Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rumana -For those days when you want to be a pirate!

For those of you who don't know, I love coats! For other women it is shoes or handbags, but for me it is coats! I bought my first Duster coat from Wallis when I was 16. A beautiful, black wool and cashmere mix floor length wrap. It was beautiful and I loved it! I wore it daily until I was about 22 and I fell in love with bright, orangey red, wool and cashmere mix in the Hobbs window. It was floor length, shawl collared and fastened with a large single button. I bought a medium in case I got fat which turned out to be a good plan as I wore through my first pregnancy and then later with my eldest tucked up inside. This one I wore until I moved to Yorkshire where the world seemed more straight laced and conservative and it languished in my cupboard for a number of years until a lack of space in my wardrobe demanded that I threw it out.

Now don't get me wrong I have had lots of lovely coats from Boden and from Hobbs since then but none of them have been dusters and none as amazing as the first two!

When I saw the Rumana coat on Instagram I literally gasped! The perfect coat!!!

As soon as it was released on Boxing day I bought it. It went straight into my #2018makenine and was the reason I signed up to #2018sewmystyle.

I had imagined a dark coloured coat with a bright lining a bit like this one that I have been drooling over for the last 16 years. 

As I said in my last post I bought the lovely Melton Fabric from Ebay and I was drawn to the beautiful lady McElroy fabrics for the lining but the one that I really liked had been chosen by one of pattern testers. Well let's face it if you are going to make a coat, you want it to be unique so I decided to carry on looking!

Then I had a brainwave!! Parrots!! I love parrots they are smart and colourful and they are linked to pirates and adventure! This gorgeous fabric has been in my stash since just before Christmas , I bought it from the Pound a yard store in Dewsbury and I had thought I might make an Anna dress out of it. My eldest assures me it is Ted Baker, but I honestly don't care it is the perfect finishing touch for my coat.

I made the size 12 measuring off of a coat that I own as I figured that measuring for a coat in my underwear probably wasn't the best way of tackling the sizing. I think I could of probably have graded down a size especially at the bust for something a little more fitted but as they say hindsight is 20/20!

The pattern pieces fit together really well without having to juggle any of the pieces. Which was just as well as I decided on making welt buttonholes and the Colette instructions I followed cut both the front and the facing at the same time. Nerve wracking !

However, the instructions are not really what you would expect from By Hand London. I have a feeling that they were as excited to give us the pattern as the sewing community was to receive it and consequently the written instructions and the diagrams are sparse. After I had sewn the sides together I realised the Pale pink one that Elisalex had made had top stitching on the pockets but as far as I could see there wasn't an mention of this so I unpicked and put them in. I know that they are planning a sew along and I will definitely look at that for the bits that really had me scratching my head.

So my coat. I love it. It is pretty much perfect. I added shoulder pads for a little bit more structure. The sleeves are still a little puffier than I would like, I think probably because of my fabric choice, so I might unpick at some point and shave a bit off the sleeve head.This is only a slight niggle. The whole thing feels really luxurious and wearing it feels elegant.Though the lining is wild and panders to my 16 year old self. 

The footnote to my story is that both of my previous much loved dusters had a hole in the lining where I stuck my foot through it... Each piece of damage was done within the first week. Back then I wasn't really a sewer and the holes were badly stitched. This time, however, I am ready I saved some of the lining as you can't really being a pirate without a Patch!

Till next time happy sewing


Sunday, February 18, 2018

If you give a man a fish....

Evening all,
be prepared for a photo filled post as I am very proud of this project and I was in charge of the camera rather than the sewing machine!

My husband has been, over the years, fairly instrumental in my sewing. Not that he is ecstatic with my fabric stash, or the pins strewn around the dining room, but he did buy my Janome 9000 for me and he critiques what I have made. However he has never wanted me to sew anything for him as he says he has clothes.

However he has said as a throw away comment many times " I would like to learn how to use the sewing machine". I think because he has never jumped up and down about it, his learning has always gone to the back of the queue. Anyway I was kind of stuck for the perfect Christmas present and decided teaching him would be perfect.

He had in mind that maybe he would make a cushion or something really simple. Now at 6'4 clothes that fit are hard to come by so I figured he would get more pleasure out of a beautiful garment, that he had made himself, that fit .

I showed him all of the wonderful Thread Theory Patterns and some of the great projects that people had made.

We decided on the Belvedere Waistcoat, I got it printed by NetPrinter as I hate the sticking and assumed that the cut and paste method might send him running for the hills. Then we went and chose fabric together during the Christmas Holidays from the amazing Fabworks in Dewsbury.

I pointed him towards the right types of fabrics and he chose. I was very surprised by the purple, as although he isn't particularly conservative in his clothing choice he wouldn't usually choose purple or pinks, but I actually think it was the perfect choice!

He was very precise and meticulous about every aspect of the make, it was interesting to see how unlike me he doesn't just accept the instructions but strives to know what will happen to his fabric before he has stitched anything.

