Saturday, 15 July 2017

Another Linden Sweatshirt

That's right, it's another Linden Sweatshirt! After last weeks linden, I made one for my Mum. The fabric is from Guthrie and Ghani, I mentioned it in this post. Already, the Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt is one of my favourite patterns. Not only is it super quick and easy to make, it also is really comfortable and and looks good. My Mum thought so too. She chose the fabric and the pattern, and all I had to do was sew it up. I love sewing things for others, and it's even better if you see them on a weekly basis after you've given them away!

I made view B of the pattern, and added three quarter length sleeves, rather than short or full length ones. I really like this pattern with that sleeve length too, and I might add them onto my next one. Despite having made two jumpers with exactly the same pattern (other than the sleeve length) they look completely different because of the fabric. This fabric was a lot harder to sew with than the other one, mainly because of the amount of stretch that it has. I sewed it up using a zig-zag stitch and a ball point needle, but I think that using a walking foot was what made it possible and I would highly recommend it, it made is so much easier!

Finally, I've started to realise just how much blue clothes I've been sewing! These are my Coco top, my Belladone dress and this jumper. I love wearing blue, but I didn't quite notice how many of my handmade clothes are of that colour! Not that I regret making them, but taking this photo made me smile at how predictable my wardrobe is! 

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Mustard Linden Sweatshirt

This is my first make from the fabrics I got from Guthrie & Ghani that I mentioned in this post. It is the Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt... And I'm in love with it! I absolutely love everything about it: the colour, the fabric, the style, the fit. It was such a quick and easy make and I'm very happy with it. The fabric that I used is a gorgeous mustard knit fabric, which is perfect for the pattern. As you may be aware, mustard and navy is my absolute favourite colour combination right now, and I am shamelessly wearing outfits of those colour in constant rotation. This jumper is the perfect edition.

What makes this pattern special are the raglan sleeves, which I really like. The pattern comes in two views (I chose view B). You can either decide to make a classic sweater, including cuffs and ribbing, or more of a top, which is slightly cropped and has shorter sleeves. This is the only version I've tried out so far, but I'd like to make the other too sometime. I really like the neckband on the design too, I'm always looking for different techniques to try out. Sewing the neckband in this fabric was really easy, so I was happy to have started with this one, as I have also made one for my Mum (which I will blog soon!) which used much stretchier jersey and so was a lot harder to sew.

Another thing I love about this pattern is the hem-line. I love a good high-low hem (as you may know from this top) and this pattern is perfectly design to sit in exactly the right place. I really like the side view of this jumper, the hem looks lovely. To finish off the hem, I sewed a double row of stitching. I love double stitching, and I don't mind taking the extra time to sew it twice rather that using a twin needle. Although I would like to try one out sometime, I didn't bother with the extra expense, and I have also heard that they aren't always accurate. I do need to test out a twin needle though to find out if this is true!

Overall I'm really pleased with this super simple and speedy sew! The Linden Sweatshirt is almost certainly going to be a pattern I use over and over, the shape is so lovely and it's just so quick and easy to make. Have I mentioned I love this fabric?! Although it's not coming out in the pictures, it actually has flecks of red and blue on it as well as some different textures, which adds a lovely twist to a classic colour. This is definitely going to be getting a lot of wear!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Guthrie & Ghani

For the second post of my fabric shopping series, we're heading over to Guthrie & Ghani, the most wonderful contemporary fabric shop located in Birmingham. It's a shop that I've wanted to visit for a while, and I wasn't at all disappointed! The layout of the shop is stunning, and the staff were lovely and very helpful. There was so much wonderful fabric to choose from! It specialises mainly in dressmaking fabrics. What makes it so unique for me is the great range of knit fabrics, and it also has lots of other really lovely fabrics such as chambrays and denims. One of the things that I really liked was that there was a rail of garments made from fabrics and patterns that they sell in the shop. I haven't seen somewhere where you can actually touch and look at pre-made garments before, and it was something that I really liked. I ended up pretty much copying one of their garments too!

