Penny Hack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Pattern Month is over and there were so many fantastic makes! My third and final make was for the Hack It! week. This task was to take an indie pattern (or two, or three) and hack it to make it into something new! You can read about my Penny blouse below.

As soon as the new Penny dress from Sew Over It was released I just knew I had to have it!

It’s a simple shirt dress in a 1950’s style with a flat collar and a dropped shoulder. I really love the bodice and have one planned in a black viscose. Its going to be so much fun with a semi circle skirt (perfect for swooshing!), an elasticated waist (perfect for eating all the food) and that collar (perfect for making it look extra smart!). However, when I measured up I was a definite size eight on the waist and hips but a ten on the bust. Considering the style of the top I didn’t really think it warranted a full bust adjustment as it is quite loose fitting and so began to wonder about just making up a size 10 – after all the elasticated waist should cinch it in, right? Rather than dive right in and make the dress in a size 10 I thought it might be best to toile the bodice and check I want doing something crazy by going for the bigger size. It was then I saw on the Sew Over It instagram an amazing hack for the Penny dress. They had extended the bodice slightly and added some ties to the front to make a tie-front blouse. I immediately fell in love with the idea! I could toile the bodice whilst getting a wearable piece of clothing out of it.

I printed out an assembled the pdf pattern and cut out just the pattern pieces for the bodice in a size 10. I added 4 cm to the front and back bodice pieces (as the weight of the skirt would not be holding them down). I then added a triangle extending the centre front down by 25cm and drawing a diagonal to the side seam.

I then pretty much constructed the blouse as per the instructions for the dress bodice, but before moving onto the skirt instructions I just went straight to hemming.

The dress calls for three buttons but as I didnt want a massive hole where the tie front was I added a fourth. I could have started the buttons a bit lower on the neckline and I might do this for my dress (the button placement is left entirely up to the sewer with this pattern – there is no buttonhole guide)

The details:

Pattern: Penny dress – Sew Over It

Fabric: Orange twill from the Man outside Sainsburys (Walthamstow market – London)

Alterations: Size 10 bodice with 4 cm added to the length and tie front extensions to the front bodice piece.

I really love this pattern and can’t wait to make the dress – I also love the hack and can see this becoming one of my wardrobe staples, the fabric is really soft to habdle and feels gorgeous against my skin! I dont think I would want to make this with abything with less drape as the loose fitting bodice would end up quite stiff.

I really love the drop shoulder sleeves and think the styling fits in really well with the tie-front

Helen

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram or on my blog

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Wedding Season

New to Me” week has just drawn to a close on the Monthly Stitch and there were so many fantastic entries, which means I am so flattered that mine was picked as a finalist! You can read my post here, or go and see it over on the Monthly stitch. I would be so grateful if you wanted to go and vote for it too – and you should definitely go and check out the other entries, I am sure I will be buying up a few more indie patterns after seeing all of those fantastic makes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

With wedding season fast approaching I needed the perfect guest outfit for my Aunty’s upcoming nuptials. The wedding will be at the beginning of August and it is an outside affair. I needed the perfect dress – fancy yet not too flamboyant, summery yet amenable to the British weather!

After scouring the list of indie designers so kindly provided on this blog I set my heart on the Georgia dress from By Hand London. Having never used one of their patterns before I had no idea what to expect. As it turns out they give plenty of direction and there is even an online sew-along with more helpful tips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, once I had read the instructions and looked at the pattern pieces I realised where my first problem would lie. That bodice. With the bodice made up of 5 separate pieces a full bust adjustment was not going to be easy and it was pretty obvious I was going to need a full bust adjustment looking at the size of the pattern pieces. This is where the sew-along came into its own. There were plenty of detailed instructions with photographs about what was required. So I followed the instructions and added a 1 inch wedge into the centre of each of the front bodice centre and side pieces and made a toile. It was not good! There was no way I was going to be decent with that bodice on a dress! – So I took matters into my own hands. The circumference of the bodice was fine, it was just the height, which the FBA described in the sew-along had not accounted for at all. I slashed all the bodice pieces in half horizontally and added another inch of height.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I had figured out these changes to the bodice the rest was fairly plain sailing. The pattern recommended medium weight fabrics with a little bit of stretch but having looked at some pictures of others I wanted to use a slightly heavier fabric (to hide a multitude of sins on such a fitted dress!). I went with this gorgeous stripy jacquard from Fabworks. It’s pretty heavy for a dressmaking fabric and it frays constantly – my floor looked like I’d attacked the fabric with a shredder when I’d finished but the colours are amazing, a royal blue with stripes of pink, mint green and white running through it.

