Monday, 16 January 2017

January Sewing Plans

I'm spending this wet and miserable day at home, in leggings and a jumper, with a cup of tea to hand at all times, sewing my way through my pile of yummy fabrics.  Bliss!

I've got six projects planned for the immediate future, two of which I have started already- YAY for quick makes.  I've been struggling with my Sew-Jo since we found out we were pregnant.  There is something about not knowing how your body is going to look by the end of the month that really put me off sewing for a while.  I kept thinking 'what is the point' of putting any effort in to a garment if it only fits for a short while, or not at all.  That, coupled with struggling to find patterns that still felt like they fit in to my personal style of largely fit and flair dresses really knocked me.

BUT... I have come out the other side of Christmas with some fresh inspiration and I am off!  The thing that has changed the most for me is the Moneta Party, being ran by The Triple Stitchers on Instagram this month.  We've been asked to sponsor as Crafty Sew & So, so I'm not entering the competition side of the party, but I have realised how easy the Colette Moneta dress will be to change in to a maternity dress! Plus, Sarah at work has offered to show me how to change the bodice up for easy nursing access too.

Especially as I get bigger, I plan on wearing Colettes Moneta a lot over the next few months, so I'm planning on making a few of them to get me through the week.  They'll be so comfortable, just like secret pyjamas- exactly what I need for my changing body.

Fabric for Monetta #1

Fabric for Moneta #2

Along side all the Monetas I'm going to sew two new Grainline Studio Archer shirts.  The one I've already started on is using up stash fabric my mum bought me at the NEC show Sewing for Pleasure last March.  Its a gorgeous cotton shirting fabric, white with fine blue stripes down it's length.  It's sewing up really nicely.   The Second is an end of roll remnant from Crafty Sew & So, sadly out of stock now.  I fancy a nice bright floral shirt for the spring.  

Fabric for Archer #1

Fabric for Archer #2

Also already in progress (and so almost finished) is my first Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt.  I purchased the fabric, a classic kelly green sweat-shirting, from Leicester Market sometime last winter with the Linden in mind, but couldn't find the right colour ribbing to go with it.  As I also didn't have the pattern yet, the fabric has just sat at home waiting for me to get going with it.  This weekend, Dave bought me the pattern and I spent Sunday afternoon cutting it out and getting it together.  Just hemming and top stitching to go!

Fabric for my Linden Sweatshirt

Finally, I plan to make myself some tartan pyjama bottoms.  This fabric is also from work in three colours.  I have 1.25m, enough to sew some cute shortie pjs for when the weather warms up.  We run a Sleep Shorts workshop, which is such a great, quick make, and I'll be using the pattern from that.

Cosy PJ shorts Fabric

We'll that should keep me busy well in to February! What are your sewing plans?

Monday, 9 January 2017

Catching up with 2016's projects

I've made a fair few things in 2016 that I never got around to blogging about, so I'm the interest of saving time and just getting them out there I'm going to blog about all my garments in one blog post.  I'll try and keep it short and sweet.  Though, this list isn't exhaustive, it's what I remember sewing/ what I have photo's of and is enough to document my progress over the last year.  They're are in a very random order as I can't remember when I made what!

1920's Murder Mystery Evening Dress, made from black jaquard fabric bought at Leeds Market a couple of years ago.  I started making this dress Thursday evening before the party on the Saturday- after realising I had nothing to wear! Luckily, it was a quiet Friday at work and I got the majority of the sewing done there.  Due to the speed of this sew, it's not the best made thing in the world, but it did the job I needed it for!

Simple Gathered 1950's Style Skirt- A sample for the shop as we run this as a workshop- the 100% gingham fabric is available from Crafty Sew & So.  I've since returned this to the samples box, as it doesn't really fit me with my growing prego belly.

Another sample for work, using our pattern for an a-line skirt and a larger, black 100% cotton gingham avalible in the shop.  I also got to play with our fabulous embroidery machines to add the cherry detail- which I love!

This Deer and Doe Bruyere Shirt in a white cotton/linen mix blouse from eBay was a challenging make because I had some fitting issues which I didn't work out with a toile.  I must make this again, I love the shape, but there are a few things to change and I've been feeling like making simpler, quicker projects recently.

I made the Colette Violet Blouse in a cotton lawn I've had in my stash for many many years and I have no idea where it's from!  The main reason I haven't sewn with this fabric (or really worn this blouse) is the fabric isn't really me.  The colours aren't one's you'd find in my regular wardrobe, so I haven't gotten a lot of use from this blouse.  I have, however, made some adjustments to the pattern and hope to make another one in a different fabric this spring.

