Monday, 15 September 2014

Autumn Sewing

Pattern Review: New Look 6735

So everyone is telling me that Summer has come to an end. Although I am holding onto Summer and refusing to wear a jacket to work, I did rustle up this (boring) cardigan to see me through more transitional temperatures. 

I used New Look 6735. From the envelope there is no way that I would have ever purchased this pattern. It is so not me. Or so I thought until I saw the lovely Andrea from Four Square Walls sporting a comfy houndstooth version. And as fate would have it I happened to snap up the pattern for £2 last Summer.

The fabric is a ponte knit from Simply Fabrics purchased for £3 per metre. I wasn't sure how much I would like the final product or how much it would suit me, so in terms of fabric choice I was going along the wearable muslin route. Despite the super cheap price this ponte knit is soft and lovely to wear. I picked up the buttons from John Lewis. 

The cardigan is really quick and easy. I cut this bad boy out on Sunday morning, went to the pub for a couple of hours, arrived home around tea time and it was finished later that evening. It only includes 4 pieces and as it is loose-fitting the fit is simple. That said I feel that the pattern is well drafted. I like the shape of the neckline, the shoulders and the width of the collar. I cut a 14 all over and the only alteration was that I added 1" to the sleeves. 

I am sure that I will make this cardigan again. I am planning another black one that is more fitted and shorter, so I can pair it with a mini skirt. I also have some fun ponte knits that I picked up last weekend in Paris which would be perfect as a statement cardi. 

All in all this was a satisfying project and it was great to have some instant gratification, although I admit that it is perhaps not the most exciting thing that I have sewn. 

You can see my Pattern Review here.

At present I have a large stash of autumnal fabric that cries out to be paired with tights and boots. So despite the cooler temperatures lurking in the near future, I am looking forward to sewing warmer garments. And on the plus side, stash-busting with ponte knits means that you can actually see a dent in the fabric stash!

How are your Autumn sewing plans coming along?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

August Garment of the Month

It has been ages since I last posted! I have been travelling to with work to Chicago, Vancouver and Abu Dhabi and my fabric stash has grown considerably as a result. However, my sewing mojo disappeared for the month of July and August, but finally it seems to have returned.

This pattern is New Look 6049 which I have made previously here. I was keen to try this in a non-stretch fabric as I was sure that it would affect the fit. I was right and as a result this version is slightly tight across the bust. I added 2.5 inches to the length and went out to a very generous size 16 at the hips to ensure that I would have ease to walk and sit comfortably. My final adjustment was to increase the narrow shoulder adjustment I had made previously. The neckline now lies flat which is great. 

The fabric costs £3 and there was only 1 metre left when I picked it up at Nags Head Market in the Holloway area of London, close to where I live. I had originally gone to the market to get some meat from the butchers and somehow came home with 6 metres of fabric!! I have no idea exactly what the fibre content is, but I know that there are some man-made fibres in it. It washed beautifully and was a dream to sew with. I lined the dress with yellow lining from Simply Fabrics for £1 per metre. 

This is not usually a colour that I would wear, but I am really pleased with how it turned out, and the more I wear and look at this dress the more I love it. I am also delighted with the fit. Only some minor tweaks and I think that I will have the perfect shift dress pattern for my shape. 

You can see my Pattern Review here. 

My September garment of the month is going to be view E of McCalls 6562. At the moment I feel as though I have a gap in my wardrobe for nice tops I can wear on a night out with jeans. I will play it by ear and see if there are any other items that take my fancy, as I am just happy that my sewing mojo is back and I am making a dent in my fabric stash.  

How did your Summer sewing go? Did you accomplish everything that you set out for? 

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Franken-patterned Halterneck

Pattern Review: Vogue 8725

I have been itching to make another version of Vogue 8725. I knew that I would love a version with a flared skirt for the summer, but I wasn't 100% keen on the front seam in the original pattern. So I opted to use my adjusted skirt from Butterick 4443

I picked up this linen from Simply Fabrics priced at £4 per metre and knew instantly that it was destined for this dress. It is lined with dress lining also from Simply Fabrics (seriously, where else do I buy lining from these days??) priced at £1 per metre. 

I don't have too much to add about this dress. For those of you that are new to this pattern I love that it has A,B,C and D cups. It makes the fit really easy. I cut a 14 all over and took it in a tad at the back and under the bust. Looking at it, I could probably have taken it in a touch more under the bust, but I like that it is comfy and allows me to breathe.

This was a satisfying and quick sew and the fabric was a dream to work with and I love that this pattern really flatters my lady lumps, especially the ones up top. I have some more fabric lined up to make another version! I have a couple of trips coming up and am looking forward to wearing it out and about, despite linen creasing like nobody's business. Fingers crossed my hotel will have an iron!

You can view my Pattern Review here

I was out in Regents Park when these photos were snapped. I hadn't been there since I was at uni. It's such a lovely park. We had a stroll around the rose garden which was in bloom. Aren't these beautiful?!

Do you have any favourite summer sewing patterns? 

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Paisley Shift Dress

Pattern Review: New Look 6049

As some of you may know I really struggle to find a nice shift dress that fits in RTW and handmade items. I did play about with Simplicity 2146 which ended up being more of a sheath dress.

A lady from my sewing group gifted me New Look 6049 and so I decided to give the shift dress another go.

