Sunday, 18 June 2017

Your Maternity Makes

A lot of my friends and neighbours are pregnant right now, and the heat wave that has just hit the UK is reminding me how it feels to be third-trimester pregnant, and how important it feels to be as comfortable as possible. And then I remembered that I haven't shared any pictures of other peoples' versions of my maternity sewing patterns with you yet. So here's some of my lovely pattern testers, pattern reviewers and customers in their maternity makes...


First up: the Cordelia Maternity Camisole...

(image source: Hello Zoe B)

Brighton belle, Zoe B, looks so divine in the cutest maternity make ever, doesn't she?! She also made her little babe some matching kitty leggings from the leftover fabric. 

(image source: @magpieness on Instagram)

Here's lovely Vanessa McWilliams rocking a Cordelia camisole and a beautiful 7-month bump. I love that sketchy-effect fabric print. 

(image source: Masustak eguzkitan)

Maider and I were both heavily pregnant last summer, however she lives in Spain so was probably feeling even hotter than I was. I'm so pleased that she found the time and energy to make this fabulous anchor (yes, anchor!) print Cordelia. Such a lovely bump, too!

(image source: @mdelilahcarlson on Instagram)

Michelle from House of White shows how useful the Cordelia camisole can be for extending the wearability of non-maternity clothing. During #MMMay17 she layered hers underneath this incredible jacket that she drafted herself.


Second up: the Dolores Maternity Dress...

(image source: @miushkamiushka on Instagram)

Mirjam is an absolute sewing ninja and a seriously creative soul. Her refashioning skills are second to none (she won the Refashioners 2015 Get Shirty community competition!) and she even makes shoes. She made some fabulous garments during her pregnancy last year, including this long-sleeved Dolores maternity dress. 

(image source: @hattie_van_der_krohn on Instagram)

Hattie has got to be the most prolific maternity sewer that there's ever been! Check out her Instagram account to see the full extent of her epic clothing output. I have to include two pictures of her in this maternity makes round up because she just looks too damn lovely! 

(image source: @hattie_van_der_krohn on Instagram)

Hattie already has one daughter, with a second on the way. My hair never looked that good even before I had kids... As I say, too lovely. 

(image source: @vondalin123 on Instagram)

Speaking of epic, check out this stunning picture of Von in her short-sleeved Dolores maternity dress! That side-seam stripe-matching should win some sort of prize as well. 

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Scrap-busting Patchwork Duvet Cover


My last blog post was pretty lengthy, so in the name of equilibrium, this one's going to be a bit shorter. I'm pleased to finally share with you a patchwork duvet cover that I made for Dolores that (I'm sure won't surprise you) took AGES. Of course it took ages to prepare and sew, but it also took ages because I decided to make it not long before I was due to give birth to Frankie, so it ended up being put on hold for yonks whilst we went through the fire-fighting early days (weeks, months) of life with a new baby.

(image source: Mrs M's Curiosity Cabinet)

The seed of the idea to make the duvet cover actually came from an exhibition I visited in 2015 called 'Fashion on the Ration' at the Imperial War Museum, London. Mrs M has written an excellent explanation of it here if you're interested to know more. During the Second World War in the UK, clothing and fabric were rationed, scarce and expensive, so a woman had made the patchwork house dress pictured above during the second world war from scraps of fabric she already had. I didn't linger on the dress for long during the exhibition, but afterwards I found myself thinking back on it, and the circumstances surrounding its creation. 

A year later I found myself in a bit of a pickle. My tiny sewing space was drowning in scraps and small pieces of lovely fabric that I didn't want to put in the textile recycling, and I thought a fair bit about how to use them up in fun and useful projects. A few months after that, Dolores started potty training and it became apparent that we needed another set of bed linen to cope with the inevitable accidents. There was nothing suitable in my fabric stash, then an equation began to emerge: I needed a big piece of pretty fabric, I had lots of small pieces of pretty fabric, could I make the small pieces of pretty fabric into one big piece of pretty fabric, like the house dress's creator had done? 


