Monday, 21 August 2017

Off the Shoulder Top

 

This is actually something that I made way back in December; that’s right, I made a summer top last December! The reason it’s only just made its way onto my blog is that it’s only recently been warm enough to actually wear and photograph. But it was so worth the wait! I absolutely love it. An explanation for making it is December is deserved, but there isn’t really anything to say, other than I really wanted to sew something, and the only fabric I had on hand was an old shirt of my Dad’s. Re-fashions are really fun to make, but the cotton fabric wasn’t suitable for winter and there also wasn’t enough to make anything with long sleeves, so I decided to make an off-the-shoulder top. The good thing about using an old item of clothing as fabric is that I wasn’t too worried to be making it up slightly as I went along, because I wasn’t wasting any precious fabric.


To make this top, I used mainly this tutorial. However, if you'd rather make one without a ruffle, I'd recommend this one. It was so easy to make! Because I used a shirt I didn’t have enough fabric laid out, so the ruffle has a few extra seams in it, but the great thing is that these don’t show as the fabric is gathered. I used the front of the shirt for the back, and the back for the front, and then the ruffle is made out of the sleeves. This is the first time I’ve actually properly re-fashioned a piece of clothing, and I really enjoyed doing it.



Because a shirt has buttons on it, I decided to make them a feature rather than sew a seam in the fabric. The back of my top has buttons going down it, and I love this feature so much! I would have probably added them even if the shirt didn’t have any already, but the fact that it did meant that I didn’t need to sew my own buttonholes, making it an even quicker make! The fact that I re-fashioned an otherwise unwanted garment meant that I was able to sew something that was slightly outside my comfort zone because it wouldn’t have mattered it I’d never worn it. I’m so happy I did though, as I love it. It’s really good to sometimes use pieces of fabric that you aren’t worried about wasting as it allows you to have so much more freedom with what you make.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Pineapple Trousers


This project is definitely an example of something that I never thought I'd wear, and in fact absolutely love! When I received this stunning pineapple fabric from Faberwood a while ago, I wasn't sure what to make out of it. I had originally thought of making a blouse like this one, with a metallic zip in the back, and while I think it would have looked really nice I just didn't need another blouse, and I actually already have a top with pineapples on it. And so the fabric lay un-used for a little while (far from neglected though, don't you worry, I gazed lovingly at it very frequently!) until a couple of weeks ago, when I brought it downstairs to look at with my Mum. Making trousers had never occurred to me until my Mum mentioned it, but it didn't take me long to decide!


My main worry about these trousers was wether or not they would look like pyjamas. However, I have seen a lot of patterned trousers recently, and the fabric would be far to luxury in my opinion to sleep it! I just adore the print, the perfect balance of fun and sophisticated. To prove how much I love this fabric you can see this top that I've made in the same print but in a different colour. I've sewn pyjama trousers before, and the actual construction of the trousers was really simple. I wasn't sure which pattern to use, and although I saw lots of lovely trouser patterns online, I decided to hack a pattern that I already had, to save both money and time. So the pattern that I used was the Tilly and the Buttons Margot pyjamas, from Love at First Stitch. The main things that I changed was taking the seams in quite a lot at the side and adding elastic at the bottom to gather it. If I had had more fabric I would have liked to have added pockets, but I managed to just squeeze these out of 1 1/2m!


Overall, I really love these trousers. They are exactly what I need for my holidays, which will involve quite a bit of cycling, and are a style that I grow to love more and more every time a wear them. Also, they are so comfortable! So the moral of this make? Risk it! Try a new pattern, a new style that you usually wouldn't dare. It might not be right, but there is a fair chance that you will discover a new much loved style.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Bottle Holder Tutorial


Look at these wonderful bottle holders! I absolutely love them. They provide a soft place to grip a bottle, a fun decoration and a lovely little project! You can whiz up your own very quickly, supplies are easy to get hold of and you will be sure to fall in love with them. I'm definitely going to be making many, many more!

