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Making a Kelly Anorak

Making my own anorak was a huge project but it certainly pushed me to learn new skills.

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December is just around the corner and the cold weather has now set in, so this meant the coat project I started in May this year really had to be finished!

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Mustard lining on show!

Making a coat of any type can be hard work and even harder if it involves a range of different techniques like a zip, pockets and press studs but some how making something of your own that you can wear over and over again makes all of this worth while.

I made a Closet Case Patterns Kelly Anorak – this is the first anorak I have ever made and the first time I have ever used waxed cotton so this was a new experience all around.

You can choose to make the anorak with or without a hood – I decided to include one as I’m planning to wear this out in winter so I’m sure i’ll need it at some point to protect me from the rain.

As this was such a large project, I decided to treat myself to book on to a course at Guthrie and Ghani in Birmingham to make my coat alongside some other sewists. The course was great fun, the other ladies on the course were all really nice (I’ve not actually met any sewers I don’t like) and we also spent quite a bit of time socialising so that was super too.20181118_160505_resized

Most of day one of the course was spent cutting out the pattern and the fabric. There are quite a lot of pattern pieces and depending if you decide to line your coat or not, this adds extra materials to cut too. I’m not sure about you but I don’t really enjoy the ‘cutting out’ process, its hard work at times as well as being a bit tiresome – although I know it is always worth it in the end.

The best thing about starting a project like this on a class is that you have the reassurance that you  are moving at a similar speed to other people and you can check any instructions you are unsure about with other fellow sewers – like your body measurements or what length you want your final garment to be.

By day three of the course, my project was well underway – although I didn’t manage to finish it may be due to chatting too much!

Since then months have past by and my unfinished coat has sat in a box at home. This was partly due to the fantastic summer weather we had and me not wanting to spend my time sewing a winter jacket and that partly I was quite scared of making a mess of any of the anorak by myself at home.

Its funny really that I put off sewing the final parts of my jacket for so long, as when I got down to it – it only took a few hours to put on the arms, cuffs and finish adding my press studs.

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With ball thrower in hand!

If you are thinking of making this pattern, the instructions are detailed and do guide you through the steps of the coat making process nicely – although this is not a project for beginners.

I found the project really challenging which can be good and bad. By day three of the course, I had managed to melt the top of my zipper a bit on the iron (note to self use a metal tooth zipper in future for coats) which upset me a little as I couldn’t stand the idea of having to undo all of the stitching I had done so far to ‘set in’ the zip. However, I managed to save the zip in the end my using my unpicker to ‘pick’ the random melted bits out of my zip teeth so it will now zip up almost to the top of the coat (which is good enough for me, I always wear a scarf anyway).

I’m really pleased with my final project although don’t think I will rush into making another version too soon as it took a long time as well as lots of concentration (something I’m short of sewing in the evenings at times)!

I got my tan waxed cotton from Guthrie and Ghani (they have a few other colours too), lined the body with a mustard cotton lawn I picked up on holiday earlier this year and lined the arms with some anti static dress lining I had left over from something else. 20181118_153902_resized

Have you made this pattern before?

Until next time, happy sewing.

Becky x

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Getting ready for Christmas

This post all about my Christmas gift planning and how I’m trying to get organised earlier this year!

I have always loved Christmas. I enjoy the fact that there always seems to be a bit of festive cheer in the air, with people wishing each other a Merry Christmas (or happy holidays if you are in the US) and that I have a good excuse to do some extra baking.

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Having a go at toy making

Christmas present buying can be stressful and trying to make gifts at the last minute can cause unneeded pressure too.

This year I’m trying to plan in advance what I’d like to make for my loved ones, trying to use patterns or materials I already have in my stash (although I guess this may not be possible in every case).

So far, I’m thinking of making book bags for a few friends (they are a great way to use up fabrics and I can have a bit of fun mixing and matching materials to act as the lining).

Book bags are so simple to make and can be made big or small depending on if you imagine it will be used to carry supermarket shopping in or just someone’s lunch on their way to and from work etc.

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Book bag

I’ve made one book bag already out of some pink cotton sateen I had left over from a recent skirt project.  If I’m honest the handles are a bit too long but this probably doesn’t matter too much.

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Curious Rose sewing pattern

My brother is really tricky to buy for generally so even though he is a grown up, this year I’m hoping to make him a cuddly animal toy from a pattern I picked up at Kirsty Allsop’s Handmade Fair in September. The pattern is by Curious Rose and includes a bunny, mouse, cat and hare design.

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Pin dog will be on hand during my project making!

In 2017, I made my husband a sweatshirt for Christmas based on a ladies jumper pattern I got free in a magazine.

It was an oversight on my part though not to raise the neckline as when I’d made it the neck area was quite low. He has worn it a lot though in the house, but this year I’d like to better my previous efforts and make a jumper he can wear out and about too. I may turn the men’s t shirt pattern from one of the Sewing Bee books I have into a jumper by lengthening the sleeves and adding a hem band.

Finally,  I’m hoping to make my friend Jane a Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress. I made her one a while ago and it’s great to see that it fits so well, I will may be make version two in a different colour fabric with cropped sleeves but I’m not sure yet!

Have you got Christmas sewing plans?

Until next time, happy sewing  x

 

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Attending Sew Brum 2018

This week’s post is all about attending Sew Brum 2018.

Sewing is fantastic as it’s a hobby you can do on your own or collectively with friends or at classes. More often than not though, I sew on my own at home squeezing in 15-20 minutes on my machine in between making the dinner or doing something else. That’s why it is lovely to meet other sewists in person at events like Sew Brum and exchange ideas and tips on projects, as well as of course admire each others handmade outfits.

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Having lunch with fellow sewers in Birmingham

I’ve never had the opportunity to visit Birmingham when Sew Brum was taking place before, so I was really excited to see what it was all about.

This years event was attended by around 300 people, some of whom stayed for the whole event and others who just attended some bits depending on their other commitments.

It was an early start for me and it was freezing when I left home, but the excitement of meeting up with ‘old’ sewing friends and meeting new ones kept me focused on why I was up so early on a Saturday morning.

The day began in Birmingham’s John Lewis cafe, where many people enjoyed a bite to eat. The large group then split up to visit the rag market, Barry’s fabric store and the silk shop (located not too far from the market). A lot of people then made their way over to one of my favourite fabric shops – Guthrie and Gharni by bus to do some more shopping and take part in a charity raffle.

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Waxed cotton I picked up to make a dress

I left home with a few ideas in mind of what kinds of fabric I may like to find, but I’m afraid to say this list kind of went out of my mind when I arrived (note to self – write down ideas next time)!

Fabrics I picked up included some jersey remnants to make a jumper, some denim to make a new skirt and some waxed cotton fabric to make a dress with. I might take me a while to work my way though the fabrics I bought, but I’m looking forward to using them anyway.

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Fabrics I picked up during the event

Sew Brum is an annual event organised by the English Girl at Home. If you weren’t able to attend this time, and don’t live too far away I’d recommend going next time – I had a great day 🙂

Until next time, happy sewing.

Becky x

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Going crazy for pencil skirts

This week’s blog is all about my office capsule wardrobe.

I set myself a challenge a few weeks ago to make a selection of outfits that I can wear into work. Working in an office means I need to be fairly smart each day, so it’s great to be able to create exactly what I want to wear from fabrics I have chosen.

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My new Ultimate Pencil Skirt 

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me due to starting a new job, but I was able to squeeze in making two new pencil skirts before this.

The skirts are both based on patterns I’ve used before but the bonus with this is that I knew what I would like to amend/change from last time.

The pink floral skirt was made using the Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt pattern and a bright cotton satin (also from Sew Over It). If I’m honest the cotton satin did have stretch but probably not quite as much as I would like in a fitted skirt like this.

I graded between two sizes at the waist to make this skirt, as I’m a different size on my waist to what I am on my hips. This was fairly easy to do, it just took a bit of trial and error tacking the skirt on my machine, then trying it on to check the fit. I also reduced the length by a few inches, which is surprising me being so tall but I only wanted it to come down to my knees.

The second skirt I made was the Tilly and the Buttons Bibi Pencil Skirt, made using a very stretchy ponte roma sourced from a local shop (I can’t include a link as they aren’t online). Last time I made this project I decided I didn’t really like the waistband as it seemed to go a bit baggy after I wore it, so this time I decided to make a facing around the waistline instead that simply folds to the inside and was sewed in place using a few a stitches along the seam lines.

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My Bibi Pencil Skirt 

I’m pleased with these skirts, albeit I don’t think the floral one is quite as comfortable as last time due to my fabric choice.

I’m still trying to work my way through the other projects I wanted to make for my capsule wardrobe, but I’m getting there slowly. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Until next time, happy sewing.

Becky x

 

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My Sewing The Scene entry

I’ve been a Disney fan for as long as I can remember so thought I’d use this as the theme for my Sewing The Scene entry for 2018.

Sewing The Scene is an online competition hosted on Instagram by @theunfinishedseamstress and encourages sewists to make something they love inspired by film or TV and share pictures of their projects by the 1st of October.

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My new Coco Dress 

I gave a lot of thought to my entry wondering how I could create an outfit based around one of my favourite films or TV shows, but in the end settled for the general theme of ‘Disney’.

If I had to choose a favourite Disney character I’d go for Minnie Mouse so used this as my inspiration to make my 2018 competition entry. Minnie, as you probably know, is famous for wearing a red spotty dress. I love polka dots but felt that a red spotty outfit, although lovely, wouldn’t really fit in to my everyday wardrobe so I decided to go for a black spotty fabric instead and accessorise it with a red cardigan (from Bettie Vintage), belt and necklace (one my husband bought me for Christmas a few years ago).

I used the Tilly and the Button’s Coco pattern to make my dress, picking the fabric up from the recent Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey. I loved the ponte roma material as soon as I saw it on the Sewalicious stall so had to buy it, it’s a beautiful medium weight that has spots on the outside and stripes on the inside so you could actually have a lot of fun with using both sides of the fabric if you wanted to.

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Minnie Mouse in her red spotty outfit

The dress also ticks off one of the handmade makes I wanted to create for my new ‘office ready’ wardrobe too, so I’m pleased about that. I actually wore the dress out for dinner tonight and it is super snuggley – great for a cold September evening.

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A close up of my dress worn with a red belt 

Are you entering the Sewing The Scene competition? It’s a fun challenge as there are so many possibilities of things you could make.