Most of the fabric is quilting-weight ish cotton that was largely either leftovers from my previous garment making projects, or the small and weirdly-shaped flotsam and jetsam from sample work I'd completed for the window displays for the Village Haberdashery. I used some plain white shirting from my stash for the reverse, and finished the bottom edges with some bias binding, which also reinforced where the press studs then went. I didn't bother to finish the raw edge of the patchwork inside, and after a several rounds of laundering, all is well. Looking at these pictures brings back a memory of sitting in my pants cutting out the hundreds of squares with my blunt rotary cutter in last summer's heat with my enormous, awkward belly getting in the way!


Thoughts:

At a couple of points during the project, I wondered if I should add some wadding and extra rows of stitching and call it a quilt instead. Then all that work could be called an 'heirloom', rather than just a duvet cover, right?! But that would have failed to meet my aim of creating something easily washable. So instead, like the creator of the house dress, I spent many woman-hours creating something that is everyday-useful, and also quite special. 

Monday, 5 June 2017

Spoonflower British Blog Hop et La Brune


Look! I made something fancy! That must make me fancy, right? Thought so. By the way, my definition of 'fancy' is something that is not suitable for running around a play park in. I've got a whole lot to say about this project, so let me crack on...


So this project was instigated by an invitation to take part in Spoonflower's British blog hop. They want to promote the fact that they have a second factory which is based in Berlin. This means, for British sewers at least, no nasty surprise taxes or import duties, plus quicker delivery times. I was offered my choice of fabric to make a garment from and blog about it. Seeing as I am very much in the business of making garments and blogging about them, I told them to count me IN. 

(image source: Natalie Grasso)

Fabric:

As you may know, Spoonflower offer a fabric printing service where you can either design your own print or choose one from their catalogue, and get it printed on one of their base cloths. Having never tried a fabric printing service, I was interested in trying out designing my own print. But my primary aim with this project was by the end to have a garment that was very 'me' and I would love wearing. So I had a think about the inspiration I've collated over years on my good old Pinterest boards, and thought that a striped Breton type design would most fit with my style and be most likely to be worn.  

(image source link broken)

I wondered if I could create a kind of hand-drawn striped design, as a spin on the classic Breton stripes, similar to the images above. However, then I fell down the Spoonflower rabbit hole. Turns out there are hundreds of thousands of AMAZING designs already on there to choose from. For a number of days I got completely obsessed by typing in a word into their search box (cacti! flamingos! sketchy! Mexican!) and seeing the many many different interpretations on each theme. I was really into the work of one particular illustrator/designer who annoyingly I can't remember the name of now, but at the last minute I pulled myself back and remembered my wearable-spin-on-a-striped-Breton plan. After typing in 'striped' and searching through the results I found this print. It was almost exactly what I had in mind, and no doubt much better than what I could have rustled up myself in the limited time frame, so I plumbed for that one.  


Having found the print design, next I had to pick the fabric type. My first thoughts were to go for a knit, because I seem to almost always sew with and wear knits these days. But then I had a sudden epiphany: this was a chance to make something more special than a t-shirt variation, and that I could pick a fabric to make the La Brune sewing pattern I had just bought (more on that in a bit), which required something woven but I had been drawing a blank on. I was a little disappointed with Spoonflower's options for finer-weight wovens. I guess I was looking for something natural with some drape, or a lawn perhaps. But my contact at Spoonflower was helpful in guiding me to this cotton poplin that would probably be fairly suitable for the pattern I intended to make.  


If you find yourself ordering from Spoonflower, I would advise paying close attention to the usable width of the fabric you're ordering. Thankfully I did, and ended up having to order 3 yards for this blouse. I could have got away with 2.5 yards but it isn't possible to order half yards. I'll make Frankie some shorts one day with the leftovers. This fabric is not cheap (this poplin is $20 a yard), which would have been an expensive mistake if you didn't order enough. When it arrived I immediately fell in love with the print, and the fabric itself felt decent quality, although not quite as soft as I was hoping for. I cut off a strip before pre-washing so I could compare the colour afterwards as my big concern with these printed services is that the design will fade significantly. I washed it at 30 degrees, which is what I wash everything on anyway, and the navy colour has faded a tiny bit, but not as much as I feared. It'll be interesting to compare after several washes... 


