Tiny elephants top

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One of the very first patterns that I found when I started sewing was the Colette Sorbetto. It’s a free to download top and I thought “well that’ll come in handy”.

Two years later, I was looking for something quick and easy to sew up for a weekend during Me Made May. Turns out, the Sorbetto was very handy!

What is it?

A simple sleeveless top with exposed bias binding

Is it blue?

Yup

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The fabric is the remnants of the super lovely elephant fabric that the boy bought me back when I started sewing and some bias binding I had that by complete fluke was exactly the right shade of blue.

What’s the pattern?

The Sorbetto, but hacked to remove the central pleat. I found a tutorial for this on the Colette blog which was really straightforward

What was good about making this?

It was so quick and easy to sew and a great way to use up a bit of fabric that I really didn’t want to get rid of.

What was bad about making this?

Ummm…… honestly? Pretty much nothing.

Would you make it again?

Yup, I’ve got a couple of leftovers that would make great tops and, as if they knew, Colette have just run a week of different hacks on the pattern. They’ve got a knit one, a dress one (although I probably will keep the neckline on the original) and a modernised one. I’m going to end up with one for every day of the week at this rate!

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Space dress!

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When I made the floral Anna dress, it was a toile for some rather special fabric; this fabric. Space fabric.

Everyone loves space, because it’s amazing, and this dress makes it even more amazing.

What is it?

A fricking SPACE DRESS

Is it blue?

Not just any blue, space blue

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a lightweight cotton that I got from Fabworks Mill (although it’s sadly now out of stock). I was pretty excited to get the fabric, but that got even more exciting when I discovered from Elle that the fabric was originally from Paul Smith! And then I googled how much a Paul Smith shirt cost, which was pretty terrifying. Fabric find of the year!

What’s the pattern?

The By Hand London Anna dress in the midi length version

What was good about making this?

Getting to sew with space fabric. Also, making something for a special occasion always makes it seem more exciting.

What was bad about making this?

As before, the sheer volume of seams that need overlocking with a six panel skirt is just boring.

Would you make it again?

Honestly? Probably not. I might consider making the maxi length dress, but after a couple of wears of this and the other Anna dress, I’m not sure if I like the bodice fit enough to make it again. I do still like it lots though!

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Aztec geometric print dress

IMG_5852It’s no secret that I have a love affair with a particular jersey dress pattern and this is the next in a long and continuing line of dress.

What is it?

A sleeveless jersey shift dress with a gathered skirt

Is it blue?

Yes, in a teal / turquoise kind of way

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a fabulous ponte that originally came from Girl Charlee fabrics, although I was gifted it by the lovely Caroline at SewBrum

What’s the pattern?

Colette’s Moneta dress, this time the sleeveless version. I also altered the skirt as the pattern pieces wouldn’t fit on the fabric I had.

What was good about making this?

I got the dress out of a metre of fabric! A bit of clever folding and the aforementioned skirt adaption fixed meant I could stretch fabric as I’d never stretched it before (but not literally!). It also has a really bold print which meant pattern matching was a piece of cake.

What was bad about making this?

I don’t really like the gathering method used in the pattern instructions, so thought I’d try something different. Which didn’t then work. So I had to use the usually method after all. On the plus side thought, following a conversation with Elle at Laura Loves Pugs I discovered that if you make more markings on the elastic than required it’s about 60 times easier and makes for far neater gathers. Hurrah!

Would you make it again?

Just try and stop me!

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Floral 1940s style Anna dress

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Sometimes you hear a lot about a pattern so you decide to give it a go. And then part way through sewing, when it looks like this, someone really helpful (or not….) says it looks like you’re making a costume out of Dinnerladies.

Great.

BUT THEN you finish it off, and you have something delightful and wonderful and you realise that was all wrong

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What is it?

A boat neck, kimono sleeve, mid-length dress

Is it blue?

The bias binding is!

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a soft cotton (lawn maybe?) that I got as part of the fabric swap at SewBrum

What’s the pattern?

By Hand London’s Anna dress in the midi length. There’s a lot of love for this pattern out there, so I thought I’d give it a go.

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What was good about making this?

It was really quick to come together and also had a couple of firsts for me; first time I’ve made a seven panel (seven gore?) skirt and the first time I’ve used bias binding for a decorative finish. The finish of the skirt to the bodice is really neat, with the panels all lining up against bodice features in a very aesthetically pleasing way.

