The caps above should say it all but I am so proud of myself! I finally made trousers! Thank you to everyone who’s voted for them in my April challenge because it pushed me to finally get round to them and I am so so glad that I did.
I’ve had the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers for a while now and kept avoiding making them… What a mistake. They come together so so easily, there’s only 4 pieces and because there is a side zip there’s no tricky fastenings to worry about. They’re absolutely perfect for a beginner trouser maker like me! Whilst I’m really not very excited at all by any of the more recent patterns from Sew Over It (I feel they are a lot of the same thing) you can’t go wrong with their classics and their directions, the construction is always seamless.
Anyway, I chose this beautiful gingham stretch cotton from Sew Me Sunshine and it’s a perfect fabric for these trousers. Like so many Sew Me Sunshine fabrics, it’s vibrant, cool and original. The better I’m getting at sewing the fussier I’m getting about my pattern matching but I’m glad the squares on this fabric were small enough for that not to matter because I don’t think I could pattern match and master trousers at the same time. I paid attention to the grain-line but otherwise I didn’t worry too much about matching the pattern.
These trousers are definitely a winner for me and I can’t wait to make more. They are a super fast staple and I’m going to try them in a block colour next. Has anyone else tried the Ultimate Trousers?
I needed a plain top for with these so this is a RTW number but I need to be addressing this gap in my wardrobe. I posted about it over on The Sewcialists this week if you’re interested. ☺
I know, I know, everyone’s making it but it’s another Tilly and The Buttons Freya (in fact it’s another two!) but until you try this pattern you will not realise how amazing it is to make and wear.
It has a soft mock roll neck, a roll neck or a cowl neck and comes with two lengths, multiple sleeve lengths and an optional frill at the chest, which I think really mixes it up but this will not be happening in my life as I have no need to more fullness across my chest!
I pre-ordered the book and I was so excited that I got to work straight away and had a dress version of the Freya sewn up before the book was even officially released! Obviously, the book is called Stretch so you can use jersey or ponte. I went straight for a red jersey I had in my stash which had been patiently waiting all along for a project like this.
I chose the mock roll neck and made the dress version. The instructions, as always, are super easy to follow and the construction is really quick, I can see this becoming an easy wardrobe staple, especially as roll necks are so great for layering.
I didn’t want to miss out of the chance to ruffle it up so I cut two 3 inch strips the length of the fabric, stitched them in to a loop and gathered like mad! I then attached this to the bottom of the dress to make a bit of a feature. I’m in love with it!
After this success I decided I needed another in my life. I ordered some amazing rainbow stripe jersey from Sew Me Sunshine and got to work on another – again with a mock roll but this time in a top version. This one did not come together as easily because I chose stripes, I needed to make sure that they matched up (well as much as I could anyway). I don’t sew with stripes much but it was nice to take extra care to get it right and I’m really pleased with it. I feel a little bit like a wannabe as Tilly herself has made one very similar but I don’t care because I LOVE IT SO MUCH! It’s the perfect, bright, pick-me-up t-shirt. It also goes with ALL of my Pink Coat Club pins!
One more thing, I have had problems with the fit of TATB patterns before but this fits an absolute dream, I haven’t had to take out for my chest and I feel that it isn’t too tight. The vote for my April challenge seems to be the Joni Dress too so you’ll soon see another Stretch make on the blog hopefully!
I’m a bit late joining in this month’s Monthly Stitch challenge but the challenge is to ask readers to vote which unused, stashed pattern and which fabric to use out of three choices. What a great idea for a challenge because I love looking after people’s sewing options! This has come at the perfect time for me too as I have a lot going on with uni and moving house and I don’t have a lot of time for sewing at the minute so having just one project decided by you would really help me… So what do you think? Please vote by leaving a comment below or over on Instagram
1. I have some of this amazing gingham and floral stretch cotton from Sew Me Sunshine which I was going to use to make some Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers. I fancy something nice and summery so I was going to aim for a cropped version. Those of you who read often will know this would be a huge challenge for me as I never sew trousers…
2. The second option is Cotton and Chalk’s Lily Dress. I’m trying to work on my summer wardrobe and I think a maxi version of this will be great for my holidays. I’m in two minds about the fabric. I can either use Pink flying birds viscose (the fabric is a really soft pink which doesn’t translate too well on photos) or Blue with Pink Flowers both from Adam Ross. What do you think?
