Sunday, 2 August 2015

Summer Sewing...Alder 02 {Grainline Studio}


A brief update on summer sewing life... my love for Grainline Studio patterns continues with my new Alder shirtdress, a first View B (with the gathered side and back skirt sections). I skipped the pocket as the fabric is busy enough, and added some length but otherwise followed the pattern and it was smooth sailing...

The fabric is a John Lewis sale find so this dress was actually a bargain to make. Incidentally, you could probably use contrast binding or bought bias binding, and make this dress out of less fabric than the pattern requirements. I did buy the right amount as it was so cheap, but I have plenty left.

That's it for now. I have renamed this little spot; or rather pinched the name from an old personal blog of mine which has long been defunct. I have finally found my own space and am excited to make some 'homely' things as well as clothes.

Inspired by seeing this amazing (and pretty moving) exhibition; listening to Nick Mulvey, who was amazing at the Cambridge Folk Festival; planning my first make of this pattern, hurrah!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Belcarra top {Sewaholic}

My first Sewaholic pattern, the Belcarra top. It's a really simple top with a raglan sleeves and shaped into the waist. It is a loose top which is nice to pull on and really quick and easy to make. I actually made this months and months ago (oops) to wear tucked into my black work skirt, but this has reminded me to make some more for summer!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Pin cushion jar

A non-dressmaking post...a make-do-and-mend one. My mum has a great portable pin cushion in a little fabric pot, so the pin cushion is inside the lid. It's cute but also really useful to have in the sewing box. I have a lovely pin cushion but it is too big to carry round so I wanted a sewing box pin jar, but I couldn't find a copycat version anywhere. Cue a bit of industrious DIY with leftovers to recycle- Pimms and Eurovision-watching optional ;)

Supplies: circle of scrap fabric, wadding, glue, jam/honey jar, circle of cardboard (slightly smaller than the jar lid, or it won't fit back on!).

Sew gathering stitches around the edge of a circle of fabric, gather and pack with a little wadding, glue to a circle of cardboard (i.e. cereal box card!) and then onto recycled jar lid and leave to dry. Ta da!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Elisalex dress {By Hand London }

My second By Hand London make, finally. I have a couple of BHL patterns from my summer job last year at a haberdashery, but I made the Anna dress twice and I'm not a massive fan  (although, note to self, I still need to finish converting my first go into a peplum-top, as my v-neckline was pretty flash). I'm not sure whether to size down again or that the slash-neck option really doesn't suit me. Anyway.

So, in short, I left BHL patterns alone for a while until the Elisalex came along. I made it up in some of my African wax-print cotton from a Goldhawk Road trip ( I say *some*,  I  still have metres of this!), pretty much on a whim one rainy afternoon. I really like it! It's just a nice, different dress style. 

It has a lined bodice with princess seams, a box-pleated tulip skirt and an exposed zipper- although I used an invisible zip, because I only had one of those to hand. It also has a cool low-scooped back, which I forgot to photograph. 

The skirt isn't as tulipy as I thought,- I think you would need stiffer fabric?- but then again the fabric is so busy that it wouldn't be worth it. The bodice lining instructions are so straightforward and came out really nicely, especially as I just used some leftover lemon poly-lining unpicked from a skirt I didn't like.

A pattern success then and I want to use this bodice with another skirt type too. Also, this fabric though.....true love :)

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Alder Shirtdress {Grainline Studio}

My first Grainline Studio pattern! I am really impressed by these patterns (I already have an Archer shirt cut out as I write this). There is a nice level of challenge but it is still straightforward to sew with very clear instructions.

I used this lovely cotton poplin and made View A, which is the straight A-Line shirtdress with curved hems; it may not be fitted but it is so comfortable and just well-drafted. There is a gathered-shirt option (B) and the Grainline blog also gives you an impressive amount of variation choices.

My next plans for this would be a chambray/light denim View B and  plaid v-neck, cap-sleeved variation on View A. There is a boring lack of comment really as it's just such a nice pattern. It's no McCalls fitted shirtdress-type- it's supposed to be loose and boyish in silhouette, if that's what you want, but is is really lovely.

Cheap John Lewis button-success!

The pattern instructions leaves you with a beautiful finish inside; I think I am going to incorporate these instructions into other patterns I own to be honest

Monday, 1 June 2015

Colette Dahlia

I am not entirely sure why I am blogging this before other waiting-to-be-photographed makes but this pattern is seriously annoying me.

This is Dahlia no. 2 and it still does not fit right. The waistband yoke ended up being 3 inches too big. 3 inches, wtf. The waistband is kind of 'lumpy', for want of a better word- I am going to unpick the lining and see if I can make it lie better, although I think taking it in by so much at the side seam did not help  matters all that much.

However, my main rant stems from the neckline- which is vast. As in, almost-off-the shoulder vast. The pattern instructions have you gather the bodice last thing, but on this second try,  I did it first, thinking that would make it fit okay; but the back is still way too big. I put some darts in the back to pinch it in a bit before binding the neckline, but it is still big.

I am not by any means an expert seamstress, but I can follow patterns well and don't see where I am going wrong with this pattern. I made up this second one slowly and carefully, in the same frame of mind as the Sew Over It Tea Dress; but still found that pattern far easier. I think I might have to trace the bodice and yoke pieces and completely customise them to get a good fit; although I am determined to alter this and/or go back to my aborted first try, so that I have an ok-fitting dress. is still giving me the rage.

On a positive, this cotton voile is drapey and lovely, so I kind of want to make this dress better to suit the fabric. But: it's a bit hard-going for a supposed beginner pattern isn't it. Sad faces all round....

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Sew Over It 1940's Tea Dress & Conscious Sewing

I have been good with sewing clothes for myself each month and trying new patterns/skills...however remain pretty useless at documenting. Same old excuse- not enough time/space/light to record what I make. I'll be in my own space soonish which will hopefully have better natural light- or at least I will have a tripod or remote as some things don't photograph at all well on the hanger.

This  1940's Tea Dress would be one of them. It's lovely but looks like a weird sack when you hang it up! Anyway, this is my second Sew Over It pattern and I am pretty happy with it. I was pretty pleased with myself as I really took my time with this, hand sewing it in segments. I am glad I did as made it with this gorgeous, if insanely slippy, rayon; it was worth it in the end. It's a little big on the bodice- but its actually ok with this type of billowy fabric and very comfortable to wear. I am already looking forward to making more, a bright summery crepe and maybe even a dark silk for Christmas??

However, I am trying to have more of a sewing plan. I have been trying to record each make with notes (nerd alert part 1) and also make lists of what I need (like the perfect plain skirt) and then what I would like to (full maximum nerdiness) skills I'd like to master. So, so far, different fabrics and more hand-basting (this dress!), tracing and grading patterns for a better fit, princess seams and lining....! Hopefully this will keep me on track making a true homemade wardrobe and also not being too limited in my skills.

A new Zinnia in bargain sale cotton, for work :) ~The list commanded, I made!!