Pattern:

I think this fact deserves analysing in its own blog post at some point, but recently I've become obsessed with French-speaking sewing blogs, Instgramers and sewing pattern designers. Miraculously, this has coincided with Pat (Mr So Zo) teaching himself to speak and read French (he's going to train to be a French and Spanish teacher next year). Anyways, I bought this PDF pattern pictured below, named La Brune, by Delphine et Morissette. Thank goodness for Pat's French assistance because the method of purchasing her patterns involves messaging via a contact form and then completing the transaction via email, rather than through the predictable online shop format. For all I know she speaks perfect English, however I thought it was only polite to attempt to communicate in French.

(image source: Delphine et Morisette)

I must admit, considering how gorgeous and flawless her website, photography and garment designs are, I was surprised by the PDF I received. The instructions were a very basic Word type document with no step-by-step illustrations or photos. In fact, the construction steps weren't even numbered and, even if French was your native language, you'd have to have quite a lot of sewing experience under your belt before you tackled this pattern. For example, the pattern advises to apply bias tape to the neckline, with pretty much no more detail than that. So you'd have to have worked with bias tape previously, or be up for learning quick smart, before knowing how to finish the neckline. Pat and I translated hard and scratched our heads for some time over a few of the steps, but although I don't think the instructions were as clear as they could have been, it made sense to me once I had the pattern pieces cut out in front of me. 


The pattern itself (pictured above) had not been digitised, and with no clear borders it was tricky to tape together. I'm not dissing this pattern, or the work of the designer, but I'm trying to make clear what you'll get if you buy this pattern. I think that us sewers/sewists have developed certain expectations of PDF patterns, even from the most kitchen-table based pattern design outfit (like mine!), and we've become used to having our hands held through each step of the pattern prep and garment sewing processes. But equally, being able to make a nice, wearable garment from a pattern that makes you work harder is a great feeling.

A 1cm seam allowance had been included to the pattern pieces, however I would have liked a few more notches to help put the pieces together, particularly on the sleeve head. I found that my measurements spanned two sizes, so I graded between the 38 for the top part to a 40 at the hips. I ended up taking that extra in again so in the future I'd make a straight size 38. Before cutting the pattern I also compared the pieces to the Grainline scout tee so I could be certain that it'd fit me.


Having done a Google image search to check out other people's versions of this pattern, I decided to rein the volants, sorry ruffles, in a bit. I think I shaved off about 2.5cm at their widest so hopefully they don't look too much like wings, but I think I could have taken off a bit more considering the stiffness of my fabric. The shoulder line was a bit too angled for me, so I straightened that out a touch. I also widened the neckline slightly to make getting it on and off a bit easier (this blouse has no fastenings so needs to be pulled on and off over the head) and I reshaped the neckline to a more pleasing scoop, which I'm really happy with. The final pattern mod I made was to the sleeves. The original pattern design has 3/4 length sleeves, but when I tried it on, they felt too restrictive around my elbows so I shortened them to this half-sleeve length.


Thoughts:

Well, making this blouse was a real experience, I'm so grateful that I got the chance and the push to do so. Choosing my dream fabric print was fantastic, and also created quite a lot of pressure to get this garment right (particularly after my recent FAIL). I didn't have time to make a toile/muslin, so I had to avoid and/or iron out any issues with lots of measuring before choosing my size and trying it on multiple times throughout the construction process and addressing each necessary tweak. Having put the work in to figuring out the construction method, and in to getting it to fit nicely, I definitely intend to use this pattern again. On top of the changes I listed above, I'll also extend the bust dart so that it comes within vague orbit of my bust point (it's in a different galaxy at the moment), and I'll widen the bottom of the sleeves so I can make a 3/4 length sleeve version that feels nice to wear.

Would I order from Spoonflower again? Possibly. There are so many seriously incredible print designs on that site, and I'd like to get my hands on a swatch book to see what the other base fabrics are like. I would be tempted to order something again for a special project, but it would have to be a project that I had time to toile beforehand so that I could enjoy the construction process, rather than it being a bit of a white knuckle ride!


Thursday, 1 June 2017

#MMMay17: The End!

(the first day of May that I was well enough to get dressed and leave the house)

My goodness, where did that go?! How comes it's June now? For me, the month went by in a sleep-deprived blur. Plus, I think I'm feeling a bit cheated because I spent the first two weeks of May ill with flu. Like, properly should-have-been-in-bed-the-whole-time-ill with flu. However, I managed to stick to my pledge (apart from wearing my husband's fleecy, not-me-made dressing gown for a lot of those two weeks for which I do not apologise) by wearing me-made pyjamas, comfy leggings and sweatshirts. When I finally returned to vague health, I was able to continue to carry out my pledge, but some holes in my current me-made selection definitely became apparent.    