3. I was going to attempt the Tilly and the Buttons Joni Dress from the New Book Stretch, another challenge as I’m not sure about the neckline (it looks a bit complicated) but a vote might just push me to attempt it! I planned to make it in this amazing Parrot jungle Jersey from Sew Me Sunshine.
Please let me know what you think and I’ll get moving with it and post it on The Monthly Stitch by the end of the month. ☺
Today’s make is one I have returned to… The Rosie Dress by Cotton and Chalk for Simply Sewing Mag was one of my first free patterns and one I tried pretty early in my sewing. The Cotton and Chalk patterns are massive on the ease and the dress I made was a little dodgy (with a very wonky zip) and it was definitely too big. I also didn’t use sleeves, which isn’t something I wouldn’t do anymore as if I make things for myself, I’m making them to hide the bits I don’t like!
Anyway, I got this lovely navy tie dyed style fabric, which reminds me of the Shibori style of dying from a shop I recently discovered called Fibers to Fabric over on Etsy. They sell some beautiful, bright, ethnic style fabrics! This fabric is a lovely light cotton and although I sewed this up on a rare snow day from school, it had my thoughts in spring. It presses and handles a treat and is beautiful and rich in colour. I decided it would be perfect for a remake of the Rosie dress.
I sized the whole pattern down by a size, even though the measurements say I should be an XL, I knew it would be too big, so I used the L. The pattern has subtle gathers at the shoulder and bust and a waist-band which is pretty flattering.
It comes with a bias binding neckline which you stitch in place before you join the front for a really neat finish. Anything that use bias binding it a winner in my eyes (I mentioned I hate facings, right?) The construction of the bodice was pretty easy but a little lengthier than usual as you have the extra features. I was lucky the the patterning on the fabric is pretty random so I didn’t have to worry too much about pattern matching.
The sleeves are interesting as they have a little gather in them also, this is created by a 2 inch piece of elastic which you pull as you sew.
Having seen that the fabric took pretty easily to the elastic, I decided to try a little trick… Because I was essentially too lazy to put a billion gathering stitches about the waistline and I know the dress needs A LOT of gathering, I decided to try the method for gathering that the Moneta uses, which is to use clear elastic to gather the waistline.
I measured the bottom of the bodice and cut elastic to that size and then I stretched it as I sewed it to the top of the skirt piece whilst stretching the elastic. It worked an absolute treat, it was so much easier and it has made for really neat gathering. All I had to do then was attach it to the bodice, no gathering required! (winner). I’m not sure this would work with all fabrics but because this is a light, soft cotton, it worked a treat!
I distinctly remember making my first Rosie dress and it’s meant that I have really felt how much my dress making capabilities have improved. I’m really happy with this gorgeous dress, it feels floaty and feminine and perfect for spring and summer.
I’ve taken a bit of a step outside of the world of machine sewing and decided to dip my toe in to the world of crochet. There are three reasons for this:
1. I’ve tried knitting and I just cannot get my head around it.
2.I wanted a craft to do in front of the TV so I wasn’t always hiding away in my sewing room and leaving the hubby on his own.
3. It’s just good to expand horizons and learn new skills.
So, a lady at work, who is very kind, said that she would teach me. She’s been absolutely brilliant. She sent me links to what I would need, picked me up some wool and even used some of her own to start me off. She taught me some basics first and had me making a square so I could learn the stitches and practise my tension. I’m not sure why but it has come so naturally to me. I picked up what I was supposed to be doing almost instantly and was soon eager to starts a big project. I’ve had a bit of a play around with some baby clothes and then I pretty much jumped straight to the Virus Shawl, for which I followed this tutorial which made it super, clear and easy. Thank God for YouTube!
