Sew Over it Trouser course – Carrie

I bought this course the first weekend it came out because I desperately wanted help on fitting trousers. Excitingly it was the day before my wedding back in June! Sadly once getting it I then continued to put it off due to sewing fear.

I finally took the plunge having seen the beautiful versions my Mum had made and  cut out a basic black pair. 

I sewed them half together and then got frustrated that the fabric creases just by looking at it… Not ideal for trousers! Finally I stopped stalling and plucked up the courage to finish them ready for our honeymoon in Japan in November. Then having finished them I ended up loving them so much I made a second pair. Excitingly I had some perfect fabric from a Walthamstow market trip which reminded me of autumn leaves, perfect for the Japanese Maples. They are literally secret pyjamas!

There isn’t much to say about construction as the pattern is fairly straightforward however sewing in the elastic looked less neat than I expected in both my versions. I think I need to try this again with my next pair.

The online class was great and I highly recommend it. The videos are very clear and there are lots of handy tips. I especially think the videos on the waistband are useful. Having made them I think they’re super quick and straightforward so will probably use the videos only for troubleshooting in the future.

The only thing I’m not sure on is how to style them. I think I need a tucked in top but need to find a few other options. I think I can see a few more of these in my sewing future.

New Years Resolutions and #2017makenine

I’m pretty rubbish at making New Year’s resolutions and generally don’t bother but this year I wanted to make some pledges for my sewing. I’ve been pretty rubbish over the last few months at blogging. We went on our honeymoon to Japan back in November and so I went on a sewing rampage trying to make a new wardrobe of clothing to take with me and then since we’ve been back its been manic with Christmas prep, working late and thank you cards! 

So for 2017 I’d like to start thinking more carefully about the things I make. I noticed huge gaps in my wardrobe during Me Made May 2016 and loved working on a wardrobe collection for my honeymoon so would like to carry that on and work on a more cohesive wardrobe collection where I can mix and match. I will hopefully catch up on blogging all my honeymoon creations soon!

I’ve pledged to join Project Sew My Style in order to work towards this as the aim is to sew a set pattern every month until you have a full collection by the end of the year. I love this because it’s supporting indie pattern makers and also works towards my resolution. It’s also helped highlight a few new pattern companies I’ve never heard of! I might not make all of them as some patterns don’t look to be a silhouette which suits me but I’m going to try and make most of them.

Finally here are my #2017makenine which are a collection of patterns either part of the sew my style or they are Christmas presents or patterns I’ve had for a while and just not got round to yet!

The patterns:

1) Sew Over it Silk Cami

2) Sew Over it Ultimate Trousers

3) Sew House 7 Toaster 2 Jumper

4) Megan Neilsen Virginnia Leggings

5) Closet Case Files Nettie bodysuit

6) Simple Sew trench coat

7) Sew Over It Grace dress

8) Grainline Portside bag set

9) Colette Zinnia skirt
Hope your all looking forward to an exciting 2017!

Fabric choice Part 1

I often repeat use patterns and play around with different fabric choices. The choice of fabric can have a dramatic impact on the finished garment and I thought it might be worth me documenting this in here as a means of critically assessing my choices and helping inform future makes. I also thought other people might find my experiences helpful if they are also considering fabric choices.

I thought I’d start this with the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress which I have now made 3 times in 3 very different fabrics.

Make 1:

Fabric type- soft cotton lawn in dark green

This was my first version of this dress and whilst it is lovely and comfortable to wear it creases very easily which means lots of ironing but also creasing during the day as you wear it. Therefore whilst a good option for making it wouldn’t be my first recommendation. It has nice drape for the top half of the dress but with a bit of weird bagging.

Make 2:

Fabric type- relatively firm blue chambray with white dots

Being relatively firm this hold a nice shape during the day. It doesn’t crease as badly during wear but it does require a good press dbefore wearing after washing. Due to its weight the dress has a nice smooth shape and you get less weird bagging in the top half. It’s also a good weight for transitioning in not such warm weather like Spring or Autumn. I’ll definitely try and make another one of these for my Autumn wardrobe if I can source some similar fabric.

Make 3:

Fabric type – a silky rayon in navy with abstract polka dots

This is by far my favourite choice, both for wear and shaping. It doesn’t require any pressing after washing and doesn’t crease during the day which is a huge plus for me. It’s also lovely and light for hot weather and super comfy as it just slips on. It has a lovely drape so the top half hangs nicely with little bagging.

