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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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!

side

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.

bodice

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.

back

 



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!

twirl

#MMMay16 Week Three Summary

me-made-may'16

We are now three weeks into me-made-may! Since the first of may I have been posting my daily outfit on Instagram in an attempt to give myself some accountability for my Me-Made-May pledge:

I, Helen of https://hshandcrafts.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item each day for the duration of May 2016

I am still keeping up with this and have worn me-mades every day. This week I even managed two me-made outfits in one day! Although I am kind of making up for it with a pyjama day today (me-made PJs though, so I’m still counting it!)

Here is a summary of what I wore this week. Again it’s flat lays rather than daily selfies but if you want a composite of my daily selfies there is one over on instagram just to prove I did wear them all!

 

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Last Sunday was another wear for my Chuck jumper. I really do love this jumper and cant wait to knit more chunky knits . They really are one of my wardrobe staples…bring on winter!

 

 

 

13256718_1725426201071739_1004807462_n13166797_787095318091527_1067551045_n 13269483_1738334476443670_769931112_nThis week at work I had to set up a big experiment which involved lots of digging and moving lots of soil around so I needed to be comfy and a skirt, dress or nice woven top just wouldn’t do it. This is my most recent make. A comfy sweater. You can read all about it soon in a post later this week. I wore it on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. By Thursday it was so dirty and well-worn that it was reduced to a pile on the floor with my muddy jeans!

 

 

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Tuesday was also a day for getting muddy but it was just too warm for jeans so I wore some rtw cotton trousers and my Miette cardigan.

 

 

 

 

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On Wednesday evening we went out to see a concert and so I could get changed out of my mucky clothes and put on my other Megan dress! I really love this dress. This might not be that obvious as this is the first wear of it as part of Me-Made-May but I just think of it as more of a winter dress really.

 

 

13249683_284355301930897_1972275479_nFriday saw the first wear of my LouLou dress. I am not quite convinced of the fit of this dress but the style is growing on me the more I wear it – especially when layered up with a cardigan and a scarf. The trim at the bottom just lends itself really well to lots of layers!

 

 

 

13266862_1118316721544040_1432164618_nFinally, today. Like I said it’s a pyjama day but I am rocking my Margot pyjamas from love at first stitch so the pledge is still going strong!

 

 

 

 

Remember you can keep up with my daily outfits and watch out for those sneaky selfies coming later over on instagram!

#MMMay16 Week Two Summary

me-made-may'16

Can you believe we’re nearly half-way through already?! Since the first of may I have been posting my daily outfit on Instagram in an attempt to give myself some accountability for my Me-Made-May pledge:

I, Helen of https://hshandcrafts.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item each day for the duration of May 2016

I am really pleased that I have been able to keep up with this so far, There has been a couple of days where I have struggled due to the nature of the work I have had to do meaning some of my me-mades were unsuitable. Despite this being something I have been addressing lately with my sewing the amazingly hot weather scuppered my plans to wear my new sweater on days I needed to lug around big bags of soil and compost!

Here is a summary of what I wore this week. Again it’s flat lays rather than daily selfies but if you want a composite of my daily selfies there is one over on instagram just to prove I did wear them all!

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Last Sunday the weather was unbelievable for this time of year and so I was still making good use of my Waterfall skirt. This time with a black rtw blouse. I definitely think I need to make more of these Clemence skirts form Love at First Stitch. It is just so easy to wear!

 

 

 

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On Monday I attended a funeral (a very colourful one!) so I had to dress smartly. My new black midi (not yet blogged) was perfect given the weather and a bright blue rtw blouse. I also wore my shawl to keep my shoulders covered.

 

 

 

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If there is one thing I am learning from Me-Made-May it is how much I love wearing my Tulip Skirt! I can’t get enough of it. I think it is a perfect casual skirt that can be dressed up if necessary and this tartan fabric is great too! Definitely can see me making more of these soon!

 

 

 

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By Wednesday I realised how  much my wardrobe relies on various shades of blue, grey and black. I decided it was time to mix things up a bit and throw on my Delphine skirt in this lovely deep red. This was the first skirt I made and is actually a bit big for me now but perhaps it is a sign I should start thinking about making some wardrobe staples in some brighter colours.

 

 

13150806_1759999467548005_255541927_nThursday was a tough one for me – I had a lot of messy work to do and was struggling to find something from my me-made wardrobe that was good for the task. In the end I put on some cotton rtw trousers and a t-shirt and reverted back to my trusty colour palette. Luckily my Miette cardigan was to had to top of the outfit with some me-made goodness.

 

 

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By Friday I was gettting quite excited about the new series of the great british sewing bee which starts on Monday next week so I had to wear something from the last book – fashion with fabric – and this gingham blouse was just the ticket!

 

 

 

13167220_245196072513055_1999088744_nToday the temperature has dropped right down again but I am clinging on to the hope of summer by wearing my Megan dress but layering it up with a long cardi and thick black tights!

 

 

 

 

I am really pleased by how much I am able to get out of my me-made wardrobe without feeling like I am wearing the same thing every day. In fact there are only 3 me-mades already in my wardrobe that I haven’t worn yet this month. Two of those are quite wintery, my tartan Megan and my Loulou dress, so unless it continues to get cooler we may not see them. The third is my Anenome skirt and this is the one that bothers me most. It is just so short I just don’t like to wear it. It is also a bit tight and so is not always that comfortable.

I also have a couple of new makes waiting in the wings…hopefully they will make an appearance soon. Watch this space!

Remember you can keep up with my daily outfits and watch out for those sneaky selfies coming later over on instagram!

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.

 

Christmas Gifts

I can finally reveal the last of my secret WIPs! I made a skirt for my mum for Christmas.

The last time I saw her she was admiring my Delphine skirt and pestered so much that I had to let her try it on. The fit was perfect so I decided I would make her one for Christmas using exactly the same pattern pieces as for my first one, together with the size gradient between waiste and hips. I chose to make the main skirt from the same navy blue twill as my Lou Lou dress but added a fun polycotton lining to the waisteband using remnants from my Megan dress.

Delphine Skirt

I’m really pleased with how it turned out and my mum loved it!

For Christmas this year I got given the great new book Freehand Fashion by Chinelo Bally. I really loved her makes on the Great British Sewing Bee and cant wait to try my hand at freehand dressmaking – no patterns required!!

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

Book Review: Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking

This book is fantastic! I’m talking about the book written by the great british sewing bee contestant Tilly Walnes. The title: “Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking” could not better describe how I feel about this book. I feel that right from my first attempt at the very first pattern in the book I had fallen in love with sewing, and it certainly has demystified all of the ideas involved that had previously scared me away.

Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking

Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking

If you are new to sewing and want to begin making your own clothes then I cannot reccommend this book highly enough. There are a number of projects that can be made to suit your own style as the garments themselves are quite plain but can be created in a range of fabrics to your own choice.

The instructions are really simple to follow with basic patterns and instructions for the more advanced sewer to in depth tutorials for the beginner. There are pictures to guide you all the way through and the language used is simple enough for anyone to understand but at the same time technical sewing terms are introduced gradually so as to provide you with a basic understanding should you wish to progress to other (less considerate to the beginner) patterns.

So far I have made the first three clothing items out of the book and feel that my sewing skills have improved vastly thanks to the tutorial and I have three perfectly wearable items, something which I would not have expected before beginning!

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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!