Fabric choice part 2 – Kielo wrap dress

This second instalment is embarrassingly very late as all 3 dresses were made in summer 2016 and were just waiting on me photographing the final dress and then writing the post! I invested in a gorilla pod with Camkix Bluetooth shutter which I’m hoping will help improve the speed and quality of my blog photos. Fingers crossed things will be a bit quicker from machine to blog in the future!

For the second instalment of my fabric choice series I’ve opted for the Named Clothing Kielo dress which recently became one of my favourite patterns. I made 3 versions ranging in length and fabric choice. They all have different qualities which I love but it’d be great to hear which one you think works best.

Dress 1 – 

I made this from a crepe jersey from Fabworks. It’s more structured than a cotton jersey so it doesn’t drape as much. It’s also a synthetic fabric which means it’s not very cool on the skin in hot weather but I think it looks more dressy and less casual. A year later and it gets some good wear especially on summer holidays.

Dress 2 –

This was made from a cotton jersey from Walthamstow, I didn’t have quite enough to make the tie waist so instead used a plain black jersey which has the great effect of looking like a belt. This is a great idea if you want to break up the dress a bit. This dress has much more drape and is great for wearing in the hot summer weather. It’sdefinitely  come in handy this summer!

Dress 3 –

The third dress was made in a woven fabric from Goldhawk Road. I’m not sure on the composition but it’s is drapy but with some body. I also shortened this dress to make it wearable at work. Again I love this variation because it looks smarter than a jersey.

For details on the pattern you can read my Kielo wrap dress blog but I can’t recommend this pattern enough, it’s quick, easy and a bit different! I’ve just finished a short jersey one for work which I haven’t worn yet but am looking forward to for Monday.

SOI Lola coat

I had intended on doing 2 blog posts on the SOI Lola coat pattern as I’ve made 2 now but given wore both of them non stop before summer and am only just getting round to writing this post then I thought it would be easier to combine the two. 

The Lola coat pattern from the SOI City Break patterns e-book was what prompted me to buy the patterns in the end. I love it’s relax style whilst also looking very sleek and stylish. To me it crosses both work and play boundaries perfectly!

The pattern has some interesting features like the pockets and the mini shawl collar. It’s definitely a fun make with a few extra tweaks for a confident sewer but actually nothing super complicated.

The first Lola I made was for part of my Japanese honeymoon wardrobe. I wanted a lighter weight coat for the baggage allowance and thought the big pockets would come in handy. Initially I wasn’t sure whether to make the long or the short version as the long version would have been well below my knees on my short stature but the short version was missing the pockets. In the end I opted long and took 5 inches out of the length spread from the underarm in 1 inch chunks. When doing this I advise picking you sections carefully to avoid notches so you don’t need to redraw them. Plus once you have done the fist pattern piece I would follow the same spacing for the rest of the pattern pieces to match. I also took an inch or 2 out of the length on the sleeves.

Normally I would advise a toile but I was a bit wreckless and just went for it and luckily it paid off! I used a green lightweight wool which I bought from the man outside Sainsbury’s years ago with the intention of making a Sewaholic pattern but had never gotten round to it. The pattern called for 4 m and it was the only thing in my stash remotely long enough. Turns out after my adjustments I can now get it out of 3m at 60′ wide.

Apologise for the terrible photos, you can see my messy sewing room in the background. This coat is an absolute winner and I wore it almost every day except up in the mountains where it was too cold and on the amazingly unexpected sunny days particularly down near Hiroshima.

It turns out the pockets are the perfect size for deer biscuits if you ever needed to know!

For the second, my Mum and I decided to try and make a Lola coat each in a weekend. I bought some beautiful camel coloured wool from Fabworks which I wanted to use. My only fear was that it would be too thick as the pattern calls for a draped fabric and this really isn’t. Sometimes the fabric gods smile down on us and that random punt we take as sewers pays off… And this was one of those times! It looks like it’s sold out but they still have other colours available.

The wool gives a lovely structured feel to the shape and the colour works a treat. Now back to the challenge of making it in a weekend… Turns out you definitely can! To be fair I had cut out the fabric in advance but the rest slotted together smoothly. I even took the time to press things properly with the clapper! Win!

The only bit where I struggled is the shawl collar at the neck. It’s a bit bulky so doesn’t lie flat but I don’t think anyone would ever notice. The extra thickness of the fabric just makes it snugglier in winter weather. I haven’t had much call to wear them recently because the weather has been brilliant in England this summer. Is it too early to think about making another for next autumn/winter?