(I loved wearing my Scout tees this May, and Frankie rocked a mum-made dribble bib most days)

As I mentioned in my pledge post, I chose not to document my challenge with daily photos this year, although I did plan to take more than the lonely few images that I got during the month! I'm really pleased that I didn't put pressure on myself to take those daily images, but I do feel sad not to have that collection of photos to look back on, as I have from all previous challenges.

(my selfie game is weak)

I also planned to write down what I wore so I could analyse my wardrobe usage that way, but that didn't happen either. But I did the best I could and got dressed as consciously as possible and definitely learnt some lessons. Here's what I took away from #MMMay17:
  • I have very few hot weather items. I didn't have many to begin with, but I got rid of a lot during a big clothing clear out that I had just before May, as I didn't want my wardrobe clogged up with things that no longer feel 'me' stylistically. 
  • I have even fewer (i.e. pretty much no) warm weather items that are suitable for breastfeeding. My breastfeeding-friendly outfits usually consist of a separates with a vest under the top so I can pull the top up without exposing my belly. But the weather we've had recently has been too warm to wear more than one layer. As a quick fix I shortened the sleeves on my cheetah print Agnes breastfeeding top, but I need to whip up another so I have at least one more option for daytime, out-and-about breastfeeding with dignity! 
  • I really missed my secondhand RTW jeggings. I love the slim-legged silhouette when I'm wearing looser or boxy-shaped tops, and although my black denim ultimate trousers are pretty slim legged, the denim is too thick for warm weather. I've already taken the bold step of cutting up the RTW jeggings (they were really ratty anyway) and made a pattern from them, so watch this space for how that turns out. 
  • It's time to try some different style trousers. Although I have a number of great me-made skirts (all knee-length and knit), I much prefer wearing trousers and jeans. The latter also suit my current playground-and-playgroup-and-no-time-to-shave-my-legs-anyway lifestyle better anyhow. I'm feeling pretty restricted by only owning two pairs of me-made trousers which are both denim and therefore suitable for cooler weather, so I'm going to have to step out of my slim-legged jeans and jeggings comfort zone and try some patterns that are suitable for thinner fabrics. I've been eyeing up both the Made By Rae Luna pants and the Named Clothing Alexandria peg trousers. #Eek.
  • For even warmer weather, I think some shorts are going to be useful. I'd like to make some pairs for being in public (I've got the Deer and Doe Chataigne pattern, and I'm tempted to revisit the Pattern Runway Sweet shorts pattern), plus some for knocking about the house in (the free Purl Soho City shorts pattern perhaps?). 
  • My pairs of denim ultimate trousers really aren't that bad. I've worn them loads, and even though the fit isn't perfect, I doubt anyone is concerning themselves with my under-bum wrinkles! I'm not sure I can muster up the will to try to correct the fit flaws of that pattern right now though, so I'll probably move on to trying another denim-appropriate trouser/jeans pattern closer to the autumn. 
(most of my me-made outfits were accessorised with a somewhat clunky pushchair with buggy board)

If you challenged yourself during May, how was it for you? What did you discover about your me-mades, your creativity, or even about yourself? If you've written a blog post about it, please leave me the link so I can go and check it out.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Ice Cream Cranes


So now that I think of it, this dress is already about 18 months old. When I made it, Dolores seemed to have a sufficient amount of dresses so I made it in the size above what she wore at the time. Now that she fits it, her wardrobe seems to be even larger. Note to self: stop making Dolores clothes for a while.


Pattern:

As an adult, I find the question 'What would you like for Christmas?' really tricky to answer. Well, fairly recently I realised I could just respond 'sewing stuff'. A couple of years ago, that 'sewing stuff' took the form of a couple of Oliver + S children's sewing patterns, including this one. Oliver + S patterns are beautiful things, always very well designed with excellent instructions, but also quite pricey so not something I'm flush enough to buy regularly myself. I chose this one because, unsurprisingly, I'd seen lots of lovely versions on the interwebs. 