Upon doing a muslin for this dress I discovered that the neckline was too wide and did a 1.5cm narrow shoulder adjustment. You can see above that it is still a bit too big, so if I make this again I will take more out of the shoulders. I deepened the neckline by 5cm as I didn't like how high it was. I cut a 14 on the top and graded out to a generous 16 on the hips. I added in the optional waist darts for added shaping and I took in approximately 3.5cm on each side underneath the bust. 

The fabric is a silky feeling paisley fabric that I picked up in Malaysia at Jakels. I am not sure what the content is, but I am tempted to say that there is some viscose in there somewhere. I really like the drape of this fabric and felt that it was a great choice for the pattern. I even have enough left to make another dress out of it which is exciting. I lined the dress with some stretch lining priced at £1 per metre from Simply Fabrics. 

When I was sewing this dress I wasn't really feeling it, but since I have finished it I have worn it 3 times! I think that I was feeling jaded by all of the alterations and that it was going to be a garment that ends up being alot of work for little reward. Although the fit is not 100% there I am really pleased with the dress overall and I can see that a TNT shift dress pattern will soon be in my grasp. 

You can see my Pattern Review here. 

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Scrap-Busting - Part 2

Pattern Review: McCall's 3341

Firstly, some breaking news which is that I am currently featured on Pattern Review as their Member in Focus. You can check out my interview here.

As promised, here is my second stash busting mini. For this skirt I used McCall's 3341 and went with View E. I have made this before in my pre-blogging days, also to use up a remnant of leftover fabric. This is a simple a-line skirt with darts in the front and back and is a pattern that I stole from my Mum's stash years ago. I cut a size 16 and sewed this straight out of the envelope. The only (lazy) change I made was to omit the waist band.

I am trying to demonstrate with my above pose how the skirt is designed to sit just above your natural waist. I always find this quite strange in patterns, as so few RTW clothes have this feature. I'm sure that I have seen a tutorial somewhere (maybe Threads?) on how to lower the waistline of a pattern, but as I was doing some stash-busting/instant gratification I decided this alteration would not be in the spirit of things. And this skirt will keep my kidneys warm in the winter time....

The fabric was originally purchased years ago at Shepherds Bush market for a couple of squids. Definitely no more than £2 per metre. I lined the skirt with navy lining from my stash. I am sad to say that I originally cut out a dress with this fabric many years ago and it turned into a huge wadder, so it was nice to do something with the remnants so the print could be included in my wardrobe. Here is a close-up of the fabric.

I am really happy with this little mini skirt. It is making me pine for hot summer sunshine like nothing else and fingers crossed the british summertime will let me wear this one bare legged at some point! That said I did wear this other bad boy on a night out with tights and pumps recently so I am sure that this one will get the same treatment at some point. 

You can view my Pattern Review here.

Right, so I have finally decided on my July garment. It will be Butterick 5949. I know that I have threatened to make this previously here but was put off by all of the alterations. I am pleased to say that I have stepped out of my comfort zone and made some shoulder adjustments. I'm now on muslin number two, wish me luck!

Do you enjoy the process of making pattern adjustments, or do you groan and put them off like I do?

Happy sewing!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Scrap-Busting - Part 1

As you may have read previously, my sewing group held a 1 metre stash busting sew-a-long. I made Simplicity 1884 for the challenge. The sew-a-long inspired me to have another look at the remnants in my stash to see if I could use them for some quick instant gratification projects. 

I had (just) enough fabric to create a mini skirt using Mimi G's pencil skirt tutorial. I have made this previously here and it's a definite go-to garment in my wardrobe. 

For this simple skirt I used the remnants from Vogue 8827. This is a ponte knit purchased from good old Simply Fabrics in Brixton, priced at £3 per metre. 

As you can see in the photo above the skirt has two side seams, rather than one seam at the back. This is because I didn't have enough fabric to cut this on the fold. The skirt ended up being shorter than I initially planned as I the fabric is a one-way stretch which meant that I was further restricted by the amount of usable fabric. 

As you can see I am feeling very jammy about being able to use up some scraps to add a cute mini to my wardrobe for zero pounds. Unless it's a large chunk of fabric, the majority of my scraps are destined to the dustbin, but the recent sew-a-long has really given me some inspiration to be more resourceful and less wasteful. I have another scrap busting mini to post about too. Watch this space!

You can see my Pattern Review here.

What do you do with your remnants and scraps? Do you use them for small projects or do you get rid of them?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Me-Made-May'14 Round-up

I really enjoyed Me Made May. I achieved my goal of wearing 4 items per week (except for week 1 because it was so short). Here is a summary of my handmade items worn during the month.

I have provided links back to the original blog post, and have listed them clockwise.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Mimi G 30 Min Pencil Skirt (not yet blogged), Simplicity 1884, Butterick 5744, Self-drafted dress (pre-blogging days)

Week 5

I didn't find the challenge hard at all. I did have to think a little about what I would wear each week so that I fulfilled my aim of 4 handmade items, but I had plenty of handmade garments in my wardrobe to choose from which came as a surprise. I hadn't really assessed how many items in my wardrobe are handmade, so it felt nice that it was more than I thought!

May had a mix of weather so it was great to be able to wear a mix of summer and autumn clothes. The only thing that I would like to make more of is knitwear. I always pop a cardigan over my outfits as a layering piece and it would be fab to have more to choose from. Good knitwear fabric (that isn't a jersey or a ponte knit) is hard to come by in London, but I will keep an eye out for it. 

Overall Me May Made was a success, and I am looking forward to participating in it again next year. Maybe I will be able to go the whole hog!?

How was your Me Made May?