Thursday, 23 April 2015

With Mirth and Laughter Let Old Wrinkles Come.


On Wednesday night Dave and I got last minute tickets to see Dara O'Briain at DMH theatre in Leicester, it was the perfect chance to debut my new dress.  Much laughs and fun was had, it was a great midweek date night.  

Comity gigs are one of my favourite options for nights out- while I like music, I'm not fussed by live gigs. I just find them too much, too loud and a little bit stressfull. Comedy, on the other hand is great! You get seats, you can tKe in nibbles, and I ask you to try and find laughing for two hours anything but relaxing! I'm so glad we managed to get these tickets last minute, especially as they were really good seats! Second row from the front!  I've got my beady eyes out for more events to go to now, because I love to laugh!

I have been planning on making this dress for a little while,  my first BHL Anna Dress is a firm favourite and wear it a lot.  It was really sad to hear the news about By Hand London having to stop producing printed patterns and fabric- the creative industry is a tough one to flourish in, mostly due to the easy access to cheaper mass produced products.  I'm glad the girls are still going to be publishing their patterns in PDF form, I love their designs, and have just ordered the Holly jumpsuit pattern for my collection- I think it'll be the perfect addition to my summer sewing plans.



Speaking off, I've made a start on my summer sewing plans this week- with a bit of a pattern mash up, using the BHL Anna bodice and the skirt from Tilly's Megan dress.  These two go so perfectly together, its unreal.  

I've been browsing the local fabric shops and eBay for wax print fabric for a while- I'm quite fussy so although there are a ton of lovely options it took me a while to find something that was right for me.  My local shops are pretty limited in what they stock, so eBay was the better bet on this occasion. I'm not the biggest fan of fabric shopping on-line, not being able to feel the fabric and check the weight etc.  This was a good find though- I love the bold print and I always gravitate red.  


You can see that I took extra care with my pattern matching on this one- I'm slowly getting the hang of it.  Slowly.  So, check  out that pattern flow down the front- its enough to make me cry.  Heck, it's almost enough to make May Martin cry ;-)

Not entirely sure about the length I cut it too.  I originally made it to the same length as my galaxy dress, but it felt too conservative in this dress.  I cut a couple of inches off, and then hemmed it by 3 cm.  It's passed the pants revealing test- i.e. it doesn't reveal anything I wouldn't want it to when I bend over. I still might let the hem down a little, just for comforts sake.



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Random Number Generator, at random.org, has provided me with a giveaway winner.  


Congrats Katie, who blogs at stubbledgrapes.co.uk, I'll be sending you the voucher via email.  I can't wait to see what you get and make!

I want to thank you all for following along with me on my sewing journey, I hope you're having as much fun as I am!




Monday, 20 April 2015

Spring Sewing Plans

It's that time again, time to plan out what I'm gunna make for the upcoming seasons- to tell you the truth, it's one of my favourite things to do! I have a nice, moderately sized fabric stash which is fun to shop and pair up with my more extensive pattern collection.  

I have three things to bare in mind when planning things out- one: I want to include projects which will challenge me to develop my sewing skills and push me to improve. Two: work to create a cohesive wardrobe out of my makes.  and Three- my summer holiday wardrobe!  We're spending almost two weeks road tripping LA-Las Vagas-San Francisco before heading to Chicago this summer, so a capsule handmade wardrobe is necessary.  

I've got 12 projects here, which means that even if I don't get distracted by pretty new fabric or awesome new patterns I'll have to average 2 a month to get them done by the end of the summer.  I'm not saying it's not possible, but don't hold me to anything- this is more of a list of options than anything else. (Although, I am going to work to get as many of them done as I possibly can!)

Ok, so to the real reason you're here- let's look at some pretty pretty fabrics, okay? I'm going to group these projects by category.

Fair warning, this is a long post!

Everyday Essentals
(This is by far the biggest category)


I've got this beautiful paisley jersey from Leicester market which is going to become an Ultimate Wrap Dress, by Sew Over It.  At this point I've made a few simple jersey t-shirts and Lady Skater dresses, but nothing as complicated as this pattern.  


When in Edinburgh at New Years, I dragged my lovely, supportive husband around the city in search of a fabric shop- when my persistence and his patience were rewarded, I picked up two meters of this soft, silky viscose with the Mimi Blouse, by Tilly and the Buttons, in mind.


I'm not often one to buy the latest pattern when they're released, but I ordered the Breaire Shirt immediately.  I love casual shirts and the details of this one made it a winner in my eyes.  So, (six months later) I'm going to make it up in this lovely white cotton chambray fabric, ordered on ebay.


I got this yellow furnishing fabric from work about a year ago, and it has been sat, paired with this pattern all that time- it's high time to bring it out and make it up, wouldn't you say.


After I heard the sad news about By Hand London, I quickly settled on making up another Anna Dress in the wax print fabric I ordered recently from Ebay.


