Thursday, 27 August 2015

Autumn wardrobe planning....

It really has taken a turn for the more 'autumnal' weather hasn't it?! These wet mornings have made for quite difficult outfit choosing as I refuse to open up my autumn boxes until at least October. I'm actually planning on having a wardrobe sort out and rearrange before I go on holiday. I know that when we come back it'll have taken on a bit more of a chilly vibe and I'll feel ok about putting the layers back on by then. But for now I'm powering through, but maybe choosing to put on my Ultimates a bit more often than my Saltsprings.

So it's definitely time to stop the summer sewing, I'll have no need for any more summer dresses this year. Now's the time for thinking about what I'll be wanting to wear as the months get a bit chilly. It's a funny thing when you try to sew your own wardrobe. I never used to stop and think about the clothes I'd want to buy for the next season. I'd just pick up a few things as I popped into town most weeks. But now I sew everything (well most things) I've found you have to give it some forward thinking and research in order o find the right fabrics, think about whet patterns you want to use and actually plan the time when you're going to get around to making it all. I must say that I really enjoy this part of it though and my Pinterest boards start filling up with all sorts of pretties and plans.

A few things on my list at the moment look like this...

Denim tshirt dress

I'm after a mix of these two dresses, more the one on the left with the gathered skirt but in more of a denim than chambray. I've had a hankering after a denim dress for a while. I think it'll be a good wardrobe staple. I'm thinking of using Simplicity 6262 which I picked up in the sales recently. 


This is a big old hole in my wardrobe. I'm definitely a dress girl (no joke) but I have a couple that I just don't reach for I would really like to try and wear them more and have a couple of pieces of fabric that would be perfect. I'm thinking of using a few of my beloved dress patterns rather then buying skirt patterns, like a Belladone and a Hawthrone button front but I also just got hold of the Veronika pattern by Megan Nielson which is free! it's a lovely circle skirt so I'm giving that a go too, I have some perfect spotty viscose in the stash. 


This little wonder popped into my head when I was trying to work out how to get my now beloved Saltspring into my winter wardrobe. I'm going to have a go at combining it with another favourite of mine; the Grainline Scout tee and hopefully get a very comfy and cute dress to go with tights. I may already have some cute drapey fabric stuff in mind for this (I DO) so stay tuned for how this love child works out....


I have a favourite lightweight jacket which really is coming to the end of it's days. It was from Primark about 3 years ago, a navy cotton knee length hooded jacket and I really love it for throwing over a cardi or hoody when it's not freezing out. Its a good length, has a hood, and you can fold the sleeves up for when it's still warmish. I just really like it and rather than try to buy another I think I'm going to have a go at remaking it. I have this Burda pattern pinned which is similar but having seen a picture of a how Burda patterns come (think spaghetti junction on crack) I'm staying well away. I think I'm actually going to try to trace off the pieces of the jacket I have or cut it up for pattern pieces. there are a few areas which I can stand to loose, like how the hood buttons on and a lot of unnecessary knife pleating at the front so in my head I think it could be sort of simple?....hmmm we'll see. The next wet weekend I get I'm getting stuck in. 
I do also have a proper winter coat on my list but I just cant decide if the cost of the wool etc will be worth it. Ideally I'm after a collarless simple coat like this but I'm struggling to find the perfect pattern. I have fabric swatches and buttons etc but I'm just not 100% sure yet. We'll see....

 I'm sure there will be plenty of makes on top of these, there's always room for more Plantains, the odd Ballet dress oh and definitely a black pair of Ultimate trousers too! Hmm maybe this is just my autumn list and I should come back with another winter one in a few months, yep I changed the blog title this is definitely just Autumn....

Monday, 24 August 2015

Top 5 summer wears (aka what to make again next year).....

As the rain sloshes down I admit defeat and accept that it is nearing the end of full on summer (it's not here yet mind! I'm still on the warm side but ok, ok it's nearing
I thought I'd go through some of my most loved summer makes, mostly as a reminder for the future me of what I should be remaking when I get all excited for summer sewing again. So here's my top 5 summer me made's...

5. Simplicity 2444
It's got to be up there but it goes in at 5 as this isn't specifically a summer pattern, this is my year round winner. It will probably always make up my perfect dress. The struggle is when not to use it. I even bought myself a brand new pattern in the sales as my old one is a bit worn out and is from the time when I would actually just cut out the pattern pieces from the original sheet rather than tracing them off (shock horror!) I have many of versions this but my summer fav's are my first duvet dress (still going strong) the Dolly Clacket, my picnic Belladone mash up, my new flamingo beauty and my navy cake-this one just always feel like such a nice put together outfit. It's starting to fade a little and get a bit bobbly by the arm holes so I should treat myself to a new navy version next year. I've pretty much listed them all there haven't I? but see....FAVOURITE.

