By Hand London, Victoria Blazer

Hello and oh dear me it’s more than halfway through the year *inner cry* summer is fully here so I decided to make something for Autumn (there’s a logic there somewhere, I’ll tell myself I’m following the fashion season calendar).

With this project I’ve officially made three of my 2016 make nine. I’m shocked. My sewing plans so far have always been laid out in detail but rarely completed. I now have high hopes of actually finishing that list!

The Pattern

This is By Hand London’s Victoria Blazer.  One of the first patterns I bought, it’s been in the stash for ages and sewing this up brought back serious memories of finding sewing blogs and when I first started my sewing journey.

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The  Fabric

This is another Walthamstow, Man Outside Sainsbury’s find (yep ,the man deserves capital letters). Apparently this fabric was a Zara leftovers. I bought it in the week I swore off buying black fabric because I wanted to experiment with colour more but it was so lovely I couldn’t leave it behind.

I bought the lining fabric a while ago from a John Lewis sale and I regretted it immediately. Not really a lining fabric, it is 100% cotton and a bit heavy, I liked the print but couldn’t imagine it on a dress/skirt looking good on me. I’m now so glad I didn’t take it to a fabric swap because now it’s the reason I love this coat so much…..and why flasher pose will happen numerous times whilst wearing this coat.

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The Pattern

Why was I so scared? Why did I wait so long to sew this pattern? This is the perfect pattern for a jacket scared sewer to start with. The pattern was very easy to sew. It came together in a day and there are hardly any pieces to trace out.

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This patterns reminds me of why I loved BHL so much. Confidence builders. A brilliantly facilitating sew along and a modern, stylish pattern. This pattern company got a lot of new people into sewing (me included).

However, while I was blindly following their sew along, they didn’t include stay stitching or clipping the edge so my lining doesn’t peek out, means this is very much an amateurs attempt and has some flaws.

Also, the pockets are also very shallow, it feels like anything I put in them would fall out.

Adjustments

I made no adjustments and made a straight size 10.

Marilla does a fantastic post on how to add a facing to the blazer so the lining doesn’t show through, which I will definitely be using next time (my mum wants a blazer too, she bought the fabric and everything haha).

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Making something so wearable and easy to incorporate into my wardrobe has left me beyond exstatic and makes me seriously question my previous and future makes in terms of usefulness and practicality.

Plus finalllllllly biting the bullet and sewing something I was thought was too challenging has really boosted my confidence and makes me what to try really extending myself with sewing.

I wasn’t alone in making this jacket and the final push came from my lovely sewing partner in crime Gabby. You can see us making it up below, her version is just beautiful and I had serious fabric envy.

 

Wish you fantastic summer days

Meg xx

Tangoed, Charlotte Kan Tiedress

Hello, it’s been awhile but I’ve been on a Netflix, non sewing binge! Anyway, back in the sewing world Me -Made May is currently in full swing, I haven’t taken part because I know I just don’t have enough me made clothes, but this is was the first time I’ve taken a me-made with me on holiday. I can’t wait to have enough clothes I’ve made to wear a me-made daily and I am enjoying following (stalking) the MMMay16 tag.

These pictures are now far from the reality of where I’m currently sitting, although London is being especially lovely this week. These pictures where taken in Marrakesh and now I understand why so many artists where inspired by the city, it’s a vibrant, beautiful place.

The Pattern

This is the Charlotte Kan Tie dress, I’ve sewn this pattern before and I have it on my, ever increasing list, to sew up a winter version with longer sleeves. However, Charlotte updated the pattern from the previous one I bought and I gave it a look over and thought it would be the perfect pattern to stash bust with.

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Charlotte revised the patterns instructions and it is far more beginner friendly with less guess work than before and I even attempted the pocket, got to love a good pocket, which I didn’t before because it’s a bit of a complicated one and the previous instructions were too vague for me.

The fabric

I have no idea what type of fabric I used. It photographs as ridiculously orange, which it absolutely is. From a distance you can just see bright orange approaching. Which is why I chose a different fabric for the ties to try and tone down the colour…but which colour really matches with orange that tones it down!! I’m really on a mission to not buy fabric unless I really need it, so I went through my entire fabric stash and this burnt orange/brownish, sheer fabric was the best of the bunch. It’s not the most groundbreaking of colour combinations but it does make me feel less Tangoed.

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Fitting

I sewed up size small with no problems. Whilst making the bias binding the fabric stretched almost by double and I’m sure the fabric stretched whilst I was making this too. So this version is baggier than my last but I’m not too fussed about that. However, I am now going to always ask what type of fabric I’m buying so I won’t have these surprises.

