Sian of Kittenish Behaviour came up with a new challenge on her Youtube channel called the KP Pattern Swap. And I think it is fab!
Sian of Kittenish Behaviour came up with a new challenge on her Youtube channel called the KP Pattern Swap. And I think it is fab!
When #theseamstresstag did the rounds (you can see mine here), there was a phenomenal result from it – the tag did lots to bring seamstresses together and so when Renata and Lisa put together #thefabrictag, I just had to take part. Here are my answers – I would love it if you did this whether you are tagged at the end or not 🙂
As I opened my presents on Christmas morning and found a myraid of fabric, I was under instruction to do a fabric haul on my blog. In fact, I have been reminded a few times since… my husband is not an attention seeker at all! So in order to fulfil his wish I am going to show some fabrics he has given me and some I have given myself recently.
The Big Giveaway is finally here! After lots of negotiation I have managed to source a number of very generous sewing companies who are willing to give gifts to help and encourage you guys with your sewing.
Here are a list of prizes and the companies that are offering them:
As a part of this giveaway I will be giving one lucky winner a mini sewing machine from John Lewis! This sewing machine will be a great gift for a child, someone new to sewing, or just a lightweight machine to carry around instead of lugging your main machine. The machine has a worth of £59.99 and comes in four colours.
Penguin and Pear is my blog for sharing my sewing makes, writing tutorials and discussing anything sewing related. Find me on Instagram, Facebook, The Fold Line and Twitter as ‘Penguinandpear’.
Abakhan are giving one lucky winner a bundle of fabric, carefully chosen by them for the winner.
Abakhan are a hugely popular fabric shop in the north of England. They have a good range of fabrics on their website at great prices. For more information go to the link below.
Sew Over It are generously offering 2 PDF patterns from their range of dressmaking designs.
Sew Over It are a hugely popular haberdashery shop (they have two in London) and are known for their pretty vintage style. Go to their website (link below) to see what they have on offer. This offer is open worldwide.
Fabric Godmother are offering one lucky winner a £20 gift voucher for their website. You might like to buy a pattern, fabric or notions with this!
Josie from Fabric Godmother has a wide range of fabrics and other products on her website and is well worth a look. Follow the link below to find out more.
Claire from Creative Industry is offering one lucky winner her Maker’s Workbook. This is a great prize where you can organise your projects, plan new ones and have as a reference for the future.
Clare also sells Swedish tracing paper and ‘made by hand’ labels. Her products are a very high quality and great additions to your sewing stash. To find out more, follow the link below.
Marie from SEWN BRISTOL is offering a jeans kit comprising of a metal zip, jeans buttons and a rivet kit. A must have if you are making jeans this autumn.
Marie owns SEWN BRISTOL, a haberdashery shop in the south-west of England. If you are close by, I highly recommend you pop in. Otherwise they also have an online shop which gorgeous fabrics, notions and more. Follow the link below.
To enter, go to the Sewing and Dressmaking Blogger Network on Facebook and request to join. Once you have been accepted you will see a post pinned to the top of the group page that will give you instructions on how to join and explain the rules.
The competition closes on 23/11/16 at 1pm GMT.
Disclaimer: Comments on this blogpost will not be considered entries. You must join the group to be eligible.
I remember when the Wren dress was first released, it took the indy community by storm. I wasnt that overwhelmed initially but over time I became warmer to it. A few weeks ago Girl Charlee very generously sent me some pineapple jersey fabric to review and although I was also considering the Moneta, I just felt the Wren was the perfect pattern for this summery, fun, quirky fabric.
The fabric was sent to me within a day or two, which I was really happy about. Who knows they have fabric coming and are happy to wait? Not me. Too exciting! When it arrived I loved how vibrant it was. It was just like the pictures, if not brighter. It is more of an aqua blue than I was expecting but that was a good thing. It is a lightweight jersey – just the ticket for these summery days at work.
If you have been reading my blog you will know my machine had to go into sewing hospital for a while so I have taken longer to make than I expected. I have a basic back up machine so I was able to get on and make the dress.
