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!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

The dress that almost got the better of me

Pattern Review: McCalls 6744

Do you ever have one of those projects where everything seems to go wrong from the start? This was McCalls 6744 for me. I originally was going to sew up view C with the long skirt but you can see that this didn't happen. 

Firstly I cut the the skirt out incorrectly, cutting two left sides. As the shapes are similar I figured it would be salvageable. That was before I inadvertently thought that one of the skirt pieces was a scrap and cut into it as a tester piece, so I had to trim down the other skirt pieces. Somehow I managed to cut the most uneven hem, and as it was so short already I couldn't re-cut it. 

Seriously? I have no idea what was wrong with me. Part of me wants to use the excuse that I was recovering from a tummy bug when I was sewing this, but I know that alot of these mistakes were down to my sillyness. I am just glad that I managed to salvage it in the end. 

Anyway enough of me being an idiot, let's talk about the dress. I had read in pattern reviews that the bodice comes up quite big. Therefore I went down a size and cut a small on the bodice and medium on the skirt. The bodice fits perfectly and there is no over-exposure on the wrap which is great. The medium on the skirt fits fine, but when I make this again I will probably grade out to a large on the hips for a looser fit. 

The fabric is another ITY knit from Windmil Fabrics in Boston, priced at $4.98 per yard. Like my previous dress it was really easy to work with and washed great. Despite my carelessness the instructions for the dress are simple and to be honest it came together pretty quickly including my mistakes. Initially I wasn't sure how much I would like the ruched sleeves, but know the dress is finished I really like them as a design feature and they are something new to add to the my wardrobe. 

You can see my Pattern Review here.

Most of the pictures above are taken on the V&A in Cape Town. I tried taking some snaps in Melbourne but it was just a little bit too sunny. However, I thought I would throw in this pic of my friend's dog photo-bombing the shot for laughs. 

Have you ever had a project that seems to be sabotaged from the start? 
Other than lots of deep breaths what techniques do you have to finish it? 

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Festive December Dress

Pattern Review: Vogue 8870

That's right, my December Garment of the Month is a summer dress. As I will be spending the festive season in Melbourne I have been rapidly expanding my warm weather wardrobe and could not pass up the opportunity to whip up Vogue 8870.

As soon as I snapped up this ITY knit from Windmil Fabric in Boston, USA, I knew that it would be destined for this pattern. The fabric only cost $4.98 USD per yard. It washed fine and sewed up really easily. ITY knits are so comfy and this dress is a dream to wear.

I cut a medium and combined the bodice from view B with the skirt from view A. I cut the back skirt piece on the fold and apart from sewing generous seams on the bodice and using less elastic on the bodice back I sewed this straight out of the envelope. The fit was pretty spot on. I do love Vogue Patterns as I find their fit pretty consistent. Vogue patterns are the ones that always require the least amount of alterations for me. 

This pattern is rated easy and I would definitely agree. There is nothing hard about this and it came together really quickly. The only thing that I would change would be to self-line the bodice rather than use facings. I have already used this as a base pattern to copy a RTW dress. 

These photos were taken at Lorne Beach during a road trip along the Great Ocean Road in Australia. I have been having a great time so far and I am heavy heartidly sure my January garment will be much more Winter appropriate for my return to the UK.

You can see my Pattern Review here. 

Did you sew a dress or garment for the Christmas Season? 

I'll leave you guys with a tourist snap of our road trip!
Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Chiffon Butterfly Top

Pattern Review: Butterick 5355

Greetings from sunny Melbourne!
It has been a while since I last posted I have been busy undertaking some summer sewing for a work trip to Cape Town followed by a holiday in Melbourne. I finished Butterick 5355 back in October and have only gotten round to photographing it as it has been so cold in London. 

The weather in Melbourne is warm but very changeable. I have heard the saying that you get all seasons in one day and it is so true. When I put on this top this morning I was wearing boots!

Anyway less about the climate and more about the top.  The pattern is rated easy and I do agree, however I would say that my fabric choice made this a bit harder. I picked up this pretty chiffon from the man outside Sainsbury's in Walthamstow. Priced at £2 per metre it was a bargain!

I cut medium and sewed this straight out the envelope making no alterations. If I were to make this again I would narrow the neckline as it does give me an off the shoulder look. I would also grade out a little at the hip as it is a tad snug.

As I mentioned earlier, the chiffon made this project a bit of extra work. It took a while to cut out and it features a fair amount of couture techniques including french seams on the sides and sleeves, mock french seams on the armholes, binding on the neckline and pin hems. This added so much extra time, but I definitely think that it is worth it as the top is so sheer. 

I have to admit that once I had cut this top out it sat in my sewing box for a couple of months I needed some additional notions (bias binding and thread) but mostly this was due to my apprehension of tackling all of these couture techniques in one garment. I have used all of them independently and I have sewn with chiffon, but generally it is underlined and any imperfections are not visible to the naked eye. I attended a couture sewing techniques course at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London which improved my confidence when working with tricky fabrics. I finally completed this garment during a 'Pick Up a Project' sew-a-long with my sewing group to banish UFOs. 

I do really love this top. The style is not something I would usually buy or sew, probably due to the wide sleeves, but it is a versatile garment for the summer. I also really enjoyed the challenge despite my months of procrastination. I would consider sewing this again. Maybe in chiffon or in a satin for something more glam, and maybe longer so I could style it as a tunic. This pattern is one where the fabric really shines, so I would definitely have to think about the fabric for next time. 

You can see my Pattern Review here.

How is everyone's festive sewing coming along? Do you have any UFOs that are going to be carried over to 2015? 

Happy Sewing!