26 February 2016

Jumpy romper

How awesome is this little romper! I love it, Can I have the pattern in adult please? I'm actually quiet serious about that, this little girls romper suit is the business. Its so soft and comfy, can you imagine it as a type of onesie to slouch about at home in, it would be great. Its quiet simply lovely and one of the nicest things I have sewn up recently.

The fabric I'm sure some of you will recognise is some mint Elk Grove knit jersey by Birch fabrics. It wasn't exactly the cheapest of knits but the quality of it is truly sublime. I bought this fabric in my early pregnancy when I was secretly hoping for a girl and thinking of all the cute dresses I could make. I tried to persuade myself it could be classed as unisex, but lets face it its not very masculine is it. Now before you jump down my throat I have no problem with son playing with dollies or tea sets or whatever the hell he chooses but; I decided that making it into an outfit for a little lady would do the fabric much more justice and it would get much more love and wear. I had contemplated making it into some sort of summer PJ's for myself, but I know I'm just never going to get round to that and I only bought one meter so it wasn't a lot to play with.

The pattern is the reversible Jumpy Romper which is another pattern from the wonderful Puperita. This pattern was no different to the other ones I have made up in that it was an absolute dream to follow and so easy to make. I made it up in 12-18m for a friends little girl and the proportions look great. I used the overlocker for this one because I wanted a really quick satisfying project after all the fitting I had to do with Margot dress and this certainly delivered. I managed to whip this up in about 2 days. I absolutely love the pink jersey with the mint of the elk grove knit. Its such a beautiful colour combination for a girl, and I think one of my favourite. As I mentioned the pattern is reversible but why would you want to hide those handsome deer?

I would offer a word of caution about sewing this whole pattern on the overlocker though. Whilst it is possible, as you can see here, sewing around the top popper sections is very difficult and the finish is a little clumsy. Next time I will do the sides and the ankle cuffs on the overlocker then the top section on a regular machine. All the seams are hidden inside so they don't need to be perfectly neatened off. It is a bit of a shame as the one issue with trying to sew will baby sleeps/with a baby is the constant changing from sewing machine to overlocker to iron and back again. I am yet to find my perfect nap time project. If you have any ideas about this I am desperate to hear them.

So I would definitely recommend the fabric and the pattern. The fabric also comes in a lovely multicolourway and the pattern is newborn - 6 years! How many versions am I going to be able to make before these babies grow out of these patterns! I have some lovely skull print jersey which is screaming to be made into a pair of these but again I bought it for Master Fox and having received it I think its just a little bit on the feminine side so I'm not sure what to do about that yet. Watch this space (though not too closely its probably going to stay in my fabric stash for ages while i find the perfect project!). 


19 February 2016

Valentines Clemence Skirt

Ok so I'm 5 days late posting about Valentines but you'll forgive me right? Hopefully the day went alright for you and you were treated, whether it was a treat for yourself or from someone else. Sometimes the treats for yourself are the best kind, at least you are getting something you really want ;)

Anyway, on to the point. Here is my lovely little version of the Clemence skirt from Love at First Stitch in a very well timed cute tiny heart print viscose. I wore this little number whilst out on a date with Mr Fox at the weekend, I think we are probably two of the last people in the world to go see Star Wars at the cinema!!. It's a very comfy, easy to wear little skirt with lots of swoosh, as I found out today when I stepped out in the wind! Whoops!

The pattern is the 5th in the book and calls for you to draft your own pattern. Honestly, its so easy, you just have to draw 3 rectangles using your own measurements. I did get the measurements spot on, but it must have been an off day as honestly I could not transfer them to paper for love nor money! I got there in the end though. Its a very simply concept of 3 skirt pieces sewn together, gathered across the top (its a lot of gathering!) in to waistband and then inserting a zip. I did half the height of the waistband after my problems with Delpine and this made a massive difference. The skirt sits much better on my hips now. This is something I will definitely keep an eye on when making any skirts up in the future.  This pattern also had us learning french seems, again not a first for me, but it does make a lovely finish for this inside of this skirt.

I chose to use a viscose for this project (sorry, another Ebay purchase) because I have made a gathered skirt before, Tilly's picnic blanket skirt, out of cotton poplin and I wasn't a massive fan of how poofy the cotton made the gathers under the waistband look when sat on my hips. I think this is because all my chunk sits just here and it just exaggerates it a bit too much. I had hoped that a nice drapey fabric might stop this happening so much but the truth is it didn't really. Never mind, its not so bad that I won't wear it, I'm actually quiet a fan of this skirt, I think its because its so full at the bottom, its really nice to wear.

So that's my Valentines skirt, next up is a blouse. I am in two minds about this. I love the fabric I have chosen for it, but the pattern (and the fabric) frightens me a little bit. I can see the urge to procrastinate on this one so fingers crossed that isn't the case.

12 February 2016

A well adjusted Megan dress

As I write this I'm actually sitting in our kitchen at work wearing my Megan dress and proudly saying 'thank you, I made it'. Don't you just love that feeling! 