You Will Need:

Batting/Fusible Fleece
1x Outer Fabric
1x Lining Fabric
Velcro or some other kind of fastening
A Bottle



Right! Lets get started. To begin with, measure around your bottle using a tape measure. Then add on 5 cm to the length (mine was 20cm, so total was 25cm). For the width, I decided 10 cm was around the correct length for my bottle, but depending on your bottle size that will need to change too. Cut one piece from your outer fabric (so mine was 25cm x 10cm) and another piece from your inner fabric. If you are using fusible fleece, cut it 1 cm smaller on all sides, but if, like me, you are using batting, cut a piece the same size as the pieces of fabric.






Ok, time to create a 'sandwich'. You should have three layers: the outer fabric, the inner fabric, and your batting. Put them together like this: inner fabric face up, outer fabric face down, batting on top of the outer fabric. Make sure the order is correct! Double check before pinning.  Sew around your three layers, making sure you leave a hole at the top.




Once you have sewn around your fabrics, turn the rectangle the right way out. Your batting should be in between the outer fabric and the inner fabric!! Tuck in the edges of your hole and iron it all flat.







Time for some top stitching! This has a double bonus: not only does it look lovely, but it also covers up your hole very neatly, so you don't have to slave away sewing it up with a needle and thread! Make sure you keep your stitching in a strait line (I lined my fabric up with the inside edge of my foot). You can use a colour co-ordinating thread, or you might decide to go for a nice contrast!





This is the final step - wasn't that easy?! To fasten your bottle holder, stick your velcro onto the outer fabric of one side and the inner fabric of the other. Make sure to line it up right, so it isn't too loose or too tight. I used sticky velcro so I didn't sew around it, but if you are using normal velcro make sure to sew around using a matching thread.


Or:



For my other bottle holder, I used poppers to fasten it (this meant that I didn't make it as long at the start). To make sure your poppers are straight, use an iron-off pen (frixon works well) and draw four little dots where the poppers are going to go, and then hand sew them on.








I hope you enjoyed making these bottle holders! They make lovely gifts to go with a drink, or you could stock up yourself for summer!







Saturday, 29 July 2017

Liberty Pyjamas


I am so excited about this make; It is none other than Liberty pyjamas! Sewing with Liberty for me, like many people, is a huge luxury, so I'm very pleased to have a pair of Liberty pj's. I got this Liberty fabric from the Birmingham rag market for just £8 a metre (I talked about all of my fabric purchases from Birmingham here if you're interested) which was an extremely good price for Liberty! However, gorgeous as it is, Liberty fabric is quite bold, and I knew that if I made it into a top I would rarely wear it. I didn't want it just sitting in the cupboard for ages though, so I cut into it soon after I bought it, and pyjamas solved the problem of what to make!


I don't have any 'proper' pyjamas, as in button down shirts, and that was what I wanted to make. I 'drafted' the pattern for the shirt which is something that I'm quite proud of as I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it. When I say 'drafted' I mean I copied the pattern from an existing shirt, but I still had to make sure that each piece fit together and was sewed in the right order, so it counts as drafted in my books! Extra details that I added are a small pocket and pink flower buttons, which although you can't see very well look very lovely! One of the benefits of not making a garment to wear outside is that you can add fun extra details like buttons in the shape of flowers (which also happen to fade in a pink gradient as you get to the bottom of the shirt!). This shirt was actually really quite to make, compared to say my Fairfield button-up or my Rosa shirtdress. For a shirt it is actually incredibly easy, with just a few pattern pieces. I didn't interface anything as I wanted the pyjamas to be soft, and I added button and collar facings, which I think adds a nice touch of luxury. If you're looking at making pyjamas like these but would rather buy a pattern, I'd recommend the Carolyn pyjamas by Closet Case Files, the pattern that I would have bought had I not felt that I'd be able to draft it myself, which is much cheaper than buying a pattern. This is definitely not going to be the only one of these I'm going to make, and I'm longing to add piping in my next one!