Me Made May ’17

I took part in Me Made May last year and loved it for lots of reasons. Mainly because it reminds me how much I’ve made and how much I wear it but also it helped me identify big gaps in my Me Made wardrobe. There is no question this year I’m taking part again.

‘I, Jenny Hunter, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear at least one one me made item each day for the duration of May 2017’

The aims for me will be:

– to appreciate how much I have made

– to reflect on my Me Made wardrobe and identify any gaps

– to start to think more about my personal style and what I want to make in the future that suits me
May has snuck up on me unexpectedly so I haven’t been making lots in preparation. Let’s hope it’s as useful as last year!

The other Toaster Sweater

Just a quick post to follow on from my previous Toaster sweater. The pattern comes in two styles and having liked the other one I wanted to give this second version a go.

I spent the longest time on this make in choosing the pattern size. Based on the sizing guide and my concern of the thickness of the fabric I thought I was going to make a large but decided to stick with my guns and go for the medium. In actual fact there is plenty of room in the jumper so it’s a good thing I didn’t go larger. 

I used a thick plush jersey for extra snuggle factor and have been loving wearing it in the colder weather. It’s a beautiful oatmeal colour with stars that I bought from a sewing shop in Witney Oxfordshire. I think I actually prefer it to the other version!

I couldn’t get my twin needle to work so opted for zig zag top stitching but I think it works. 

This is a great pattern and I want to try making it in a drapier jersey to see how it works. I’m not sure if the polo neck might collapse too much but I’m going to give it’s a go… fingers crossed!

BHL Holly trousers (another foray into the WIP mountain)

Another item from my recent develing into all of my unfinished WIP highlighted these BHL Holly trousers. These are actually the second pair I made, the first a tester pair were in a green linen blend. I absolutely loved them, the fit I think is reminiscent of 1940’s style but on the first day I wore them in the wild a colleague mentioned how they looked like the genie from Aladdins trousers. Yes, the nail in the coffin. I never wore those lovely trousers again and it caused me to halt progress on finishing this black pair I had planned for work ataire.

Now older and a bit wiser, or just keen to finish some WIP (you decide) I took them back up and finished the hand sewing that was left.

They are a beautifully simple pattern which are fitted with darts on the back and loose on the front to look flattering. Sadly I’ve put on a bit of weight since I fitted these trousers but I still love the pattern and highly recommend it to anyone who fancies trousers with relatively limited fitting issues due to the style. Apologise for the poor photo quality, black is terrible to photograph and get a sense of the shape!

They also feel like secret pyjamas which is always a win! Sadly for anyone one wants to know the fate of the green pair, I sent them to a charity shop in a hopes someone else can love and wear them! Some things aren’t meant to be!

Sewaholic Rae skirt revival

This is a bit of a cheeky blog post as it’s not actually something I made recently but is something that I’ve never blogged about. I made a few versions of the Rae skirt by Sewaholic a few years ago and loved the skirts but had nothing to pair with them. Thanks to the arrival of my new favourite basic the SOI Silk Cami I’ve managed to start wearing them again! 

I made this murky green version using an unusual fabric from Fabricland. I’m not sure on the type but it has a glossy finish with a nice shine and the fabric holds it own more than a viscose or crepe. It also has a slight stretch to it, possibly like a stretch sateen or something??

The skirt has absolutely no fit issues and I made it straight out the packet. Even better it still fits despite me putting on weight since I made it. Largely thanks to the elasticated waist! 

It’s amazing how the arrival of a new pattern can re-open opportunities for patterns you’ve forgotten. Now I’m desperately on the hunt for another fabric in my stash to make one in.

Whilst trying to photograph this my husband decided he wanted to be on the blog too so here he is …

The pile of shame aka the fickle sewer

I, like many other sewers have work in progress projects (WIP). Sometimes projects get shelved and they end up in my WIP pile. Often they are shelved because I’m avoiding a tricky sewing technique or more likely I’ve gotten distracted or worse I just can’t be bothered to change the thread in the overlocker! Yes I am a terribly fickle sewer. When a project gets shelved it either ends up on a pile or it gets shoved under the table my sewing machines are on with the thought that ‘I’ll get back to it soon!’.

Getting set up for my first sewing of 2017 I noticed to my horror that the pile is now so big it’s difficult to sew as bits keep falling on top of the foot peddle and I can’t get my legs under the table! Alright I’m probably exaggerating but it’s definitely gotten out of hand (a bit like my fabric stash!).