I have to say that the instructions in the pattern were very good and the sew a long online definitely helped with the knowing!
Obviously until you have made a welt pocket you really cant understand, but the look of amazement he turned the cloth on the ironing board and saw pockets was just incredible.

He is also the only sewer I have ever met who doesn't swear when un-picking buttonholes! We followed the pattern to letter except we moved the "gap" at the bottom to the back of the lining as he doesn't like hand sewing and the closing could then be done on the machine.

His attention to detail has paid off and he has created a pretty amazing first piece of clothing. He has plans for more makes so I really hope he continues even if it does mean I have to share my machine.

So what do you think? Are you impressed? Any suggestions of what he should make next or plans for his wardrobe?

Till next time

Happy stitching


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines here's to my new love.

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

I hope you have the day that you want. Personally, I am very happy as I have a new love, a new skill!

There are amazing freehand embroidery artists on Instagram,you cannot help but be inspired by their work. Probably the one that I love the most is @amandastinton I am smitten with her bees.

I only had one resolution this year and that was to try my hand at a little freehand embroidery myself. I wasn't sure if I would like it, I wasn't sure I would want to do lots of it but I did want to try it at some point.

At the end of January I signed up to take part in #2018sve a secret valentine exchange. The idea was somebody made something for you and you made something for somebody else. Each participant filled in a questionnaire and that information was passed on. I was going to make for a nice lady called Melanie who lived in Norfolk. I didn't get much from her answers but her Instagram kind of gave me the idea that she might like hares and I started looking at hare quilt designs. However the more I thought about it the more I became convinced it would be a good time to try out some free hand embroidery. I had plenty of time - if it was a mess I could still make something else.

I am really, really glad that I had a go. I absolutely loved making him it was so therapeutic. I wouldn't say that I did it exactly as I was supposed to ( that is the joys of self taught) and I had a stressful half an hour unpicking the paper pattern from my stitching. When it was complete I was so proud of my first piece, although I do think he looks a bit like a grumpy rabbit from water-ship down, he is made completely from scraps which is always a bonus and my family have commissioned one for our house as they didn't want me to let him go. Anyway I sent him out into the world and he is loved so all in all a very satisfying Valentine make!

Did you join in #2018sve? what did you make?

Till next time Happy stitching

Arianwen x

Thursday, February 01, 2018

The Southbank Dress and Plans for February.

There has been a lot of Jersey in January and I have managed to get one more little project in before the serious sewing of February begins.

Fabricate had their first birthday a couple of weeks back and some friends and I an impromptu visit. I had said I didn't need anything, I also said I wasn't buying anything. Hmmm............

They had a really good deal on, If you spent £25 you would get a free pattern. There was so much choice I was very overwelmed and I did nearly manage to walk away empty handed. Then I spotted this beautiful sweatshirt material and the Southbank sweater pattern and that was the end of my resolve! They then had a lucky dip which I won a tin of sewing machine needles, so really the whole lot was a bargain. Honest!

Now the last time I had a jumper dress like this, I was eleven. My mum bought it from C&A it was grey and pink had a logo across the front and I loved it and wore it to death! So I was pretty excited when I saw this pattern and the versions that keep popping up on instagram.

The pattern said 1.6m fabric requirements, I bought 1.5 and got it easily out that, but had none to spare. I whipped it up on the overlocker on Saturday morning so it was a very satisfying make. The pattern is very straight forward and easy to follow, although I did have a bit of a panic when I saw how small the neck band was ( I wasn't sure it was going to fit over my big head). I originally added the pockets, but I took them off as they added too much bulk in this fabric. If I make it again, which I think I will and I was adding pockets,I would move them up as for me they were a little low down.

It is cosy and warm, bright and cheerful and just perfect for grey days.

Well I have to say I am pretty pleased with how creative I managed to be in January. Like most people who create, how much time I get at it definitely has an affect on how I feel in myself.

As I want it to be fun,I just have three main plans for February. The biggest being Rumana. I bought this beautiful melton wool from Ebay and I have to say the photo doesn't really do it justice. It is really fine and soft and the colour is just beautiful!

The second is the Ninilchik Swoncho I am planning on using odd balls of Drops Nepal and a couple of other bits that I have in stash. I have a feeling I might need to buy a couple but hopefully not too many.

I am also going to try and take part in an other instagram challenge #dayandnightdresschallenge it is going from the 22-28 and I would like to make Belledone by Dear and Doe patterns. Though with Rumana I am not sure if that is a bit optimistic!

Till next time, happy stitching

Arianwen x

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Two Molly's and a Moneta!

Sometimes ( not often) the over-locker is a babe! Last weekend was one of those times! When I bought the red velour a few weeks back, on the market, I also picked up this gorgeous dark teal scuba. It reminded me a of lovely Boden dress (Audrey) that I had and wore to death and at £2 a metre I had to take a couple home with me!