The details:

Pattern: By Hand London – Georgia dress

Fabric: Blue Jacquard from Fabworks

Alterations: Size 8 bodice with a one inch FBA and an extra inch of height added. Skirt is graded from a size 8 at the bodice to a 12 at the waist and a 14 at the hips

 

I probably could have afforded to go down a size at the hips but for a first go at this pattern I am pretty pleased with it. There are still some fit issues on the bodice but for a first attempt at a pattern from a new-to-me designer I am pretty pleased!

Helen

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram or on my blog

My new go-to

It’s Indie Pattern Month over on the Monthly Stitch and there are loads of great things to see, interviews with indie designers, discount codes, competitions and best of all lots of amazing sewers making indie patterns! Last week for the first week of Indie Pattern Month the theme was dresses and there were some amazing winners. I submitted my most recent Heather dress from Sew Over It. You can read about it over on the Monthly stitch or find the post below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you just love it when you find a pattern that is perfect for you? Be it the style, the fit, or just how fun/easy it is to make. I am so pleased that I have recently found one of those patterns. As soon as the Heather dress by Sew Over It was released, I just knew I had to make it!

 

My first effort was a straight out of the envelope size 10 and it was a pretty good start. Once made I just had to nip a bit out of the back seams so that it wasn’t really baggy. However, just one wasn’t enough and so on my second version I made a few extra changes. I took a couple of inches out of each of those back seams as well as an inch off the waist at each side seam. I also added a bit of extra room into the bust by just curving those princess seams a to have an extra quarter inch. In order to make this dress different from the first I took 5 whole inches off the length! (Sometimes it pays to be short, you can really play around with the length of things!

For Indie Pattern Month, I have made my third version of this dress. This has pretty much the same alterations as the first, but this time the length is somewhere in between (only 3 inches off the pattern this time!) I also added an extra quarter inch to the bust (making that a total of 1/2 an inch on each seam). I really love the dress and can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those that follow me on Instagram you will be well aware that I love anything blue and so this definitely fits in with my wardrobe! I really love that it is made from a knit fabric as it makes it so comfortable for everyday wear but it doesn’t look to obviously like secret pyjamas due to the way the fabric holds its shape. I always love a good Ponte de Roma and this one is no exception. It has a lovely feel to it and the pattern is super fun yet not too in you face (even if I do now match my curtains!!) I bought it at the Knitting and Stitching show back in spring at the London Olympia from Guthrie and Ghani and have been waiting for the perfect time to cut into it.

The pattern is pretty easy to follow. I got a bit confused the first time around the pockets but if you take your time and follow the instructions there is absolutely nothing to worry about as it is so well described.

The details:

Pattern: Sew Over It – Heather dress

Fabric: Blue diamonds Ponte de Roma from Guthrie and Ghani

Alterations: Size ten, 1/2in added to the bust on each princess seam, 1 inch taken out of each side of both back seams, 1/2in pinched out of each side seam at the waist, hem raised by 3 inches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sew Over It has always been one of my favourite Indie designers and the Heather dress is just another great pattern from them. I already have three but I can definitely see many more in my future!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagramon Instagram

Me-Made-May 2017

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I Helen of https://hshandcrafts.wordpress.com (Instgram @hshandcrafts) sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item of clothing for each day in May 2017 with non sneaky cop-outs like scarves, unlike last year.

It’s that time of year again!!