What was bad about making this?

Oh my days. With seven panels joined together, that’s 12 raw seams. That’s an awful lot of overlocking. I got into a bit of a rhythm with it, but my word I was pleased when I got to the last one.

Would you make it again?

Yes; this was my wearable toile for a special dress I have in mind to wear to celebrate the boy’s 30th birthday.

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Chambray shirt dress

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Remember the quest to find the shirt dress of shirt dresses? Well it continues with a new contender. This dress has already had a lot of wear since it was finished at the end of April, and has become a firm wardrobe favourite for being both comfy and casual and fancy and formal, meaning it’s great for work, lazy Sundays and impromptu nights out. Winner indeed.

What is it?

A shirt dress with a pleated skirt

Is it blue?

Yes!

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is chambray and it came from a shop on the Goldhawk road

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What’s the pattern?

The infamous McCalls 6696 in view B

What was good about making this?

For the most part the instructions were really clear and straightforward; possibly more so than I expected from one of the big 4. Additionally, by using the best poppers ever rather than buttons, I managed to avoid hours of buttonhole misery and got it from “bit of fabric” to “ready to wear” in about fifteen minutes (not a joke, I was determined I wanted to wear it out to dinner that evening).

What was bad about making this?

There are a lot of pieces and a lot of steps, so there were times when I got a bid bored of this. I also found that the back has a bit more fabric than I’d like. Also, it needs 140cm fabric to fit the skirt pieces which means that it took a while for me to find a fabric that I both liked and wanted to make this dress in.

Would you make it again?

I think so, although I’d sort out the back bodice. It’s had a lot of compliments already and is so easy to throw on it would be silly not to have a second (or third, or fourth…). I think I’ll probably go for something patterned next time though, just because

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Heart print dress

IMG_5980Remember that I mentioned when I made the floral dress that I had already made another one? Well here it is!

What is it?

A sleeveless shift dress with a pleated skirt.

Is it blue?

No

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a lightweight cotton that I bought from a shop in Walthamstow

What’s the pattern?

Gather Patterns Mortmain dress in the sleeveless variation

What was good about making this?

Much like when I made the floral version, this dress is so straightforward and comes together so swiftly. The detailing on the exposed zip is great and the fit is pretty much perfect for me.

What was bad about making this?

I really don’t like the facing. It was a bit of a pain on the floral one, but this time it’s even worse. In between making this and writing it up I’ve been experimenting with both bias binding for finishing and with teeny rolled hems on necklines, so would consider either of those two in the future.

Would you make it again?

Yes. I’ve got a gorgeous piece of Nani Iro fabric I bought in Japan last year that I’ve been saving and this dress is just the right amount of material combined with a pretty perfect fit. Added to that having a wedding in a few months’ time, it would be a shame not to make it again. I’ll definitely change the facing though as I couldn’t bear to have ugly facings with a fabric this beautiful!

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Unicorn dress!

A photo posted by Rhiannon D (@rhiannonbrum) on


Sometimes you find a fabric that you fall in love with, but you don’t know whether or not you’ll use it (and it’s pricey…) so you leave it.

And go back and look again.

And leave it.

And so on, until eventually, one day, you buckle and buy it, just in case.

And then it sits in your stash a while longer, and then you find out that the delightful Gabby is getting married and there is really no better fabric to make a dress to wear to her wedding with than that rather special fabric.

What is it?

A DRESS WITH UNICORNS ON IT!

Is it blue?

Yes

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is Riley Blake Unicorn fabric that I bought in Guthrie and Ghani. The lining material is a blue chiffon that I got from Sayeeds (?) in Walthamstow.

What’s the pattern?

The Sewaholic Cambie dress with the gathered skirt option

What was good about making this?

Uh, the fact it is unicorn fabric?! That aside, I really like this pattern, it fits me well and the sweetheart neckline is lovely. Having made it once before it came together really swiftly. I also got to discover the rolled hem setting on my overlocker when it came to sorting out the chiffon dropped hem.

What was bad about making this?

Chiffon is awful to cut out. So slippery and teeth gnashingly annoying. I’ve since heard a couple of hints that will make it a bit less painful should I go down that route again.

Would you make it again?