I love this floral dress made with the bodice from Simplicity 2444 and a pleated skirt, using Micheal Miller Meet Me in the Meadow fabric.  Infortunatly, I finished this just weeks before I found out I was pregnant and so haven't had a lot of wear out of it yet.  Fit and flair dresses are simply the wrong shape for a prego belly!  It's in storage for next summer though, I hope I'll get a lot of use out of it eventually.

I made a fab Grainline Archer Shirt from this dotty chambray too (no photos to share), and had enough left over to make a Scout tee!  Happy day!  I love both these patterns for their simplicity and know I will keep getting a lot of use out of the finished garments and the patterns in the future.

One of my favourite makes this year has to be the Deer and Doe Dutra Blouse.  The green fabric was gifted to me by my sister-in-law, who bought it at John Lewis' a couple of years ago.  She actually made the same pattern with her's too!   I totally copied her, it was too cute not to.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Going in to 2017...

Well, its been a hell of a year, eh?  Not all bad, please note, I'm not all doom and gloom about it like it feels some people are.  In fact, personally I've had lots of high points in 2016.  Some of which I've shared here, but the last 6 months have flown by and I haven't managed to write a single blog post to document it!  

On of the most challenging things of this year has been maintaining this blog and I'm mostly putting the blame on work for that.  It's been an amazing year at Crafty Sew & So- we've been open just over a year now and each day provides a new challenge and new opportunities for me to learn and develop.  I wouldn't change it for anything.  The fact this bog has suffered along the way has pained me slightly, so I'm aiming to come back swinging this new year. 

I should warn you though, I've got a new, rather large and ongoing project that I expect will get in the way of my blogging time- I'm having my first baby in May!  Do expect baby related posts, do expect more ramblings and maybe the odd middle of the night post, but do also expect more dressmaking posts, as, really, that is where my sewing joy lies.

So, to end this mad, fun, crazy, painful, joyous year I present to you a quilt I've made.  

I've has this beautiful Dashwood Studio's cotton since February and quite promptly turned it in to a quilt top, cutting each long quarter down to two long eights and then sewing them all together in a repeating pattern (I love simple quilt designs).  It wasn't long until I quilted it at work on our long arm machine and had the binding attached.  

But then, because I love it so much, I decided to hand finish the binding for neatness.  Except I hate hand sewing, and it took me about 8 hours to do one long side (aprox 1/3rd of the quilt).  So it sat, unfinished for 5 months, until today.  Today I said 'screw it' and finished the binding by machine. It's not as neat, but it is still beautiful and it is finished! Woo hoo!  

So that's my story, just a quick one.  One to keep this blog from dying off and becoming something I used to do, one to start the new year as I mean to go on, one to say 'Hi, not dead' and one to share something I made with you, because I like to do that.  

I wish you all a happy, happy new year.  Take care- I'll talk to you soon (promise)

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Many Quilts

So, I have to tell you guys something… I’ve started to get in to quilting.  In a big way.  Like, so far this year I have made three quilts, and I have plans, and fabric set aside, for five more… FIVE!  I don’t know what happened! One minutes I’m a dressmaker, through and through.  I don't even really like making things that you might consider crafty, I just wanted to make clothes.  Sure, I’ve made a couple of quilts in the past- I even enjoyed making them, but something has shifted, and now they’re all I can think about (Ok, thats a minor exaggeration).
OK, kidding aside, I am loving sewing up quilts at the moment.  We’re running a couple of quilting workshops at work, which I’m being super inspired by!  Just through eves dropping, I’ve learnt how to properly measure up my quilts, and bind them.
Being a little skint at the moment, I decided to sew Dave a quilt for his birthday in March- I was able to source most of the fabric at work, where I have a tab and discount.  He had picked out the colours (or lack of) himself, but we discussed it a couple of months before and he handily forgot by the time his birthday rolled around.  He chose black and white, which makes a really bold, striking quilt.  And his other request was regarding the length-  at 6’2”, he wanted something that came up to his shoulders and down to his toes.  I chose the pattern- I was aiming to keep it simple and kinda manly. What do you think?
I sewed the strips of the different fabrics in to long lengths, and then measured and cut squares out of those- this helped me with the maths to make sure I ended up with near perfect squares.  I’m quite confident in my maths skills, but didn't want to chance it with such a big project.  Plus, it’s probably faster to do it this way.
I sewed the whole thing on the sewing machine- utilising the long armed machine for the quilting stages.  I had a go at using a ‘stitch in the ditch’ foot, with some success, and think with practice it will make sewing much easier.  I kinda wish I had sewn the binding by hand, as it’s the least neat part, but I’m currently finishing off a smaller baby quilt by hand and it’s taking ages!  So it is probably a good idea not to bother with such a large project.
So, I’ve got like 3 baby quilts lined up to do next, plus I picked up some super barginous Cotton + Steel fabric from the local fabric guild, reduced because it’s from 2014.  Its still beautiful though.  I’m going to make a larger quilt from them that, for me!
One of the best things about quilting is the way you can pick it up and do a square or two in a short amount of time- ideal because work is super busy!  We have a bunch of projects in the works, some of which we’ll share soon, others are on a longer time scale.  It’s exhausting, and so, so much fun.

