Me Made Northumberland- The Summer Edition. 

It’s no surprise to anyone, I’m sure, that Kyle and I have spent our summer holidays up in the lovely Northumberland. It is our favourite place in the world. As always, I’ve tried to make as much as my wardrobe as I can, sticking to some more casual pieces this time. I had 2 weeks of the Summer holiday before we went so I managed to get some good sewing in, so many of my garments will be as yet unblogged. Anyway, I still wanted to share my makes Me Made May style.

Day One: we were mostly travelling and settling in so I wore my super comfy Moneta Hack top and some RTW leggings and a Hoodie. I love this fabric from Girl Charlee, it’s so comfy. I got it in the Sew Up North swap. We did arrive early so I managed to get some time in on the beach with my crochet project, Virus Shawl, which I will blog once it’s finished.

Day Two: We had to perfect Sunday chill day, with a lazy breakfast, a walk around the village of Belford and hanging round on the roof terrace. This called for my chilled Linen Tunic, blogged here. It’s an old pattern called Sew Girl and for what I can gather it was free with a magazine about 3 years ago. I got in the swap at Leeds. The fabric was from John Lewis in the sale on the same day.

Day three: I wore my most recent Moneta in the amazing paisley jersey I got from EBay. One of my most favourite Monetas yet. I love it. I wore it to Beadnell Beach where we say watching the fishermen come in on the harbour. Perfect.

Day four: I wore my recent Florence Dress by Sew Over it,  which is super comfy and relaxed for a drive in land and a very impromptu trip to the pub, where to locals were having a jamming session. The dress is made using this super light Mermaid fabric from EBay and was a sewalong in Simply Sewing Magazine.  

Day five: we spent a relaxed day at the beach and in true Northumberland summer style, I needed both a hat and my sunglasses! My outfit was a RTW light jumper and jeans combo but I did wear a handmade hat! This hat was made for me by the lovely Lhizz who I did my handmade dress swap with. In our communication with each other I told her I had started crochet and so alongside my Dress I got this lovely hat, which I knew would be perfect for the beach!

Day six : was a beautiful day and we had a travel to Ford and Etal where I wore my first and favourite Galaxy Moneta.  It’s a great throw on dress!

Day Seven: I wore my Rebecca Page Arabella Skirt which is her newest pattern. I made this as a brand ambassador. It has just been released and it’s a super easy make so check it out. I love this retro tape fabric, it has just the right flow for a dress with this much gathering. I feel really feminine in it and it’s super comfy for relaxing with my book!

Day Eight: We had a walk to Saint Cuthbert’s Cave, which was super cool. I wore a Peach Skin Sorbetto with fabric from Abakhan, which I never bothered blogging and a RTW jumper and jeans. It’s quickly becoming apparent that the only solely RTW things I have in my wardrobe are jeans and jumpers, I have to sort this out as winter approaches.

We went to the pub later that evening where I wore my Velo Culottes again with a RTW chambray Tee. I didn’t manage to get a picture though because all the family were with us by this point.

Day Nine: I wore my Newest Moneta again today to go and see the Handlebards, who are a cycling touring theatre company who perform Shakespeare. They did Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bamburgh Castle and it was such an amazing night! The sunset was to die for!

Day Ten: we had a trip to the Milk Bar at Wooler for Milkshakes and Sundaes, I actually wore RTW with a denim style Tee and some harem style trousers and then very quickly realised why I make my own clothes… Look the this horrendous pattern matching on the crotch!

I also went to The Village Tea Rooms and Emporium and bought some more lovely fabric to make these amazing cushions for our new sofa.

Day Eleven: I wore another Moneta I threw together before we came away, which has glasses all over it so it is very me.

Day Twelve: My mum and I went to Edinburgh for the day and I wore my Sew Girl Tunic which was perfectly practical for a touristy day. We had an amazing time; the fringe was on so we saw lots of things going on and the city was just vibrant! Here I am outside Edinburgh Fabrics with my trusty raincoat!!

