Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Tuesday, 30 December 2014
|Why can't I flip this to landscape? Grrr Blogger!|
|Closer shot of the neckline (with bonus derp-face)|
|Should have taken my hands out of my pockets to photograph the back - that pulling isn't there without them!|
|One last pic as it's a nice background!|
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Thursday, 16 October 2014
Friday, 3 October 2014
I'm co-hosting this month's sewalong on the Sewcialists blog, and it's a theme very close to my heart - Grease!
Click here to read the post - and there's a competition too!
Will you be joining in?
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
I may not have been blogging too much due to work and general life busy-ness, but I have been sewing and planning quite a bit!
The big project I am working on is a winter coat.
I was looking for a fairly simple shape with a collar and some waist shaping and I picked up this great 1960s pattern on Etsy:
It has lovely princess seams running to the waist with welt pockets at the bottom, bound buttonholes and is fully lined.
I knew I was going to have to buy fabric online for it as my local fabric shop just doesn't stock great quality coating. The fabric I used for my Anise really hasn't held up well which is frustrating when you think of all the work that goes into a coat (especially one with welt pockets and bound buttonholes!). After much perusing of online fabric shops (it's a dirty job...) I ordered a stack of swatches from Stone Fabrics. They have a great selection of coatings and I have read good things about their quality. You have to call up and order but they were very helpful and got my order out really quickly - they're not paying me to recommend them BTW, I just like to give praise where it's due!
I ordered this wool mix coating (90% wool but not scratchy - 100% wool rarely works on my skin). A good tip I found was to keep rubbing the swatches together over a few days to see how they might hold up to wear. I actually rejected my original choice after it went a bit fluffy when I did this so hopefully I have chosen one that will wear well!
The lining is also from Stone Fabrics and it's viscose acetate in a beautiful peacock blue - the picture really does not do the colour justice.
As ever, I asked for advice on twitter for interfacing and the ever helpful Anne from Mercury Handmade recommended Speed Tailoring from Gill Arnold as she uses it in all her coats. This stuff is ideal for stabilising an open weave and is beautifully soft.
I think you'll be getting quite a lot of in progress posts on this as coats take such a long time. Wish me luck!
Monday, 22 September 2014
There seemed to be a lot of relatively similar knit dress patterns released by the indies this summer, and although I probably could have hacked this myself, I decided to go the convenience route. I also love this neckline - it's perfect for me, and the downloadable collar options sealed the deal! Annoyingly I don't have a pic of the cute crossover collar at the back so you'll need to imagine.
|An arty shot from my husband - he loved that the writing on the wall matched the dress!|
I've been thinking a lot about what items I need to make for winter to fill some wardrobe gaps and I realised I really needed a dark denim skirt.
I ordered this dark denim from Minerva with the intention of making (another) Kelly skirt, but I spotted the Blue Ginger Doll Peggy skirt pattern in my stash (which I won from the lovely Roobeedoo in a giveaway). The denim is quite weighty so it definitely good for something that needs a bit of structure.
I decided to make view A with a straight waistband and tabs, as I had ordered some silver jeans buttons as part of my kit.
I must admit this was not the most straightforward project I have ever made. The pattern was pretty hard to trace as the lines for each size were the same (although this has apparently been changed due to feedback so if you like the pattern, don’t let that stop you ordering it!). The fitting was very easy – it’s an a-line skirt, so using my waist measurement worked perfectly. I shaved a tiny amount out of the hips once it was completed but that was all. It’s really long – 27” from waist to hem, so I didn't even need to lengthen it!
The rest of the problems I had were machine related. I struggled to get my topstitching looking neat. I used topstitching thread in a pale grey (also included in the kit) with a topstitching needle, and played with the tension a lot on the advice of the ever helpful twitter and instagrammers. The inside doesn’t look pretty but I decided to call it good and move on – from the outside it looks fine.
|'Scuse creases - I had just got out of the car after a morning of rushing around!|
For the lapped zip, I used a silver metal zip from John Lewis as I didn't have one in my stash and wanted to match with the buttons and topstitching.
My machine did not want to play ball when it came to making buttonholes. It took many many tries to produce the 5 I needed for the tabs and waistband. But I got there in the end. In contrast, the jeans buttons were really easy to attach – I used the tool provided in the pack, made a hole in the fabric with an awl (a slim skewer would work just as well) and bashed it a few times with a hammer.
It wasn't the easiest project but I am happy with the end result – I know I’ll wear it a lot all year round, with flats in the summer and tights and boots in winter.
If you want to make your own Peggy (or the kit would work for a Kelly too) you can buy a kit which includes 2m of dark denim, a pack of 8 silver jeans buttons and a spool of pale grey topstitching thread from Minerva here:
Wednesday, 20 August 2014
I love polkadots but realised recently I have hardly any polkadot items that are in regular rotation! When I saw this lovely navy polkadot stretch cotton on the Minerva site, I decided to rectify the situation.
Saturday, 19 July 2014
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
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!
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 zip does actually do up all the way. Damn.|
Sorry I missed the party Vicki and all at Minerva - I hear it was a good one!
Monday, 7 July 2014
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:
a lightweight bird print cotton
navy twill tape
cute stripy buttons
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
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Monday, 9 June 2014
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
Here are my final few days of outfits. Picmonkey isn't playing ball today so no pretty collage I'm afraid!
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!