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Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Rosa shirt - first day style

I started my new job this week. It was pretty strange (and nerve racking) to be the new girl again after more than 9 years at the old place. I find that it always helps to have something new to wear on the first day!  I actually finished this project a few weeks ago but have been saving it to wear for the new job. 

I bought the Rosa shirt and shirt-dress pattern from the Tilly and the Buttons stand at the Handmade Fair, only a few days after it was released. I was excited about making this as I've never made a shirt before and there were a number of new techniques. The styling is very 70s which is an era I love. I also bought some gorgeous 'raindrop' fabric by Cotton and Steel from Maud's Fabric Finds on the same day. I was torn between grey/blue and grey/hot pink. I went for the hot pink in the end and bought some matching hot pink buttons from John Lewis to match. I was a bit nervous about all the topstitching in this project so decided to just use a coordinating grey thread in case I made any mistakes. I think this was a good choice in retrospect as additional pink stitching may have looked too much with the pattern on the fabric. 

The first thing that struck me was how many pattern pieces there were in this project. It too forever to trave off and cut out. I also managed to get one of the collar pieces wrong when cutting out so had to re-do this. The shirt uses princess seams with a mock-felled seam finish. Both of these are new techniques to me, but Tilly's instructions were fabulous as usual and I managed to get the hang of both pretty quickly. The topstitching was ok in the end, I just took my time and managed to finish it neatly.  I also took my time with the collar and am over the moon with how it turned out - I've struggled to get nest collars on other projects and this success was definitely down to the clear instructions. 

The sleeves are turned up, with a button tab to hold them in place. I tried this, but didn't like the look of the wrong side of the fabric showing. I used the fold up technique from the Poppy playsuit by Sew Over It to give the impression of turned up sleeves, but showing the right side of the fabric. The only mistake I made was the positioning of the top button. I was annoyed with myself about this, but it isn't that obvious when on, so not too bad.  I didn't have to make any adjustments to the do at all. I'll be making a dress version very soon!

Here I am wearing it on my first morning:


Sunday, 4 December 2016

Heather - the cosiest winter dress ever?

I love wearing jeans, but sometimes it's nice to pull on a casual dress and tights. Somehow it feels a bit more dressed up, but for very little effort - win. When I saw the new Heather Dress pattern from Sew Over It, it fitted the bill perfectly. 

This is a PDF only pattern, which is really annoying. As I've said before, I would happily pay a couple of extra pounds so that I don't have to spend an entire afternoon cutting the pattern out and sticking together with sellotape. However, I understand why the indie pattern houses release patterns like this and it does at least mean you get the pattern straight after buying it. 

For my first attempt at the Heather Dress, I used an organic cotton interlock knit bought from Maud's fabric finds at the Handmade Fair. It is much more sturdy than a lot of knit fabrics and was lovely to see with. The best thing about sewing with stretch fabrics is being able to sew most of it on the overlocker which saves a huge amount of time. I was feeling lazy/ impatient when I made this and used a zig zag stitch rather than a twin stretch needle for the hems and to finish the neckline because I couldn't be bothered to sew up my machine for the twin needle. I think it looks fine, although the extra effort would probably have given a more professional finish. I went for the size 10 as usual in Sew Over It patterns and while it fitted fine around the shoulders and arms, it was too big in the body. I haven't altered it yet, but will take a couple of cms off the sides. 

In this picture I am gathering the dress together at the back with my hand, so it looks like it fits better than it actually does:


I also bought some striped French Terry from the Sew Over It website to make another Heather Dress. I spent ages trying to pattern match the stripes on the side panels with the front and back panels and failed miserably. I think I can just about get away with it, so I'm still planning to wear this out and about. My Mum has just made a version of this dress in striped fabric as well and she made the stripes on the side panels vertical, thus eliminating the challenge of pattern matching- wish I'd thought of that! I learnt my lesson on the fit and took a much bigger seam allowance down the sides and am happier with the fit. It is more fitted without being too tight, and fabric is so warm and comfortable, I'll be wearing this loads:


I've now received my Coverpro machine (although not had time to play with it yet) - this should make it even easier to sew projects like this.