International Anna Party!

Hello!

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Look at me going crazy and doing two posts in a week. There is a very good reason for this though, I made a dress with a deadline. I joined Elle, Ute, and Pip‘s International Anna Party competition to celebrate the marvellous work of By Hand London. I have made two Annas before to a moderate amount of success, but one was too small and the other a bit big. I had graded up and got the bodice right but had never managed to get the skirt pieces to properly match the bodice.

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I had quite a tight deadline for this one, so decided to follow the lead of many other people and use a simple gathered skirt instead of the seven gored Anna skirt. I obviously used the rectangle for the ESP skirt as I like the amount of poofery in it and used the pockets for that too. An Anna with a gathered skirt isn’t quite as dramatic as the original, but if you have a bit of a tummy, it’s a lot easier to wear, and a LOT easier to make.

Swish

Swish

What is exciting about this one is the fabric. I got some lovely gauzy…. errr…. cotton? gauze? stuff? with purple fluffy knobbly bobbles (so technical) from the Knitting and Stitching show earlier in the year. It’s so light and airy and soft, it’s like wearing a mint green dream. It’s lush. It’s a very loose weave and quite see through so I lined it with some hand dyed hot pink cotton batiste. I even hand sewed the lining bits, as this dress was FANCY. I don’t really know what occasions it is suitable for: where can one go and wear a posh frock, but also flash their pink lining to everyone?! It’s very hard not to do loads of twirls and pink flashes in.

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This dress is the softest most comfy party dress known to man. My bust darts are a bit weird, (I ironed them to the side instead of flat) but I don’t mind as I can just swoosh and twirl around all day regardless.

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Did you enter the #internationalannaparty? There were some glorious makes there. Check it out on instagram for some annaspiration!

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A nautical ESP and fabric shopping in bonnie Scotland

Hi Chaps!

The sign on the stairs in Glasgow's fabulous Tenement House: can Mrs Toward do miracles??

The sign on the stairs in Glasgow’s fabulous Tenement House: can Mrs Toward do miracles??

I’m back from the BEST week in sunny (well, alright, changeable) Scotland. My husband and I went up on the sleeper train and took in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow on our travels. I also managed to do some fabric shopping in Glasgow, and meet up with super lovely fellow sewist Shirley who took me for a little trip to a great place selling super cheap liberty prints (£8 a metre!).

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I took quite a lot of me-made clothes on my holidays, including my latest make which is, unsurprisingly, another ESP.

Here I am looking jaunty on a bridge over the Clyde in Glasgow

Here I am looking jaunty on a bridge over the Clyde in Glasgow

I don’t have much to say about this that is different from my previous E.S.P apart from the fact that I did try to lower the neckline by extending the width at the top of the shoulder piece. However, once I had sewed it up, I realised I hadn’t also enlarged my facings, and being incredibly lazy, I just sewed it back up with a much larger seam allowance so the facings fit, instead of drafting new facings. I am the actual worst. However somewhere along the line some magic happened and the neckline is a little bit lower and more comfortable. I obviously can’t repeat this as it is borne out of bodging, but it makes this dress supremely comfortable.

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It’s made from a lovely quilting cotton from Moda called More Hearty Good Wishes and features line drawings of boats. It was also pointed out to me that from a distance, they look like suspension bridges which is very excellent.

It was very comfy for wearing around GLORIOUS Glasgow and for doing a spot of fabric shopping in. I only went to Fabric Bazaar and Mandors (OMG Mandors is fabric heaven) which I can heartily recommend but there is a great guide to Glasgow fabric shopping by the wonderful Kestrel Makes, here. It seems to me that fabric shopping in Glasgow is a lot better (by which I partly mean cheaper!) than London. Mandors was magic, full of gorgeous discounted Liberty (what is it with Scotland selling Liberty at half the price of, errr, Liberty?!) and other brands. I got some fabulous floral John Kaldor satiny stuff and a couple of Liberty prints for a tenner a metre. Sadly, tragically, the houses one is for a shirt for Robin. It would make the BEST ESP dress yet.

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Luckily, I had already bought myself some Hyderabad Madras Check Liberty for an ESP, so you don’t have to weep for me too much.

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I also bought 4m of this amazing giraffe pattern rayony stuff, probably for a Southport maxi, but maybe for some Alexandria peg trousers and a matching cropped t-shirt. As I’m typing this I think that actually might need to happen.

What do you think I should make with my satin and my green Liberty print?! I have 1.5 metres of each…..

I do promise I will make something other than ESPs soon, maybe, but for now I’ll leave you with another pic of this dreamboat dress.

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True Bias Southport Dress (Or the Lytham St Anne’s)

Yes, I'm a styleman and I'm pronto a vestir

Yes, I’m a styleman and I’m pronto a vestir

Hello! Look at me blogging about a recently released pattern. I’m so cutting edge! I’m so pronto a vestir! I’ve just come back from my first wedding anniversary holiday in Portugal which was berilliant. We went to Lisbon and Porto and a bit of seaside in between and it was ace. I took a lot of me made clothes on my holidays and they wore very well. You might recognise this previous make on location in Porto…

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I made a couple of True Bias Southports especially for the holidays. It’s a brilliant pattern that I have blogged about in its maxi dress format over on the Curvy Sewing Collective so I won’t repeat everything I have said again. Do go over and have a look at it there if you have time, as there are some useful comments from others who have made it too.

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What I will say is the short version is pretty short and the skirt pieces have considerably less ease than the maxi dress version so whereas I could fit into the biggest size (18) of the maxi dress view with no problems at all despite my measurements being a lot larger than the recommended ones, I probably should have added a couple of inches to the width of each skirt piece of this one, as well as adding about 4 inches to the length. As you can see, if I hadn’t lengthened it it would have been a bit indecent on me!

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I added a couple of inches to the length of the front bodice piece and did a tiny FBA: in this thick quilting cotton I could probably have done with adding a bit more ease. However I do like tight clothes and I like this dress a lot.I sewed down the placket and just sewed buttons on top to avoid a)  any gaping and b) having to sew buttonholes. I’m lazy and I don’t care! Here is a terrible picture of my buttons.

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And here is me sitting in a chair in our hotel room. Fascinating huh? Please excuse the giant bruise on my knee: I fell off a stationary bicycle just before my holiday!

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Here it is ‘on location’…

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Here is a selfie with me wearing a jacket. Don’t say that this dress isn’t versatile. Oh In case you are wondering about the Lytham St Anne’s reference: my mum said the dress should be named after L St A’s instead of Southport as it’s a ‘much nicer area and much more befitting of your dress!’. I’m pretty sure this dress wasn’t named after a small town in Merseyside, but I would like to think it was!

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I used a Cotton and Steel Black and White Collection quilting cotton for the top half and a Kona solid for the bottom. I was a bit peeved that the black in the Cotton and Steel fabric wasn’t nearly as black as the Kona (despite being from a collection whose sole selling point was the joy of black and white) but I don’t think it matters in the finished version.

Ta da! Contrast pockets how I love thee

Ta da! Contrast pockets how I love thee. Also manic faces.

I think it’s a pretty chic little dress that I will wear a lot. I’m planning on making a slightly more graded up and slightly longer version next, plus another tropical print maxi version. It’s a breeze to make and comfy to wear. Also, the straps cover your bra straps. It’s a miracle. Oh and the neck and sleeves are finished with a jazzy yellow bias binding for a pop of colour. Well, I couldn’t be entirely monochrome could I?!

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Spring sewing

Hello everyone,

This is a bit of a bonza blog entry because I have been making loads of things and entirely failing to blog about them. I do put lots of stuff up on my instagram, so do follow me there if you are so inclined. I’m sparkleface100.

So what have I made? Loads more stuff for others. I need to stop doing it and be more selfish! I need some warm weather clothes. And some more work clothes. However, I love all the things I have made. Especially things for babies. Babies really do get all the good stuff don’t they?

First up, not for babies, but also kind of for babies is a breastfeeding top for a dear friend. I used the Golden Rippy Cinnabar Sky pattern in a suitably baby sick coloured jersey. Its a very cute and easy to make pattern and though I am not breastfeeding, I think I will make a maxi dress version for myself. You can just sew up the gaps, and the ballerina style wrap top is very cute. Here is is, suitably functionally modelled!

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Next up, a VERY jazzy outfit for the baby himself. This is in the same fabric I made husband’s t-shirt in: a super soft (and horrendous to sew) jersey. It’s a Simplicity Pattern I think,  I will check the number if anyone needs it. I made a babygro and matching hat (not pictured). I think he is going to look very fancy. As as his grandfather said to me at his christening: no one will question who made it for him!

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Finally I made the cutest T-shirt ever (if I do say so myself) for a second birthday present for an April (showers) born little boy. I used half a metre of amazing Kitschy Coo organic jersey, and I want to be able to fit into it myself. It’s dreamy, and was lovely to sew. Here we go!

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In other news, as well as sewing things for Other People, I’ve been helping Other People sew things for themselves. My awesome friend Anna came round yesterday and made a very cute nautical woven t-shirt (New Look 6217: highly recommended as a beginner pattern) from scratch in three hours including tracing and cutting. I was so impressed. Anna can use a sewing machine and has done some alterations before, but had never made an item of clothing herself. And here she is sewing and modelling. I’m definitely going to make a few of these T-shirts myself.

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Time to stop appearing saintly.

Confession time: I have ENTIRELY failed to stick to my pledge to not buy any more fabrics. I decided I did not have nearly enough summery fabrics and have used this for justifying buying many more fabrics. I’m not buying at the same rate as I was last year, and I have been making some good inroads into my stash, but there is no denying it, I have entirely FAILED at my New Year’s resolution. But oh, oh oh, look at the pretty things I have bought of late.

Swoon (shamefacedly)

Swoon (shamefacedly)

Right. On that embarrassed note I shall love you and leave you. I have also made some lovely things for myself (using stash fabrics, yes!) that I shall post very soon. Until then, happy sewing xxx

Anna goes to Camden and Hastings

Hello!

I’ve made some frocks! I finally got round to making the legendary By Hand London Anna dress and did some serious experimenting with pattern grading. I think I had to add about 8 inches on to the bust, waist and hips of the largest size (sigh) and I lengthened the bodice two inches on the second one I made. It must be said this was not entirely successful. Pattern grading is something I am really going to have to get my head round as being 5 foot 10 and large all over, I’m very often bigger than the biggest size in the the indie labels and well, I WANT TO WEAR COOL THINGS DAMMIT.

In a cool thing

In a cool thing

I know that pretty much everyone has to make adjustments to their patterns, but it’s annoying to have to both grade and adjust, and not really be sure how those two things relate. As a beginner I find it hard to know if I have graded every piece correctly and then if I make adjustments on top of that, I often lose track of if what I am creating is anything like the original pattern. However, nuff moaning. These two dresses aren’t perfect, but they still look like Anna dresses don’t they?

Hooray, I'm by the seaside!

Hooray, I’m by the seaside!

I made the nautical print one first in a very cheap polycotton from Chawla’s . As is often the way, I think I like my wearable muslin more than my actual dress. It’s a bit tight round the tummy and bunches up round the bust but it looks awesome, huh? Here I am wearing it for my Dad’s 64th birthday lunch in Camden.

Me and Pops

Me and Pops

I graded up the bodice really well I think, but didn’t add quite enough to each of the pieces of the seven gore skirt, so the skirt was to small to attach to the bodice. Being the idiot that I am, I didn’t unpick and re sew the skirt pieces  with a small seam allowance, but instead took in the waist with some random extra darts. The joys of a busy fabric and under bust pleats mean I can kind of get away with such amateurishness. Well, that and being an amateur!

Bodge darts

Bodge darts

This did however make it too tight, so the bodice rides up constantly. And I can’t breathe so well when it’s pulled down. And I need to pull it down as the bodice is too short anyway. It generally looks kind of empire line when I wear it hitched up under my boobs. But it’s lovely, I love the shape and IT’S MY FIRST EVER FULLY LINED DRESS! I’m so proud. It’s lined with a lovely light cotton batiste which was way more expensive than the ‘fashion fabric’ but means it’s cool, breathable and not see through. I’m happy.

