Saturday, 27 June 2015

Saltspring for summer.....

It's actually getting pretty warm here now and the forecast for next week looks amazing (28c on Tuesday, WHHAAATT??!!) Bring it on, I love summer so hard. 

What I don't have in my wardrobe is many casual dresses that you can throw on for a day at the beach or just for when it gets super hot and you're after something a bit more strappy and floaty than a fitted bodice and pleated skirt number. 

I had a bit of a pattern sort out last week and found this Sewaholic Saltspring lurking at the bottom of a drawer. I actually won it, but can't remember what competition, sometime at the beginning of last winter. It was a funny time to choose this pattern, what with it being pretty chilly, but I'd had my eye on it for a while and decided I could wait a few months before needing to rip it open. Turns out I completely forgot about it any way but it was a nice surprise to find it again!

The Saltspring is a pretty sundress where the construction of the bodice means that the outside blouses without needing a belt to do that for you. The magic comes from the lining being cut shorter...tadaa! I've seen quite a few Saltsprings on lovely sewing blogs and a few people had just used the lining pieces for the outer bodice to omit the blousing, I did have reservations about it being a bit too poofy but decided to give it a go. 

I just bought some cheap fabric and decided this version would be a wearable toile so I wasn't too bothered if it didn't work out so well. Saying that though I actually think this dress is going to be fine for the summer. 

The cutting and sewing of this dress was really quick, I managed it all in one afternoon. This is the first pattern I've used for which I cut out the same size all over with no grading out or in....amazing! I didn't realise that Sewaholic's USP was that their patterns are made with pear shaped women in mind. I love you Tasia! 

The blousing is quite big so I probably will reduce it a bit next time, and definitely just reduce rather than use the lining pieces, I think about an inch off would do it, unless I use some super fine, drapey fabric so it doesn't stick out too much. I also omitted the zip, as I'd also seen done a few times. The waist band is elasticated so it pulls on over my head with no problems. This makes it an even quicker sew.

I used a variation for the straps. There's some good tips on the sewalong. I went for adding loops to the bodice then using a long strap to pull through both sides and secure with a bow at the front. I'm pleased with these and would definitely use them again, it's nice not to have the bows right on top of your shoulder and dangling straps.

The skirt shape is a cute almost A line. Perfect for not blowing up on the windy prom. I added an inch as prefer skirts not to be above the knee. There's also need to say how much we all love pockets....

So now I need a maxi version of this and probably one or two more of this version to last me through this supposed amazing summer we're about to get. 

Have you used Sewaholic patterns before? which others do I need to add to my sewing list?

Bonus Betty Pic....

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


Happy sunny Wednesday everyone! 
I'm excited at the prospect of it actually being summer soon (she says, ignoring the imminent rain on the weekend forecast) Well whatever the weather decides to do I've started on my summer dress sewathon. 

My first newbie for the summer is this 2444 variation with these beautiful pink flamingos....

Check out that smug face, it's coz I'm all happy with this dress. I just love this fabric and am so happy that I managed to get my hands on some. It's Michael Miller from the Village Haberdashery and I missed out when they first had some in so when I saw a tweet alerting to some new stock I was on it. Then something went a bit wrong with my delivery address and I thought it would be lost forever :( Luckily as it turns out Annie is just the best and when it got returned to the store she sent it right back out, thank you again for your help Annie! I think it must be out of stock again as I can't find any on the website, but looking throguh Pinterest it looks like quite a few people grabbed it :)

So yeah, the dress bodice is once of my all time favourites; Simplicity 2444. Since I made some alterations to take in the neck gape this just sits so nicely. It's so great to be able to get out your pattern and just know it's going to fit well. Well worth the hassle of altering pattern pieces.

Everything was cut on the cross grain so that the clouds and mingo's were the right way up but it doesn't seem to have affected the fit at all.

