Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lovely Lady Liberty!



 Morning all, 
in case you hadn't noticed there is steam coming out of my sewing machine at the moment. Summer holidays and children who can fend for themselves ( The twins are now 16 can you believe it)  means that I have been lucky to have lots of free time and I am enjoying every minute of it.

So this is Anna! This is the Anna that I planned! An elegant easy to make pattern in harmony with iconic Liberty peacock feather fabric that I bought from Fabworks months back  and because I bought enough for that ginormous skirt I still have some left yippee!

After my last version that I do really love, I studied lots of other versions online and realised that mine looked a lot drapier in the neckline. So I took a deep breath  and  tweaked the shoulders and tops of the grown on sleeves back down to a size 10 leaving everything else at a 12 and I have to say that the fit is perfect!


I didn't do french seams as my fabric, even after washing was a bit stiff, so overlocked the raw edges and then added a bit of  luxury by adding a lovely silky bias binding to the armholes and facings.

I finished this last week and have worn it lots already. I omitted the split  from this version which makes it very wearable for pretty much all occasions. I left the length the same as the last one and so far so good I haven't fallen over it!

I can't actually believe it took  me so long to make this  pattern up. If you haven't tried it yet definitely give it a go you won't be disappointed ( Although if you are making the long skirt check the length before you start).


I am planning at least one more Anna dress this year maybe with a circular or half skirt for the cooler months, but for now at least I am still stitching a summer wardrobe!

Till next time when I have a couple of tops to show you.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Laneway Dress - An Honest Review.


Well today is something a little bit different from me, a review of a pattern.

Back in early June Jennifer Lauren Handmade released the Laneway dress and  I thought, yes I really like that! It had three sets of  interesting elements that I was drawn to. The underbust pleats reminded me of the Anna Dress from ByHandLondon, which I hadn't made at that point and K4097 by quick sew which I had! The collar which is very similar to the Rooibos dress by Colette which I have made here. But most importantly it had sleeves which reminded me of the glorious Anna Hack by the very talented Lynne at Ozzy Blackbeard.

Anyway at the end of July Jennifer put a request up for honest reviewers for her Laneway dress and she specified non gushing. My first thought was how refreshing, because like many others I read reviews of  the independent patterns and without fail they gush. They fail to mention the length of bodices and the lack of pattern markings. As a general rule they don't tell you much about the pattern at all just about how much they love their new garment. Don't get me wrong I can understand why, I mean if you are given a free pattern, you are going to want to be chosen the next time too....Not me I rarely gush. So I  excitedly signed up and sadly wasn't successful.


Never mind I have birthday money and some beautiful new fabric that my clever husband bought me from Seasalt fabrics ( definitely worth checking out). So I bought it! The initial download cost just over £10.00 which is slightly more expensive than many of the  English independent companies. I then sent the copy shop version out to NetPrinters. That cost another £5.00 as the different cup sizes (B,C & D) were all in the same file ( Jennifer has said she will look into this) and then I printed out 15 pages of instructions which makes this the most expensive pattern that I have ever bought!

The first hurdle when making your dress is choosing the size and I have to say that I found this incredibly stressful to the point I almost jacked in! There are good instruction on how to decide on your cup size but after that it is a bit like pot luck as to what you are supposed to do with them. My bust came out at 91.5 and should of been a C cup which as far as I could work out would put me in the size 12 but the closet measurement was a size 12 B cup and then when it was finished it would add another 5 cm all the way round. so I took a deep breath and decided to make  the size 10 C cup.

Having said that the illustrations are incredibly detailed and the rest of the step by step instructions are articulate and easy to follow. Jennifer shares tips that I have never seen in any other pattern ( all of which would be very useful if you were new to sewing). She includes a glossary which again is very helpful, although the words "see glossary" in places might be good .


The pattern is very well drafted and all fits together really well ,




the collar was a dream to fit together, (so much easier than the Rooibos for which I still have nightmares about) my only gripe was the pattern markings, there aren't very many .

It would of been really good if the notches were a bit more visible. I think a lot of the indie companies use the same software, but the darker triangles  that you find from big companies are so much easier to trace (these must be virtually impossible for the partially sighted) . Also, although there is information about how to lengthen the pattern, the actual pattern doesn't have a "lengthen here" line, that would be nice.




