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!

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Planning Moneta

I have had my eye on Moneta by Colette patterns for some time, and so when they had a sale last week I decided to snap up a pdf copy. I have recently come round to liking pdf patterns. Although they can be a bit of a pain to stick together, there is no need to trace the pattern just cut out your size. Then if you want to make another size at a later date, you can just print it out again!

I am currently a bit snowed under with sewing projects! I started a pencil skirt from Freehand Fashion but then decided I should make a dress for my holiday instead. It turns out this was a good plan as we go away on Thursday, and the dress is not quite finished yet! So when I get back, I will finish off the pencil skirt and then get to work on my dress for the Outfit-along. Once those are all done, Moneta is next on my list. Jersey dresses are just so comfy yet still look like you’ve made an effort with your wardrobe. I hope it will quickly become one of my sewing staples! I have already been admiring lots of lovely jersey fabrics but am holding back from buying them until I am ready to make it!

Here are some of my top picks at the moment

I would love a good basic dress that can be worn with anything and I think a jersey dress is perfect for this. This grey jersey has just enough texture to it to make it interesting while still being versatile. I think I could make one in every sleeve length in this sort of fabric!

 

 I always love a good stripe fabric, and these two are just perfect. Monochrome for autumn and winter and a bright red and teal for summer. But which one to make first?

 And speaking of summer, I love this abstract palm tree print it would be perfect for strolling down the beach in.

 

 

So many potential Moneta dresses to make I don’t know where to begin. I hope this is an easy make so I can make them all in super quick speed!

Helen

A new dress is for life, not just for Christmas

With only two days to go before Christmas I decided I couldn’t possibly not make a new dress for the big day! I even had thefabric ready: the navy and emerald tartan (I only used a tiny bit for the hem of my Lou Lou dress).

Megan

I’ve been meaning to try remaking a pattern that I’ve already tried in the hope that it would save a lot of time, particularly at the fitting stage so it seemed the perfect opportunity to make another Megan dress as I really loved the fit of my first one.

 

Not having to fit a toile can save tons of time!

I know it sounds obvious (right?) but I guess I just hadnt really ever thought about how much quicker it would be to make a pattern for the second time. As I am still relatively new to making my own clothes the excitement of new patterns is still a major driver when I choose what to make next. However, given that this was a project with a deadline, makiing a second version of a project I know I can get a great fit on was the perfect plan.

The fabric was wonderful to work with, it just seemed to glide through the machine. I wish I knew more about fabrics so that I could look out for similar things in future. Maybe someone will be able to help me figure it out! The only issue was the large checked pattern required a lot of matching. In fact, I didnt really bother too much other than pinning it when folded so that the stripes remained straight and symmetrical about the centre. I just let the side seams take care of themselves (but shh, don’t tell anyone)

stripe matching

In terms of fitting, I pretty much used my toile from last time as a pattern piece. In fact, I only adjusted one thing and that was to make the bodice longer by 1.25inches so that it sits a bit lower down rather than creeping up right under my bust.

megan top

I also added a centred zip. I chose to do this for a few reasons. Firstly, and probably most importantly they didn’t have an invisible one in the colour I wanted. Secondly, as my fabric was a little thicher than the one I used last time I didnt want to get stuch with bulky seams around the zip which can sometimes make them tricky to open and close. I had also just seen this tutorial for one over on the Colette website and really wanted to try it out.

Megan zip

Unlike last time I decided to leave the length of the skirt as in the pattern as I largely intend to wear this dress in the winter over tights I quite like the extra length.

The only other change I made from last time was to redraw the neck facing pattern pieces to match the new shape of the neckline after the FBA and it worked really well – no more weird protruding neckline. The only slight issue is the zip does sag a little at the neckline so I still need to figure out why that is happening but it’s fine if I just wear my hair down over it!

The details:

Pattern: Megan dress from Love at first stitch

Fabric: Navy and emerald tartan?

Notions: 56cm Navy zip, gutermann thread in navy, light weight iron on interfacing

Alterations: Full bust adjustment, 1.25 inches added to length of bodice

I really love this dress and it was the perfect thing for Christmas day, smart but not too over the top for dinner with family!

H.