Onto my purchases! The first is the Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt pattern. What I love about this pattern are the pockets (they are amazing!!), the top-stitching opportunities and the contrast zip. I bought this really lovely denim fabric to make it, and I'm going to be adding gold top-stitching (similarly to my dungaree dress now I come to think of it!) and a contrast metallic zip. I also found this gorgeous liberty print and the Birmingham rag market that I'm going to use for the pocket lining. It's quite subtle, but I think it's going to go with it perfectly.

Next up is the Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt pattern and this lovely knit fabric to go with it. This is for my Mum (pattern and fabric were both chosen by her) and I can't wait to make it! I think that the Linden Sweatshirt pattern is a great staple pattern to have. For my Mum's version, I'm changing the sleeves to 3/4 length; hopefully it will turn out well, the fabric is gorgeous! After the success of this blouse she asked me to sew a few more things for her, which I happily accepted.

 Of course, the best thing about sewing for others is that you can then steal their pattern! I'm going to be making myself a Linden Sweatshirt too, out of this gorgeous mustard fabric. It's such a lovely knit, it's really soft and has the most wonderful speckled effect on the outside which I love.

The final fabric isn't from Guthrie & Ghani, but I'm so pleased with it I just had to share it! It's from the Birmingham rag market, and it's proper liberty fabric for just £8 metre!! I was so excited I may have squealed with delight (in fact, I think I probably squealed at every single one of these fabrics!). I bought 1 metre, and I think I'm going to make a summer top out of it. It's such a lovely print, and I love liberty fabrics but usually can't afford them, so I was very happy to discover this.

Here's a photo of all the fabrics together, just because they look beautiful! Phew - that should keep me going for a while! I've realised that once again I seem to have come home with mustard and navy... oh well, another outfit to go with my top and skirt!

Monday, 26 June 2017

Mustard Button-Up Skirt

I have been completely obsessed with the colour combination of mustard and navy at the moment, so as you can imagine this outfit made me squeal with delight when I put it on! The skirt is my latest handmade garment, and I absolutely love it! The fabric is from Frou - Frou, you might recognise it from this post. It's a really lovely mustard denim (something that I have been looking for for a while). I knew that I wanted to make a skirt - although I would love a Cleo in it too! - but I wasn't sure what type of skirt. I hesitated between choosing one with a fly or not, but I love the classic silhouette of button-up skirts so much, and that was what I opted for.

The pattern I drafted again myself, but not from scratch. I used the base of a different skirt pattern to start with and then altered it (and there was much altering!) from there. The main things that I did to make the skirt fit me was to pin the side seams so that they follow my shape exactly, and to sew pin and sew the waistband to me too. One of the things I love about sewing is that you can create a garment exactly for you. I haven't completely gotten to grasps with fitting patterns yet, as it's a very deep subject, but I am happy to have browsed the surface, and each garment made is another learning step.

The skirt was a really fun sew, although I did concentrate a lot on the fit, which meant it took longer to make. The length of projects doesn't worry me much though, as I'm lucky enough to have lots of time to sew. I guess I'll have to make all my in-depth projects now before I'm longing to whiz up only quick tops! The main thing I was worried about was wether or not I would be able to sit down in the skirt if the pencil shape was maintained, but I am happy to report that walking, jumping and sitting can all be done very comfortably in it! 

The buttons were probably the hardest technique on the skirt. Button holes don't worry me too much as I have sewn quite a few, but the first one is alway scary! My favourite part of the skirt is definitely this ribbon which is hiding inside the hem. I am a big fan of small details, such as double rows of stitching, contrast pockets and facings. This ribbon was the perfect accent to the skirt, and sticks to my navy - mustard theme that I can't seem to get enough of! (Another similarly colour-coded project is on the way...). I love how it's a detail that only I know is there, and every time I put the skirt on I can see it and smile.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Me Made of the Month - June 2017

I've decided to start another new series on here about my favourite me made make each month, called (rather unoriginally!) Me Made of the Month. This might be the garment I've worn the most in the month, or my favourite outfit, or just a handmade item of clothing that I've really loved wearing. I'm starting with the Deer and Doe Belladonne dress. We got some unusually hot weather this month, and it was exactly the right time to throw on a summer dress. I don't wear that many dresses, and so I've only made a couple (even though I love them) but I loved wearing this so much that I'd like to wear them more regularly.