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The second Anna is also nice, but I’m not actually sure it’s as flattering as my ill fitting cheapo first attempt. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t also function as a corset! This one is made with a lovely poly crepe de chine from Croft Mill. When I say lovely, I mean it looks lovely but frays and presses like a bugger. It was quite hard to work with, but I french seamed everything and it turned out ok, if you don’t look at the shiny bits where I ironed it without a press cloth.  This was unlined with an annoying facing (are facings ever not annoying?!) that was very hard to press properly but that is not the fault of the pattern. I think I just hate facings and want to line everything. I graded up the skirt pieces a bit more (but still not quite enough as the bodice bags out a bit over the waist seam) and added a couple of inches to the bodice length which is much more suitable, but maybe I like the empire line look? Anyway, here it is.

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I think I could do with lowering the under boob pleats half an inch and taking the hem up a good inch or two, but it’s pretty much there. I just need to add about another half inch over the skirt pieces (ah, tiny maths fractions) and I have a workable me sized Anna pattern. I love it as much as everyone else does and I think I will make a lot of these dresses. Next up is a teal maxi dress rayon version. I just hope the fabric is a bit less clingy in the breeze!

 

Not such a winning look

Not such a winning look

I’m very sad that I finally got round to making my first By Hand pattern just as the wonderful women announced they could no longer afford to run their business full time. I was so saddened and shocked by this news, as I thought that if anyone could do it, they certainly could. Their patterns are so fantastic but it’s tough out there, even for the most talented, creative and entrepreneurial. I am really pleased that they are going to continue releasing PDF patterns (inappropriately timed request: please extend your size range a few inches!) and will look forward to their latest designs.  This really is as brilliant a pattern as everyone says, and was a good pattern to practice grading on. It’s simple, chic and stylish and easy to adapt. I’m looking forward to shamelessly copying gorgeous Idle Fancy and making one with a gathered skirt in future.

A tale of two Annas. Also, they look a LOT better on than on the hanger don't they?

A tale of two Annas. Also, they look a LOT better on than on the hanger don’t they?

So which version do you prefer? Have you graded up any patterns? Will I ever be rigorous and accurate enough to do it properly? Or shall I bodge always?!

 

April Rhodes Staple Dress: Nailed.

Are you suffering from Januaryitis? I know I am. I feel like shell of my normal self. All I want to do is sleeeeeeeeeep. I should be making myself pyjamas and bed jackets, but instead I have been steadily making lots of summer clothes in the depths of winter. I made these dresses just before Christmas and wore the chevron one on Christmas day: I actually find a light cotton dress with shirring round the tummy is ideal for being stuffed with food and drinking sherry. I have promised myself to make more seasonally appropriate clothes from now on. At least I will do when I have the energy to sew something. This is terrible. I think I must be ill if I can’t muster up enthusiasm for sewing.

So in my current state of extreme laziness I will just post up loads of pictures. It’s a great pattern. I recommend it. Also, I did my first shirring and it’s REALLY FUN.

Under a railway bridge in Birmingham. Perfect modelling location.

Under a railway bridge in Birmingham. Perfect modelling location.

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Here I am modelling the frock (and freezing my tits off) on a dodgy side road in Elephant and Castle. I’m not sure why it looks so pointy round the boob area: despite the cold those really aren’t my nipples, and there are no darts. I think I just didn’t pull it down properly.

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I don’t know why I look so unimpressed here: look how excellent this dress is! (It’s in Michael Miller quilting cotton: Chic Chevron).

Three whole lines of super fun shirring!

Three whole lines of super fun shirring!

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I added a couple of inches of width into the biggest size in this version (I made the floral polycotton one above first, and it was a bit tight around the bum when I put my hands in my pockets) and a couple more inches of length into the bodice.

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It works with or without a belt though I think with three lines of shirring I prefer it with a belt. I only did one line on the polycotton below as it was already a bit short and the shirring was pulling up length. I think that version looks better beltless.

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Can we just take a moment to appreciate my amazing cardi? My mum knitted it for me for Christmas from a vintage pattern she found in a charity shop (she has a plain burgundy one for herself too) and it is the best. I have only taken it off since I got it for washing. I love it, and it goes very nicely with this dress. I love my mum ❤

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Thanks Mum!