Firstly I downloaded the PDF, if you need help with putting together PDFs, Little Miss Lorraine has done a really helpful video here. This took a while as there were quite a few tiles (pages) to stick together but luckily I really enjoy doing this.
Once I had the pattern pieces all sorted I cut the fabric. In the past I havent been a massive fan of jersey (it doesnt behave in the way that woven does) but I have bought quite a bit recently as it is so comfy to wear! The pineapple fabric was very well behaved I have to say, I didn’t have any problems cutting it out. It sliced like a dream too (of course a new rotary blade helped with this).
I decided to cut a 2x in size and not worry about fit adjustments. I really just wanted to make the dress and wear it but also I knew that jersey is very forgiving so could probably get away with any minor alteration issues. I love the little gathered part on the front (as seen in the photo of me posing below)
One of the first problems I came across was hemming the bust line. The pattern advised to coverstitch (if you’ve won the lottery!) or use a twin needle. I have a twin needle but have never really used it. It is quite a thin one so I went and purchased a new one with a wider width. It wasnt until I got home that I realised it was intended for jeans…. so it wasnt that huge of a surprise when my machine began eating the material… In the end I decided I was going to zig zag the bustline hem instead – I wasnt 100% sure it would work or look good but it worked out well (I was able to disguise the tiny hole).
I’ve never made a wrap dress before, or any kind of wrap top, so making this was partly new to me. It was very easy to do though, completely beginner friendly. The only thing I did stumble with is how far to cross over the two front pieces. In the end it was just guesswork based on the technical drawing.
Also, I was following instructions for version 1 and sewed up the side seams before realising I hadnt sewn in the sleeves. It wasnt a biggie, I knew how to set in sleeves so I did it this way instead and they were a complete success.
The skirt was even easier really. It comprised of a front piece cut on the fold and two back pieces. I just sewed a seam up the centre back and then sewed the front and back together.
At this point I was required to shurr clear elastic, but lately whenever I do this I can never make the elastic stretch far enough (though I was able to initially), so I ended up scraping that idea and zig zagging over yarn and then gathering the skirt. Once I did this I attached the top to the bottom with a basting stitch to ensure I was happy and pulled the yarn out and then serged the edges.
Then all that was left to do was to hem the sleeves and skirt bottom. This is where the real trouble was; when I looked in the mirror the hem looked really uneven. I thought this was because my bum sticks out, as does my big chest, so this will bring the material up. So cornered the husband and equiped him with pins and a metre rule! Once he did this the back hem was 3 inches longer than the front hem! So we tried again, this time I put washi tape on the ruler so there was no mistaking where to pin and it happened again. I just didn’t get it! I was getting frustrated by this point! So I thought I am just going to hem as it is even if it doesnt look right. So I serged and then turned the hem up twice. When I tried it on it looked even; I think I probably wasnt standing straight previously.
Despite the journey to this point, I love the dress. To be perfectly honest I wasnt sure such a bright fabric would work but it does and I feel a lot more confident wearing it. It is very flattering to my figure which can be hard to find for plus size peeps. I will make the dress again, without a doubt, but there are some adjustments I will make. The back comes down a bit lower than the front and I think this is because my bust rises the front; so next time I will put extra length on the front. If I make it with a thicker fabric I may try the straight skirt but we will see.
I made the dress inside about 4 hours, it really wasnt a lengthy make (it would have been quicker without the hemming issues). I was super keen to get it finished yesterday so I could wear it to work today. I’m glad I did, it was so comfy and the colour bought sunshine into my office. I received lots of compliments, which is always a nice reward to my hard work.
Thanks for reading! Please visit Girl Charlee for your jersey fabric needs. They have lots of really fun fabrics that I would love to have in my stash! Thanks Girl Charlee for gifting the fabric for this dress, its my favourite outfit.
