Thursday 31 May 2018

Cocowawa marshmallow dress in peach skin!

This is a tale of trial and error. Crafty Sew and Sew kindly gave me some peach skin fabric in the most fabulous of colours to blog about! I've never sewn with peach skin so I wasn't sure what to expect when it arrived. If you've never used peach skin it's a kind of lightweight cotton lawn with a bit more structure to it. I thought this would be perfect for the Cocowawa marshmallow dress as it would give the ruffles a bit more drama. Turns out I didn't really need the drama!

I did my usual ruffle trick where I used stretch elastic to create even ruffles for me when I attached it though the shape didn't suit me much at all. I added a contrasting coloured collar which I love! The collar is a little tricky to piece together but the way it attaches to the neck piece is really easy. My collar fabric was super thin, almost organza so it flitted and floated around a lot till I ironed the interfacing onto it. I wish I had also made the button bands in contrasting fabric rather than just the buttons to give it a bit more pop but I think it works perfectly as it is also. 

The peach skin was super easy to work with though. I put my walking foot on because it looked like it could have slipped around under the feet but it sewed just like cotton! I love the brightness of this fabric, I think I should have thought I bit more about the ruffles pattern placement as that may have made it a bit more flattering as it effectively just repeats the pattern from just above it.

I decided I probably wouldn’t wear the dress as it was as it wasn’t very flattering on my shape. The ruffle band hit just across my bum on my widest point and appeared to make it look even worse. I decided to take the ruffle back off again so that I could wear it as a blouse. I love the look of it now and it’s perfect with jeans giving me that extra pop of colour we so desperately need on these dull days of thunderstorms! Where did summer go?!

Anyways in conclusions I love my bright new blouse and I think I’m a peach skin convert!

Friday 18 May 2018

Seamwork Almada and Made for Mermaids Bridgette set

This post is TWO things off my make 9 in one swoop! I have made myself a lovely lightweight dressing gown and a fancy lingerie set.
I used the lovely lightweight yellow crepe and yellow stretch lace from Sew Crafty, they even have matching fold over elastic!

The patterns I have used are the Seamwork magazine Almada and the Made
for Mermaids Mama Bridgette bralet and pants!
I made the size 42D despite being a 38E in the real world. The bralet isn't designed to replace your normal bra and the level of support it provides but with power mesh your are pretty darn close! I made the racer back because I thought the lace would loook super cute as a racer back through a low backed top or dress. I used the edge of the lace for my racer back and cup edges. It's not intentionally scalloped but by cutting the surrounding eyelashes it made it a lovely shape. I did have to be careful with the stretch round the edges but I made sure it was secure with the fold over elastic sewn flat on the inside of the edges.

When you get to deciding how much you want to overlap your cups at the front, I did 1.5" which I thought brought my boobs in just enough for support and comfort. I also made the bottom band from power mesh giving it more support along the bit that's more strained, and shortened the straps by about an inch, which you can see folded in the picture This stretch lace is perfect for lingerie as the pattern has quite large flowers giving lovely lace with good coverage.. ha ha! The stretch has good recovery too making it perfect for bralets.  I also added 2" to the height of the pants so they would pull up over my tummy. I like the shape of these pants and can see loads more in my future! Perfect for scrapbuster!

The kimono is such an easy make! Everyone is getting these as gifts from now on! It's my second one I've made this time in much easier lovely crepe. It didn't slip slide half as much as the silk on I made making the whole process much more enjoyable. I decided to bind the edge with contrasting floral binding to give it a little pop amongst all the yellow which I think finishes it perfectly!
I didn't really think through the fact I now have to post pictures of me in my pants on the internet.... so here's a flat lay!!

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Makers for Fashion Revolution

This blog post is a bit out of the norm. I really wanted to do something to show how much the #makersforfashrev has affected my thinking and probably my sewing style/speed!

