Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A couple of Coco's!

As the weather has been rather rubbish this 'summer' my sewing thoughts have been dwelling on what to sew for Autumn/Winter. Ever since I started to sew I loved the look of Tilly and the button's Coco top and dress but knew I had too many similar things in my RTW wardrobe, as time has progressed these have fallen by the wayside and there was a Coco shaped hole meaning I could justify buying the pattern. Coco is designed for stable knits, I had none in my stash and couldn't find anything I really loved online. I had this green geometric print medium weight cotton jersey and although it is not the fabric suggested I thought it would be worth the risk. 

  I followed Tilly's instructions for making coco with a contrast yoke I also made the version with cuffs and 3/4 length sleeves - I totally love it and think it will be perfect for Autumn! I liked the idea of using ribbon to stabilize the shoulder seams - I have tried clear elastic in the past but found it a bit tricky so until now I hadn't used anything to give strength to my shoulder seams.



Ta dah!


I'm not sure what Tilly keeps in her pockets as they are minuscule! Just big enough to fit in a couple of Lego people!


If you have never used wonder tape combined with a twin needle for hemming knits I can highly recommend this method - great results and super easy!

  I wanted a short sleeved version and made it with an even lighter cotton jersey - this was a mistake. I spent ages trying to fold this fabric matching up the tiny stripes and had to give up and cut out on the flat - I must have stretched the fabric somehow and when I tried on the finished dress the hemline looked like one of those weird Burda makes with the extra dangly, flouncy bits at either side! I re-cut the hem - still the same problem. I ended up re-shaping the right side of the dress - it is OK for messing about with the kids but its certainly not a make I am proud of and I think the light fabric makes it a bit clingy and not very flattering! 


We spent the last day of the school holidays at the beach eating chips and ice cream (not at the same time!).


  Both dresses are very comfie and I especially like the contrast yoke - I think it makes things look a little smarter.

  I have a few more knit makes planned to complete my Autumn/Winter wardrobe - do you have any seasonal sewing plans?

    Thanks for stopping by!

         Su xx

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Eyes in my back!



  I loved the Simple sew crossover back top (and slouchy jersey top!) included in the September issue of Love Sewing magazine . When I was at the Fabric Godmother open day last month I spied someone wearing a top made of this fabulous face fabric, it is really different to anything I would usually wear so I thought I would step outside my comfort zone and promptly bought enough to make the top.

  I knew I would have to lower the neckline as I can't stand high necklines pulling on my throat and the photo's in the magazine showed the neckline looking pretty high.

  Because I changed the neckline I used bias binding to finish the neck rather than facings.

  Unfortunately I didn't read the part of the instructions where it tells you that the pattern has zero ease!! Luckily I had made a big enough size that this was fine for the bodice but made things a little tight for the sleeves - I had to un-pick my sleeve seams and redo them with minimum seam allowance - again because I changed the pattern I used bias binding to finish the sleeve hems rather than facings.

  The other issue I had was that the pattern uses facings for the entire hem, even though I understitched it and tacked it at the side seams no way was it going to stay put, because of the fabric pattern I didn't really want to use any top-stitching so I totally cheated and used wonder web!!!!!

  The blouse has no shaping at all so on me it does look a bit boxy, but I think the fab pattern makes up for it! It will be a useful addition to my work wardrobe. I love the look of the slouchy jersey top too and will be making at least one of these - I just need to find the time first!!


I really do love the cross over back.


  I guess you have heard about the made up initiative to raise money for the National Literacy trust? I donated on the just giving page and pledged that I would make something outside my comfort zone. I had two ideas one was this faces blouse and the other was an Anderson blouse made from a super slinky fabric (I did start this one but have to admit to failing miserably and can't even face writing a blog post about it!!). As the remains of the Anderson have been packed away in the hope that I will be able to complete it once the memories of trying to sew with what seemed like air have faded this faces blouse will be my completed pledge. 

  My little people start school again tomorrow, the summer holidays always pass by far too quickly!

     Thanks for stopping by!

             Su xx



Sunday, 23 August 2015

City gym shorts OR Why didn't I discover this pattern at the beginning of summer!

