Monday, 16 June 2014

The Lady Skater Dress!!

Right so! After not being able to post for months, I now have two posts in two weeks! Check me ! The Lady Skater dress has been a hit online ever since it was launched. I decided to make one, purely because I couldn't find a single person who didn't like it!The versions that I have loved online are Ping's Floral Skater , does help that the girl has a cracking body, but her dress was the final nod to go ahead and buy the pattern.
I chose a Black Floral Jersey from Croft Mill   and bought the clear elastic from Ebay.
20 yards for something like £5.

The pattern itself is actually pretty easy to sew up. The slightly fiddly bits were attaching the elastic to the shoulder seams and the neck band.
With the elastic, I ended up cutting a bit extra to hang loose on both sides which then made it easier to attach. For the neckband, I cut two sizes bigger, so that it fit without too much stretch.

I really like this dress, I made it a few months ago now, and have worn it through the spring with tights and boots and now can wear it with pumps.
 The fit is very flattering and I have had looks of disbelief when mentioned that this dress is hand made!!

I am looking for the perfect fabric to make a cap sleeved version of this bad boy. I like Rachel's  version  , just need to find the perfect fabric for it.

If you are even vaguely considering making this pattern and are new to knits, this is the one to go for. having never used knit fabric before, this dress was a great introduction and gave wonderful wearable results. I don't own an overlocker so just used stretch needles and the stretch stitch function on my basic cheepo machine. the results have left me feeling extremely confident sewing with knits and I cannot canvass enough for it.

Go get your lady skater on!

Fabric - Croftmill
Shoes- Minnetonka

Monday, 9 June 2014

Sinbad & Sailor's Hepworth Dress - and General Ramblings

Right, before I talk about my new make, I think I need to address something that has been stewing in my mind for  while. When I started this blog, nearly a year ago now, I thought it would be a good forum to document all my makes, connect with other people out there who love the craft and share my passion. What I didn't think about, was the sheer logistics that go with blogging , mainly taking the photographs. I feel extremely guilty to ask my OH or friends to take pictures of me in my  makes. I am not entirely sure why? Maybe it the fact that I have to rely on others to post. Maybe I find it too vain to photograph myself?
Whatever the reason be- but the lack of independence of being able to just sew, photograph and post instantly is what has kept me from blogging since January. I feel awful. I have so many lovely things to document and share.

Having always been an independent person, I am struggling to have to depend  on others to do something I consider my passion!
What would be the solution- spend money on a gadget that buys me this freedom? What would this gadget look like? A new self timing camera? a camera with a remote? Or a tripod for my iPhone? 
Do you blog and take pictures of yourself? if so, how do you manage that? Help me please!

Anyway,  freedom issues aside :) presenting my latest make! The Sinbad & Sailor's Hepworth Dress!!!
Photography courtesy the OH :) 

The Hepworth is a beautiful sleeveless dress pattern with a princess seam bodice joined at the waist to a flared skirt which includes handy hip pockets. The fit and flare shape gives you a flattering silhouette while evoking the organic and modernist sculptures of its namesake Barbara Hepworth. 

I cut out a size 10 , as that's what I thought my measurements corresponded to! Well it turns out- not-so-much! The dress was way too big for me, and I had to take a size in. So the next one will be cut out to a size 8. I am not entirely sure what the issue was- maybe I lost weight ? ( like feck!) or maybe I didn’t measure myself properly? 
Anyway, once I tried on the dress, I had to redo the back darts and adjust the shoulders quite a bit. 
This was my first time with princess seams . The pattern instructions are quite precise, I used this online tutorial to understand the process better. I also used Lladybird’s invisible zipper tutorial to make sense of what I was doing. 
The arm and neck lines are finished with a facing, and I must say-  that makes the dress look very tidy. 

I used a bold red polka dotted cotton for the pockets, as I love a bit of hidden flash, ahh the rebel that I am ! :p

 I thought I should try a few ‘modelling’ poses – so here’s a side one…

That clearly was more than enough to set off the giggle fit !

Fabric- Croft mill – Pima Cotton Lawn for dress. Study quilting cotton for pockets. Facing was navy blue cotton fabric from my stash
Tights- ASOS
Boots- Dune
Shades- Fossil 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year !!!

