Sunday, 26 July 2015

July Garment of the Month

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1872

My mum had a retirement party this weekend and of course I had to make a dress to celebrate. I had been wanting to try out the dress from Simplicity 1872 for years and finally decided to take the plunge.

I have made this pattern as a peplum top before, but it was so old that it went to the charity shop earlier this year, so it's nice to have another iteration of the pattern in my wardrobe. Ok,so let's talk fabric. I picked this up at the textile district around the Sacre Couer on my holiday to Paris with my mum last September. It cost €10 for 3 metres which is a bargain. I am pretty sure that it is some kind of polyester chiffon. I underlined the dress with stretch lining from Simply Fabrics in Brixton priced at £1 per metre. 

I know that a couple of people have mentioned that there is a huge amount of ease in this pattern. It is true and I took out approximately 2" in the bodice and cut a larger armhole to compensate. This dress pattern swallows up fabric like no ones business which is why I had put it off for so long. I only just managed to get all of the pieces out and had to cut the bottom back skirt in two pieces and sew them together at the centre back. Luckily due to the busyness of the print it isn't really noticeable. I also read that this dress runs short and as I didn't have enough fabric to lengthen anything I inserted a panel underneath the yoke to ensure that it was long enough on me. 

I didn't make any other alterations except to hand stitch the bodice closed for modesty and prevent gaping. I think that one of the reasons that there is so much ease in the bodice is to allow the dress to be pulled on over your head and boobs. If I was to make this dress again I would sew a fitted bodice and insert a zipper in the side to allow for a snug fit. I french seamed this dress where possible and used my overlock stitch to finish the other seams. I sewed a pin hem on the skirt flounces as I wanted to keep as much length as possible and wanted a really neat finish. FYI - I would not even consider wearing this dress without a belt as it looks too sack like (which is how it is drafted). 

Because of the chiffon and underlining this took forever to make considering it is a simple design with no notions. However I am really pleased that with the outcome and it's a really cute and girly style without being too twee on me. I was initially worried that the flounces would make my hips look to wide, but I think that it works fine.  I would also happily wear this in the summer with flats (as long as it is not too windy outside! Those flounces love to catch in the wind!).

I am so behind in posting my June garment - I finished it ages ago but haven't had a chance to take any snaps. Will aim to get these up in the next week or so. 

I already have my August garment planned. It will be an amended version/wearable muslin of the top from New Look 6107. Although my output for this year has been considerably less I am enjoying tweaking the fit of my existing pattern and working with fabrics that are slow going. I have used chiffon in 3 of my monthly garments this year and all of them have been worth all of the extra time and effort. 

You can check out my Pattern Review here.

Anyone been handling any tricky fabrics lately?

Happy Sewing

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Springtime Florals

Pattern Review: Simplicity 3956

I am still trying to build in some tops that I can wear on a night out (see here) and decided to try Simplicity 3956. This is another item that I finished back before my trip to Canada and have only just gotten around to photographing it. 

I have made this before years and years ago, but didn't return to the pattern as the fit needed some tweaking. However, I had been thinking that a TNT strap top was missing from my pattern stash so I decided to give this one another go. I cut view D but without the overskirt. I omitted the tie belt as I  felt it was unnecessary and was treating this as a wearable muslin. 

Previously when I made this, the bodice was too big and ended up gaping under the arms. To remedy this I cut a size 14 for most areas, but used a size 12 for the bodice back. I added 1" to the height of the front bodice for extra boob coverage. 

I used a printed floral chiffon from purchased from the fabric stall on Market Row in Brixton Market. It was a great buy at £1.65 per metre and I knew it would be perfect for a muslin. I underlined it with a stretch lining purchased from Simply Fabrics for £1 per metre. I also used this for the bodice lining. 

I am really pleased with the alterations on this top and I am sure that I will make this again. I have worn this out on nights out twice already, so I am already delighted to have this top in my wardrobe. I found it really hard to motivate myself to re-try and re-tweak this pattern, but it was definitely worth it in the end. 

I am currently working on a tweaked version of Simplicity 1460. I think that my No New Pattern Pledge for 2015 has made me re-visit patterns in my stash, which is good :-)

You can see my Pattern Review here. 

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Girl Just Can't Have Enough!

Pattern Review: Kwik Sew 3844

I literally cannot get enough of this tank top pattern. At the time of writing this blog post all the reviews for this on pattern review are mine!