All 3 have been successful but my favourite is make 3 which doesn’t require ironing and is lovely and soft and light to wear, especially in hot weather. I will likely make more versions in the same fabrics as make 2 and 3 in the future if I can source similar fabrics.

Kielo wrap dress

There is a new love in my life and her name is Kielo!! I saw this pattern by Named ages ago and if I’m honest was completely put off by the picture on pattern sleeve however I kept falling in love with people’s versions and finally plucked up the courage.

The pattern can be used for a woven or jersey but I decided to opt for the jersey to start with as it is generally more forgiving on fit which is ideal for testing a new pattern. On a recent visit to Walthamstow market with the lovely Lucy from Perle Designs. I bought a light weight tropical print which leapt into my hands when searching through the stash and luckily it has been one of those perfect moments of right pattern and right fabric!

The Named patterns are drafted for 5’8 height which is significantly taller than my 5’1 so I knew some adjustment would be in order. I am also a different size on top to my bottom so was going to look at merging sizes but read a helpful blog which explained you only need the bust to fit and then it’s so loose with the wrap that you won’t have any problems. Phew! One less thing to worry about!

For the length, this is one of the few patterns I have seen with a line for bust, waist and hips. I decided as I am lazy to do a quick adjustment on this first draft which I could then refine later. So I measured roughly from my shoulders to each point (I.e bust, waist and hips) and then compared it to the pattern. The bust looked spot on but I needed to take an inch out of the length to the waist and the rest out of the skirt. I did the most basic adjustments by drawing a line across perpendicular to the grain, cutting and moving the pattern pieces so they overlapped. For the skirt part I did a series of them 6 inches apart for each one. I then redrew the side seam line using a ruler to link up the arm hole to the hem.
The dress is easy to sew with few pieces and could definitely be a good beginner dressmaking pattern. The only stumbling block I had was that my jersey fabric was very lightweight and is not a type of jersey I have worked with before, normally I prefer more stable knits like Scuba or Ponte. Being so light it was prone to curling under but heavy pinning and slow and steady sewing meant there was only one unpicking incident.
Having tried it on I decided that due to the style of knit and the level of drape that I would take the level of the armhole up but this literally involved me sewing in the same line as the original stitching just for an extra inch beyond the pattern markings. I also don’t own any knit bias tape and opted to just go for a turn and sew approach (jersey is literally so flexible for decisions like that unlike a firm woven).

Otherwise I made the pattern as is in the instructions. Honestly I am now addicted as the dress looks pretty stylish but feels like secret pj’s and has the flexibility of adjusting after a nice tasty big meal. I have never made a Named pattern before as they are styled for tall skinny women but in this case I would say if your interested…. Go for it! I’m so excited about this pattern and am hoping to make at least one more before heading abroad later in the summer and also want to try a shortened woven version. Now to decide on fabric choice!

Sophie swimsuit part 1

Who wasn’t seduced by the beautiful closet case files Sophie swimsuit?!! It is everything I want in a swimsuit and a style you can’t find in the shops in RTW. I was pretty terrified about making it and so splashed out on a kit from them as well because I was worried about sourcing all the bits needed having never seen or felt them before. 

Due to the distance travelled the kit took an expected couple of weeks to arrive and it was worth the wait! It contains everything I need including the fixings for both a swimsuit and a bikini and potentially enough extra to make more than one swimsuit! Opening the packaging was a lovely delight and I would definitely recommend it for anyone new to making swimsuits.

Having read the instructions I had determined my size based on bust measurement but due to my larger bottom half I decided to mock up the fit grading to the larger bottoms half using some left over jersey. I didn’t do any of the complex parts but just sewed it up quickly to check the body length etc. After this I took 1″ out of the body length which is not surprising given the patterns are drafted for the average 5’8 which I most definitely am not. Actually it was a surprise I didn’t have to take out more!

Having mocked it up the time had come for me to make it up for real! This post will contain all the details of the easy bits and the complex parts will get a lovely post all of their own.

The foam cups are amazingly quick to sew up. I used a zigzag stitch with the length and width provided in the instructions (an absolute god send and one of my favourite things about this pattern!). My only mishap was sewing the top of the balconette to the wrong side of the cups but it was quick to unpick and re-sew (first major mishap averted otherwise I think I would have ended up with very strange boob shapes).

Having cut out the rest of the pattern in both the outer fabric and the swim lining I decided to sew it together just on my normal machine rather than worry about working out where the 3/8″ on a new overlocker is. I nearly slipped up on sewing in the bridge for the bust which I had accidentally cut out facing the wrong way so the stretch was in the wrong direction. I would definitely recommend reading all the instructions carefully and checking regularly that you are on track.