Any sewist knows that it is not possible to merely use one’s fabric stash for up and coming projects. With this in mind, I had to seek out the local haberdasheries on a recent trip to Wales. I live on the Isle of Wight where haberdasheries are very limited and so being let loose in City Road in Cardiff last week was a fabric haul waiting to happen. Here are the gems of my trip:
I bought this banana chambray fabric in Fabricland en route to Cardiff. I didn’t want to spend all of my cash in there, which would be so easily done, so just stuck to this novelty textile. It is really good quality for the price of £3.99 per metre. I bought myself two metres. Not sure what I will make, but possibly a gathered skirt for myself or shorts for him indoors.
The first stop on City Road in Cardiff was in Calico and Co where I bought these fabrics. I bought the blue print mainly because it was on offer of £5 per metre. I got two metres. This is screen printed I think, and its quite stiff (very structured) so will need a pre-wash first. I might make a jean skirt out of it.
I bought only one metre of the black polka dots because this was £8.99 a metre (not reduced). This is also very structured, so I might make a gathered skirt, or some shorts with it.
For the first time since I started to sew, I purchased some lace. I have a vague interest in making a bra or three and so I bought this for my stash. I think it was £3.99 a metre and I bought half a metre (which is more than enough for my needs).
Next stop was Butterfly Fabrics. To be honest, when I come across this shop it was a surprise and I wasnt planning on buying more fabric but thought, well I am here now. I picked up this quality cotton lawn which is so soft and drapey. It was £8.99 a metre so just got one metre. I might use it for a cami top or possibly to line something.
The final stop was John Lewis back in the town centre. John Lewis can be expensive so I only ever go in there to see what bargain’s they have. It was my lucky day! I picked up this gingham, which was reduced from £5 per metre to £2. I took the opportunity to pick up 4 metres of this so I could make either a SOI Betty Dress (like my wedding dress) or perhaps I will self-draft a dress similar to the By Hand London Charlie dress and SOI new release (I really cannot justify buying any more patterns at the moment). This is really good quality fabric.
While in John Lewis I also picked up some of this rose trim. Not fabric, I know but I think this will look fabulous with whichever fabric I match it with. It was reduced from £4 to £2, so couldnt resist.
John Lewis were doing me proud this day; I also picked up this lightweight sheer calico. This was reduced from £5 per metre down to £2. It was the end of the roll, I think I got 2.7 metres. This will be fab for draping my patterns.
I have recently given away a lot of my yarn (in fact, most of it). However, I was in Cardiff and wanted something to do in the evenings (I couldnt lug my sewing machine to Wales!) so I picked these up. The crochet hook is lovely to work with. I got three balls of wool for £2.95 each and the hook was £5.
Last but by no means least, I picked up some more clear elastic. This is the only shop I have ever seen this in so I always try to pick some up when I can. I used my last lot on my moneta dresses and it works so well as a gathering method, I must always have this in my stash. I am sure you can get it cheaper online and I must look into this. Really good stuff.
There is nothing like visiting a new town for stashables! I am going to try not to buy any patterns or fabric for the next month, but we will see! I have quite a few seamwork patterns to work through, and I have just received a pattern from Simplicity to take part in their Vintage sewalong. Look out for a favourites post coming in the near future.
What do you think of my buys? Have you bought any good fabric recently? If so, do share in the comments.
A little while ago I started a new group on Facebook for us sewing bloggers called Sewing and Dressmaking Blogger Network. The aim was to bring together a community of sewists who like to write about their makes. The group is developing and evolving as time goes on; it is growing, now with over 100 members, and there are lots of blog posts shared (something other groups seem to frown upon) and tips, tricks and useful links. Everyone is super friendly, supportive and engaging. I am very proud of the group is evolving.
As a celebration of hitting 100 members, and as a thank you to everyone, and because I believe in the group I have decided to host a giveaway!!
Yes, free stuff!
If you go to my group here and look at the pinned post you will find details of the giveaway. There is a £25 voucher for fabricgodmother.co.uk up for grabs! You could buy a couple of patterns with this, or a few metres of fabric, or some haberdashery items… the list is endless. I am kind of jealous I cannot enter myself!