Hello Hello!!! It is 2014 and I have had a rather interesting 2013. Well firstly this was the year , I learned to sew and knit and bought my first sewing machine! Wahay!!!
I also started this blog that I haven't been great at updating and this has been a constant source of guilt.The main hurdle that I have with my blog is getting someone to take my pictures. We are all busy people and sometimes it is just not easy to ask your other half to take pictures of you ,esp when they have had a busy day and got home at 9pm! I hate being an un-finsher, you know the kind that starts something and never goes through with it?
2013 has also been an injury riddled year, as such the two races that I signed up for, I couldn't run. It was upsetting standing at the finish lines, and although seeing my  loved ones finish was a supporting thing to do , it was soul destroying to be the un-finisher !

I have decided to keep my resolutions realistic, and if i do manage to do better that will be a bonus!

Sewolutions 2014 
Make at least two pieces of clothing every month. Not too much to ask I reckon?
Make a dress that is pretty enough to wear to a wedding.( I have 3 weddings that I am going to, as far as I know!)

Knitolutions 2014 - In this order 
Complete second scarf .
Learn to read knitting patterns
Knit at least one cardigan.

Personal Resolutions 
Learn to swim ( classes booked I start tomorrow, eek!)
Get physio for knees and start running again. (Fingers crossed!)
Try one new sport ( Kayaking, kickboxing, Ashtanga yoga?... any other suggestions?)
Learn to cook food from the east . ( Malay/Japanese/Chinese/Thai/ Indonesian/Korean???)
Read before bedtime ( Hard one, I fall of to sleep, very easily)
Cook with 10 new ingredients . (Salsify,Celeriac, Scallops, lemongrass, etc etc ..)
Brush up on Spanish and Portuguese
Cook and eat good breakfast on a weekend.

I see these as achievable  goals. I will keep you updated on how I get on! :)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Pretty Pink Polka!

Guys, I am grinning like a Cheshire cat, and why shouldn't I?? Look at what I made!!!!
This is the by far my pride and joy, my most favourite skirt.. and it makes me feel like I might be getting somewhere with my sewing!!!
I wore this skirt to work and was complemented several times, with one women asking me where did I buy it from!!! EEEEKKKK!!!

Anyway I shall stop squealing and tell you a bit about the skirt itself. The pattern is Simplicity 2451.  This is the first time that I have attempted one of the Big Four patterns. As I beginner I have to confess that this was a bit of an eye opener to me. Unlike the indie patterns that I have sewn from previously, the instructions here were concise and I didn't have a lot of hand holding. I had to get K's mum to look at the skirt several times before I was sure of what I was doing.

The fabric is cotton poplin, and although is is so pretty, it was not the ideal weight for a skirt. So I lined the skirt with some acetate lining, and used this tutorial from Moonbeam. I came across her blog and oh my word , I was blown away. Alice, not only has sewn herself some pretty awesome outfits, she made her own wedding dress, and I don't mean a simple dress... oh no no.. this dress has 7 layers!!!! and looks like high end designer make! OH MY WORD!  and here am I getting uber excited about making a skirt!!

Anyway, back to my skirt... I teamed this with my Sorbetto Top ,and it works really well.The pockets make sure they are everything that you need to ensure that your iPhone and purse are comfortably nestled :) I definitely want to make another one , as it is such a delight to wear!

Fabric : Cotton poplin Pink Polka dots( Croft Mill Fabrics  ) ///Zipper and lining (First for fabrics) ///Some lightweight fusible interfacing for the back opening.

Alterations to original pattern: I used size 8, but then shortened the hem a bit. I added a lining as mentioned above. I hand sew the zipper as the foot I ordered of amazon doesn't fit my machine, even though it did say it would! pffttt!!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Wohoo!! My Wiksten Tank Top!

After the saga of my Darling Ranges dress, I decided that I needed to make something that was morale boosting, which meant putting  my beginners level sewing skills to use and be delighted with the end results.
So, I dug out the Wiksten tank Top pattern from my slowing growing pattern stash. This pattern was an absolute delight to work with. The tank is flattering and although the weather is cooling down , the design enables me to wear it with a cardigan. 
The fabric used was a gorgeous Crepe de Chine , which was free from fraying! Hurrrahhhh!!!!

The cute little pockets is a nice bit of detail that requires very little effort ..