4. Dixie's Ballet Dress
Another wardrobe staple of mine. I cracked it this summer with a lovely heavy stripe jersey and kept the hem knee length. This is my comfy Sunday or stroll along the prom dress. Perfect dress for when you don't really fancy getting dressed if you know what I mean? 

3. Colette Hawthorne
In particular my chambray version. This has got a lot of love for something cool to wear to work. I added the TATB Lilou skirt as I love the pleats and as much as I love it I wouldn't do it again. Brighton is just too blustery for full skirts and when I'm walking to work with bags and phones and holding water bottles and blah blah I cannot be dealing with a skirt blowing up around my ears. Remember this Zoë!... full summer skirts in heavy cotton only!
It was really nice having a chambray version. Denim goes with anything so I could switch up the look with different belts and cardi's and because of the shirt factor to the dress it still felt relatively smart (well as smart as I'll ever want to look at work) 

2. Dixie's Bonnell
This is my go to 'throw it on, it looks great' dress. I was a pattern tester for the lovely Dixie and this is my only version of the far.
I like so much about this dress. The bodice shape is lovely. The high round neck front and V back. The waist band really nips it in and the length is just perfect. This dress brought me back to considering gathered skirts again too. I can't decide if I do like the cut outs. I think maybe they don't work so well with my fabric choice, a plain colour would make them stand out a bit more, maybe black for a party dress and showing a bit of skin through those "tickle holes" would be cute? I'd like to give this one a go omitting the holes too.
I think I also wore this dress so much because of the fabric. It's a cotton from Goldhawk road and it washes up great and never needs ironing...amazeballs. 

1. Sewaholic Saltspring
This was the summer of love, of falling in love with a new pattern anyways. The Saltspring has been on my to make list for a while and when I finally got around to it I found my ideal beach dress. I've made up 3 versions this summer so maybe I won't actually need any new ones next year, haha who am I kidding I'm sure I'll make 3 more...
Easy to make, easy to wear and just an all round brilliant pattern. The first with no grading either, just one straight up size...I must look into more Sewaholic patterns.... 

So no surprises that these are all dress patterns. All the dress, all the time. I'll get to give all of this one last send off when I go on holipop at the end of September. I quite like the idea of one last shebang for them all in the sunshine then coming home to a new autumn wardrobe. Oh blimey look now I'm willing on the colder months too! It's just knowing there's a whole new pile of fabric and patterns to get stuck into I suppose so I better get on with A/W16 planning haha! Have you been thinking about your winter makes yet?

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The last summer Saltspring.....

I managed to squeeze just one more of my newest fav patterns into my summer wardrobe....

Yes it is still summer! 

It's the ever so lovely Sewaholic Saltspring.
I've already made a couple of these here and here and both have been well worn already, the black birdie one is perfect for throwing on for a beach trip, I knew I needed just one more for my hols at the end of September. It's just so easy to wear and feels so comfortable whilst still looking pretty.

I omitted the zip again, I don't think I will ever make a version with the zip, I just can't see why you'd need it. The only change I made was to add the proper shoulder ties from the pattern rather than using loops so they're quite drapey and flappy but I actually don't mind them too much. I added a bit of fray check to the ends and tied little knots, which is decorative more than anything else I think.

This fabric is a gorgeously soft viscose from The Textile Centre on eBay. It's my new favourite spending place and I've already been back for a couple more pieces, they're such good value! This is such good quality, really rich colours and like I said, super soft. It's got little deck chairs and boat and parasols on, perfect holiday print and it's navy...winning dress.

I self lined the bodice and french seamed the insides. I forgot to get a close up pic but this is also the make where I made friends with my rolled hem foot. For some reason that little bugger had really mystified me for a while. I bought it when I was making my wedding dress but opted for a machine stitched narrow hem instead. I just couldn't work out how to feed the fabric through evenly without it going a bit wobbly. When I gave it a go this time it was so bloody simple that I don't know what I was fussing about...I'll put it down to the fear of ruining my silk wedding dress at the last rolled hems all round from now on!

I ordered 3m of this fabric as I wasn't sure I would get it all out of 2, turns out I needed 2.2m so I have a good amount left for something else, I'm thinking a skirt but it may need to wait until next year now as it's not really winter appropriate.

So this is my last happy summer Saltspring make this year, this is going to be worn the heck out of on holipops.