Like all Oliver + S patterns, I think the Ice Cream dress one has some lovely proportions and details, like the gathers joining with the yoke running along the kimono sleeves and the little notch at the neckline. Also, like all Oliver + S patterns I've tried so far, this one took a bit longer to make than I think a children's garment should take, but I felt like I'd had a little sewing lesson and picked up a new technique or two by the end of it. I made the size 3, and I decided to not bother with the contrast yoke or hem band as my fabric was already busy enough.


Fabric: 

Do you ever have a piece of fabric that's burning a hole in your stash? By which I mean: you love it and it's totally something you'd use, but for some reason, the right project for it evades you for ages. I think this is some fancy Cloud9 quilting cotton that was everywhere for a while a couple of years ago. The Village Haberdashery had a garment made from it in their window display one day when I was teaching there, and I mentioned that it I thought it was amazing. That class I was there to teach was the last one before I went on maternity leave to have Dolores, and Annie (owner of VH) was incredibly sweet and gave me a metre or so as a gift when I said goodbye. 


Like most quilting cottons, it was very easy and enjoyable to sew with. I'd say that its stiffness is at the outer limits in terms of what is suitable for this sewing pattern though. If I were to make this pattern again I'd probably choose something a little softer and more flowy. 

I choose a scrap of white and navy polka dot cotton from my stash for the cute pockets, which I think looks more fun and unusual than a solid contrast. 



Thoughts:

When we took these pictures, it was too chilly to wear summer dresses, so we were layering it with tights and long-sleeved t-shirts underneath. I love that, despite being made of cotton, this dress is versatile enough to be worn 3/4 of the year! I'm also a big fan of the tiny pink button I found in my stash that echoes the pink moons in the fabric print. If Dolores didn't have too many clothes already, I'd be very tempted to make lots more of these. I'll probably make another in the next size up...

Cost:

Fabric: £0 (a gift from VH, sadly no longer available)
Pattern: £0 (also a gift, but can be bought in PDF form here for $15.95, approx. £12.45)
Total: £0

Friday, 26 May 2017

Areli Want to Like This Top


Agh! I'm so conflicted about this project. On the one hand, it was super fun to make and feels lovely to wear. On the other, it's astonishingly unflattering. Kind of medical-gown-levels of unflattering. 


Pattern:

After falling through a Pinterest sewing pattern rabbit hole, I came across the Republique du Chiffon Areli pattern. I'm a sucker for a bib detail and I adore the proportions of this. Plus, piping. When doesn't piping make something better?! I seem to be steering away from more fitted silhouettes these days, and I could see myself wearing this with some jeggings as I chase small children around a playground on a warm day. 

(image source: Republique du Chiffon)

I was enamoured by the fact that it consists of just three pattern pieces. Not only because I'm lazy and that's less taping together and cutting out required, but I also think that shows some clever designing. Obviously I picked the top length, for breast feeding access and also because I'm concerned the dress version would look a bit sack-like (oh the irony), and I don't like having to belt things to give them shape. 

I made one modification to the pattern, which was to shift the inner pleats a bit closer to the outer ones, so that there is a bit more space between the inner pleats and the bib. I adjusted the pleats on the back in the same way to keep the garment balanced.  


Fabric:

Running with the French theme, I used some very gorgeous Atelier Brunette cotton for this project. Annoyingly, the colours in my photos are not very accurate. The fabric actually a rich mustard shade (although officially it's 'gold') but my images are making it look a bit washed out. I don't think it's a colour that I should wear so close to my face (for me, mustard is best worn 'indirectly', as a cardigan, trousers or tights), but I love it so much that I don't really care that it doesn't suit me. 

(image source: Fabric Godmother)

I would struggle to justify shelling out £15 a metre on cotton fabric, but ohmygod I can see why people do. I acquired it when working at one of the Fabric Godmother open days last year as payment for my time, which is pretty much the only way I could get my mitts on stuff like this. It was a total dream to work with. The only bit of the project that proved tricksome was applying piping to such fine fabric, but I used some light-weight fusible interfacing to the bib section which wasn't mentioned in the instructions but helped a lot. 



Thoughts:

So I loved making this top, and it feels really soft and breezy to wear. But, unflattering colour aside, it's really doesn't look great, doesn't it? I'm trying to work out where it's going wrong. Even though I'm of average height, it seems a bit short on me, I think I'd prefer it to be to the bottom of where my thumb is resting in the image above. Plus, although I went with the size that tallied with my measurements, it's possible that the size down might look a bit better. 

