Friday, 16 June 2017

A blouse for my Mum

A couple of weeks ago, when I shared the fabric that I got from Frou - Frou, I mentioned that I was going to make my mum a top. And I have! I'm really pleased with this, and so is she. It was the first time that I had properly sewn something that someone has asked me to make exactly. In other words, she chose the fabric and asked me to make this exact top from it, which is a replica of a ready to wear top that she owns. In a way, this is harder than making something for someone without them knowing and then giving it to them (for example the shirt that I made my dad) as it has to fit the brief. You might recognise the style of the top from this one that I made. Although the armhole and shoulders are slightly different, the two tops are quite similar. And yes, the fabric is also very similar, but no, we aren't planning to wear them as a mother-daughter duo! The front of the top appears to be higher than the back on this photo - this isn't the case of the actual top, it just hangs differently on the hanger.

As I mentioned above, this top is a copy of a ready to wear top that my mum already owns. It was my first time actually copying a garment, but I'm very pleased with how well it went. I made up my own method, and it wasn't until looking at a couple of you-tube videos that I realised I'd done it 'wrong'. Not that it mattered, as it worked fine, and the two tops are pretty identical. The only part that I used instructions for was copying the dart. This video shows how to do it really well.

The zip in this top is a nice detail that I like. It's not as exciting as the contrast one in this top, but my mum has hinted that she might like another one, possibly with a contrast zip! I'm really pleased with this make. It's so nice to make things for others. I think that although I definitely like making things for myself, it is really rewarding to see someone wear something that you've made them!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Mustard and Navy Blouse

I often feel like this, but I think that this is one of my favourite things I've ever made! I love everything about it - the pattern, the style, the fabric... The fabric is from Frou - Frou, a wonderful Parisian fabric shop. You can find a review of it here, where I've posted about the fabrics that I bought. One of the things that I'm most proud of in this garment is the fact that I drafted the pattern myself. While I love the endless array of dressmaking patterns that there are, sometimes only you can draw up  exactly what's in your mind. This is one of the reasons I love pattern hacks. For this top, I designed the pattern myself. Not only does it fit well, but it is exactly what I dreamed of and it feels like a great achievement for me!

The construction of the blouse included both challenging and simple techniques. I decided to make a toile first, as I made the pattern up slightly as I went along. The toile enabled me to change the seam allowances slightly, add a seam in the centre back, and make the top slightly longer. I really love the proportions of this top, from the slightly cropped hemline to the 3/4 length sleeves.

Onto the best part... the zip! I absolutely love navy and mustard together, and as soon as I saw the zip I knew it would be perfect. I also have some mustard denim which I'd like to make into a skirt to go with this top... On my toile, I didn't put a seam in the back, and used these instructions to create an exposed zipper. However, despite the fact that I'd sewn one before, I wasn't fully happy with how neatly it went in. I decided to add the seam in the back to make it neater, and also slightly easier to sew. One of the things that I love in garments are the details both inside and out. The neckline in this top is finished with a facing, which I absolutely love. Facings along zips aren't the easiest things to sew, but once you've done several they become much easier, and I love how neat it looks inside.

You can see a better view of the back of the top here. I love that zip! This top was a delight to sew, I love the style and am already planning more (including a similar one for my mum!). It's when you create something like this that you know exactly why you sew - no ready to wear shop could sell something that is so me.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Red and Tartan Cleo

A friend of mine received the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo sewing pattern, along with some gorgeous red needlecord as a Christmas present last year, and I suggested that we sew it together. She hasn't done much sewing, but enjoys it, and we made the dungaree dress over several sessions, breaking the steps down. And it looks amazing! I know she's pleased with it, and I hope she's proud too, because I absolutely love it. I am definitely a lover of the Cleo pattern, having made two (you can see my burnt orange cleo here and my denim dungaree dress here) and I'd love to make a third copying some of the details from this one. 

