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!

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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

A Stripy (and spotty) Pencil Skirt

Pencil SkirtRecently I have seen a lot of really great pencil skirts popping up on sewing blogs, in magazines and in real life. I decided it was time to make one for myself. Pencil skirts are often tricky to find one that fits well and as fit really is key I decided to draft my own with my Freehand Fashion book as a guide.

I am really pleased with how it turned out. The fit is not 100% perfect but I think it is much better than I would have got from any shop, or even sewing pattern.

Getting the fit just right

Although this is just a pencil skirt there are still quite a lot of measurements that go in to creating it. I dutifully took them all and drew out the pieces on a plain white poly-cotton which was to become my lining fabric. I fitted this and sewed it up to check it was right before cutting into my fashion fabric.

pencil skirt casual side

Well I say fashion fabric…it is actually upholstery fabric from Ikea! Can you believe it my dream to become Maria from the Sound of Music is turning into a reality! So, it’s not quite dressing an entire family from one set of curtains but it is a skirt from curtain material so I’m counting that as a win!

pencil skirt casual front

The fabric did confuse me for quite a while. I kept trying to match the stripes at the seams. I could get the side seams right but couldn’t figure out why they were misaligned at the back. After quite a lot of head scratching I eventually figured out that the stripes are not all straight! I am sure this gives a great effect on a pair of curtains but perhaps not on a skirt! Oh well, I am happy to live with it as is.

pencil skirt dressy back

The pattern suggests an invisible zip but given the weight of this fabric and the fact I didn’t have one to hand I decided to go with a centred zip and I am glad I did. I think it fits in well with the style of the skirt.

pencil skirt dressy front

The fit is not quite perfect across my stomach but I can live with it and I think it looks much better in the pictures where I am wearing heals so perhaps I will keep this skirt for those occasions when I want to wear heels.
pencil skirt dressy side

The details:

Pattern: Self drafted following guide in Fashion with fabric

Fabric: curtain material from Ikea

Notions: 10in white zip, gutermann thread

I love the fact that this is a really fun fabric paired with the smartness of a pencil skirt making for an unexpected combo but I really think it works!

You can also read about this make over on the monthly stitch. This is an awesome collective of sewers posting on a monthly theme. This month the theme was spots and stripes!

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

Outfit along 2016

As Me-Made-May draws to an end I have been thinking about what I could do to keep the part of my brain busy that enjoys snooping  looking at all the amazing things everyone else has been making. I thought I would be at a loss come June.

However, the awesome crafting community has come to my rescue! This time in the shape of the Outfit along. What could be more exciting than a bunch of crafters creating outfits by both sewing and knitting whilst discussing it every step of the way! Cue major excitement! I really enjoyed the selfish sweater knit along at the start of the year so can’t wait to take part in this one!

The Outfit along is run by Untangling Knots and Lladybird covering the knitting and sewing aspects respectively. This year the chosen patterns are Zinone for the knitting and Sewaholics Hollyburn for the sewing. Unfortunately, neither of these two really inspires me but never fear! I will be taking part anyway – I will just be choosing different patterns .

Right now I am thinking of making a different untangling knots pattern – the Agatha cardigan (one day I may make a knitted garment by a different designer but for now I am in love with all of Andi Satterlund’s patterns!) During Me-Made-May I have realised how muted my colour palette is in my makes so I think I will make the cardigan in a red yarn – possibly Cascade 220 in ruby.

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I will be pairing this with a dress made from the fabric I bought at the Knit and Stitch Show (bottom left in the picture above). A gorgeous cotton poplin floral (oh look we’re back to monochrome again!) I am open to suggestions for the pattern but I am thinking possibly the Lilou dress from Love at First Stitch or a Sew Over It Betty...or I am actually currently working on a custom bodice block, so depending how that goes it could be in the frame. Any suggestions are more than welcome.

Who else is joining in with the Outfit Along? What are you making?

Helen

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions my own

Oversized sweater

 

Oversized SweaterFor Me-Made-May I have been wearing something I have made every day. I quickly identified that this was going to be a struggle on days where I couldn’t really wear skirts, dresses or nice blouses given the nature of my work. As an agricultural researcher it is no surprise that I often do work outside that involves getting quite muddy. I decided to get on this straight away and so in the first week of May I decided to make myself a sweater!

It was perfect for the days when I needed somehting comfy for work and could easily move around lifting heavy things. The only problem was the days when I needed this tye of clothes but it was too hot to wear a sweater! Maybe I will have to bear this in mind for future projects!

Double Skill Up: Knit fabric and a vintage pattern

2016-05-16 17.22.33I already had the perfect fabric to make a sweater from. When I visited Goldhawk road ages ago I picked up this jersey fabric in a cream and dark grey aztec print. I new it would be perfect for a sweater. I just needed to choose a pattern. As I have never sewn with knits before I wanted something straightforward. Then I remembered the vintage patterns I had picked up a while ago on ebay when thinking about my Vintage pledge. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to kill 2 birds with one stone and conquer both knits and vintage patterns in one fell swoop!