I've just done a Google image search to look at other people's versions, and I can see there are a few other women whose tops sit a bit like mine does in the image above. I'm not particularly busty, but I'm wondering if this style suits smaller busted women. I really do enjoy wearing this top, and will definitely continue to do so, but I'd like to learn a lesson if there is one to be taken from this. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this! 


Cost:

Pattern: €9 (approx. £7.80) available in PDF form here
Fabric: £0 (in exchange for my time, but it can be bought for £15 a metre here, you'd need about 1.5m for this top)
Piping: approx. £2
Total: £9.80, although I'd like to try using this pattern again if I can figure out how to make it look better which will reduce the cost-per-use of the pattern

Monday, 22 May 2017

Happy #MMMay17! Sewbox Giveaway

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED AND A WINNER HAS BEEN SELECTED. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED. CONGRATULATIONS BETH!***



Here's the second and final #MMMay17 celebration giveaway, and it's a really good one!!! Susan from Sewbox.co.uk has been insanely generous in offering up a £50 voucher to be spent on her site, with free postage included worldwide! £50?! You know what £50 will get you? LOADS. Sooooo annoyed I can't enter....


Well, if it wasn't unethical to enter my own giveaway and I won, do you want to know what I would pick? Probably some of this Liberty Tana Lawn pictured above. Because I recently discovered this French sewing blog and she makes lots of beautiful stuff from the Liberty Betsy print. 


And I'd further my trouser-making investigations with this lovely-looking Hot Patterns slim cut pants pattern. Plus, I'd probably get some other bits I'd need for the project, like the zip and thread. Job done.

If you are a Me-Made-May'17 participant and would like to enter this awesome giveaway, please let us know in the comments for this post what YOU would choose from the Sewbox.co.uk site. Don't worry, if you win you will be allowed to change your mind if you wish! Make sure that you've entered by midnight GMT on 28th May, and please include your email address in your comment if it can't easily be found within two clicks of my mouse. Good luck! 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Great Dribble Bib Swap!!! Are You In?



So, right now many of us are currently knee-deep in our Me-Made-May challenges. If you are, I hope you're having a fun and illuminating time. I'm not wishing the month away, but I must admit that each year, when May comes to an end and the challenge is over, I always feel some loss, mostly for the connections and community that are created during May. Well, this year I've decided to try something new-to-me, something that also might fill that Me-Made void when June rolls around: I'm hosting a sewing swap!

This swap is aimed at new or expecting parents, or the friends, siblings, colleagues etc. of new or expecting parents, who are up for sewing and then posting a baby's dribble bib, and to receive one made by someone else in return.

Why dribble bibs? Well, it seems like there are a lot of sewing bloggers and Instagramers around the world who have either recently had a baby (mine is seven months old now but I view anything up to a year as 'recent'!), or have one on the way. I thought this might be a nice way to connect with each other, reaching out in sleepless solidarity by sending each other a low-energy little project. Obviously, new parents or about-to-be-new parents don't have heaps of time to sew, but finding a scrap of time to do so can be really beneficial to mental health (I've found), so this might be a great motivation to find that spec of time! But this sewing swap really is open to anyone, not just parents, who has a baby in their life, or is about to.

If you would like to take part, then please email me (sozoblog at g mail dot com) with your name, address (this is a global swap) and whether you require a bib for a boy, girl or unisex (if your expecting and don't know the gender) by 30th May. I'll then email you the details of who you'll be making a bib for by 1st June. You will have the entire month to create a dribble bib (as opposed to a bib for protecting clothes when eating) and pop it in the post by the end of the month. I'll use a random number generator to assign who will send a bib to whom, so it'll be nice if you include your name when you send the bib so the recipient will know who made it.

Aside from being assigned a gender/gender-neutral, the style or design is totally up to you, but please make it big enough to fit a baby up to year old or thereabouts. If you are stuck for inspiration, then I've collated some ideas on this Pinterest board, which also includes links to some free bib patterns and tutorials (and you can find my dribble bib tutorial here).