Anyway, I hate the name but love the pattern. I made one for my Mum for Christmas, which I forgot to photograph and then I decided to make one for myself.
As I have my resolution not to buy any more fabric, I decided to treat myself to some Variegated yarn when my Mum took me to the Creative Craft Show a few weeks a go. It’s beautiful and is made up of lime greens, dark green and reds with a dash of blue. I got started straight away and I’ve picked it up as often as I can. The good thing I find about crochet is that it comes together really quickly. Now I have mastered it, I have managed to do this one in about 4 weeks by doing a little bit each night in front of the TV.
It used 4 balls and is perfect for using as a scarf to brighten up my black coat. It was just in time for the appropriately named storm Emma we have had in the UK.
As part of my very extended birthday celebrations, my Mum and my sister took my out on the Saturday. I didn’t know what I was doing but I was told to have a nice dress ready… Is there ever a better excuse to make something?!
I was certain I wouldn’t be able to make a new one in time because uni and work have been so busy but my Mum got us tickets to the Craft Show at Event City in Manchester and bought me 2 and a half metres of viscose loveliness to make a dress.
I decided to make New Look K6723 as I’ve made it before and felt quite glam in it. I chose view B with a short sleeve. The last time I made it, I didn’t bother lining it but I wanted it to feel special so I used a gold coloured lining from my newly acquired stash from my grandmother-in-law. (I’ll share more on that soon). I thought it would pick out the yellow in the fabric and I feel it does the trick.
I also managed to encase the raw edge of the sleeves in to the lining which feels so neat and lovely! This make also marked the day that I mastered the invisible zip. I can’t believe I’ve made so many garments without invisible zips before now! It looks brilliant, if I do say do myself! I do wish I knew how to incorporate the zip in to the lining but that’s a skill for another time!
I French seamed the rest of the dress, especially the waist-line so it felt luxurious. I used the remaining fabric to make a long tie for round me waist. A quick hem and all was complete!
I was so pleased I managed to squeeze this make in to my busy week because I felt really special in it. I was really happy with the fit and the fabric draped beautifully. After being bought a gorgeous new sworoski ring and a glass of champagne at Selfridges champagne bar (get me!) , my surprise was to have afternoon tea at Cloud 23 which is up high in the Hilton hotel in Manchester. You could really see far and wide and I felt very sophisticated!
We rounded up the day with a few G&Ts. I have been truly spoilt for my birthday and I have the most amazing family! Here’s to my 30s and many more dressed to come!
Well, it happened… I turned 30… My amazing family ensured, I had a truly fabulous time so I didn’t wallow in my own sadness at getting old! It’s true what people say, it doesn’t feel any different!
To take my mind off the impending doom which was turning 30 I decided to make sure that my birthday weekend was truly me-made. I began with my birthday dress for our family meal.
Having had success last year with Threadcount 1501 which was free with Love Sewing magazine some years a go, I’m not sure you can get it anymore but I know that you can still snag them on eBay!
Anyway last years version I made using Liberty scraps I had bagged in a sale day at my favourite shop in Northumberland, Village Tearooms and Emporium. I loved the dress, I felt it was really flattering and was so keen to make another that I put it on my Make 9 for this year.
The dress comes with two options, one with an ordinary skirt piece and the other as block pieces. AS you can see, I’ve already made the blocked one so I wanted to try the other. Last year I won tickets to go to the Handmade Fair from Elle as Sew Positivity over on Instagram and I bought this beautiful water colour cotton. My Mum and I debated and thought that it would perhaps be a bit much as a complete dress so she advised I went for a purple to break it up a bit. Mum’s are usually right folks, so that’s what I did.
I cut the bodices out of the block purple, I think using plains on top is great for me because when it is pairs with prints at the bottom it detracts a little for my chest, which can look a little large in some outfits. I used the watercolour print for the skirt.
The construction of the dress is a pleasant experience, there’s quite a few darts and a princess seam. The whole bodice is constructed and then the skirt added. The Skirt has both pleats at the front and the back and then gathering from the pleat to the side seam, which lends itself to a really flattering shape. I loved using my overlocker here because it meant all the gathering on the inside looks really neat. I think I enjoyed the experience even more because I wanted it to be a nice dress for my birthday.
