Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Favourite make of 2016.....

Just time for one last blog post of the year. I'd usually do a bit of a round up of my favourite makes but I've cheesily narrowed it down to just one this year, and it's this little guy...

This is Teddy, he arrived on 2nd December and we are very much in love and looking forward to celebrating a very special Christmas and end of year snuggled up with him. 

Happy Christmas to everyone who has taken the time to read any of my sewing blog posts and also those who have left lovely comments over the year.

Have a good one, I'll be sure to come back to sewing posts in 2017!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Maternity Makes...My favourite sewing patterns for growing bumps.....

Just a little round up of the patterns I have used to clothe me and my bump over the past few months. I didn't find too many blog posts at the start of this journey so I hope that this might be useful for new mums to be that fancy making some of their own clothes. 

I found that I could squeeze into my own every day clothes up until about 5 months. I was wearing more of the dresses on the stretchier side (think Dixie ballet dress and Sewaholic Saltspring) but I'm sure that this will be different for everyone and also depend on your preferred style of clothing and possibly the time of year. 

Not a specific maternity pattern but perfect for an expanding waistline. This skirt was great for summer and to add to my work wardrobe. I think it would be great for a winter pregnancy worn with tights too. 

TBH any elasticated waist dress is going to be a good sewing choice but I have fallen a little bit in love with the Wren. Raise the waistline and this is so bump friendly. I've worn this so much and am hoping it'll be a great dress for nursing...I'll report back on that one!

The only actual maternity pattern I bought was this one. I thought I'd be able to size up some other stretch top patterns but it turns out you really do need extra space up front that just adding length to your tops won't cover. I made a couple of these and the ruching detail is just perfect. Megan has a whole range of maternity patterns, I didn't get around to making up any of the others but they look to be the nicest pieces out there. 

Another pattern from Megan Nielsen, but not from the maternity range, this button front cutie is a really good shape for your tum and, again, I'm hoping a good choice for nursing. This got me through my last few weeks of work too when I was really struggling for things to wear  and apparently pyjamas worn outside the house is a no go??

Lastly is this perfect little number from Zoe. Having been pregnant herself she really knows what you need for both comfort and style in your last trimester. I'm a little gutted I didn't get time to whip up another of these but rest assured this cat print version has been worn ALOT.

I thoroughly recommend all of these patterns and would totally go for me made again over the majority of high street maternity wear (apart from leggings, go buy loads of leggings!)  I'd love to hear about and see pics of any maternity makes going on so leave me a link if thats you!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Maternity Makes #7.....Cara V.2....

One more, room for just one more?! I think this is the last actually. I don't think it's worth spending any more time making more maternity bits for the last few weeks, I'm already starting to itch to make new items for next year but think it might actually be time to put the rotary cutter down and the sewing machine away for a while, in just over 2 weeks things are about to get busy in a very different way.....eeek!

But anyway, back to the make! This is another Cara top, one that's a bit more weather appropriate at the mo.
I used up the remainder of this spotty cotton spandex from Girl Charlee, that I had left over from my Colette Wren.

I've already worn this loads. It's super soft and snuggly. The only thing I don't like about it is the hem. I left it raw so it rolls a bit but also the front seems a bit too long so I end up folding it under a bit. It's no biggy. I think if I ever made one of these again (as a gift!!) then I'd look at adding a hem band; the one from the Cordelia camisole would be perfect.

The rest of the fitting feels good and I love the sleeve length. I think I need to remember that for any future makes with long sleeves, I definitely prefer my wrists to be out so 3/4 or sleeves that end at the elbow feel so much better.

I'm going to try and do a maternity sewing round up post. Something I would have found really useful when I started to think about maternity makes so hopefully it'll be useful to new sewing mums to be out there.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Maternity Makes #6.....The Vest...

I think I've done pretty well so far at keeping myself in clothes that actually fit, and more importantly that I've actually wanted to wear, over the past couple of months. I'm please with my maternity makes and even more pleased that I've managed to fill the gaps in my wardrobe myself (useless, USELESS highstreet)

One outfit that I do love to wear, usually when I get home from work or lounging around at home, is my 'comfies'. These consist of leggings or baggy joggers, or to be more honest PJ bottoms and vest tops.....not the most attractive but the most appealing right now. 

You'll have noticed I've bashed out quite a few of these pants and vest sets over the past year or so and raved about how great the pattern by the ever wonderful Zoe at So Zo Blog is. Well she's only gone and done it again, and made sure I can stay wearing my fav comfies well into full term huge bump time her new pattern, the Cordelia Maternity Camisole

This is essentially the same vest top as the regular sized version but with added waist gathers to accommodate said bump, an internal boobage support and hem band; all necessary for dressing third trimester bump carriers!