I was surprised that my machine has coped so well with the Lycra and so far no problems. To date I have sewed the body and the swim lining up separately and I have sewn the bra cups to the foam cups but I am yet to join all 3 parts together and start on the complex underwiring and the swim elastic. I’m confident if I follow the instructions I shouldn’t go far wrong. Fingers crossed and wish me luck!

Sew Over it – cowl neck top

I’ve already waxed lyrical about my love of this pattern in dress form! I figured it was time to see if I liked it as a top in my ever growing search to find a knit top pattern I like.

There’s not much to say about the pattern itself, I just chopped it off at the top length as suggested by the pattern and also decided to add the sleeves. Otherwise it was just the pattern I have been using for dresses.

The finished top looks quite loose but I like that. I also think it will work well over jeans or tucked into a skirt and think I might try this as a jumper in some lovely French Terry jersey I picked up in Walthamstow recently.

Arguably I should take it in a bit more at the back as its not pulled in by a belt which it would be in dress form but I think I’m sold! Another lovely quick make which will be a great wardrobe builder for tops and jumpers.

A Simple Top

I subscribed to the magazine Simply Sewing a year ago and as part of that subscription I’ve received a lot of patterns over the year. One I got recently was a simple knit top. I have sewn a lot of Seamwork Astoria tops but wanted to try something new. In steps the Walkley pattern!

The pattern comes as a dress and top from the same block. I made the small but added a bit at the hips as I have a slightly larger bottom half compared to the top. I used a thick Ponte de Roma in a mint green colour which I bought on a trip to Goldhawk road. 

It can easily be made in an evening so a good quick make but sadly not one I’ll repeat. I don’t like the style on me. It’s ok tucked into a skirt but the tunic length and shaping make me look a bit short and shapeless. However it might be nicer made in a lighter weight jersey. It did however provide an evening of entertainment and satisfied my need to start burning through my ever growing stash faster!
My hunt for the perfect top patterns continue….

How To Do Fashion

I recently discovered a new indie pattern designer called ‘How To Do Fashion’. I happened upon it through a blog post I read and fell in love with pretty much every pattern in the collection. 

I don’t normally do posts just about my thoughts on patterns before I make them but as I’m not likely to make my purchase any time soon I wanted to seize the moment and talk about why I’m so excited about this company.

The patterns are designed by Nanna and they have a distinctly vintage feel. Although they are vintage in style they also have a wearable quality which drew me to them. It was really difficult to pick just one pattern but I want to try out the fit and instructions before I buy more so I ended up going for No. 4 London.

I’ve been on the desperate hunt for a coat pattern for a few months with contenders like Named Clothings Andy coat and Schnittchens Coatigan. Finally the thinking was over when I eyed the London coat.

I can’t wait to get cracking on this coat but in the meantime has anyone got any experience of using this pattern? I’d love to hear what you think!

Me made May weeks 3 &4

A little bit later than anticipated but this is the final round up of my Me Made May 2016 and my lessons learnt. Before I get into the juicy bit of what I learnt first see the list of what I wore:

– 3 x Seamwork Astoria 

– 3 x BHL  Anna dress

– 3 x Colette Myrtle

– 2 x BHL Elisalex hacks

– 1 x Sew Over it Cowl Neck dress

– 1 x Seamwork Astoria dress hack

– 1 X Sewaholic Rae skirt

– 1 X Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress

A lot of these are repeat patterns from my previous post so there isn’t much to add other than that they show how much I love these patterns. What I did notice however is a few big trends.

– I pretty much exclusively make dresses with the odd exception. Sadly my wardrobe is very limited when it comes to me made separates. I have a few tops and skirts but not many and absolutely no trousers

– I have recently become more confident with sewing knit fabrics and have found this quite liberating as they are quick to sew and comfortable to wear

– I haven’t made any cardigans or lounge wear even though I wear both of these every day. On my one lazy day at home in May I struggled to find anything to wear as I didn’t fancy a dress for slobbing around the house doing chores

– In the past I have made a coat but recently I have been avoiding it however I am in desperate need of a new coat as my favourite is getting a bit thread bare… If only I could decide on which pattern to go for!

– For a long time I have wanted to get into making lingerie, I made a pair of knickers on my sister’s hen do a few years ago but still haven’t plucked up the courage to do more despite buying a beautiful kit and the Malborough bra pattern

So the plan going forward is that I need to be brave and try more patterns. In particular trousers, coats and underwear! So keep your eyes peeled for future post …