The observant amongst you will notice that the original dress I made was pulling slightly across the arms, to solve this, I just used a very tiny seam allowance on my sleeves. I wish I could tell you that I did a super advanced pattern grading but that’s just not true!
A final note on the construction (and the most exciting I feel) – I finally inserted an invisible zip! This was something which really shocked a lot of people over Instagram as I have made so many garments now but it’s just a step I’ve always avoided. I was reassured that it would be easy but I didn’t find it as easy as I hoped, the zip got caught really easily and isn’t as invisible as I hoped but… I have tried it and will continue to try it until I get it right as I do with most things!
I’m really happy with the fit, I feel it is super flattering and feminine and perfect for my birthday meal. I loved wearing it. I feel like more recently, I’m really starting to win with my fit.
If you have a look over on the Sew Me Sunshine Blog, I’m also really pleased with my Deer and Doe Bruyére Shirt which I made using their dreamscape mountain cotton loveliness.
On a sad note, with everything that I’m doing at the minute, I’ve decided to close my YouTube account. My main love is writing my blog and I can’t keep up with the vlogs enough to do them justice. Thanks for those who supported me with it though. ☺
I love that making your own clothes means that you can play with prints and essentially create whatever you want to wear so when I bought this super cute pencil fabric from Sew Me Sunshine and I was looking through my fabric options in my Stash Buster Fabric Post I decided on a pencil skirt. Why not have a pencil skirt made of pencils?!
I had some success last year with Simplicity 8342 as part of the Simplicity turns 90 challenge. It’s a vintage style pencil skirt with a ruffle. I really like the overlapped zip detail and the neat finish. It has two darts at the front and four at the back, with a tulip style shape so I really like the shaping it gives you. I decided to go with this but to omit the ruffle this time.
I took the size down this time as I have been losing a little weight and it always goes from my hips first so my last skirt is starting to be a bit roomy. The construction of the skirt is a real pleasure and it comes together quite quickly. My lapped zip worked out really well and I’m happy with how neat it has turned out. The lines of the pencil even line up, even though they are not the same pencils!!
To finish the hem in leiu of the ruffles, I overlocked the hem and then turned it up (my new favourtie and most reliable way to hem a curve). Then I crossed the edges at the back, pinned them in place and ensured the stitching line met in the middle.
I absolutely love this skirt, I don’t want to be vain but it makes me really really feminine and curvy. I’m a little bit happy dance in it!
I won the Sew Over It Nancy Dress as part of my prize from Indie Pattern Month Dress week last year. If I’m completely honest, it was a pattern that I had been looking at. The dress has a floaty style which I didn’t think would suit my figure as I need a bit more shape round my waist. (Turns out I was right!)
However, it was free and I was so grateful to be a winner so I thought I’d give it a go. I decided on the fantastic jersey I got from the market in Leeds on Sew Up North day with the intention of repeating the Cashmerette Appleton. I changed my mind (as we dressmakers do) and decided on this instead.
This was the first time I has used a pattern which said instructions like overlock or zigzag and I was actually able to overlock, which was so exciting for me! My insides looks so neat and it made me feel really professional
The back is a great little detail, I used a popper at the top to make it look nice and neat. Excuse the bra though, I’ll have to think about what I’m going to do about that!
After I struggled meeting the odd shapes in the TATB Zadie Dress, I was a bit concerned about meeting the corners together right at the front of the dress as the pattern shapes are a bit unusual. However, it comes with a really helpful tip of basting some stitch lines to follow, which I promptly ignored and just used my air erasable marker to mark the corners. It worked out great.
Because of fabric restrictions I could only manage a short sleeves but I inserted these. This was another step which I ignored as the instructions call for a set in sleeve but I don’t feel that is necessary with jersey so I inserted the sleeves before sewing up the sides as one.
I had already extended the pattern as it looked too short for me on the pattern front, I’m not very keen on a short dress. I had been quite generous though so I used an inch to hem it.