 

Lou Lou Dress

A few months ago I noticed a new pattern from English girl at Home appear: The Lou Lou dress. It was her first dress pattern and so when Charlotte was looking for people to make and review the pattern I jumped at the chance and was delighted when she gave me the pattern to try.

Lou Lou Dress on HsHandcrafts

I chose to make view A of the dress – a simple shift dress with a cute lining poking out of the bottom. The dress is designed as a summer dress and calls for a lightweight fabric. Many of the pictures of Charlotte’s own look lovely and airy for the summer. However, it was already early Autumn when I had time to begin work on the dress. I decided to go with a navy twill for the main fabric and a navy and green tartan for the special lining fabric at the bottom. As this lining fabric is visible only at the bottom, the pattern allows for a different lining fabric for the full lining. I decided to go with a green lining to match the green in the tartan.

Lou Lou lining fabrics

As the dress is quite loose fitting it was recommended to go from the bust measurement alone. As, with every pattern (and almost every sewer in the world) I fell between 2 sizes. I decided to go with the larger size as I didn’t want to risk the garment being too small. The pattern was also designed to fit a B cup and so knowing there was no way that was going to work for me I decided to do a full bust adjustment adding 1 inch to the front pattern pieces for the lining and main fabric, I also added a bust dart so as not to add any length due to the FBA.

The sewing was actually quite straight forward and the instructions were really easy to follow. In fact I was really surprised to discover that I had just completed my first fully lined dress without only problems. The only thing I might change is possibly understitching the lining especially around the neckline because I have a feeling it will start to poke out after a few hours of wear.

After a quick try on I realised I probably could have gone with the smaller size as the dress was pretty loose everywhere, but this was easily fixed. I took 1/2 an inch off each side seam and resewed the arm holes. I also chose to take an inch off each of the shoulder seams. This made the armholes smaller and lifted the neckline up but this was more for personal preference than fitting issues.

The only problem I now have is the back does sag a little and I’m not sure if this is due to some of the adjustments I have made or if this would have been a fit issue all along

LouLou back

I especially like the detail of the contrast lining at the bottom of the dress. I feel like it allows you to have a layered outfit look without all the bulk.

Lou Lou layers
The details:

Pattern: Lou Lou dress from English Girl at Home

Fabric: Navy Twill from ebay, Navy and green tartan and green lining fabric from Fashion Fabrics in St. Albans

Notions: Gutermann thread in Navy

Alterations: Size 3 with FBA, 0.5 inch taken from each side seam and 1 inch taken off the shoulder seam

I really enjoyed making the dress, especially the fact that I made a fully lined dress for the first time. The instructions were nice and easy to follow. I like the layered look although I am not convinced of the style on me. Given the fact I added the full bust adjustment it feels very big, although once I put some heels on I did feel much better – perhaps it is not one for my everyday style but needs dressing up a bit!

H.

Waterfall Clemence

Waterfall Skirt

After all that blogging about knitting and crochet last week I was really excited to get on with some sewing last weekend so I made a good start on the next item on my ‘to-sew’ list. It was the Clemence skirt from the Tilly and the Buttons’ book. I have seen a few of these popping up all over blog loand for a while now and each one is so different so I couldnt wait to put my own spin on it!

Waterfall skirt using Clemence pattern

One really great thing that I loved about making this skirt is you actually get to make your own pattern! This sounds really daunting at first but it turns out all you need is a few rectangles! You only even really need your waist measurement but your hip measurement can help get the fullness of the skirt more to your liking. It is a simple waistband cut twice and then a front piece cut on the fold and two back pieces. The length of the rectangles is simply your desired skirt length and the width is determined by some mathmatical trickery concerning your waist measurment. Although I did decided to make the width of my skirt panels a bit narrower to give a less full skirt.

Clemence pattern

I chose to make a midi skirt that would sit just a bit below the knee. However, it is now much longer than this on me as it sits quite a bit lower on my waist than I had hoped. I think I might have stretched the fabric slightly as I sewed the waistband. I thought about shortening it before hemming but I decided I actually really like this length so decided to stick with it!

The details:

Pattern: Clemence skirt from Tilly and the Buttons book: Love at first stitch

Fabric: Waterfall print quiliting cotton (unknown make) bought from Fashion Fabrics in st. Albans

Notions: YKK invisible zip in cream, Guterman thread in grey, lightweight interfacing.