I finished this tank around a month ago, but haven't had a chance to take some snaps. As you can see, I decided to change this version up a little. I tried this pattern out with a woven rather than a stretch fabric that the pattern calls for and it does mean that this is a tad snug around the bust. I also made this a V-neck style in the front as I felt that it sat too high on my neckline without the natural drape of jersey. 

In addition I had to cut a fair bit off the bottom of this tank as the woven fabric didn't stretch across my hips. I really don't know how I didn't have the foresight to think of this when I was cutting it out. I pretty much always have to grade out a size or two to allow for my hips. It was a definite moment where I kicked myself for being such a dummy. However, I think that the shorter length is pretty cute and I have worn this out and about un-tucked over jeans too. 

I was lazy and used a cotton bias binding on the neckline, and you can see that it doesn't quite lay flat, but I think that this is partly due to the tightness across the bust. I think that with a few fitting tweaks this could be a good TNT tank for wovens too, so I am definitely going to try this again in the future. The fabric is a polycotton blend that I bought from Darn Cheap Fabrics whilst on holiday in Melbourne. I think it was around $7 per yard, 

You can see my review on Pattern Review here.

Anyone else been tinkering with a TNT pattern recently?

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Wedding Guest Dress

Pattern Review: Vogue 1223

I do enjoy the opportunity of sewing a wedding guest dress. It's a great chance to sew something a little bit special and challenge myself to pick something out of my comfort zone. Two of my uni friends got tied the knot this weekend and I went with Vogue 1223.

This is a dress pattern where both the fabric and the pattern design steal the show equally. I love how the left hand bodice extends into the majority of the skirt. It's a really interesting design feature. I have to say that I spent a really long time popping in tailor tacks and basting darts - I got through a good half a season of CSI whilst sewing this dress. 

Here is a close-up of the dress front. you can see a bit more clearly how the pleats extend all the way down the front of the bodice into the skirt. 

The fabric is a polyester chiffon purchased from the fabric stall on Market Row in Brixton Market. It was an absolute steal at £2.20 per metre. I lined the dress with georgette from Simply Fabrics (also in Brixton) priced at £1.50 per metre. 

The chiffon was not too bad to work with at all. I used a new needle and decreased the pressure on my presser foot and everything worked fine. I really took my time sewing this as no one wants to be unpicking chiffon. Also, just for the record I purchased the fabric as it's such a fun print, but mostly because I instantly knew that it would be a perfect match for my blue shoes!

I tested the fit by making the lining first. The lining pieces are very different to the dress, but it gave me an idea of the overall fit. I made very minimal fit adjustments. I took out 1.5" at the top of the centre back going down to 0" at the waistline. I hemmed this using a pin hem rather than following the instructions in the pattern. 

I found the instructions very well written and all of the markings and lines matched up. The only thing that made me scratch my head slightly was when attaching the lining to the front of the dress and breaking the stitching at the point of the V. I am not sure that I did this correctly as it took a lot of trimming and pressing to get it to lie vaguely flat. 

I love the colours in this dress and absolutely adore the feminine lines in the pattern. This dress also ticks the box as my May Garment of the Month and its great that I have tackled another designer pattern in my stash. That makes 2 designer patterns so far this year, which is great!

You can view my review on Pattern Review here.

Anyone have a favourite designer for patterns?

Happy Sewing! 

Friday, 3 April 2015

Long time no blog!

Pattern Review: Vogue 8870 

I overcame my lack of sewing mojo in the past month, but it looks as though my blog has been a bit neglected. I am all finished with my March garment of the month, but I haven't had a chance to photograph it yet. To tie you guys over here is an oldie that is yet to make it to the blog. It's a modified version of Vogue 8870.

I finished this before my trip to Australia back last year. However, the hand picked invisible zipper was so terrible I vowed to rip it out and just sew up the back seam seeing as I can pull this dress on over my head without using the zipper.

I used the bodice of Vogue 8870 and drafted the skirt from a RTW dress from my wardrobe. I think that it worked out pretty well, although I would definitely come up with a better construction order. When you look at the inside of the dress you can tell I was winging it!

I have previously made this pattern here, and as you can see the bodice is tad more blouson. For this version in a woven I still cut a medium and it worked out fine with less ease. The fabric is a lovely rayon viscose priced at $5 per yard. I picked this up from Windmill Fabrics, Boston USA back in November 2014. I lined it with some black stretch lining from Simply Fabrics in Brixton priced at £1 per metre. 