The danger with instagram and blogging is not having anything to say. I am the biggest culprit of always wanting to be showing off a fresh new make, hot off the sewing machine for people to comment and appreciate as much as I do because my husbands 'That's nice' doesn't quite cut it as much as all the lovely comments in the internet world. This isn’t a post about body image and how I prefer my internet friends to appreciate my new dress but a post about making I swear!

I'd not thought about the impact this is having until this week. I don't know where my fabric is coming from, if I'm honest I regularly vote for cheap and cheerful fabric rather than spending any time researching and deliberating. This means I’m churning out quick makes for certain occasions and not thinking of the sustainability of my fabric habit!

This is, I suppose, getting close the issue of fast fashion buying quick and cheap items for specific occasions wearing them once and not worrying if you never dig them out again. I am making myself fast fashion, yet I feel better because I have made it and not been and bought it from Primark or anywhere equally cheap and cheerful. 

I also find myself making things specifically for blog posts or pattern tests because I know of the exposure this will get me and my blog. Don't get me wrong I am super grateful for these opportunities and experiences and I love taking part in them, but this week has made me wonder of the wider impact this may be having on the world and sustainability of my hobby! The need to have a new picture everyday causes me to make bad choices about what I am making in the hurry to have something to talk about. 

I find the things I have made recently with much better quality fabrics are the things I wear most often on rotation and I have a lot of things that probably won't see the light of day till it comes to Me Made May again this year and I’m desperate for a ‘new’ outfit to show everyone and not a repeat wear. Also if I give these items to a charity shop what happens to them? Are they sold as clothing items or weighed and sold as fabric recycling, is the latter such a bad thing? Please if you know please tell me!

I like to think myself as being eco –conscious. I’ve always been a bit of a hippy, when I brought out the tote bags, Tim Minchins song ‘Canvas bags’ went round and round in my head and it made me a little bit happy people might take our bags instead of more plastic. I spent so much time researching packaging for the new products as I wanted to keep the products safe but didn’t really want to use plastic. So I opted for recyclable and degradable plastic bags to keep everything dry and clean, but still not quite as bad as some plastic packaging. I opted for paperbags for my stickers and cardboard envelopes for cards. I felt I had been much more contentious for this round of my business and not leaving a lasting impact on the world, yet I’m churning out dresses like they are going out of fashion without a thought of what went into creating that fabric for my consumption.

I haven't taken part in the photo challenge for #Makersforfashrev but that doesn't mean it hasn't affected me. I am not sure if this says more about me or about the Sewing community in general but I wanted to write my thoughts down and share if anyone had the same feelings as me?

I might slow down with my sewing, and my posting and hopefully this means I will have better more meaningful things to say… I hope!

Wednesday 28 March 2018

My Handmade Wardrobe Cosy Jersey dress

You may have seen a few sneak peeks of this Cosy Jersey dress, but here is the low down on my Cosy Jersey dress from My Handmade Wardrobe. A new pattern company which launched at the end of January and I got to go to the launch party wearing my lovely dress!

My handmade wardrobe have launched a pattern range specifically with beginners level instructions. They explain every step in great detail which helps especially if it's your first time Sewing stretch fabric or you are unsure which needle to use etc. 

Best this about this dress besides it's comfort is the size of the pockets! I can get a full magazine AND a bottle of prosecco in! No more clutch bags for me! 

I made mine from scuba with a pleather looking side one side and plain scuba the other. I decided to use the right and wrong sides as a contrast between the panels which I think worked really well. The pattern has two length options as a jumper or a dress and also various sleeve options so you can pick and choose which you want to do.

The sleeves confused me when I was putting it all together and it wasn't till I tried it on did I realise that I had already done the sleeves as part of the side panels! Sneaky! All that was left to attach was the sleeve band which I contrasted the colours again. 

