Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Mélilot for Mum!

Hello fellow festive sewers!

My South African mum left for Cape Town today for two weeks. So she needed to get her Christmas shirt early! She and I went shopping a couple of months ago to the Cloth House where she spotted this elephant Indian block print cotton. I was being boring, steering her towards more neutral small prints, but she knows what she likes, and she was absolutely right!

Elephants for Mum feel particularly right (and I was reminded watching her pack today that she already has another elephant shirt!) - not only does she love them, but they are a presence in the area of South Africa she has spent most time in, the Western Cape. For many years Mum's home was near Knysna, and there is a beautiful novel by Dalene MattheeCircles in a Forest, a cry for conservation and the last remaining elephants there. So I'm thinking of this as Mum's good luck Circles in a Forest shirt...

This is my third time making the Deer & Doe Mélilot shirt, and my love for this pattern continues strong. I love everything about it; the fit is loose but still flattering, and I really like the mandarin collar option. I made this one with long sleeves as requested by this elephant fan, and I am pretty thrilled with my first finished placket effort. The instructions are clear and helpful, and though I scratched my head a bit for sure, but I'm dead proud of how they came out. 

Pachyderm placket!

As with my last two versions, I sewed up a straight size 38 and made no adjustments. We left off the pockets so as not to interrupt these tusky dudes! I French-seamed the lot, and when I was tempted to bodge that and overlock the seams I reminded myself that it was a present for Mum and that kept me honest...! 

She seems to love it, and I think she looks so very lovely in it, it makes me proud of her, and the shirt!! What a wonderful thing sewing is, to be able to cover the people you love in tokens of that love. Especially if the tokens are all-over elephants!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Another Charlotte Skirt

Hello sewers!

Here I am with another By Hand London Charlotte Skirt. Having fussed and worried over the creases and darts in my last version, that skirt is now one of my most-worn me-mades, so I've decided I like the pattern as it is and won't worry any more about it.

I've nothing really to add from last time; I used the same slight mods again - a few cm off the tops of the side seams, a split up the back and belt loops to show off my favourite belt, a triumphant Etsy find!

The fabric is a lovely medium-weight Indian cotton from Cloth House, always dangerously near my studio...

Next up is another Mélilot, this time with long sleeves for my mum. Till soon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Another Mélilot shirt and a Hudson hack!

Hello sewers!

I am back, a mere blink of the eye later, with another Mélilot Shirt

After my trouble with the Charlotte Skirt, and some fairly typical running-before-walking behaviour with regards drafting my own patterns, my first Mélilot was a real confidence-restorer. I've focussed mainly on dresses since I began sewing, but lately have been wearing separates much more. They are also easier for sewing in my limited space, and shirts will be an excellent way to use up some slightly questionable prints I bought earlier on in my sewing career.

Enter this new guy! I've even named it: it's The Big Top, AKA Send in the Clowns Shirt. I love it! 

Both fabric and buttons are from The Cloth House in London. The buttons are lovely glass with whorls in the middle. After a bit of deliberation, I used the "wrong" side of the cotton. The black is slightly more faded on this side, which makes this shirt feel more Barnum & Bailey than Cirque du Soleil! And I topstitched the pockets in red which I think looks jaunty.

I also made these trousers. I have seen lots of stylish women wearing short, wide legged trousers this summer. There was a pair in American Apparel which I really liked, made, I think, out of cupro. This fabric is sadly not cupro - I thought it'd be sensible to make a toile before spending more money - so this is some fairly foul synthetic fella from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road. It clings like billy-o, all round my front, and I try not to think about what it's up to round my backside. 

The pattern is a Hudson Pant hack. Well, barely a hack, really - I sized it up two sizes from my size in stretch fabric, making it a 12, as suggested by Kelli in the tutorial for converting the Hudsons for wovens. Then I widened the legs from the pockets down in a fairly freestyle manner. Everything else was the same as regular Hudsons. I do like them though they are a bit bodge and the fabric is longing to burst into flames - given half the chance it probably will. Just before I'd embarked on these, Kelli released the Emerson Pants, which I really like the look of. So that may be a treat further down the line!

Thanks for reading! Until soon!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Mélilot Shirt and New Look skirt

Hello sewers!

I'm here to show off what I think might be my new favourite thing I've sewn! This is the Mélilot Shirt by Deer & Doe. I first saw this made up on Instagram a few months back, and ordered the pattern straight away. I love a mandarin-style collar and I LOVE short rolled sleeves. 80s goodness yum yum yum! I've seen some super versions of this shirt online, including Katie's and Just Sew Therapeutic's

I have pretty much nothing to say about sewing this guy - I sewed a straight size 38 out of the packet thanks to Just Sew Therapeutic's post suggesting checking the finished garment's measurements rather than my own. This saved me sewing up the 40, which would have definitely been too big. I made NO adjustments, and I love it just the way it is! It's lovely and long, therefore eminently tuck-in-able, which is how I'm liking shirts at the moment.

