Thursday, 21 September 2017

A Navy Linden Sweatshirt

It's jumper season! In this post, I mentioned that I was going to to make a Linden Sweatshirt out of a gorgeous, soft navy knit fabric with white specks from Stoff and Stil. The Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt is one of my favourite patterns, and I think it's just perfect for the cooler season that's fast approaching. This particular Linden is so lovely! It's really soft, it's so warm and snuggly.

This is my third Linden that I've made. The first is my mustard Linden and my second is the one that I made for my Mum. I've actually made another one for my Mum since, which I will take photos of soon. I also have plans for another for me, so it's definitely a well used pattern. This was the first time I made version A, which includes long sleeves, cuffs and a hem band. I wanted to make it exactly like the pattern without any changes, as I love how cosy it is. I also went up a size, making it bigger and therefore even more cosy and comfortable!

This is definitely a winner overall, I've already worn it a lot, as it's the perfect thing to just throw on when it's cold, as well as looking really lovely too! The white isn't showing up so much on the screen, but it is just the perfect amount of flecks in real life and adds a nice detail to the navy fabric. 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Perfect Coco Dress

This dress is the dress that I have unknowingly been waiting for forever... It's a stripy Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress and I love it! It's one of those garments that I never knew I needed, and then once made I've worn it constantly (or as constantly as a five-days-a-week compulsory school uniform allows stripy dresses to be worn!). The Coco sewing pattern is definitely one of my most used patterns, although this is the first time I've made the dress version. This dress is probably most similar to my stripy Coco top, which I've worn a lot too.

The fabric is from Stoff and Stil, I mentioned it in this post. I think that it is seriously one of the most incredible knit fabrics that I've ever seen/felt/sewn with. It's so soft, thick enough for autumn/winter, but not too thick, the perfect colour, the most wonderful stripes... and the list goes on! I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with dresses, in that I adore them, yet rarely get a lot of wear out of them. This is why more casual dresses, such as this one and my Rosa shirtdress, are perfect for me. One of the many things that I love about this dress is that it's perfect for autumn (yes, I've finally admitted that it's autumn!) when worn with tights, and it will hopefully also work really well in the winter, spring and maybe even the summer depending on how much layering is added.

I'm really pleased with the pattern matching on this. For me, stripes have to be pattern matched. I love the professional look it gives off, and I don't mind taking the extra time when cutting to ensure that the stripes will match perfectly. However, I've never actually pattern matched with anything other than stripes, so before I declare my love of pattern matching I should probably try some more complicated prints!

In case you haven't guessed by now, this dress is a complete winner. The pattern, as always, was really easy to sew up, and I like to be able to have patterns that I'm so familiar with they feel like old friends! All I can say is that I'm clearly going to have to make more... So many different versions are already coming up in my head!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Stoff & Stil

One of the best parts of my summer was my visit to Stoff & Stil, one of the most incredible fabric shops. It is truly amazing - it's huge! It was extremely exciting, and I bought quite a bit of fabric, which I'm sharing as part of my fabric shopping series. The best part was definitely their outstanding selection of knit fabrics, something that I can't find so much as home. Here are some of my finds:

The first is this lovely grey and white stripe knit fabric. I've wanted to make a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress for a while, and I was looking for the perfect stipe fabric, and I found it! I really love this fabric (so much that I've actually already made the dress!) it's exactly what I was looking for.

Other than the fabric above, I wasn't really looking for anything in particular. I quite like wandering around fabric shops and being hit with inspiration for a sewing project when I see a certain fabric. The next fabric is another knit, it's really gorgeous. The background is navy, and is has flecks of pink, purple, mustard and white on it. I've bought enough to make some pyjama shorts for my sister as well as a Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt for me.

This one is actually for another Linden Sweatshirt. I want to make a super cosy jumper for the colder weather that's creeping in, and this fabric is just perfect. It's quite thick, and is navy flecked with white, exactly the kind of autumnal fabric I love!

Finally, I also have some navy crushed velvet. I've never sewn anything with velvet before, and I don't have very much of this, but I'd like to make a simple skirt. The fabric hangs very nicely, so I think that it would work very well as a skirt.

So here are all the fabrics together. I'm very excited about all of these! Despite having bought them in the summer, I think that the muted colours show more of a leaning towards autumn, which is good as I'll be able to get a lot of wear out of the garments.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

5 Handmade Clothes for the Summer Holidays

Going away in the summer is always a great opportunity for me to get a lot of wear out of my favourite me-made clothes, and I thought I'd share some of my handmade clothes that I wore the most on holiday. These weren't the only handmade clothes I brought with me, but they were the ones that I enjoyed wearing the most and managed to grab pictures of!