Telling you about everything we did could be a post in itself but the highlights were, looking around the fashion section of The Scottish Museum.

And finding The Elephant House Cafe where J.K Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter.

Day Thirteen: was a beautiful day and Kyle and I went for breakfast before we all visited Beadnell Beach. I wore my Hacked Orla, which I will blog soon, especially as it isn’t much like an Orla like at all any more! The fabric is another I got in the Sew Up North swap.

Day Fourteen: finally, I wore my Bird Tee which is Mccalls M6927. A really practical make for another day on the beach.

I hope you haven’t found the post too long, I find it a really useful way to round up what I have made and assess my wardrobe; I quite clearly need hand made jeans and jumpers in my life! Let me know to you think and it you follow me on instagram you’ll see more daily pictures anyway.

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Bloggiversary Post and Giveaway! 

I find it so hard to believe that it has been a full year since I started my blog! I spent most of that summer reading through others and I sheepishly started my own, thinking it would help me to record my improvements. I didn’t even tell my husband or family because I felt embarrassed.  I have been overwhelmed with the response, I remember being so flattered when I had 5 people following me and amazed that someone in New Zealand (yes you Naomi)  was reading my words. For statistical purposes I’ve now had a massive 7300 views so Thank You all. Wow!

After being convinced to also join Instagram by my sister, I have found a community beyond anything I could have wished for. I am so so grateful to each and every person who comments and engages with me. This community has given me an outlet beyond what I could have realised. I particularly love being involved in the Sewcialists because Gillian loves the community too and has allowed me to get involved in editing and preparing that venture too! This month is tribute month and I really recommend you check it out.

Anyway, not only do I blog my improvements but I get advice, encouragement and support on button decisions (how did I ever decide on buttons before? !) – though I wasn’t even good enough to insert a buttonhole before!

On that note, I cannot believe how much I’ve improved. Take a look at my first blog post.  I’ve learnt so so much; inserting zips, shaping, which fabrics to use, how to use patterns properly, FBA (absolutely crucial to my life now). Seriously though, I’m not going to list them all, it’d just be a long list of things I’ve learnt.

I have to mention my husband here too, I can’t believe I didn’t tell him when I started my blog because he has been nothing but supportive and he takes soooo many pictures for me. He is absolutely amazing and will do anything to help me, even when I have mini break downs! I’m very lucky to have him.  He is getting really good at taking pictures too so the standard of pictures has definitely improved over the years too. (he has some crazy ideas too- see the nectarine below!) 

I wanted to showcase my improvements instead so to do that I’ve returned to my very first dress pattern which my Mum bought me for Christmas 2015 and I tried for the first time in May 2016. The pattern is NewLook 6020, which is now New Look 6393 and it is a princess seam dress with multiple necklines and a clutch bag option.

It is also the subject of the terribly fitted bodice of my first blog. (now in a fabric recycling bin somewhere) My first one was also a nightmare; I used a horrible, strange fabric and the fit was horrendous. It took me forever and I thought I would never have the patience for this but a few magazine patterns and a LOT more patience later, I was hooked, as you know! Be prepared for horribleness.

Anyway, I have since returned to the pattern for my Christmas dress last year but, whilst the fit was better, it frayed and I didn’t even bother to insert a zip.

Fast forward to now and it has returned. I bought this amazing Harry Potter fabric from Frumble and because it is a little costly I bought a red polycotton to go with it and colour block. I wanted to make something which really represented me. I also saw the amazing Elle from Sew Positivity make a Harry Potter dress and I wanted to tribute her for Tribute Month because she is full on amazing, makes fantastic things and isn’t scared to talk about how much sewing has helped her emotionally. I really liked her section in Suzy Magazine Issue 3. 

Anyway, back to my Copycat dress. Here’s the amazing fabric.

I further tested myself by making another in this gorgeous Koi Cotton Poplin from Sewisfaction, who has also sponsored my Bloggiversary giveaway!