I'm working on trying to make a more winter appropriate Saltspring as I think I need this to always be in my wardrobe, theres definitely something working out in my head between this and the Grainline Scout....Scoutspring?......

Monday, 17 August 2015

Self drafted.....

I love that being able to sew has opened up so many windows of opportunity to make exactly what I'm after. To use the perfect fabric. To add all the perfect little touches from all of your favourite RTW clothes and to make up the wardrobe you have in your head. 
This make was inspired by a lovely little vintage dress I had a few seconds glimpse of and couldn't get it out of my head. There was no way I would be able to find it in the shops and good old session on eBay didn't come up with anything just right either. It was time to use my long lost drawing ability and my very questionable pattern making skills!

The dress in question was a sundress with a gathered skirt and simple bodice but with a lovely tie back across the back bodice just across your bra band level. 

I have absolutely no skills in pattern drafting so the first thing I did was find a dress I already had with a similar front bodice and went about tracing it out. This old dress from Miss Selfridge was perfect. It doesn't have any darts and I really liked that the edges were simply bias bound. 

The front bodice was perfect as is and I traced the main bulk of the back bodice and then adjusted the shape to accommodate the tie pieces, with guess work and a few length measurements I came up with some pattern pieces like this...

Don't zoom in on those little dress sketches, I really thought I had a knack for drawing, turns out I left those skills in a GCSE art folder back in 1996.
The small pattern piece is for a patch pocket. The dress I'd seen didn't have these but I always like to have somewhere to stash a lip balm or keys and I thought the patches would work better than in seam pockets. 

I made up a toile (yes I actually went to that trouble!) and was pleasantly surprised that the idea was going to work, it just needed a little tweak to the front of the bodice by the arm hole...

I left the bottom of the bodice loose as I'd be attaching it to the gathered skirt.

After making the adjustment to the bodice front pattern piece, just pinching out a half inch from the under arm, I was happy to move onto the real fabric and it's a good one. I'm off on holiday in September so this is totally appropriate for a late summer make. it's a viscose from Regency Rags and has a great drape to it. I realise I don't have a clear photo just of the print but you'll get the idea..

I added a simple gathered skirt using two rectangles of fabric and omitted the back buttons. I used and elasticated waist at the back so didn't really think buttons were going to be necessary on this version, I wouldn't need them and I don't think the fabric would have taken them very well, it's a bit too drapey, although it is something I would like to try again and maybe use a different skirt pattern with the added buttons. 
I even went to the trouble of making self bias tape with the leftover fabric..

The thought of doing this is much worse than the actual doing, it was relatively speedy and I love that it all matches so nicely. I think a block color wouldn't have worked so well.

Considering I didn't have a pattern I am really pleased with how this turned out and it'll be a perfect beach dress for holipops. Nice and cool and easy to wear.

The bodice fits nicely across the front and I'm really pleased with the tie back. I cut the fabric for the back on the bias so that the actual ties weren't on the bias, if that makes sense?!, because of the angle it means the tie parts are more on grain so hopefully they wont stretch out too badly. The height of the tie back is good and sits neatly across the bra band, although I'll probably be mostly wearing this with a bikini so I wont be so bothered about hiding it.

I used some of the binding on the patch pockets and positioned them on the edge of the front skirt pieces so that they sewed up into the side seam. I used a bit of fusible interfacing on these to give them a bit of strength too, no one likes a saggy pocket...

You can see the gentle gathers of the skirt front here, I just ran elastic through the back skirt piece so it's easy to get on and off.

I finished off the inside of the skirt edges with binding to keep it neat and the side seams are french so there are no raw edges anywhere.

My top stitching is a little wonky in places but over all I'm pleased with the bias edges..

Yey for summer dress and big yey to holidays! 

I have one more summer make and I think that might be it for this year. I keep hearing a lot of people wishing autumn would come quickly...don't wish away the sunshine! 

I have been thinking a little bit about my autumn winter makes for this year but I wouldn't want to rush into that season, the winter always stays for too long. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Bad habit......

Did you all read this article floating around the internets last week? 


I'm constantly holding pins in my mouth, it's just so easy, it's only for a second, it's autopilot.

Obviously I have always known this isn't a great idea but after reading that article it's reminded me that I should make more of an effort to stop this stupid habit, even if just so I never have to find out what a cotton wool sandwich tastes like! 

I have a few pin cushions already so I just need to make more use of them. 

This little guy is my favourite, he sits on your finger, put your pins here Zoë, not in your mouth!!

I think I could probably do with one of those cushions that goes around your wrist too, in fact maybe that should be my next make?...

Are you guilty of this bad habit too?