Alterations: Midi length, reduced fullness from recomendation by taking 3.5 inches off the width of each pattern piece

I really love this skirt, infact I dont think theres much that I am disappointed with. The waist does not sit exactly where I planned but I am still happy with it. I was so happy that the sunny weather cam back yesterday so I got a chance to wear it straight away. In fact 4 separate people complemented me on it (yes 4!…cue smug face) and I even got asked where I had bought it from!

I think this is one I will definitely be making again!

H.

Megan Dress

It’s been a week since I finished my latest project and it’s just as well as the weather we have been having is amazing so its already been getting a fair few outings. I am slowly working my way through “Love at first stitch” and so the next thing to make was the Megan dress. A quick search on the internet will show you loads of gorgeous versions of this dress, which seems to be the perfect shape on everyone so I was really excited to make mine!

Megan dress in fun blue and white chevron print

Megan dress in fun blue and white chevron print

To be honest, I started this dress about a month ago. Firstly I traced out the pattern for the bodice in a size 4 and cut out a toile from some really cheap plain white cotton. I pinned it together with all the darts in place and it looked terrible. The arm holes were gaping open and whilst it fit nicely across my chest it seemed to fit terribly everywhere else. So I turned to google and soon found out that what I needed to do was to cut a smaller pattern size and do a full bust adjustment. So this is exactly what i did – I eventually got the bodice toile fitting perfectly! At this point I decided I needed a break and set to work on my Anémone skirt.

After completing the skirt I was keen to move back to my Megan dress, especially as the weather was warming up and I had the perfect cotton that would be fun and bright to match the season! As the toile was complete there was not much fitting left to do. I removed all the pins and drew in the darts with a marker pen so that I could use the fabric toile as my pattern piece.

The fabric I had chosen to use I had originally purchased with the idea of making a top and so only had 2 m of fabric. The pattern calls for closer to 3 so i decided to first lay it all out and see if I could fit all the pattern pieces on. Luckily for me the zigzag pattern does not really need to be “the right way up” so I was able to fit it all in by putting the front and back bodice pieces on facing in opposite directions whilst still orientating the grainline correctly.

Squeezing all the pattern pieces onto a piece of fabric which should have been too small

Squeezing all the pattern pieces onto a piece of fabric which should have been too small

Once the pattern pieces were cut out the dress came together relatively quickly last Saturday. Sewing in darts was a lot simpler than I thought. I don’t know what I was expecting but I was really surprised at how quick it was. Also gathering is my new favourite thing – expect more of this coming soon!

gathered sleeve on Megan dress

Look at all the pretty gathering on the sleeves – so much fun!

The only thing I am not to happy with this the neckline. It seems to sit proud of my shoulders and I’m not quite sure why. I think it might be something to do with the way I altered the bodice for the full bust adjustment. Perhaps I also need to change the shape of the facing pieces or use a lighter weight interface? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Neckline on Megan dress sitting proud and I dont know why?!?

Neckline on Megan dress sitting proud and I dont know why?!?

This was also my first project where I felt I really ought to give pattern matching a go. I didn’t really know how to go about this so I thought I would just try really hard on one seam. I felt the most important place was the front of the dress where the bodice joins the skirt. I measured the seam allowance on the bodice pattern piece and marked where on the zigzag the seam would be. I then tried really hard to align the corresponding pattern piece on the skirt with that part of the zigzag. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. Its not perfectly matched but from a distance its not amazingly obvious! The back however, is a different story. I’m not sure how it managed to get so horribly mismatched!! Oh well, this is Britain, I will be wearing a cardigan most of the time!

The details:

Pattern: Megan Dress from Tilly and the Buttons book: Love at first stitch

Fabric: 100% Cotton Craft Monotone Zig-Zag Print Fabric Material in navy and white from the textile centre

Notions: YKK invisible zip in dark blue, Guterman thread in white, medium weight interfacing.