For the shorts, I used the Margot pyjama pattern from Love at First Stitch, and hacked it to make shorts. I wasn't sure which fabric to use for the shorts, but my Mum found this perfect black lobby fabric by Robert Kaufman at John Lewis. It doesn't show up on the photos but it has a lovely texture to it. To add some interest, I put some bias-binding made with the Liberty fabric around the bottom hem, as well as a Liberty drawstring at the front. On the back I added a pocket with a Liberty trim around the top, which is similar to on these pyjamas that I made. I really love this pyjama ensemble, they are just perfect for the summer and it feels very special to sleep in Liberty!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Me Made of the Month - July 2017


This month's me made of the month is another make that I made a while ago. It's the Deer and Doe Arum blouse. This blouse is one of my favourite patterns, the silhouette is gorgeous. I made this blouse a while ago, but I haven't really worn it much. However, I've  worn it a few times recently and I've really loved wearing it. The fabric is really gorgeous, it's a double gauze from gather here and make something and is gorgeous. The fabric is actually double sided, and luckily I have quite a bit left, and I'm hoping on making something that would put that to it's best.


The only bad thing about this fabric (and this top) is that it frays horribly. Despite the fact that most of the seams are finished, the princess seams on the back are falling apart a bit, which is really frustrating! This was the first time that I made the pattern (I've made it since, you can see it here) and at the time I hadn't sewn a lot of things. This is a great pattern to start off with, as it's really easy to fit and sew. It also teaches good techniques such as sewing a facing. 


I love that I'm now able to come to a point where I can re-discover old makes and put them on. A lot of garments that I made at the start make me feel really happy to put on. It's really nice to wear old makes, as well as to see how much my sewing has improved.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Another Linden Sweatshirt


That's right, it's another Linden Sweatshirt! After last weeks linden, I made one for my Mum. The fabric is from Guthrie and Ghani, I mentioned it in this post. Already, the Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt is one of my favourite patterns. Not only is it super quick and easy to make, it also is really comfortable and and looks good. My Mum thought so too. She chose the fabric and the pattern, and all I had to do was sew it up. I love sewing things for others, and it's even better if you see them on a weekly basis after you've given them away!


I made view B of the pattern, and added three quarter length sleeves, rather than short or full length ones. I really like this pattern with that sleeve length too, and I might add them onto my next one. Despite having made two jumpers with exactly the same pattern (other than the sleeve length) they look completely different because of the fabric. This fabric was a lot harder to sew with than the other one, mainly because of the amount of stretch that it has. I sewed it up using a zig-zag stitch and a ball point needle, but I think that using a walking foot was what made it possible and I would highly recommend it, it made is so much easier!


Finally, I've started to realise just how much blue clothes I've been sewing! These are my Coco top, my Belladone dress and this jumper. I love wearing blue, but I didn't quite notice how many of my handmade clothes are of that colour! Not that I regret making them, but taking this photo made me smile at how predictable my wardrobe is! 

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Mustard Linden Sweatshirt


This is my first make from the fabrics I got from Guthrie & Ghani that I mentioned in this post. It is the Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt... And I'm in love with it! I absolutely love everything about it: the colour, the fabric, the style, the fit. It was such a quick and easy make and I'm very happy with it. The fabric that I used is a gorgeous mustard knit fabric, which is perfect for the pattern. As you may be aware, mustard and navy is my absolute favourite colour combination right now, and I am shamelessly wearing outfits of those colour in constant rotation. This jumper is the perfect edition.


What makes this pattern special are the raglan sleeves, which I really like. The pattern comes in two views (I chose view B). You can either decide to make a classic sweater, including cuffs and ribbing, or more of a top, which is slightly cropped and has shorter sleeves. This is the only version I've tried out so far, but I'd like to make the other too sometime. I really like the neckband on the design too, I'm always looking for different techniques to try out. Sewing the neckband in this fabric was really easy, so I was happy to have started with this one, as I have also made one for my Mum (which I will blog soon!) which used much stretchier jersey and so was a lot harder to sew.