I added a simple gathered skirt so that I didn't have to cut into the border print at all, I used the full 2m length without side seams. I had to forgo pockets but I didn't want to loose any width. I haven't added gathered skirts for ages. I thought for a while that they were really unflattering for my pear shape. It was testing the Bonnell  that brought me back to reconsidering it and actually I think I quite like it again, what do you think? Too pouffy?

I just used the selvedge as a guide for a small hem too so I didn't loose much length of the skirt. After I had cut the bodice pieces out there was *just* enough for the length of skirt I like, phewy.

I'd say that the background is more greeny than blue, and to be fair it's called seafoam so yeah that eludes to more green. It's not quite what I expected but me oh my it really is beautiful with the pink. 

I had enough fabric to part self line the bodice, for the two back pieces I had some left over indian cotton from Goldhawk Road. Which reminded me go pick a stash of this up the next time I'm there as it's perfect for linings, so soft.

I got a bit lazy and stitched in the ditch around the waist to secure the lining rather than hand stitching, in fact I might try to do this more often in my attempt to rid myself of all hand stitching forever. 

Right I'm scooting off to the beach for the evening before the sunshine disappears!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Dad's Day Negroni....

I don't know about you but I never know what to get my Dad for dad's day. I usually end up with something like a book, chocolate, or booze which are all well and good but I never feel like it's particularly special. So this year I went for it with some selfless sewing with a home sewn man make :)

I made my first Colette Negroni shirt in April for the Mr. It ended up quite different to an original Negroni. I made alterations to make it more fitted and with a collar stand which is the type of shirt the Mr was after. I felt that that shirt was a massive triumph and was keen to get on with another before I lost the shirt nack! 

My dad is much more of a casual short wearer and this pattern is just perfect for him. I knocked up a toile a few months ago so I could make sure the sizing wasn't totally off, which it wasn't, then I went in search of fabric. 

I was initially looking for something fish themed (dad likes a bit of fishing :) but there wasn't anything I came across which was quite right, although I love this river fish print from Cath Kidston (can only find it in oil cloth now) but it was a bit spendy for a casual shirt. 
(maybe for your birthday dad ;)

Everything else was a bit too novelty. I say that like there is fish fabric out there somewhere that won't be novelty, but you know what I mean?

Anyways, I ended up keeping it simple and picked up some navy gingham cotton from Ditto fabrics. I just managed to get the whole shirt out of 2 meters and I used some left over swimming ladies for the inside back yoke

I made no alterations to the pattern this time, it's all original Negroni. It's a really nice pattern to sew up, it just takes a bit of time what with all of the flat felled seams and collar and buttons...but enjoyable!

I started this a week or so ago but then was all busy in the evenings and weekends and it fell by the way side, I had to instigate some lunchtime button sewing so it was ready to get in the post in time for today.

I've also just recently bought some fray check so my button holes are all now super solid. Wow I love that stuff!

My finished shirt even got a little love from Colette Patterns over on twitter.. *swoon*

Happy Dad's day!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Hawthorne Lou....

I'm in love with a new pattern, it's the Colette Hawthorne again...

After my first summer sleeveless Kitty version I was itching to sew up another straight away and went ahead and ordered this lovely Robert Kauffman Union Chambray from Fondant Fabrics. This fabric is perfect for a summer version of this dress. Really light, almost linen like, and such a nice colour, I'd say it's a blue/grey so really good as a neutral. The little woven dots are so cute.

I didn't make any alterations to the bodice as I find it a really good fit. i nearly made the collar more rounded at the tips but thought it would be a little lost as it's all in the same fabric, I'll save that alteration for another version with contrast fabric.

I toyed with the idea of fully lining this dress as it's pretty light with some navy cotton but I actually thought it would be good to have a light dress for when it does get hot (it will get hot soon right?) and I'll just wear a slip underneath if I need to. I used french seams throughout to keep it all tidy.

I must say that since I've started adding more pics of my makes I totally get what Roisin means when she talks about derp back in photos. What is it with backs? They're actually really hard to make look good in pics, especially when I've made it look like I don't have arms either but it looked even weirder with arms....anyway  back of the bodice fits great and moving face, always ready to get involved......

