Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Veronika......

I thought I'd squeeze this make onto this years blog roll, it's becoming a winter favourite and I think it'll get a few wears over the Christmas hols.

(excuse terrible indoor pics but it's way too wet out there!)


I finally got around to making up Megan Nielsens Veronika skirt. This is a free download (love a freebie) and I printed it off back in the summer. I've wanted to make up a simple circle skirt for a while but it just kept getting pipped off the to make top spot in favour of well anything else. I don't know whay but I've had a fear of making up a circle skirt. I think finding the width of fabric I needed was a put off and also I'm not a love of skirt that has the potential to show the world my pants with the slightest puff of wind.


This skirt still does that but I figure I'm wearing a coat all the time at the mo so my modesty will be preserved over the winter months, perfect time to go for it.
The pattern is the most simple, two pieces and a waistband. I know you can totally make up a circle skirt without a pattern but I haven't got the head space for the maths so having the paper pattern is my way to go.
The fabric is a piece of polka dot viscose I bought in the autumn. I didn't have enough to get each part out whole so there is a back seam but that really doesn't matter. As you can imagine this is a nice quick make, once you've got as far as adding the waistband and zip you just need to make sure you can leave it to hang for at least 48 hours so the fabric can stretch out. As there are a lot of parts that fall on the bias these parts need to settle into the drape of the skirt. You couldn't make this up and wear it that evening, wonky hem a go go.


I hemmed this to fall just above knee length which feels most flattering in tights. I still love the idea of a midi but they always look better with heels and I'm a flats girl. I'd really like to try that look out though, maybe for a summer wedding or something....


There are two waistband options, this is the narrower of the two, I think I'd use the wider one with a stiffer fabric so it holds up with bending and sitting throughout the day.


I only had a cream zip to use but it's pretty invisible so that's no biggy. Megan's instructions are super clear throughout, I think this would be a great beginners pattern. She has also added an option to make it up in stretch fabric and there are some cute patch pocket options too, I'll be using those in my next Veronika for sure.


That's it for this year, just one more morning at work then it's time to fully settle into that Christmas food and drink coma. I'm not sure if I'll be getting the machine out, part of me wants to completely rest up and not touch a thing where as the other half wants to spend the whole 10 days using up every last bit of fabric in my stash while I have time....hhhhmmmm we'll see how it goes.

Happy Christmas to you all, thank you for dropping by every now and then. I look forward to seeing all of your new year makes and making many more of my own me mades in 2017,

Have a good one!!! xx



Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Labels by Nominette.....

I was recently contacted by Nominette.co.uk who asked if I would like to try out their online custom label-making tool for a review, and having had a good nose, knocked up something worth using and have now received the lovelies I am more than happy to share.


I have a few labels which I like to put in all of my makes (when I remember) but they are along the lines of a name badge, like the ones you had in school so the idea of a proper clothing care label really appeals. 

Their website was really user friendly, there are some really good options to choose from like where you want your fold line, which care logos to add and lots of lovely colour choices but it's all laid out nice and simply and takes you through step by step. 
You can also upload your own image or logo so I chose to use my little Betty catface...


picked my garment care options (I just went with the most basic that would suit most of the clothing I make) picked my colours, checked the preview and sent it off. 
They arrived really quickly considering they were sent form Belgium. They come in one long strip ready to cut....


I chose to have navy blue labels and metallic silver words and logo. I usually lean towards plain black and white but I thought I'd try out something a little different for a change and I wasn't disappointed. The silver is really sparkly and not scratchy at all.


I'm looking forward to adding these to my future makes as a nice little finishing touch. Thank you Nominette!



DISCLAIMER 
I was gifted 50 free labels to review from Nominette but all words and opinions are my own



Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Pomegranate Peony.....



I picked up some suitably Christmassy fabric from Elephant in My Handbag at the end of October. This was after realising all of my makes of late have been pretty sensible, staple items and I was in need of making something a bit more fun for a change. 
A Christmas dress! without actually been too overtly Christmassy, not to be dull, but I'm definitely more a fan of makes that I can wear more than once. When you put in so much effort it seems a shame to end up with something you can only wear once, I've even worn my wedding dress since the big day, but that's a whole other blog post.

Look it's Slinky!

So yeah, this fabric is some gorgeous Winter Pomegranates by Cotton and Steel. I love the colourway and it's a really lovely quality cotton which is super easy to sew. I'd recommend Elephant in my Handbag too, this was my first purchase from them and this turned up the day after I bought it, impressed by the super quick service! 

I chose to make a Colette Peony dress. I really like this skirt shape in the winter, it doesn't ride up under your coat or blow up in the wind (and it's so windy atm!) I just got this short sleeved version out of 2 meters.  


