Wednesday, 29 April 2015

#MMMay15......

It's here again, a self stitchers favourite month, well mine anyway.
Just a day to go until Me Made May starts, never heard of it? well pop on over to Zoe's blog to find out all of the details and possibly get involved?!

I've participated in me made May for the past two years and last year I tried to improve on my first pledge and just about succeeded. Here's my previous two pledges...

2013
'I, Zoë of hellozoeb.blogspot.co.uk, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear at least 1 handmade item 3 days a week for the duration of May 2013 and make 1 new piece a week.....oh and blog about it at the end of each week too!'


2014'I, Zoë of hellozoeb.blogspot.co.uk, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear at least 1 item of handmade clothing each day for the duration of May 2014.....and blog about it too :)'



I've been having a good think about how to up the ante this year without turning this treat into a trial. I love reading everyone else's pledges, Zoe's is great. I could do with putting something like that in, I very rarely reach for my handmade skirts...not quite sure why? I think I could manage no repeats this year but then that sometimes limits you to what you actually want to wear. I can't say I'll only wear handmade as I don't make my undies or jeans....and I don't want to start...somethings are best left to the professionals in my mind. Hmmm I'm going to go and have a cup of tea and sort this out..........

Ok that was a week long cup of tea and a think and here it is...

2015

'I, Zoë of hellozoeb.blogspot.co.uk, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear at least 1 item of clothing made by me each day, with no outfit repetition, for the duration of May 2015 .....and blog about it too'

See what a week of thinking does, it gives you time to sneak in a word that means you really can repeat your clothes just as long as something else is slightly different...genius. 


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Dixie Ballet Dress.....in stripes.....again.....

As favourite patterns go, this one's up there in my top 3 and I think this is version 8 or something. The others are here, here, here and here and I made a few others that I didn't blog about. I probably don't really need to blog about this one, but I haven't mentioned this pattern this year yet so here it is, one of my first makes for the coming summer sunshine....

Aaaand it's stripey.....a bit boring but oh so lovely, in fact isn't it the opposite of my first Dixie ballet dress? That dress is just about holding on in there for a few more wears, it's a bit more of a 'popping down the beach' dress now but while it still holds together I shall still wear it!


I shortened the sleeves a little and used a twin needle to finish the hems and neck binding.

I didn't try to match the side stripes but it wasn't too far off anyways.
If you haven't come across this pattern it's the Ballet dress by the ever so talented Dixie of Dixie DIY. It's a really great pattern to get you started on sewing with knits as it's so simple and easy to put together. I haven't made a duff yet! I love wearing this type of dress, it so comfy and easy to pull on, I usually just switch up the skirt and sleeve length for summer/winter. 

This jersey was a great find on a trip to Ditto in Brighton, it's got a really nice weight to it and it's that lovely knitted in stripe rather than printed ink that always splits when it stretches. It sewed up really well too, I'm always a bit dubious about sewing stretch as it seems to have a habit of getting chewed up in my machine or the curling edges end up getting on my nerves. I've got enough of this left to squeeze a top out too.


That's one wardrobe staple ready for summer, have you started your summer makes?




Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Blazer of glory....


Terrible blog post title I know, shoot me now...anyways....
Look a new thing I made!


These photos show how terrible I am at having my photo taken, especially first thing in the morning...awkward....so I am wearing my new Gabrielle blazer which I love quite a lot already.
My first version of this pattern was the disco version back in November. I knew I wanted to make a another version of it then, something light and easy to wear, something that would go with a lot of outfits, something I could use as a sort of jacket throughout spring and summer. I couldn't really decide on a colour that I could imagine wearing most of the time, black would be a bit too 'officy', navy would be great but it doesn't always go with black...oh the dilemma! So I decided maybe denim would be a good choice. It pretty much goes with everything and this would end up a sort of smarter denim jacket...yep an idea I liked the sound of. 



I've been wanting to make something up in chambray for ages now and never got around to actually buying any of the stuff. After perusing a few websites I landed on this gorgeous stuff from Fondant Fabrics. I actually order the Robert Kauffman chambray union dots but looking at the pics I think this may actually be the Cotton Chambray dots ? Or maybe they just look very similar? Hmmm.....maybe I should double check my post before I get so over excited by new packages of fabric!


So yeah, I used the Spit up and Stilettos Gabrielle Blazer pattern, which is FREE!, this really is such a simple and easy to put together pattern. It doesn't include instructions for a lining but it's pretty simple to put one together using the pattern pieces you already have, basically make another blazer minus the front panel pieces and voila! 
The only thing that went a bit wonky was the set in sleeves which came out a tiny bit big for the arm holes, I just added a little tuck to each shoulder seam, as above, which isn't ideal but looks fine and sorted the issue quicker than I could be bothered to make any other adjustments coz LAZY.


I used some of the chambray on the bottom of the sleeve linings so I could add sleeve turn which add to making it a bit more casual I think...


I took and inch out of the bottom of each side back panel too as it was a bit too big at the bottom, I think I've got quite a good fitted shape to the back now...


I think I might get quite a bit of wear out of this, I'm hoping it goes with most things and it's perfect for this amazing sunny weather we're having at the mo, and on that note, I'm off down the beach to grab some sunshine before the April showers finally make an appearance!....




Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Pretty PJs....


So I'm on a roll with my selfless sewing. Last week I sewed up a pretty pair of pyjamas for a friends birthday and now I'm jealous of them!
I used the Collette Sorbetto for the top, bound the edges with some stash bias binding and added this pretty trimming to the front pleat...


For the bottoms I sort of used the Margot pattern from Tilly and the buttons book Love at First Stitch. I say sort of as I took a load off the length and went for shorts and omitted the tie front and went for elastic at the waist instead. 


To make them more of a match I added some more of that trimming to the edge of each leg. I've also got a thing for gingham at the mo, there's so many colours to use!


That's two selfless sewing sessions in a row! Doing well hey? It's actually really satisfying making things for other people, especially when they like the item :)

My next makes going to be completely selfish though, maybe even a pair of these PJs for me!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Colette Negroni....



Look, look! It's a real life proper looking shirt that I made! 
To say I'm please with this make would be an understatement, 
quite frankly I'm amazed by it.

I mentioned in my new year resewlutions that I did want to get on more selfless sewing and with making more for other people and I knew that my biggest challenge was going to be making clothes for the Mr. He's quite fussy when it comes to clothes and very particular about the little things like necklines on T-shirts, shirt lengths, the particular shade of green of buttons....well maybe not that bad but I knew it would probably be a challenge to make something that he would actually end up wanting to wear. 
Well I managed it :)

This shirt is the Colette Negroni. I've made a few adjustments which do change the overall look of the shirt but I think I can still call it a Negroni....let's see....

I did think wisely enough to start with a toile for this shirt. I always knew it would never be as easy as out the packet and on the back. I don't have any pics of the toile process but the main points are that there was too much width in the center back of the shirt and the collar wasn't loved so I needed to change it up for more of a formal short collar with a collar stand.

At first I had no idea where to start with the changing of the collar and then I found this sewalong and it didn't actually seem that stressful. You basically need to find a shirt that you are happy with the fit and collar and trace off the collar and collar stand pieces, add a seam allowance and you're there.....we'll it got a bit more involved when you get to fitting it to the actual shirt but you get the idea. You can see my new collar and button placket pattern pieces in the pic below.


Mr chose this monochrome gingham for the first version. I thought this would probably be a wearable toile at best so was happy with the choice, it's cheap as chips and a nice cotton to work with.
This whole shirt process has taken just over a month all in all. I made sure I didn't rush through anything and really researched each part I wasn't too sure about. This is certainly the most technical make I've ever got into. 


Button holes, flat felled seams, button plackets, cuffs, drafting new pattern pieces......


This collar really did test me. Making the new pattern piece and sewing it all together was pretty simple, then when it came to actually attaching it to the shirt I just couldn't get the sizing right. At first it was going to be too small to fit the neck hole so I adjusted the neckline and brought it in, then it was too big. To and fro this process for a while and then you'll get to the point where I gave up for a few days. Obviously when I came back to it it just fitted together fine and I wondered what all the fuss had been about....obviously.
I must say that I do actually prefer the formal shirt collar and am really chuffed with how professional it looks....it's like and ACTUAL REAL shirt....






Cuffs were another tricky area. I've only done these once before on my Colette Hawthorne but I'm pleased with these.....
Ignore that I put the button hole in the wrong way round on the actual cuff, it's still a working button hole! On request I also added a placket button hole...


The pattern calls for flat felled seams throughout which is great because it means there are no raw edges anywhere and it's all nice and neat. Although flat felling at the shoulder seam was an absolute b*tch. I'm blaming it on coming down with a cold and not being able to get my head around the instructions to add a 1/4" fold to the top of the arm piece and then attach it to the body piece. I think I kept then omitting the fold and getting all of the measurements wrong. Also working with fabric that is the same on the front and back is just stupid! I had to rip the left arm off and start again about 4 times.....mistakes I WILL NOT make again.....I hope....

These painful parts were all worth it though, coz look...SHIRT...


I even added in a little 'design feature' of a red horizontal button hole at the bottom. I've seen this on a few expensive shirts and thought I'd give it a go.


(It's not longer one side, it's just a funny photo angle, promise)


Oh yeah, one more adjustment....
The Negroni is quite a loose fitting shirt. This didn't suit what the Mr was after or actually look good on him anyways. Rather than being loose fitting all over the extra fabric just sort of pooled around the center back width of the shirt. 
I did some Pinterest research and found another tutorial and added in some fish eye darts. One each side, just under each pleat. I didn't take these too deep as he obviously still needs to be able to move. Looking at the pic below these might need taking a bit deeper near the top though?



This shirt also has a lined yoke and teaches you to sew this pattern using the burrito method which, other than just sounding awesome, works so well and the instuctions from Colette Patterns totally makes sense...


Ok I think I'm done with alterations and praising this shirt. I will be making more of these I'm sure, after going through such a learning process it would be a shame to never use these new skills again. I'd like to actually make a Negroni how it's meant to be too so I'm sure my Dad will appreciate a new shirt or two. 

Thumbs up to more selfless sewing!