25 March 2016

Houndstooth Lilou Dress

This is the last pattern from the Love at First Stitch book and the one which I was really keen to make as its the pattern in the book which I think most matches my personal clothing style. I opted for the pleased skirt version over the gathered one as I think that pleats flatter my shape a little better, at least in a more structured fabric. This dress is made with all my style points ticked: Cute little sleeveless dress with a fitted bodice, monochrome (everything has to be monochrome at the minute!) and a punky hounds tooth print. There is a massive error in this dress though. I'll talk about it later but I wonder if you can spot it in the meantime. The dress as a whole does make me very happy though.

The fabric is a gorgeous large hounds tooth print viscose which again I bought from Croft Mill. I realise it looks monochrome but its actually a very slight off white and dark purple weave but you might as well call it black and white, its about as damn near. You are probably wondering if I ever buy any fabric from anywhere else but here or eBay but the truth is Croft Mill just have this brilliant knack of finding fabrics which suit my taste. They have a nice mix of different types of dress fabric, so there is usually something for every occasion, they manage to find lots of interesting prints which you don't see the same in every fabric shop, and finally their prices aren't crazy. (You just made me go check out their newly stocked section and I'm already coveting a load more fabric from them and Ive got at least 4 in my sewing pile already!)

For the lining I used some cotton fabric from Makower with a cute scissor print on. Now this is a total copy from the book as Tilly's version also has a red version of this fabric as a lining, but the truth is I've had half a meter of this in my stash for forever and never had a project for such a small piece so it was fate really. The cotton does react differently to the viscose but it has helped the give the bodice a bit of structure which is better, whilst the skirt still flows beautifully because of the drape of the viscose.

I made a lot of alterations to this dress, and its still far from fitting well. I cut a size 3, did a 1.5 inch bust adjust and then added a small back adjust. The small back adjust made a huge difference to the fit there and I'm really glad I tried it. It will definitely be doing that again. However once it was sewn there was a lot of room in the waist still and there is far too much fabric in the back so I ended up re-sewing the side seams. So now I am thinking that for one bodice piece I really need to make all the following adjustments: full bust, small back, small waist and sway back! It's probably time I took my sister up on her very kind offer to help me and my mum make a body block.

There are a lot of things I really tried to do right with this dress, especially given the print, that just didn't work out. I made a muslin which seemed ok, but turned out not to be so great. I was so particular to cut with the print and pattern matching in mind, especially where the dress and bodice meet, but I made a glaring obvious mistake and sewed the pleats on the wrong side of the fabric. The front skirt is actually wrong side out (thank god for viscose!) but it means the print is reversed and that there was no way I could pattern match down the front. I actually don't think its that obvious to spot but its really annoyed me. On the plus side at least the print runs in a straight line so that I am very grateful for.

That being said I really like it and I figured that if I had bought this dress in a shop the fit wouldn't be great, the pattern wouldn't match and given how much I paid for the fabric its a bargain. I really do need to get this pattern matching thing sorted out though. The bottom line is that I really like the dress pattern so I will definitely be making it again, I just need to work a bit harder on getting it to fit perfectly. I am doing really well at getting closer to my pre-preg weight though so I think I will give it another month and then work on really getting this pattern to fit, as I can see me having a few versions of it as a wardrobe staple.

Did you manage to spot the mistake?


18 March 2016

Calavera skull print baby romper

 I made another gorgeous version of the Jumpy baby romper again this week. I really do love this pattern so much. It's such a speedy sew and so easy to follow.

I used some gorgeous Calavera skull print cotton jersey which I bought from DaWanda, which is kind of like a German version of folksy/etsy. You can get so much lovely jersey in the EU, much more than in the UK and you don't need to pay any silly taxes to import it. Yay :) I use a plain grey jersey for the lining and cuffs. I can't quiet decide what sex this is for. The colours are very boyish but the skulls have a definite femine feel. I guess that makes it unisex! 

So you thinking 'oh another romper, wow' well the exciting thing about this romper is it marks the start of my new vision to make alternative and quirky children's clothing to sell. I do want to work on some more original ideas/pattern alterations but to start getting the shop up and running I need to get a few items made up to stick in it and make it visible in the real world! Exciting stuff right! 

I am being realistic about this project though and I'm not going to go bull in a china shop to get it open, I want to make sure the things I do sell are well made and thought out. So for the meantime this little baby outfit will get shut away until I have a few more items to launch. 

I've always loved the bright colours and characters in children's textiles, which is why I used to make the plush monsters . Hopefully this will give me satisfying new way to both utilise all those fun fabrics designed with kids in mind, and to come up with a few fun creations of my own! 

Hopefully I can make this work now I've said it out loud!! I hope you all wish me luck, I'll let you know as soon as I get a bit further with it, but in the meantime, back to some selfish sewing!! 

11 March 2016

Post Pregnancy Chataigne Shorts!

Ever since having Master Fox I've been desperate to get back in my pink wool Chataigne shorts by Deer and Doe. I love this pattern so much, and getting back into them meant I could justify making up another pair!