Until next time, happy sewing.

Becky x

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Making myself a ‘work ready’ wardrobe

This week I wanted to share my plans to make a few new outfits for my new job.

Working in an office I need to look smart each day, but the cool thing about making your own clothes is that you can choose the fabrics and designs that work best for both you and the wider work environment.

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My latest Agnes Top

The Sew Over It Work to Weekend E-book literally couldn’t have been published at a better time for me. I’m just getting ready to start a new job and want to update my work outfits so the trousers and Dana Blouse from the book will be perfect.

If you have ready my blog before you will know that I generally like to make clothes that I can wear for lots of different occasions, including for work, so I thought I would make myself a little ‘to sew’ list to try to organise my sewing plans.

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Patterns from the new Sew Over It E-book
  1. I picked up some gorgeous black spotty ponte roma fabric from the Sewalicious stand Handmade Fair – I think this will be a great Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress.
  2. I’m planning to make a plain purple Sew Over It Molly Dress, this will be great for winter to wear with thick tights. I’ve had some purple ponte roma material in my stash for ages and this will work well for this project.
  3. Blouses are great to wear for the office so I’m planning a floral Sew Over It Dana Top from the latest e-book. I bought a remnant of black viscose fabric from Sewalicious to make this (this project is now cut out and ready to go).

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    Light weight fabric I’m going to use to make my new blouse
  4. Since I started making my own clothes, wearing pencil skirts has become something I now enjoy as they actually fit! My smaller waist and bigger hips just don’t work for shop-bought patterns. I’m planning my second Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt in a beautiful stretch cotton satin (I got this as part of a kit my husband got me for Christmas last year).
  5. I made a Tilly and the Buttons Bibi Pencil Skirt a while ago (from the Stretch book) and have since had loads of compliments on it – so want another in my wardrobe. A stretchy skirt is really comfortable to wear in the office as well as looking smart. This also works well as I want to make more projects from the sewing books I already have rather than buying new patterns all the time.

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    Fabric from Sew Over It I’m going to use for my new Ultimate Pencil Skirt
  6. Finally, I’m hoping to make a few more plain jersey tops (the Tilly and the Buttons Coco or Agnes tops but have’t decided yet) to wear with my new skirts that can be mixed and matched over the course of the week. I often find myself swayed towards patterned fabrics when a few new plain tops would be much more practical for my everyday wardrobe.  I just need to find some suitable material now!

I’m hoping to make a start on my sewing list soon, so will keep you posted on how I’m getting on.

So far this week, I haven’t had a lot of time but managed to make a quick Agnes Top in a spotted viscose jersey I got on a recent Sew Notts meet up. I’m sure I can wear this in to work but its great to wear on the weekends too. Plus, the fabric only cost me £1 as the shop was closing down, amazing!

What are you working on at the minute? Have you made any projects from the new Sew Over It E-Book yet?

Have a good weekend,

Becky x

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Visiting the Handmade Fair

This week I’m sharing my experience of visiting the Handmade Fair, a creative paradise for craftaholics like me.

I was so excited to visit Surrey this week and explore Kirstie Allsop’s Handmade Fair.

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Me with my bird feeder 

If you are unfamiliar with the fair it is one of the biggest craft events around and allows visitors to take part in workshops, listen to talks and visit a number of craft-based stores exhibiting on site.

I booked tickets pretty much as soon as they went on sale and have been looking forward to attending for months.

Wanting to make the most of my day, I booked a couple of workshops themed around crafts I hadn’t tried before. I took part in a class to make a wild bird feeder which gave me the chance to have a go at basket weaving. This was actually really tricky, particularly as the willow we used was really long and seemed to have a mind of its own moving in every direction apart from where I wanted it to go in the weaving process.

I felt a bit sorry for the man running the class as he had a lot of people to help to make the bird feeders, but I think everyone had a good time and all left with their own individual project.

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Meeting Tilly at the Tilly and the Buttons stand

The next 30 min class I tried was based around paper crafting. I made three butterflies using origami techniques following what the teacher was demonstrating at the front of the workshop. I’ll be honest I wasn’t very good at this but it was still cool to test out a new craft.

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Paper butterflies 

There were two large tents filled full of small shops selling fabrics, craft items and jewellery, as well as two smaller tents selling food-based products (I did pick myself up possibly the best tasting brownie I have ever had there).

As well as smaller retailers being on site there were also brand names you would  recognise like Sew Over ItTilly and the Buttons and Sewalicious. Kirstie Allsop could also be found wandering around the event too (I was really excited about this) so I got a photo with her.

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Visiting the Sew Over It stand

If you are planning to visit, I’d recommend planning your day carefully, particularity if you want to take part in a few workshops, to make sure you can fit everything in. I wished I had got more time to try out the class upcycling some old wooden pallets into a new usable storage box, but this was fully booked.

It was such a fun day and definitely worth the long trip to Hampton Court Palace and back. I’m looking forward to next year’s event already.

Have a good weekend.

Becky x

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Printing PDF patterns

This week I discovered printing PDF patterns online, saving me loads of time. I thought I’d share what I learnt in this post with you.

I was really excited to hear that Sew Over It have released a new e-book called Work to Weekend as this sounded perfect for me.

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Printed patterns 

I had promised myself that I wouldn’t buy anymore patterns for a while, but I love the Sew Over It brand so had to order the latest e-book particularly as there are at least three things in there I would like to make.

Finding clothes that I can wear in to the office and out during my time off is always a challenge so hopefully these designs will fill a gap in my wardrobe.

The only thing that puts me off buying PDF patterns and e-books generally is the printing. The idea of spending hours sticking A4 pages together fills me with dread as I just want to get on with the sewing. I find it a pain having to print out the patterns and lay them out on the floor to stick together with sticky tape, if I wanted to do a paper-based craft project I would!

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Me with my new patterns

Discussing the draw backs of PDF patterns with a friend, it was suggested that I try printing my patterns on A0 sized paper – completely reducing the time I would have spent sticking the A4 pages together.

I’d researched how much printing on A0 paper would cost at my local printers and was horrified to be told it would be as much as the e-book itself to do this. My friend said I should check out Net Printers as she had used them before and it was really cost effective.

It was actually really straight forward to order my printing online – I literally uploaded the files and added in my payment details. Just two days later my patterns were delivered to my door by courier, amazing. It was about £1.50p per A0 printed sheet plus delivery and I was pleasantly surprised at the good quality paper the patterns are printed on.

I will certainly print my patterns online again. Saving that vital time sticking means I can maximise my time sewing my new outfits, yey 🙂 . I only wish there was more hours in a day to squeeze in more crafting!

Not sure which pattern to make from the e-book first, the trousers and the Dana Dress both take my fancy 🙂 . I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Until next time,

Becky x

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Simple Sew: Sienna Dress

This week I’m sharing a project I managed to make over the course of a week for a party I was going to.

With a family birthday party on the horizon last weekend, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make myself a new dress.

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My new dress 

It probably sounds boring, but I hardly ever go ‘out out’ these days so the idea of going out for dancing and drinks filled me with excitement so I wanted to try to look my best for the occasion 🙂

The party was held on the Thames in Surrey in a pub and was the perfect location for people watching and catching up with old friends and family.

I didn’t know what people would wear for the party so as normal I just decided to do my own thing and wear what I felt comfortable in. I picked up some lovely mustard kitten heel shoes from Marks and Spencer and a matching cardigan from Hell Bunny so wanted to make a dress that would work with these things.

After hunting online for ages and then ordering a few things, no fabric I came across seemed to be right for my project. Then I had a brainwave and dug deep in my fabric stash to find a lovely chiffon fabric I’ve had for a while that is navy blue and has a lip design all over it. I thought this would work perfectly, so with one week to go launched into making my second Simple Sew Patterns Sienna Dress.

I got the pattern free on Sew Now Magazine last year and the design of the dress is right up my street. It is fitted into the waist and has a flared skirt. As the fabric I used was a bit see-through I lined the bodice in the same fabric I was using on the outside and lined the skirt with a black anti-static material.

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A close up of my dress fabric 

This was the second time I’d tried this pattern so I tried to learn from my last attempt. I reduced the seam allowance slightly to make the dress a bit more roomy (I used a 1.2cm seam allowance instead of the 1.5cm noted on the pattern), and this time I tried the sleeveless design instead of the version with cap-sleeves.

I’m pleased with my final project, although it is may be slightly on the long side. If I decide to make a third version I may reduce the length a bit so the skirt finishes just above my knees.

Now the party is over I’m hoping to get plenty of wear out of my dress in the daytime after all what’s the harm in dressing up to go shopping or out for coffee?!

Have you tried the Sienna Dress? How did you find the pattern?

Until next time, happy sewing.

Becky x

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Sewing projects ‘on the go’

This week’s post is all about trying to fit sewing into a busy lifestyle.

This week, I thought I’d share a few sewing projects I have ‘on the go’.

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A previous Simple Sew Sienna Dress I made last summer 

I don’t know about you but I often find myself day-dreaming about what I’d like to make and immediately feel the urge to start whatever my latest idea is (time permitting of course) 🙂

Life has been so busy recently though with working, trying to get fit (I’ve started to do the ‘couch to 5k) and other boring house stuff like shopping, cleaning and DIY there hasn’t been much time for sewing. However, trying to be resourceful I have cut out and started a few new projects so that when I do have time I can sit down at my machine and dive straight in!

You may have read one of my previous posts about trying to make more patterns from my sewing books – I’m challenging myself to make more projects from resources I already have rather than buying new paper patterns or downloading new patterns all the time. Plus, buying new patterns is expensive so using books I already have on the shelf should be good for my purse too!

The first project from the Sew Caroline Weekend Style Book I’ve decided to make is the Tilly T-Shirt. It’s just a really simple top, but I honestly think I can’t have too many t-shirts in my drawer, plus I can maybe use it as part of my new exercise regime! I’m going to make this in some bright pink cotton jersey I have left over from a project I made ages ago so I will keep you posted on my progress.

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Weekend style book

Next on my list is another Sew Over It Cami Top. I’ve made quite a few of these already but I’d really love a plain white one to wear with patterned skirts. This project is cut out and ready to go soon 🙂

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Fabric I’m using for my new Simple Sew dress 

Finally, I’ve been rushing to the finish line to make another Simple Sew Sienna Dress for a party I’m going to over the bank holiday weekend. I’m using a chiffon fabric with red lips all over it to make my new outfit. I’m really annoyed at myself that I have left it sssooo late in the day to make this but time just seems to fly by sometimes. I’ve been squeezing in 15 mins here and there though so fingers crossed this will work out.