I can't even remember how I discovered this pattern yesterday evening, shorts were not on my mind but somehow I discovered this FREE pattern from Purl Bee with Kids sizes aged 2-11 and women's hip sizes 33-46 inches!

  It was so quick and easy to make up and a great stash busting pattern! My little lady grabbed them hot off the sewing machine and promptly cartwheeled around the garden in them - so I think she liked them! I managed to get her to stay still enough to snap some photos.


I made size 8-9 (she is a skinny 8 year old), they are a little big but hopefully will still fit next year. The only change I would make with the next pair would be to either make the waistband casing a little wider or use a smaller elastic than the pattern suggests.


I kept the navy thread in when attaching the bias binding thinking that the contrast would look good, but I think it would be better without contrasting thread.



Recently I also made this skirt from a pillow case


I feel a bit meh about it but think if I added over sized pockets like this skirt I would feel better about it.

I loved this Roxy skirt but sadly it no longer fitted me so I also unpicked the zipper and cut off the waistband, folding it over to create a casing for elastic to make this skirt:


This picture really doesn't do it justice, it looks great in real life - so grown up!!

  Thanks for stopping by!

           Su xx


Saturday, 22 August 2015

One Bettine, two Bettine,

I made another Bettine dress out of a charity shop cotton duvet cover I bought for £4.50 - there is still loads left! I totally copied a gorgeous linen version I saw on instagram!


This time I made a size 6 top and graded down to a size 5 at the waist and used the size 5 for the skirt.


I have worn it on a couple of occasions and am very pleased with how it turned out!


I have plans for one more Bettine - a winter version in black lightweight denim - the fabric is washed and ready to go but it is bottom of the sewing list as it is an autum/winter garment. Do you have a sewing list? Mine is just a rough idea of what I want to make and the order they are in depends mostly on what I fancy doing most!!

  I have been doing quite a bit of refashioning too - a couple of skirts for my daughter (I keep forgetting to get photos!) and I chopped up a maxi dress that I love but haven't worn this year (due to the usual excess boobage issue meaning that I had to wear it with a top underneath which kind of defeats the purpose of a cooling maxi dress!). So I turned it into a maxi skirt instead and hope I will get a little more wear out of it. Sadly I can't seem to extract the before photo I took and put on instagram, but here is an after shot:


I hope you are having a fine weekend, making the most of today's sunshine that otherwise seems to have mostly abandoned our summer!

  Thanks for stopping by!

            Su xx


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Thou shall hev a fishy on a little dishy...........



If anyone recognizes the title of this post then I apologize for reminding you of painful memories, If you don't recognize it then take the following as a cautionary tale:

      One childhood holiday (presumably in Suffolk) my parents (in what can only have been a fit of madness) bought a cassette tape (yes I know I don't look it but I really am that old) of  'Suffolk fishing songs'. Well you can imagine what the contents were, then imagine this played on a continuous loop whenever we were in the car during the whole holiday..... Someone only has to mention the words 'Suffolk' and 'fishy' in the same sentence and I get a cold shudder.

  Anyway painful memories aside I made a fishy dress and I'm rather pleased about it! Five or six years ago I bought a dress/tunic which was the perfect colour, cut, length, material etc and I wore it, and wore it, and wore it, and wore it. Two years ago it was way past it's best and I started to look for a replacement promising myself that I would throw the tunic away once I had found it's double. I never did find a RTW replacement so once my sewing confidence started to grow I was on the look out for a suitable fabric and pattern.

The pattern: Pocket full of Posies dress/tunic, it's my first intermediate pattern, I made a large and made the dress length. I had intended to use my overlocker for the whole make but it sounded grumpy going over the thick seams and given it's history of breaking down mid make I decided not to risk it.

The fabric: It was an end of bolt remnant, it is quite a thick jersey so was very stable and easy to sew with.