For the days spent wondering around cities, this outfit was perfect. A lot of European cities definitely scream 'stripy top and yellow skirt' to me! It's always nice to bring some smart outfits on holiday too, and this skirt ticked all the boxes; it was also good to put on in the evenings.

This was particularly worn at the start of my holiday, which consisted of much warmer weather than the end. I love how summery it feels, and the ruffle sways very nicely in the breeze. Although I didn't spend a lot of time on the beach, I do think that it would be perfect to throw on over swim-wear, the elastic at the top makes it easy to put on and its very comfortable.

For some reason, I love the irony of wearing a top with raindrop fabric on it on a sunny day! T-shirts always get the most wear when I'm on holiday, so it's always good to have ones which are slightly more interesting, like this one. It's always great to have a garment which is comfy and easy to wear but feels a bit more special than a plain shop bought t-shirt.

Again, any t-shirt which is that bit nicer than ready to wear is a win! I wore this top a lot on holiday, it's perfect with jeans for the slightly cooler days (you can probably tell that it was very windy from my hair in this photo!). Also, pineapple fabric is un-beatable!

Yes, pineapples again! I wore these trousers over and over on holiday. They are so comfortable, I honestly don't know why I didn't make a pair sooner. They are also perfect for cycling, something that we did quite a bit of.

I know that this is number six, but five sounds better than six and besides, pyjamas don't count as clothes so much do they?! Finally, my Liberty pyjamas were absolutely perfect to bring with me. They feel so special to wear, and were perfect for warm nights.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Danish Design Museum

A few weeks ago, as part of my holiday, I was lucky enough to visit the Danish Design Museum in Copenhagen. It was incredible! They had two fashion exhibitions on, one permanent one called Fashion & Fabric and one named I am black velvet, (which is there until January 28th 2018) about the haute-couture designer Erik Mortensen. Both were really good. I took a lot of photos (it was really hard to narrow them down to just these!) and I wanted to write about as it was really a very good exhibition.

Starting with the Fashion & Fabric exhibition, this dress was the first one that caught my eye. I love the elaborate sleeves, it must have looked stunning being worn down a cat-walk. This was an evening dress designed by Erik Mortensen in 1986. The sleeves are made from artificial ostrich feathers, and the dress is covered in sequins and rhinestones. 

Looking at fashion sketches are one of my favourite things to see at fashion museums. I love seeing the dresses drawn and then created. The sketch in the bottom right is of the dress above, it's amazing to thing that something that started as pen on paper finished as an incredible garment.

The next dress is a wedding dress made out of silk. I love the close up shot of the embroidery - so much detail! It's amazing. The dress must have taken so long to make, and the embroidery is exquisite. I also love how this was worn in 1768 and I was looking at it 250 years later!

Moving on to the I Am Black Velvet exhibition. These are all designs from the haut-couture designer Erik Mortensen. A lot of his works were in black, hence the name of the exhibition. These two dresses are made from black silk and velvet. I like the long train surrounded by ruffles, it hangs really nicely.

These two outfits caught my eye because of the metallic gold machine embroidering. The first is a long jacket with trousers and boots, complete with a turban. The whole outfit left me completely in awe. The dress next to it is another incredibly intricate design, adorned in gold ribbons and beads.

These outfits are made from off-white wool. They are trouser-dresses with jackets and wide belts. The jacket's yoke is decorated with rouleaux and the belt is made of glove leather. I particularly like the details on the cuffs.

The next two dresses are long evening dresses made from silk satin. The appliqu├ęd flowers are slightly crazy yet still strangely elegant. I love the shape of the black dress, and the bright colours are lovely.

Finally, a few more sketches, selected from a few of Mortensen's collections. It was really an incredible exhibition to go to, if you have the chance I would highly recommend going. The Design Museum also has lots of other exhibitions, there will definitely be something for everyone.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Me Made of the Month - August 2017

August always means that I get to wear handmade clothes for pretty much the whole month, as no school means no uniform! It was hard to choose just one favourite thing that I wore, but I've wanted to talk about my Rosa shirt for a while and this is the perfect excuse! So the me made of the month for August is my Tilly and the Buttons Rosa shirt. It might seem strange to pick a shirt for August rather than a summer top, but the weather has definitely not been the greatest where I've been! I think we got all our sunshine at the end of June. This is one of my absolute favourite makes, partly because it was the the make for me that made me realise that I could sew anything.

