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!

buttons for gingham blouse

Gingham Blouse

I recently joined the Monthly stitch a blog where loads of sewers can post there makes. Each month there is a new category and sewers should make something that fits in with that category. This is a great way to focus all those ideas for new sewing projects and decide which one to make first based on what fits best into the category! This month the theme is Check it out!

Gingham Blouse on HsHandcrafts

I don’t own many checked items of clothing not because I don’t like checks but just that I have never really seen anything recently in the shops that I love. In fact I think the only thing I do own is a top in a tartan-like print and I love it so I thought this challenge would be a great opportunity to add some more checked fabrics to my wardrobe. Since I began sewing I have bought very few ready-to-wear garments and have begun to notice that a lot of my clothes are beginning to look quite tired.

In a couple of months time I will be starting an internship and will need some smarter clothes so its about time I started boosting the smarter end of my wardrobe and so I decided to combine the these two ideas of smart clothes and checked fabric and kill 2 birds with one stone by making a gingham blouse!

I wasn’t too sure that gingham was a good choice to begin with as it always reminds me of school dresses and I really wanted to avoid looking like I had bought my blouse from the back-to-school section of the supermarket when I start the internship in September! However, I spotted this particular gingham in black and decided that it was too nice to pass up – and also there are not many school dresses in black are there?

I used the Fashion with fabrics book again and loved the pattern hack for a sheer sleeveless blouse. Although I don’t feel quite comfortable sewing with sheer fabric yet, and I wanted to use my gingham, so I decided to give it a try! I think it worked out quite well, the only thing that i think would have worked better with a sheer fabric would be the gathering at the shoulder as this is a bit to rigid and so kind of puffs out a bit rather than falling nicely. However, this is a minor detail and still looks fine.

I cut out a size 8 from pattern as this was the closest to my measurements. I could probably have done with a little smaller everywhere except the bust but I made a toile from some cheap cotton I had lying around and it didn’t seem too bad.

Perhaps the way the gathering was falling on the toile should have been a bit of a give-away that cotton was not the perfect fabric for this make.

The sewing went fairly smoothly and the body of the blouse made up really quickly (French seams and all!) Next step was to tackle all the new to me parts.

First the bias binding for the arm holes. This seemed to go really well and without too many issues.

Arm holes finished with bias binding

Arm holes finished with bias binding

Next, the collar. This is where it got more tricky. I fused the interfacing to the top collar piece. Sewed this to the bottom collar piece and then turned them the right way an and topstitched around the edge. So far, so good. Next, I had to attach the collar to the body of the blouse. To my horror the collar piece was about 2 inches longer than the neckline of the blouse. Not to be phased by this I thought I would simply cut a section out from the centre back of the collar and stitch it together again. Simple! What could possibly go wrong? Well, in my haste to put my genius to work I went and stitched it back together again wonky – so now the collar has a step at the back of it. Lucky for me I have long hair so nobody will ever see my mistake!

Step in the back of the collar on my gingham blouse

Step in the back of the collar

The final new-to-me step was to create buttonholes and attach the buttons. Not to be tricked into making another mistake I practiced first! Here is my first attempt at a buttonhole ever:

My first ever buttonhole on my gingham blouse

My first ever buttonhole!

Not to bad, even if I do say myself!

Next on went the buttons, no problems there.

Buttons on gingham blouseAnd ta-dah! My blouse was complete! For something that had so many steps in it that I would have to try for the first time I am really pleased with how it turned out, even the collar with its none-matching abck seam looks fine from the front.

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The details:

Pattern:  Sleeveless Sheer blouse hack from The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric

Fabric: Mini check gingham cotton poplin

Notions: Black Gütermann thread, lightweight iron-on interfacing, Red Wooden Round Buttons (1.5cm)

Alterations: None

I think it will become a wardrobe staple. I am really pleased I went for red buttons as I think they make it more fun. Black buttons would have just made it an ordinary everyday blouse, not one that is special to me! It is also, the first step towards my new work-wear wardrobe for when I start my internship in September!

H.

Weekend WIPs: Unexpected crafting!

So my weekend plans were cancelled due to the bad weather. Normally this would be a pain but not this weekend. My fabric order had arrived last week and so I couldn’t wait to get started!

I dont want to spoil the surprise as it is for my first monthly stitch post but I can show you a sneak peak of some of my pattern tracing!

and pinning my toile (hint: there’s going to be gathers!!)

fashion with fabrics blouse toile

 

Sorry for being so cryptic but I’m really excited about this make as there’s so many new-to-me things to do!

H.