I had planned on making another Coco with it but a friend of mine had just made Molly and it was gorgeous so I thought I would give that a go. Now I haven't had too much success with any of the Sew Over It dress patterns. They are usually too short in the body and too tight in the arms for me or my girls, which means fiddling about with the pattern, which I really didn't want to be bothered with. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I made the suggested size and the arms and length are perfect! It is maybe a little loose in the body so I might pull that in a bit next time.

It is such a quick make and I had a dress after 2.5 hours on Friday night and that was with tracing out the pattern. Which in my book is a good result. I then proceeded to wear it all weekend and a couple of times in the week!

Then on Sunday I got a couple more hours sewing in,this time I was planning on making up Moneta. I picked the fabric up in Dewsbury way back in October. Isn't the print unusual ? It had been cut out since before Christmas and was going to be my Christmas day dress.
Well best laid plans and all that, I mislaid the bodice pieces so it ended up being shelved. Anyway I re- cut the bodice and zipped it up really quickly on the over-locker. The bodice is quite a nice shape however the gathering at the skirt I was a bit unsure of as it makes it look a bit old fashioned but once I put it on I actually quite like it though I have heard that the Laneway dress's skirt works well with it so I think at some point ,I might give that a go.

I have some black spotty jersey that I want to make another Moneta out of so that might be for next week! But that is my second project from my #2018makenine so I am feeling pretty pleased with that!

Then on Sunday just time to make another Molly, this time a short sleeved top out of a scrap of fabric left over from a dress I made a couple of years back.

I had wanted to make a renfrew or an Agnes out of it but I just couldn't get the pieces to fit and I had resigned myself to making knickers out of it so the Molly top was a bit of a Eureka moment. I haven't worn this yet but I think it will be a good tee-shirt for the summer as it is nice and long , I hate it when they pull up at the front.

Anyway my sewing machine is calling me so ...

Till next time happy stitching!


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Stashbusting Hetty ( or my Christmas Cast on)

So once I have wrapped all the presents, waited for Father Christmas , fed the family and cleared up my Christmas Tradition for the last nine years has been to cast on a sweater or cardigan for myself. 

Now they haven't always been completed , several have hit the frog pond but this years is a delight!

I am trying very hard to cull both my fabric and yarn stashes as both are rather large, mainly with oddments, but large none the less!

This lovely yellow was left on a cone from a tunic dress that I made back in 2011 it wasn't entirely flattering and I think I ended up giving it away. Anyway there wasn't much yarn left, about 350g , so when I went stash diving I thought it would be great for Hetty.

I have now made Hetty twice, the first version didn't get blogged about or any photos either really, again it was left over yarn and I have worn it lots! This one is even better.

Oh how I love this little cardigan! Because I knew I had a little more yarn than the last time I lengthened both the sleeves and the body and it feels like it is a very flattering shape. I have to confess the decreases on the sleeves are a bit odd as I misread the pattern and kind of made them up , but they seem to work ok.  I love the colour it is just so sunny and joyful and  I finished it with about 50g left over which I plan to use in something else.

 When I cast off I didn't really think it could get much better then I found these cute little wooden heart buttons. Completely adorable!

So that is my first cardigan of the year and with the exception of the buttons it was all from stash.I am working on my other wip and I have been stash diving for February's cast on. I am looking forward to starting although I already know I will probably have to buy a bit of yarn for that.

Till next time


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sunny Dress/Tunic

Evening all,as you probably read I am taking part in the instagram challenge of #Sewmystyle2018 and January's pattern  was the Sunny dress/Top it is a very basic Jersey Dress pattern from the Friday Pattern Company. It  is really a summer type dress or top and I would have to say with the shaped hem neither version are really my style but I figured as it was the first of the 12 patterns I would give it a go.  I am trying to work some of this challenge from stash. This one is  some wool jersey that I got given when I met up with the #sixdodewsbury a group of six   lovely ladies that I met at Sew up North. I made the medium for this version which was pretty much exactly my measurement and then added a neckband as I felt without it , the neckline would be very low.

I think it turned out OK and I have had some compliments for it. I think it would probably make quite a good layering piece as it is quite warm over leggings and boots .... but I just don't love it!
I think the sleeves are the wrong length and too wide and because of that  honestly don't know how much wear it will get.

Anyway not to be beaten I decided to go to the Monday market and some lovely red velour caught my eye.  I needed something to wear to a presentation evening  and I decided  a red  party dress was just what I needed. This time I lengthened it and got rid of the curved hem. I went down a size so it is very clingy and I extended the sleeves to wrist length.

I think I could of probably taken more off the width of the sleeve and as the photos prove I should of probably made them three quarter length as without fail I end up pushing them up! I am quite pleased with this version. It is comfy and easy to wear which is my favourite type of clothing. So there you go two very different dresses from one very basic pattern. Which is your favourite? Did you make one? I would love to see!

Till next time


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