Here’s some things I have learnt (which I hope I have showcased in my makes)

1. I need a FBA for nearly everything, these princess seam dresses are perfect for this because you can adjust the front pieces easily… (year a go Blogger Emma would have barely understood this sentence!)

2. I have a dislike of facings, I can use them, as you can see in my Koi dress but bias is my way… Hence the lovely yellow contrast I used on my Harry Potter dress.

3. I can adapt patterns- Mr Harry Potter dress: I’ve shortened the length, ignored the side zip, added inches to the back pieces to create placket for a button up back.

Miss Koi Dress: I added sleeves, added pockets and added little tabs for the little belt tie to go in to.

4. I can insert buttons! See said buttons!

I can also insert zips! See said zip! (I’m still to master invisible zips!)

5. I don’t like baring my arms- BUT I can put sleeves in, the best thing about sewing my own clothes for me. I kept the sleeveless style for the Harry Potter dress so that you could see the intended pattern but I used another Simplicity pattern to insert sleeves for the Koi carp one.
All this means I have produced two dresses for me, which are unique, personal and I am proud to wear. I’ve still got so much to learn but I’ll keep going and keep getting support from this fantastic community

Hubby wanted a cake… I’m being good… Nectarine it is then…

Because I have been going for a year and it has been so much more well received than I ever imagined, I’ve decided to start a YouTube channel to go alongside my blog. I’m a reader by nature but I love watching the vlogs and I’m always last on the technology train so I am once again stepping outside my comfort zone. I will be keeping up with my weekly Friday posts on WordPress to share my makes, inspiration and ins and outs of makes (those with insight will realise that this sometimes dips in these being weekly,  usually the last week of term!) I plan to use YouTube for fabrics, pattern plans and thoughts, which are always whizzing round my head and I hope you’ll check it out. (please, please check it out- don’t leave me and my Mancunian accent on our own!)

Attractive…

Finally, because it is my bloggiversary and I am so so grateful for this sewing community, I’m hosting a giveaway! The giveaway includes the featured pattern, New Look 6020,which is now New Look 6393.

AND… enough fabric to make said dress, which is 2 metres of a gorgeous Navy Poppy Cotton Poplin from the amazing Sewisfaction. Sheona has kindly donated the fabric for the giveaway, even though she’s super busy setting up her new shop.

You should definitely check her out. I’ve also used her fabric for my Riviera Ruffle and my Velo Culottes. The fabrics are great to work with and it’s so important to support small businesses. They’ll definitely be more to see using Sewisfaction fabrics on here!

One person will win the pattern, 2 metres of the cotton poplin and I’ll also throw in a matching thread and zip.

To enter, please follow me and comment below, additionally, see over on instagram or on YouTube where you can follow me and comment over there for an extra entry!

The giveaway entries end Thursday 31st August 2017 at 5pm, British Time and it will be drawn and announced in my post on Friday 1st September 2017. I’m happy to ship internationally so this is open worldwide.

The amazing Sheona is completely supporting this giveaway but Simplicity New Look are not sponsoring it. I am giving away a pattern I bought because I wanted to!

Moneta So Me

Hi! Me again, with another Moneta! I know, I know,  I’m sorry… I think I’m Obsessed or possessed or something… 

Anyway… After making it here and here and hacking it here… I saw this fantastic glasses fabric from Flamingo Fabrics and it is so me I HAD TO HAVE IT! Think, crazed unicorn girl from Despicable Me… 

Anyway, I knew I could only do this justice with a Moneta. It was extra wide so I only bought a metre and managed to get the whole dress out of one little metre. That’s an XL… Pretty good when the pattern calls for 2.5!

Anyway I made very small changes to my usual Moneta style. I shortened the sleeves and made it a very short sleeve. I seriously considered adding a collar but I can’t bring myself to do a jersey collar. So all made as usual… Until the skirt. The pattern isn’t directional and on a whim, I went absolutely crazy (hmm)  and turned the pattern pieces the other way. This meant the wider bottom was at the top. It meant much more to gather and then the skirt falls in a little more. I was thinking it would give it a more tulip shape… What do you think? I think perhaps it isn’t as flattering but I can’t not like it. It’s another secret pyjama dress too! 