Monday, 9 May 2016

The Cats Pyjamas

Hey all,

I'm really excited to share with you my latest project- doughnut pyjamas! Totally inspired by Jess Day in New Girl, who's style I've coveted for ages.  In the show, Jess wears some amazing pjs which are just gorgeous.  Each episode has her in a different funky pair of classic pyjamas, which is not my usual sleeping attire- I'm only just moving away from sleeping in old t-shirts (a book I read when I was 14 told me it was cool, and I've never grown up).  

I think many of the pjs seen in New Girl must be made for the show by the costume department, as I've seen her in the most gorgeous Micheal Miller fabric pyjamas, including Candy Land and the bikes fabric.

I looked in to buying the Candy Land fabric to replicate exactly this set, but you need, like 5m of fabric, at designer prices!  It was too rich for my blood.

So when I saw this awesome doughnut fabric at one of our wholesalers, I had to get some in- perks of running a fabric shop.  It was prefect for a cute, fun pair of pyjamas, inspired by Jess.

Using the Closet Case Patterns Carolyn pyjama pattern, which is perfect for replicating this look, btw, 5m of the doughnut fabric and 5m of pink piping, I've finished my first pair of classic pyjamas!

These were a fun, but not an easy make- it's only the second time I've sewn a collar like this, and the first time I've added piping to it. I really enjoyed settling down to a slow sew, which challenged me and made me think more carefully about what I'm doing.  This is one of my goals this year- to sew slower and sew better. 

I've got the next pair cut out and ready to go, with my notes on what I found tricky and how to improve the finish- I'm going to give it a little time before I start sewing them together, just to crack on with some other projects I've also got waiting.

I think they took me about 6 hours in total to make the shirt, and an extra couple for the trousers.  It's hard to keep up with times because I kept forgetting to pick up important elements, like the elastic for the waistband, from work. 

I'm modelling them out the back door of our chalet at Center Parcs, which we visited last bank holiday weekend with my husbands family.  We were having a lovely time, until Dave fell ill, probably with food poisoning.  I really like Center Parcs for short breaks, especially the spa, which we ladies visited on the Saturday. Despite the probable food poisoning, we've rebooked for next year, when we'll have my new little niece or nephew joining us- my SIL is due at the end of May.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Signing up for Me Made May 2016

Various factors have conspired against me joining in with Me Made May of the last two years, but I'm  committing again this year- yay!

I have a lot of handmade clothes in my wardrobe now- between sampling for work and sewing for pleasure, I usually do wear at least one me-made a day.  My first thought was to challenge myself to wear all me-made all the time.  But I have made things like cardigans and leggings or jeans, which would either mean wearing all my dresses on rotation for the whole  month (and getting chilly!) or making things to wear in May, which is against the rules.

For those who don't know, or are new to 'So, Zo...'s Me Made May Challenge, the idea is not that you sew specifically for the challenge, but to make more use of the clothes you have already made and maybe evaluate the gaps in your wardrobe, if you want to.  Definitely, NO PANIC-SEWING NECESSARY OR CONDONED!!  This is not a competition.

So, I took it to the ladies at work and asked them how I should challenge myself, and they came up with my personal challenge.  I endeavour to wear full outfits of me-made clothes twice a week for the duration of May.

I'll be posting my daily outfits on Instagram (@freyamaymakes) and do a round up of the month at the end of May.

And, just to specify, this doesn't include underwear, but does include outerwear- I gotta wear my new coat more!  Unless it's too warm, then, well, we'll see.

Anyone else joining in??

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