I made the size XL which actually is miles too big on me but with a belt the shape with the pockets sticking out makes a lovely hourglass shape. I could probably go down 2 sizes when I make the next one so it's worth checking the sizing as you go along, especially if you are making it with fabric with plenty of stretch in it.
The launch party was a lovely evening with other sewing types! I always love meeting sewing people in really life as everyone is so friendly and happy to geek out about fabric just as much as you are! The Crafty Sew and Sew shop is a lovely venue too, though I was a bit cold which gave the pockets another use to cuddle my arms in and warm up! This dress is multipurpose!

Sunday 4 March 2018

The Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns

I put these jeans on my make nine mostly out of fear, and I thought if I put them on my make nine it might push me out my comfort zone. What was I so scared about?!

I decided on the Morgan's jeans as I had heard so much about the Ginger jeans but didn't think my Booty would look particularly flattering in skinny jeans but the Morgan Jeans Boyfriend fit jeans appealed to me!

The denim I'm using is from Sew Crafty Online and it have an ever so slight stretch in it and the colour is just beautiful! The Morgan's pattern doesn't call for stretch denim but I thought I'd take a risk and since I was cutting the top end of the pattern I thought the stretch may help with the ease so I wasn't uncomfortable. And boy was I right!

The pockets on these really confused me for a little while but in the end I read the Ginger jeans sew along and it all clicked into place. I have attached the coin pocket to the wrong side of the pocket fabric which was then causing it to the wrong way around. Making jeans pockets was quite possibly the most rewarding sewing I have done in a while! All of a sudden it works and looks just like that RTW pair you have in your wardrobe! I had an issue with attaching the fly but that was just me being lazy and not using enough pins which I soon rectified. Check out my Instagram stories archive and you will see what I mean.

Deciding where to put my back pockets was a bit of a trauma, I basted the jeans together to see where I should put them but because I was home alone it's near on impossible to look at your own arse and pin a pocket on straight! So I gave up and copied a pair of RTW jeans I have by laying them flat and drawing points of the top two corners and using that for my Morgan's pockets. This worked really well as you can see.. (excuse my giant bum in your face but POCKETS!)

I used this gorgeous daisy print for inside my jeans and continued with my Rainbow overlocking thread. I'm drawn to anything with Daisy prints on as my first name in Guiding was Daisy (like Brown owl in Brownies) so it always has a place in my heart. The waistband and pockets and the rainbow overlocking make me want to show everyone the inside of my jeans too! Like you don't get that in RTW jeans do you!

I still have a slight fit problems with the waist over my bum, but I think I have worked out how to fix that in my next pair by reading through Closet Case's fit instructions which are really comprehensive if you too are wondering how to make them better. I don't mind though as all my RTW jeans have this issue so I nearly always have a belt on with them.

I have rolled up my hem because a. I love my some rainbow overlocking on show, and b. I really love the 'wrong' side colours in this fabric so thought this would be a lovely contrast. Also I didn't use topstitching thread just plain cream and I think this works perfectly against the turquoise jeans it didn't need heavy topstitching taking away from the awesome colours!

I have even attached the rivets and buttons! I used a hammer for the button fly, which was not scary at all and actually quiet therapeutic I think I might make everything a button fly from now on. I used the vario pliers to attach the rivets. I put one either side of the pockets along the side seam by the bar tacks which really gives you that professional finish! I may add some onto the belt hoops but I want to wear them a while before I decide about that.

If you want to see how I got on progress wise I've saved all my pictures on my Instagram archive so go check it out!

Wednesday 31 January 2018

Straight Stitch Designs Madrona Skirt

I was lucky enough to be part of the Straight Stitch designs testing team for the Madona skirt. The first time I saw Kimberly post this on her Instagram I was instantly drawn to the girly floaty front petal shape of the skirt and how lovely and unusual it was, THEN I saw she wanted pattern testers so I jumped at the chance!

I used this beautiful Vicose Rayon from Sew Me Sunshine with lovely dandelions on. I was torn between this and a plain mustard one as I thought the lovely frill may be better suited for a plain fabric but I did an office poll as we voted dandelions, and I can bu
y plain clothes not as easy to buy pretty fabric skirts!

