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!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Instant Gratification Required!

Pattern Review: Kwik Sew 3844

I mentioned in my last post that I have had some bad luck with my recent sewing projects. So what better way to solve my blues than to whip up a (fourth!!!) version of Kwik Sew 3844.

To be honest I was pretty horrified with myself when I realised I had made so many versions but none of them were a simple black tank. I think most people would say that they are a wardrobe staple. I purchased this fabric from one of the shops on Goldhawk Road for £4.99 per metre. 

As per usual I cut a medium  and sewed this straight out of the envelope. I don't bother with the boob pocket. For me it disturbs the simplicity of the overall garment. 

I really don't have too much to say about this version that I haven't covered before. Except that I like it so much I am thinking about making a shorter version (similar to this iteration here) out of the same fabric. This is so that I can wear it tucked in with skirts which would be handy, and also another excuse for some instant gratification. In other words, don't expect to be seeing the last of this pattern anytime soon!

You can see my pattern review here.

I have a couple of other instant gratification/TNT patterns on the go to soothe my wadder woes. They are knit garments which has signaled that Autumn is arriving, (yes I am wearing boots despite these photos being taken on the August Bank Holiday weekend) and that I clearly can't face any sort of fit issues at present!

Anyone else been soothing some sewing woes? 

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 31 August 2015

August Garment of the Month

Pattern Review: Vogue 9015

So making sleepwear is a first for me! 

I am pretty surprised that I have never made any pajama bottoms or anything similar before. For my first sleepwear garment I decided on a simple nightie as this is the type of sleepwear I actually sleep in. I chose Vogue 9015 - due to the see-through nature of the fabric I thought that photos on my dummy might be more appropriate. 

I purchased this fabric at a shopping trip with my sewing group. It was around £3 per metre from one of the shops on Goldhawk road (I can't remember which one). To be honest the quality of the fabric is not great. It seems to pick up the tiniest mark and it does have a very man made feel to it. 

I chose to sew view C but without the lace overlay. The pattern is easy, but does eat up a fair bit of fabric as it is cut on the bias. For some reason I had trouble attaching the bias facings. I would like to say it is because of the fabric, but really I think that I was just having an off day.

I found that there was a bit of gaping around the top of the bust area. I think that another reviewer has also mentioned this, but it is something that could be easily remedied for next time. 

I feel pretty meh about this. I expect that this is because I am not in love with the fabric. And I didn't enjoy the process of constructing this garment. I wonder if it is the same as when I sew upholstery or other items that I don't wear out of the house. Does anyone else have that?

You can view my Pattern Review here:

I have had a couple of wadders/unwearable muslins in the past months which has been a bit rubbish. On the plus side it does mean that I have been trying patterns that have been in the stash for a while, but on the downside my output has suffered. 

I have had some time off this last week so to make up for this I have sewn some basics and instant gratification items which I will post in due course. 

How has everyone else's summer sewing been going? 

Happy Sewing!

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!