magazine. Sadly, I don't think it's wearable, but I gave it to Mum anyway in the hope she can find some other use for it! I will make this again in the right width at some point as I think it could look great. 

It was also Thomas's birthday recently and his latest obsession is Power Rangers. I managed to find some (extortionately expensive) Power Rangers Dino Charge fabric on etsy to make him some pyjama bottoms. I used the same pattern I have used a couple of times before but decided to make the next size up (age 5). They were enormous!  Luckily I was able to alter them easily so not too much of a disaster and definitely a big hit with the birthday boy. 

Finally, it is my 6th wedding anniversary today. 6 years is either iron or sugar. I found some fabric with jars of sweets printed on it (for sugar) and though I would make Gareth some boxer shorts. Not very original I know, as I've made him several pairs before, but he does need some new pants! I decided to save time when cutting out by folding the fabric in half horizontally. I hadn't considered the design on the fabric and the sweet jars on one piece were upside down. I can't believe I made such a basic mistake - think my brain is still in holiday mode. There wasn't much I could do, so I went ahead and made them anyway. 

Not a good run at all - think I'll stick to selfish sewing for a while!