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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Moneta in Manila

A business trip to Manila is obviously a reason for me to get stitching, but in the middle of January I didn't want to make something for the trip that I wouldn't wear again until Summer. The solution was to make a dress I could wear on the trip in the sun and also wear back at home with tights in the middle of Winter. 

The Moneta dress by Collette Patterns is one of those dresses that every sewing blogger under the sun has made at least one version of - it's such a versatile and flattering pattern. I can't believe I haven't got round to making it until now. I finally bought the pattern and some beautiful great and purple spandex viscose with bold wide stripes from Guthrie and Ghani. The colours were probably a bit drab for the beautiful Filipino sunshine, but more practical for rainy Manchester.  

As usual, I found I had bought far too much fabric when I started cutting out. The construction of the bodice was very easy on the overlocker. I also got a chance to have a first play with my new toy - a coverstitch machine which was my prize in the dressmaker of the year competition back in September. After a couple of false starts and a bit of frantic googling, I loved using it and the finish on gems is so professional. The skirt has in-seam pockets and these went in well. To gather the skirt, you need to use clear elastic which is shirred. I hadn't used this method for gathering skirts before, only for knicker elastic!  I wasn't as neat as I could be and the elastic ended up about 1.5cm down from the edge in some areas. When I attached the skirt to the bodice, the stitching was visible, but even worse, I caught some of the skirt in the overlocker (wasn't concentrating properly).  It was ruined with no way to fix it and I was devastated. 

Luckily all that extra fabric came in handy! I cut another skirt from the leftover fabric and a new bodice from the skirt of my first attempt. This time it went together perfectly and I sewed the whole thing up in one evening. Despite my near disaster, this was a really enjoyable project and I can see why Moneta has gained such a following. I'll definitely be making one again (but will be more careful next time. 


I also took the opportunity to go fabric shopping in Manila and picked up some bargains. Lots more projects on the way!

I did try to get a few pics of the dress before I went, but Polly was keen to get in on the action!


Thursday, 12 January 2017

Long-haul comfort - Hudson Pants

My January plans now rather unexpectedly include a trip to Manila in the Philippines for work. I'm quite excited and also a bit nervous about such a long business trip. It also presents an opportunity for sewing, of course!  The average temperature there at the moment is 30 degrees in the day, going down to 23 degrees at night, so I'll be digging out all those Summer dresses I made last year.   First though, I wanted to make something comfortable to wear on the (very) long journey there. 

I decided to hunt out a pattern for comfortable trousers/ trackies to wear on the journey. The Hudson Pant pattern from True Bias seemed to fit the bill perfectly - it is a casual, urban style trouser made from knit fabric with wide ankle cuffs. I ordered some super soft french terry from Girl Charlee in a monochrome Aztec pattern, plus some ribbed black jersey for the cuffs, waistband and pocket detail. 

As the waistband is gathered, I cut according to the rest of my measurements because I knew I could cut the elastic for the waist myself and I wanted the bottom of the legs to be tight as intended. The pattern states that is was made for someone who is 5'5", so I knew the leg length would be OK (I'm 5'3"). 

The french terry was much softer with more of a drape than other french terry I've worked with. However, it handled well without being too slippery.  I used the overlocker for most of this project so it was super quick. The only thing I missed out was the cord because I didn't have one and didn't have time to buy one. I have put in the button holes and channel for it though, so will add in. The waist is less gathered than the pattern states, but this allowed me to achieve a good fit. 


I'm not sure why I look so glen in the picture! I had quite a lot of the cotton jersey left, so I made a quick Shannon t-shirt to match. I've made the dress version a few times, but this was the first time I had made the t-shirt. I would add a few centimetres to the length next time. For some reason, the neckline stretched a bit when I was topstitching the seam allowance but it isn't too  obvious  being plain black. 

So now my secret pyjamas are complete, I can head off on my adventure in comfort!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

One year in - reflections and homemade Christmas update

At the start of last year I made the first New Years Resolution that I would ever keep - to write this blog. And what a year it turned out to be. I appeared in Love Sewing magazine on 4 occasions, was interviewed for a bookazine, won a bundle of fabric and. New Coverstitch machine, was linked to from my favourite sewing blog (So Zo), was a Girl Charlee knit pick twice and gained over 430 followers on Instagram. I didn't start the blog with the intention of anything other than recording my own sewing journey, so to have received this level of recognition in year one has been beyond what I could have imagined. More than anything, I have loved becoming part of the growing and very helpful online sewing community. I've gained and given advice, been inspired and even been gifted patterns. So I'll definitely be keeping this up, with some more surprises in store for 2017. 

As usual, my family held another 'Homemade Christmas'. Despite my grumbling, I love doing this and the presents get more impressive each year. My gifts this year were very cheesy matching pyjama bottoms. The patterns I used were the Margot pyjama bottoms from Tilly and the Buttons (ladies), Taylor's pyjama pants (little kids), GBSB book one (Gareth) and a Simplicity pattern - can't remember the number (Dad, Ian and Fin). They were easy to sew and the fit was good on all except the Simplicity ones which were too big of all three. By the end of making them I never wanted to see a pair of pyjama bottoms again!!


As I mentioned, the presents everyone made this year were amazing. I didn't manage to get photos of them all in the chaos, but here are a few: