Green floral dress

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I love this dress, and not just because I get to spin around whilst wearing it…

I initially bought this fabric about a year ago to make a Lilou dress, but it ended up sitting in my stash box, unused and a bit unloved. Then I wanted to make a wearable toile and it seemed a good fabric fit; I wasn’t wrong!

What is it?

A sleeveless shift dress with a pleated skirt

Is it blue?

No

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

A floral midweight cotton. I think I got it in the Fancy Silk Store, but I’ve seen it in a couple of places and multiple colourways.

What’s the pattern?

The Mortmain dress by Gather patterns in the sleeveless variation.

What was good about making this?

I couldn’t get over how quickly this came together, nor how neatly the seams all looked. Not having to make a lining for a dress was a bit of a revelation!

What was bad about making this?#

I misjudged the ease so had to lose two inches off the bodice once I’d made it (i.e. drop it a dress size with some seam pinching). Although, from another angle, that just means there’s two inches less of me than I thought!

Would you make it again?

Yes I would, and indeed I have.

Me Made May – week 3 roundup

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Three weeks down! When I set out on Me Made May, I wondered how long I could go without repeats (and I don’t just mean my expression…). Turns out the answer was 20 days (if we ignore the repeated skirt on day 19!) and even then on Saturday I pulled out my sparkly Astoria and had another different item to add to the mix.

This week has also tested my thinking about what I wear. For me, Me Made May was about wearing something handmade every day, but wasn’t necessarily about wearing something different every day for a month. Whilst I’ve still got a couple of items that I’ve not yet worn as part of Me Made May, if I’m honest, I don’t think I will. Some of them is due to their status as “dressing up” items (looking at you unicorn dress and leopard print cape) whilst for others, as I made them when I first started sewing, I’m aware of the fit (or lack thereof!) compared to what I now make and wear regularly.

What this also means is that for the last week (and a bit) of May I’ll be repeating (with the exception of a sneaky new make or two….) but seeing if I can style my outfits differently, rather than continuing to wear “new” items each day.

Here’s hoping I make it to the end!

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Navy mid length skirt

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One of the sewing resolutions that I set myself for this year was to try and build some more me-made plain coloured staples into my wardrobe as a balance for the super fun but not always practical patterned dresses I love. This was one such adventure, into the land of practical workwear (pictured above with my Mimi blouse hack)

What is it?

A just-below-knee-length flared skirt

Is it blue?

Yup!

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

A navy blue crepe bought from a stall in Leicester market – I think run by someone called Stuart?

What’s the pattern?

The Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt in variation A

What was good about making this?

The pockets were a new skill for me, and really straightforward once I got my head around the instructions.

What was bad about making this?

I didn’t really like it once it was finished; there’s just something about the way the fabric joins in almost – but not quite – a reverse pleat in the centre that I cant get on board with. I’ve warmed to it a bit in the two months in between, but it definitely doesn’t get worn as much as some of the other skirts I’ve made (although whether that’s true after Me Made May remains to be seen!)

Would you make it again?

I’m not sure. I might make one of the shorter versions, but I think I probably prefer a gathered skirt to this one.

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Me Made May 2016 – week 2 roundup

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So another week of May has gone by, and with it another seven days of me made clothes.  What’s been interesting this week is that I’ve started to get towards the end of my handmade wardrobe. This has got me feeling slightly panicky; should I make more things to keep on having something new to show everyday? Should I wear some of the things I have that I don’t really want to wear but would mean I could avoid repetition that bit longer? Is repetition even a bad thing? Normally I wear an item two or three times over the course of a fortnight and no one cares, but then, normally I’m. not sharing the outfit I wear every day..

I’m not really looking for answers, but it has been thought provoking. It’s also made me realise I spend a lot of time wearing dresses usually, so my fondness for making them is actually a good thing rather than a total vanity project.

At any rate, this continues to be a fun way to explore my wardrobe, and I’m intrigued to see what weeks three and four will throw up (not least because I may have gone fabric shopping yesterday….).

This week’s me mades are:

Sunday – Aztec print Colette moneta

Monday – contracts bias By Hand London Anna dress

Tuesday – Floral Sewaholic Nicola shirt dress

Wednesady – purple moneta

Thursday – turquoise moneta (I really like that pattern…)

Friday – tiny foxes tshirt (Grainline scout tee)

Saturday – tiny elephants top (modified sorbetto by Colette)

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Gingham Cambie dress

IMG_6152I love gingham. It’s amazing and summery and makes me feel like holidays are just around the corner (almost certainly due to gingham dresses being summer uniform at school). Coupled with the sweetheart neckline loveliness of the Cambie dress pattern, it was a match made in heaven, and to be honest, the main surprise is that it took me so long to make it!

What is it?

A dress with a sweetheart neckline and a gathered skirt

Is it blue?

Nope

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a cotton gingham that I got as part of the stash swap at Sew Brum

What’s the pattern?

The Cambie dress by Sewaholic Patterns in variation B

What was good about making this?

I really enjoyed the simple way that this pattern came together, and had a surprisingly good time trying to pattern match the gingham up. I didn’t have any faith in the description of the way that the skirt would gather up, but actually it was lovely and the pockets are a delight (seriously, who doesn’t love a dress with pockets?

What was bad about making this?

I had a nightmare getting the lining to attach to the bodice at the waist, and in the end I made the decision to leave it unattached except for a small section in the centre. It worked well and is definitely how I’d do this if I made another cambie without a skirt lining.

Would you make it again?

Yes as this was a wearable toile for the unicorn dress….

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Me Made May 2016 – week one roundup

L-R, day 7, top row days 1, 3, 2, bottom row days 5, 4, 6
L-R, day 7, top row days 1, 3, 2, bottom row days 5, 4, 6

This year, for the first time, I’m taking part in Me Made May, an annual challenge organised by Zoe of So Zo. My pledge is to try and wear at least one item of handmade clothing each day during May.

We’re one week in, so I thought I’d share my outfits so far, not least because it’s the first time I’ve shared them on the blog (although posts about all of these will be coming up over the next few weeks). So, in chronological order we have:

Day 1 – Chambray shirt dress with an ace RTW tiger jumper

Day 2 – Heart print Mortmain dress, with a comfy cardi that might not actually be mine…

Day 3 – Bright green skirt with RTW stripey top

Day 4 – Gingham Cambie dress

Day 5 – Floral Mortmain dress

Day 6 – Floral Lilou dress

Day 7 – A freaking space dress made using the By Hand London Anna pattern

I’ve really enjoyed Me Made May so far, and am looking forward to the rest of the month, not least because it’s a great excuse to get on some of my favourite clothes and prompt conversations about dressmaking with people who might not otherwise have thought about it. Whether I actually manage it is an entirely different matter, but here’s hoping I’ll be doing a final round up in 23 days!

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Black floral Nicola shirt dress

IMG_4542 I have a search. A search for the perfect shirt dress. As an item of clothing I blooming love them but as a thing to make I’d felt pretty daunted by it as a possibility.

I’m going to say right now that this dress is not the perfect shirt dress. In fact, this dress very nearly got consigned to the WIP pile for all eternity and even once complete it very nearly caused a meltdown and immediate binning.

But more of that when we get there, for now….

What is it?

A black floral shirt dress with V-shape neckline and full length sleeves

Is it blue?

No (note to self: this is becoming a bit of a trend at the moment. Must buy more blue fabric)

What’s the fabric?

A super soft cotton (polyester? rayon? I have no idea) that’s black with white and red flowers (best description I can think of for them)

What’s the pattern?

The Nicola Dress from Sewaholic

Where’s the fabric from?

I got it at the Birmingham Rag Market during SewBrum for the princely price of £1 per metre!

1-IMG_4078What was good about making this?

I got to try out a new skill with this dress; making sleeve plackets! I realised I hadn’t quite read the instructions correctly about half way through, but I was pretty please when I did it, as evidenced by my immediate wearing of said sleeve…

IMG_4536What was bad about making this?

Where to start? With the collar piece that I cut to the wrong size because the schematic diagram for the layout wasn’t particularly clear? The confusion around finishing the facing? It doesn’t help that I got so far with making it and then ran out of time before Christmas, so left it unhemmed and unbuttonholed (?) for about a month. By which time I was fed up of it and bored, a feeling repeated when I hand sewed on the buttons (whodathunk a shirt dress would have lots of buttons….).

The absolute moment of (near) tears though was when, having finished it, I tried it on with the belt that comes with the dress. It looked hideous. A moment of learning the hard way that I do not suit a loose bodice or fussy waistlines with extra fabric. I looked – and felt – like a giant sack of potatoes.

BUT ALL IS NOT LOST.

For then I remembered my old friend the cinch belt and lo, with a bit of a nip in and reallocation of fabric folds, the dress was completely redeemed. And now I love it. So much so that I’ve worn it a couple of times already in the fortnight since making.

Would you make it again?

Nope. This dress is not the dream shirt dress that I was hoping for and, whilst I’m pleased with the finished product, I think that I wouldn’t make it again. I have however found out about the fabled McCalls 6696 shirt dress that seems to be getting a lot of positive press in the blogsphere, so have bought a copy and plan on making that after my current (nearly finished) project.

The great shirt dress search continues…

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Super shiny Peter Pan Moneta dress

Sparkly moneta

It’s taken a while. but finally, with this post, I’m up to date on my pre-Christmas sewing, and it will come as no surprise that when I decided I wanted to sew a dress for New Year’s Eve I decided to combine two of my favourite things; shiny things and swooshy dresses!

What is it?
A Moneta jersey dress with three quarter sleeves and the peter pan collar hack

Is it blue?
No

What’s the pattern?
Moneta by Colette (definitely becoming a favourite, especially now I’ve got a peter pan hack!)

Where’s the fabric from?
One of the shops in Walthamstow. The man who sold it to me was a fabulous geezer and as I said in the Astoria post, everything in there was £5 a metre or less!

What was good about making this?

As ever with Moneta, it came together quickly and easily, and it was good to try out a collar hack. I was still pleased with the gold topstitching I trialled on the Astoria, but, most importantly I got to use my overlocker!

IMG_4312What was bad about making this?

Having to wait so long to use the overlocker. Seriously, it arrived here mid December, but due to Christmas rules, I wasn’t allowed to get it out of the box until I came back from my parents’ house. Pretty testing times. I mean, look how excited I was when it arrived:

IMG_3983Would you make it again?

I have a feeling that yes, this won’t be the last time a Moneta appears on this blog!

One final photo for you all; I got the boy to take a couple to try and get the dress in its best light, but my absolute favourite photo (bar the one of the two of us being silly) was the out take!

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Shiny Astoria jumper

Sparkly astoriaPart of the shopping trip to London included the super exciting purchase of some very sparkly fabric to make a dress out of for New Year’s Eve. In my panic of shopping I ended up buying a good half metre (and then some) more than I actually needed. Combined with knowing that I wanted to make an Astoria out of some very lovely teal sweatshirt material I got as a bolt end from Guthrie & Ghani, it seemed like the perfect time to test out the Astoria pattern and a couple of embellishment ideas I had in mind at the same time!

What is it?
A cropped sweater made in a super shiny black and gold jersey with gold topstitching at the collar and cuffs

Is it blue?

No

What’s the fabric?

Black and gold jersey material

What’s the pattern?

Astoria by Seamwork

Where’s the fabric from?

Another Walthamstow find, this one was from a shop that (surprise!) I can’t remember the name of. It had loads of rolls lined up and they were all under £5 a metre (indeed, this stuff was maybe £3 a metre?)

What was good about making this?

It was so fast! I think it took maybe an hour to get from cutting out to trying it on. I shouldn’t have been surprised given Seamwork pride themselves on patterns that take three hours or less, but it was nice to find out it was true!  It was also good fun to test out using gold thread for topstitching (especially as it worked!)

What was bad about making this?

Nothing. Actually, the amount of waste paper produced when printing out the PDF. Though I’m not sure what could have been done about that?

Would you make it again?

Yes, I just need to get round to prewashing that fabric!

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ps. Apologies for the awful train selfie of this one. I’ve worn it loads since making it, but somehow never managed to get a decent picture!

Sparkly mermaid skirt

Sparkly mermaid skirt

Remember that time I went to London and got enabled into buying several metres of sequin fabric?

I knew at the time that I wanted to make it into a super sparkly skirt for my work Christmas do, and so it was that one evening in November, having used the super handy By Hand London circle skirt calculator, I found myself on my hands and knees in the dining room, preparing for the flood of sequin babies that even now we’re sweeping up…

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What is it?

A teal green sequin circle skirt, which Elle has christened a mermaid skirt (and who am I to argue?)

Is it blue?

No, although pretty close on the colour wheel

What’s the fabric?

SEQUINS!

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What’s the pattern?

A simple full circle skirt

Where’s the fabric from?

One of the first bricks and mortar shops you come to in Walthamstow Market, although I can’t remember what it’s called…

What was good about making this?

The shininess and testing out the swooshiness once it was sewn up (although I’ve no GIF for you this time as my trusty assistant was visiting friends)

What was bad about making this?

I read Lauren’s incredibly helpful blog about sewing with sequins. And promptly forgot everything I read, apart from the bit about using a teeny needle. So whilst I didn’t suffer a broken needle at any point, I did have to endure a LOT of snapping threads. Cue frustrated face.

Would you make it again?

I would make a circle skirt again; I like that it’s swooshy and big without being quite so gathered. I would sew with sequins again too, as now I’ve done it once, it can only get better. Would I make a sequin circle skirt though? I’m not so sure (but I don’t think that’s a bad thing)

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