Me Made May is the creation of ‘So Zo…’ . It is a brilliant endeavour to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear and love them more. If you want to find out more about it there is a great page and sign up sheet over on her blog.

Last year was the first time I participated in the me-made-may challenge. I pledged to wear something me-made everyday. It was really fun but quite tricky with only one year of sewing under my belt so I think there were a couple of cop-out days where I counted my pyjamas or an accessory or two. Now I have a more extensive wardrobe I will be fully committed this year and am determined to wear at least one item of me-made attire every day for the duration of may.

As I did last year I will be keeping a daily log of the me-made items I am wearing each day of May over on Instagram so if you want to follow me and my challenge that’s where to do it.

Ginger Jeans

wp-1490528477313.jpgWay back in 2014 when the internet first went crazy for Ginger jeans I had not even begun to sew! Once I started making my own clothes, however, it quickly became apparent that these were definitely a benchmark project. It almost felt like there was some sort of secret guild of dressmakers that you would be allowed into once you had constructed your first pair.

So here we are two years into my dressmaking journey and I have made my first pair of jeans! They may not be perfect, but I love them! I love that they more or less fit, I love that they have wobbly top stitching and I love that they have secret sunshine in the pockets!

Never in my life have I owned a pair of jeans that fit. Generally, in order to squeeze my bum into them, they have to gape massively at the waist, so when I took my measurements and compared them to the packet I was completely baffled that I came out as a straight size ten on all measurements! So I went ahead and cut it out that way. However, when I had basted them together and had my first try, sure enough, there was gaping at the waist. This was when I went to the amazing Closet Case Files Sewalong for much-needed advice!

wp-1490528462707.jpgI took a wedge out of each yoke – around 3cm at the waist tapering to nothing at the bottom edge. I tried on again and the fit was so much better I decided to stop there, despite plenty room for improvement. On my next pair, I think I will attempt to make the crotch seam a little longer and possibly take some width out of the thighs but compared to anything I have worn before these are so much better! I did alter the length (by 3.5 inches!!!) but for me, that goes without saying.

I really enjoyed the construction of these jeans – it felt much more like construction than any other project I have completed) I think that comes from the rigidity of the denim and the many smaller fabric pieces than you get for dresses or skirts. I also really enjoyed that I had to take it slow – especially to keep swapping from my blue normal thread to the thicker yellow topstitching.

The details:

Pattern: High waisted view of Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files

Fabric: Stretch Denim from somewhere on ebay

Notions: 8 inch denim zip, Guterman jeans cotton thread and topstitching thread, rivets and jeans button from ebay

Alterations: Dart out of yoke and shortened leg

So now I have made jeans I feel like I can graduate from my personal dressmaking school and am ready to take on anything in my new jeans!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes (hint, there’s another Moneta on the go at the moment!!) over on instagram

Triumph and Defeat

I just came across this draft from Spring last year – I never published it because I couldn’t bring myself to take any pictures. However, I still think it needs to be heard – especially since I have now made two dresses from this book (one blogged here and one here)and they have both been huge successes (although to be fair they don’t have any sleeves!!)

Anyway…here goes…

Nearly 4 months after receiving Chinelo Bally‘s book for Christmas I plucked up the courage to give something a try. Freehand fashion is a bit of a scary concept. You take what seems like hundreds of measurements. mark some crosses on your fabric calculated from those measurements and then cut away at it. What comes out the other end surprisingly resembles a pattern piece!

I decided to stick to what looked like one of the simpler garments and opted to make the boxy top. I dutifully took all my measurements as described in the front of the book, performed all the calculations needed and then sat down to work. I decided if I was going to do this properly I should work straight onto my fabric (the book does suggest for the wary sewer you can work on paper first and create a kind of pattern piece). I cut out the front and back pieces and got sewing.

The fit was amazing! I guess that’s what you get from working off your measurements rather than a pattern. I so pleased with my triumph at creating a top without a pattern.

