Shirtwaist Dress, Gertie New Book for Better Sewing

This is me playing catch up with a make that’s a few months old. I recently wore it out to a Nigerian musical Wakaa and the amount of African wax print outfits on show made me release that my stash/wardrobe is not yet complete without some more of these gorgeous fabrics.

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The Pattern

Not being too much of a pre 1960’s vintage girl Gertie was never one of my sewing blog crushes but I was making this with Gabby who has all her books. We chose this pattern from her book Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, I think a shirtdress is such a wardrobe staple and I really like effect the shirring on this one had.

Plus, trying shirring and making buttonholes, new techniques I hadn’t tried before.

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Fabric

THIS FABRIC. Hands down the best fabric I’ve bought in my short sewing life.  I initially was going to go with a more sensible fabric but I just kept on coming back to the chickens.

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Ever since I’ve been visiting Walthamstow market, Goldhawk Road fabric shops have been upgraded to being on the pricey side. Desperate not to spend too much money and too lazy to pop down to Walthamstow,  I took a tip from a friend that the market there has super cheap fabric shops. So I went into Shepherds Bush market, just next to Goldhawk Road. The prices are just as low as he said and I got 6 metres (the fabric was pre cut) of this for £9. Bargain.

Alterations

I made a size 12 (if I remember correctly…it was a while ago)..and, for me, the proportions on the sleeves and bodice are really off. The shoulders (and if you read my blog regularly, you know I have a thing about shoulders) where so puffed out it turned this pear shaped girl into a square. I took away at least an extra 5cm off the upper sleeve.

Also the pockets. The pockets are far too low and even Gabby (we made the same size)  who is taller then me (so must have longer arms!?!) struggled with this low pocket placement. We both brought the pockets up but I didn’t do it enough for it to be comfortable when putting my hands in my pocket.

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If you are attempting to have a go with this dress Heather does an extremely detailed post on how she tackled the sleeve/bodice alterations here, which are definitely more helpful than what I can provide. I did a lot of guesstimations…and no toile..bad sewer me.

I’m probably going to take off the sleeves and have it as a sleeveless dress and I hope that will solve a lot of the issues I have with it.

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This is the original dresses length,I’m 5’3, I was going to shorten the hem but these days (since I crossed over to the 26-35 category) I’m liking the longer look. When I put on the pearl earrings and necklace my mum said I looked like I came from the 60’s and I feel in love with this dress.

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Now, newly opening chicken shop, thank you! 5 minutes after leaving my house I saw this wall, shouted ‘CHICKENS!!’ Tried to ignore the many people walking past and became the ultimate chicken woman I was apparently destined to become.

This is another vlogged make and as you can see on Wednesdays we wear stripes.

Thanks for popping in and reading,

Meg x

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

An Extra Long Asaka Kimono, Named Clothing

When my mum saw my completed Asaka Kimono she immediately ordered one for herself. Floor length, of course, my mum likes to sweep into a room.  I fussed about it but then agreed, we bought the fabric, I started…..and then it got put in the UFO pile because a newer, shiner project called to me….that was for me.

Selfish Sewer. Yikes, I don’t like that term but it completely applies to me. Sewing is my way of switching off from the world and my problems and unfortunately, especially for my friends and family, when I sew for other people I feel deadlines and pressure for the item to turn out perfect. After this project however I can see the benefits of the odd gift here and there 😉

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The Fabric

I bought this fabric back in August! So I don’t remember too many details. I got the fabric from Goldhawk Road, sorry I forgot the name of the shop. I think it was £4 per meter.

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When I first saw the fabric I was hesitant…..It kinda reminds me of an artistic interpretation of Camouflage Army print….but I just kept coming back to it! I do love the colours, they are sorta dreamy and calming. The fabric also reminds me of ink blot. Plus, the drape is lovely.

The Changes

The biggest change was to add length to the kimono. As always it wasn’t the most precise way of doing things, I added on the length I think I needed to the middle of the kimonos sides and back. Which worked out alright.

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I had cut something wrong and was running out of fabric, so my second change was to shorten the collar and unintentionally the kimono looks more like a traditional Japanese kimono.