The fabric is a beautiful cotton by Atelier Brunette, which I won 2 metres of in the Sew Over It show off competition last year! Thank you again, Sew Over It! I've been saving it for the right project, and I feel this is it. Also, this version of the shirt is not at all fabric-hungry, so I have enough left for another shirt should I wish it!

I've already made another one of these shirts, which I will blog soon! That's how keen I am on this pattern. My most regularly worn thing are t-shirts with the sleeves rolled up to show off my guns/look 80s - this feels like a slightly smarter version of that look. Yaaaay Mélilot Shirt!

I'm also wearing a me-made skirt, which is New Look 6003, view E. I'm yet to resolve the baggy dart issues on my Charlotte Skirt, but it inspired me to revisit this slightly ill-fitting skirt I made a couple of years ago in the excellent Introduction to Dressmaking course at Ray Stitch. I took in wedges of about 1cm on the front and back side seams, and now it fits. I don't like the shape as much as the Charlotte, but I'm wondering if no front darts at all is the solution to my problems there... going to mash the patterns together and see!

Have super Sundays everyone!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bank Holiday funfair skirt!

Hello sewers!

I've been doing some Bank Holiday sewing - in the grand British tradition of bank hols, today is rainy and gross, so I don't feel guilty about spending the morning inside sewing, hurrah! Although as soon as the sun comes out again I'll feel duty bound to get amongst it.

And when I do, I'll be wearing this stripy chap! I bought this fabric on sale from Miss Matatabi a few months ago, and the black colourway went to this dress - which has now gone to charity, having been yet another thing I just don't like, on second looks. But I'm hoping this skirt will be more successful. 

It's a self-drafted skirt - two rectangles, with the fronts cut to show a pocket shape - not sure what this kind of pocket is called? I pleated it by measuring the waistband then just moving them in and out till the measurements fit. 

After last week's Charlotte Skirt (which actually I've worn twice already - the weird bagging at the front hasn't bugged me much in the end and I really like it!) I've remembered how much I like skirts with belts. So I added loops to this, large enough to fit my favourite belt, and also sewed up a matching sash to go with it. 

It has a slightly weird baggy shape at the back, but apart from that I'm calling this skirt a success. I think it'll look nice with red tights for autumn.

I hope you're all having lovely weekends, wherever you are!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Denim Charlotte Skirt

Hello sewers! Long time no post. I was away from my sewing machine for a month in Paris. Which was wonderful, but I definitely got out of the sewing habit and since coming back I've been unsure about which UFOs to tackle, or whether to start something new. So I eased myself back in by resurrecting this half-finished By Hand London Charlotte skirt.

I've made this pattern up twice before, but for one reason and another went off both those skirts very quickly, and they've gone off to charity. I had quite a lot of fitting issues with this one, and in the end got fed up and added belt loops and called it a day! I took a wedge of about 1cm out of the centre back seam, and I feel the back and sides fit well now... it's the front that's still bothering me!

Can you see the fabric bunching up between and just under the sets of darts? I just have no idea how to fix this. I tried lengthening the darts by 2cm, but that made no difference, just moved the baggy area downwards, so I brought them back to where they were. I'm not sure where to look for information about this problem!

Still, it's a comfy skirt with a belt, and the Goldhawk Road stretch denim makes it easy to wear. So I'll wear it out and about and see if the bagginess at the front bugs me or not! It's bugging me right now!!

Until soon!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Latest wedding guest dress

Hello sewers! 

I'm here to show a dress I made for a friend's wedding yesterday, and then ended up not wearing in favour of my leopard dress, because it felt better when I tried it on yesterday! Sigh, best laid plans... 

Anyway, I'm really happy with this project! It is the tweaked pattern from my last dress, a copy of an & Other Stories number. I took a 1" wedge out of the back bodice, as suggested by super Julie at Sew Over It, and that solved the excess fabric around the bum and back issue. I didn't make any other changes except I had bought enough fabric to make it the length I wanted this time. I'm really happy with the fit now - it's pretty relaxed, but I think the nice shape stops it looking too frumpy.

The fabric is a silk noil from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road, and was £6 a metre. It's probably not the best quality stuff, but it's not see-through which was my biggest fear about it. I'll see how it holds up to washing. It had some grub on it too, now I think about it - it isn't the greatest. 

But it was perfect for this idea, which was painted dots on cream! I cut the fabric pieces out and then painted them with Speedball ink and a brush - all in all I reckon painting didn't take much longer than an hour or so (the dots may have become more slapdash as I went along!) The result is a lot like a Nani Iro that I bought when I first started sewing, but a LOT cheaper!

The pockets are my favourite feature about it. I think having failed to wear this to the wedding yesterday, it's going to have to be a slightly dressy casual dress instead! I'm sure it will manage.

Happy Sunday, sewers!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Cottoning on

Hello sewers!

It's started to warm up a little in London, which has meant it's time for some summer sewing! When I saw Katie's jumpsuit on Instagram I had an immediate desire to replicate it, and have rather unoriginally done so, almost down to the letter. I followed her tip to Indianstores on Etsy and bought a few different fabrics, both of which I've used here.