I don’t know about you but even if I sewed non-stop for a few weeks, I’m sure I still wouldn’t be able to make all of my dream projects. If only there was more hours in a day… 🙂

What have you been making this month? Do you cut out projects so they are ready to go when you want them?

Until next time,

Becky x

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Making a Mortmain Skirt

This week I delved into my pattern box and pulled out one of my favourite ever patterns to make myself a little present!

It’s my birthday this week so I decided to make myself a new skirt. I’m not really going anywhere special but I wanted to make myself something new to wear anyway, is that sad?!

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My new knee length skirt

I picked up a lovely blue and cream cotton poplin fabric for about £2.50p per metre from Material Girl Fabrics (can be found by searching on Facebook) which I thought was a great bargain.

I fancied making a light-weight gathered skirt and thought the Gather Pattern called The Mortmain would fit the bill nicely. I’ve made this pattern as a dress I few times and absolutely LOVE it.

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The pattern I used for this project

In order to make the skirt I literally used the two skirt pattern pieces and then added a waistband, along-with a 9 inch invisible zipper. The pattern is designed to have a pleated skirt but gathering is also an option of course.

I don’t normally go for the ‘gathered’ look mainly because it always takes me ages to make gathered skirts/dresses and I’m always a bit worried the gathering is not completely equal. Plus, I often prefer an a-line or circle skirt design but I thought I would give it another go.

I’m really happy with my new birthday skirt and will definitely wear it out for lunch.

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My latest project 

Have you tried The Mortmain pattern? I’d recommend it if you haven’t – it’s one of my favourite ever patterns as it looks smart but has a relaxed fit.

Until next time, happy sewing.

Becky x

 

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Making a reversible tie hat

Here I describe how I recently had the opportunity to put my sewing skills to good use in making a tie hat for a friend.

This week’s post is focused around a project that I was asked to do by a friend who was recently diagnosed with an illness meaning she may temporarily lose her hair.

Seeing my sewing machine sat on my dining room table, my friend asked if I would be able to make her a head scarf or tie hat of some description that if needed she can wear during the course of her treatment.

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Here I model the tie hat

It’s not my place to go in to the ins and outs of her illness, but I can say it is an illness that touches the lives of too many people around the world.

I felt honoured to be asked to undertake such a useful project and wanted to do my best to make something that was both comfortable to wear and stylish.

Hunting through the internet I managed to find the perfect downloadable pattern made by brimmingwithlove.com . The pattern comes with easy to follow step by step instructions, as well as including images for the more tricky steps.

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A close up of the fabric I used

Having never made a reversible tie hat before, I had to concentrate on how to construct the hat as I wasn’t really sure how it would all come together.

I used a pink floral viscose fabric to make both the inside and outside layers of the project, although there is an option to use contrasting fabrics on either side if you wanted to wear different colours / patterns on different days.

I thought a floral viscose was light-weight and perfect for summer, meaning that hopefully the hat wouldn’t be too hot to wear in the warm weather we are experiencing in the UK at the moment.

The pattern actually came together really easily in the end, and I was delighted to be able to hand it over to my friend who was over the moon with her gift.

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My pattern pieces before I started sewing the project

To be able to bring a little bit of joy to someones life who is battling a serious illness was amazing. Sewing is often something I do to pass the time or selfishly make myself something new, so to be able to put my skills to a much better use was amazing.

I wish my friend all the best and know that her positive attitude to life will serve her well.

Until next time,

Becky x

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Sew many books

This post is all about my love of sewing patterns and making a pledge to myself to make more from my collection of lovely craft books.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a hoarder of sewing patterns. Recently my husband bought me a filing cabinet for the spare room with the idea that I could have two drawers for my sewing patterns and the other drawers would be used for other things.

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Me reading the Stretch Book by Tilly and the Buttons

Until I was forced to delve into my drawers, on to my shelves and in to cupboards to sort out the patterns I had accumulated, I honestly didn’t realise how my ‘collection’ had grown.

Not only had I got a number of printed and pdf patterns I have purchased, I had also got loads of ‘free’ patterns I’d either been given or (in most cases) got free on sewing magazines.

As well as more than filling two drawers of my new filing cabinet – I also tided my numerous sewing books and wondered how many of these publications I had actually made projects from.

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A few of my sewing books

So, I made a promise to myself that firstly I would donate my unwanted patterns to my local charity shop (this was before the recent ‘pattern swap’ hosted on Instagram) and that I would make more clothing and craft projects from my much loved books that in the past I’ve spent ages browsing through but not done much else with!

First on my list are both of the Tilly and the Buttons books, followed by the Sew Caroline Weekend Projects book that I bought myself for my birthday last year.

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Inside the Sew Caroline Weekend Style book – a project I hope to make soon

I will keep you posted on my progress 🙂

Do you have lots of sewing books? Have you made many of the patterns? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you made and what you enjoyed.

Until next time, happy sewing.

Becky 🙂

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The Big Stitch with the British Heart Foundation

For this year’s Big Stitch I’ve turned a man’s shirt in to a smart sleeveless top. Read how I did this here.

The British Heart Foundation’s ‘The Big Stitch’ has taken place during July, designed to inspire sewers to create something new from something old.

New top
My new top

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that although I’m new to upcycling,  I actually really enjoy it.

It was about this time last year when I upcycled something for the first time, and I had never really considered the vast array of potential new projects that could be found amongst various things previously donated by someone else.

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The original shirt

If you can be bothered to unpick an item of clothing from the charity shop you could end up with some fabric, a zip and buttons for a fraction of the price of buying all of the items individually.

For this year’s Big Stitch competition I took a man’s shirt and turned it in to a top for myself.

To do this I unpicked all of the buttons, I will use these on another project, and then cut along all of the seams in the original shirt. I cut up the seam of the arms, cut off the cuffs and slowly opened each piece of fabric out flat on my table to see how much fabric I had to make something new with.

I really had no idea what I was going to make in the beginning, I considered making a book bag and make-up bag but finally settled on a sleeveless top.

I used the Sew Over Cami Top as a basis for my transformation although due to limited resources I couldn’t cut the the sections as directed on the pattern pieces. For the back – I cut two pieces adding a 1.5 cm seam allowance in the centre back seam and cut the facing pieces on the bias as I couldn’t squeeze them on to my fabric in any other way (I used the shirt arms to do this).

During the upcycling process
I unpicked the original shirt pockets so I had a blank piece of fabric to work with

I used the front of the original shirt (minus the button band) to make the back of my new top, and used the back of the original shirt to cut my new front on the fold.

This probably sounds like it took ages to do, but actually this was a fairly speedy process and more than anything I really enjoyed being creative in a different way.

Although the deadline for The Big Stitch has now passed, I’d still recommend popping along to your local charity shop to see whats available. In my opinion its a win win situation – you are donating to charity by purchasing something in the first place and then you get some new fabric and other supplies to use on a project of your choice.

Did you take part in The Big Stitch this year? I’d love to hear what you made. There are some fantastic pictures of competition entries on the British Heart Foundation website if you want to check them out.

Until next time, happy sewing 🙂

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Tilly and the Buttons: Stevie Pattern review

This week I have reviewed the new Tilly and the Buttons Stevie pattern, find out how I got on here.

As soon as I saw the new Tilly and the Button’s pattern I thought it was right up my street. So, I got online as soon as I could to order myself a copy, carefully planning a bit of time to sew myself a new dress.

New Stevie Dress
New Stevie Dress

If you haven’t used Tilly’s pattern’s before they are ideal for beginner sewists as well as more experienced sewers wanting to make, in this case, a quick project.

The Stevie pattern can be made in to either a dress or a top and is ‘boxy’ in its design. The pattern has kimono sleeves and cute back detailing that can either be finished with a neck-tie or button closure. There are no darts or zips to insert and no sleeves to set-in – meaning there are limited pieces to both cut out and sew together.

Fitting

I cut a size 3 at the top and eased down into a size 4 at the bottom. I initially used the 1.5 cm seam allowance advised on the pattern, then tried on the dress to check the fit before I finished the side seams with my overlocker.

At this point the dress felt a bit too loose for me. The dress is supposed to be loose which is perfect for summer, although I just didn’t think it was a very flattering shape on me personally.

In order to tailor in my dress, I decided to put the dress on inside out and pin the side seams to get my desired fit. I then marked over my pins with my chalk to ensure that even if any of my pins fell out, I would still know where to sew when my project was back on my sewing machine.

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Out and about in my Stevie Dress

This process was a bit of trial and error and I repeated the above steps a couple of times before I was happy. Although this took a bit of extra time, I have to remind myself that its not about how quickly I make a project – its about enjoying the process and at the end of the day wanting to wear what I have created.

My dress 

I used a blue floral quilting cotton to make my dress. It’s a fabric I’ve had in my stash for a few months, but it thought it would be perfect for this.

Thanks to other people noting the dress comes out of the pack a little short, I also lengthen the dress my 4 inches as I wanted it to finish just above my knee (I’m 5’10).

I also lowered the neckline slightly and amended the shape of the neckline facing accordingly.

Back of stevie top
I used the button closure to finish my dress

I finished the back of my dress with the button option – although rather than using a hair elastic to make the ‘button loop’ I simply folded a piece of the dress fabric in to a similar shape and sewed that in place instead. I didn’t really like the idea of using a hair band as I’ve tried that before and with a bit of wear I discovered that it popped out of my facing (even though I stitched it in place) – but I guess this is down to personal preference.

I couldn’t wait to wear my new dress out and about so spent every spare moment I had last weekend to try to finish my project!

Next time 

I think I will try to make the top version next time with the neck ties instead of the button closure. I have a lovely cotton lawn fabric in my stash that has a pencil design on it so think I will use that 🙂

Until next time – happy sewing x

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Simple Sew: Zadie Top

This week I made the Zadie Top, free in July’s Love Sewing Magazine. It was easy to make and perfect to wear in the warm weather.

I fancied making something quick last weekend, that I could wear with one of my denim skirts on a day out with my husband’s work.

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Feeding the Alpacas

We went to visit an Alpaca Farm in Leicestershire and got to feed the animals, I can’t tell you how excited I was!