I've now made two Belladone dresses, and this fabric insists on being my third. Who am I, really, to deny it such a thing?



Summer Holiday


I actually bought the Ginger Jeans pattern as soon as I sew it, breaking any notion of a rule I may have suggested above.  I got this denim on my shopping trip to London back in November for £10, so its a good first try fabric.  Assuming I managed to make a wearable pair of jeans, they will be taken on our adventure as my single pair of trousers.  This photo is a little darker and less blue than the actual denim.



This gorgeous fabric is a recent purchase from Leicester Market, and will be made in to this sundress from the 1970's (I think).  Both on trend and perfect for sunny holidays.



We're going to be spending long amounts of time on the bus between destinations, so comfortable clothing is a must.  I bought 2 meters of this bold jersey at the NEC show last month, and i am planning on making a lady skater from it.



Special Occasions


Wedding Number One- This photo has totally changed the colour of the scuba fabric and lace- they're both actually quite a plum purple.  I'm planning on making a strapless pencil dress out of these for a wedding in May.  I've not sewn with lace or scuba before, but I am getting confident with other stretch fabrics, so I'm looking forward to this as a little bit of a challenge.


Wedding Number Two- Later, in August, we're going to the wedding of two of our close friends and for the occasion I'm making the Betty Draper-est dress I can.  I've got three meters of beautiful floral pink lawn and I'm going to use the bodice of the Ruby Dress and a circle skirt so full it going to be amazing.


And finally, this sexy number is going to be made up for our anniversary in September.  

Friday, 17 April 2015

Sugar for my Sweet, Honey for my Honey

Christmas before last I surprised Dave with a handmade shirt, which, if I do say so myself, he was ever so pleased with.  Since then I diy'd him a sweatshirt which didn't work out, but the rest of my sewing has been purely selfish! Mwahhaha! 

Well until last month that is- I bought this fabric back in the Autumn of 2014 with myself in mind, fancying making myself a nice flannel shirt. But when I got it home, David laid dibs in it, and so I make him a flannel shirt instead. As punishment I made him wait months for me to make it, lol. 

Anyway, you're not here to hear about how evil and selfish I am when it comes to sewing, you're here to check out what I  make.  So here it is, my second Men's Negeoni Shirt from Collette Patterns.



The cotton flannel was from a local market stall in Leicester, and originally I just bought 2m, so I was lucky when they still had some left, months later, when I needed another meter to make the long sleeve version.  I re cut the front pieces in an attempt to pattern match, but you can see it wasn't quite successful. Dave doesn't mind though and it's not obvious when it's worn undone, as he normally would.

Last Christmas, I cut out the large size from the paper pattern, but I thought that'd actually be a little small for him now, so I used my seam allowances and let it out a little around the sides.   This left us with a nicely fitting shirt.

The Negroni is a good, challenging intermediate pattern, and the instructions come with enough hand holding to make it feel completely achievable.  It has features like a 'camp collar' which gives a distinctly 70's vibe about it, but with more modern tailoring, so (unless you want to) it doesn't look like you've made a fancy dress costume.  I am, however, going to pick up an alternative mens shirt pattern at some point, one with a proper collar, to give Dave more choices.  The mens fashion options in patterns are quite limited so it's be nice to see what few alternative styles are available.   I also really like the details of the sleeve plackets- which I might copy and use on my next Archer shirt for me.



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DONT FORGET- There is still time to enter my 200 followers give away!  Click here for details, closes, Midnight (GMT) on Sunday 19th April. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

200 Followers Give Away!!!



Hello you lovely bunch, how are you doing? I'm enjoying a whole weekend off, and typically, the weather has chosen today to turn from the beautiful sunshine I'd been wistfully gazing out the windows at work at to glum and gloomy rain- Currently, I'm wrapped in my quilt, waiting on my little sister to come round so we can have waffles for breakfast before she returns to university.  

This week, alongside being stuck at work, I have had the honour of seeing my Bloglovin' followers counter tick upwards past the 200 mark,  I want to thank you all for coming along with me on my sewing journey.  To express my thanks, I have decided that a giveaway is most appropriate.  I debated with myself for a while for what I would offer as a prize, but found myself second guessing myself trying to find something everyone would like.  In the end I've settled on a voucher for £10 at Minerva Crafts, so that the winner can choose anything they would like.  


To enter the give away for a £10 Minerva Crafts Voucher 
- You must follow my blog, on Bloglovin' or through Blogger.
- You need to leave a comment below telling me what it is you're thinking of buying with the voucher- have a browse of their site and see what takes your fancy.  They stock a wide range of fabrics and patterns, but they also have other craft supplies if dressmaking isn't your thing.
- In the comment, please leave you're email address so I can contact you if you win.  Email addresses will not be used for any other purpose.

The closing date for this give away is midnight (GMT) on the 19th April, I will choose the winner by lucky dip, and post the winners information on my blog, no later than the 22nd April and contact the winner then too.  Multiple entries will be delated.