Alterations

To further try and break up the colour and make the dress a little more interesting I added a seam at the back. This idea came from the layout plans given on the pattern instructions for people with narrow fabric.

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If anyone owns and collects Burdastyle magazine as much as me you know Burda always add a random back seam as a design feature and I felt the Burda spirit in me when I made this little change.

I also took 10 cm off the length of the skirt.

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Having not been able to sew for a few month, I’m now happily beside my sewing machine re watching Futurama while I sew. Bliss.

Knit Boxy Tunic, Kommatia Patterns

So, is it too soon for co-ords to make a comeback? My sewing is only fairly recently yielding wearable items so the co-ord trend, plus Ada Spraggs two piece setacular, came and went too fast for me to take part in it. I love the style. The uniform like cohesiveness and how it automatically cuts down time thinking about what to wear. Such a good trend!! I thought it would have the skinny jeans effect and never go away but it came and went in a season. It’s time for it to live again!…through me.

The pattern

This is Kommatia knit boxy tunic. I overlocked everything and I couldn’t be more in love with that machine. The instructions are more sparse and effecient and this pattern won’t hold your hand. At first I psyched myself out, I usually want a pattern that almost tell me how to breath through sewing! but the shape of this top is exactly my style. Big girl pants went on and it sewed up with only a few mistakes. Is this sewing progress?

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The skirt I just traced off a H&M jersey skirt I wore a lot. I put it together checking a bit online but mostly by guessing what to do. Sewing with knit fabrics gives me a feeling that nothing can go wrong, I would never have done that with a woven fabric!

When a friend told me the clothes looked straight out of Urban Outfitters, I was ecstatic, Urban Outfitters was my jam! These are the first clothes I’ve made that someone confused with RTW. I even got the ‘really!?! You made that..’ 🙂 #sewingwinning

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Fitting

This top is so comfortable but looking at the pictures I think going with a size bigger would have been a better bet. My measurements are size small but I usually always factor in my shoulders and go bigger. I thought jersey would be more forgiving!!

I didn’t adjust the length and it stops at the biggest part of my bum/hips, making pear shaped me pretty conscious of my arse if no tucked in. To wear this as a tunic I would definitely lengthen it. I’m 5″3 and would not be able to get away with wearing this with leggings only. For my next version (yep, I’ve already bought the fabric for a second one) I’m going to either lengthen or shorten it, so it hits a more flattering point!

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Untucked, sorry it’s hard to see where the top ends.

The Fabric

I only bought a metre of this fabric, I would have bought more but the price was so inflated. I got this when I was in France, sadly not Paris, after a two hour drive to the local fabric store. I wasn’t gonna leave empty handed.

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I need to thank my husband for the pictures, he’s even demanding a meet the team page on the blog to recognise his efforts. I think he’s right!

Interview Kommatia + Giveaway!

For a second I was worried about the Independent pattern company…I thought maybe the sector had reached it’s peak and was going to disappear. Obviously I shouldn’t have been so pessimistic! Spending money on new pattern releases is going to be the eternal stash struggle!

Enter Jessica, creator of Kommatia. First things first, Jessica has loads of fashion credentials and her website Kommatia Patterns is really worth a visit as she gives really understandable, concise advice about many sewing issues and general sewing information.

Such as help with trouser fitting here

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Plus, awesome infographics. I want to stick them on my sewing wall. I just wish I had access to a laminator!!

Needles

What has changed with the indie patterns, in my opinion at least, is that new companies enter the scene with much less fanfare (which kinda echos the evolution of having so many independent patterns around). I’m discovering these pattern makers largely by spending too much time on Instagram or Etsy. So, I’m getting old skool and I contacted the owner/designer for an interview.

1. How did you find out about the resurgence of sewing and the new growth of the the sewing community ?

Seriously, I had no idea that PDF patterns were existing – I just found out randomly while browsing vintage clothes on Etsy. I was quite curious about it and did a lot of research. I found out that actually many people were interested in buying patterns and that there was many sewing blogs/you tube channels out there.

2. Did it surprise you that more and more people are sewing there own clothes?

Yes and no.
Yes because sewing is quite traditional and also clothes are getting even more affordable every year, which makes sewing optional. On the other hand, sewing is a creative activity that allows people to wear customized garments to their taste. Ready to wear clothes are made according to a standard body shape, but the reality is that few people has a “standard” shape. Making your own clothes allows you to adjust everything. On a darker tone, we hear more and more stories about the work conditions in sweat shops (in India, China, Bangladesh…). The quality is lowering and garments are not made to last anymore. So I understand why some people prefer to stay away from today’s fashion industry.