Alongside this I also made a little cardigan and scratch mitts. Baby clothes are so great for fabric scraps.
I’m not sure about the dress, I think it is as I feared and doesn’t have enough shape at the waist for me. It’s seems to swamp my shape. I also feel it’s a bit too big. If I was to make it again, I’d downsize it. I seemed to have saved it with a contrast pink belt though! There’s no way I would wear it without a belt but I quite like the full skirt it gives.
I was gutted to find that the fabric had a pinking shear cut in it when I tried it on. I don’t know where it came from. I had already made the dress at this point so I just sewed it closed. I hope it’s not visible and if you can see it, please don’t tell me because I couldn’t stand to know!!!
I’ve been making attempts to get through my to-do box before getting distracted by some of the lovely fabrics you may have seen in my last post.
The Mia set which came with Simply Sewing Magazine last July, tempted me straight away and I used this unusual fabric I got for a bargain on eBay. I thought it would look really cool as it’s quite a wacky fabric but the pattern is quite simple apart from the sleeves. I have shown this over on Youtube already but I wanted to give a few more details.
I cut it out straight away. Due to fabric restrictions, I only cut one of the two optional sleeve pieces which make the fluted look at the ends. Then… I got distracted and it sat in my to do box until I have been off over Christmas! I felt it was about time I showed it some love!
So, out it came! It’s a really quick sew so it was a travesty that it remained untouched for so long but at least it meant that I could use my overlocker so the whole thing looks so much more professional. I was able to overlock the curved edge of the sleeve and fold it over to hem it, it’s such an easy way to hem curves. It has a simple shape like a shift dress, with darts from the arm hole to the bust and that’s it. I would definitely give the dress version a go at some point.
The sleeve options are either, one big circular sleeve or two flutes which are smaller. I only used one of the smaller pieces as I thought two might be a little much in this fabric.
The set comes with no fastenings but with the option for a small opening the back, I chose to ignore this and cut the back piece on the fold. Similarly, I ignored the facings (as I usually do) and used bias binding. I cut the fabric to use the border along the bottom so all that was left was to use the lines in the border print to do a quick hem and I’ve got a simple top with fluted sleeves, which I love! Other than the border print, I have kept the pattern placement random as I think with a fabric like this you just need to just go with the flow.
I wore this over Christmas and on a day out to Carlisle with my husband. He, as always, completed his marital duties on being my photographer in chief. I am a little travel creased though, I’m afraid!
This is the year I turn 30, this is the year I have been married 6 phenomenal years, this is the year we go to Portugal as an amazing treat from my in-laws. It is the year that I have to complete several of my psychology masters modules alongside many more blog posts but… This is also the year in which I have decided to BUY NO FABRIC AT ALL.
Having only started sewing in May 2015, I have quickly become addicted and I have so much amazing fabric in my stash now. So much of my fabric gets pushed to the back of the queue by the next amazing thing I get distracted by so this year is the year I work through that stash.
I think that last year showed that I’m finally getting to a place where I pass for a good Dressmaker so I’m ready for a new challenge, please join me whilst I make the most of my Stash over the year. I’ll share the highs and lows with you all. Though it means that I may not be posting as regularly as every Friday as I did last year.
So… with this in mind. Let’s see what we’ve got to play with! This is no where near an extensive list but just some picks to inspire me!
This was my last buy of 2017, it’s a viscose in this amazing purple aztec print which was on sale from my local market for £1.50 per yard! Amazing! It’s destined for a nice summer dress I think!
This next one is a super thick Jersey from Ebay. This is a challenging one because it is so thick, I have 3 metres of it and I don’t really sew with stripes so the matching with be a tricky one!
These next two are hopefully my last buys from Sew Me Sunshine but she has so many good offers and amazing prints that I’m going to struggle! Anyway, left if the Maribou Mosaic Cotton Lawn, which I’m not sure what in going to do with yet and the right if Dashwood Studio Leaf block print cotton which is lovely and sunny and is destined for a tea dress.