I havent posted much about what I have been making to date so with this in mind I thought I would introduce a new regular slot – Makes for this month. The first make is the Dahlia dress by Colette but I wont talk about this now because I will have a post all of its own coming out shortly. I’ve also been making a toile of the Aster blouse by Colette but I am waiting on my buttonhole function to be fixed to show this off. There are two patterns I do want to talk about though:
The Pussy Bow Dress by Simple Sew
This was a freebie pattern with one of my sewing magazines, I cant remember which though! I’ve accumulated quite a few free patterns but have never used them so thought I would give this a try. I had some elephant crepe-de-chine from Fabricland (I think it was either 3.99 or 4.99 a metre) so I thought this would go well with this pattern. The pattern has patterns for a dress or a blouse and I went for the dress pattern.
I am used to PDFs so when I opened this pattern envelope I noticed immediately how thin the pattern paper was. I cut straight into it because I have two copies of this pattern (bought the same mag twice by accident!) and went for the largest size (20). I started cutting with scissors but soon changed to a rotary blade as it is so much more time efficient. The pattern paper did rip on one piece, but it was in the middle and not a big tear so it was okay.
Once cutting the pieces was completed it was time to move on to cutting the fabric. With wovens I always start with ripping across selvage to selvage at the top and bottom, this ensures that I can line up the fabric correctly and it gets cut on grain. It can seem like a waste if you lose quite a few inches of fabric but its not once you take into account that you wont need to recut pieces that warp! Because crepe-de-chine is quite slippery I ensured I pinned generously (also used pattern weights). I would not advise cutting with scissors with a slippery fabric, a rotary cutter and mat will be much more accurate. I would not advise forgoing pins either, for the same reason.
Once I began sewing the garment sewed up nicely. Its a largely simple pattern: a front and a back with 6 darts and an invisable zipper. I made the garment with french seams which took longer, but worth it for the lovely finish.The neck finish was simple enough – I’d never made a pussy bow before so did not know what to expect but the instructions are straight-forward and I didn’t run into any problems. It did require some hand stitching at the back of the neck and I am reluctantly becoming more accepting of this. The invisable zipper was probably the biggest challenge of the dress – if you are not experienced in this I would practice first but this is one of the things that has come to me quite easily. I think the trick was that I started doing them almost as soon as I started to sew so now they are simple enough (especially with an invisable zipper foot – great investment). Buttonholes however are another matter but luckily this pattern didnt have any! The armholes were simple enough, mainly because you put them in before you sew up the side seam, so much easier than setting them in. Then it was just the hem to finish. I initially tried a special foot to do a thin hem but this messed up so I went the traditional route and folded twice.
This is a pattern that an advanced beginner could do – I say that due to the zip, otherwise it is very beginner friendly. Would I make it again? Yes for sure, though I might try the blouse next time, and you could probably omit the zip in that version.
Mimi Blouse by Tilly and the Buttons
The Mimi blouse is a pattern in the Tilly and the Buttons book Love at First Stitch. I bought this book when I first started sewing but I’d never gotten round to making the Mimi blouse. I was also trying to stop myself from purchasing more patterns when I dont need to( we wont count the three I bought while making this!!). I’d just bought some Cotton Lawn from Fabricland for 4.99 a metre that I wanted to use and it was perfect for this.
Firstly I had to trace off the patterns because I definitely did not want to cut into the patterns that came with the book. This was simple enough but the blouse had 8 pieces to trace so it did take quite a long time.
Once this was done it was time to cut the fabric out. Cotton lawn is light and floaty but perfectly managable. I torn the ends and lined it up and pinned really well. I have to say, cotton lawn might just be my new fabric fabric of all time. It cuts so easily! I also had to cut my interfacing out – I used the lightweight one to go with the cotton lawn and by the end I was struggling to have enough. I cut two pieces for the neck line instead of one on the fold and stitched it together – who will know?!!!
