Cleo Pinafore, Tilly and the buttons

From Instagram I knew Cleo was a popular pattern but being at the Knitting and Stitching show a few weeks ago made me realise just how popular Tilly and the Buttons, Cleo Pinafore was. Me and Gabby had ours on…and so did every other person at the show! There was a small army of Cleo wearers!!

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So long overdue and probably a little redundant, here’s my review 😀

The Pattern

The Cleo by Tilly and the Buttons and if you have Instagram you would have probably seen a lot of these already!

It’s a simple, quick sew and so SO comfortable to wear. This was my first make of the year and my sewjo had turned to dust. This Cleo took me three days (I’ve read it take people a few hours) and this sew was purely to fall back in love with sewing again…and it did just the trick. Slowly, with many tea breaks and Netflix on, this pattern came together easily with not much thinking.

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The Fit

This is the second Cleo I’ve sewn and I sewed a straight size 3….which really i shouldn’t. I should have gone between size 3 and 4 at the hips (I’m a pear) but I really like the fit to be tighter at the hips and think it is really flattering. The pattern has enough ease so going for the smaller size doesn’t make it uncomfortable. However, it is a bit of a squeeze getting it over my bum….and if I put on any weight it might not fit….but that’s the gamble I’m willing to take!!!

Changes

I shortened the pattern by 4 inches….I do like a short skirt! After I finished I thought that it might be a little too indecent with the split at the front but I think it’s fine and I don’t feel self conscious.

And not really a change…more of a mistake, I put the dungaree buttons on the wrong place *facepalm* I put them on the marking for the pocket!…Hope it’s not too obvious but D:

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The Fabric

This was some of the fabric I bought back from my trip to Uganda. You have to buy fabric in 6 yard pieces so you might be familiar with it as I gave some to Gabby, I knew she would love the fabric and I love it also, she made a gorgeous skirt. African wax print is glorious to work with. Easy to cut, work with and sew AND the most amazing colours….AND cheap!!! This fabric cost me about the same amount it costs in London £12 for 6 yards. Not sure why I didn’t work with this stuff when I was a beginner….I went with even cheaper, slippery stuff that left me with unwearable monstrosities and made sewing much harder than it needed to be.

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I made no attempt to pattern match. The only place I did bother was on the pockets and even then the pattern is ever so slightly off because I didn’t hand baste it down. I also didn’t overlock the edges. I just used pinking shears and it’s holding up great…This was a very chilled out sew!

I will add African wax print is so stiff! Having the split at the front with this fabric is very useful..I take big strides :p

If you’re interested you can have a look at some of the other fabric I bought back from Uganda in this vlog I did…There are some beauties :p

Happy Sewing

Megan xxxx

Amended Charlotte Kan Tie Dress

My name is Megan and I am that one person at a sewing meet-up that is wearing RTW clothes.

I don’t know how many of you get that eager “did you make that?” question only to disappoint them (and yourself) by answering “no, it’s from the shops”…. it happens to me frequently. So, I’m on a bit of a mission to sew more clothes I actually wear and to fix the clothes I’ve sewn and liked but have slight issues with which means they get left in the wardrobe. One such make is my Charlotte kan Tie dress, which I’ve blogged about here.

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The problem. It was too short for me to wear comfortably. I did take 8 inches off!!! I kept tugging my skirt down as I walked and felt way too exposed even while wearing leggings underneath. My solution was to experiment with a bit of colour blocking and lengthen the skirt with fabric I had in the stash that was too small to use for anything.

The results……meh, possibly the worst bit of sewing I’ve done for awhile. I hated every step of sewing the extra length and this reminded me why I’m not a mender. For myself or anybody else…and what’s worst is now I think the dress is too long :,(

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This dress has so much potential and brings back such good early sewing memories (it’s the first dress I made and loved) so it’s worth saving and is going back under the sewing machine.

Sewing is such a journey and looking back at old makes and mistakes is part of that. I honestly got into sewing thinking I was gonna save loads of money and that everything I made would be perfect. To my past self: HAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH. No. Just no.

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Happy making,

Meg xx

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

Anderson Blouse, Sew Over It

I’m so conflicted, I really want to love this pattern but have some issues that need to be resolved. Namely in the two days I’ve worn this top more then three people have seen my bra, time to invest in vests?

The Pattern

I quickly snapped up the Anderson Blouse when it was first released with a special offer.

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The instructions are sparser then I usually like my instructions and I got confused during the collar and cuff construction but it was still a quick and fun sew.

The Fabric

This was some very cheap (I was told cotton but for £1 a meter really!?!) fabric I got from the man outside Sainsburys in Walthamstow. I love the colour and it was my first fabric shopping trip where I bought no prints, only sensible solids.

This fabric drapes beautifully but is so thin, this is purely a summer top. Unfortunately, when I was cutting out the fabric, I used a few thick pins which left small holes in some of the the fabric D: #sewinghorrorstory

The Fit

This fabric was so cheap I used it for a toile and sewed up a straight, no adjustments, size 10. I usually size up for SOI patterns but reading around, people said this pattern comes out big so I stayed with my measured size. This has some problems, the blouse all at once feels too tight for my shoulders and yet I feel surrounded by too much fabric.

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There is so much fabric in the sleeves and I’ve read about some people going a size smaller with this pattern because they wanted it with less fabric but, for me, I think it would be too tight on my shoulders. If I do this top with sleeves again I would also need to shorten the sleeves.

I really didn’t want to hand stitch the front together because I wanted the top to flow around me but you will expose yourself without hand stitching the front together. Even with hand stitching once I sat down and my belly popped out, I think that’s just the gamble you take with a top like this.

Another annoyance was that the gathered shoulders kept on falling backwards and would not properly sit on my shoulders whilst I was walking or with the wind. I felt like I was constantly readjusting myself. I’m not sure what I can do to fix that.

I’ve not given up on this pattern and a sleeveless version is on my list because I’ve gotten so many compliments of this blouse.

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Alterations

One detail most people agree on is that the drawstring tie at the end of the blouse adds too much bulk around the waist and is largely unflattering. I also got rid of the  drawstring and used two snap fasteners there instead.

Just as I was pondering what kind of tall, thin goodness could possibly get away with wearing this top with the drawstring bottom without looking pregnant. It hit me. This would make an awesome maternity top! When I (eventually) get pregnant this blouse is on the top of my list.

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I’ve read people who find this top unflattering but I really like it on them. I think this type of top looks better on then you feel in it. Hefty yet elegant are the words I’ld say I feel in this blouse.

The blouse really doesn’t stand up to an active and windy day. The second time I wore this blouse, with a high waisted skirt, the hand stitching broke and I basically spent the day as a flasher. However, I think I will wear this blouse a lot because it is so comfortable and it looks lovely.

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting a whole bunch of lovely sewing ladies  (Alexa, Ana, ElenaNina, Alex, Gabby and more) because of cocowawa crafts GBSB meet up. Watching the Sewing Bee with people as hyped about sewing as me was wonderful. I’m definitely going next week and if you’re in London I would say pop in and see what it’s like.

Happy sewing 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