So the fit you ask, well the size 10 is a very good fit in the back, waist and sides, however I didn't need the C cup. Wearing the bra that I measured in it was very baggy around the boobs ( not a good look)  I ended up lengthening the pleats and with a padded bra it is still a bit baggy but looks pretty good !



Did I make it exactly as the pattern? No I didn't add interfacing as the facing fabric that I used was a lot stiffer than the fabric for the dress I omitted the pockets as my fabric is too fine to withstand that kind of strain an I also lined the skirt for modesty as my fabric is very sheer!


Would I make this again? Yes ( although in a smaller cup size)
The instructions were very clear as were the diagrams and I didn't have to re read anything.
It was a quick easy make and  I really love the finished product. it is feminine and could be dressed up or down. There are also two other necklines to choose from so you are fairly spoilt for choice . I really  fancy a wool one for winter, maybe with piping.

Was it difficult? No although it specifies intermediate sewer, a brave beginner could take this on as the only fiddly bit is the zip.

Would I recommend it? Yes although it is quite a pricey download, the quality of the instructions and tips makes it worth while for both beginners and intermediate sewers.You also have a couple of different necklines to choose from which means you definitely get value for money.


So that is my review . Did you find it helpful? Will you make it? Let me know!

Monday, July 31, 2017

My first Anna Dress







Morning all,
try not to be too shocked, but today I am going to treat you to some up to date sewing! The Anna dress from By Hand London is one of my #2017makenine. It has been on my things to make for literally years as I rushed out and bought the pattern when it was rumoured that By Hand London were taking all of their patterns to PDF ( I don't think that ever happened). I don't actually know why it has taken me so long to make it up either. There are literally hundreds of inspiring examples all over the internet, not to mention all of the amazing hacks out there! Google it if you get a minute.

Anyway I have bought two lots of fabric for this dress now. Some very beautiful liberty cotton from Fabworks ( cutting that out later today )  and this cheap, gorgeous green stuff from B and M fabrics when I went to #sewupnorth which was going to be my toile.

I was little disappointed by the green, as I loved it so much in the shop , but it has bled the green into the cream. It is, I hope, only noticeable to me as I still love it and  you get what you pay for .


I decided on the boat neck long version which reminds me of a purple silk number I owned about 20 years ago.The original length of the skirt was very, very long and although I wish I was this  tall I had to cut 5 inches off of the bottom. I made the  the size 12 bodice exactly as it was and it is a fairly good fit.... although looking at mine in comparison to many of the other versions out there I am not sure that I couldn't have made a sba  in the bust  as I can get this version on over my head without undoing it. This could be however due to the drapey nature of the fabric.

The pattern has lovely illustrations and techniques - french seams throughout . As this was just a toile I chose to just overlock the seams which definitely sped me up. I promise to do it properly on my next version. :)
The pattern had a choice of splits left/right or without. I am not sure if you can tell but I kept the split in for this version as it is so lovely and drapey that I thought it would work well. It does and I think probably has saved me from breaking my neck a couple of times since wearing it. If I decide to leave the split out of the next one I might have to raise the hemline slightly.




Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Odgen Cami - A pattern better than chocolate!


Morning all,
Happy Saturday!
As I am on a mission of full disclosure. I thought I had better spill the beans on probably my favourite sewing pattern/ dress fabric scrap-buster ever!

My daughters( especially the eldest ) buy a lot of vest tops and camisoles tops and I mean a lot predominantly from Primarni and other fashion establishments. I had  been looking at them, and admiring them, whilst thinking how hard can one of those be?


Not hard is the answer! The Ogden Cami by True Bias is the perfect little top. They are so easy! All you have to do is buy it, print it out and stick it together or if you are lazy like me get www.netprinters.co.uk to print them  and you are good to go.

The pattern is very straightforward with easy to  follow instructions  and with a little bit of juggling it will decimate any of the larger scraps you come across. You can also make one in an hour. It is perfect for a novice sewer and immediate gratification for everybody else.

This lovely version was made out an odd shaped  scrap that I picked up off the scrap table at #sewupnorth.

 I lined it all the way through as the fabric was a bit scratchy . I do think I like this method better as it seems to create a smoother line and obviously would be a good idea for sheer fabrics.


I have made 6 ( 5 for me and one for the eldest daughter ) so far all out of oddments and I have another couple cut out ready to go. I just love it. If you haven't tried it you really should give it a go!


Friday, July 28, 2017

#TheBigStitch


Morning all, I know right my blog posts are a bit like busses right?!
I thought I would tell you about the #thebigstitch that the British Heart Foundation are running on instagram and other social Media this month.


