Emily and Zippy a l’orange

Hello!

How are you? It’s sunny here in England, which is good, because my mood is very dark. I shan’t bang on about it, but OMG we have the worst government ever and they are going to destroy everything we hold dear and all my faith in humanity. I’m moving to Scotland.

Right, now I’ve got that off my chest, let’s get back to fashions.

First of all, some VERY EXCITING news! I have been asked to become an editor of the Curvy Sewing Collective, so will be blogging there much more regularly. I am so delighted by this as I think it is the most inspiring, helpful and friendly sewing site out there, and the ladies who run it are my total sewing heroines. It’s like being asked to sit with the cool girls at school dinners. I will be blogging my beginner’s experiences, pattern reviews and general opinion pieces, so if there is anything you would like to see me write about, just shout.

Secondly, I have made some very summery things.

YES! Culottes!

YES! Culottes!

Here I am ‘modelling’ a See Kate Sew Zippy Top and Itch to Stitch Emily Culottes. They are both brilliant patterns and I think go rather jauntily together.  I made the Zippy top in 2xl in some slightly jailbirdy seersucker, and took the sleeves in a bit as I have no shoulders.

The not so wearable muslin

The not so wearable muslin

It was ok, but a little tight on the hips and I wasn’t so keen on the fabric. I made the next one is some lovely floaty, super fine, soft and drapey orange stuff I bought ages ago and added an inch on to the hips of each piece. I was a bit confused when I made it as the front piece is significantly shorter than the back piece, but it all seemed to work out fine when I sewed it together.

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The above picture caused a bit of panic. The shirt has a groovy zip at the back which is good because I may have ordered lots of zip bundles from ebay, and I might just have about 70 metal toothed zips….

I do need to get better at sewing this in straight though

I do need to get better at sewing this in straight though

I used some top stitching thread for the first time just to have a go (I know this isn’t really the right fabric, but I wanted my stitching to match the zip)

Smart straight lines for once

Smart straight lines for once

This top is super comfy and I will probably make a few more, both with and without the zip. I am really enjoying sewing with lots of drapey materials at the moment. Oooooh they feel so nice.

Talking of which: SPOONFLOWER SILKY FAILE

I can't describe how lovely this stuff is

I can’t describe how lovely this stuff is

I bought this fabric ages ago vaguely with a dress in mind, but at $24 dollars a yard (not even a metre!) plus international shipping I only bought two, which isn’t really enough for most plus size frocks. So it lingered in my ‘most special fabrics’ box until the Emily culottes pattern came along. And it is perfect for them.

I made the largest size (20) in my weird starchy heavy polycotton wearable muslin fabric knowing full well that it would be about 6 inches too small round the waist and three inches too small round the hips judging by the size chart. Why did I do this you may ask? The answer is, laziness. I couldn’t be bothered to grade it up for the muslin because I had seen lots of pictures of other people’s culottes and it seemed to have a LOT of ease. So I thought I would give them a try as I like my clothes quite tight anyway, and see what happened. And yes, they are a bit tight around the middle, but they are actually quite wearable and very smart. The starchy fabric makes them very angular and jaunty which I like.

Off to work selfie with Style Arc Rosie top

Off to work selfie with Style Arc Rosie top

I made the version with the pleat  and lengthened  the pattern by about 4 inches

I made the version with the pleat and lengthened the pattern by about 4 inches

I also used this muslin to try out my first ever welt pockets, sliced through my fabric to release the welt and lived to tell the tale. They are so not perfect, but I am THRILLED with them. LOOOK!

Groovy collage of welts

Groovy collage of welts

For the second pair in the glorious, soft, smooth, drapey and lovely to sew silky faille from Spoonflower (I will be bulk buying next time they have free international shipping) I added half an inch into both front and back pattern pieces adding an extra two inches overall, and they are PERFECT. 6 extra inches were not needed. I did also lower the crotch on this pair by about a centimetre, I might lower it by another cm in my next pair just to have a little more room for my bum and tummy, but this is fine.

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I omitted the welt pockets for speed. You can also add cute patch pockets which I will try and the pattern allows for lots of different lengths and a version without a front pleat. The instructions are quite clear and simple to follow. I am so pleased with these. They are comfy, flattering and mean I can have cool bare legs in summer without the dreaded ‘chub rub’ of my thighs. I shall be making more!

Oh and if you wondered where I am for these pictures, it’s the London Wetland Centre in Barnes, where we got married just about this time last year! We went for a little stroll down memory lane: it’s so beautiful. I recommend it heartily to anyone living in or staying in London. I’ll leave you with a few of the things we saw, including A BABY MOORHEN and OTTERS!

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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?!

 

Rosie and Mabel go to work

Lookin awkward

Lookin’ awkward

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged something I made, I have entirely forgotten how to stand in interesting and flattering angles. Not that I was very good at it, but I was making a small amount of progress that is now forgotten. So apologies for the pictures of me looking like a sack of potatoes. The things I am blogging here are actually quite nice. I made some things I can wear to work and look sensible. Obviously I wear everything else I have made to work as well, but this stuff is actually workplace appropriate. I’m shocked!

Still awkward

Still awkward

I have made three Colette Mabels of late: I love a tight stretchy short skirt. They are all weirdly and wildly different. And two of them came up waaaay too big. And the other is very snug. Fabric choice matters folks. This one is made in some lovely embossed scuba from Fabric Godmother which is super comfy and lovely to sew with. Also: it doesn’t need hemming! JOY ALL ROUND.

Scuse knees, look at lack of hemming

Scuse knees, look at lack of hemming

I did something weird with cutting it out (I think I cut half the version with the button placket and the waist band without or something) and so I added an odd waist pleat in an homage to my Imagine Gnats skirt but I quite like it.

Room for expansion

Room for expansion

The Mabel pattern is great and I will make many. The first one I made was a quicky using less than a metre of left over fabric from the cardi I made for my Granny . I really didn’t have quite enough fabric so it is hemmed with the most miniscule hem and has gone all wavy

Wavy

Wavy

Also, it's REALLY short

Also, it’s REALLY short and my shirt has gone see through with the flash and my tights are very shiny

I put the centre strip thing (version 2) on this one, but the pattern is so busy you can’t see it, and I couldn’t be bothered to sew any buttons on because the hem is so wavy, and its really a bit too short to wear to many events. Or at least for being workplace appropriate.

I think my most successful one is my black quilted one. I wear this all the time , and as you can see, the cheap (£2.99 a metre from Minerva crafts) is beginning to pill, but I will wear it until it falls apart. It’s got wooden zebra buttons OH YEAH.

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It has a snazzy contrast facing at the waist which I made no attempt to get to sit inside as its snazzy and I wanted it to peek out. As you can also see it has a bit of blue jersey binding at the hem as this fabric frayed loads but was also bulky so I didn’t want to double fold it. This is a bit less stretchy than would be ideal, but looks a bit flash.

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This is a much better length and I like it a LOT. I bought loads of this quilted stuff in burgundy and black, and though it is disgusting to work with (it frays, its sticky and feels more like melted plastic than fabric) I’m going to make a matching raglan sleeve sweatshirt in it. It’s lovely warm and stretchy and looks ace.

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The top I am wearing with the blue Mabel is the Style Arc Rosie. Well I had to make a pattern with my name all over it didn’t I? Also I really like the style. It’s simple but interesting. As usual, the instructions are basically non existent, but this is quite simple and easy to work out. I definitely didn’t do the shoulder and neck facings quite right as they stick up and have too much fabric in both the versions I made: I think I should have done a lot more grading. Or at least some grading. Oh well.

Bum bustle

Bum bustle

It has a neat little inverted pleat at the back which I like a lot. I love this top: they are ideal for work. Smart but comfortable and not too traditional. The white on actually has very tiny flowers printed on it in a slightly whiter white than the fabric, but you can’t really see it in these photos.

Can you see it here?

Can you see it here? Not really!

I also made a version in some turquoise kona cotton I had bought before I realised quilting cotton was for quilting. D’oh. This actually works well for this type of simple top (apart from the bulky shoulders) but I think I look like I am wearing scrubs!

Doctor in the House

Doctor in the House

Oh and the neck has a pretty little button fastening.

Ain't that cute?