For this dress I switched up the skirt and used the Lilou from Tilly and the Buttons book. I've wanted to use this skirt pattern again as I love the side pleats, I wasn't so keen on the bodice and had major fitting issues with my swimming ladies dress but the skirt is spot on. I also gave myself a kick up the bum to get on and use it after Lynn made her Hawthorne Lou mash up which is just gorgeous. I made a note to add pockets the next time I used this skirt but with this fabric being so light I didn't think they would hold well so stuck with leaving them out.

I cut at the  front fold line and added enough fabric for a seam and button placket facing so I could continue the buttons all the way down the front.

I love the shape this skirt has and it's a good one for swishing around in..... 

So that's another to be well worn Hawthorne for the wardrobe, I have at least another two in mind, I love me a shirt dress :)

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Eyelet Scout (lessons in reducing claustrophobia) ......

So this blog title refers to an interesting 'incident' involving this make, but I'll get to that in a bit.

I've had my eye on this top from Pinterest for quite a while...

I think it was originally from Boden USA but I can't find it anywhere so it's probably pretty old.  I love how simple the shape is but it's so cute in that gorgeous crisp white eyelet fabric, and that cute collar....

So, last trip to Goldhawk road I picked me up some white cotton eyelet. I really liked the circle and square pattern of the embroidery.
I used the Grainline Scout pattern as a base, this pattern doesn't have any darts on the bodice, I thought that would match the Boden version best. I altered the neckline a bit to raise it and drafted a collar, and also added a key hole to the back neckline as a way to get my head in :) I lined the bodice in a soft cotton so that I didn't always have to wear a vest top or cami underneath, all of which worked out pretty well.

Now, onto the 'incident', via the part that didn't work out so well.
This involves a tale of 3 sleeves. The first sleeves I added looked like this..

The selvage/selvedge (??) of the fabric has a cute scalloped edge, which I used for the hem, and thought how cute it would be across the sleeve edges too. Well yes, they were cute, but because using it meant the edges had to be straight rather than curved it made them sit way too snuggly on my arms. I tried it on and then had to have some help to take it off drag it off my arms in a very un ladylike fashion.
But look how sweet!...

Alas, I couldn't keep those cute edges so I got out the seam ripper and took off the sleeves and cut the edge and hemmed as normal. Still cute, not as lovely as they could of been but oh well....

So with my newly hemmed sleeves, I wore this top when I was travelling back from a lovely weekend in Bristol (For me made may!) I had noticed that the fabric felt ever so slightly stiff, there is no stretch or movement what so ever in this stuff!, but by no means tight so I didn't think to make any changes. The train we were on got pretty busy and and pretty hot which led to much shuffling in seats and me then realising that actually these sleeves were a little too tight and OMG I can't move my arms and actually at any moment I will need to rip this top right off my body because I CAN'T MOVE MY ARMS, and that means I can't breathe and I'm literally thinking is there anything in my bag that I can use to cut this top off me right NOW!!! 
Ok, I'll be fine, just breathe and have a snooze, NO I CAN'T MOVE, I CAN'T BREATHE!!! This was all just going on in my head by the way, I wasn't screaming to a train load of people about the tightness of my sleeves, but in my head the panic was REAL. In the end I legged it to the toilet with the only other top I had with me (a vest top I wear to could have been worse, I could have had nothing) and struggled out of the thing without stumbling out the door in my bra. RELIEF. Oh wow, I felt like a new woman sitting back in my seat in my pj vest. No. F***s. Given. 

 So yeah, that's the whole mental story about my sleeves. Dramatic enough? 

Needless to say that sleeves v3 have since been added; I cut the same ones again and just reduced the seam allowance by half an inch, I can now freely move my arms. Oh the joy. Although I can't really work out why these ones ended up so snug, I've cut so many scouts all in the same size and all the others have relatively baggy sleeves??