This is the Butterick 6312 pattern, made up in a size S thanks to Katie's observation of it running large. It should have been a quick and easy sew, but took me ages due to being my hopeless with putting the pockets in, and various other nonsense. But it came out fine in the end.

I used the reverse side of the dotted fabric to make it look a bit less pajama-y. But I dunno, it's a pretty silly thing once on, not nearly as nice as Katie's I don't think! Never mind, good jumpsuit-sewing practise!

My next thing to share is this dress, a wearable toile made from 2 metres of another Indianstores hand-blocked cotton. I bought this dress from & Other Stories a couple of weeks ago for a wedding:

It's made from lovely bright orange crepe. I really love its shape, so I made a pattern from tracing round it, and this is my first toile. The picture below is before hemming and closer to how it'll end up - actually I only had enough fabric to cut the front to the right length, and then it all had to be shortened. But next time this is the length I want, which I think make a much more interesting shape.

And after cutting and hemming:

For a first go I'm really thrilled with it, especially as I had to do a bit of origami with the pockets. I'd like them to stick out a bit more than they do here, but I think a stiffer fabric could have that effect anyway.

The top is a very simple shape with big kimono-style cut on sleeves. It's interfaced round the front and down the back, which is open and fastens at the top with a button or two (safety pin for now!) Then the skirt has an invisible zip at the back. 

You can see here that there is some excess fabric round the bottom of the back which I was puzzling over, but Julie who is teaching the Vintage Shirt Dress class that I'm taking at Sew Over It spotted that if I removed a 1" wedge from the length of the back bodice that'll be an easy fix. I felt very grateful as this wouldn't have occurred to me!


I have some nice silk noil fabric in mind I've seen in Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road, which I'm going to print on and hope that the next version will be ready for my friend's wedding in a week's time!

Until soon!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Culottes again

Hello sewers!

I am here to show off my second pair of Butterick B6178 culottes. I've finally unpicked the baboon bum zip from the last pair, and they are just waiting for an invisible zip and then will hopefully get some wear this summer. In the meantime I made these guys, with some adjustments. 

This is checked white denim, another buy from Fabworks - this time a birthday voucher from my super friend Hattie! Adjustments I made were to raise the waist rise by 1", while also tapering the waist in by about 3/4" on the front and back side seams. What I hadn't realised was that the combination of the higher and smaller waist would mean they hit me right in the middle of my breathing-bit of my stomach (medical terminology), and were way too tight. 

I also had to buy a 9" zip rather than the stipulated 7" to get into them. I unpicked and sewed the seams with a 3/8" seam instead... so next time perhaps I'll lower the waist again, but keep them smaller.

I kind of like these guys... the fabric perhaps is a little stiff for the culottes. And obviously, a super impractical colour. I made them with a wedding in mind, but I think they are too modern casual clown for that. 

Until next time!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Animal House

Hello sewers!

I've been trying to participate in Me Made May this year - so far so good, I've managed 5 out of 7 days a week in something I've made. And it's had the effect I've read others mention of making me see the gaps in my wardrobe. This dress is a result!

Not that my wardrobe exactly had an obviously leopard-print-midi-dress-shaped hole in it, but now it's here I can't believe I went so long without it! This is a Closet Case Files Nettie bodice, with cap sleeves from a top in Gertie's book and with a quarter circle skirt, made using the extremely handy By Hand London circle skirt app

I measured where my waist is on the bodice, and then cut the pattern there and added elastic round the waist to hold the skirt up. I also sized up the bodice to a 14 - this super fabric from Fabworks (a bargainous £5 a metre - I think mine was Animal 6, but they have a whole section of animal print, yaaay!) is actually pretty unstretchy for a jersey, and my first size 12 version was a squeeze.

I have left the neckline unfinished, as I quite like the shape it is now, and I'm nervous of bowing it out with binding... I'll see how I go. I'm also putting off hemming the skirt as I think that'll be a fairly heinous job, but I'll get round to it sooner or later!

I wore it out last night and it was very comfortable and I love it! I've made another in grey which I'll blog soon - hurrah for cotton jersey!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Stripy Anna/Elisalex/Darling Ranges mush again!

Hello! I'm just back from the Bologna Book Fair for work, and then a few jolly days in Lucca. There was a film festival on, some of which was zombie-themed (my worst!) but excellently fun. 

This is a dress I made for a wedding just before I went. It's the same pattern mash-up as the last one, so I've nothing more to add about it really. I can see from the pics that I think I made the skirt a little short, so I'll lengthen it for any further versions!

The cotton was on sale from Miss Matatabi, and I love it - I bought some in the same cream with red stripes, which I'm hoping will make an excellent skirt. 

 I've started making dress drawings, so that I don't forget plans, and also they're helping me work out pattern placement a bit. It's nice to look back and see how close things stayed to the idea. Here's the last blue dress, which I wasn't so keen on.

And here were some plans for the wedding guest dress. I decided against the red buttons and Fimo belt, but apart from that it's the same!

And here's the dress with an escort. Isn't he a sharp fella?