Making Megan has been a little bit of a fitting journey for me, with two toiles, so she has taken a little longer than the other projects. Seeing the fit at the end totally makes it worth it though, no more ill fitting store bought dresses. She is made from some cotton sateen that I have had in my stash for a little while. I really like sateen, it's a bit heavier than some other cottons but has a nice little bit of stretch in which makes fitting a little more forgiving, I wasn't really too sure if I was going to like either the fabric or the style of dress when making this, but do you know what it's not all that bad. It's definitely wearable, and whilst I don't love it in a way that makes me want to wear it every day I certainly don't hate it. I think the only thing for me is that the neck is too high for my body type, and a bit formal looking for my style ,but it's definitely fine for the office. 

In terms of fitting I made made the following alterations. I did a full bust adjustment, adding about 3inch in total and elongated the front and back bodice by 2 inches. My main reason for this is when you have a slightly larger bust you don't really want a dart tuck just under your bust area. I find it can make it look a bit like your boobs are hanging low which is definitely not a good look! I think I did a pretty good job of making the dress flatter that area in the end. I also moved the bust darts, though looking at them they still look like they could do with some adjusting. The final alteration was to take 2 inch off the skirt to accommodate the fact I made the bodice longer. I normally do this at the end before sewing the hem and think I will in future as I only just got away with it being decent!! The only thing I would try and do better would be the neckline. It doesn't sit quiet flat, I think I should probably pay more attention to the shoulders next time. 

This section had us putting in a neck facing and fitting a sleeve. I am very proud to say that this was my first attempt at fitting a sleeve and I'm really pleased with them. There is  some puckering showing but given that you are asked to gather the sleeve I think this is how they are supposed to be. I've had a look at other versions of the dress and they look to have some gather in too. Yay! Go me. It wasn't anywhere near as frightening as I thought! 

So all in all that went pretty well :) a nice introduction back into full dressmaking and pattern adjustments. Now just to work on improving my skills and trying to get them perfected. It would be nice to learn the types of adjustments needed to standard patterns for my body shape but that will come in time. My sister has very kindly offered to help me draft up a body block at some point so I can start making patterns from it. So that will be a fun new skill to try and learn.

Next up Clemence which is a gathered skirt and I think (hope) this is going to be something I can make that feels a bit more like my personal style. Lets see how we get on.


5 February 2016

The skirt that didnt work - Pink Delphine

Check out my lovely version of the Delphine skirt, the 3rd make in Tilly Walnes Love at First Stitch book for beginner sewers. I am so pleased with the skirt its beautiful and a triumph, its just such a shame that I'm never going to wear it. Why? I'll get to that in a minute, lets start with the positives shall we.

The skirt is made from a lovely baby pink cotton chambray which I bought from eBay. I've never sewn using Chambray before but its a lovely woven to sew with. Its crisp and clean and glides through the machine. Definitely a good fabric for a starter. Chambray also comes in a few lovely colours (and patterns) now as well rather than just the usual pale blue denim effect. Now I am one of those people who has to wear tights with skirts and dresses pretty much all year round and woven's don't lend themselves well to this, they tend to stick and ride up as the day goes on so I lined it! Tilly has done a lovely little tutorial on her blog for lining this exact skirt, so I followed the pattern instructions and the ones on the blog and I have to say they were really clear and helpful and I didn't have any troubles whatsover. Yay! Its not very obvious to see the lining in the picture below but it is there. I used some of the lovely cheap shiny  'lining fabric' in a matching pink.

This section of the book had us learning how to insert an invisible zip. This wasn't my first time but I appreciated the crash course and am really pleased with this one, its sewn in beautifully and all the seams are level which is always the tricky bit with any zip. The other thing I am really pleased with is the hem on this skirt. Honestly I think its the best hem I have ever stitched, I'm so proud of it.

So why am I never going to wear it? Well, its all in the waistband. I made this to measure and the bottom of the band sits perfectly where it's meant too but the top sticks out A LOT and doesn't sit flat against my waist at all. I know its because I am one of those lucky people to have an actual hourglass figure but it means my waist isn't straight at the side. I think this could be quiet easily rectified by halving the height of the waistband so its a lot thinner and as a result sits on a smaller area of my waist. It's just a shame I can't really do anything about that now. I am a little sad about it, it does just make this whole thing look a little bit awkward. But one of the skirts further in the book has the same waistband so hopefully I can fix this issue for making that one. This is how you learn about tailoring to fit your body shape though right. Lets live and learn and move on :)

The next pattern in the series is the Megan dress which has a fitted bodice, flared skirt (not unlike this one) and some sleeves. This is going to be a fun one to tackle, I've never fitted a sleeve in before and I'm going to have to do a full bust adjustment on the bodice. So watch this space, lets see how we get on.

Have you ever made anything that you loved but for whatever reason just didn't work? poor fabric choice, fit issues or something entirely different. Share your faux pas with me, go on! 
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