Alterations: Full bust adjustment for bodice. Skirt shortened by approx 4 inches

Megan dress

Megan dress

Anemone Peplum

Anémone skirt

Over the Easter weekend I finished making my second skirt. This time the pattern came via a friend of mine from Deer and Doe. The pattern comes in both French and English and is quite versatile with two different lengths and the option to add a partial peplum or buttons. I opted for the shorter skirt with the peplum so as to make it drastically different from my Delphine skirt. I enjoyed making the skirt however in places the instructions were a little sparce. However, with the odd bit of googling I managed to make it through and have a totally wearable garment (although it is a little small on me – not through any fault in the sewing but rather the large gap between starting to make the project and its completion. During this time I had a birthday and with that came lots of meals out and cake!)

I am quite pleased with the skirt. I love the pattern on the fabric, although the fabric itself was quite tricky for me, as a brginner, to work with. It had quite a bit of stretch in it and so some of the seams have puckered a bit, especially around the invisible zip. Despite this I feel my second attempt at an invisible zip was a fairly succesful one – you cant see the zip and it functions as it should – what more could you want?

I made no attempt whatsoever at pattern matching as the pattern is so busy you would hardly notice anyway which is great seeing as the skirt is constructed from multiple panels so that would have been a lot of seams to match! It was also my first garment that had a lining. I enjoyed this aspect of making the skirt quite a lot as it allowed me to make any adjustments to the lining as a sort of trial run before starting on my actual fabric. For the lining material I went to the local market and bought some plain white cotton for £2 a metre so I could mess it up as much as I liked and not feel too bad about wasting precious fabric. I think if I were to make this skirt again I might choose a fabric that holds itself a bit better to make more of a feature of the peplum. This could also be done by choosing a less busy pattern. I would also probably make the skirt a little longer as it looks great with tights but I would be a little afraid to go out in it with bare legs in the summer!

The details:

Pattern: Deer and Doe, Anémone skirt. Short version with Peplum.

Fabric: Midnight flowers abstract floral print from the textile centre

Notions: YKK 41cm invisible zip in dark blue and Guterman thread in pale grey.

Alterations: Graded pattern between size 38 waist and 36 hips

Croquis anyone?

i have been trying to find a way to best visualise how my sewn garments will look once completed and also how to get my ideas for new projects onto paper just the way they are in my head.

A sketch would seem like the obvious way forward right? However, I’m not great at realistic drawing so I turned to the Internet for some advice. It seems that the most common idea is a croquis. A croquis is a quick sketch of a model in different poses so as to be able to draw on garments to view at different angles eg. Front, side and back view.

There are plenty of websites with tips for drawing your own croquis, and how to get the proportions right but most seem to be based on the proportions of fashion models with super long legs!nso to me these don’t look very realistic at all. So now I’m stuck do I try and visualise my clothes that I want to make on some 6ft something super skinny croquis or do I have my own sketches look super unrealistic?

Has anyone come across this problem before or any artists out there got any tips for drawing a realistically proportioned sketch?

Delphine skirt waistband close-up

Delphine Skirt

After the fantastic success of my starry pajamas I decided to follow it up swiftly with another sewing project before I lost all confidence. This time I wanted to create something that I could wear outside the house.

Say hello to the Delphine skirt. This is another creation from Tilly and the Buttons.

Delphine skirt in burgundy cotton drill

Delphine skirt in burgundy cotton drill

I decided to play it safe and choose one of the suggested material types. So I searched on ebay for “drill” in the fabric section despite not knowing what that meant! I chose this lovely burgundy colour – again opting not to go for a pattern to play it safe.

I enjoyed making this skirt as I felt I had progressed so far from my pajamas but was not overwhelmed by a vast number of new skills needed to complete the task. In fact the only new skills required were interfacing and inserting an invisible zip. I had attempted some interfacing before for a bag, that time I just guessed my way through it using a few internet tutorials but I wasnt really satisfied with the result. However, this time I had specific instructions in my book to follow along with the pattern and in fact it was incredibly simple and I created a stiffened wasteband with only minor difficulty!

The second new skill required for this skirt was a little more daunting, the invisible zip. Once again, the step by step photo tutorial was amazing and this together with the instructions included with my new invisible zipper foot meant that in just over an hour I had a zip on my skirt!

invisible zip

Invisible zip on Delphine skirt

I was so proud of my creation I decided to wear it along to my craft club and tell everybody that I had made it. The response to which was a planned trip to the local fabric shop for me and my fellow crafters to purchase some more fabric so that we can have a sew-a-long and create a garment together!