Another thing I love about this pattern is the hem-line. I love a good high-low hem (as you may know from this top) and this pattern is perfectly design to sit in exactly the right place. I really like the side view of this jumper, the hem looks lovely. To finish off the hem, I sewed a double row of stitching. I love double stitching, and I don't mind taking the extra time to sew it twice rather that using a twin needle. Although I would like to try one out sometime, I didn't bother with the extra expense, and I have also heard that they aren't always accurate. I do need to test out a twin needle though to find out if this is true!


Overall I'm really pleased with this super simple and speedy sew! The Linden Sweatshirt is almost certainly going to be a pattern I use over and over, the shape is so lovely and it's just so quick and easy to make. Have I mentioned I love this fabric?! Although it's not coming out in the pictures, it actually has flecks of red and blue on it as well as some different textures, which adds a lovely twist to a classic colour. This is definitely going to be getting a lot of wear!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Guthrie & Ghani






For the second post of my fabric shopping series, we're heading over to Guthrie & Ghani, the most wonderful contemporary fabric shop located in Birmingham. It's a shop that I've wanted to visit for a while, and I wasn't at all disappointed! The layout of the shop is stunning, and the staff were lovely and very helpful. There was so much wonderful fabric to choose from! It specialises mainly in dressmaking fabrics. What makes it so unique for me is the great range of knit fabrics, and it also has lots of other really lovely fabrics such as chambrays and denims. One of the things that I really liked was that there was a rail of garments made from fabrics and patterns that they sell in the shop. I haven't seen somewhere where you can actually touch and look at pre-made garments before, and it was something that I really liked. I ended up pretty much copying one of their garments too!


Onto my purchases! The first is the Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt pattern. What I love about this pattern are the pockets (they are amazing!!), the top-stitching opportunities and the contrast zip. I bought this really lovely denim fabric to make it, and I'm going to be adding gold top-stitching (similarly to my dungaree dress now I come to think of it!) and a contrast metallic zip. I also found this gorgeous liberty print and the Birmingham rag market that I'm going to use for the pocket lining. It's quite subtle, but I think it's going to go with it perfectly.




Next up is the Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt pattern and this lovely knit fabric to go with it. This is for my Mum (pattern and fabric were both chosen by her) and I can't wait to make it! I think that the Linden Sweatshirt pattern is a great staple pattern to have. For my Mum's version, I'm changing the sleeves to 3/4 length; hopefully it will turn out well, the fabric is gorgeous! After the success of this blouse she asked me to sew a few more things for her, which I happily accepted.


 Of course, the best thing about sewing for others is that you can then steal their pattern! I'm going to be making myself a Linden Sweatshirt too, out of this gorgeous mustard fabric. It's such a lovely knit, it's really soft and has the most wonderful speckled effect on the outside which I love.


The final fabric isn't from Guthrie & Ghani, but I'm so pleased with it I just had to share it! It's from the Birmingham rag market, and it's proper liberty fabric for just £8 metre!! I was so excited I may have squealed with delight (in fact, I think I probably squealed at every single one of these fabrics!). I bought 1 metre, and I think I'm going to make a summer top out of it. It's such a lovely print, and I love liberty fabrics but usually can't afford them, so I was very happy to discover this.


Here's a photo of all the fabrics together, just because they look beautiful! Phew - that should keep me going for a while! I've realised that once again I seem to have come home with mustard and navy... oh well, another outfit to go with my top and skirt!