I am loving being able to pair this dress with tights and boots at the moment. I really enjoying the pop of colour from the sunflowers. I cannot wait to be wearing it again with sandals in the summer! I will definitely be making this again. I am kicking myself for procrastinating and taking to redo the back zipper. 

You can see my Pattern Review here. 

Stay tuned for my belated March Garment of the Month!

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 27 February 2015

February Garment of the Month

Pattern Review: Vogue 1387

I have to admit that my sewing mojo has been so low I wasn't sure February's garment was going to happen. Quite a few fellow sewers have mentioned that they have not been as productive as hoped during February, so maybe there has been something in the air? That said, I pulled it out of the bag to finish my muslin for this Vogue 1387 Rebecca Taylor pattern.

I initially fell in love with the pleats in the shoulders and the sleeve bands. Aren't they fab little details?? However there have been mixed reviews on Pattern Review, so although the line drawings looked simple enough I knew that it would be wise to make a muslin. I cut a straight size 14 and I think the fit is not bad at all. As you can see in the photo below there is a bit of excess in the sleeve, something that can be easily remedied for next time. 

I did make two alterations. I lengthened the skirt by 2", without this it would have been ridiculously short on me and I don't think that the side seams would come past the belt on my jeans! I am going to add on another inch for next time and decrease the curvature of the sides so that the side seams finish a bit lower. Lastly I took an additional inch off the the size of the sleeve insert as I felt that they were in my armpits too much. I prefer those bad boys to be nice and breezy. 

One of the criticisms of this pattern on Pattern Review is the instructions. I have to admit I found them straightforward and I had no problems at all applying them and sewing up this view. My only change was to sew the sleeve in flat and then add the inserts. Personally, I would consider this an "easy pattern", especially as it is a designer vogue, but I know that this hasn't been the experience of everyone. 

It's interesting that I rarely sew with purple. I definitely tend to opt for navy, so this is a refreshing change. I have no idea what the fabric is - probably something man-made with no natural fibres. I have to admit it falls really well and pressed fine. It has a teeny bit of stretch and does fray pretty badly, but as it's a muslin it's no biggie. Not to mention it did only cost me £1 per metre from Nags Head Market in Holloway. The fabric was prefect muslin material for styles that are more drapey (is that even a word??)

Overall I am really pleased with this because I managed to break my sewing block and tackle the stash of designer patterns I have. Granted it's not the most complex, but it has given me confidence to go ahead and make some more designer muslins!

You can see my Pattern Review here.

Anyone else misplaced their sewing mojo? Do you have any TNT techniques for getting it back? 

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tasha Stitches!

Pattern Review: Flower Fairies Zinnia Bookmark Cross Stitch Kit

My sewing mojo has been pretty much non-existent since I got back from Chicago in mid January. I have been really busy catching up with family and friends and to be honest I haven't made sewing a priority. 

All of the busyness has meant that I came down with a nasty cough and cold. I don't know about you guys, but I really can't sew when I am feeling under the weather. That said, cabin fever struck and I decided to finish my first ever cross stitch project!

I actually finished the cross stitching towards the end of the summer, but it has been languishing in my sewing basket waiting for me to sew on the backing. 

I learnt cross stitch when I was tiny and in Primary school and hadn't really thought about it since. However, when I joined my sewing group a couple of years ago I saw some great designs and I thought about having a simple project to keep my fingers busy when I couldn't take any of my sewing projects along to meetups. 

I didn't find this project too difficult (although I did make some mistakes due to miscounting). I would recommend it for those wanting to start with a quick project. I found the instructions useful and the pattern interesting enough to keep me motivated. I am really happy with the overall look and I keep giving myself a high five for finishing it. 

Here is how the finished project is advertised online. Mine is a bit scruffier and needs a good press, but overall I would consider it a success. 

Image courtesy of 'I Love Cross Stitch'

This project gave me the motivation to carry on and I have another cross stitch on the go. Will definitely be a good few months until it is finished, but nice to have another hobby that requires less thinking and concentration than sewing. 

In the meantime, fingers crossed that my sewing mojo returns (and my chesty cough and cold departs) so that I can start/finish my February garment of the month!

Has anyone else seen a slump in their sewing mojo?

Happy Sewing!