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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Ruffle sleeves and flamingos

It seems you can't move for ruffle sleeves in the shops at the moment. I had been planning a pattern hack to add them on to a woven top pattern, then the latest Love Sewing arrived (issue 42) and it included a pattern for a dress with ruffle sleeves. I decided to use the pattern to make a top ready to wear on a weekend away. 

I had some amazing flamingo print cotton bought from Abakhan a few months ago which I knew would be perfect for this project. As luck would have it, I also had a matching invisible zip. Although I used the pattern to cut out the top. I ended up ignoring most of the instructions and sewing it together using methods I am familiar with. Some of the instructions were counter-intuitive, so I decided to freestyle it. 

I'm pleased with the top, but it is a bit tight on the body, so only really looks right tucked into a skirt, such as my Ultimate Pencil Skirt. The sleeve ruffles were really easy, and it's nice to have something that is on-trend.  I'm tempted to make another version, but maybe grade up a size so I can wear it with jeans. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Board shorts for the (almost) birthday boy

Thomas's birthday is in August, right in the middle of the school holidays. Not only does this make him one of the youngest in the year, most of his friends are on holiday on his birthday. For that reason, we have had his party in July for the last couple of years, meaning he ends up getting two celebrations (lucky boy). His party this year was in a party tent we hired in the garden. I decided to make him some shorts to wear. 

I made the kid's board shorts for Thomas from the third Great British Sewing Bee book a couple of years ago, before I started blogging. They are a great way of using up small bits of fabric. The last pair were in grey jersey with a Star Wars panel. They were a big hit due to being so comfy and they still fit now!  I decided to make him another pair in a larger size, which will hopefully last for another couple of years due to the generous fit. 

I used a blue jersey with a fine rib from my stash for the main part of the legs, and some amazing Alexander Henry graffiti fabric for the waistband and side panels. Unusually, this pattern uses stretch and woven fabrics, but they came together well. I added quite a few more rows of shearing than stated in the pattern as I was nervous that they would be too big round the waist. As it turns out, they are a pretty loose fit on the legs but the waist fits fine. A big thumbs up from Thomas who has worn them loads. Unfortunately, it was too cold and rainy for shorts at his party, but he wore them the next day instead!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Smart Summer style - Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt

I've decided to formalise what I have mostly taught myself about sewing and pattern cutting by applying for an evening course at college.  I was really excited to be invited to an interview last week. In addition to putting together a portfolio, I decided to put a piece of African wax fabric that Mum bought me to use as a pencil skirt. I had been saving this fabric for ages. It is so beautiful but I only had a metre and wanted to put it to best use. 

I have made this pattern before using a kit from Sew Over It and have been planning to make again ever since, as the fit is really good for me. As this is such a summery fabric, I decided not to line the skirt - I'll never be wearing it with tights. It was a real challenge to squeeze the pattern pieces out of one metre, but after a lot of rearranging and re-folding, I managed it!

This is a very straightforward make with a couple of darts and no separate waistband (it has a facing instead). As with all Sew Over It patterns, it is a good fit for me with very minimal adjustments. I'm so pleased that I chose to make this pattern with this fabric. The fabric has enough structure for this skirt and the bold design makes it a real statement piece. 

I made a simple cotton t-shirt using New Look 6217 in bargain white fabric I bought as part of my super haul at the Handmade Fair. This is a lovely quick sew and it  is simple enough not to detract from the skirt. 

So all in all, a great outfit to showcase my skills and fabric choices at the interview. Only spanner in the works is that we were informed on arrival at the interview that the course is heavily over-subscribed so there are no spaces left. Although I'm hugely disappointed, I'm on the waiting list and can always reapply for the following academic year if I am unable to study this year!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Super comfy but the jury's out - the Cocoon Dress

The latest issue of Sew Now magazine caught my eye when picking up some reading material for a long train journey, mainly due to the free gift - the Cocoon Dress by Simple Sew. It was quite an unusual style and I thought it would make a super-comfy and wearable day dress for Summer. 

I've had some lightweight spotty denim in my stash for ages, which I had planned to make a shirt dress with. However, I picked up some old curtains from a charity shop which I am planning to use for that project instead.  I've seen a lot of unstructured denim dresses about this Summer, so decided to use this fabric for the Cocoon Dress. 

I chose the short sleeve version, which has grown on cap sleeves bound with bias binding. My favourite design feature is the deep in-seam pockets (got to love a dress with pockets).  I actually cut two broad strips of the fabric to use instead of binding as suggested, which give the impression of turned-up sleeves. It all came together really easily, and I am pleased with the v-neck, something I have found tricky in the past. All in all, it was a couple of hours sewing. 

As predicted, the dress is super comfy and ideal for my un-air-conditioned office in the Summer. However, I'm not sure if I like the style and I'm not convinced it is very flattering. I'll keep wearing it and decide whether I love it or not....