Saturday, 4 February 2017

I'm Back!

Pattern Review: Butterick 5744

The last half of 2016 saw me out of action due a bad shoulder and neck problems. After spending a small fortune on osteopath appointments and improving my posture I am now able to sew for short bursts. I decided that my next project should be something with minimal hand sewing and Butterick 5744 fit the bill perfectly. 

I made this ages ago here in a ponte knit fabric and have been curious to see how it would work in a woven. The fabric is some poly rayon blend that I picked up at a London market some time ago. I knew that for a woven version my fabric would have to have a good drape. I lined this with some stretch lining that I picked up somewhere in Walthamstow for £1 per metre. 

I made minimal adjustments this time. I graded in an inch to the top and bottom of the front bodice pieces and that was it. I cut a size 14 and took off and inch from the bodice sides. I remember from the last time that the bodice comes with a large amount of ease. I tacked the bodice pieces together at the centre front for some added modesty. 

I am so happy with this dress. Not because the sewing is anything special, it is just nice to be able to sew again. I have a couple of other simple projects lined up. The main culprit with my neck and shoulders is hunched over hand sewing, so the more I can avoid that the better. 

This is simple dress that can be dressed up and down - I wore this out last night for a friends birthday drinks and it will be perfect in the warmer months when I can wear it with sandals too. The tacked bodice also means that this is work appropriate and to be honest I had forgotten how nice it is to have a new item in my wardrobe!

You can see my Pattern Review here

How are your sewing plans for 2017 going? And what tips do you have to ensure good sewing posture? 

Happy Sewing. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

It's a Wrap!

Pattern Review: New Look 6301

I am back with yet another wrap dress. This is my second iteration of New Look 6301. I can't get enough of wrap dresses. They are so comfortable and easy to wear. This will be number 4 on my blog! Here are the links to dress 1, dress 2 and dress 3

I don't have too much to add that I didn't blog about in my last wrap dress post. One thing that I did notice is that as this fabric has much more stretch I did find that the bodice is a tad larger than last time. However it is not noticeable with the busy print and still fits well. 

I knew that I would definitely be rotating this in the work wardrobe so I only removed 3 inches off the skirt hemline this time. This will be a transitional dress so I am looking forward to pairing this with tights and a black cardigan in the Autumn months. 

This fabric was purchased from Karstadt in Rosenheim outside of Munich in Germany. I was visiting a friend over New Year and popped in to check out their fabric. This print was on sale for €3.99 per metre. As soon as I purchased this I knew instantly that it would be wrap dress!

It's lovely to have one more TNT dress pattern in my stash. I am sure that there will be more versions to come!

You can see my Pattern Review here. 

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Making a Maxi

Pattern Review: McCall's 6744

The Summer sewing continues, this time with the maxi dress version of McCall's 6744. I did attempt to make this version of the pattern before here but I ended up having to cut the skirt down. I have been wanting to have another go and finally got around to it as part of my sewing group's Summer Sew-a-Long. 

This time I managed to cut everything out correctly as I had plenty of fabric. This fabric is an ITY knit from Saeed's Fabrics in Walthamstow. I can't remember how much I paid for it, but I think it was around £4-£6 per metre. It washed and sewed perfectly. In fact I rarely have any problems handling ITY knits. 

I made very minor alterations to this. I remembered that the bodice had a large amount of ease last time so I cut a small and graded out to a medium on the hips. I graded in 1" in length on the bottom of the bust which I count as my lazy FBA. Lastly I added a couple of inches on the bottom so I could wear this with heels. FYI I am almost 5 ft 8" so it is rare that patterns are every floor length for me. I am planning on wearing this dress to a wedding this summer and then I plan to take up the hem an inch so I can wear it afterwards with flats. 

This is a super simple dress, but I love the details such as the elasticized shoulders and front split in the skirt. Incidentally I didn't have enough fabric to pattern match the front but it worked our pretty well! I also appreciate that neckline is not too low and how the Grecian style makes this garment feel very elegant and feminine. Here is a close up of the shoulders. 

I have a couple of other summer dresses and a skirt cut out on the sewing table. Just by looking at the fabrics I can tell that I see them as transitional items that I can wear with tights later this year. However, the sun has finally come out in London this week so I am going to be wearing my summer makes as much as possible in the meantime! 

You can view my Pattern Review here.

How has your seasonal sewing been going?
Anyone started making Spring/Autumn sewing plans yet?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Liberty Eye Mask

Pattern Review: Flo-Jo Boutique Eye Mask Making Kit

Despite having lots of dresses cut out and on my sewing table I didn't have much in the way of hand-stitching to take along to this month's sewing group meetup. This inspired me to sew up the Flo-Jo Boutique eye mask making kit and did this in two leisurely hours whilst chatting and drinking tea!

The kit comes with everything you need except scissors. This includes fabric, pattern, instructions, pins, needle and thread. The instructions are very easy to follow and everything is sewn by hand, no need at all for a sewing machine. My only (and extremely trivial) dislike was that I felt the needle provided was too large for the types of fabric being used. Anyone with any sewing supplies will be able to substitute this, but I did feel that the needle was really quite thick. 