My favourite part of this shirt is the contrast facing, which I made in a Liberty print. I love how the bright pink is secretly there, I'm a huge fan of secret details! This photo also make me happy, as being able to make matching bracelets to wear with handmade clothes pretty much sums up why I make things! The gorgeous chambray fabric is from the Village Haberdashery, I received it as a birthday present along with the pattern and online course last year.

The Rosa shirt is probably one of my favourite patterns. Since making this shirt in October last year, I've also made the shirtdress, and I'm planning another one at the moment. I love all the details from the princess seams to the topstitching. It's a great learning curve, especially making the collar and the button holes. My Rosa shirt is definitely one of the most special garments that I've made, and I really love wearing it.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Off the Shoulder Top


This is actually something that I made way back in December; that’s right, I made a summer top last December! The reason it’s only just made its way onto my blog is that it’s only recently been warm enough to actually wear and photograph. But it was so worth the wait! I absolutely love it. An explanation for making it is December is deserved, but there isn’t really anything to say, other than I really wanted to sew something, and the only fabric I had on hand was an old shirt of my Dad’s. Re-fashions are really fun to make, but the cotton fabric wasn’t suitable for winter and there also wasn’t enough to make anything with long sleeves, so I decided to make an off-the-shoulder top. The good thing about using an old item of clothing as fabric is that I wasn’t too worried to be making it up slightly as I went along, because I wasn’t wasting any precious fabric.

To make this top, I used mainly this tutorial. However, if you'd rather make one without a ruffle, I'd recommend this one. It was so easy to make! Because I used a shirt I didn’t have enough fabric laid out, so the ruffle has a few extra seams in it, but the great thing is that these don’t show as the fabric is gathered. I used the front of the shirt for the back, and the back for the front, and then the ruffle is made out of the sleeves. This is the first time I’ve actually properly re-fashioned a piece of clothing, and I really enjoyed doing it.

Because a shirt has buttons on it, I decided to make them a feature rather than sew a seam in the fabric. The back of my top has buttons going down it, and I love this feature so much! I would have probably added them even if the shirt didn’t have any already, but the fact that it did meant that I didn’t need to sew my own buttonholes, making it an even quicker make! The fact that I re-fashioned an otherwise unwanted garment meant that I was able to sew something that was slightly outside my comfort zone because it wouldn’t have mattered it I’d never worn it. I’m so happy I did though, as I love it. It’s really good to sometimes use pieces of fabric that you aren’t worried about wasting as it allows you to have so much more freedom with what you make.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Pineapple Trousers

This project is definitely an example of something that I never thought I'd wear, and in fact absolutely love! When I received this stunning pineapple fabric from Faberwood a while ago, I wasn't sure what to make out of it. I had originally thought of making a blouse like this one, with a metallic zip in the back, and while I think it would have looked really nice I just didn't need another blouse, and I actually already have a top with pineapples on it. And so the fabric lay un-used for a little while (far from neglected though, don't you worry, I gazed lovingly at it very frequently!) until a couple of weeks ago, when I brought it downstairs to look at with my Mum. Making trousers had never occurred to me until my Mum mentioned it, but it didn't take me long to decide!

My main worry about these trousers was wether or not they would look like pyjamas. However, I have seen a lot of patterned trousers recently, and the fabric would be far to luxury in my opinion to sleep it! I just adore the print, the perfect balance of fun and sophisticated. To prove how much I love this fabric you can see this top that I've made in the same print but in a different colour. I've sewn pyjama trousers before, and the actual construction of the trousers was really simple. I wasn't sure which pattern to use, and although I saw lots of lovely trouser patterns online, I decided to hack a pattern that I already had, to save both money and time. So the pattern that I used was the Tilly and the Buttons Margot pyjamas, from Love at First Stitch. The main things that I changed was taking the seams in quite a lot at the side and adding elastic at the bottom to gather it. If I had had more fabric I would have liked to have added pockets, but I managed to just squeeze these out of 1 1/2m!

Overall, I really love these trousers. They are exactly what I need for my holidays, which will involve quite a bit of cycling, and are a style that I grow to love more and more every time a wear them. Also, they are so comfortable! So the moral of this make? Risk it! Try a new pattern, a new style that you usually wouldn't dare. It might not be right, but there is a fair chance that you will discover a new much loved style.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Bottle Holder Tutorial

Look at these wonderful bottle holders! I absolutely love them. They provide a soft place to grip a bottle, a fun decoration and a lovely little project! You can whiz up your own very quickly, supplies are easy to get hold of and you will be sure to fall in love with them. I'm definitely going to be making many, many more!