Zoe has been super kind in sending me the pattern, thank you again Zoe!

I bought some fabric for this project straight away, its the fabulous cat face printed stretch from Regency Rags which I talked about here (and made those crazy cat baby leggings from too) It has a really lovely weight to it and is nice and soft, the print speaks for itself :)

The sizing guide is for your third trimester measurements so I had to guess a little bit as I made this in advance but you can't go too wrong when it's a stretch garment anyways. 
The instructions Zoe provides are super detailed and fantastic for anyone who is new to working with fold over elastic or stretch fabric....do not be afraid!

This project comes together ever so quickly so is a very satisfying make and thankfully you don't have to spend ages at the machine which is great when your back is not up to it!

I love the hem band. It holds the top in place and ensures no peeking bump, I seem to constantly be tugging my tops down at the mo. I think this would work well added to my Cara top, just to make it feel a bit more secure at the hem.

I used some black FOE from ebay and a three step zig zag to maintain the stretch. You don't need an overlocker for this project at all, just set up your zig zags and your ball point needle and you're away.

I'll be living in this over the next few weeks, and then probably trying to find ways to sneak it back into my wardrobe so I can 'accidentally' match with these...

Too much?!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Maternity Makes #5....Darling Dress...

Suitably autumnal, this is a wearable toile of the lovely Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen. I've been eyeing this pattern up for quite a while, and finally treated myself after a rather disappointing maternity shopping experience.  

I've moaned about high street maternity wear plenty of times but have no shame in adding one more tale. Having pretty much nothing in my wardrobe to see me through work for the last month or so I ordered a few bits from ASOS, they looked good on the website, one in particular being a denim shirt dress which I thought would be a good staple piece and probably be wearable after spud is born too. 

My oh my, it was quite possibly the worst item of clothing I have ever tried on. I would add pictures of the offending item but it seems I deleted them from my phone...probably for the best. Basically the most ill fitting and dowdy dress ever, prison wear/potato sack/tent came to mind....miserable. But anyway it reminded me why I make my own clothes so I packed it back off for a refund and bought myself this pattern and some fabric (which, by the way, cost about half the price of the dress) 

I do intend to make this up in denim/chambray but went for some cotton first to check the fitting etc. and went for making up the whole dress rather than checking the fitting as I went. 
I chose my usual sizing across the shoulders and then graded out a bit at the bust and considerably more at the waist to accommodate the bump. The waistline of the dress is a little higher than usual so left as is.

I really like the shape of this dress and the button front is cute (and hopefully practical in months to come) I love this length of sleeve too, they should actually have an elastic hem at the elbow but I left this out, I prefer them to hang loose. 

The sizing has worked out fine. An addition I do like (but has proved hard to photograph) is that it has some little ties at the back to cinch the waist in, so in theory I'll be able to wear this one for a while as the bump reduces too. 

For a dress with a button placket this comes together really easily. I love the use of bias binding around the neckline rather than a facing too. I added a few more buttons than it requires on the bodice, to stop any gaping-especially at the waistline as I won't be wanting to belt this dress.

I will need to take some excess out of the front bodice, it ripples a bit on the chest, and for my next version I'll grade down at the waist a bit for a post pregnancy version, but those handy little back ties mean you don't have to be too accurate on that measurement which is great at the moment when I'm not too sure what I'll be in the months to come. 

So now I'm denim shopping and hoping that I can find a bit of time to sew another one of these up in the next couple of weeks. Roll on maternity leave!

Monday, 24 October 2016

The S box.....

The lovely Stitchery Lewes have just launched a fantastic new crafty treat and I was lucky enough to be gifted one of these to take a close look at.....

This is the S Box. A new subscription box filled with surprise crafty products for you to use to inspire a new project and make something beautiful from. 

Boxes are available monthly, and you can either choose to buy the boxes month by month or set up a regular subscription. Each one will be stuffed full of different fabrics, yarns, maybe the odd gadget or new tool and will follow a seasonal or topical these or colour scheme. 

I love the concept of these boxes, especially if you've lost your sew-jo for a while, usually all you need is a nice little project to get you going again, this would be perfect!

I was lucky enough to receive this gorgeous Nordic Noel box....

It included some lovely fat quarters, felt squares, beautiful ribbons, buttons, bells and thread! Absolutely stuffed! 

Just incase you're stumped for what to make with your new goodies the box also includes a lovely little info sheet with lots of inspiration...

