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

The Burda Marthe

The emotion shame sponsors todays post. I don’t usually blog about my complete sewing failures but this blog is my only way of cataloging what I’ve made and this is the only wearable sewing failure I’ve had, which is absolutely sewing progress.

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The Fabric

The first thing I thought after finishing this project and trying it on was, should a grown woman really wear baby pink??? *tears* Such a wrong choice of colour for my complexion, I need warm tones.

This fabric was a total impulse buy from miss matatabi. I should have been convinced it wasn’t really meant for me when it was described as perfect for baby clothes but it was on sale and there are Penguins holding hands!

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Here’s a closer look at the material, I got this image from Miss Matatabi’s Etsy shop here

On the plus side, this is cotton seersucker and it was amazingly easy to sew with. I have more seersucker in my stash and I’m gonna patiently wait for the perfect project to use it with.

I love reading and looking at the blogs of fearless quilting cotton, bold print, I love it so I’m wearing it, sewing ladies but, unfortunately, I think I’m too much of a conservative dresser to wear unusual prints with any confidence.

The Pattern

This is a Burda pattern, blouse 109. I was looking longingly at all the versions of the Marthe blouse, by Republique Du Chiffon, going around the internet but really couldn’t justify buying another pattern. I was looking through my Burdastyle magazines to remind myself I literally have hundreds of sewing patterns and, luckily, one of my magazines had a Marthe doppelgänger.

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I really don’t mind tracing and adding a seam allowance but I’m useless at organising pattern pieces once I’ve finished a pattern. I’m trying to rectify this with having a pattern folder. So to use this pattern again, which I do want to, I’ll have to trace it again. I think I might start adding 2cm seam allowances on patterns so I have more fabric to alter with.

The Fit

…and to top it all of, it doesn’t fit properly. Which I thought was impossible in this style of  over-sized top but those glaringly obvious bust creases don’t lie.

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This project was a bunch of rookie errors tied in with sewing toile laziness. I’m not kicking myself too much about it but I really hope some of the fabric can be saved…and yeah a baby project is what it’s gonna be reserved for haha

Meg xx

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

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!

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