Firstly I had to stay stitch – Tilly is a big advocate of this and while it does add extra time to your makes it can stop your fabric from stretching out of shape so is worth doing. Its just a line of stiching along curves within the seam allowance. Next up I had to run a basting stitch across the back and front pieces. I hate gathers with a passion, its a lot of work to make them even. You should do three lines of stitching at 5.0 length but I am lazy and only ever do one. They advise against this but I have never had a problem. As it turned out attaching the yoke to the back and front pieces in this way was fine and it looked good.
Then I had to attach the side seams, which I did using a french seam. A french seam is where you sew wrong sides together first and then right sides together encasing all the raw edges. Its a lovely technique but i would only use it on light-weight fabrics – anything heavier I use the overlocker.
Once this was done I had to attach the collar – I did not read the instructions carefully and attached one side of the collar without making it up first. Cue the unpicker. Once I made the collar up and attached that, it was quite easy to attach the neckline facing. Rather than turning the hem under and stitching to finish the facing, I overlocked. This worked well except going around the curve – if you have any tips for doing this please share in the comments.
The sleeves were easy enough – first a pleat needed to be made; I couldnt really understand what Tilly was instructing so I did my own thing and it worked out fine. I’m not sure I gathered the sleeve correctly but the end result was acceptable. Attaching the sleeve facing was a breeze although I did have to do some dreaded hand basting to finish it.
Then it the turn of the hemming process. I learned a fab technique watching one of Gertie’s videos; you sew a line of stitching 1/8th away from the edge, then turn it under and sew another line on top of the first line. Once this is done trim away any excess and fold under again sewing a final line of stitching. This is by far the easiest way of hemming in my book.
The last thing to do is create buttonholes – eak!!! I havent done this yet because my 1-step function is not working and I need to speak to my dealer but once I create these and sew buttonholes it will be finished.
Love at First Stitch is a book aimed at beginners, and it certainly has beginner patterns in it but the Mimi blouse isnt one of them. I feel this is an intermediate pattern because there are a lot of different techniques to be used and it takes some time to complete (even if you are not a beginner), so I wouldnt use this pattern as your first attempt at sewing. I will possibly make more but it depends on time constrains as this did take quite a while to make.
I have decided to write a monthly sewing haul post as I do tend to enjoy my fabric and accessories shopping! In these posts you will find fabric bought, notions, books and anything else sewing related that finds its way into my basket.
How gorgeous is this fabric – so gorgeous, in fact, I had to post two pictures of it! I bought an off-cut of this last month going cheap and when I went back to that same shop this month they were selling another off-cut. I’m going to make ‘im indoors a waistcoat with this. The lady in the shop said you could colour it with fabric markers but I would prefer to leave it as it is.
I have just purchased the Sew Over It Cami Top and was looking for some silky-type fabric. I saw this on Weaver Dee and I am sure it wasnt as bright on the website. It is very loud but I think coupled with black trousers and cardi, or even white, it might work out okay. If not then it’ll be a bedtime cami but we will see!
I bought this a while ago and its been sat in my stash. I got it cheap on eBay, its a sheer fabric, probably chiffon (scary face!). I’m not sure what to make with this? I thought perhaps a Tilly and the Buttons headscarf, from her book Love at First Stitch, but otherwise I am stumped. Do you have any ideas? Please let me know!
I got this a month or so ago on a trip to Fabricland in Portsmouth. Fabricland is such good pricing for the quality. You do have to be careful what you pick up (eeak polycotton!) but there are some real treasures there. This is a woven cotton and I bought it to make an Ultimate Pencil Skirt by Sew Over It. It’s fairly high on my to-do list (behind the cami and ultimate trousers).
I bought this locally in a Haberdashery here on the island. Its a lovely good quality viscose. I bought this with Tilly and the Buttons Martha in mind. I’m hoping to get around to this after the pencil skirt.
I’m currently teaching myself to draw croquis (fashion figures) so that I can draw my pattern designs and wanted to invest in tools of the trade. I didnt intend on picking these up yet but I saw them in a craft shop for half the price that they are in WHSmiths, so I had to snap them up. I love helping that craft store as they are always so lovely. They have the correct balance of friendliness and allowing you to do your own thing. These pens have a thick nib on one end and a thin one on the other, perfect for my needs!