Monday, 26 June 2017

Mustard Button-Up Skirt


I have been completely obsessed with the colour combination of mustard and navy at the moment, so as you can imagine this outfit made me squeal with delight when I put it on! The skirt is my latest handmade garment, and I absolutely love it! The fabric is from Frou - Frou, you might recognise it from this post. It's a really lovely mustard denim (something that I have been looking for for a while). I knew that I wanted to make a skirt - although I would love a Cleo in it too! - but I wasn't sure what type of skirt. I hesitated between choosing one with a fly or not, but I love the classic silhouette of button-up skirts so much, and that was what I opted for.


The pattern I drafted again myself, but not from scratch. I used the base of a different skirt pattern to start with and then altered it (and there was much altering!) from there. The main things that I did to make the skirt fit me was to pin the side seams so that they follow my shape exactly, and to sew pin and sew the waistband to me too. One of the things I love about sewing is that you can create a garment exactly for you. I haven't completely gotten to grasps with fitting patterns yet, as it's a very deep subject, but I am happy to have browsed the surface, and each garment made is another learning step.


The skirt was a really fun sew, although I did concentrate a lot on the fit, which meant it took longer to make. The length of projects doesn't worry me much though, as I'm lucky enough to have lots of time to sew. I guess I'll have to make all my in-depth projects now before I'm longing to whiz up only quick tops! The main thing I was worried about was wether or not I would be able to sit down in the skirt if the pencil shape was maintained, but I am happy to report that walking, jumping and sitting can all be done very comfortably in it! 


The buttons were probably the hardest technique on the skirt. Button holes don't worry me too much as I have sewn quite a few, but the first one is alway scary! My favourite part of the skirt is definitely this ribbon which is hiding inside the hem. I am a big fan of small details, such as double rows of stitching, contrast pockets and facings. This ribbon was the perfect accent to the skirt, and sticks to my navy - mustard theme that I can't seem to get enough of! (Another similarly colour-coded project is on the way...). I love how it's a detail that only I know is there, and every time I put the skirt on I can see it and smile.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Me Made of the Month - June 2017


I've decided to start another new series on here about my favourite me made make each month, called (rather unoriginally!) Me Made of the Month. This might be the garment I've worn the most in the month, or my favourite outfit, or just a handmade item of clothing that I've really loved wearing. I'm starting with the Deer and Doe Belladonne dress. We got some unusually hot weather this month, and it was exactly the right time to throw on a summer dress. I don't wear that many dresses, and so I've only made a couple (even though I love them) but I loved wearing this so much that I'd like to wear them more regularly.


I  really love this dress, and one of the reasons is that there are so many lovely details. I really love the pockets and the pleats at the waist. I also really like the darts, the design of the dress on a whole is so lovely. I also love this dress for a more emotional reason - this was my first proper handmade garment. It was the first item of clothing that I made myself, over a year ago, and without it I don't think I'd be at the stage in my sewing that I am now.


The most special thing about the design of this dress is definitely the back. It's so gorgeous! I love the idea of having a cut-out in the back, and it's something that other people always pick out too. The fabric, in case you were wondering, is this Robert Kaufman chambray from The Village Haberdashery. I love making clothes from chambray, and this one was perfect for this dress.


Friday, 16 June 2017

A blouse for my Mum


A couple of weeks ago, when I shared the fabric that I got from Frou - Frou, I mentioned that I was going to make my mum a top. And I have! I'm really pleased with this, and so is she. It was the first time that I had properly sewn something that someone has asked me to make exactly. In other words, she chose the fabric and asked me to make this exact top from it, which is a replica of a ready to wear top that she owns. In a way, this is harder than making something for someone without them knowing and then giving it to them (for example the shirt that I made my dad) as it has to fit the brief. You might recognise the style of the top from this one that I made. Although the armhole and shoulders are slightly different, the two tops are quite similar. And yes, the fabric is also very similar, but no, we aren't planning to wear them as a mother-daughter duo! The front of the top appears to be higher than the back on this photo - this isn't the case of the actual top, it just hangs differently on the hanger.



