Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Birdie Negroni....

I feel like I know what I'm doing with men's shirts now, I'm on a roll, that's it, all birthdays and any other present giving events, if you're I guy I like enough to gift you then this is what you'll be getting!

This is another Colette Negroni for my Dad, a birthday shirt using lovely seagull print cotton from Ditto.

The pocket and inner yolk are made from some left over scraps of Robert Kauffman railroad denim, it's also on the underside of the collar which works well for a bit of stability. 

There's not much to say about the construction, I didn't change anything since the last time I made one, other than this took much less time and most of it was done without needing to consult the instructions, apart form that burrito method for the inner yolk, that still gets me head scratching a little bit.

I love this fabric, look at the cute seagulls! 

I think I'm improving on the details, I'm pretty pleased with the top stitching and button holes

I sort of wish I picked up more of this fabric for a summer dress, maybe I should swing by just to check if theres any left....

Friday, 24 July 2015

Second Saltspring....

In the tradition of  'I love this pattern, I need it in all colours immediately' here's my second Saltspring within a month. This time the maxi version. 
The fabric is the very gorgeous Gramercy Voile in City Lights Night. It's so buttery soft and lovely to work with, and it doesn't really wrinkle which is always an ironing haters dream. I picked this up from The Village Haberdashery after I was one of their #tvhhaul winners in June....exciting!

(not sure what we're both staring at?)

I got 2.5 meters and it was just enough for this dress with a plain black cotton for the lining.
I made this up pretty much the same as my first version, omitting the zip, but I did take an inch off the bodice length so it was a bit less puffy, I think I prefer the silhouette now.

I took about 4 inches off the skirt length. I'm 5"6 so not particularly short, maybe it's meant for wearing with heels?

Lion king/cat moment....

I added loops to the bodice again and then used long strips of fabric to make the straps. I made these a little shorter than last time so they just tie into small bows and there's less strap flapping around.

This fabric is ever so slightly see through which isn't a problem for the bodice as that's lined. To save my modestly I added a skirt lining. I just used the short skirt pattern pieces to gauge the length, I didn't want or need for this to be lined right down to my ankles, and used some soft black cotton to underline the skirt. These pieces are sewn into the same french seams as the rest of the skirt so it doesn't move around of ride up under the skirt. 

Ooh lovely pockets...

I wore this to a lovely picnic last weekend and it felt really nice and breezy. It sort of feels dressy although it's super casual. I'm looking forward to wearing this whilst padding along a sandy beach on holiday later in the year.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Ultimate trousers....

It was Me Made May this year which made me realise I was lacking in a couple of handmade wardrobe areas. In particular trousers. 

I picked up the Sew Over It Ultimate Trouser pattern earlier this year and did get around to making a pair up in May but they definitely weren't nice enough to be worn outside.....among other people......who have eyes. 
Baggy bum, baggy front, too short and wonky facing....nice hey?

I didn't feel that I needed to take any photos of this disaster. I did wear them out once, mostly hidden under a coat, but the fabric had way too much stretch and they we're even more baggy by the time I got home. To be fair they were ok for a first trouser make, I made them up without any alterations and used a fabric from my stash so a wearable toile was as much as I should have hoped to get. 

Last week I decided to drag them out and see if I could get a better result second time around. After a fair bit of reading up on alterations I went with these...
  • Take in the back darts an extra 2 inches
  • Add and inch to the back rise
  • Take in the front darts and extra inch
  • Take an inch out of the front crotch depth, tapering out in the side back pieces
  • Take 1/4 inch out of the front crotch curve
  • Take in the leg width from mid thigh down to the ankles for a slimmer fit
  • Add 3 inches to the leg length
  • Adjust the waistband facing to fit

This took a while and involved a lot of trying on, pinning, adjusting and trying back on.

One of the most useful things I found on Pinterest to help out was this illustration which shows a lot of different alterations that you might need...

So once I transferred all of these changes over to the pattern pieces I felt confident enough to actually cut out some nice fabric to make an actual real pair of wearable trousers. I bought some dark denim from Ditto Fabrics in Brighton which has 3% stretch, hopefully just enough to be wearable and not stretch out after each wear. I should note that this pattern actually calls to be made up in woven fabrics but I don't think I would ever get wear out of trousers with no stretch at all, not comfy and not practical for me any way. 

The SOI pattern instructions have you finish your seam edges before you start sewing it all together. I've never done this before but found this a little bit of a revelation. I bound all of my edges with some blue satin bias binding which was satisfyingly neat. 

Initially I thought I would use flat felled seams to add strength but I actually ended up just doing everything as simply as possible for this go, just to make sure I had all of the alterations right before putting a really huge amount of effort into other areas.
So to strengthen the seams I added an additional line of stitching just next to the original instead.

Lovely neat seams....

I was surprised how quickly these trousers came together. I think I had them all sewed up in a couple of hours.
I really like how my little turn ups look with the bound edges...

I used a metal zip for the side opening and added it with a lap rather than an invisible zip. I put this on the wrong side of my first pair but actually got used to feeling it that side so kept it on the right for this pair too.

The facing needed adjusting to fit the new shape. I toyed with using it as a waistband but again stuck with keeping it simple this time. I always find that facings flip around a bit so I did tack it down in a few places, next time I make a pair of these I would like to add a waistband instead though.

I put these on straight away for a windy walk on the prom...

It feels so nice to wear trousers that fit perfectly. No baggy waistband, no baggy crotch (always a bonus)
I mean just look how happy I am about my fitted bum!

So after the nightmare first pair I'm really pleased I went to all of the alteration effort as these are going to be a well worn part of my wardrobe. I'd like a plain black pair and also possibly a spotty pair too. I really love all of the floral trousers out there but I think I might not be able to pull those off, I imagine looking a bit like I've got out in my pyjamas.....we'll see.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

A 1940s Betsy......

Hiya! I hope you've all been out enjoying this glorious summer day, I've been sunning myself whilst watching a load of people, including my Mr, swim around the West Pier. I was going to join in but left my swimming cap at home.....ahem......anyways.....

I've been sewing up summer dresses like a machine these past few weeks. I seem to get so much more joy out of summer dresses than winter ones, probably down to all of the more pretty floral fabrics you get to wear which are more sunshine appropriate. 
This one is another Sew Over It 1940s Tea Dress. I've made two of these already, here and here, actually these are both wintery versions, but this is definitely for the sunshine....

The fabric is Liberty Betsy poplin and I picked it up from Kats Fabrics on ebay. There was 2.8 meters and actually enough for two dresses, so my mum has a 2444 in it now too :)
This poplin is so great to work with, easy to cut and so easy to sew. I used french seams on all of the straight edges and pinked the curved bust seams, I also lined the bodice with some pink cotton batiste.

I lowered the neckline ever so slightly, shortened the sleeves and added a few inches to the skirt so it's no tights appropriate.

I love the skirt shape, I find it really flattering and perfect for my blustery day fear.

I feel like I need a cute little garden party to go to in this, or a wedding, can some people get married and invite me along please?!