None of the fabrics were my choice, but I absolutely love them. She chose to use tartan as a contrast pocket, which isn't something I would have thought of, but I think that the effect is really great. Copying this, I think that a light denim Cleo with a bright contrast pocket would also look really good. The other detail that I really like about this, and this isn't something that I've done previously, is to use buttons instead of dungaree clips. I think they go really well with this style, and we managed to find some wooden buttons in my stash of buttons that were just perfect.

I think that the Cleo dungaree dress is a great pattern for people who are starting to sew, although I would say that some of the language in the instruction booklet may be a little bit technical for someone sewing on their own without someone to help (e.g. facings, finish seam allowances etc). I know that this isn't something that can't be quickly solved with the internet, but it might still be nice to embark on a slightly simpler project to comprehend if you are making it on your own. On the other hand, if you want a pattern to help teach someone to sew, and that you are there making it with them, this is a very good pattern. It's quite quick and easy, and, importantly, wearable. There really is nothing better than making a garment that you can actually wear out in public for the first time!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Frou - Frou Mercerie Contemporaine

I've decided to start a new series on my blog all about fabric shopping. Whenever I discover a wonderful new fabric shop, I'll write about it on here. I'm starting off with the most amazing shop in Paris called Frou - Frou. It really is an incredible shop! It has the most stunning array of fabrics, along with bias, ribbons, buttons etc. It specialises in lovely floral cotton fabrics and other contemporary designs, but also has a selection of lovely wax prints and coated cottons. I bought quite a few different fabrics... They were just too lovely!

The first fabric I bought was this navy fabric, that I bought to make a blouse out of. I also got a contrast mustard zip to go with it in the back, which I love! I'm currently in the process of making the pattern for the top, but I can't wait to sew it! I also bought some mustard denim, a fabric that I have been looking for for ages. I'm planning on making a skirt out of it, although I haven't yet decided on the pattern. The ribbon will go inside the skirt, a detail that only I will be able to see - I love small details like that! Navy and mustard is a combination that I absolutely love, and I'm really looking forward to wearing these garments.

The next fabric is in the same collection as the blue one, but in a different colour. It's a really lovely purple-grey colour, and it was bought to make a top for my mum. She chose the fabric, and I'm really looking forward to sewing her a top. It will probably take a while to make though, as I'm drafting the pattern and making a toile for the fit to be perfect. Again, there is a zip to go in the back.

Although I didn't buy any big pieces of the floral fabrics at Frou - Frou (although it was tempting, they are stunning!) I chose some gorgeous floral embellishments. The first is an iron-on heart, and the second is some bias binding. I'm planning on making a skirt out of this lovely chambray, which was very kindly given to me as I was exiting the shop (it's so soft!). I'm thinking of having an elasticated waistband and then putting the heart on the pocket and the bias along the bottom... oooh, I love planning sewing makes!!

The last fabric is this wax-print fabric, which I also received from one of the lovely ladies at Frou - Frou. The pattern is really lovely, although the colours are quite bright; I probably wouldn't wear this fabric, but I think that it could be perfect for a pair of pyjamas, or used on a tote bag.

The final thing that I wanted to share was this little Eiffel tower iron-on design. I like collecting badges of places I've visited to sew onto a cushion, and this one is really lovely. They had a lot of different designs, and although I haven't had an iron-on design on an item of clothing for a very long time, It could be something that I might consider getting into a bit more, there is some wonderful inspiration at the moment, and some designs are lovely.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Bye Bye Birdie Arum Blouse

When Fiona from Faberwood contacted me and asked me if I would like some more of her gorgeous fabric, I said yes, of course! Faberwood is a really lovely online fabric choice, with a carefully selected array of stunning fabrics. I chose the Bye Bye Birdie by Atelier Brunette, a really lovely black cotton with origami-like cranes on it. It took me a while to decide what to make, but I think that a blouse was the perfect pattern. I chose the Arum Top by Deer and Doe, a pattern I've made several times before. The pattern is really simple, but the shape of it is lovely, with princess seams smoothly  shaping the back and coming in slightly at the waist.