Arabella Skirt

Hi again everyone, 

This is my second make as part of being Rebecca Page Ambassador. We are only asked to make one a month but this Skirt looked too good to miss out on. 

The skirt is the Arabella and it comes with a pattern for the child’s sizes and a pocket template and instructions for the adult sizes. 

This was perfect for me because I like to draft my own skirts anyway so the instructions were perfect and it meant no printing, cutting and sticking. I just brought them up on screen. 

I used this AMAZING crepe from Flamingo Fabrics, who I’m slightly addicted too at the minute. It has tapes on it! It’s so funky and bright and I love it. The skirt asks for a drape so this was ideal. I bought 2 Metres and it was just enough. 

What was great about cutting the pattern pieces is that they were all square so it was a real no waste sew, I literally had a 8 cm square left at the end. Perfect. I didn’t manage to have enough to make the pockets, as the skirt is quite gathered it needs quite a lot of fabric. 

I always worry about cutting rectangles and squares in case it goes wonky but the tapes on the fabric were a God send here as it meant I could follow the line in their design. 

Anyway, the construction was really easy and quick, I French seamed everything and made the ties. The only thing I did differently was to hem the bottom of the skirt first. Probably, a bit controversial I know but they were perfectly square and hemming is my least favourite thing. I though it would 1. be easier to sew whilst the fabric wasn’t gathered and 2. save me dreading the job at the end of the Sew!

The skirt is really really full and I was worried it might add bulk to my frame but it’s great. The fabric is really light and flowing, which means it just skims over me. I love the length of it too. I’m glad I didn’t go with a maxi because I know I would get the same wear out of it. 

Next month’s pattern is super exciting! In the meantime, here’s the pictures. I wore it with my refashioned wanted Tee and a navy body. Not sure why I look vaguely annoyed! 

Tribute Month Tunic

I’ve used Tribute Month in two ways,  I feel. One to inspire me to make relaxed and simple pieces, in plain fabrics to build on my wardrobe. I see so many sewists making well made, simple looking (but I’m sure lots of work goes in to them) garments. I wrote an inspiration post for the Sewcialists in anticipation for the challenge so I write about it in much more detail there.  However, I’m essentially copying the styles of amazing Lauren of Guthrie and GhaniMonika of Rocco Sienna and Maddie of Maddie Made This to make well made garments which stand the test of time. 

The second is to see the amazing prints that people use and endeavour to continue to source out fantastic fabrics to use for unique clothing, like Elle at Sew Positivity and Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow

Anyway, today’s make falls in to the simple but stylish category. 

With this in mind I bought a plain pinkish linen from John Lewis in Leeds and wanted to make a relaxed fit blouse. 

I rummaged through my pattern stash and came up with this simple Summer Tunic Top Sew Girl, I’ve never heard of them before. It turns out this pattern was free with Love Sewing Magazine, issue 3 about 3 years ago but I got it in the swap at Sew Up North. 

In a very strange situation, there are no instructions in the envelope, only the pattern so I was winging it a little bit but I felt pretty sure I could manage it. 

The first thing I did was shorten the tunic so it was more like a top. I cut the pieces and in my determination to make a high quality but simple piece, I paid attention to the details.  I French seamed the whole thing and I used the facings, which is something I wouldn’t usually do but it was crucial to the neckline so instead I used bias binding on the facing to make it neat. I was quite pleased with the facings, I’m pretty inexperienced with them as I am so impatient so I was quite pleased. So here’s the insides to prove my genius! 

The pattern requires you to make a little tab, which I had to redo three times as I couldn’t get it to turn out. I was quite pleased to have incooperated it in to the facings when I managed it though. 

The sleeves are a raglan style, something which I have never done but was really easy and that was it. All that was left to do was to chose a pretty button. (don’t you love patterns which need one button? It makes a tiny indentation in the stash!) I went with a pink sparkly one and that was it. 