I think so. Like this it’s a great dress-up dress, whilst with a slightly tamer pattern it’s brilliant for work. And I haven’t even considered the fitted skirt variation yet….

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Unselfish sewing OR a dress for Jenny

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So back in December, my friend Jenny asked me if I’d be able to help her out with something rather exciting. She makes music under the name Rooks (and go check it out, because it’s amazing) and wanted to do something a bit different for her album launch in March. Namely, lights. So of course I agreed, because, frankly, when offered the opportunity to make a dress with lights in it, who’d say no?

What is it?

A sleeveless shift dress. With lights. You heard me. Lights.

Is it blue?

No

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

Black crepe from the indoor market at the Bullring. The bodice was lined with a black and white bird print cotton bought in Walthamstow.

What’s the pattern?

An altered version of the Lilou dress from Love at First Stitch.

What was good about making this?

Figuring out how to sew lights into a dress, and then threading them all the way through was a challenge but a fun one. It also meant that the dress had an incredible structure to the skirt due to all the wire snaking around inside. However, the absolute best thing, sappy as it is, is that I got to see one of my best friends wearing a dress that not only looked great, but that gave her a lot of joy, as evidenced by her switching it on and off after the gig to show people how it lit up. That was pretty magical

What was bad about making this?

I learnt that black fabric is not particularly interesting to sew with. I also found it really stressful to make something for someone else; as much as I worry about the fit when I make things for myself, I know that ultimately I can bodge it around myself. Not the case here by a long shot!

Would you make it again?

It depends if I’m asked!

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Me Made May 2016 – the round up

memademay2016I did it! 31 days of me made items!

I’m really pleased I stuck with it all the way through, as I had a real sense of achievement in doing it. There were a couple of points where I very nearly couldn’t be bothered, but it was definitely worth it.

I also learnt a couple of things from doing this. Starting with the moans (to get them out of the way…)

  1. Repeating outfits isn’t a problem, but it feels a bit like a problem when you’re presenting your outfit every day. I felt like there was a pressure to wear something different, even though I know I was the only one putting that pressure on me. Which leads rather neatly on to…
  2. God it’s boring to take your own photo every day. Because it isn’t just taking one photo, it’s taking lots. For most of the poses I used a timer setting, which takes a burst of ten photos. So you have to pick the best of those. However there might be as many as 10 timer shots taken to try and get the “best”pose. So that’s over a hundred photos to choose from. Every day. Boring.

That said…

  1. My sewing skills have really come on in the last year; I had seven new items during the course of the month, which is a rate of knots I couldn’t have dreamed of previously
  2. Turns out I really like green and blue items of clothing. Whodathunk?
  3. I’ve got a couple of key patterns that are proving great wardrobe builders; the Colette Moneta (days 8, 11, 12, 17, 25 and 30), the Gather Patterns Mortmain (days 2, 5, 22 and 27) and a basic gathered skirt pattern which, as well as being used for my green and polar bear skirts, is also the bottom of my strawberry dress.
  4. I’ve also got a couple of things that are lacking and that I really need to add in to the mix, especially trousers and casual tops. That said, I discovered the Colette Sorbetto top is a fab stash buster (days 14 and 21) so will be making a couple more and have patterns for both the Closet Case Ginger jeans and Sew Over It Ultimate trousers waiting for me to make.
  5. In spite of potentially needing to make more sensible decisions in my sewing, I blooming love making dresses and will still make them more than anything else, because they’re just more fun, and that, for me, is what sewing is all about!

So how about you? Did you take part in Me Made May and how did you find it? I’d love to know 🙂

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Me Made May 2016 – week 4 roundup

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We’re nearly there! 28 days of May are finished with only three to go.  There’ve been quite a few repeats this week but due to some particularly speedy sewing I also got to wear two new things which was excellent fun

I’ll be doing a final roundup along with my favourites and what I’ve learnt on Wednesday, but until then we have the following outfits this week:

Day 22 – green skirt (and the reveal of my tripod!)

Day 23 – strawberry print By Hand London Charlie dress

Day 24 – Aztec print Moneta with my Astoria jumper

Day 25 – highly inaccurate tube map By Hand London Kim dress

Day 26 – floral Mortmain and that Astoria again

Day 27 – floral Anna dress

Day 28 – gardening ready with my Sorbetto top

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