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Looking a bit windswept in my Zadie top and Sewaholic Rae skirt

Anyway, back to my new top, I was excited to see that free in the latest edition of Love Sewing Magazine there is a quick Simple Sew  top to make called the Zadie Top. It’s a boxy kimono sleeve top that is designed to be easy to pull over your head – ready to go out the door, easy especially in the warm weather we are having in the UK at the moment.

The top is supposed to stitched down the centre seam and back seam (joining two sections together on each side) and finished with a facing. Although, instead I decided to cut my pieces on the fold and then tailor it in a little at both sides to get the desired fit.

I did find that the pattern came up quite big, I cut out a size 10 at the top of the pattern and eased down into the size 12 at the hip. It is supposed to be a loose fitting top but – it was a bit too loose for me so I took quite a bit out of the side sections and still have plenty of room to pop it over my head to wear comfortably.

The top is also supposed to be finished with a facing around the neckline – but I simply overlocked this area, created a double fold and stitched it in place. This worked okay for me, but it may not depending on how stable your fabric is.

I’m really happy with the finished result, particularly as I made it in just one evening when Neil, my husband, was watching the football. Plus, I picked up the floral material I used on holiday earlier this year – so that adds an extra something special to it for me.

I hope you’ve had a good week? What are you working on at the moment?

Until next time, happy sewing.

Becky x

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Sew overwhelmed

I thought I would write a bit of a different blog post this week as I think it’s important to remember why as sewers we do what we enjoy and sometimes take a step back and reflect about why we love to be creative.

I thought I would write a bit of a different blog post this week as I think it’s important to remember why as sewers we do what we enjoy and sometimes take a step back and reflect.

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Dressmaking in my sewing room 

As you know if you have read my posts before, I love to sew. I, like many others, often spend ages online browsing blogs, Instagram and vlogs in search of new ideas or inspiration for my projects but it can be a bit overwhelming when your ‘to sew’ list is growing and (in some cases) out of control!

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Pinning a skirt waistband

As I write this post, I’m sat at home sheltering from the hot sunshine (I’m not good with the heat) and wondering which project I should make next. There are always so many competitions or sewing challenges to take part in online and my gut reaction is always to say ‘yes, count me in’, however, sometimes I just want a bit of ‘me time’ rather than racing to the finish-line to meet a deadline of some sort.

Our lives are filled with challenges of lots of different shapes and sizes and our hobbies, sewing or not, in my opinion should be enjoyed rather than being just another thing that stresses us out.

Being a part of the online sewing community is amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some lovely people both in person and via social media. There are hundreds of gorgeous things being created all of the time and i’m so thankful to be a very small part of such a wonderful group of people – that inspire and encourage each and everyday.

From now on though, I’m going to be a bit kinder to myself – thinking what I want to make and how this will fit in with my other clothing. Hopefully this will allow me to take a much needed step back and remember why I sew – to chill out and be happy.

IMG_2046I don’t know about you but if I have an evening to myself, I can’t think of anything better than putting on my PJs, getting some snacks and sewing something – it takes me away from any worries and allows me to simply concentrate on being creative.

If you don’t sew already, I’d recommend it. I wish I’d started to sew years ago.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Becky x

 

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Making a Tulip Skirt

My latest pattern obsession is with the Sew Over It Tulip Skirt. I’ve made three so far and hope to squeeze in another soon.

I’m not sure what is is about me and getting obsessed with patterns but when I find one I find one I like I LOVE it.

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Cotton version

My latest pattern obsession is with the Sew Over It Tulip Skirt. I’ve made three so far and hope to squeeze in another soon.

I was initially a bit worried about if the shape of the skirt would suit me and if it would make my hips long bigger than they are, but actually I was pleasantly surprised that it clinches me at the waist and skims over my hips nicely.

So far, I’ve made one from a medium weight blue denim, one from a pink denim with a bit of stretch and another from a lightweight cotton (I lined this one as I thought it may not stick to my tights so much then).

The tulip shape is completely new to me. I mainly wear a-line skirts mixed in with the occasional pencil skirt for good measure, but I guess the tulip shape is a cool middle ground!

I’ve worn my skirts for lots of different things so far including into the office (not the blue denim one) and out for lunch etc. I’d love to be able to say I’d worn them on an evening out too but I’m quite boring these days and hardly ever go out for

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Blue denim version

drinks anymore!

Now I need to think about what my next version will be made of. Have you got any ideas? It would be great to hear some of your thoughts. I’ve uploaded a few pictures of my current skirts – I’m thinking may be a spotty version, a floral cotton sateen or a different coloured denim next perhaps?

Until next time, happy sewing 🙂

Becky

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Pink denim version
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Upcycling a floral skirt

My latest sewing project was upcycling a floral skirt I bought from a local charity shop.

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New floral skirt with button front

I had a bit of free time last weekend so decided to take a wander into town and browse the shops. I don’t know about you but I love exploring my local charity shops as there are often lots of bargains to be had and interesting pieces to be found that you wouldn’t necessarily find in the regular high street chain stores.

If you have read my blog before, you will know that I try to make as many of my own clothes as I can but sometimes it is nice to treat yourself to something new that is ready-made.

Last year, I got a taste of upcycling for the first time by turning a short sleeved jumpsuit I found in a charity shop into a  long sleeved cropped jumper. This sparked by enthusiasm to try to breath a new lease of life in to other clothes too, whether that be items I already have in my wardrobe or other items I could pick up from a second-hand shop.

My most recent project centres on a floral skirt I found in my local Sue Ryder charity shop. The skirt was too big for me but I loved the print of the fabric and thought it had a lot of potential to be transformed into something I would love to wear over the summer months.

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The original skirt had an elastic waistband and was too loose for me. 

Here’s how I did it…firstly I cut the original waistband off (this was a simple elastic band in-cased in a material tubing). Then cut straight up the back seam and ironed the fabric. I then measured the length and decided to cut a new waist band from the top of the original skirt (this worked well on two counts….1) I wanted to create a new waist band and 2) I wanted to shorten the length of my new skirt anyway).

The original skirt only had one seam so immediately I thought it had potential to be gathered – turning the original back seam in to a front button front closure instead.

I gathered the skirt to fit my waist band that I had interfaced and folded 1.5 inches in on both sides of the skirt (these were interfaced also) to form my new button placket.

To finish – I then added the waistband facing, measured where I wanted to position my buttons on the front, stitched them on and hemmed my skirt.

This was a fairly speedy project but it was so satisfying to know that I had been able to breath a new lease of life into a previously tired looking skirt that someone had donated to the charity shop I visited.

Refashioning and upcycling has become trendy in recent times, but I have not decided to try it out for this reason. For me its about being able to be creative and using my imagination rather than a regular sewing pattern to create something truly original. Its also a really inexpensive way to buy fabric whilst also being a bit environmentally friendly – reusing old fabrics rather than buying new materials. I’d definitely recommend giving upcycling a go if you haven’t tried it – I am no expert but I’ve really enjoyed altering the projects I’ve tried so far.

What are you working on sewing-wise at at minute? I’d love to hear about your projects.

Until next time, happy sewing.

Becky 🙂

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My latest Coco Top to add to my collection

Here I share why I love the Coco pattern so much by Tilly and the Buttons.

The Coco top and dress pattern by Tilly and the Buttons was one of the first independent dressmaking patterns I bought and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of clothes that I could make myself at home.

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Latest Coco top

To date, I’ve used the pattern seven times and I’m sure that will not be the last. I love clothes that you can just pop over your head, that don’t need any particular styling and you are good to go. The Coco pattern allows you to do just that.

For my most recent top, I decided to slightly deepen the neckline and shorten the sleeves so I can wear it right now. As I write this blog post it is very warm outside so I’m sheltering indoors to take a break from the sun for a while. I know I shouldn’t complain, I love the summer but I don’t handle the heat too well for long periods of time 🙂

My new top is made out of a beautiful mustard cotton jersey that I picked up from Coles Sewing Centre in Nottingham when I met up with a group of lovely local sewers recently. I only bought one metre of jersey and with a bit of careful cutting, managed to squeeze in my new top.

As part of this post, I also wanted to share with you a few of my other Coco outfits and why I like them so much. So, to do this I’ve made a list!

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Wearing my Coco dress on an evening out
  • Its quick and easy to make

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    Loopback jersey dress
  • The instructions are suitable for beginners through to more advanced sewers
  • The pattern has loads of options as it can be made in lots of different colours / patterned jerseys and looks completely different
  • The dress looks great with a narrow belt
  • I lengthened my dresses by two inches so its perfect for tall ladies like me
  • It can be worn for loads of different occasions including to the office under a jacket or with pumps for a more casual day out
  • There are lots of pictures to be found online of other peoples Coco projects so there is lots of inspiration available at the click of a button

Have you made the Coco pattern? What did you think of it? I’d love to see or hear about your projects.

 

Until next time, happy sewing 🙂

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Long sleeved Coco top
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Stretch: book review and Bibi Skirt

Read my Stretch! review and see my first project from the book. I made the Bibi Skirt, here I talk you through how I found making the pattern and the fitting alterations I made.

There is nothing I love more than making comfortable clothes that I can get loads of wear out of, so I was over the moon when I heard about Tilly and the Buttons new book Stretch! 

I was lucky enough to get bought the book as a gift and literally couldn’t wait to jump in and make my first project.

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My new pencil skirt (please excuse my breakfast on the counter in the background)!

About the book 

If you are new to sewing with knit fabrics this book will guide you through the motions every step of the way. One of the things I like best about Tilly’s patterns is that the instructions are written in an easy to understand format, that makes them straight forward to use and helps you to increase your confidence as your skills develop.

The book includes info about buying knit fabrics (talking you through the different types available), fitting knit clothing, sewing with stretch fabrics on a regular sewing machine or with an overlocker and a variety of patterns that can be traced from the pattern pages at the back of the book.

Whether you like lounging at home in jogging pants and a hoodie or like to wear simple yet stylish dresses, this book has a bit of everything. Basically, as long as you like the idea of sewing with knit fabrics, this book will have you sorted!

What I made 

I made the Bibi Pencil Skirt. I’ll be honest, me and pencil skirts don’t normally get on! The amount of times I have gone in to shop changing rooms and tried on ‘ready to wear’ fitted skirts and they have not looked great cannot be counted on two hands. The problems normally arise as I have a small waist and larger hips, plus I’m quite tall (5’10) so generally I’m just not the right shape to buy shop-ready pencil skirt designs!