I made the first pair of these shorts when I was in very early pregnancy and couldn't quiet get my tiny growing bump into my regular shorts. I love wearing shorts, they are so practical, especially when you spend a lot of time sat on the floor. You can wear shorts in cooler months with tights or in the summer without, so versatile.

I cut these shorts out and half stitched them up about 9 months ago in some mad hope I was going to fit into them soon after, well that didn't really happen and so they have been sat under a pile of stuff on my sewing table ever since. I decided after making my Mimi blouse that I needed a nice quick make and spotted them sitting there looking sad so here they are. It turned out it wasn't such a quick sew (there is a lot of ironing in the making of this pattern!) but I'm glad they are finished just in time for the arrival of spring. 

The fabric is some black striped cotton type fabric. I'm not sure exactly what to call it, it was donated to me from my sister in law but its got a lovely sort of tailored look to it which is why I thought they would work really nicely with this pattern. It was only a small amount of fabric so it was nice to make something with some structure with it. I tried really hard to match up the stripes where I could and its not a bad attempt as far as that goes. Sadly its near impossible to to take good pictures of black clothing so I had to brave the early spring sunshine in my eyes to take these photos.

I did have a nice happy accent with these shorts though. When it came to sewing the waistband I realised that I had forgotten to cut one of the facing pieces. Because it had been sat on my desk for so long I've no idea if the piece got lost or whether I didn't cut it but all the fabric scraps must have gone in the bin so there was no more to be found. What could I do to fix it? Cut the facing from some lovely contrasting cotton of course! So I picked this lovely Michael Miller Anchors Away By the Sea fabric which I have had in my stash for ages. I really like this little detail now, the inside makes me smile :)

I could make a million pairs of these shorts, in fact I could pretty much use every piece of fabric in my stash on them... cherry print sateen shorts, jade sateen shorts, striped shorts, pink anchor shorts, the list goes on!

4 March 2016

Dreaming of Summer Mimi Blouse: Parrots and Palm Trees

This has been a real labour of love but I'm really proud of how my Mimi blouse has turned out. It's  my first time making a shirt or blouse and I didn't pick the simplest of fabrics to use but I'm super happy with it! The blouse is the 6th pattern in the Love at First Stitch book by Tilly and I'm really pleased I didn't procrastinate on this for too long. I LOVE IT!

The main thing that got me going on this project was this amazing crepe de chine fabric which I bought from Croft Mill online. I mean what's not to love? It's covered in parrots and palm trees, it's amazing! It's the perfect way to celebrate that spring is truly on the way. As soon as I saw it I just couldn't resist, it was meant to be for this blouse. It makes me want to be sipping cocktails on a sunny day. 

I've really enjoyed the way working through this book has given me a list of projects, it means I've been able to buy supplies in advance and get on to next make so much quicker. 

I didn't make any fitting adjustments on this pattern I just cut a size 3. It's a lovely loose flowing blouse with gathers in the yoke front and back which adds plenty of room so less need for a perfect fit. The gathers make it lovely to sew as you don't have to worry so much about lining everything up perfectly. It's a great starter blouse, and definitely gave me the confidence to try others. Sadly the sleeves are a little bit on the tight side (damn bingo wings!) but it won't stop me wearing it. 

I did however add a few more buttons than the pattern allocated. The reason I did this was to make sure that I placed a button on the fullest part of my bust so I didn't get any gaping in the buttonhole. I also knew I needed a button at the top so I measured the distance between, added a buttonhole half way then used that measurement to work out the placement of the rest of the buttons. It worked really well and the buttons turned out really nicely spaced. 


I really liked the version in the book with the piping and contrast collar. Being as I have never used piping before this was a good excuse to have a go. I love the way it looks but my god I HATE my piping foot! It was so difficult to use, but I guess I just need to practice a bit more. Hopefully it will get a bit easier next time.

Being the first time I've sewn a blouse it's the first time I have ever done a yoke or a collar. I am so pleased the collar came out so well and pretty even looking, especially as it's such a contrast and so obvious. I used some double Georgette for the collar and because its very sheer I used another layer of the Georgette as the facing. I owe May Martin for that tip after my recent binge re watch of GBSB, thanks May! I did apply interfacing to the facing of the main blouse though as instructed. In hindsight this wasn't the best idea, the crepe is lovely and drapey but the interfacing made the facing really stiff. It felt really awkward under the blouse. The facing pieces were very wide so I trimmed them right down to 2cm after sewing the button and buttonholes using the overlocker. I also tacked it to the blouse in a few places under the collar to stop it poking out the top. This made a massive difference and it's much nicer to wear now. It would have been better to use a plain light crepe fabric as a facing. 

I did try to do some pattern a matching which I really failed at again! Thankfully the print is quiet forgiving so I'm not going to cry about it. I'm going to have to work out how the hell to do that at some point though, it's my total nemesis! 


So in case you couldn't tell I'm very proud of myself and I can see me wearing this for work A LOT! I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear it without a cardi to show off its full awesomeness!

It's lovely to make something super quick but don't you often find the things which you spend a lot of time and attention on turn out to be the things you really love and want to wear again and again. Have you got something you have made which you spent a lot of time on that you really love. I would really like to hear about them :). Finally if you have this book and haven't tried the blouse pattern I strongly encourage you to do so xx

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