Ain’t that cute? Me being me, I had to use a contrast orange polka dot ribbon instead of the recommended self fabric.

So there we are. I made lots of clothes that I can wear for work with a cardi and look pretty smart. Maybe not my most interesting makes, but it can’t all be gold lame dresses sadly.

Have you made a work wardrobe?

I’m still here

Me on telly

Hello!

I have fallen waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy behind with my blogging. Ordinary old Life has taken over, and the longer you stay away from the blog, the harder it is to get back into. Also, I really need to dust off the old husband photographer and get him to take some pictures of my new things. I also need to make some more things. But conveniently, I appear to have entirely run out of money two weeks into the month, so the rest of it will be spent indoors, eating gruel, and sewing my way through my stash and blogging about it. So watch this space…..

I hope you are all FINE and DANDY out there in the ether and that you have all the sunshine and all the sewjo wherever you are

Rosie

xxxx

Happy Christmas! (Yes I am this far behind with my blogging)

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

So Zo What Do You Know has a very strict rule about not apologising for not blogging for a while. She is quite right about this, as blogging is not a job, I’m not paid, and it’s supposed to be a fun and enjoyable hobby, not a chore. However, me being me, I feel bad. I know no one is hanging on to my every word, it’s not that, it’s just I started off so strong with lots of blogging and now I have stalled. It’s frustrating. But life really does get in the way, and I have been sooooo busy at work and at play. A Dry January didn’t slow me down one bit. And having little spare time, I have chosen to sew rather than blog. I have made lots and lots of things, and I will blog about them soon. I just need to get my husbandtographer to take some pictures in the two hours of daylight we get at weekends. And then sit down and write some accompanying twaddle.

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In short, I have made a baby romper, a terrible second Blue Ginger Doll Violet that looks like a nightie, two Style Arc Rosie tops, 3 Colette Mabels, and I am working on some awesome Thread Theory Jedediahs for my husband. But the thing I did longest ago was to make my friend Anna a dress to wear to a winter wedding. Anna is an amazingly creative person who did all the decorations for our wedding.

Anna's decorations at our wedding. Photo by http://www.simondewey.co.uk/

Anna’s decorations at our wedding. Photo by http://www.simondewey.co.uk/

Anna was doing some more decorations for another friend’s wedding just before Christmas and asked me to make her a suitably festive dress to wear to it. I usually say no to requests like these as I don’t want to become a tailor, but I was very happy to give it a go for Anna. I warned her I was by no means pro yet, and she was happy with whatever I made. So much faith in me did she have that she asked me to have another go at making the Madonnatits dress.

Swit swoo

Swit swoo

Anna chose the fabrics and we did a fitting in muslin first and nipped it in at the waist and lowered the neckline. Oh and lowered the extremely indecent slit at the back. I managed to avoid the awful dart placements, and I think it turned out pretty damn ok.

A decent derriere

A decent derriere

Posin'

Posin’

As you can see (through the blurriness, sorry, this is what happens when I take the pictures instead of Robin!) it was made in quilting cotton so is pretty prone to creasing, but the golden snowflakes can’t be resisted.

Festive

Festive

I was so nervous making this, as it was FORMAL WEAR and really concentrated on sewing precisely and carefully. It as really good discipline for me and I was really pleased with the results. So was Anna, who got lots of compliments at the wedding. HOORAY!

SEE YA!

SEE YA!

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!

Happy New Year wonderful people!

Wahey it's 2015!

Wahey it’s 2015!

Hello!

It’s a whole new year! I wish you all the very tippety toppity best for a marvellous 2015. I am not going to do a year in review post as I have only really been sewing for 6 months of that, and quite frankly, I couldn’t choose which of my ‘creations’ I like the best, and I couldn’t describe any of them as ‘misses’. They are all misses in one way or another because I am a beginner with a lot to learn, and I am already looking at my earlier makes and laughing with horror at the seam finishes and bodges I made. But on the flip side they are all total hits to, because well, I MADE THEM! And that’s so fucking awesome! I have learnt sooooooo much in 2014 and my sewing has come on in leaps and bounds. And I am well and truly hooked. That’s a real hit! I haven’t ever had a hobby that has appealed to me as much as sewing does: I usually pick up a new fad, get really enthusiastic, and drop it again in a couple of months. Sewing looks like it is here to stay. I certainly hope it is: I have a looooooot of fabric now……

The heaving box

The heaving box

Which leads me on to resolutions. Half of me wants to call this ‘resewlutions’ but the other half of me hates myself for being so naff. Anyway, here they are…..

