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!

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!

Red fabric with white stars

Starry Pajamas

I would like to tell you about my first “proper” sewing project. My starry pajamas!

Starry Pajamas

Starry Pajamas

Last year my mum gave me her old sewing machine, which was rather limited in its capabilities with only 2 stitches in its repertoire. However, it was enough for me to try a few things out. I even made a couple of tote bags although the seams are now coming apart where the machine struggled to cope with anything more than 2 layers of fabric.

So in the January sales I bit the bullet and bought myself a shiny new sewing machine. I decided to start out with something simple so I chose to do the pajamas from Tilly and the buttons book “Love at First Stitch”. First of all I need to tell you how amazing this book is. Everything is explained in a simple manner – no sewing jargon required – with beautiful pictures guiding you all the way.

Following the directions in the book I chose my measurements and cut out the pattern in the correct size from my chosen fabric

Red fabric with white stars

Red fabric with white stars

Sewing of the pajamas was pretty simple with straight stitching and then zigzag stitching over the edges to stop any unravelling.

I completed the pajamas with a drawstring mad from a complementary cream ribbon with the text “Handmade with love” printed on.

Ribbon on pajamas

Ribbon on pajamas

 

Hopefully this will be the first of many sewing projects to come. I feel I was perhaps playing it safe with pajamas as I wont be leaving the house in them! However, the other patterns in the book all look so good that I am sure I will be creating more of them soon!

H.