This is a piece of Jersey which I got in the swap at Sew Up North last year which is one of the only fabrics I haven’t used from the swap. I’m thinking a tube pencil skirt for this one.
This beautiful liberty print was a treat to myself last year, so much so that I can’t bring myself to cut in to it! I want to make a blouse with this but I want the ideal pattern first.
This Beauty and the Beast fabric is a real piece of nostalgia for me and another cotton I’m struggling to cut in to. I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do with it.
This Trefle Bee Gauze from Sewisfaction is so luxurious and soft, again, I’m thinking a blouse with this, possibly the Fringe by Cotton and Notch.
Finally, another from Sew Me Sunshine which is the amazing pencil print and one I intend to make a pencil skirt with for a bit of fun!
As I said, there’s plenty more but these are a few picks to be getting on with, you will see why I don’t need to buy fabric!
I’ve had an amazing blogging year but I’m not going to do a round up because I’m so ready to look forward. Though I have done a vlog on my Christmas makes, if you’reinterested. ank you so much for all your support and to all my lovely sewing friends. Happy New Year to you and see you soon!
Sorry I have been a bit M.I.A. I replaced my last blog post with a vlog and didn’t manage to get one together for last week – plus most of my makes are christmas related at the minute so I can’t share! I definitely will afterwards. Anyway, I finally blogged my Cleo on Friday and thought I’d throw in an extra post as an apology and it’s a good one because…
I made a coat!!
This, my friends, is the BEST thing I have ever made!
It is a very classic trench coat pattern which has literally just been released by Rebecca Page so I chose an ex-Burberry waterproof coat material in an Aubergine colour with a pink and blue floral lining both from The Fabric Man on ebay. I’ve always wanted a coat with a funky lining so I was pleased with this find. It uses quite a lot of fabric but I don’t mind because it’s the kind of garment that will stand the test of time. I wanted the lining I chose to be a little bit stable so it wasn’t too fiddly so I went with a thicker viscose. I also utilised vast amounts of spray starch which helped hugely and is my new best friend!
I made this as part of a being a brand ambassador and it came at just the right time as I was ready for a project that would stretch my wings a little… and have they been stretched! Sadly, I have had to step back from working with Rebecca because I can’t keep up with work, uni deadlines and my sewing so I won’t be making anything else prerelease just now.
Anyway … The Coat. It comes with lots of different options, such as front and back yokes, welt or patch pockets, sleeve tabs and a hood.
I chose to do pretty much every option but the hood (as I didn’t have enough fabric). I knew I was making it challenging for myself but I wanted to embrace the challenge and do as much of it as I could. So, my version has:
Front and Back Yokes
Welt Pockets (My first welt pockets!) I attached one upside down and all the unpicking meant it went back in a little messier than I would have liked but I’m pleased just the same!
Shoulder and Sleeve Tabs
Vents – some sewists chose to omit this and just joined the pieces in a straight line.
I think all of these elements add together to make a real classic trench look. I really enjoyed doing all the individual parts as it meant it was a absorbing make which I could really take my time with.
One of the reasons I knew I would be able to take this challenge is because the Rebecca Page patterns are always so detailed. They talk you through every little step and I would recommend them to newbies in a heartbeat (though maybe not the coat!)
I really enjoyed the process of making this, I did every little step with precision and really took my time to get it right. I was super fussy and unpicked parts that I wouldn’t usually, such as small bits of top-stitching I wasn’t happy with or slight ruffles.
I’ve learnt so many new skills through doing it. I’ve never done welt pockets before or tailored sleeves (which were super tricky!) The trickiest part was the lining though. I have never lined anything and although I feel it is ever so slightly lumpier than I would like, I’m really pleased with myself.
I followed all the markings for the buttons, exactly but I still feel it is a bit off centre (it uses a shed load of buttons by the way- I’ve never spent so much on buttons!) I think I will just do one row next time!
What do you think?
Call me crazy but I have also bought some yellow waterproof fabric and I intend to make a short version with a hood too. though that will definitely be on hold until after the uni deadlines!
Look out for lots of Christmas makes posts over the festive period, I’ll be so glad to finally share!!