I wanted to make this dress a little more special so went on the hunt for a pretty exposed zip. I grabbed this one off ebay but sadly realised I mistook inches for cm as soon as it arrived, boohoo! I'll save it for a top or something. 
I put out a Twitter cry for help and I ended up finding some lovely 20inch ones on Berylune so I grabbed a few of those and will more than likely go back for more as they are so pretty I'll probably want them on all of my summer dresses too! 
Thanks for the heads up Roisin!


So this is the actual zip...so pretty!


This Peony came together really quick and easy, I've got my altered pattern piece pretty spot on now so I know it's going to be a good fit. However looking at the pic above theres a bit of rippling on the back isn't there, maybe it's how I'm standing? or maybe I need to look at that bit again......

  I wasn't really sure how to insert this zip as it's not really like an exposed zip in that the whole thing sits on the outside of the dress and nothing is sewn into the seams. So I just guessed it. I folded in the seam allowance of the bodice and bodice lining, basted them together then pinned the zip to either side of the outer bodice and sewed it straight on top of the fabric. I don't know if that's right but it works and looks fine, did I do it wrong? Any top tips for these zips?


I'm pleased with this little festive number, this print is so pretty. I actually wore this to a wedding reception at the weekend, it doesn't scream Christmas, just gives it a little nod in the right direction don't you think?



I'm starting to see quite a lot of Christmas dresses in sewing blog land, have you made one for your parties yet?



Thursday, 26 November 2015

Zeena....take one......


After promising not to buy any new patterns this year, I caved, in November! I mean come on I only had to wait a few more weeks and this would have been totally guilt free but a discount voucher got the better of me so I stormed ahead and picked up the PDF for the By Hand London Zeena Dress


I haven't seen too many of these about but I was drawn to the casualness of it, a cute little day time dress that's a little bit loose and those cute kimono sleeves. 
Rather than a toile I thought I'd just make up a version in a fabric I wasn't crazy about. I think this is called 'Streamers' by Michael Miller and I picked it up in the Weaver Dee sale a while back. Unfortunately this choice of fabric pattern did not help with my over all feelings about this make, which are generally along the lines of......
BLEURGH


The scoop neckline was way to gapey (sorry about the terrible lighting, what with it being dark ALL THE TIME now this is what you get). It meant the shoulders didn't sit right so the back was too loose too. 
To be fair I cut one straight size all over and the waist and skirt length are ok as are the sleeves but when I finished and put this on hoping to admire this breeze of a make in the mirror I didn't burst into a massive smile. This don't think this is a reflection of the dress pattern at all, I mostly think the fabric print is not suitable at all and it just made the whole thing look off. It's way too busy and almost hides those lovely deep pleats in the skirt. As soon as I started to cut into it I knew that it reminded me of something too, I just couldn't put my finger on what that was....
Anyway, fabric aside for the moment, back to that neck gape. I was not going to be picking this make apart and making it perfect so I put it on inside out and grabbed a bunch of pins..


I pinched out about 3 inches each side and tapered this off to the under arm. I transferred this all onto the paper pattern and neatened it up at the neckline and facing pieces for future use but for this dress I just sewed that fabric I gathered up as darts. They are by no means perfect, I mean look at that wonky bit where they meet at the neck, but it's made this version slightly more wearable and at this time of year I would probably have a scarf on anyway.


Yeah, I that neckline is bad, and actually looking at these pics I think the waist could probably come in a bit and the skirt could be a smidge longer.



I'm not defeated by this, I really think that in a plain colour or a print that's a bit less bold this would look so much better. This was definitely a lesson in pattern and fabric pairing. 
Oh and anyone who follows me on twitter might have seen that I figured out what this fabric reminds me of, yep my bathroom floor of course! It just gets better all the time doesn't it?!


So a bit of a fail but I have still managed to wear this a couple of times, it's a good Sunday dress, you know those Sunday's when you're not going to be seeing anyone :)


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Pants.....

I have a new favourite thing and it comes in the form of FOE....


Who knew a bit of fold over elastic could be so exciting?! 
I've been reading quite a bit about this wondrous stuff recently. The lovely Zoe wrote a great post about it here. She actually also has two patterns of her own (which you can download for free here, but buy her a coffee to say thanks!) to put the stuff to great use too, and that's exactly what I did....

I bought my FOE from a shop on ebay, I think it was about £2 for 3 meters, something like that which is pretty reasonable. What's exciting about this stuff is that it comes in so many colours, I went with lime green, raspberry pink and navy blue. I was trying to match my stash of stretch fabric at home without actually checking what I had but I did ok in the end. 
Zoe's patterns are for pants and a vest top. There's only a few pages to print for each so it's not a scary pdf at all. The instructions are very clear and straightforward. I don't have a serger so did it all on my machine using zigzag stitching. talking of those zig zags, I didn't even know I had a 3 step one on there....something new EVERY DAY I tell you.
So first up, PANTS...