Frankie has recently pushed out all four front teeth AT THE SAME TIME, so it's dribble aplenty round these parts. I really hope that some lovely sewers/sewists take me up on this so we can send each other some awesome dribble catchers! Oh, and I'm totally new to hosting a swap like this, so if there's something you think I've missed then please let me know.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Happy #MMMay17! Miss Maude Giveaway


This Me-Made-May, we've got two awesome giveaways for participants to enter by way of celebration. This first is being hosted by Jennifer Lauren Handmade, and the prize has kindly been donated by the incredibly well-curated, NZ based online sewing emporium, Miss Maude. Emma, Miss Maude's owner, has generously offered the winner their choice of one sewing pattern and two metres of fabric, PLUS a surprise piece of haberdashery thrown in for good measure, AND includes shipping worldwide.


If you're asking me what I'd choose (and I know you were just about to!), I'd probably go for some of this delicious looking organic cotton gingham woven in India (pictured above). How chic and grown-up would it look made up as an I am Patterns Pan Tee?! But that's just me. 

Head over to Jennifer's blog post to find out the full details on how to enter, but do so quick because the giveaway closes this Sunday (14th May). 

Friday, 5 May 2017

Refashion Friday: Primark Maxi Dress to Striped Scout Tee


When you find a well-fitting, quick-to-make sewing pattern, like Grainline's Scout tee, you'd be crazy not to make another, amirite? I'm so pleased that I held back from cutting into this charity shop score maxi dress until after I had the chance to try out that pattern for myself. 


'Before' garment:

Whenever I pop into a charity shop, I check out the dress section for both larger sizes and maxi styles, as you can sometimes get a good amount of fabric for your money in those items. I was particularly elated when I found this treasure because: A) it was in one of the cheaper charity shops in Hastings so, for once, the fabric I wanted to reuse didn't cost me more than if I'd bought something similar on the roll in a fabric shop, B) it's a Primark garment, and as one of the biggest 'disposable fashion' offenders here in the UK, I take extra pleasure in giving new life to something that started its life on their racks, and C) navy and cream stripes. 

Initially, I considered leaving fairly well alone and simply hacking off the bottom. My thoughts being that it's existing shape is similar to the April Rhodes Staple dress pattern, and I have worn the living hell out of my version. But where's the fun in that?! Also, I'm not a massive dress wearer, even when I'm not breastfeeding, so I decided to go with a remake that would see LOTS of use. 


Pattern:

Having toiled and made up this pattern before, I knew which size to start with (i.e. a size smaller than my measurements would have suggested I cut), and also what issues to look out for. I found that the sleeve head/shoulder seam on my safety pin version sat a touch too far off my shoulders. But I feared that grading to a smaller size for the top part would make this top too tight across my shoulder blades to get on and off or feel comfortable. What I ended up doing was to slightly redraw the armhole shape to simply scoop away a little from the shoulder line so the sleeve heads sat where I wanted them to. That seems to have corrected the issue nicely without reducing the width across the back at all. Boom. 

The only other change I made was to create little side splits, mainly because I like the way they look, but also because I found with my safety pin version that it's a bit of a stress point with all the yanking up for 'access' that all my tops currently receive. The side splits meant that I couldn't do French seams on this version but I was happy with that as I think it made the side-seam pattern matching a bit easier.  


Thoughts:

So I'd say that I've now completely nailed the fit of this pattern on me, until I go and change size/shape, of course. If I were being the pickiest pernickerty of all time, I would, however, point out that I should have used cream bias to finish the neckline rather than making self-bias from the dress fabric. You can see a tiny bit of shadow where a navy bit of the bias can be seen through the cream bit of the neckline at the front. But I'm going to chalk that up as a lesson learnt and move the hell on.

Whilst I was figuring out how to position the Scout tee pattern pieces on this dress, I discovered some nail varnish along the hem. Perhaps the former owner was painting her toe nails on holiday before a night on the razzle. I think there's a bit of it still inside the turn up on the hem of my top! I think that's as close to going out on the razzle as this top is going to see, but you never know...


Cost: 

Pattern: $12 in PDF form (approx. £9.86)
Dress: £3.50 from Oxfam in Hastings 
Total: £8.43, as per my own rules, if I use a pattern more than once I calculate the total with the pattern's cost-per-use (in this case, by dividing it by two) rather than the original pattern price 
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