Saturday, 19 July 2014

Minerva Blogger Network - Vintage shirt dress

Hot on the heels of finally posting my reveal of my party dress, it's time for my July make.

Cat photobomb!
I've had this vintage pattern in my stash for about 6 months and just fell in love with the notched yoke and cute collar so it wasn't going to languish unused for long!

I ordered some linen look cotton that Kathryn used for this dress, and it's really lovely.  It's lightweight but with a lovely textured linen finish (and it doesn't crease as much as linen does either!).  I wore this on a pretty hot day and it was lovely and cool.  For the £4.99 a metre price tag it's great and comes in a huge range of colours.  I went for red, and it's just the colour of red I like - not too orangey.

As I was running out of time on this make, I tissue fitted the tracing and found that my usual adjustments were fine, so I did a small FBA and lengthened the bodice by 2".

Although there are a huge number of pattern pieces for the bodice - the front and back both have bodices, yokes, bodice facings and neck facings, this came together really quickly and easily.  The construction method to get the lovely notches involved attaching a bodice facing piece to the bodice piece which is turned and pressed and then topstitched to the yoke piece.  I couldn't quite understand it reading the instructions until I actually tried and it was pretty easy and gave a great finish.

I decided not to use the pleated skirt pieces that came with the pattern as the bottom hem would have measured 83" which seemed crazy!  The skirt pattern had 3 pieces - 2 side pieces and a back piece.  I went for a simpler gathered rectangle using the Emery pattern pieces as a guide to size and length, and positioned the seams at centre front and centre back to allow for the front opening.  I used the same method of finishing the skirt edges as the patterns uses - the top edges under the notches (which I transferred from the vintage pattern pieces) are finished using bias tape and turned under, and then the gap is left open.  I stitched on a couple of hooks and eyes in the hope of holding this closed but as this hasn't been all that successful, I think I will add another couple of buttons on to avoid knicker flashing (and contrast bias tape flashing - this cherry print bias is adorable but I probably would go for matching stuff with hindsight!).

The pattern calls for covered buttons, which I ordered as part of my kit from Minerva.  However I had a total fail with these!  The teeth didn't seem to want to grab the little circle of fabric and when I finally got it all tucked in, the back wouldn't stay on - anyone got any tips on how to use these?  I went with some buttons from the stash instead.  The front of these buttons felt a bit fancy for the style, so I flipped them over and used the other side.

The only other change I made was to move the button placement a bit as it was more flattering to have them starting lower down.

I'm really happy with this dress - it's lovely and cool and easy to wear, and it feels like a vintage dress on.  Perfect for the warm weather we've been having (long may it continue!).  And this is item number 2 for my Vintage Pledge!

Minerva are working on their website currently so rather than one link to my kit, here are the links to the individual components of it if you want to make a similar dress for yourself!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Reveal - the Disco Apocalypse dress

Somewhat belatedly, here's my Minerva Crafts make for June (I thought I had already posted this, so it's even later than expected!)

As you might remember we had to make a party dress to celebrate Minerva's win at the British Sewing Awards and to wear to the meet up at the Crafts Centre. Due to unforeseen circumstances I couldn't make the meet up and  a bit late in photographing and blogging my final dress!

As per my preview post, I used pewter sequinned lace to fulfil my hankering after a lace dress, and lined it with navy lining to make the lace pattern really stand out.  This worked well and I much preferred it to matching or nude lining.

I had initially planned to make a straight By Hand London Flora with the wrap bodice but when the lace arrived I realised it had a scalloped edge which I wanted to show off. So I looked for a pattern with a full skirt that was cut straight across the hem and settled on Gather Mortmain. I love how the pleats look on the skirt!

I underlined the bodice with the navy lining and basted them together.  I also marked the darts with basting stitches so that the two layers didn't separate and make the darts wonky. I also spent a lot of time unpicking sequins from the seam lines.  I'm not sure whether this was totally necessary or whether I could have sewn over them. But this gave rise to the name of the dress - by the time I had cut the lace and unpicked sequins my house was covered in glitter and it really did look like the Disco Apocalypse had arrived! We are still finding sequins now!

I also lined the bodice as per the pattern instructions. Due to the contrast, understitching was really needed with this dress to stop the lining peeking out.

I decided not to line and underline the skirt as I had intended, and just went for underlining.  I cut my pattern pieces in lining and hemmed them by machine. I then lined them up with the point on the fabric where I wanted the hem to fall so that I could have the scallops extending out at the bottom. I used french seams to finish the side seams.

I sewed it with my walking foot throughout and I was really happy with the results as it definitely stopped the layers from shifting! The only issue was on the side seams of the skirt where it doesn't sit perfectly - you can see this in the side view above. I suspect this is to do with attaching the lining to the skirt as underlining and the heavy lace wanting to pull down more than the lighter lining. Anyone able to shed more light on this?

The bodice is a bit wrinkly but again I think this it mainly due to the lace pulling down slightly more than the lining. I could probably have fixed it by taking out a lot of the ease but I wanted a slightly looser fit for eating and dancing!

The zip does actually do up all the way. Damn.
The name is based on the state of my living room floor after cutting this fabric - it looked like a glitter ball had exploded!  We are still finding sequins now (yes, I do clean - sometimes!).

Sorry I missed the party Vicki and all at Minerva - I hear it was a good one!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Spring Sewing Swap

I was so excited to participate in the Spring Sewing Swap this year organised by the lovely Kerry from Kestrel Makes.  It's one of the things I really loved when I first got into the world of sewing blogs.

