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!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 Sewing Year in Review

All in all I would consider 2014 a sewing success. I made a total of 27 garments. This is way more than the 12 that I was aiming for so I am super chuffed. Anyhow, lets have a look at the hits and misses. You can click on the pattern name to go to the original blog post.

Best/Most Worn

This pattern featured on my most worn list last year but I do wear this iteration so often I had to include it again. I reach for this when I have to go out and don't fancy wearing a skirt or dress and have to pair something with jeans. I also love that I popped this tank together from scraps in my stash. 

Although this version still needs some tweaking I wear this so often. A great garment that works in all seasons, (it looks fab with boots and tights) and I can wear it casual, more dressy with heels on a night out and even to work. Plus, I love the fabric that I snapped up in Malaysia.

I love this dress. The colourful fabric just makes me feel so happy when when I wear it and it always receive compliments. Not to mention how comfy it is. You just can't go wrong with a wrap dress. 

Worst/Least Worn

This one didn't even make it onto the blog. I had a multitude of fit problems and I could not get it to work for me, This is still sitting in my sewing basket in case I get the motivation to salvage it. 

Never worn. The style and fit of this dress just wasn't for me, I'm not too sad that this went to the charity shop as I did find a good shift dress pattern in New Look 6049.

This is a wearable muslin so I shouldn't really include this skirt. And it isn't really a wadder as I have worn it out and about. It's just not very practical as the split really comes apart when you sit down. I would wear this to a bar where I am standing all eve, but not to work.

Sewing Goals 2014

My sewing goals for 2014 were:-

  1. Continue with the Make a Garment a Month Challenge. - COMPLETED
  2. Enrol on a sewing course or workshop - COMPLETED
  3. Stop being a chicken and tackle more of the designer patterns that are lurking in my stash - FAIL
During the year I set myself the challenge of completing a tailored jacket, but this was also a fail. From looking at my completed garments I haven't given myself the time to take it slow with some garments or create anything special. Most of my garments for 2014 have been casual or work wear and nothing special occasion. So let's have a look at how this has shaped my goals for 2015.

Sewing Goals 2015

  1. Complete 3 designer vogue patterns
  2. Continue to make 1 garment per month
  3. Make a tailored jacket 
  4. No new pattern challenge (check out the details on this here)
Fingers crossed that number one will encourage me to sew up some lovely special occasion dresses. I am attending a friend's wedding in May, so I already have a special event to sew for. Hopefully this will also teach me the patients to have multiple projects on the go. To be honest I am a one project at a time person, but the eagerness of wanting to move on to the next project means that don't invest in a tricky or time consuming garment. Let's see if things will change in 2015.

In 2014 I catalogued my sewing patterns and I have over 100 patterns in my stash. I am going to see if I can get through 2015 without buying any new patterns. It's going to be hard and I may do a little patttern shop on the 31st December to make sure that I am not missing out. Wish me luck!

How did you fare in 2015? What were your hits and misses and did you complete all of your sewing goals?

Happy Sewing!