Next came the sleeves. This is where everything went wrong. The first set of sleeves I made was so tight I couldn’t even lift my arms up past about 45 degrees. The second set were massive. The set of sleeves I finally stuck with are still pretty huge. I think I am going to claim that as a design choice. Maybe next time I give this a go something will click and the sleeves will be fine but I might just cave and use a pattern piece from somewhere else for the sleeves.

The details:

Pattern: No pattern! Instructions based on the boxy top in Freehand Fashion: Learn to Sew the Perfect Wardrobe – No Patterns Required!

Fabric: Abstract print sateen from somewhere on eBay

Notions: Black Gutermann Sew All Sewing Thread

Alterations: None! It was made to my exact size!

I am really pleased to have given something a go from this book and think it could be really great once I get the hang of it. I think I might start using it to make really great fitting tops and bodices but then add some of the features of my favourite patterns. It seems like it might be more straightforward than trying to tweak the fit of a pattern bodice.

If you enjoyed this sneak peak into one of my less successful projects why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram where I post everything from the wins to the fails and all the progress shots in between.

Have you ever tried something and it not gone to plan? I’d love to hear about it in the comments so that I don’t feel quite so alone in my defeat!

Mimi Blouse

2017-01-21-10-42-49So in my last post, I said it would be getting a bit hectic and my posts would be coming few and far between. How right I was! It has been 4 months since I last posted! I must say I never intended for it to be quite so long. At least I can say it is not for a lack of crafting – in fact I have been doing quite a bit of that but actually, it seems to be the photography that is letting me down – I often just want to get on and use/wear/gift whatever it is I have just finished making.

 

 

 

But anyway, here I am…I have just finished making my first Mimi blouse! I really love this pattern and have been looking forward to making it ever since I got my TATB book. So when I picked up this beautiful swallows fabric from Cool Crafting at Christmas I knew immediately what it had to be. It wasn’t until I got home and frantically flipped through the book to find the pattern that I realised exactly why that was what I needed to make…something look familiar?

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Taking it slow

I knew how much I loved this pattern and had been looking forward to making it so I decided to take it slow. It really paid off as I am so pleased with how it turned out, the corners are sharp the seams are straight and the hems are even. I even managed to add some extra touches – like the buttons on the sleeves, I think they look really great at the join of the two pleats.

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And I even got to use my favourite sewing technique of all – gathers!

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The details:

Pattern: Mimi Blouse from Love at First Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons

Fabric: Hubble and Rose cotton poplin from Cool Crafting

Notions: Pale blue buttons, Guterman thread

Alterations: None!

I do really love this blouse and can see myself making some more – I had planned another straight away in a quilting cotton I already have but I think anything with less drape than this poplin would be too stiff…what a shame I might have to go fabric shopping after all!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram– in fact, that’s probably the best place to keep up with my makes when I don’t have time to photograph them properly!

Happy Birthday Granny!

 

This month marks my granny’s 80th birthday! Like every normal 80-year-old should she will be celebrating her birthday by travelling to Las Vegas! This left me with the question – what sort of present do you make for an 80 year-old who goes to Vegas for her birthday? I started flicking through some of my sewing magazines and it came to me – this travel wallet for storing your passport and travel documents. It’s perfect, something small and personal that can be taken on holiday!2016-08-07 11.28.56

I have lots of small pieces of fabric lying in my stash that I have recovered from old clothes that are past repair and from scarves that are not my colours any more so I decided to put these to good use here. The outside of the wallet is quilted from some floral cotton and a fleece for wadding.

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For the inside lining I used a peach cotton scarf and the pockets are from a purple scarf. The colours all match really well so I am pleased that I didn’t throw these pieces of fabric away. The whole thing is held together at the side seams with bias binding. It is stiffened with cardboard and a piece of white elastic and a wooden button to hold it closed.

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I really enjoyed making this and it was quite quick to come together so I think I will be making some more, especially as it makes such a nice gift for someone going away.