As I mentioned above, this top is a copy of a ready to wear top that my mum already owns. It was my first time actually copying a garment, but I'm very pleased with how well it went. I made up my own method, and it wasn't until looking at a couple of you-tube videos that I realised I'd done it 'wrong'. Not that it mattered, as it worked fine, and the two tops are pretty identical. The only part that I used instructions for was copying the dart. This video shows how to do it really well.


The zip in this top is a nice detail that I like. It's not as exciting as the contrast one in this top, but my mum has hinted that she might like another one, possibly with a contrast zip! I'm really pleased with this make. It's so nice to make things for others. I think that although I definitely like making things for myself, it is really rewarding to see someone wear something that you've made them!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Mustard and Navy Blouse


I often feel like this, but I think that this is one of my favourite things I've ever made! I love everything about it - the pattern, the style, the fabric... The fabric is from Frou - Frou, a wonderful Parisian fabric shop. You can find a review of it here, where I've posted about the fabrics that I bought. One of the things that I'm most proud of in this garment is the fact that I drafted the pattern myself. While I love the endless array of dressmaking patterns that there are, sometimes only you can draw up  exactly what's in your mind. This is one of the reasons I love pattern hacks. For this top, I designed the pattern myself. Not only does it fit well, but it is exactly what I dreamed of and it feels like a great achievement for me!


The construction of the blouse included both challenging and simple techniques. I decided to make a toile first, as I made the pattern up slightly as I went along. The toile enabled me to change the seam allowances slightly, add a seam in the centre back, and make the top slightly longer. I really love the proportions of this top, from the slightly cropped hemline to the 3/4 length sleeves.



Onto the best part... the zip! I absolutely love navy and mustard together, and as soon as I saw the zip I knew it would be perfect. I also have some mustard denim which I'd like to make into a skirt to go with this top... On my toile, I didn't put a seam in the back, and used these instructions to create an exposed zipper. However, despite the fact that I'd sewn one before, I wasn't fully happy with how neatly it went in. I decided to add the seam in the back to make it neater, and also slightly easier to sew. One of the things that I love in garments are the details both inside and out. The neckline in this top is finished with a facing, which I absolutely love. Facings along zips aren't the easiest things to sew, but once you've done several they become much easier, and I love how neat it looks inside.


You can see a better view of the back of the top here. I love that zip! This top was a delight to sew, I love the style and am already planning more (including a similar one for my mum!). It's when you create something like this that you know exactly why you sew - no ready to wear shop could sell something that is so me.


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Red and Tartan Cleo


A friend of mine received the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo sewing pattern, along with some gorgeous red needlecord as a Christmas present last year, and I suggested that we sew it together. She hasn't done much sewing, but enjoys it, and we made the dungaree dress over several sessions, breaking the steps down. And it looks amazing! I know she's pleased with it, and I hope she's proud too, because I absolutely love it. I am definitely a lover of the Cleo pattern, having made two (you can see my burnt orange cleo here and my denim dungaree dress here) and I'd love to make a third copying some of the details from this one. 


None of the fabrics were my choice, but I absolutely love them. She chose to use tartan as a contrast pocket, which isn't something I would have thought of, but I think that the effect is really great. Copying this, I think that a light denim Cleo with a bright contrast pocket would also look really good. The other detail that I really like about this, and this isn't something that I've done previously, is to use buttons instead of dungaree clips. I think they go really well with this style, and we managed to find some wooden buttons in my stash of buttons that were just perfect.


I think that the Cleo dungaree dress is a great pattern for people who are starting to sew, although I would say that some of the language in the instruction booklet may be a little bit technical for someone sewing on their own without someone to help (e.g. facings, finish seam allowances etc). I know that this isn't something that can't be quickly solved with the internet, but it might still be nice to embark on a slightly simpler project to comprehend if you are making it on your own. On the other hand, if you want a pattern to help teach someone to sew, and that you are there making it with them, this is a very good pattern. It's quite quick and easy, and, importantly, wearable. There really is nothing better than making a garment that you can actually wear out in public for the first time!