Little Christmas reindeer

This year I’m making a concerted effort to use things up and try and reduce my stash. I found this cheeky little kit from a Prima magazine from last year back in the summer and it quickly made it onto my makes pile.

The kits comes with everything pre cut so it was simply a case of some blanket stitching, stuffing and sewing on some embellishments and we were away.

They’re not ground breaking and certainly not complex but it was a great little make for sitting on the sofa one evening and hopefully they can find a nice home in my house this Christmas!

Blackwood cardigan – another step on the handmade wardrobe 

I wear a cardigan pretty much every day so I knew finding a pattern that worked would be key to building my Me Made wardrobe. I’ve part started other patterns before but never quite finished one until I found the Blackwood Cardigan

I’ve now made a mountain of them! They’re incredibly quick to make, require relatively few pattern pieces and I would definitely recommend this for someone new to sewing knits. It couldn’t be more easy!!

I’ve made it up in a number of different types of knit fabrics. My absolute favourite is the grey version, it’s a lovely weight knit that’s fairly stable from Walthamstow . In contrast the yellow is a lace knit which I bought years ago in Goldhawk Road. It’s a more light weight summer cardigan for hot days. I would note that different knits will result in different sizing of the cardigan, loose drapery knits will end up with longer sleeves. 

I’ve made about 8 cardigans now and am looking forward to hacking the pattern in the future to see if I can play around with body and sleeve length.

Long length Colette Mabel

Just a quickie this time! I’ve made a few of the normal Colette Mabel skirts in the shorter length. However, the longer length pattern has curved front seams which unfortunately when I made it up didn’t look particularly flattering (it probably didn’t help that it was in some crazy cheap metallic jersey knit)!

So I shelved the idea of a pencil jersey skirt until I saw a girl at work wearing one recently. I decided to take the Mabel skirt pattern which I know fits and just extended the length. I’d measured roughly what length I wanted and then carried the length straight down. 

It’s as simple as that and I absolutely love it! I’ve made 3 now and am looking for the next fabric to make up another. 

The version photographed is in a lightweight scuba so don’t be afraid to try making a scuba skirt if you secretly fancy it. A very gratifying make!

Oh Sew Bootiful clouds kit

A bit of a departure from the usual posts. I bought an Oh sew bootiful sampler kit to take on a recent holiday to Italy. I wanted something that could travel easily in a suitcase but would allow me to keep sewing whilst on holiday and this seemed the perfect neat solution.

I chose the cloud sampler because it had a lovely contemporary style and it would allow me to learn French knots which I’ve never sewn before.

The kit comes with everything you need and even helpfully has the exact stitches printed on the fabric to make it super simple. 

We ended up having a few rainy days so I was definitely glad of the distraction and the kit sewed up gratifyingly quickly.

My French knots aren’t as beautiful as they probably should be but I think it adds a more fluffy nature to the cloud. I love this kit and would really love another in the future. If you fancy either learning embroidery or just a fun kit I would recommend looking at the Oh sew bootiful website. Enjoy!

Penny and a solution to my fear of button holes!

I’m part of the SOI PDF club which will likely not surprise you since I have made so many of their patterns. The minute I saw this dress I knew I needed to make it. I’ve been wanting a shirt dress for ages but am inherently lazy because sewing is crammed into the little time I have left after working a full time job and having a busy social life with family and friends. I’ve come to accept this and am happy to make lots of basic to fill my wardrobe as at least I’m still sewing!

Penny has an elasticated waist, full skirt and very few buttons which is a huge win in my books as I’m terrified of button holes.

I decided to use come coral rayon fabric from my stash which I think came from Walthamstow last year. The only change I made was to shorten the skirt as I’m only 5’2. Having shortened the skirt I found I can actually get the dress out of 2m of fabric at 60′ wide but 2.5m is preferable.

To avoid the button holes I finally decided to use my kam snaps which I bought last year. These are an absolute find!! They’re super quick and easy to use… I think they will happily replace lots of buttons in my future makes. If you share my fear then look into getting a pair of these pliers. I bought them from The Village Haberdashery but you can get them from lots of places.

I love everything about this dress and have 2 more cut out on my sewing table! I love it when a plan comes together.

Sew Over It Ultimate trousers

I bought the pattern with the online class and made the Carrie trousers last summer but due to the closer fit I really struggled with the ultimate trousers. Back in the Easter SOI sale my Mum and I bought each other the Ultimate trousers class at Clapham as belated birthday presents.

The class was the best decision we could have made. We learnt with Julie who is incredibly experienced, friendly and approachable. We had a real range of experience and fitting issues in the class but Julie smoothly assisted everyone ensuring that by the end of the day everyone at the very least had a fitted pattern.

I went with some cheap tropical floral stretch cotton from Walthamstow to test out the pattern knowing it would be 50:50 as to whether it would be successful. In the end it worked out pretty good!

See below on the left…
Since that class I’ve been churning out these trousers like you wouldn’t believe! I’ve made 5 pairs in total and have another pair I’m making as a fabric product testing for Minerva Crafts which I’m hoping to complete soon. For someone who hasn’t really worn trousers in years it’s a big change for me but I’m loving the increased breadth in my wardrobe. Below are a few of the pairs I’ve made.

If you’re interested in making these trousers I would highly recommend the class. I know they are expensive but some things are just impossible to fit without experience and if nothing else it’s a great day out meeting like minded people. 

Now is it time I made some slightly less crazy trousers or should I carry on with the bright floral theme??

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!