The idea is that you go into one of their shops, buy something and then transform it into something new that you would love to wear.

When I saw it, I immediately loved the concept, but was a little sceptical that I would find anything that would inspire me. I mean how often do you wander around the shops, with an idea, and come back with something suitable? Pretty much never!  Anyway my friend Sarah and I had a mooch around our local shop on Monday just on the off chance that I might find something. I had looked through all of the women's clothes, all of the linens and was just about to give up when I spotted two perfectly matched men's shirts.

At £4.98 each they were a bit of a bargain and I knew that they wouldn't fit either of the men in my life so I wouldn't feel guilty cutting them up ( I didn't realise my that the daughters would be eyeing them up....).

I took them home and washed them together and although the dark blue did bleed slightly into the white of the other shirt I think it actually enhanced the fabric.


I used my Newlook6483 as a starting point but decided on a bit of a homage to the lovely Dear and Doe Datura pattern so kept the bottom of the patterned shirt exactly as it was cutting it off under the armpits and adding two strips of the dark blue shirt as the top.

 I would love to have been able to have a play at copying the Datura neckline but I just didn't have enough fabric. As I have several of the dear and doe patterns on my wish list including this one the neckline can wait for another outing. As it was I had to unpick the pockets from the navy shirt in order to make facings, which was a little traumatic as my seam ripper and I nearly fell out.
The newlook pattern is designed to have a seam down the back which I took out, however I thing I could of taken a bit more off the back as you can see it is a little gapey. I guess it is probably only me who will be that critical.

Overall I am really pleased with how my little top turned out and I will be stalking my local charity shops in the near future to see if I can find any other goodies for upcycling projects.




Thursday, July 27, 2017

So many Stitches

Dear all,
I am sorry I have been gone so long, but I have fallen in love. Fallen in love with Instagram, the immediacy of the quick little posts, the comments from new friends and sewers and of course the lovely little hearts that are now sprinkled all over my projects!


That being said, I have also missed my blog, it is much easier for me to see what I have made and  when on here and if my junky old laptop plays nicely I am going to try and catch up over the next couple of weeks.

First off I thought I would let you know how I was getting on with #2017makenine. For  a little recap back in January I put together a list of nine items that I was hoping to get made in the coming year. You can read about my list here

I have made 4 so far, of the nine. Heather was the first and I did actually blog about that here . Then came Cleo by Tilly and the buttons and I succumbed to two versions of this. It is such a good dress for running about in doing weekend errands.
This lovely brocade came from my trip to Fabworks in January as did the corduroy, this is my favourite though! Especially as the pattern matching on my pocket went to well!
I do like the pink cord though, which is just as well as I seem to have a lot of it!

I then made a Renfrew, I have to say it wasn't a great success. Partly because I used scraps ( that were a little too small) from my stripey coco dress and the neck line bagged.  The upside is that I used up scraps!

It is definitely one I want  to make again before the end of the year as it is such a versatile little top that can be dressed up or down!

My latest make of the nine has been Arielle by Tilly and the Buttons. I made this at the beginning of July and am still actually waiting for the perfect occasion to wear it. This was my third time of trying this. The last two had been a disaster ( not because of the pattern) but this one was plain sailing. It always helps to read the instructions! This version is a beautiful, soft, dark  purple corduroy, also from Fabworks , if I was making it again I think I would probably use a fabric with a little more structure but I fell in love with this cord and just had to use it.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Another Heather!

 
So that was the first week of 2017! How was it for you? I was lucky an only had to work half the week which meant I had the luxury of sewing on a Tuesday! I have a bit of a New Years resolution... destash! If I love it use it and if I don't get rid of it. Well best laid plans and all that, I got an invite to a fabric shop and just had to go...
 
 I had a little fabric splurge at Fabworks on the 29th which did mean I ended up with a little more stash but hey ho each piece has a project so it is all good!  Two pieces of wool jersey and a cotton mix. 
This was the first piece of fabric a wonderful wool jersey , in a purple , grey , pink which just had to be another Heather by Sewoverit. 
 
I made it exactly the same as the last one except I made the sleeves a little wider. In the picture it looks to be pulling a little across the bust, it isn't uncomfortable, but a probably an indication that I should return to healthy eating... just a few mince pies to go !
 Till next time happy stitching 
❤️

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