I wanted a wrist pin cushion for when I am draping on the body form so I bought this from Weaver Dee. It isnt very comfortable and its quite snug but then I paid less than £2 for it so I cannot complain. I have another wrist pin cushion that I bought from Sainsbury’s but it doesnt have any protection underneath so the pins go through and I think its quite dangerous. I might make my own but if you have a good wrist pin cushion please let me know where you got it so I can order one of those.
I’m in the process of teaching myself pattern cutting/drafting/designing whatever you’d like to call it. I saw this book in Waterstones and picked it up. Its a really good overview of everything you need to know from chosing a pattern to make, through to making your own patterns. Because it is so comprehensive it doesnt go into a lot of detail with each thing but if you want a reference book you could get worse than this.
I’ve been looking for a good book on draping for a while and I have to admit this is an investment as it wasnt cheap. I havent used it yet but I have flicked through and it teaches you everything you could need to know about draping. I’m looking forward to getting started with this book, it’ll be exciting to see my own creations develop a life of their own.
In previous weeks on the Wardrobe Architect I posted about my past and my present defining my core style and beginning to form ideas about my style identity through a pinterest board. This week is all about reviewing what shapes make me feel happy and comfortable by filling in a grid where I grade from 1-10 based on my enjoyment of those shapes of garment.
I’ve talked previously about struggling with my shape, of being bigger than I would care to be and how I’ve allowed this to dictate my style. I have made some progress with this; since starting Wardrobe Architect I have began sewing (and wearing) garments for myself. I’ve had an internal mixed response to this – I’ve somewhat been in denial and this makes me face up to things that make me uncomfortable, but in doing so its began to help me in accepting myself more (something I’ve always struggled with, whatever my weight). It’s a work in progress but I am definitely experiencing a progress and shift, not only in my sense of style but also in my sense of self.
So, on to this week’s ‘homework’:
Previous to this week, I thought I didnt feel comfortable in many – if any – types of clothing, but seeing the results above show me this just isnt true. Sometimes we need to see something in black and white in order to believe it. Let’s do an analysis:
I like a mid-length, above the knee skirt, that is either a half full, full or A-line (how very vintage of me!). I quite like a high waist length (particularly on a pencil skirt) or a natural waistline, but not a low (I dont think this doesnt anything to enhance what I have).
Above applies to the skirt part of dresses too but I don’t like a high waistband on a dress (actually, thinking about this I beg to differ, there are a couple of dress designs with the waistband under the chest which I really like – I clearly forgot this when doing the quiz). I also quite like a longer length on a dress, though this is dependant on what it is, I would say.
It looks like I love these somewhat fitted but with room to breathe (always nice!), and to either be full leg length of capri length. I quite like a high waist (or thick waistband) with trousers, I think this can be quite slimming.
Tops and Blouses
Again, I like these somewhat fitted, so that you can see the shape of my body (darts are a must, or princess seams) but loose enough that I am not feeling restricted. I like them fairly long, maybe tunic length, to cover my midriff and definately would not go for a cropped top!
Jackets & Blazers
I am not a huge fan of formal jackets and blazers but when I do wear them they would have to be similar to blouses and tops in that they are somewhat fitted but loose enough to breathe.
Ooh I love a cardi! (I must sound about 40 years older than I am!) I hate hate hate having the tops of my arms on show and so a cardi is a must with most of my outfits.I like them somewhat fitted but loose (I sense a theme here) and long enough to cover my tummy but not much longer than that.
I took the term ‘outwear’ to mean coats… and here too I like them fairly loose but with some shape, and to be long enough to cover my bum. Coats are the one garment that I quite like a low waist, I think this is because I can always bring it up by bagging the top part. If it was a formal coat I would like a natural waistline.
I’ll leave you with some pictures from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board that go with my analysis:
What do you think? Can you relate with anything I have written? Are you doing the Wardrobe Architect?
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