These came together so quickly and I was so surprised by how much like real life shop pants they actually are, I mean I'm not sure what I was expecting but I'm mighty impressed!

This is the 3 step zig zag...


I suppose it means you can stretch it either way? I found this stuff so easy to sew with, you just sandwich the fabric in between the elastic and give it a slight pull as you go, so simple. 

It really doesn't have that home made finish either, I see these sort of stitches on undies all the time...



The only change I made was to add a bra shelf (shelf bra? bra shelf? is that even the right wording??) to the inside of the vest top. I tend to wear things like this when I'm not leaving the house or to bed so it's definitely a no bra situation (tmi) but I prefer to have a another layer of fabric. I used the front bodice pattern piece and marked roughly 5 inches down from the under arm, cut along this line and then added some FOE to the bottom edge. I pulled this  a bit tighter so it sits closer to the body. I then just backed it to the original pattern piece and sewed everything as normal...



Ta daa, pretty nik naks and vest set!


Seeing as this was super quick and satisfying I went in for another pair with the lime green FOE...


I think these would make pretty sweet Christmas pressies so I might try and make a few sets up for friends, if those friends are reading this....act surprised!


Thank you Zoe for the inspiration!





Thursday, 5 November 2015

Dungaree Dress.....


How beautiful was the weather last weekend?! 
Oh hello 1st November, I'll just leave my coat at home and stroll along the beach getting all hot shall I...ok! 
We went for a nice long walk along the seafront down to the marina, the water looked so inviting, although I wasn't stupid enough to actually give it a go, looks nice, feels like about -4 I'm sure.


Anyways, my new make! This wasn't planned at all. I picked up some "black" 3% stretch denim on Goldhawk road, intending to make up a new pair or Ultimate Trousers. Turns out this denim ain't no black, it's dark but definitely inky blue (damn you shop lights). I don't really need another pair of blue denim trousers so got my thinking cap on for this piece of fabric. 
Pinafore's seem quite the thing at the mo. I haven't owned anything of the dungaree variety for quite some time but am not adverse to a cute pinafore dress. My Hazel was of that ilk and I wear that loads in the winter months. I've been seeing a lot of Marilla Walkers Roberts Collection dungarees out there and as much as I liked the look I did say that I wouldn't be buying any new patterns this year so I got to thinking that the bodice of the Colette Hazel would probably do the job. I wanted more of a full bodice than a skirt with a front flap piece attached. 



I had a little trouble getting the length of the shoulder straps just right last time, not to be repeated this time as I only needed to sew them onto the back of the bodice. I found these dungaree fasteners in my button box...handy! The black buttons aren't ideal, I would prefer to add something bronze or even proper hammer on jean buttons so these might get replaced at some point.  I cut out the full length of the strap pieces and zig zagged the ending to stop them fraying.


I love the shape of the Hazel bodice, the V front gives almost princess seams which always fit so nicely. The skirt is my beloved Belladone with the pleats taken out. I just folded these out of the pattern piece before cutting the denim. I used the waist band as I do feel that the Hazel can come up a bit short in the bodice. Adding this makes it feel pretty spot on. 
I really like the skirt without the front pleats. It's a cute A line and works well in this denim as it's nice and structured. Of course I kept the pockets. 

 

I wanted to use an exposed zip, I think they sew well with denim, the denim would have been a bit too bulky for an invisible zip. The only one in my stash was pretty long but I went with that anyway because once you get going you don't really want to wait around for a zip delivery when you have one that sort of does the job do you?! It's about 30 inches long so goes a long way down but I think it looks ok. I learnt from previous exposed zips and added a fabric flap behind it (does this have a name? Zip guard?) so it doesn't eat up any tshirt fabric as I zip it up.


After taking these photos one thing I did notice was how completely off my strap placement was on the back bodice. Look at those! they are way to close to the centre. (About as wonky as my plait parting too...)


I sorted that out when I got home, a little time with the seam ripper and I think this is much better, it actually feels better too....

 

For the inners I just pinked the bodice seams, I find that denim always holds up well in the wash and doesn't really fray. I used some cotton from my stash to line the waist band and for the pockets 



For a piece of clothing I didn't plan on I've been wearing this quite a lot already, it's a pretty good basic piece and nice to be able to mix up the look with tshirts underneath.


I feel like my sewing has been very sensible lately, all staple pieces and neutrals. Where have all of the fun dresses gone?! I think I might need to break this mould soon...