3. You have quite a lot of patterns available for a new pattern company,  how do you plan on which patterns to release ?

I just do what I like and would want to wear myself. Sometimes it’s hard for designers to create their own style and I believe it’s because we over think too much. Modifying your ideas to the point that it’s not your style anymore is pointless. For instance, I worked for designers which requested to modify a collection at least 10 to 25 times. But in the end, they always come back to the first version.

4. Could you tell us where your design inspiration come from?

My main sources of inspirations are the people in the street and a lot of 80’s movies. When I travel, I always scan the crowds for new ideas and inspirations.

5. What were the main surprises and challenges in starting your own company ?

Obviously, starting an new company means there is a lot of work to do and few profits… But since started working on my own, about 1 year ago, I’m really impressed by all the new things I learned and what I could achieve by myself.

6 and finally are there any tips you can give to people who want to follow there dream ?

To not be scared of failures and to experiment a lot. Think about your goals and take the path where it will lead you there. Sometimes, it’s not the easiest path, but it doesn’t matter. On my side, I felt like I needed to work several years in companies before going independent. It was not easy and I struggled a lot but it gave me the possibility to travel and learn a lot about the fashion industry.

If you want to find out more about the pattern making process Jessica gives more detail here, with a little detail about her career and the start of the shop.

NOW! PRIZE GIVING TIME! I reached 100 followers on wordpress, wooooooot, and yeah, I want to celebrate! To correlate with this post the prize is a Kommatia pattern of your choosing. Visit the Etsy shop here.

This is 110% funded by me as a thank you. This is only for the people who internet love me enough to follow me. So you must be following me on either WordPress or Bloglovin to win :p

To enter write the kommatia19 sewing pattern you want plus your email address. Competition ends on 14th March. Open worldwide.

 

#2016makenine

Hello! It’s been awhile! I been buying loads of fabric and dreaming of all the things I will make…tomorrow. I’ve been hit by a serious block.

The only fix to a sewing block is thinking up exciting plans. I’ve been loving seeing everyones resolutions and #2016makenine on instagram, so slightly late to the party, I’m making my own list.

I believe in the power of making a list. While I am shocked and guilty of how many projects I’ve posted here which I SAY I’ll do but never get round to, having a list of patterns I want to make/fabric I want to use always keeps my sewing productivity levels up.

 

By Hand London, Victoria Blazer

Making a coat has been on my list for months and months….and I’m still working up the courage to tackle one. I’m a nervous sewer and sticking to patterns which hold my hand is my safety blanket. I’ve got the fabric and the pattern, my plan is the sleeveless version.

NamedClothing, Inari Top

I finally caved!! This pattern was on sale during Christmas and I snapped it up. I’ve seen so many gorgeous versions. I’ve had one metre of some Nani Iro fabric which I’ve had for  two years which I had absolutely no idea what to do with. Now I’m planning on the seasonally inappropriate top. Nani Iro + Inari pattern is perfection. See the examples here and here

Sew Over It, Anderson Blouse

This is cut out and ready to sew up! I’m hoping it’s going to be the perfect work top.

 

Simplicity, 8013

9 Metres of £8 fabric later (no regrets) this dress is high on the priority list. Buying this was the first time in ages I’ve bought a dress I have absolutely no occasion for but ..still…#NoRagrets

Kommatia Patterns, Loose Batwing Tunic

I went back to Kommatia Patterns and bought two more during her New Year sale. I am officially her fangirl.

Ralph Pink, Audrey Dress

This is one pattern I don’t already own. Ralph Pink’s revamp of his website is amazing. I’ve always liked how modern his patterns are but before he only showed the pattern illustrations and I only thought his patterns where for advanced seamstresses (his corsets are AH.MAZING.) I have the two perfect fabrics for this dress….which is why it’s completely necessary to buy this :p

Thread Theory, Finlayson Sweater

This might be the year my husband finally gets the pros of having a wife that sews. I have everything for this, Valentines day??

La Maison Victor, Chessie Top

The most practical item on the list. It is freezing! but I just can’t keep away from wanting to make Summer clothes. This jumper is exactly the oversized, comfort over everything style I like.

Butterick, B6121 Backpack

I’ve been looking for a backpack pattern for a year. I’ve been so fussy. This is on sale and I really need a backpack. I can’t wait to make something I can use everyday.

 

Looking at this list I already see my wardrobe gaps. Bottoms and clothes warm enough to survive the British weather but I’m so happy my sewing has progressed so much that I’m very confident that I can make all these thing!

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Meg xx