I’m really pleased I was inspired to make this simple tunic and I’m hoping I can add more like this to the wardrobe. I thought maybe the style wouldn’t suit me but I’d definitely make it again! Sometimes simple is so much better. So thanks to my tributees! I love being part of the Sewcialists. Please feel free to check out my inspiration post for them or go to instagram for pictures and discussion!

I wore it with RTW Next jeans and my favourite brogues. Perfect for chilling on the roof terrace! 

Firm Favourite to Fix a Fail 

I know, I know another Moneta but I was in serious need of a pick-me-up! I tried and MASSIVELY failed to sew a Mimi Blouse from Tilly’s Love at First Stitch and it was a nightmare. I had this beautiful Spanish looking fabric in orange and pictured a lovely, bright blouse but it wasn’t to be. The yoke is too high up. I added piping as she suggests in the book but it made it stiff and awkward, the sleeves were too small and the top it off, the actual blouse was too, even though lots of people warned it would have a lot of ease. To make matters worse, it was supposed to be my last make before my holidays and 2 weeks away from my machine so I felt really unsatisfied. 

All good intentions doomed. 😦

And so my friends, I was consoled… By this amazing fabric and the super quick Moneta

It really was super quick. Literally the night before we went on our holidays, knowing I would be without machine and determined to leave on a high, I grabbed this jersey recently added to my stash, the trusty Moneta pattern and cut! 

I sewed it together with the speed of a mad woman and had the whole dress complete, including the consideration of the pattern placement, in an hour. 

I made the following changes; I lengthened the skirt to mid calf, like my Galaxy one. I was hoping for a maxi hack but I didn’t have enough fabric. I wanted to include the amazing colours at the bottom of the fabric in the skirt and I think calf length suits this dress. I lowered the back slightly. I also discounted the pockets (no time for that). 

That’s it! The moneta has been so crucial in getting over my fear of sewing with jersey- I only wish I would now step away from the Moneta and try some new Jersey patterns as was intended for this fabric!!! 

I wore this on my holiday on a trip to Beadnell Bay where we watched the fishing boats come in and took in the views. A perfect dress for that I think! 

An Orla Affair

The Orla Dress by French Navy caught my eye as part of a Sewing challenge for Orla Month #anorlaaffair organised by the lovely Maddie of Maddie Made This, alongside RachelAnya and Allie which encourages you to make up the Orla Dress.

I love a good sewing challenge because it does just that, it challenges you to try something else and gives you a reason to sew when all the other reasons (as we know there are many) aren’t kick-starting you sew-jo. It also inspires and promotes conversation in the Sewing community. Sign me up! The ladies who won were so deserving and I loved their makes. 

So… I printed the pattern straight away and was giving the fabric some thought. Then as I was putting the PDF together (so simple by the way) I remember this amazing Crane fabric by Emily Burningham which I got on my last visit to my favourite Northumbrain shop. So I cut that out straight away.

IMG_20170704_195103_587

I was worried that the sizing wouldn’t be right for me so I graded it out slightly and I also lowered the front darts by an inch as many have recommended on social media. 

I later realised that I have probably graded a little to much to account for my FBA so rather than recut it, I added a small pleat along the neckline with I feel has added a bit more shape anyway! 

It comes together really quickly and it really satisfying. I didn’t have lots of fabric to work with so I made the skirt pieces a little smaller so I didn’t do as much gathering to the skirt as perhaps I should but it worked out I feel. I do prefer a bit more fullness if I can get it though! 

I used this dress and my opportunity to have a slow sewing day to get my zip insertions practiced! I’m so pleased with it. 

I finally finished it with a contrast bias binding, which,  believe it or not, I bought especially so that it would contrast! That’s it- a really easy make. I’m going to make another in a polyester style silk feel fabric I think. 

I wore this to Manchester to meet with my lovely friends and really enjoyed wearing it. 

I’ve since massively hacked it and made a top so look out for that soon! 

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