1) DO NOT BUY ANY MORE FABRIC UNTIL I HAVE USED UP AT LEAST HALF MY STASH

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LOOK AT IT! And that’s not nearly all of it. I can say that I stuck to my aim of not buying any more clothes until 2015. I’m proud of this. What I’m not so proud of is that I have just replaced my clothes buying addiction with an even more extreme fabric buying one. It’s got out of control. A new parcel arrives with a shiny new fabric every few days. It’s embarrassing. I’m a complete magpie. I decided a few months ago that I wasn’t going to buy any new fabrics in 2015 until I had used up a lot of my stash. Very good you might think, but what this led to was even more frantic hoarding over the last couple of months. “But what if I need to learn to sew with denim in 2015?” KERCHING! Bought. “Will I be able to cope going all year without knowing what double gauze is like to sew?” KERCHING! Bought. “I’ve got so many woven fabrics, but not nearly as many stretch knits and they are the comfiest. Are you really going to spend all year in starchy wovens?!” KERCHING! Bought. And so on and so on. So I am now NOT BUYING any more fabric until I have SIGNIFICANTLY reduced my stash. There is too much to even count, so I will judge that I can buy more fabric when I have wmptied out that big trunk and a couple of shelves. Exceptions to the fabric stash fast: I can buy lining fabrics etc if, and only if they will be used to create an item using stash fabric that can’t be made without them.

This will be emptied

This will be emptied

2: If and when I do buy more fabric in the future, I will try to only buy good quality, preferably ethically made fabric, or even better buy fabric second hand from charity shops.  In my crazy fabric buying sprees, particularly in the early days, I bought loads of cheap polycottons and things that were cute, and a bargain, but not very nice to wear. So My new motto will be quality, not quantity. I don’t won’t to build up another stash like this and I want to sew with nice fabrics.

My first quilt square in progress

My first quilt square in progress

3: I will use up my scraps. I took a quilting course at Beyond Fabrics the other day for this very purpose. It was very pleasing and I have a metre of wadding to play with. I’ll either make a throw, or some more padded quilt squares to use for serving food etc. I’ll also make lots of clothes for small people, and pants, and other small things. I can’t bear to throw my scraps away, so they will be put to good use. I’ve got a lot of them…..

Two big boxes of these scrappy beauties

Two big boxes of these scrappy beauties

4: I will improve my hand sewing. I have booked myself onto an embroidery course at Hampton Court Palace (swish!) to try and find a love of this. And now is the time to say A HUGE THANK YOU to a mystery person who gave me my Secret Sewing Santa present. I don’t know who you are, but you are SOOOO thoughtful! I got an embroidery hoop, gorgeous coloured embroidery threads and muslin and this cryptic card…..

So thoughtful, so mysterious!

So thoughtful, so mysterious!

Thank you SO MUCH secret santa! And thanks also to Lisa from Stitched up from the Start for organising such a nice thing 🙂

5: I will perfect the art of grading up patterns. As a plus sized sewer, this is still unfortunately a necessary skill as most patterns don’t come in my size. I have a pattern cutting course starting in a couple of weeks which I am hoping will give me some real insight into how patterns work, and how they can be amended. Wish me luck!

6: And finally, I will sew: trousers with a zip, a coat, and a proper shirt with buttons. Also, I will sew some nice things for my very patient husband who takes all my blog photos and allows me to commandeer the dining room table with all my sewing things. Robin you are awesome, and I will make you those jazzy shorts xxx

And that’s me! What are your resewlutions (I did it!) for 2015?? Tell me all!

P.S, this is me, in front of my stash, showing how I really feel about not being able to buy more fabric. BUT I WILL BE STRONG!!

Poor me. No new shiny things.

Poor me. No new shiny things.

HAPPY 2015!!!

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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