The viscose has a lovely drape to and even so walking around is floats around and will be perfect for a spring dress or skirt. I don’t think I’ve ever sewn viscose rayon before but it’s very like cotton lawn to sew so nice and easy and not slippery like you would think a viscose is.

The skirt is super easy! It’s two pieces with a French seam joining the back then a waistband! I have decided my favourite method of creating gathers now is to sew elastic on so I did that again to create the even gathers around the waist. I just large zip zag a piece of ¼” elastic all around the top, stretching it as it sews, then when I let go of the stretch it gathers the fabric beautifully!

I made the waistband a little wider than the pattern because I found the most amazing button that matches perfectly. It was brilliant timing as I was making this skirt at our Sewing day at The Cambridge fabric company. When I popped upstairs to the shop for the elastic which I forgot to bring, I saw these ceramic buttons in a little basket on the till. It matches so perfectly it’s almost spooky!

In my excitement of matching buttons, I put my button hole the wrong way up! I put it portrait when it should be landscape but I have remedied this by moving the buttons along to where they sit nicest of my waist.

I can’t wait for the warmer weather to wear this without tights and some lovely summer tops (think ALL the Ogden Cami’s!)

Big thanks to my photographer Lisa for taking these at lunchtime on our day job, anyone else struggling with daylight to get nice photos this time of year?!

Sunday 14 January 2018

Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry dress review

I appear to have fallen off the blogging waggon! But back to the new year with a bang and the first item off my #makenine2018!

Introducing the Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry dress (Pattern link) This dress looks scary complicated with the off set buttons etc but it's really not!

My sizes were super confusing between sizes, so I opted to make a size 20, with an D cub bodice. I'm normally and E cup and 18/20 in rtw (especially if my bums needs to fit in!) but I didn't make any changes to the sizing and made a straight 20 partly through laziness and partly through interest to make the pattern as it comes. I Made mine with super lightweight Viscose that I've had in my stash for a while. It was from ohsewcrafty and it's only £4 pm at the moment!

I accidently cut my pattern pieces for the front the wrong way around, so if you are making it make sure you remember your fabric is right side down, and the pattern piece is facing up looking a you. It doesn't matter really if you forget though, it just means your buttons are on the opposite side. Make sure you do your facing pieces the same way as the pattern piece though which ever way you decide.

I love the drawstring waist on the dress allowing for larger lunches if required, it also mean the top is lovely and floaty perfect for larger buster women like me. Also normally I worry about long sleeves in women fabrics as my arms are a little larger than patterns normally allow but I didn't make any changes to this and they don't feel or look tight and uncomfortable. I think this is due to the lovely floaty design of the bodice and sleeves.

Talking about sleeves I did make a slight edit. The instructions say may slight gathers on the sleeves to fit the cuff in which gives the billowy look. I'm not good at freestyle gathers, so I cut two pieces of elastic the same length of the cuff pieces and stretched it around the bottom of the sleeves sewing it on with a zig zag. This meant when I let go of the stretch it was all beautifully gathered and the right size for the cuff to be attached. I then just overlockered the cuff on top of the elastic and sleeve all together. This bit may be easier to do before you sew up the side seams on your sleeves so remember to do that first if you are going to.

I made small button holes for the drawstring to go through my I think in my next one I will purchase an eyelet set as I think it will finish it off lovely.

I used beautiful big statement buttons on my dress and I think the lovely neckline and buttons deserve drawing your attention to! My fabric had ever so slight gold flecks in so I went all out with gold shiny buttons!

So all in all, I really like this pattern! I've become a bit of a lazy seamstress since Christmas so the amount of pieces I had to cut out scared my bit actually they all come together really quite easily and quickly.

Now for the next on my make nine list! Also, the pup's really likes it too :)