 The neckline is not perfect (I always struggle with knit necklines) and the pocket lining is always turning to the outside (I think I can remedy this by putting in a couple of stitches a few inches below the neckine). I have worn it all day today and it is sooooo comfie, the pockets are perfect for lego, phones, dinosaur teeth - you know all the usual stuff. It will be worn a lot during autumn, spring and cooler summer days - I just hope it will survive all the wear and tear and washing as I am planning to wear this for at least another 5-6 years!!



The pockets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



 Today I went to the Fabric Godmother open day. The fabric choice was amazing (I may have been tempted to purchase a few meters) and there were lots of fellow sewists and bloggers.



 I don't think I have seen so many hand made garments together in the same room - I felt quite rude staring at people looking at what they were wearing. It was really wonderful getting to chat to like-minded people. 

  Thanks for popping by!

                Su xx 


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Dottie update........

Pondering my Dottie dilema got me thinking about style and I realized that for things to work you either need to be totally conventional or totally wacky and anything inbetween just isn't quite right.

  I dug out some very purple tights and my green clogs, then put on Dottie 2 - I think the addition of funky tights gives the whole outfit the degree of wackiness needed???? Please forgive the bad photos - the little people were playing Romans and it was very difficult to tear the oldest away and to get her to focus on anything else!!!!


I think this would look good with boots too.


  I also shortened Dottie 1 to the tunic length and it does look a little better I think?


I need to learn to stand up straight when having photos taken!


  Anyway that's enough Dottie for a while! 

  Happy Sunday everyone!

      Su xx


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Simplicity 1080 'Dottie angel frock' OR 'Dottie has me stumped'

Sometimes you see a pattern and it just screams out 'I am for you'. For me simplicity 1080 was one of those patterns - as soon as I saw it I just knew I HAD to have it. I imagined making up seven versions and just throwing away all of my other clothes!!




I first saw it on Lazy Daisy Jones blog and since then have seen some gorgeous versions popping up on Instagram and the blogosphere - I really love all the versions The Woven Nest has made. Initially I had trouble finding the pattern to buy. It seemed it was all sold out both in the UK and USA, just as I thought I was going to have to wait weeks for my copy Simplicity UK got some more copies in - Hurrah! (It's currently half price for this week only) I ordered it and it was waiting for me when I got back from holiday. In my desperation to get going I used a totally inappropriate fabric to make my first version - I had been hoping this dress would take me through summer and into autumn (I could see it with some bright tights, clogs and a chunky cardi). Sadly the only place my first version was going to take me would be to some kind of freaky vintage granny nightdress convention - not a good look! - I might be able to turn it into a wearable tunic version we will see..... I did however learn a valuable lesson - there is a fine line between 'granny chic' and just 'granny'!

  As well as not using the right fabric I really struggled with this pattern, It felt like I struggled with everything, especially the arm holes. I was despondent how could something I loved so much be such a disaster? Just as I thought I would have to give up hope I read city stitching and it would seem that someone with a great deal of dressmaking experience and talent had struggled with some of the same things that I had, but had still managed to make a lovely version - I was inspired to give it another go!

   For my second version I made a size large (probably could have gone down to a medium) but used 1.5cm side seams. I French seamed rather than used bias binding, I took about 4 inches off the length and I used exposed bias binding for the neck and arm holes (to make the neck line smaller and because my arm holes had been a bit of a disaster in my first version). I like my second version much more but the arms are still not quite right - in the picture below the right arm has just wrinkled up they are even in real life!

 

 
I have attempted to recreate the Dottie Angel vibe in my photos!! The crochet rag rug was the first thing I ever attempted to crochet and has been left unfinished in my crafting cupboard for several years!
 
 
Autumn ready complete with granny shawl!
 
 
Goes without saying - I LOVE the pockets!
 
 
Back view
 
 
I added a bit of lace to the hem and really like this addition.
 
 
 After all the effort and stress that went into this dress I am a little unsure about it - is it just too mumsy? Would I wear it 'out and about'? - Perhaps a third version in a less floral print........
 
Next weekend Fabric Godmother are having an open day on Saturday which I am very excited about! I have never been to one of these open days before and am hoping to meet up with some other South Coast Bloggers!
 
 
  Thanks for popping by!
 
             Su xx