Anyway, who cares about shop-bought when you can just make your own?! If you haven’t made a pencil skirt before I think the Bibi Skirt would be a good one to start with as it only has a couple of pattern pieces (one cut four times for the skirt and a second for the waistband).

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Bibi pencil skirt

How I found making my new skirt 

Well, the book suggests that the skirt is crying out for different coloured panels to be used – may be one colour for the side panels and another colour for the panels at the front and back. I’m sure this would look fab on loads of people, but when I tried it I just didn’t think it was for me. Initially, I cut out two panels in a emerald green ponte roma and the others in a floral knit. I sewed it up (this is pretty quick to do), and tried it on but it just didn’t suit me. I felt really ‘hippy’ in it as the different coloured panels were drawing my eyes to the widest part of my bottom / hips, basically I just knew I wouldn’t want to wear it if I felt uncomfortable.

So, I decided to ditch my first effort (I always find it sad to put something I have spent time making in the bin) and start again.

My husband said that he liked the skirt shape on me which was lovely of him as wearing close fitting skirts is new to me, I’m normally more of an a-line girl.

Second time around was SO much better. I used a green ponte fabric that has a black rose design printed on it, I picked this up from a local shop. The skirt can be made out of a metre of fabric so it was not only easy to make, it is fairly inexpensive too.

The fitting

I found that the hips fitted me correctly but the waist so a bit baggy at first. I would recommend basting the skirt together on your sewing machine to try it on inside out, this way you can check the fit and mark where you need to make any changes.

When I was happy with the fit, I then used my overlocker to stitch it together. I used the same fitting method for the waistband to, I basted it to the skirt, alining the side seams and seeing where I needed to bring it in a bit.

Changes made

Apart from the fitting described above, I added two inches to the hem of the skirt (before cutting it out) as I wanted my hemmed garment to come just above my knee. This is something I often do with Tilly’s patterns as I find they always come up a bit short on me.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, definitely! I’ve worn my Bibi Skirt into the office a few times, but I think it would also look nice dressed up with heels  for a more snazzy night out on the town.

Can’t wait to start my next Stretch! project – not sure if I’m going to make the Frankie Baseball T-Shirt or the Joni Dress next, I will keep you posted.

Have you made anything from this book yet? I’d love to hear about your projects 🙂 

Until next time, happy making x

 

 

 

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Sew Over It Cami Top – perfect for summer

Carrying on with my mission to make myself clothes that I can get maximum wear out of, I made the Sew Over It Cami Top.

Carrying on with my mission to make myself clothes that I can get maximum wear out of, I considered where I had a gap in my wardrobe and decided I needed more tops that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

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Wearing my cotton lawn cami on my recent trip away

Enter the Sew Over It Silk Cami Top Pattern. I’ve never made a cami top before, in fact I am often completely put off making them as the idea of having to ‘turn through’ tiny shoe-string straps fills me with dread.

However, the Sew Over It Cami Top is different. It has quite sizeable straps, plenty wide enough to both construct easily and when made up is fine to wear a bra underneath.

The PDF pattern didn’t take long to piece together as it is such a quick project too, which is always a winner in my eyes.

The pattern suggests using French seams although I instead stitched the top up in the ‘regular’ way and overlocked the inside seams instead. I don’t think it really matters – I guess it just depends how you want it to look on the inside.

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Out and about in my silk cami

So far, I have made two of these tops but sure I will make more. One is made in a cream cotton lawn and the other is made in a grey sateen fabric with a flamingo print. I also have a few other bits of fabric in my stash I’m already thinking may work as a cami too so I will share any more I make on Instagram! I managed to get both tops out one a metre of fabric (with a bit of creative cutting) so its a great stash-buster if you want it to be.

I’ve already worn these tops on my recent holiday, out for food and plan to wear them into the office over the summer months maybe tucked into a skirt.

Before I make any of my sewing projects I tend to do a bit of looking around online to find inspiration. The idea of sharing creativity to me is ace so I hope you enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy seeing all of your wonderful makes.

I’d love to hear what you’re making at the moment.

Until next time, happy sewing!

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My Sew Over It – Mia Jeans

Jeans for me are an essential wardrobe item so I decided to make the Sew Over It Mia Jeans and love the pattern!

Jeans for me are an essential wardrobe item. At the start of this year I decided that I wanted to make myself a few more  clothes that I can wear all of the time, rather than just launching into making cute dresses etc that can only be worn on special occasions.

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New Mia Jeans (don’t ask why I’m jumping on the bed – just felt like it!)

My free-time wardrobe is essentially denim, whether it be me wearing my favourite denim skirts or pulling on a pair of comfortable jeans – I seem to go to my ‘denim staples’ more than anything else.

So, a few months ago I decided to treat myself to the Sew Over It e-book called ‘My Capsule Wardrobe’ written by Lisa Comfort. 

This was a first for me really as I had never bought an e-book before and had never really been interested in the concept of ‘digital learning’. However, as the Sew Over It book is filled full of cool projects I felt were right up my street I decided to make an exception and purchase a copy.

Having already made the Molly Top (the Molly Dress is still on my ‘to sew’ list but haven’t got round to it yet), I wanted to have a go at making the Mia Jeans.

If you are unfamiliar with this pattern, I would say the finished product is more like a jegging than stereotypical jeans as they don’t have any front pockets and are a fairly skinny design through the legs.

Having not made any jeans by myself before, I read a few reviews of how other people got on online and discovered a really helpful ‘how to construct the front fly’ video on the Sew Over It You Tube channel. This was sssooo helpful, as I think I may have struggled with the construction of this otherwise.

I ordered the stretch denim for the project from Sew Over It and then picked up a regular zip and jeans button from my local market.

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A view of the jeans from the side!

The instructions are easy to follow for this project in the e-book and helpfully you can amend the seem allowance down the side seams to suit you. The pattern suggests that you machine tack the side leg seams in place with a 2.5cm seam allowance then try on the jeans to see how they fit. you can then adjust as needed before stitching in place for real.

I found that the 2.5cm was fine for me, although now I have been wearing the jeans for a while I think next time I may make the calf area slightly looser for comfort.

The pattern suggests using a stretch interfacing for the waistband, which is a good idea if you want the waistband to mould to your body shape. I’m pleased I followed this tip as I think if I’d used a regular interfacing the jeans may have been too stiff around the top.

Unfortunately, the denim I used doesn’t hold its shape very well so after a couple of wears they do need to be washed but generally I love the fit.

The only point (apart from maybe altering the seam allowance slightly) I would change next time would be tailoring in the ankle seam slightly so they look more like shop-bought skinny trousers.

If you are taller than me (I’m 5’10) you may also wish to make the jeans a bit longer – they sit around my ankle but look ace with pumps / flat shoes and will be perfect to wear when the weather finally warms up!

Overall, I would certainly recommend making these jeans and I will definitely sew them again myself at some point 🙂

Have you made these jeans before? I’d love to hear what you are crafting at the moment.

Until next time, happy sewing.

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Up-cycled: Sewaholic Frazer sweatshirt

Last year I took part in an online British Heart Foundation challenge to buy something from one of their charity shops and turn it in to something else. At that time, I took a short-sleeved jumpsuit and turned it in to a cropped long-sleeved jumper.

This challenge has given me a real taste for up-cycling and has made me consider how my sewing could be extra-creative (as well as more sustainable) if I started to make new clothes out of old ones.

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My new Frazer jumper

 

A few months on (sometime before Christmas to be precise), I bought two jumpers from a charity shop again with a view to making one completely different sweater for myself.

One jumper was red and the other was grey – so I wanted to incorporate both colours in to my new make.

After spending a while contemplating what pattern to follow, I settled on the Sewaholic Frazer Sweatshirt. It took a bit of creative cutting to fit all of the pattern pieces on to the fabric I had to hand, but I did it in the end.

Basically, I followed the side seams on both jumpers to cut the jumpers in to flat pieces of fabric. I ended up with the original two fronts and backs to work with, as well as the fabric from the former arms too.

It was a bit surprising how I had less fabric than I thought to work with, but I made full use of everything available to me, including reusing the grey jumpers waistband – transforming it in to the new jumpers neckband instead.

As you can see from the pictures here, I decided to make the main body of the jumper grey and the contrast collar, cuffs and bottom band red.

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Original jumpers I bought from the charity shop Sewaholic

I’m really pleased with the end result and I feel kind of proud (I know that sounds silly) that I managed to put this together for just £6 – all of which I’m sure the charity shop I got the original jumpers from will put to good use.

I’d definitely recommend upcycling if you haven’t tried it before as it adds an extra element of fun (and I guess unpredictability) to what your making.

I’d love to hear what you’re making at the moment.

Until next time, happy sewing!

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Sew Over It Molly Top and other February makes

Hi everyone, hope you’re well. I thought I’d just check in to update you on my latest sewing adventures.

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Wearing my new Molly Top on a recent weekend away

After a busy few weeks I decided to treat myself to the Sew Over It City Break e-book by Lisa Comfort. I’d never bought an e-book before; I know that makes me sound like I’m from the dark ages, but it just hasn’t appealed to me before.

However, after scouring the internet for reviews and looking for images of projects other people had made from the book on Instagram I was truly inspired to drive in and see what I could make myself.

Most of the projects in the book look right up my street, but I decided to create the Molly Top first of all as I’m a big fan of simple jersey tops as they go with so many other things in my wardrobe.

I made it out of a pinkie/purple cotton jersey fabric I got from a local shop. The easy design looks cool made up in a plain fabric, although next time I may try making this project out of some snazzy striped fabric as I’ve seen lots of lovely versions using this kind of fabric online.

The Molly Top didn’t take long to make. To be honest sticking together a PDF pattern always fills me with dread as I think it will take ages but this one wasn’t too bad.

There is also an option to make the Molly pattern into a dress too, I’ve added this on to my mental ‘to sew’ list so will hopefully get onto it later in the year (if not sooner).

The fitting

There is not much fitting to do in this project really as there are only two main pattern pieces plus the sleeves. I did find the pattern came up quite loose around the tummy / waist area but actually it looks lovely tucked into a skirt.

Would I recommend it?

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Enjoying a big breakfast in my new Molly Top 

Definitely. I’ve really enjoyed wearing my Molly Top so far at home and to work tucked into a smart skirt. I think it could look completely different if it was made up in different kinds of fabric, although I guess this could be said of most sewing or craft projects.

More plans from the e-book

Next on my list to sew are the Mia Jeans from the book. I’d also like to tackle the shirt pattern included in the book too. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

What else have I been making?

