Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Little Black Dress

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1609

Last Autumn my mum and I ventured to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace for the first time. I didn't come away with any fabric but I did leave with a free pattern - Simplicity 1609

As black is difficult to photograph and capture pattern details I have included a copy of the line drawings (courtesy of I was initially very cautious about sewing this type of pattern as A-line shift dresses can end up looking tent like on me. However as this was a free pattern I decided I had nothing to lose and gave it a go. 

I sewed this up in a size 14 and treated it as a wearable muslin. The pattern is unlined and I didn't bother with the facings for two reasons. Firstly I altered the neckline; I cut this as a V shaped neckline as I felt that the original design was too high on me. Secondly I was too lazy to cut a new facing pattern piece for a wearable muslin. Instead I finished the neckline and armholes with bias binding. The only other minor alterations I made were to omit the zipper (with my fabric choice it wasn't needed), remove 1" from the top centre back and to shorten the hemline by 3". 

The fabric is a ponte knit purchased from Simply Fabrics in Brixton priced at £3 per metre. Using a knit fabric for this dress did mean that I didn't have to fuss about the fit and construction. If made in a woven I would have to insert a zipper and I am 100% sure I would need to grade out a size on the hips. My last comment is that the pattern has you cut the front out as two pieces with a centre front seam. I felt that this was totally necessary and cut the front piece out on the fold. 

I actually have quite a soft spot for this dress. It is by far one of the least interesting items I have ever sewn in my life but I really like the shaping in the back and being a ponte knit it is so comfortable. Granted it is a bit tent shaped, but with a belt it ends up being quite flattering. This is in frequent rotation in my work wardrobe, often paired with my animal print cover up. In fact I already have some fabric earmarked for another version of this dress.

You can view my Pattern Review here. 

I have another project to blog and another on the sewing table. It's so great to have my sewing mojo back!

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 16 May 2016

First Summer Dress of the Season

Pattern Review: New Look 6263

I don't seem to be doing very well on the blogging front as here is a dress that I finished at the beginning of April. This is a wearable muslin for New Look 6263. 

This pattern came into my life during a fabric/pattern swap with my sewing group. To be honest it isn't one that I would usually choose, but one of my good friends made it and it looked great and I also knew that it would be a nice dress to show off the drape and print of a fabric.

I cut a size 14 straight out of the envelope. For some reason I found sewing the collar a bit fiddly although there is nothing in the construction details that make it challenging. This dress is very tent like in shape so I only ever wear it belted. Therefore, if I were to make this again I would almost certainly make a swayback adjustment (you can see the excess fabric in the back). As this was a wearable muslin I didn't line it, but I did french seam the insides for a neater finish.

The fabric is  a polyester print picked up from a new fabric shop on Holloway Road for £4 per metre. I can't remember what they are called, but over the last year two or so fabric shops have popped up there so worth checking out if you are ever in the area. 

All in all this was a quick project and although I don't feel 100% about the fit I always receive lots of compliments when I wear it. I am in no hurry to make this again, but I am glad that it is in my wardrobe. It works well with tights and boots which makes it a nice little transitional item.

You can see my Pattern Review here,

How is everyone's Summer sewing coming along?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Jumper Dress Geometric Style

Pattern Review: McCalls 7194

I have finally blogged! So I have to admit I finished this dress back in January but haven't gotten round to posting it.

I decided to make McCalls 7194 as my sewing mojo had been low and I fancied some instant gratification. I cut a 14 all over and lengthened it to make it a dress. The only other alteration I made was to take off some of the length of the shoulders as the seam sat quite low on me.

The fabric was purchased from Textile Centre in Walthamstow priced at £2.75 per yard. I really wasn't sure about the fabric and I think that it is still growing on me. The fabric is a super comfortable sweater knit though so that makes up for it. 

This pattern is really easy as it doesn't include any notions, closures or darts. It all came together very quickly. I would definitely make this again and maybe try going down a size for a snug fit. I am sucker for cowl neck dresses as I really like the way they frame the face. 

I made myself hem this dress so I could pack it for my holiday to Budapest. It kept me lovely and warm and was so comfy! This pattern is fab quick make and a design that lets the fabric take the centre stage. 

I have another simple dress on my dummy that is waiting to be hemmed before I start on my spring and summer sewing!

You can view the Pattern Review online here.

Anyone else lost their mojo for 2016!?

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Cross Stitch Crazy

Pattern Review: Framecraft Handbag Mirror

My sewing mojo is still firmly in the gutter so I thought that this severely belated post about an instant gratification cross stitch project might make me feel better.