The Pattern

The pattern was the Asaka Kimono by Named. It has to be said that I find their pdf patterns the most frustrating ever. They only print out two sizes at a time (8-10 together, 12-14 together etc.) and I was making two kimonos for two different sized women. One size 10 the other size 14. So I had to print and tape the pattern together twice.

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It is fantastic seeing my mum in something I made. She might even get a few more pieces out of me in 2016 🙂

Happy 2016 xxx

 

Simple Sew, Sophia Top

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Meow pussycats! I’m hoping this top and the little animation below will give me honorary cat lady status!

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I needed a big cup of tea after this project. I turned what should have been an easy top into a two week (on and off) task! but I have to say this was one of my most enjoyable, completely inappropriate, fun makes I’ve done.

The Fabric:

Both of these fabrics were complete impulse purchases. I think that’s no surprise! Cat fabric isn’t usually on the list but if in the shop has it in stock, how could you not buy it!! The fabric with all the cats on it was from a Sew Over It fabric sale and the leopard print was bought at Anna Ka Bazaar. I had an ‘OMG I’m turning into my mother moment’ when buying the leopard print fabric because for YEARS I’ve been laughing at her for wearing the it (it is her favourite print of all time and if there’s something leopard print in the shop, she’s buying it!)…..but now I completely understand the leopard print calling. Both fabrics are cotton, so they were lovely to sew with 🙂

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The Changes:

This pattern came from Love Sewing magazine. It came as an outfit with a crop top and a high waisted skirt. It is lovely and very elegant looking, Gabby does a brilliant complete version here. I kept the top pretty much the same except I added 2 inches to the length of the top. I really should have added a bit more because if I put my arms up, my top goes right up with it!

For the appliquéd meow I tested out some fonts on word and guesstimated the size I wanted, it only took two print outs to get it right. The word placement wasn’t done very precise either! I just put them on the top and what looked right, I pinned down, then sewed.

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The Fit:

I did this project to learn and try out doing appliqué…AND making the ultimate cat top :p Knowing this was going to be a house top, I didn’t bother with doing anything to the improve/change the fit. I think it fits nicely on my shoulders and around my chest.

If I do make this top again I will try to decrease the size of the armholes. You can see my bra and a bit too much of my armpits in this top.

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The Size:

I sewed up a UK size 10, no adjustments.

This project leaves me longing for my more adventurous days, where I would wear a top like this to wear outside the house! I have been so inspired by the chic and minimal look, which is a style I have been trying to emulate but somehow… I think have a few more adventurous days left in me 🙂

I want to say a big thank you to my husband for making the animation for me. I’m not the easiest director to work with!! ;P

 

 

 

Jersey Dreams, Overlocker Nightmares

I managed to get myself a good priced secondhand overlocker (thank you gumtree!!) and sewing knit/jersey NEEDS to become part of my sewing plans. I dress mainly for comfort and wear knit fabric a lot, so if I want to wear me-made daily I need get going on my overlocker.

I have patterns lined up with enough fabric to start some projects but I’m terrified of getting started. I’m making myself think sewing is an extreme sport haha. Sooo I’m publicly announcing my plans to encourage me to actually get started!!!

I want to start off with a free pattern, Kommatia Patterns Batwing Tee which will hopefully give me a bit of confidence.

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I went on a bit of a Kommatia roll and bought two more of her jersey sewing patterns. I love this one in particular and I can see myself getting a lot go wear out of it.

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Since sewing with knits is supposed to be quite fast, if I can, I also want to squeeze out this Great British Sewing Bee drapey knit dress which I think will be perfect for a christmas day comfortable/almost pyjamas dress. You can get for free here if anyones interested.

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I hope these free patterns are new to some people and make you happy 🙂

Overlockers have quite an intimidating reputation and my first time testing it out I managed to break the needle! I had to rethread it, which isn’t so bad with tweezers and now I’m stuck at the most problematic part, getting the tension right! Thanks to a lot of Instagram advice it’s almost right!

This will be my first christmas making my christmas day outfit and at first I was going to sew something elaborate and fancy but who am I kidding! I’m going to send the day watching tv and eating haha I hope to live through some of you other sewers and can’t wait see what christmas/new year outfits you make, are you making something? If so what is it??

Speak to you soon xxx