I  really love this dress, and one of the reasons is that there are so many lovely details. I really love the pockets and the pleats at the waist. I also really like the darts, the design of the dress on a whole is so lovely. I also love this dress for a more emotional reason - this was my first proper handmade garment. It was the first item of clothing that I made myself, over a year ago, and without it I don't think I'd be at the stage in my sewing that I am now.

The most special thing about the design of this dress is definitely the back. It's so gorgeous! I love the idea of having a cut-out in the back, and it's something that other people always pick out too. The fabric, in case you were wondering, is this Robert Kaufman chambray from The Village Haberdashery. I love making clothes from chambray, and this one was perfect for this dress.

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!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Blue Pyjamas

When we came across this shop, I was completely entranced at the wonderful things it had on offer. It sells both hand-made children's clothes and fabrics, as well as accessories such as bunting, bias binding and purses. Its quite a tucked away shop and we stumbled upon it entirely by accident, but my whole family then spent a wonderful time looking at everything it had to sell. Unfortunately, all of the clothing is for small children, but luckily it also sells gorgeous fabrics, and after seeing a mini-pair of pyjamas, my sister asked me if I could make her some, to which I accepted, of course!

You can see a photo of the front and back here. The back has a pocket on the right hand side, which is a detail that I love. The pyjama shorts were really easy to make, all I did was trace a pair of my sister's existing shorts and I then vaguely followed this tutorial, which I would highly recommend for anyone speed sewing! The main feature of this shorts pattern that I like is the fact that there is no side seam on the outside, and the way of doing this is explained in the tutorial.

Here is a close up of the pocket, my favourite feature! I love extra details on patterns and this ticks all the boxes. I always love sewing with beautiful fabrics, despite the fact that they are sometimes nerve wracking to cut into. The fabric that my sister chose is this one, and we also bought some orange bias binding to go with it for the top of the pocket, which is a feature copied from the one in the shop. (By the way, they also have a great selection of coated cottons). One of my favourite things about pyjamas and other lounge-wear (ish) items is that you can go for what ever fabric you like, it doesn't matter how bold the print is! Pyjamas are also a great thing to make out of quilting cottons. I'm really happy with these, as is my sister, it was a really fun and fast project.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Burnt Orange Cleo

I've wanted to make another dungaree dress for a while, and I was on the lookout for some needlecord. I originally wanted some aubergine needlecord, but when I found this burnt orange colour I knew it would be perfect! I did also come away with some aubergine/bordeaux needlecord, but for a different project which will also hopefully be finished soon. One of the things I love about this fabric is the colour, I haven't really seen anything quite like it. I'm really happy with the fit of my Cleo dress, and I love the centre front seam and the pocket. I decided to only use one pocket, on the front, but next time ( because there will definitely be a next time!) I'd like to put the two pockets on the back on too.

It was the first time I've sewed with needlecord, but I found it relatively easy, and Tilly and the Buttons have got some top tips for sewing with corduroy on their blog. My main tip is to press very little - I hardly used the iron at all for this project (I left the facings un-interfaced) but did use some steam. The facings are one of the things that I love about the pattern, they not only stabilise the top and make hemming easier, but they also make the dress seem so much more luxurious, a bit like if it was properly lined only a much easier and less time consuming version.

This is another make that ticks all the boxes, and like everyone else I love the cleo pattern! It was really quick to make, and I'm already planning more versions... I'd love one in a black denim or maybe a light denim with a contrast pocket!