The pattern is great and goes together easily. I will definitely be making more next summer.  It does look nice with a thin long sleeve t-shirt underneath for coldr weather, in an awesome kind of 90s indie way which I wholeheartedly embrace. I will however try and make some clothes that are more suitable for winter from now on. Or at least I will when I am cured of Januaryitis. But for now back to bed……… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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zzz

Nautical Imagine Gnats Alder Skirt and a made up top

Jaunty

Jaunty

What’s an alder? Loads of patterns seem to be called alder. I don’t think anything is called alder in the UK.

Nautical!

Nautical!

Anyway, I made an awesome if slightly unflattering skirt from boat print fabric. I used the Imagine Gnats alder pattern and some lovely chambray and a bit of some handwoven cotton for the contrast fabric. I made it with the bulging pockets because I was fascinated by them.

I can put EVERYTHING IN THESE!

I can put EVERYTHING IN THESE!

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They do make your waist look smaller, but they also make you generally wider, and my mum kept thinking I was wearing an apron. I don’t mind that, but I think next time I make it, and I will make it again, I will make the flat pocket version. I like the triangular inverted pleat at the front: there is a version you can make without it, but I think it’s a cute detail.

awkward selfie to show off pleat

awkward selfie to show off pleat

When I make it next, I will also cut a size smaller: it comes up HUGE! I used a much smaller piece of elastic at the back and gathered the fabric a lot more than I was supposed to but it was still massive! I did secretly like being too small for something though 😉

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I will also make it about three inches longer. The pattern has options for doing this, but despite being tall I ignored this. It came up a bit short (even with me adding decorative contrast binding round the bottom which isn’t part of the pattern but which I like) so I will make it a bit smaller and longer.

All the topstitching

All the topstitching, neat in places, not in others…..

All the seams are topstitched which I think is super nice. It’s a really cool pattern: hooray for Imagine Gnats. I like how the patterns have ample opportunity for playing with patterns and colours, and am looking forward to making the Bess top soon.I also like the large size range (the skirt goes up to 22 which is what this is) and the fact the sizes come up large. I reckon size 24 to 26 could fit in this with the elastic at the waist.

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The top is sort of self drafted, ok it isn’t. I copied an RTW vest I liked and then attached the Moneta sleeves to it. The joys of knit when you can just bodge things into place. The sleeves didn’t quite fit so I added a couple of pleats at the shoulders to poof them up a bit and give me the shoulders I wasn’t born with! It’s made from the same fabric as my first successful Moneta, and it very snug and very useful.

'Drafting' LOLZ

‘Drafting’ LOLZ

And there we are: a jaunty summer outfit just as it starts to get really cold. PERFECT!

Doing the polka with Violet

IMG_1740Hello!

I made a BlueGingerDoll Violet to go back to work in. I thought, if I’m not exactly feeling dotty about going back to work after two weeks off, I can at least look dotty. Here she is!

All the dots

All the dots

And here am I modelling her in a stairwell…

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Pretty awesome hey? I used some super cheap super interesting double border print knit stuff that is as light as candy floss and sticks to everything with any kind of rough texture. It’s kind of like the soft bit on velcro. I found this out when I got it stuck to the scratchy bit of a piece of velcro. Boy did this stuff grip on. As you can imagine it was pretty horrible to sew with, though not as horrible as I feared. I guess I’m used to sewing with cheap floppy slippy knits now! As per the very good instructions I reinforced shoulder and some other seams with stay tape, though I used clear plastic elastic instead of he recommended unstretchy tape for the waist band seam: a girl’s got to be able to eat lunch you know. I cut size 20 at the shoulders grading to size 24 at the waist and hip which was good. The waist is actually about 5 inches too small technically, but I like a snug fit! I didn’t lengthen the bodice piece which was silly seeing as I am 5 foot ten with a long torso and big boobs that the fabric has to travel over, so I ended up adding in a three inch piece of black ribbing at the bottom of the bodice piece. I like this, it’s like a belt without a buckle and looks quite slimming. When I make this dress again, I would add about 3-4 inches into the bodice piece.

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As you can see I had a lot of fun playing around with the double border print fabric using its shrinking and growing dots to a pretty ‘jazzy’ effect! The Violet has lots of different pieces (i.e two yoke pieces, a bodice piece and a skirt piece on the front) which allow you to colour or pattern block like crazy. I used different size dots for different pieces using the smallest ones at the middle to hopefully optimistically create a sort of  slimming effect. One thing that I found very off about this fabric was that it stretched lengthways instead of horizontally, so there is very little ease/movement in it when sewed up using the dots as I did. It would look odd to have the dots getting smaller or larger horizontally wouldn’t it? It works though, and hasn’t stretched downwards yet.