The Arum Top has kimono sleeves, which is a feature that I really like, as the looser shape is nice and it also makes it a quicker sew. I did put a pocket on the front, although it's difficult to see as the fabric is so dark. The neck is finished with a facing, my favourite type of neckline finishes, as I like the crisp  and neat effect. The fabric was really nice to sew with, and it has a really lovely soft feel to it.

Again, the seams on the back are hard to see due to the darkness of the fabric, but I love how well it fits. For me, this top ticks all the boxes, and I know I'll be wearing it lots! I'm thinking that it will go especially well with my aubergine Delphine skirt...

Friday, 26 May 2017

Purple Soda Cushion

A while ago, I made several Ice Cream Soda blocks in different colours. Since then, the blocks have just sat on my desk, as I've been unsure what to do with them. The Ice Cream Soda block is an English Paper Piecing design by Tales of Cloth, and the idea is that they then come together to form a quilt. However, I wasn't that fond of the different colours I used put together: a teal, a pink, a purple and a red. Even though the colours are lovely on their own, they just don't match each other. Also, although the blocks are really fun to make, I didn't really feel the want to make a quilt. So the blocks just sat there (although they were at least looked at regularly, the individual colours are really lovely!) until the other day when I decided to sew a cushion for someone's birthday. I wanted to  make them something special, and my mum had the idea of appliquéing on of the Ice Cream Soda blocks onto the cushion! I found the lovely charcoal fabric in fabric land a while ago, and decided that the purple bock would be the best one to use (and yes, the other three blocks are still sitting on the desk, but I'm getting there -  slowly!).

The cushion has a zip in the back (a detail I really like, because I tend to just hand-sew cushions closed, although I know don't know why; zips are super simple and so much more practical!) and there is also piping around the outside. The piping was actually a bit of a spur of the moment decision, but I'm so glad I added it. It was my first time making and using piping, but it was really easy. Although I didn't use this tutorial for the whole cushion, I did use it for making the piping, and it was really useful. I think that piping is one of those things that you build up to so much, you keep putting it off, but it's actually so easy and it looks so lovely! This cushion is being given away, but I'd love to make some similar ones to put in my room!

Even though there was a new technique in this (piping) it was a really speedy sew. The longest part was probably taking the papers out of the English Paper Piecing, a process I find annoyingly fiddly! The block is appliquéd on with a simple zig-zag stitch around the edge. I love how adding the extra details of piping and a zip to a really easy make can make it seem so much more special!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Aubergine Delphine Skirt

Needlecord is currently my favourite fabric to sew with. I love how smooth it is, and I think it makes a garment look really lovely. It also keeps its shape well, and I found some in gorgeous colours. Basically, a win-win on all accounts! Also, once you actually sew with it, you realise it's really not scary at all! I mentioned here that I had some aubergine needlecord as well as the burnt orange, and I decided to make a Tilly and the Buttons Delphine Skirt with it. As mentioned above, needlecord holds it's shape really well, so it was an ideal fabric to use for an a-line skirt.

I absolutely love this skirt! It was my first time using the Delphine pattern, although why I waited so long I don't know... I'm dreaming of so many more versions already! The pattern comes in Tilly's book, Love at First Stitch, but the instructions and pattern are just as good as any other. The skirt is a really simple and speedy sew. I would like to add a lining to my next one though, just to make it into a slightly more luxury garment, but it is tempting to not bother and simply finish it quicker!

The main thing I'm proud about is the fit of this skirt. I've struggled to fit skirts, but this is the first time that I've really done anything about it - and it was really easy! All I did was sew the seam allowances on the waistband differently, going into a kind of triangle shape so that it was narrower at the top. The skirt closes with an invisible zip, which is one of my favourite types of closures as I like the neat and professional finish of it. I know I say it a lot, but I'm so happy with this make, and I know I'm going to be wearing it lots!