I seem to have been busy working on a few different projects, squeezing in crafting time wherever I can.

My latest Minerva Craft review went live online earlier this month. I made a long sleeved

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Coco top

Coco Top by Tilly and the Buttons out of a colourful Ponte Roma fabric. I wasn’t sure about the fabric design at first but actually really like my top now it is made up – it’s nice to add a bit out brightness to my wardrobe at this time of the year. It has been freezing here so wearing bright colours helps me to feel cheerful. You can read my full project review here. 

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New Linden Sweatshirt 

Finally, I wanted to make another sweatshirt before I went on a weekend away a couple of weeks ago. If you have read my blog before you will know that I’ve made the Grainline Pattern’s Linden Sweatshirt before but I don’t think I can have too many of them so stitched up another version using some blue polar bear themed fabric from Guthrie and Gharni.

Anyway, I hope you’re well. If you have made the Molly Top or Dress I’d love to hear how you got on and if you have any tips for my future versions!

Until next time, happy sewing 🙂

 

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My latest Coco Dress by Tilly and the Buttons

Here I talk about my latest Coco Dress by Tilly and the Buttons, as well as listing why this is one of my favourite patterns to use.

I’ve read loads of posts on Instagram and blogs about making clothes that could be described as secret pyjamas as they are so comfortable to wear – so I’m throwing my latest Coco Dress by Tilly and the Buttons into the mix.

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Coco dress with a small black belt 

If you haven’t tried this pattern it is a great one to try, particularly at this time of the year. There are a few different options in the pattern pack including a top and dress with two different neckline variations.

This time, I decided to go for the boat neck version with ¾ length arms and made it out of a beautiful mustard loopback jersey from Gutherie and Gharni.

The low-down

Due to my height (I’m 5’10), I often have to add a bit to the length of my makes and this pattern is no exception. I added two inches to the hem-line which has worked out perfectly as its still above my knee but not too short anyone may get a glimpse of my under garments!!

I made the majority of the dress using my overlocker as this gives a lovely, professional looking finish on the inside (although my husband always comments that my machine sounds like some kind of machine gun disturbing whatever it is he is up to at the time).

I quite enjoy playing around with different coloured threads on my overlocker that can contrast my fabric choice, this time I went for black as it looks quite cool against the mustard.

The pattern doesn’t say to add a neckband, but I thought to add a little change I would make an approx. 2cm wide band on this occasion J – then finished the arms / hem off with a twin needle. Although I love the finish you get from using a twin needle I hope I’m not alone when I say they can sometimes be a real faff – particularly in sorting out any tension issues on your machine (it’s normally worth it in the end though).

The best thing about this pattern

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Coco dress without a belt 

There are so many great things about this pattern so I thought I’d create a little list:

-The instructions are really easy to follow
-You can make it with or without an overlocker
-It’s a quick make
-You can have a new dress or top to wear in hardly any time at all
-It’s a perfect pattern to use Ponte Roma fabric for (I love using this as it’s easy to stitch – it doesn’t move around much on the machine)
-It looks great with or without a belt
-It’s great to layer up with tights / leggings for winter
-You can wear it chilling out on the sofa or with a smart cardi / jacket for work
-It is super comfortable
-By buying the one pattern – you could create a few different tops / dresses for your collection (and I think I will keep on using it time and time again)
-You could lengthen or shorten or add cuffs or ruffle detailing to the sleeves
All in all this is one of my favourites. Have you made the Coco dress?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on why you like the pattern or any design alterations you made.

Happy sewing 🙂

 

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Pattern review: Jennifer Lauren’s Mayberry Dress

I was delighted to be asked to review the Jennifer Lauren Mayberry Dress, after answering Jen’s call for pattern reviewers a while ago online.

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My new Mayberry dress 

If you have read my blog before, you will know that I like to make clothes that look smart-ish but are also easy to wear.

I like to get the maximum wear out of all of my handmade clothes so if I can have the chance to wear them both at home and at work, that works really well for me. The Mayberry dress, in this case is right up my street as it is a shirt-waisted dress that looks classic in its silhouette but it is also comfortable to wear. There is nothing worse (in clothing terms) than being zipped or buttoned into something that is too tight to either eat or sit-down in.

I made the size 10 dress with the B cup. The dress pattern includes three different sleeve lengths but I decided to go for the short sleeve as I thought I could then layer the dress with a cardigan in autumn / winter but also wear it by itself in the warmer months of the year.

Sizing chart and fabric required

I found the sizing chart to be easy to read as it included with measurements in cm and inches.

The pattern also outlines clearly how much fabric you will need for the different sizes in the pack and the alternative sleeve lengths which is helpful. I always find it really annoying when a pattern says you will need a lot more fabric than you really do, I didn’t find his to be the case here though.

Printing the PDF and sticking it all together

The pattern guide provides a helpful outline showing you what page numbers you need to print and how the pages need to be stuck together. I thought it was great how I could just print the pages I needed for both my cup measurement and for the version I was making. Each of the sleeve lengths are printed separately (shirt, ¾, long sleeve and cuff), again I liked this feature as it just makes the process a bit more straight forward. I’ve found in the past that if I cut a shirt sleeve straight from the pattern I then have the keep the remainder of the pattern piece to stick back together at a later date if next time I wanted to make the longer sleeves version.

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A back view of my Mayberry dress

Instructions

The pattern booklet is really clear to read and understand, if you take the time to read it. Jennifer includes clear headings directing you how to grade between sizes, telling you what the seam allowance is and suggesting what your fabric layout plans should be.

When you get into the garment construction process – Jennifer guides you through each stage of the process step-by-step. She uses both text and imagery to show you how to tackle each step, which makes the directions a bit easier to digest.

I really like it when pattern instructions include pictures – I don’t always understand text alone so I think this pattern will be enjoyed by people who like to learn by seeing – similar to me!

Fabric choices

I think this pattern would work well made up in lots of different fabrics. I decided to use a mixture of two fabrics – a plain black crepe on the top and a bold mustard bird print on the skirt and back blouse (this is a peach skin fabric).

I had both of the fabrics I used in my fabric stash already. I knew I didn’t have enough of the mustard fabric alone, I decided to mixture the two fabrics together to make my dress.

I’d be careful not to use any fabrics that are too heavy, as the dress may not work too well around the drawstring area as the drawstring channel may end up being too stiff or lumpy.

Pattern alterations

I found the pattern sizing to be fine for me. When I first made up the dress I thought it looked really wide but as soon as you add in your drawstring or in my case elastic, it soon starts to look more clinched in at the waist.

I’m not a big fan of a drawstring waist as I often find that I spend too much time pulling up my tie or readjusting the bow I have made using the ties. So, in this case I decided to replace the drawstring with some (just under one inch wide) elastic as I wanted my dress to being quite fitted at the waist.

To do this, I used the same instructions as noted in the pattern pack I used missed out the step that says you should either make button holes or insert eyelets into the skirt front. Later in the pattern Jennifer describes how to stitch up the inside of the drawstring channel – I followed this instruction but just left a small inch section open at the inside seam this allowed me to thread through my elastic using a safety pin to guide the elastic through the channel. I then stitched up the final part of the channel when I was happy that the elastic was lying flat. I also added a few machine stitches ‘in the ditch’ at the side seams to keep my elastic in place.

As I used peach skin fabric for the skirt, I decided to include a narrow hem. I wanted to just overlock the hem and turn it up to sew in place on my machine. However, to do this I found that the pattern was too long for my liking so I decided to trim the skirt length by 1.5 inches. This is just personal taste though, I just like me skirts to be finished just above my knee (I’m 5’10 if that’s helpful).

Overall

Overall, I enjoyed making this dress although the biggest drawback was sticking the pdf together. Although the instructions are really clear, the actual cello-taping of the pages together seemed to take me a full evening.

I’m not sure how long the dress took me, may be about 8-10 hours split over a few days and evenings – wherever I found I had a bit of spare time.

I’m hoping to wear the dress out and about to a few different occasions, I think it will look really nice to thick tights and a cardigan in the cold weather we are having here in the UK at the moment.

I hope this is helpful if you are planning to make the Mayberry dress soon.

Happy sewing.

Becky

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all

December is such a busy time of year for many people. So hopefully, I am not alone in saying that, although I love Christmas and the opportunity it brings to catch up with friends and family, things can get pretty stressful. With this in mind I am now enjoying taking a bit of time-out to relax at home.

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Pom poms on my Christmas tree

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few days off work over the holiday-season so today I have been snuggling inside and catching up on a few Christmas TV specials. My Labrador Bentley has been chilling out with me, I’m sure he has also enjoyed all the extra films we have watched and the extra food we have eaten.

I said I would give you an update on my festive sewing projects, so here goes…

I’m pleased to say that my sewing projects all went as planned: I made a jumper for my husband out of some warm sweatshirt fabric; some PJ bottoms with a dog print for my brother and some PJ bottoms with a rocket print for my husband. All fun to open on Christmas morning. I love giving handmade gifts, particularly to people I know will appreciate them.

I also was pleased to hear that the table runners I made for my friends were a hit. My friend Ceri, sent me the below picture of her table runner being used on Christmas day – such a cute picture.

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Ceri’s table runner after Christmas lunch!

I also took a picture of my table runner being used over the festive period.

My Christmas table runner
My Christmas table runner

Elsewhere in the house, I decided my tree needed a few extra decorations so I parked myself in front of the TV for a while and made some red pom poms to add to my Christmas centre-piece! I absolutely love pom poms, just need to consider how I could add them into other areas of my life!

Food wise – I decided to get stuck into making a last minute Christmas cake. As I’m not that great at making icing sugar I cheated and bought the roll-out kind along with some easy-to-use marzipan. As time was limited, I probably should have soaked my fruit in brandy for longer than I did but as I was keen to get my creation into the oven I made do with doing this for a few hours instead. Anyway, it tasted nice – I have eaten more than half of it to myself so I guess that is a good sign that it worked out okay.

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Christmas cake made by me!

What did you get up to over Christmas? Did you have time to make anything whether it be food or sewing related?

I will be posting again on my blog in the next few days about my latest dress making project. I’ve been working on a Jennifer Lauren Pattern called the Mayberry Dress. I’m just making the finishing touches to my project so will update you on my progress soon.

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year.

Becky

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My festive makes

With the big day quickly approaching I have been trying to squeeze in as much time as I can to sew my handmade Christmas gifts, as well as a few bits and pieces for myself.