I decided it was time to have a sort out and delved into the pile. I discovered a few things I didn’t even realise I’d started and it was at this point I realised that I need to start working on my WIP stash.

So here’s what I finished this month …

I think the pattern was the BHL Charlotte skirt made up in a grey pinstripe wool that was gifted from my Mum’s stash.

The skirt needed a bit of hand sewing which was very therapeutic. I find it a good task whilst watching tv like pinning seams or taping together PDF patterns.

If I’m honest I don’t remember much of the construction although the darts are at weird angles which I think was an adjustment for fit at the time. 

Having finished and worn it the skirt is a little on the snug side for me these day but it looks smart and it’s a great addition to my work wardrobe. If I can find the pattern I might make another with a tad more ease around the bum!

Now the confession is over I’m hoping I can keep up finishing items to get the pile back down to a more sensible level! I’ll keep you posted!

SOI Silk Cami – #2017makenine

I was lucky enough to snap this up in the Black Friday sale last year as I’ve fancied it for a while. Although it’s fairly basic I think it will be perfect for working towards my capsule wardrobe resolution for 2017 so that I have more full outfits that are me made instead of parts of outfits.

Having made a few SOI garments I know their block is based on a much taller person than my 5 ft 2 in so I took 2 inches out of the length of the body in 2 x 1 inch sections. I then just graded the side seams into a smooth curve.

I cut it out in some left over viscose from a Walthamstow visit. It has beautiful fluidity and I knew it would allow me to test it before making it up in all the beautiful fabrics I got for Christmas from my family.

The final look is fairly loose but I think that’s the style. I love it tucked into skirts and on reflection I think the neck line suits me better than my normal higher style. It’s something I’ll look at in future makes.

The construction is easy, although it has an interesting method for sewing on the facings in an all in one method. I confess I left out the French seams on the side seams but they would be a nice finish in future versions.

A few options for my next one …

That’s two big hits from my #2017makenine. I hope I can keep it up and make a few more items soon.

Sew House Seven Toaster 2 – #2017makenine and #sewmystyle

Given I’m pretty rubbish at sticking to challenges I’ve been pretty ambitious this year and signed up to 2! I’m hoping that now the wedding and honeymoon are over I should have more free time where we’re not planning and coordinating that can be spent sewing. Both of these challenges as I’ve spoken about before are helping to work towards a fuller wardrobe of clothing that is me made and this pattern is no exception. Eventually I’d like to have an almost wholly me made closet!

Jumpers are definitely a huge hole in my existing wardrobe. I’d never heard of Sew House Seven patterns until signing up to #sewmystyle but I bought the versions 1 and 2 combo pack for the toaster as I think both will be great! Plus this winter the weather has me dreaming of nice snuggly jumpers!

I have some beautiful wool Jersey which I bought in Japan and is destined to become a toaster sweater but in the meantime I wanted to test it in something from my stash. I have very few stable jersey knits which is what this pattern calls for so ended up opting for this lighter weight jumper style fabric. I’m afraid I’m pretty rubbish with the different names for knit fabrics. The fabric looks like it is knitted together rather than a solid jersey fabric and it’s something that’s been in my stash for well over 10 years. I’m not sure where it came from or what it was intended for but it’s been sat in my stash a little forlorn as I couldn’t see any possible use for it.

I went for size small and didn’t make any alterations however I noticed after I had cut out that the knit fabric had been stretched out on the carpet and subsequently shrunk when unpinned. I think I lost an inch in length on the body and the sleeves. I normally cut out on a wooden floor so this is something I’ll watch for in the future when cutting out on carpet! Given it was a test garment I ploughed on regardless.

The construction is nice and easy. It’s the first time I’ve done a split hem and the instructions make it so straightforward and neat. I love the mitring on the corners! I ended up sewing the hem by hand as I think the fabric calls for an invisible hem but regardless this jumper can definitely be made in a day and is suitable for a relatively new sewer given its for stable knits. It also only has 3 pattern pieces which makes for quick cutting out!

The final fit is good and although initially unsure I really like the look of it. I am currently happily snuggled up in it as I type and am looking forward to adding a few more to my wardrobe! Given I like the current length of this version I will have to measure up against the pattern and decide if any length needs to come out of the pattern before making up my next version.

I absolutely love this pattern and if I don’t end up liking any of the other #sewmystyle makes I don’t mind because this jumper was worth it! Now to find some more fabric to try out option 1…….