You Will Need:

Batting/Fusible Fleece
1x Outer Fabric
1x Lining Fabric
Velcro or some other kind of fastening
A Bottle

Right! Lets get started. To begin with, measure around your bottle using a tape measure. Then add on 5 cm to the length (mine was 20cm, so total was 25cm). For the width, I decided 10 cm was around the correct length for my bottle, but depending on your bottle size that will need to change too. Cut one piece from your outer fabric (so mine was 25cm x 10cm) and another piece from your inner fabric. If you are using fusible fleece, cut it 1 cm smaller on all sides, but if, like me, you are using batting, cut a piece the same size as the pieces of fabric.

Ok, time to create a 'sandwich'. You should have three layers: the outer fabric, the inner fabric, and your batting. Put them together like this: inner fabric face up, outer fabric face down, batting on top of the outer fabric. Make sure the order is correct! Double check before pinning.  Sew around your three layers, making sure you leave a hole at the top.

Once you have sewn around your fabrics, turn the rectangle the right way out. Your batting should be in between the outer fabric and the inner fabric!! Tuck in the edges of your hole and iron it all flat.

Time for some top stitching! This has a double bonus: not only does it look lovely, but it also covers up your hole very neatly, so you don't have to slave away sewing it up with a needle and thread! Make sure you keep your stitching in a strait line (I lined my fabric up with the inside edge of my foot). You can use a colour co-ordinating thread, or you might decide to go for a nice contrast!

This is the final step - wasn't that easy?! To fasten your bottle holder, stick your velcro onto the outer fabric of one side and the inner fabric of the other. Make sure to line it up right, so it isn't too loose or too tight. I used sticky velcro so I didn't sew around it, but if you are using normal velcro make sure to sew around using a matching thread.


For my other bottle holder, I used poppers to fasten it (this meant that I didn't make it as long at the start). To make sure your poppers are straight, use an iron-off pen (frixon works well) and draw four little dots where the poppers are going to go, and then hand sew them on.

I hope you enjoyed making these bottle holders! They make lovely gifts to go with a drink, or you could stock up yourself for summer!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Liberty Pyjamas

I am so excited about this make; It is none other than Liberty pyjamas! Sewing with Liberty for me, like many people, is a huge luxury, so I'm very pleased to have a pair of Liberty pj's. I got this Liberty fabric from the Birmingham rag market for just £8 a metre (I talked about all of my fabric purchases from Birmingham here if you're interested) which was an extremely good price for Liberty! However, gorgeous as it is, Liberty fabric is quite bold, and I knew that if I made it into a top I would rarely wear it. I didn't want it just sitting in the cupboard for ages though, so I cut into it soon after I bought it, and pyjamas solved the problem of what to make!

I don't have any 'proper' pyjamas, as in button down shirts, and that was what I wanted to make. I 'drafted' the pattern for the shirt which is something that I'm quite proud of as I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it. When I say 'drafted' I mean I copied the pattern from an existing shirt, but I still had to make sure that each piece fit together and was sewed in the right order, so it counts as drafted in my books! Extra details that I added are a small pocket and pink flower buttons, which although you can't see very well look very lovely! One of the benefits of not making a garment to wear outside is that you can add fun extra details like buttons in the shape of flowers (which also happen to fade in a pink gradient as you get to the bottom of the shirt!). This shirt was actually really quite to make, compared to say my Fairfield button-up or my Rosa shirtdress. For a shirt it is actually incredibly easy, with just a few pattern pieces. I didn't interface anything as I wanted the pyjamas to be soft, and I added button and collar facings, which I think adds a nice touch of luxury. If you're looking at making pyjamas like these but would rather buy a pattern, I'd recommend the Carolyn pyjamas by Closet Case Files, the pattern that I would have bought had I not felt that I'd be able to draft it myself, which is much cheaper than buying a pattern. This is definitely not going to be the only one of these I'm going to make, and I'm longing to add piping in my next one!

For the shorts, I used the Margot pyjama pattern from Love at First Stitch, and hacked it to make shorts. I wasn't sure which fabric to use for the shorts, but my Mum found this perfect black lobby fabric by Robert Kaufman at John Lewis. It doesn't show up on the photos but it has a lovely texture to it. To add some interest, I put some bias-binding made with the Liberty fabric around the bottom hem, as well as a Liberty drawstring at the front. On the back I added a pocket with a Liberty trim around the top, which is similar to on these pyjamas that I made. I really love this pyjama ensemble, they are just perfect for the summer and it feels very special to sleep in Liberty!