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My Christmas jumper!

On my ‘to do’ list this month has been a Christmas jumper, a review for Minerva Crafts, presents for my husband and my brother as well as a party dress.

I thought I would share my makes so far, although I’m still busying myself whenever I can to get my gifts ready in time. Sure I will do it!

Christmas jumper

 

For the Big Christmas Jumper Sewalong organised by What Corrine Did Next on Instagram I decided to make a silver sparkly Linden Jumper by Grainline Patterns. If you have read any of my previous posts you will know that I love this pattern, it is easy to use and is lovely to wear.

I picked up the fabric from a local shop sometime last year so I thought this was the perfect project to use it on.

My latest Minerva Crafts review

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Christmas decorations

I was pleased to be asked by Minerva Crafts to review the Kleiber heart decorations craft pack, so decided to think ‘outside the box’ to test out a few possible ways you could use the felt pieces included with the craft-kit.

You can read my full review here

To give you a taster though I made two of the heart decorations as directed in the pack by hand as well as using the spare two heart shaped as inspiration for two Christmas inspired cushion covers on my sewing machine.

I found the craft pack easy to use and think it would be suitable for either children over eight or adults who want to enjoy an easy hand-craft project.

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Cushion made using one of the heart shapes as inspiration from the Minerva craft kit

Presents

I love to give handmade gifts at Christmas if I can. I don’t have lots of time as I work full-time but I still manage to squeeze in sewing wherever I can to get things done – even if it means staying up late or multi-tasking in front of the TV.

This year, I was a bit stuck for ideas if I’m honest. I find that my husband and my brother are quite difficult to buy or make presents for so I thought I know I will make them some PJ bottoms. I always gifted Neil, my husband, with the first pair of PJ bottoms I made a few weeks ago as he was feeling under the weather so I hope to make him another surprise pair to open on the 25th Dec too. I am also part way through making set of PJ bottoms for my bro so will share a few pics of these projects with you when I can.

My new party dress

I know it sounds boring but I don’t seem to get invited to many party’s these days so when I was asked along to my sewing group’s Christmas meal – I wanted to make myself a new dress for the occasion.

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Belladone Dress

I decided to go for the Dear and Doe Belladone Dress. I made it out of a Jacquard fabric from Guthrie and Ghani that has a slight stretch to it so it is actually quite comfortable to wear.

I made a few alterations to the pattern with a little help from the ladies at Guthrie and Ghani. I made a facing for the arms and lengthened the bodice by half an inch to extend the arm sockets as I found this to be a bit tight when I did a paper trial of the pattern (I held the paper pattern up and pinned it on to myself as if it was the real bodice).

I’m pleased with the end result and got a few complements when I wore it out last week 🙂

I will be back soon with more adventures from my sewing room.

Becky

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My festive makes so far

The festive period seems to be approaching fast. As much as I love Christmas, I seem to have been so busy with other things recently the cooler months seem to have crept up on me this year.

However, I’m always one for a challenge so have thrown myself in to making numerous Christmas presents for friends and family, as well as having the opportunity to put together a ‘how to guide’ for the lovely team over at Minerva Crafts.

What have I been making?

PJ bottoms

Well, so far I’ve finished a pair of PJ trousers for my husband, although as he was feeling under the weather and in need of cheering up I gave them to him early – oopps. On the plus side, he really likes them and thanks to the nautical print he keeps humming sailor-based tunes around the house 🙂

I used a Kwik Sew PJ pattern for this project that was free with Sew Now magazine a few months ago.

There is nothing better than seeing someone so happy in something you have made from scratch. I’ll have to think about what else I could whip up for him to open on the 25th Dec instead. May be cosy sweatshirt? Watch this space, I will keep you posted.

Here he is in his new PJS….

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New PJ trousers 

Table runners

As the dinner table is quite a large part of Christmas for me I decided to share an easy way to make a table runner with you. Essentially you will just need two contrasting pieces of festive fabric – one for the front and back of the runner. This is quite a good project for stash-busting too as it only takes 40cm of fabric for the back and 30cm for the front.

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Table runner on the table ready for dinner

If you would like to learn more about how to make one – you can see my step by step guide here on the Minerva Craft website.

Here are a few pictures of the table runners I made. Hopefully we don’t manage to get them too covered in gravy etc during Christmas dinner.

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Top of my table runner 

A new skirt

Then for myself I completed a new circle skirt, it’s not really for Christmas but who doesn’t enjoy getting a treat! I used some cotton fabric that has honey pots all over it. It reminded me of the Cath Kidston Disney range so thought it would be fun to try to make my own design.

I didn’t use a pattern for the skirt – I made it myself (with a little help from a friend) measuring my waist and then what length I wanted the skirt to be. It’s the first time I’ve made a circle skirt in this way so I’m pleased with the end result. I also love learning new skills so this was really cool!

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New circle skirt

I’d really like to hear what you are making at the minute?

Happy sewing 🙂

Becky

 

 

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My entry for the cosy cardi challenge: the Juniper Cardigan by Jennifer Lauren

For those of you who are familiar with my previous projects, you will know that I love to sew and make as many of my own clothes as I can.

I’ve previously made all sorts of things from skirts to sweatshirts but for some reason have never contemplated making a cardigan till now. To be honest, I think my recent prompt started when I heard about the Cosy Cardi Competition hosted by @Amanda_isewalot, @Sodburysewing and @shesewsvintage. I saw lots of potential ideas of what to make for the challenge appearing on Instagram so had to get involved.

My cardi

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Juniper Cardigan

This project was a first for me on two counts. Firstly I’ve never made a cardigan and secondly I’ve never used a Jennifer Lauren Pattern.

As soon as I learnt that the Juniper could be made as a long version or a cropped version I knew this was right up my street. I LOVE a cropped cardigan but to be honest always find it hard to find nice ones in the shops to buy. Since I’ve been making clothes I have found myself studying how shop-bought clothes are made and considering what kind of fabrics have been used and how good quality they truly are. I actually feel like my Nan at times thinking to myself, or saying out loud, no I’m not buying that as it won’t wash very well!

Anyway, I decided to create my own cropped Juniper using two types of stretch (cardigan-type) jersey (I’m not sure of the specific name for this).  I had to laugh when my husband saw me wearing my new creation as he said I looked like I was part of a cheer-leading squad due to the coloured fabric I’d chosen – but I said he should think outside the box and how a modern stitcher like me can wear anything I want!

The instructions

Firstly, I don’t normally use PDF patterns as I’m put off my having to spend the time sticking together all of the pages and working out how everything fits together. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this pattern.

The instructions included very clear layout plans of how to place the printed pages together and are split into different pages for the ¾ length sleeve and long sleeve etc so you can literally cut which one you want rather than having to faff about tracing the short one as you may one the longer version another time.

The actually ‘how to’ instructions are also really impressive. The instructions are illustrated by clear pictures which even printed in black and white make sense.

I think I must have just had bad experiences with PDF patterns before as this one instructions wise was a dream to work with.

The fit

I lengthened the body by one inch after reading someone else’s blog online (sorry I can’t remember which) that said because she was 6 feet tall she felt the extra length would be beneficial. As I’m 5’10 I took this on board and am pleased I did otherwise the cardigan may have been too short in the body for me.

The pattern is marketed as an intermediate pattern or being suitable for someone that has experience of working with knit fabrics. However, I think if you are ambitious and are happy to follow the instruction you would be fine as long as you have made a few jersey-based projects before such as the Agnes top by Tilly and the Buttons or other knit-based projects.

One of the trickiest bits was the button holes for me as the fabric was moving around a bit under my machine, but this may be different in the future depending what material is used.

I made the size 10 but it is quite loose on me, however, it does mean I can fit another top underneath easily so I’m still happy with it. The arms also worked out a bit longer than I had anticipated for the ¾ length version but again they look fine so I have no problem with this.

Am I happy with the pattern?

Yes. I love it! Why I haven’t made a cardigan before is beyond me. As the nights are getting colder it really does make sense to make a few cosy bits that look nice but are warm at the same time. I certainly hope to make more of these cardis in the future.

Next time I may try adding the full length sleeve or in summer-time shortening the sleeve to a cap sleeve instead as this would look lovely over a sun dress.

What are you making this month? I’m still considering my Christmas making plans so will keep you posted on this.

I’d love to hear what you are making and if you have taken part in the Cosy Cardie Challenge.

 

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My new favourite sweatshirt: The Frazer Sweatshirt by Sewaholic Patterns

Until last year I would never have described myself as a sweatshirt wearer.

However, I now have a number of these jumpers in my wardrobe thanks to the Grainline Linden Sweatshirt pattern and now the Frazer Sweatshirt by Sewaholic Patterns.

I’ve been wanting to make the Frazer pattern for ages, although when it was warmer I thought I’d park this make until later in the year.

Well, October has now arrived along with the chilly evenings so I thought, why not; I will give it a go!

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My new Frazer Sweatshirt

What did I like about the pattern?

I made Version C with the cropped sleeves and little collar. The collar section is really easy to put together and fits snuggly inside the other bodice front pattern piece and immediately looks great. I was actually really surprised how quickly this front section came together.

Thanks to the cropped sleeves, which by the way are a good length even for me who has quite long arms, I will be able to layer this jumper in the depths of winter with a cosy cardie over the top.

The fabric

I wanted to make this top a bit different to my other jumper collection so decided to use a quilted fabric I bought at Kirstie Allsop’s Handmade Fair from the Fabric Galore store. I used grey for the main part of the top (body, arms and the cuffs) and accessorised this with a navy blue collar insertion.

I’d not used a quilted sweatshirt jersey before. I wouldn’t say it was the best quality fabric I’ve ever used but the end results look great (if I do say so myself)!

Changes

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Here is the jumper is progress!

Thanks to my long body (my husband jokingly says I’m five hands long), I lengthened the body section to the longest line on the pattern sheet – making a size six at the top and cutting down to a size eight at the bottom. This was easy to do if you study the pattern sheets in advance (I spent quite a long time looking at the cutting lines to ensure I did the right thing).

Next time

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Close up of the sweatshirt before I added the neckband and sleeves

I’ve already got plans to make this jumper again but next time I may try making it in a regular (thick ish) jersey fabric instead, leaving off the bottom / hem band and instead – finish this like a t-shirt with a twin needle.

I always enjoy making Sewaholic patterns as they are perfect for the pear shaped stitcher like me; I know I will come back to this pattern again and again.