This was a lovely birthday present from some friends. It is a pocket mirror that comes with the patterns for every letter of the alphabet. You can currently purchase this online here. 

This was easy to complete and I did most of it on the train home to Bristol for Christmas. 

It was a great in between project as I started on my next large cross stitch project: Maia Fan Fair
This will take me an age but I am really enjoying it so far. This is what the finished project will hopefully look like!

Wish me luck! And also pray that my sewing mojo returns swiftly.

Happy Stitching

Saturday, 24 October 2015

What a difference a year makes!

Pattern Review: Dimensions Crafts Oriental Butterfly Counted Cross Stitch Kit 

My sewing blog has been pretty quiet recently as I have been travelling a lot with work and my sewing mojo is at an all time low. However I am delighted that I have (finally) finished my recent cross stitch project. 

I purchased this Dimensions cross stitch pattern for just under £11 in October 2014 and have been working on it on and off for the past year. My first cross stitch project was very much a beginner project and I can tell that I am more confident and used to following patterns. I am really pleased with the finished product and for the price it is excellent! 

I have to admit I go through a love/hate relationship with cross stitch. I like having a project always on hand to take to my craft group and I like that I can do this no matter how stressed or poorly I am feeling (unlike sewing). However, at times I really struggle with how long it takes compared to sewing. We all know that cross stitch is not a speedy hobby but sometimes I can't help but feel a little despondent when I have been working on it for 3 hours and hardly finished an inch of the pattern!

That said seeing this framed (thanks dad for my handmade frame!) and hung in the hallway makes it all better and I am excited to be working on another project. The next cross stitch project is a little bit of instant gratification - if there is such a thing! 

Do you have any slow burning hobbies that you do in-between other things such as sewing? 

Happy stitching!

Monday, 21 September 2015

September Garment of the Month

Pattern Review: Vogue 8667 Mashup

Despite it being Monday and being in the midst of a headcold, the plus side of today was that I wore my new dress for the first time. For this dress I used the bodice of Vogue 8667 and added my amended skirt from Butterick 4443.

I have made Vogue 8667 twice before (here and here) and I absolutely adore the cute collar on this pattern. It really adds a bit of interest to what is quite a simple dress. For this iteration I knew I wanted to have a fuller skirt but wanted something more casual than the pleated version that comes with the original pattern. Butterick 4443 fitted the bill perfectly. 

The fabric is a printed ponte knit picked up from Le Coupon in Paris from my holiday last summer. The fabric cost €10 for three metres which is such a bargain. It's lovely and soft and especially today (not feeling 100%) it was great to feel as though I was sat in work wearing pajamas. I have a suspicion it might pill pretty soon but I still plan to get a good amount of wear out of this bad boy this Autumn/Winter. 

As I was sewing this in a knit fabric I went down a size and cut a 12 out all over. I still had to do my usual alterations - to pinch out fabric underneath the bust and lengthen the front bust pieces to make up for my lack of full bust adjustment. 

This was a really satisfying and quick make and I definitely know that this pattern hack will rear its head again! 

You can see my Pattern Review here. 

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Covering Up

Pattern Review: Prima Magazine Cover Up

Continuing along the instant gratification theme I whipped up this simple open cardigan during my week off. 

This is the pattern from the January 2010 issue I stole from my mum a while ago. Here is a picture of the pattern. As it suggests it really is a quick and easy project - I sewed this up in one evening and would be a great beginner project. 

For this pattern I cut a size 14 and I did end up having to make some amendments. I graded out some of the steepness of the bottom front pieces as a styling preference. I also found that the sleeves sat way too low on my shoulders, so I removed around an inch from the top of the sleavehead and shoulders. I always wear my cardigan sleeves rolled up so it's not an issue, but the sleeves are much shorter on me than in the pattern photo. Next time I will definitely add some additional length to the sleeves. 

The fabric is a lightweight cardigan knit fabric purchased from Universal Textiles on Goldhawk Road. It cost £3 per metre which is a bargain. I have found some great gems in Universal Textiles and you can always get a great price for everything you buy there. The fabric was easy to work with and I still have a decent remnant so I am deciding what I should sew with the leftovers. 

I really like how the darts give this cover up a nice shape, especially in the back. This is such an easy wardrobe staple and is one of those patterns that lets the fabric steal the show. I am already thinking about what knit fabrics I have in my stash so I can whip up another. 

You can view my Pattern Review here.

On the sewing table is my September Garment of the Month, a modified version of Vogue 8667. After my run of wadders a few weeks ago I still want to do some comfort sewing and this fits the bill. 

What simple sewing projects have you guys been working on? 

Happy Sewing!