Deformed shoulders pose

Deformed shoulders pose

I combined the back yoke and back bodice piece to make one piece at the back, so it wasn’t too fussy. (Ha you say, are you kidding yourself? It’s got aaalll the dots all over the place!).I did a ribbing t-shirt style collar binding to match my tummy ribbing, though you can use the main material. My neckline had stretched out rather a lot in the handling of it so I would definitely recommend stay stitching it at the beginning, especially if you are using a light weight fabric. I didn’t actually bother doing the signature ruching at the bust because I thought it would make the neckline too low for work. I will do it in the next version but I will make the neckline slightly higher and cut a slightly thicker bit of ribbing for the neckline binding.

Twin needling on this fabric was pretty horrid, especially because I didn’t want the skirt to be too short so used a tiny hem allowance. The hem is a bit wobbly in places….

Please avert your eyes

Please avert your eyes

But the fabric is busy enough to let me get away with it. I really like this pattern and will definitely make another. I have one MAJOR problem with it though. It comes with different sleeve lengths and a pencil as well as full skirt option (this is the full skirt, long sleeves option, obvs). I was surprised to see that even with full sleeves and full skirt, this pattern was said to only need 1.6 metres of 150cm wide fabric. I had this in a different ikat style jersey print, and folded this on a double fold as the pattern recommended, and there was NO WAY my pattern pieces would fit on it. The skirt piece would not fit on at all, let alone have room to spare as the layout suggested. I ended up using about 2- 2.5m (hard to tell as I cut it up weirdly due to pattern placement). Has anyone else had this problem??

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Otherwise, I think the Violet is a grand pattern. I feel very smart in the dress, and it is super comfy. If you haven’t already….Make one! And tell me about it!

Oh, can we just take a moment to appreciate my pretty new shoes….

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Thanks bye!

Green Style Laurels aka the world’s most comfy frocks

Just passing by

Just passing by

Hello!

I’ve been away from the blog a while because you know, life, but I have not stopped sewing! I’ve been doing some more making things for others (photos of which to come soon) and now I have had quite enough of that thank you. Though I love giving things to people, I don’t like sewing for others.  I get crazily perfectionist and stressed, and I don’t feel that I am skilled enough to be doing it yet, but people ask All. The. Time and I find it hard to say no. But aaaanyway, I’m having a break from sewing for others and getting back to being entirely selfish. Hooray! After finishing a woven dress for a friend to wear to a wedding I decided that what I needed to do next was definitely stretchy. I had seen the Green Style Laurel on Pandora Sews and snapped it up!

Pleased as punch

Pleased as punch

I’m so glad I did, this pattern is HAMAZING. It’s super simple and there are so many variations. I made two back to back, but I fully intend on making lots more. You can have four different sleeve lengths (short, elbow length, three quarter and long) and three different dress lengths (tunic, above knee and below knee). As you can see it looks enturely different according to what fabric you used. For the colour blocked red one I used a thick but gorgeously soft  ponte roma from Plush Addict (I’m in love: it’s like being swaddled in marshmallow: they are seriously under selling how lovely this stuff is) and an ottoman rib jersey from Minerva crafts  in a wine colour to add some texture and colour contrast. You can’t see the colour contrast so well on the sunny pictures so here is a dodgy camera phone one.

Please ignore the odd fringe

Please ignore the odd fringe

Both fabrics were quite stiff which showed the nice pleats and design lines off well and means the final product looks a bit crisp clean and futuristic. I love it!