What are you making this month? I’d love to hear from you. I’m hoping to start some Christmas makes if I have time.

Happy sewing 🙂

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Inspired by Grease the movie – part 2

This is the second instalment of my two part blog about my #Sewingthescene  competition outfit.

#Sewingthescene is a competition on Instagram. To take part in the competition you need to make something for your everyday wardrobe inspired by film or TV and then share it to your Instagram account tagging @theunfinishedseamstress and using the designated hashtag.

I firstly made the Grace Skirt by Simple Sew patterns out of a bright pink crepe, inspired

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Grace Skirt

by the pink ladies in one of my favourite films, Grease.

This post is focusing around the Sew Caroline Sugar Pop Top made out of a plain black crepe.

The pattern

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My new Sugar Pop top worn with my Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

I had been keen to sew up a Sew Caroline project for ages. The sugar pop top is an easy to wear pop over your head top with a Peter Pan style collar.

I’m not usually a collar wearing type of person, as I always think they will add extra time to my makes when I’m often quite eager to be able to start to wear my new creation. However, this collar is actually really easy to make and didn’t take too much time at all.

The fit

I’m really pleased with the fit of the top. I made the size small on the top section drawing down to the medium at the hip. The arm sockets were slightly too high for me initially but with a bit of trial and error I trimmed the sockets as needed to create a little more room for my arms to move around.

Alterations

Although the flutter and cap sleeve options are lovely that come with the pattern, I decided to draft a full sleeve instead just to be different!

I used some shop bought bias binding to finish off the inside of the collar / neck area which is fine but I may incorporate a facing instead if I make the top again, but that’s just my preference.

Colour of the top

I normally love to make my projects out of bright fabrics, but I thought I’d have a change in this case as I thought a simple black top would have lots of wearability and go with lots of things I already have in my cupboard.

Plus, as I was making the top as part of the #Sewingthescene  competition the colour ‘black’ was inspired by the character Rizzo from Grease. So teamed with my new pink skirt I thought it would create a modern take on the outfits worn in the 1950s high school setting.

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Sugar Pop top with my Grace Skirt by Simple Sew Patterns

In conclusion

I really like this top. I always need simple tops to go with skirts and jeans, and this is a super cute style that’s slightly different from other things I already own. I would recommend trying the Sugar Pop top yourself if you haven’t already. I’ve already worn it quite a few times and it’s really comfortable 🙂

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Inspired by Grease the movie – part 1

A few weeks ago, I started imagining what I could make as part of the #Sewingthescene  competition on Instagram. To take part in the competition you need to make something for your everyday wardrobe inspired by film or TV and then share it to your Instagram account tagging @theunfinishedseamstress and using the designated hashtag.

I wanted to make something inspired by one of my all-time favourite films so in the end settled on Grease, made in 1978 but set in the 1950s.

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Pinning the waistband facing

With much of the drama focusing around the Rydell High School students – the Pink Ladies play a key role in the film.

As many of you will know, the Pink Ladies wore pink shiny jackets with all of their outfits so I took pink as my first colour inspiration. My second colour from the film was black – based on the many costumes worn by the character Rizzo.

My makes

As part of a two part blog series I am going to take you through my adventures of making my #Sewingthescene outfit, with this edition focusing on the Grace Skirt by Simple Sew Patterns.

I made my skirt out of a bright pink crepe fabric that I picked up last year from Guthrie and Gharni in Birmingham. The fabric has been sitting in my stash for months, so I thought this was the perfect project to use it for!

My second make is going to be the Sew Caroline Sugar Pop Top made out of a plain black crepe kindly gifted to me by someone at work.

The Grace Skirt

If I’m honest I have been meaning to sew the Grace Skirt for ages. I’ve seen lots of pictures online of lovely looking versions of the pattern so was keen to get stuck in.

Inspired by the period the film is set in, the 1950s, I opted for a pleated knee length skirt that will definitely get loads of wear in my day-to-day wardrobe.

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My new skirt

The pattern is easy to follow, although I did find that, even following the correct seam allowances, the pattern came up a little looser than I was expecting at the waist. This was an easy fix though as I just added in a couple of extra ‘mini pleats’ at the back of the skirt and made some of the bigger pleats slightly deeper, ensuring I matched the size of the pleats to the best of my ability around my garment.

The pink fabric did make my eyes go a bit ‘crazy’ a couple of times when I was trying to match everything up, but it was worth the effort.

As my fabric was really lightweight I decided to interface both the inside and outside waistbands to provide a little more structure, this seemed to work well enough.

I also added an anti-static cream lining to the inside of my skirt, following the same pattern as the main part of the skirt (adding in the pleats in the same way but missing out the waistband part).

If I was to make this skirt again though (and I’m sure I will) I would simply add a plain A-line skirt lining inside to reduce any extra bulkage.

My invisible zip was also a nuisance due to the amount of bulk  around the centre seam so again I will keep that in mind for my next attempt.

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I allowed a one inch hem

Overall

I am pleased with my final project overall. I don’t find crepe the easiest of fabrics to work with as it moves around quite a lot, however, it is worth it in the end as you can achieve a lovely ‘soft and floaty’ look. Albeit I don’t think my final skirt is one of the best things I’ve made, but it was a good first attempt at a skirt I will certainly try again in the future.

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Review: the Sienna Dress by Simple Sew patterns

I recently completed my Sienna Dress by Simple Sew patterns and wanted to tell you how I got on by giving you the lowdown of how I found the pattern.

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My finished dress – before I altered the sleeves

I’ve made quite a few Simple Sew patterns before so was generally confident that the sizing would be okay for me.

To be honest, I rarely make trial garments as I am always too keen to get on and wear what I have created. Although, as most sewists will know, sometimes this means you have cut into ‘good’ fabric and the project won’t work out the way you had hoped.

Taking my chances, this time I decided to dive straight in and make my new dress. I was eager to make the pattern as soon as I saw it advertised online, I even visited a few different supermarkets to pick up my copy!

Sizing

I made the size 8 at the top of the bodice and traced between the lines down to a size 10 at the waist. As I’m tall, I then added an extra 2cm onto the length, after measuring from the shoulder to the waist seam.

I made the size 10 skirt although the bottom section of the pattern is really full so as long as your waist measurement is correct you can’t really go too far wrong.

Design details

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A view of the top of my dress. I love the neckline shaping!

I decided to make the sleeved version. If I’m honest, it may be because I was tired when making the pattern but it took me ages to get my head around the sleeve instruction. That was until I had a ‘light bulb’ moment and realised that the sleeve doesn’t meet under the arm like a ‘regular’ sleeve, it literally sits across the top of the shoulder – it is a cap sleeve instead.

Everything made a bit more sense when I realised this design detail and I was well away.

The only things I was disappointed about with the sleeves was 1) I’m not sure if they suit me and 2) when I’d overlocked the hem of the sleeve and then stitched it up,  I didn’t realise that when wearing the dress from the front you can see my different coloured overlocking stitches in the back part of the sleeve.

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Inside my dress I lined the top in the same fabric and the bottom with a plain anti-static black material.

So, I have decided to add in my own design detail by folding the sleeve in from both the right and the left to create a small fold. Then adding a small black button into secure my new design in place. You can hopefully see what I’m talking about in the photos I have uploaded.

Elsewhere in the dress, I found that after sewing the pockets into place (and I don’t think I allowed a huge seam allowance) they were not as deep as I’d like them to be. Next time I will either re-draft the pattern piece to make them a bit bigger or decided to not add them in at all. Although I do love to add in a pocket to my outfits where I can as they are so useful!

Overall

Overall, I really like my finished dress. The instructions were fairly straight forward and I think I will be able to wear my new outfit on lots of different occasions.

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My new sleeve detail

If I make it again though, I will opt for the sleeveless version as I think I will be better suited to this style!

Happy sewing 🙂

Becky

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My first blog post!

An update on a few of my makes from the last 12 months.

For my first ever blog post I thought I would share a bit about myself and what I have been making over the last year or so.

I would describe my style as modern, but I don’t really have a particular niche. I like to be comfortable on my days off but look nice at the same time. I mainly wear dresses and skirts in the week, as well as when I go out, but also opt to wear denim skirts and jeans for much of my time at home.

I started sewing about four years ago as I felt like I needed a new hobby, and I have literally never looked back since.

Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t thread a sewing machine in the beginning or sew in a straight line so after many trials and tribulations I finally made my first cushion cover. A memory I hold dear!

In more recent times though, I would say that dressmaking is definitely my favourite pastime rather than making bits and bobs for the house etc.

Some of my recent makes have included:

*A top from the Simple Sew Pattern called The Chelsea Collection. I love this top so much so I’ve made it twice in the last 12 months. One is a shorter floral version and the second is slightly longer so I can wear is with my jeans and not show my tummy.

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Simple Sew top

*The Coco dress by Tilly and the Buttons. I’ve read loads of people say online that this is their ‘go to pattern’. I’d say the same. I’ve made it a few times over the last couple of years, my most recent version being made out of a lovely ponte roma fabric that has a smart feel to it. I’ve worn it many times into work and also on my days off.

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My Cambie Dress with a circle skirt

*The Cambie Dress by Sewaholic patterns. The last version I made was out of a red cotton fabric I bought online. I changed the skirt section into a circle skirt, which I love! In an ideal world I would have made the skirt slightly longer but I had limited fabric to work with so I did the best I could. I’m really pleased with the end result though and I’m already dreaming about my next version! If you haven’t tried Sewaholic Patterns I would definitely recommend them, I’ve always been pleased with the quality of the instructions and the way my finished garments have turned out.

*The Hollyburn Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns. I made the slightly longer version thinking that it would take me from summer into winter and I would get

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Hollyburn Skirt

maximum wear out of my project. This probably took me a bit longer than it should have as I decided to add a lining to the skirt so I can wear it with tights in the colder months. Again, I love the final skirt, I always feel nice when I wear it if you know what I mean!

*The Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio. I’ve never really been a sweatshirt wearer before I tried this pattern but I really like this as it is not too baggy and it’s got a really feminine feel to it. There are loads of possibilities to use different coloured fabrics for the arms, main body, neckband, waistband and cuffs so it’s entirely up to use what you choose.  When I find a pattern I love, I tend to make it a few times and this is no exception. Here is a photo of my navy blue spotted version.

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Linden Sweatshirt

I hope this has given you an insight into what I enjoy sewing 🙂

Becky