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Facebook

Anchor Dress

Anchor DressEarlier this week I showed you my completed Outfit-Along dress and cardigan. For those of you who were paying super close attention you will have noticed I mentioned that it was the second dress I had made using the bodice block from Freehand Fashion. Well, here is the first.  I am really pleased with this make and it was so close to being a perfect fit that I made another straight away for the outfit along..

I decided to make a dress for my holiday which was a couple of months ago now. I had this nautical themed fabric with anchors on it so it was perfect for watching my partner compete in the 3-peaks yacht race yacht race. Also, the race was being filmed for tv so I wanted to be wearing something extra special just in case I was caught on camera!

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So as I said, I created the bodice block using Chinelo Bally’s book and fitted it by making a toile in white polycotton. Once I had the fitting just right I cut out the bodice in my fashion fabric and attached it to the lining.

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AS I was making this dress way back in June I couldnt help but be influenced by seeing all the great makes over on the monthly stitch for Indie Pattern month. That definitely got me in the mood for sewing and whilst I didn’t have time to contribute anything myself I decided to get into the spirit of the ‘hack it’ competition and use the skirt from one of my favourite indie pattern designers and used the skirt from theLilou dress in love at first stitch by Tilly Walnes. I took about 10cm off the length to allow me to squeeze it out of the fabric (I only had 2.5 m).

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I really enjoyed making the skirt – look at all those pleats. I think fabric manipulation such as pleats and gathers is definitely one of my favourite aspects of sewing!

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I would have quite liked to put in an invisible zip but couldn’t find a red one long enough so opted for a centred zip instead. I think it actually fits in quite well with the dress.

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The details:

Pattern: Bodice block and Lilou skirt from Love at First Stitch

Fabric: Anchor print polycotton (I think it was from Abakhan a while back)

Notions: Gutermann thread, red zip

anchor dress

I love this dress and now I have a well-fitted bodice block can see myself making lots more dresses in this style. I really like the fit and flare look but have never had many clothes like it before because of all the fit issues with ready-to-wear stuff.
anchor selfie

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram

oh and I almost forgot…the obligatory twirling photo!

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OAL2016 is complete!

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Who doesn’t love the chance to both knit and sew whilst discussing it every step of the way with a group of like-minded crafters? I personally love it and the Outfit-Along has not disappointed. For those who missed my previous post about this and have no idea what I’m talking about it is a challenge to create an outfit in two months. There is a set pattern for both a sewn skirt and knitted top which you can choose to follow along with a series of guided posts from Lladybird and Untangling Knots or go your own way and make something different. This is what I chose to do as I have quite a few skirts and was looking to make a great summer dress. Also, another cardigan was top of my list for knitting so I decided upon the Agatha cardigan and got started.

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I picked up this gorgeous fabric from the knit and stitch show earlier this year and knew the subtle ivory and black print could handle a bright cardigan so chose to go with a red yarn. I used the suggested yarn for the pattern which was Cascade 220 and I actually really loved working with it. It is 100% wool so it’s really warm and will definitely make the cardigan great for the Autumn and Winter (even if it is a little bit much right now!)

 

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The dress is self-drafted. I used the bodice block from Freehand Fashion, a book by Chinelo Bally from Series 2 of the Great British Sewing Bee. This is the second time I have used this bodice block and after a few tweaks it is almost perfect in terms of fit. I also drafted a semi-circle skirt. I am really pleased with it and the fabric is perfect for this kind of skirt. It drapes really well but has some body to show off the fullness.

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Also, I put the biggest pockets known to man into the side seams! Why doesn’t every dress have pockets this huge??

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I really enjoyed taking part in the Outfit-Along and I’m already looking forward to next year. It was a great experience to think about making an entire outfit as so many of my handmade clothes are one-off pieces that I have to mix and match with shop-bought to create a wearable outfit. Perhaps I will consider this more from now on and start thinking about creating a more cohesive wardrobe.

If you want to see more of the outfit along and see all of the other wonderful outfits people have created you should definitely head on over to Ravelry where there is a wonderful forum of delights awaiting you!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram or Twitter