I was paired up with Emma Jayne from Clipped Curves.  if you don't already follow her blog, you should as she makes excellently fitted garments (check her sailor trousers!) with a nautical flair.  Basically I want to be her when I grow up!

She also lives quite close to me so we are hoping for a meet up for coffee and sewing chat some time soon!

Here's the lovely bundle she sent me:

Navy twill
a lightweight bird print cotton
navy twill tape
cute stripy buttons

plus this excellent vintage A-line skirt/ culottes pattern (with pockets!  I love pockets!)

Hop over to Emma Jayne's blog to see what was in the parcel I sent her (being much more organised than me, she has already blogged about it here!).

Thanks for organising Kerry - roll on next year!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Capital Chic patterns launches!

Today is an exciting day for one of our lovely Spoolettes! Sally who you will know as the genius refashioner Charity Shop Chic is launching her pattern line Capital Chic!

Sally is known for her modern and catwalk inspired makes which have a different aesthetic to a lot of other more vintage inspired pattern companies, and this really comes through in her first collection.

As the name suggests, it's a really chic and sleek collection of work and evening wear. If you saw the photos from the Minerva Crafts evening party, you'll recognise the Martini dress that Sally was wearing, and I know you're going to see some of her patterns popping up on your favourite blogs soon.

My favourite pattern is the Bellini blouse which has options for a cutaway and a scalloped collar and has french seams and bound armholes. I've had a sneak peak at the pattern and the instructions are really clear and show you how to construct the french seams if you haven't done them before. You'll see it on the blog soon!

Wishing Sally all the luck in the world with this one and hope you all love the patterns! You can read about the line here, see the full range of patterns here and purchase either print at home or print at copy shop pdfs from her site here. Which is your favourite?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Minerva Blogger Network project - Sneak Preview!

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll have heard about the Minerva meet up on Saturday.  If not, details can be found here - it's going to be a great day!

To celebrate, all of us bloggers on the network are making a party dress, which we will be revealing on the night (so watch out for pics on Twitter and Instagram) as well as on the Minerva site.

Here's a sneak preview of mine.

It's a Flora/ Mortmain mash-up - Flormain? Mortra? (sounds like a Thundercats villain!)

After hankering for a lace dress for ages, I chose a beautiful pewter sequinned lace with a navy underlining.  You can see in this pic how they actually look together - I love how the pattern of the lace really stands out with the dark lining!

Looking forward to showing you my final dress!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Me Made Everyday!

After a conversation on Twitter (isn't that always how these things start?), a few of us were missing the community aspect of Me Made May and decided to start Me Made Everyday!

I always find that having a record of what you wore most and what looked good together really helps spot wardrobe gaps, see what you actually wear most and plan future sewing, and from reading other blogs lots of others do too.

There's no pledging, no pressure and no need for fancy pics - a cameraphone and mirror will do! No need to wear something everyday or photograph everything (unless you want to of course!).  Just show off your lovely handmade garments how you actually wore them. You decide whether to include bags, jewellery and accessories.

Opinions were divided on the best way to do this so I have set up a group on Flickr that you can find here or you can use the hashtag #memadeeveryday on Twitter or Instagram (oh, and I have finally started using my Instagram account - follow me - I'm JoLittleTime, or let me have your name below and I'll find you!).  You'll need to request to join the Flickr group as with Me Made May (to keep the worst of the Flickr pervs out!) but I'll approve people as soon as possible.

What do you think?  Are you in?  The lovely Katie from What Katie Sews is going to make a much prettier logo that the one above which you can grab for your blog if you so desire!

Spread the word about it as it would be great to have a regular me made community going!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Me Made May wrap up

So it's all over!

Here are my final few days of outfits.  Picmonkey isn't playing ball today so no pretty collage I'm afraid!

29th May - the Bowling dress

31st May - Rose print Maria Denmark kimono tee (unblogged).

So I did it!  I didn't wear a few of my most summery dresses that I love since the weather didn't really play ball - it was definitely tights weather for most of the month.  I was hoping to wear them the last few days but we went camping for the weekend and pretty dresses + campsite really don't go!

I'm pretty happy with how I did.  I didn't feel like I wore things I wasn't keen on just because they were me made.  Yes, there were days I would have put on something different (or a vintage dress rather than a me made one) but generally it went well.  I think having a definite colour palette worked as I have lots of things that match and work well together.  Like everyone else, I need some me made trousers and jeans, so I'll be joining in with Lizzy on Jeans in June (thankfully she's extended it into July!).  I'd also like a couple more me made tees, including another couple of Renfrews.

I also pledged to get through my mending/ alterations pile.  I mended split seams on 2 dresses, replaced a zip on hubby's jacket, fixed the zip on my Flora which was coming away and shortened the sleeves on my Blackberry dress:

I loved the sleeves but i wasn't happy with the way they were finished and it made the dress harder to wear with a cardigan - as you can probably tell from my month of pics I am a die-hard cardie wearer!

I also pledged to make some knickers and managed to make up a muslin of the Measure Twice Cut Once Jane knickers.

Eek, weird colours, but they are actually pale blue not green.  I adjusted the pattern following these but didn't get a chance to make up any more.  It's on my list for this weekend!

If you are missing Me Made May, come back tomorrow for news on something we have been plotting on Twitter!