I measured a size 14 on the bust and waist and between a 14 and 16 on the hips. I knew I wanted the sweater to be oversized and comfy so I just went ahead and cut out a size 16.

oversized sweater front view

In terms of the sewing I was really pleased at how easy I found sewing with knits. I looked up a few things in my Colette sewing with knits book and the whole thing came together really quickly as there is very little to do in terms of finishing seams or pressing.

oversized sweater back view

All the instructions were actually pretty straightforward which surprised me a little as I was expecting to need some Googling to get through a vintage patterns as from what I have heard they are notorious for assuming a reasonable level of skill. Although, actually there was very little that was new to me in this pattern.

oversized sweater side view

I really liked the back of the neckline. I have not made something with this type of neck before but I quite like how it adds some style to what is otherwise a simple pattern.My button loop is quite messy but for a first try I am quite pleased with it.

oversized sweater fastening

The only instruction I skipped on this garment was the part where I was supposed to insert shoulder pads.I think that would have been a bit much and you still get the late 80s vibe without the shoulder pads though so all is good!

oversized sweater full view

The details:

Pattern: Butterick 3670

Fabric: Aztec print jersey from Goldhawk road

Notions:Gutermann thread, old button found in my stash

Alterations: no shoulder pads

I would love to make something similar again so I have more choice of me-mades when it comes to days when I need comfy easy to wear clothes. I am not sure exactly what the fabric type is if I were to buy it again. It is kind of like jersey but with 2 colours of thread knit together. It also only has a small amount of stretch. If anyone has any ideas I’d love to find out so I can buy some more! Here is what the reverse side looks like

oversized sweater sleeve cuff

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

Applique Tote Bag Tutorial

I am really excited to share with you a tutorial I made for Minerva Crafts. Their website is really great with loads of great tutorials to try. I created a tote bag with appliqued letters and you can too following the instructions on their site.

It is a really simple make and you can customize it anyway you like with your choice of letters or shapes in any combination of colours.

To make this bag, as it appears in the tutorial, for yourself you will need the following supplies:

Canvas

Webbing

quilting cotton 1

quilting cotton 2

quilting cotton 3

quilting cotton 4

fusible bondaweb

contrast thread

You can make your own tote bag just like mine. Just follow the directions here. Be sure to let me know if you make one – I’d love to see it!

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

A quiet couple of weeks

 

pot labelsSorry for the radio silence for the last couple of weeks. I was knocked back with a virus and then had so much work to catch up on! For those who don’t know I am a PhD student in my day-to-day life working on agriculture. This last week I had a huge experiment to set up so have not really had time to write much here.

Don’t worry though because I have lots to report so you can expect some updates soon. Here come the teasers!

Before I got ill I made a new skirt using up the last of my green and blue tartan used for my Megan dress and Lou Lou dress. However, for a couple of weeks after making it I did not look in a fit state to take any photos. So as soon as I get round to taking some I will show you!

Also, my sewing room is almost complete based on some of the ideas I shared here and featuring my new ironing board cover too!

Finally, the only activity I could cope with whilst unwell and the only thing I’ve had time to squeeze in over the last few days is knitting! So after the success of my first cardigan I have been working on a jumper – I already have most of the body and one sleeve done so it hopefully shouldn’t be too long before I can share that with you too!

Thanks for your patience and continuing to read despite me not having any projects to show you, but hopefully there will be plenty to come soon!

If you want to keep up to date with my jumper progress you can find my project page over on Ravelry

How To: Make a new ironing board cover

ironing board cover

Today I have a really quick post for a really quick make. In fact I did everything from cutting the fabric to the photo shoot all within 2 hours!

I decided it was time my ironing board got a makeover. Whilst visiting Ikea last week I discovered their great fabric range and just had to get some. This was the perfect choice for my ironing board. Look at that print!

 

Do It Yourself

What you will need:
  • Fikea fabricabric (Length needs to be the length of your ironing board + 30 cm, width needs to be the width of your ironing board +30 cm)
  • Elastic (length needs to be long enough to fit around your ironing board
  • Safety pin
  • Matching thread
To make this yourself follow these simple instructions:
  1. Trace around the top of your ironing board directly onto the back of the fabric.
  2.  Add 15 cm extra all the way around your ironing board and cut out the fabric
  3. ironingboard2Turn over 1.5 cm or 5/8 in all the way around the edge making small folds in the curved parts so as they lie flat.
  4. Turn the same amount under again, press and pin.
  5. Stitch as close as you can to the first fold to create a channel all the way around the edge. Be sure to leave a small gap of about 3 cm along the long edge.
  6. Attach a safety pin to the end of a long piece of elastic.
  7. Thread the saftey pin through the channel you have created.
  8. Place the cover over your ironing board and smooth out the top
  9. Pull the elastic tight until the cover wont move on your board.
  10. Tie the elastic tight and cut off any excess.

 

It’s such a quick make but can really spruce up your sewing space!

If you enjoyed this make why not try some of my other patterns!