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!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

January Garment of the Month

Pattern Review: Butterick 5454

This months theme was to try something new. I totally went against this and sewed up another wrap dress.  And no, your eyes are not deceiving you, I am indeed wearing a dress with sleeves! When I sewed up this version here one of my colleagues at work mentioned that it would look nice with sleeves, so I decided to give it a try. 

This ITY knit from my stash was purchased back in June at Vogue Fabrics in Chicago. It was on sale for $2.99 per yard. It sewed up beautifully. I cut a 14 and made no changes except to add in a bit more boob coverage in the bodice. I am wearing a black strap top under this, but mostly for warmth as it has been pretty cold here in London. 

I don't have too much else to say except that I LOVE this version. Who knows, maybe 2015 will be the year I sew up lots of sleeved dresses. 

You can see my pattern review here. 

I am still deciding what to sew for February. I have so many fabrics from my recent holiday that I feel overwhelmed by so many options!

Is anyone else feeling overwhelmed by their fabric stash at the moment?

Happy sewing!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Fabric Porn South of the Equator

I am finally back in the UK! I had a mammoth bout of travelling with two work trips either side of my fab holiday in Melbourne. As I was not able to do any sewing I filled some of my time with fabric shopping. 

I spent just under a week in the lovely city of Cape Town. I picked up a couple of Ankara wax prints at a market in the city. To be honest the prints were probably not much cheaper than I would buy in London as I was at such a touristy market, but I really like them and they are such a fun souvenir of the city. 

These next two fabrics were purchased at a fabric shop just outside the city centre on a street with a variety of fabric shops, a mix of dress and upholstery fabrics.  

After Cape Town I headed to Melbourne for three and a half weeks. My first stop was at Darn Cheap Fabrics where I snapped up these fun fabrics.

When in Melbourne I was also lucky enough to stop into Spotlight which had a Christmas sale.

We were passing through Lillydale en route to the Yarra Wine Valley and I spotted Textile Offcuts where I picked up this wine coloured poly-wool blend. 

And finally one of my favourite fabrics has to be this georgette that was gifted to me by my friend's family friend. Isn't it lovely!

So I have plenty of fabric to keep me going into 2015. I do have a fabric shop coming up with my sewing group but I am going to be strict with myself and limit it to lining and notions only!

Did you hit up any fabric shops in the Christmas sales?

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Back to Basics

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1370

Who doesn't need a denim mini in their wardrobe? I do have this one here which I made a couple of years ago. However, a dark blue denim mini was just what I needed.

This is Simplicity 1370 and I decided to make the most uninteresting view. I sewed a 16 with no alterations to the fit. I sewed french seams as this skirt pattern is unlined and omitted the waistband. I used bias binding to finish the waist and hem. The only other change was to use an 8" zipper (I find the 7" zippers that they suggest too short), and I used an invisible zipper as I prefer the finish to a lapped zipper. If I were to make this again I would think about adding an inch or two to the length as it is quite short on me. 

The fabric is left over from my vintage peplum dress. I bought 3 metres of stretch denim for only €10. It is so easy to sew with, if I am in Paris any time soon I am definitely going to purchase some more for my ever increasing fabric stash. 

This is a nice basic mini skirt pattern and I'm sure that it would work in a range of different fabrics too. All in all it is keeper and a fab stash buster requiring only 80cm of fabric. 

You can see my Pattern Review here.

I feel bad that in these snaps my head is blocking the Melbourne skyline so here is a scenic shot. These were taken on Ellwood Beach during a morning walk. It's going to be hard to go back to the cold UK and take photos outside...

Anyone else have any wardrobe basics on their 2015 sewing list? 

Happy sewing!