Apart from all that, look pretty top! 
I think I did an ok job of getting it to look the top of my Pinterest dreams too, and at least I was able to keep the scalloping on the hem.

Have I just come across as an absolute loon or do other people get a bit fidgety in ill fitting clothes? (please say you know what I mean!)

Friday, 5 June 2015

Kitty Hawthorne....

Since making up my first Hawthorne back in December I was getting impatient to make up a summer sleeveless version.  It was this dress that really got my over my fear of button holes and now there's no stopping me!

I REALLY love this pattern. It's such a flattering dress shape with a fitted bodice, a sweet semi circle skirt and cute, cute neckline and collar combo. I'm loving a shirt dress at the mo and this has a lovely retro feel to it. 

This amazing fabric has been in my stash for a little while. I grabbed it from Fondant Fabrics last year I think? It's liberty cotton poplin so, obviously, it's gorgeous to work with. It wasn't my favourite colours but I had to buy it (coz Hello Kitty) 

I chose to pick out the pink spots and have a contrast collar and buttons. I'm glad I made that decision as the collar would have just been lost and I now it's made up I really don't mind the colour way so much. The collar sits really well, it's edge stitched but I left off the top stitching and I used a relatively soft interfacing so it wasn't too stiff.

I might make a little pink bow belt to go with but that might be just a tad too cutesy for every day wear.

I used the pink cotton for the pockets too

Look at all of those buttons, no fear no more! I also finished all of the top stitching in hot pink thread.
Although it seems daunting, what with all of the facings and button holes, this dress comes together so easily. The fit is so good, the only alteration I made, other than grading between sizes, was to take up the hem 2 inches.

I used french seams throughout. I love how neat the insides are when you can do this, especially when you're not planning on adding a lining.

The Hawthorne is in my favorites pile at the moment. I've been thinking about a pepelum shirt version and possibly adding a slightly different skirt for a change. I had Tilly's Lilou in mind, then I saw Lynne's version and I knew it was meant to out, more Hawthornes about!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

#MMMay15 Days 22-31...


No photo shocker!


No photo shocker #2
Tilly's Margot PJs (lazy Sunday) 



I spiraled out of photo control and just didn't even think to take one on any of these last days, work was way too busy and filled my head so much there was no room to remember to document what I was wearing and over the weekend I wasjust living life I suppose, but I wore...






So firstly this week; I did ok, I didn't really get to wear many exciting things but I still managed something each day......the less said about actually photographing those things the better.

Thoughts on me made may 2015....

I love me made may. I look forward to it from January but this year I just didn't really get into it. I did do it of course but I didn't feel I was really with it. I'm going with a few different reasons for my lack lustre feelings.... 

I have been mega busy at work, my brain has been pretty fried most evenings for the past 5 weeks or so. I'm dealing with a bigger workload than usual and hopefully it'll calm itself down over the next couple of months but it's meant I just don't have the brain space for much else (hence forgetful photographer) this also meant I missed quite a few blog posts from other lovely sewers which usually inspires me as the month goes on.

As predictable as it has been for England, the weather has been a bit shit. On one hand this made me feel that I don't get to wear my best bits for me made may, which are usually pretty summer dresses but on the other this has highlighted the fact that I don't really have enough me made's for when the weathers a bit shit but not cold enough for full on tights and coats. I really need to think about making some trousers, I did have a go at some Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers a while ago (unblogged) and could do with revisiting the pattern and making some changes so I end up with something wearable. I think if I master those then denim and black stretch is on the list and this will see me through those inbetweeny weather days.

I decided that this year I would just document my photos once a week in a round up here on the blog. I'm thinking this might be one of the reasons I managed to miss so many so maybe I should go back to posting a pic on twitter or instagram daily just so I actually remember. The whole selfie thing gets a bit much though, I really liked seeing flat lays and hanging garments like Zoe's so might go with that next year.

Thank you to (yet another) Zoe for organising another fab year of #mmmay!