Image courtesy of Flo-jo Boutique

I am delighted with how this turned out. I use eye masks all the time at home, and especially when I travel so I know it will get used. This kit was a Christmas present from a good friend that has seen me sleep in them many a time as well as knowing my love for sewing. 

Another reason this is such a great present is because it is not something that I would ever buy for myself. I hardly ever buy Liberty fabric, but to have it as an eye mask feels very luxurious. Lastly it is great that once you have made it you can reuse the pattern again and again. 

One lady at my sewing group commented how I could make it up again and give them as presents. Given my track record of sewing for other people I doubt I will ever do this, but it is actually a great idea! However it is a great way of using up scraps of fabric. Particularly if you have a cherished fabric and would like a keepsake.

Anyone received any sewing presents this year? And more importantly have you sewed these up? 

Happy sewing!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Using up a long cherished fabric

Pattern Review - New Look 6459 

I am back with another project. This one is pretty belated as I made this dress for a sew-a-long with my sewing group back in April. The theme was to use a fabric that had been in your stash for way too long. 

I picked this cotton that has been in my stash for around 5 years. I purchased this on holiday in France from Toto Fabrics in Poitiers at the price of 5 euros per metre and I lined this dress with lining from Simply Fabrics priced at £1 per metre. 

I decided on a simple dress - New Look 6459 (now out of print). I made this over ten years ago and knew that I would have to tweak the fit. I cut a size 14 and added 1" to the top of the bust for modesty and added 1 cm to the bottom of the bust. I have to say I don't love the fit. It is a bit snug across the bust and I still think that it could do with a tad more length. The hips are a bit tight too so I would grade out to a size 16 on the hips next time. 

This dress is being classed as a wadder as although there is not too much wrong with it, I just don't find it all that comfortable and never wear it. That said I am still pretty satisfied that I got through another fabric in my stash. This dress if off to the charity shop and I am sure that there will be someone out there that will like it more than me. 

You can see my Pattern Review here.

What do you do with your finished wadders? Do you keep them?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Summertime Midi Skirt

Pattern Review: New Look 6346

I am getting on well with my Summer Sewing plans! A couple of weeks ago I sewed up this simple midi length skirt pattern - New Look 6346. Initially this skirt pattern passed me by. Looking at the pattern envelope I found the skirt was too wide. However when I saw Mimi G's version of the midi skirt I knew that I wanted to try it. 

I cut a generous size 16 and sewed this straight out of the envelope. I was worried that the skirt would be too wide but actually I think it is perfect as it is. One thing that I would say is that fabric choice is critical. This would not have worked for me if I had picked a stiffer fabric. I french seamed this as I didn't line it and didn't want the fabric to fray. I didn't have enough fabric to pattern match this, but looking at the photos I don't think that this matters too much. 

The fabric is viscose poly cotton blend. I can't remember where I purchased this from but I do know that it was from a London Market - either Walthamstow or Goldhawk Road and didn't cost me more than £5 per metre. It has been in my stash for years! 

I don't have too much to say about this skirt except that I love it! I have been spotting these across London all the time at the moment but I wasn't sure if it it would be too hipster for my style. I am just hoping that I will get a couple more days of summer to be able to wear this! 

You can see my Pattern Review here.

I have a couple more stash busting projects on the sewing table designed for a summer wardrobe.

Stay Tuned and Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 11 June 2016

I Spy a Floral Print!

Pattern Review: New Look 6301

I am addicted to floral prints! I would say a good 85% of my stash is made up of floral print fabrics. Following on from my last two garments (blogged here and here) I decided to stick with the current  floral theme and sewed up this New Look mock wrap dress

My sewing group are currently running a Summer garment sew-a-long and I thought that a this floral fabric would fit the bill. I did sew it knowing that Autumn/Winter time this will be paired with a cardigan, tights and boots so I am really classing it as a transitional item :-)

I cut a size 14 for this dress. For the top of front bodice pieces (i.e. the cleavage) I cut the size 18 lines as I knew that I would want a little extra coverage. This worked perfectly and means it is work appropriate without a camisole underneath - win! 

I changed the construction process slightly for the bodice. I attached the front to the back at the shoulders first so that I could fit and remove some excess (1") from the top of the centre back. My only other alterations were to remove 5" from the length of the skirt and I omitted the waist elastic. These last two alterations are simply personal preference and nothing to do with the fit. 

The fabric is a matte jersey purchased from a Daslton Market during a fabric shop with my sewing group at the end of November. I am pretty sure that I paid £2 per metre for this fabric (and definitely no more than £3!) 

There are some nice details in this pattern and I feel it is well thought out. I like the armhole and neckline bands to prevent gaping. I am a fan of the stay tape on the shoulders too. I know that the waist elastic is also there so that the dress holds its shape. When I make this again - which I definitely will! - I will lengthen the waist ties. For me they are a tiny bit short for my liking.

I used double stitched seams, overlocked stitched the waist seam and I left the skirt hem raw. This is a first for me (and if I am honest still feels a bit weird) but I actually like the way it looks. It means that nothing interrupts the soft drape of the jersey which is great. If I find it too upsetting then it will be no problem to hem it.

You can view my pattern review here.

Stay tuned for more floral prints (I might have a floral skirt currently on the sewing table...)
Anyone else's fabric having a theme at the moment? 

Happy Sewing!