This was obviously going to be a Christmas make and this year we're in need of a new wreath for our door so this came in perfect timing.
I picked up a metal wreath base from C&H Fabrics, only 59p, and set about planning for a rag wreath using those lovely fat quarters...

I started by cutting up the fabric into strips, around 6x1.5 inches. It was nice not to have a need to be precise with these as this is going to be pretty shabby chic :)

I then started to tie these onto my wreath base with a single knot in the middle and kept going until the whole thing was covered without any gaps....

I wanted to try and use as many of the products in the box as possible so I also decided to use the felt and buttons to make a few puffy hearts to add to the wreath too. There was actually also a little bag of lavender in the box so I added this too, it smells so good!

I picked my favourite bits of ribbon for hanging and of course a big bow and ended up with this......

 I'm really quite pleased with how it's turned out, it didn't really take very long either. Oh I also added the little wooden tag which also came in the box..

Look at all of that pretty!..

I know it's still a while off and I promise I will go and put this away until a more suitable date but....CHRISTMAS!!!!

This is also a great idea for gifts, I know a few people who would love to receive one of these in the post. 
I would love to see these available for dressmaking too, maybe a pattern such as a top and the fabric yardage, thread and notions to go with? 

What do you think of subscription boxes to get you crafting? 


I was gifted this S Box for free from The Stitchery but all words and opinions are my own.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Maternity Make #4....Colette Wren...

Another Wren! As soon as I made my first version I knew this would turn up again soon. 
I bought this perfect black stretch from girl charlee. It's cotton spandex and such a good weight, I hope it washes well as this is going to be worn a lot.

I didn't change anything about the overall fit of this dress, the only change was to raise the waist line by 2 inches to make room for the ever growing baby bump. It's funny looking back on my first version now, I thought I was pretty big then but it looks like nothing now!

I didn't make changes to the paper pattern piece, just literally attached the skirt higher. I didn't adjust the skirt length as this will be worn with leggings or tights now the chilly weather is here.
I stuck to zig zag stitch throughout and left the skirt hem raw.

I'm hoping this neckline will work well for nursing, theres quite a lot of give in the fabric. I love a jersey dress for the ease and comfort but this style also looks pretty smart, well smarter than actually wearing pyjamas and this feels just as nice!

I'm thinking I should try and squeeze just one more of these onto my to sew list while I have the time. Does that list ever end?!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Maternity Makes #3..The Trousers...

No, I'm not trying to fob off an old make. Yes, you have seen these pics before. This is more of a refashion I suppose. Mostly out of desperation but it's a sewing move I'm glad I made.
So these are my Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers from last summer. 

I've really enjoyed wearing them, the only niggle was the waistband facing didn't fit perfectly (I wasn't quite sure how to adjust it once I'd made changes to the waist of the actual trousers so it didn't sit perfectly, but wearable none the less) 

So I'd been happily wearing my own jeans for a few months into being pregnant, I even went a month with a waistband extender as the bump grew. Now I say 'waistband extender' and it sounds like a legitimate thing, what I should have said was HAIRBAND. Loop it through the button hole and round the top button and you are good to go lady! Well, good to go until you really can't get away with it any more. That was when I had to admit defeat and get myself some actual maternity jeans. Unfortunately much easier said than done. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, most maternity clothing is just awful. Why you can't get your hands on every day garments that have been adjusted for your growing tum is beyond me. Everything is much poorer quality, very off shapes-do they even try these clothes onto pregnant women?! and I just don't like about 80% of any of it. Same goes for maternity jeans. I tried ASOS, M&S, H&M and then had a hissy fit and gave up. I just couldn't find a pair that fit well or felt nice, that's where these me made trousers and a pair of scissors came into play.

I really just wanted my own jeans with an added stretchy front part to accommodate said bump. So I tried on my denim trousers and marked either side of my tum and the bottom of the bump with pins (careful!) Then chalked a rough curve from either side to the centre.

Then I held my breath and went for it with the scissors. Eeep, no going back!

I forgot to take pics form this point on but basically I used a bit of black jersey from my stash. Pinned it right sides together around the edge of that curve and sewed it together. Folded the jersey up towards the waist band, stitched the sides and along the bottom again for strength. Added a piece of elastic across the front and secured either side to the denim waistband. Folded the top over to make a waistband casing for the elastic and that was that.

I have been wearing these loads and they seem to have enough stretch that should last the next few months too.

I imagine these will be pretty comfy to wear for a couple of months postpartum too and then I'll have to say goodbye as I don't think I'll be able to refashion them back! But I need to sort out that facing problem anyway so it'll force me to make a new pair. 

Know of any other maternity refashions that would be useful?