I used size XS and it fits perfectly. I have to be honest and say I didn't make a muslin. But I am also going to make an excuse -- my muslin is still in the post.Once it arrives I will be Muslin making here on... 
I am very excited that my top is perfect, and I cant wait to make some more of these. 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Learning Curve: My Darling Ranges Dress

The Darling Ranges pattern by Megan Nielson, is cute, feminine, and wonderful to wear.. if of course you are not a dafty like me and select the right fabric for your abilities ( ie NOT slippery polyester),make a Muslin ( so that you know that the dress will fit) and know how to contain fraying fabric.
As much as I love this dress,The fabric was an absolute nightmare to handle. It was ridiculously slippery, which meant the pieces were not cut evenly. It frayed and frayed and frayed.. oh lord did it Fray...

I used the XS pattern, which works really well, except in the bust area. The dress is ever so tight around there, which means the buttons have gape between them... But the skirt is sooo pretty and falls so beautifully.

The tighter bust means that the seams at the waist are misaligned... but hey ho, that's what learning curve is all about!

I do have some gorgeous polka dotted pockets though :)
The fabric was the most difficult bit of the dress.. ( if i haven't mentioned that before :p) but the pattern , instructions and overall ease to make the dress are simply brilliant....

Fabric : 100% polyester  ( From Ditto Fabrics ), Polyester navy Polka dots for pocket lining (from The Remnant kings) ///Buttons: 5 5/8 c black plastic buttons  (John Lewis )

Alterations to original pattern: I used size XS, lowered the waist by 2 inches, as high waisted dresses aren't particularly my thing. I also shortened the hem, as the dress was way to long for me.I am 5.2'' (160cms), so have to alter probably everything I will ever make.

I haven't decided if this dress is going to be modest enough to wear outdoors as the gape in the bust area, is pretty obvious. But I have definitely learnt a lesson here, and that is to make a muslin beforehand...
I am loving the learning curve, although sometimes extremely frustrating, it is teaching me to persevere, be patient and make the godforsaken Muslin :)

Monday, 16 September 2013

Autumn- Winter Sewing Plans

With Autumn here I think it is best to start making sewing plans for my wardrobe. I have been lurking at patterns online and fellow bloggers and think I need to make a wishlist of all the lovely patterns I would like to sew.
Now this is a 'wishlist' and definitely not a' to do list' as I think that would be setting high expectations for myself and then beating myself for not being able to meet it. I think sewing and blogging are fun activities and if I cant keep the fun element in it because I have stressed myself out trying to juggle a job, life and everything that comes with it... then it is not worth doing. 
So here we go. 

Kelly Skirt number 2 - In Burgundy Corduroy that I have in my stash. This skirt is so versatile, and I am loving wearing my blue one . I cant wait to make another one!

Darling Ranges Dress - I do have the Megan Nielson obsession at the moment. I have already made one of these that turned out okay, but not something I think I couldn't wear in the outdoors ( more of this later) . I am hoping to find some lovely pale blue Chambray and hopefully sew this before it is too cold to wear it. Although I think I could wear it with some thick tights a chunky Cardi and a warm deep red scarf that I am currently knitting.

Named - Batwing top : Have you seen the amazing Named pattern collection?!!? Omg!! I was floored! Sleek lines, clean cuts and something so clinical, yet so desirable. As I have yet to reach to the heights of being an intermediate seamstress, I am hoping to get cracking on this wonderful top. What fabric do I use though? Wool blend??

Colette Anise- I love Colette, although I am not sure if all of their designs would suit me. However, the Anise is something that I have been eyeing for a while now. I would love a Teal, Bright Red and Burgundy ones. Although realistically, it would break my bank to buy all of those expensive wool fabrics and I probably need to have some variety in my wardrobe. If the right fabric comes along, I am hoping to get one of the above mentioned colours made for this year, in the long sleeve version. And since I live in the North of England, out winters last a while, which gives me plenty of sewing time :) 

Lady Skater- This extremely versatile dress has been on my mind for a while now. It looks so flattering. I LOVE  Pings version of this and have bought my cheapy knitted fabric , and orders some clear elastic and double stretch needles. I have been running away from Knits for a while know, simply because I don't know how to handle them, but Ping told me that she used her regular chepo machine to make her wonderful versions, which gave me the confidence to try them out. If it does work out, I am sure there will be a few versions of this dress in my wardrobe. :)

This is Ping Version. She looks adorable and it fits her so well.. I do have a sewing crush on the girl :D

Mathilde Blouse number 2 - Finally last but definitely not the least I would like like to recreate another of the wonderful Mathilde blouse. I made one of these before and I love how it looks and fits me. I have this idea of this green version with pearl buttons and a green lace yolk. If I can source this fabric, you will hopefully see this version , that is currently in my head :)

What are your sewing plans looking like?