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The second one I made in a much flimsier jersey I had originally bought to make some monochrome leopardskin leggings with (oh yeah) but it was way too stretchy and thin for that. So, not learning from previous attempts to make dresses and shirts from thin, stretchy jersey, I decided to make a Laurel. It wasn’t too bad as the Laurel is a very easy pattern with few pieces and no complicated stuff. The bodice doesn’t even need elastic to join it to the skirt, just a zig zag stitch, which I did as a triple stitch just to be sure. As I was so in love with my red ponte roma I made a contrast cowl and pockets. I also added a bit onto the length, which I later chopped off as I realised it made the skirt too heavy and it was really dragging the bodice down. I also lengthened the bodice a little so it went further over my boobs. Excellently the pattern already comes with short, regular and long bodice lengths, but as the bodice is empire line, as you can see, this basically means ‘your boobs don’t stick out much’, ‘they stick out a regular amount’, and ‘blimey, they really stick out!’As it can see, it looks quite different in a lighter fabric.

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Wahey, red pockets!

Wahey, red pockets!

It’s sooooo comfy. It’s like wearing a nightie, but it looks smart. I only want to wear these dresses from now on please.

Here is the back.

I like big butts and I cannot lie

I like big butts and I cannot lie

So there we go. I think I like this more that the Moneta!! (SHUSH don’t tell anyone) The darts are super flattering and I love the cowl having previously thought I don’t like cowl necks. There are loads of options for customisation: I think it would be great as a tunic, and without the cowl and with a different type of collar. Green Style: your name sounds a bit hippie, and I don’t like the font on your packaging, but I think you have made my favourite pattern yet!

Not a hippie pattern

Not a hippie pattern

Oh, can we also take a moment to appreciate my amazing backdrop. I was on a trail round where I live: some artist types have made a little ‘blue plaque’ trail of famous former residents and painted the shutters of closed down shops in homage to the people. Apparently Peter Davidson, formerly known as Doctor Who used to live here. Oh yeah. So bye for now: I’m off in the tardis!

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A cardi for Granny and a sneaky one for me

swooshing in swoon

swooshing in swoon

I’m doing a lot of sewing For Other People again. I sort of enjoy it but it’s also really stressful. I’m much more perfectionist when it comes to other people, so I can’t merrily bodge along as usual. On the other hand, my sewing improves a lot when I’m sewing for other people, precisely because I can’t bodge along as usual. I decided that my 100% awesome granny would look really nice in a Swoon scarf neck cardi and that this should be what she received for her 93rd birthday last week. Now because she is brilliant, and because I am much more perfectionist about sewing for other people and because it was a gift I wanted it to be really nice…..

So OBVIOUSLY I had to make one for myself.

Checking it works

Checking it works

IMG_1383 IMG_1375 IMG_1388This is a brilliant pattern, and it is FREE. I have had a lot of compliments on this and I wear it all the time. It makes me feel so chic and swooshy. I used a black and white ponte knit thing from, erm, somewhere. It only uses 2 metres of knit fabric but feels like you are wearing metres of it as you swoosh around. In fact, if when I make another I would make the XL instead of the XXL as it is pretty capacious, especially on my non existent shoulders. It has princess seams and a pointy hem. It goes together really easily apart from one bit at the back of the neck where you have to join a curve to a square. I still don’t understand why this is.

This is not what you join a smooth curved piece to

This is not what you join a smooth curved piece to

This doesn't make sense

This doesn’t make sense

I think maybe its to give the neck structure? It’s weird and feels all wrong though. Has anyone made this? Can you tell me why?

You can also see that this cardi has French seams. The pattern calls for it, but I think in both cases my knit fabric was a bit too thick for this. I think it would work on a very thin jersey like the pattern calls for, but not so much with the fabrics I used. Being a beginner who slavishly follows instructions, I did it anyway. It is fine.

Fine from the outside anyway

Fine from the outside anyway

For bulk reasons I decided not to hem either mine or my granny’s version (in a lovely knit from Fabric Godmother) but to finish them with bias binding which I think looks rather jaunty. There is a LOT of hem on this cardi though: be warned you need about 5 metres of bias binding!

So I managed to take the worst ever pictures of my granny wearing it: I assure you, it does fit her properly, she loved it and it looks lovely on her.

Here we are with our cardis on all wonky (like grandmother like grandaughter). Please note scones though: she still makes them herself every time we visit.

wonky

wonky

And here she is doing her ‘model’ pose, which is a little hulkzilla! And the cardi is even more wonky.

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She’s a beauty though eh? Here she is looking gorgeous in duck egg blue with my Dad and very fabulous stepmum in (fake) fur out at a vineyard to celebrate being 93. What a wonderful woman.

<3