This giveaway is open worldwide, as Minerva deliver internationally, but check delivery costs for your country if you're unsure.  This giveaway is not sponsored by Minerva, but I shop there all the time and think it's a really awesome fabric store.



Thursday, 9 April 2015

Space, it says, is big. Really big...

Hey guys!  How's it going?  I hope you've had a nice Easter, fed up of chocolate yet?  I can't say I am but I haven't yet broken in to the egg David bought me.  A flippin' 1kg egg, I kid you not! While it is awesome, it is also a bit ridiculous; I can't decide wither of not I'm going to be greedy or wait and share it with our youth group next time they come round to our house.  Probably the latter, but I'm not promising anything.    

Today I'm sharing with you my Megan Dress from Tilly and the Buttons' Love at First Stitch, which I've had for a while, but this is the first garment I've gotten around to making from it. I'm not able to give a review of the book, because I didn't actually use it other than to pick a size and trace out the pattern pieces.  So, sorry about that.  However, as the dress went together very simply following my intuition and garment construction know -how, and from that I guess I can say it's a well designed dress, at least.


I am so, so loving this fabric- it's quilting cotton I found on Frumble Fabrics that I knew would make an awesome dress.  I ordered 2m, as I usually do if I'm not sure what I'm going to make from it.  That worked out nicely, as it's a narrow length so I was just able to get all the pieces out of it.  The pattern only calls for 1.5m of wider fabrics.  It wasn't the cheapest fabric, at £12/m so I knew I needed to make a special dress from it.



I traced a size 5, and made what I have now come to think of as my usual adjustments- took up the shoulder seams by 1inch total, took in the centre front and centre back in by an inch each, tapering to nothing at the waist.   And did what I think is generally termed a small sway back adjustment, when you take out some of the fabric from the back of the bodice.  Then, I had to re-cut the neckline as the adjustments made the already high neck strangle me.  I lowered the centre front and back by two inches a piece.  I had a lot of help with fitting my garments in a class I took last year- I don't have to make major adjustments, but having someone else take a look at things is invaluable.  I really recommend finding someone to help with it, or take it along to a class or a course and clarify what changes you need to make.  More than anything, sorting out the fit of you handmade clothes means you're going to be happier with them, wear them more and feel proud  about being able to say- "Yes, I made this."

You can see there is still some excess fabric in the shoulder there, but I'll have to pinch that out next time I make this pattern, I can't change it now.


I used this opportunity to practice setting in an invisible zip- still not something I'm particularly confident doing- for some reason, I just can't get it invisible, but I think it's just going to take practice (and practice, and practice)...


There isn't a whole lot more to say about this dress, although I don't think I've actually said how happy I am with it yet! Well, look at it! Galaxy print fabric.  Classy shift dress shape.  Cute detailing like the puffy shoulder heads.  I know I'll be wearing this a lot this spring, and summer, and autumn and winter too, probably.  I keep meaning to branch out from pretty dresses to improve my sewing skills and diversify my wardrobe, but there is something special about making dresses I can't put into words.

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Also- There are now almost (and I mean, it's so close!) 200 bloglovin' followers of my little blog- thank you to each and every one of you for stopping by and checking out what I have to say, and for taking a look at what I've made.  To extend my thanks to you, I'm organising a little give away for when I hit 200 followers, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Life Lately #8

Drinking
We hit the local beer festival at the beginning of the month- yay!  They even had a gluten free option! Woohoo! Much fun, much drink and much yummy curry was had.


Reading
I've now finished the second in the series of Daughter of Smoke and Bone- and it is awesome!  I actually finished it just days before the next book came out, so I promptly preordered it, meaning it landed on my doorstep day of release.


Mother's Day
We invited both our mothers over for afternoon tea, and I baked a tonne of cake! I don't do a lot of baking these days, so I really enjoyed a bake day.   I made cupcakes, scones and a yummy carrot cake.  Partnered with copious amounts of tea and coffee and sandwiches.  It was a really lovely afternoon.


Shopping
Trying to keep with my commitment to not buy ready to wear clothes I've bought a nice selection of fabrics for more summery projects, but I did buy a new Leicester Tigers Rugby top too*.  

*I do what I want!

Sharing
This month I shared my own sewing space, as part of my blog series.  I tidied up specially, so go and check it out if you haven't already.


Visiting
I went with some of the lovely ladies of my knitting group to the NEC for their Fashion, Embroidery and HobbyCraft show.  This is the loot I came away with, and you can read more about the day here.


Making
I've finally cracked open Tilly's Love at First Stitch and am making up the Megan Dress in this awesome galaxy print quilting cotton.  


Celebrating
David's Birthday!  My husband turned 27 on Saturday, we celebrated with meal and drinks on Friday night and then spent Saturday with his family, also celebrating his Grandma's birthday, because she turned 80 last week.  Much partying!


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