Friday, 30 May 2014

Me Made May week 4

We're nearly there!

22nd May - another outing for the Swirly Smoke Mortmain
23rd May - Polkadot theme and one of my first makes, the Gertie gathered skirt
24th May - Gertie Portrait blouse and Kate Davies Deco cardigan
25th May - not yet blogged Deer & Doe Sureau (will be blogging next week but couldn't wait to wear it!)
26th May - boat print top which is a rub off from RTW (unblogged)
27th May - teal and black Red Velvet (unblogged)
28th May - purple Tiramisu

Just a few more days to go.  How are you doing?

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Me Made May weeks 2 and 3

Oops, well this post is a bit late!  Real life and work have got in the way of blogging about Me Made May, but I have been participating and uploading to the Flickr group.

Week commencing 8th May:

8th May - the Route 66 Flora
9th May - unblogged blue twill Kelly Skirt, also unblogged Maria Denmark Kirsten kimono tee
10th May - Mad Men dress from 2013 challenge
11th May - navy Pavlova wrap top and red denim Pavlova skirt (unblogged)
12th May - Maria Denmark Paula pleat skirt
13th May - another outing for the Dolly Clackett nautical Emery
14th May - Red red velvet Meta dress

Week commencing 15th May:

15th may - buttonless Kelly skirt and grey Maria Denmark Kimono tee (unblogged)
16th May - red Cabarita tee (unblogged)
17th May - Pensive Betty Mad Men challenge 2014 dress for NyLon
18th May - Swirly Smoke Gather Kits Mortmain dress
19th May - Carmine jacket, striped Maria Denmark Kimono tee (unblogged), Autumn Kelly skirt
20th May - the Almost-Anna Flora tank version
21st May - Blackberry dress with sleeves shortened

I haven't been finding it too difficult this year.  Last year was a bit of a struggle even with the jacket wildcards I gave myself, but this year I can see that actually with relatively few wardrobe additions, I could wear almost entirely me mades (although one of those would need to be jeans - gulp!).

I'll be back with the final week tomorrow, and then summarise the last few days plus a round up of the other parts of my challenge next week - I also pledged to get through my mending and alterations and make some knickers!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Minerva Blogger Network - The Swirly Smoke dress

I really love this dress - It's a great pattern, the Gather Mortmain in one of my favourite fabrics, cotton sateen.

Cotton sateen is great to work with - it's so easy to sew and that little bit of stretch makes it easy to get a great fit.  I got a swatch of a different sateen as part of the Minerva Swatch Club and decided to look at their range.  I picked this digital print as I love the colours - the swirls of purple and blue are mixed with a lovely bright turquoise.

I decided not to pattern match this exactly, but I lined up the turquoise lines in the print on the bodice and skirt which was an easy way to get continuation of the lines in the design.

This is my first Gather Kits pattern and it definitely won't be my last.  Other than adding 2" of bodice length and 2" to the skirt, I had no other alterations and it fit me perfectly! I made the sleeveless version.  I did take in around the waistband piece after it was constructed as it was a bit loose, and I may take in a little bit more at the waist after wearing.  But it is so comfortable and quick and easy to construct.  I didn't do the exposed back zip as I'm not a huge fan of them, so I replaced it with an invisible zip.

The box pleats on the skirt are really easy to do and look great.  The separate waistband piece is flattering and allows the fit to be adjusted quite easily.  I didn't have to curve the waist darts as I often have to.

If you want to make your own version, you can get a kit from Minerva here with fabric, an invisible zip and matching thread.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Sewing Inspiration - Boden

OK, hands up who looks at fashion spreads in magazines and starts trying to work out what patterns/ fabric they could hack to make it themselves? 

I recently got sent the latest Boden catalogue, and in addition to a coupon which will allow me to replace a couple of seen-better-days fine knit cardigans (if you know me in real life or follow my Me Made May daily pics, you'll see I wear these just about every day!) there are some excellent knock-off-able looks which I am considering for summer sewing.

I have been somewhat scathing about Boden in the past, totally putting them into the Yummy Mummy box, but their last few seasons collections have been great!

The Lovely Linen dress could easily be made with a Colette Pastille dress bodice with a bit of piping and a gathered skirt (like an Emery if you needed a pattern rather than just using a big rectangle!)

Source: Boden, Colette Patterns (from the Sewing Handbook), Christine Haynes
I would use a lovely blue graphic floral rather than the yellow pictured here.

The 60s Ponte Dress is a dead ringer for a sleeveless funnel necked Coco:

Source: Boden, Tilly & the Buttons

With a little bit of tweaking (stitching down the pleats a bit and adding grosgrain ribbon to the waist), Maria Denmark's Paula pleat skirt could be just the ticket to make a version of the Poppy skirt:

Source: Boden, Maria Denmark
I think with a bit of tweaking of the wrap bodice pieces and addition of some braid (perhaps in a more tasteful colour than Boden's neon orange!), Cake Patterns Tiramisu could make a fab version of the Rosie dress:

Sourc: Boden, Cake Patterns
You could use Sinbad and Sailor's new Hepworth pattern with a little bit of neckline reshaping to make your own version of the Nancy dress (what is with all the yellow Boden?):

Source: Boden, Sinbad & Sailor

Do you like the new Boden looks?  Any you are planning to recreate?  What other fashion brands are inspitring your sewing this summer (or winter if you are in the southern hemisphere!)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Me Made May week 1

It's been a successful week and I have found it easy so far!

1st May - Square necked Alma blouse and cornflower blue Kelly skirt
2nd May - Purple Red Velvet with collar
3rd May - Denim Pavlova skirt, rose print Kimono tee (unblogged) and Carmine jacket
4th May - Nautical Emery dress
5th May - Blue Marl Renfrew tee
6th May - Charcoal grey Tiramisu
7th May - Navy wool Anna (whoops, something's gone wrong with that post - will fix it!) and Hetty cardigan

In addition I have repaired the zip on my Flora and stitched the wrap part down, so one item is gone from the mending pile. 

I have put my back out so no movement on the knickers front as taping PDFs and cutting on the floor really aren't happening until it's feeling better!

Friday, 2 May 2014

The Route 66 Flora

Awesome print matching on front seam not clear but it's in the middle of the green lozenge!
So I really should have taken pics of this dress in a desert or at least somewhere more urban than a bluebell wood, but needs must!  I called it the Route 66 dress as the print reminsd me of rear view mirrors in old American cars, like in Thelma and Louise.

This is my second version of the By Hand London Flora dress, with the first version (with the tank bodice) blogged here.

I have seen a lot of people complaining about the bodice coming up very big on this but I didn't find it too bad - maybe I am bigger than I think I am!  I lengthened the bodice by 2.5", lowered the bust darts by 1" and did my ususal 1/2" FBA.  I wasn't sure whether it was going to gape or not based on the muslin, but it did so I tacked the crossover point down flat.  The skirt is lengthened by 2" as per my previous post. I could take the side seams in a bit but it's comfortable for a big dinner!

The fabric is an african wax print which I bought from Middlesex Textiles.  I have been loving wax prints for a while now and seeing Chinelo on the Sewing Bee every week with gorgeous prints definitely inspired this dress!  I usually find it difficult to find them in colours that I would wear, as they are often very warm tones.  But Middlesex Textiles has quite a few in blues, pinks and purples.  All the wax prints come in 6m lengths (a helpful twitter person told me that this is the length needed to create the traditional african dresses and headgear these fabrics are often used for), so the prices are pretty reasonable.  I think this one was £16 for 6m, so under £3 a metre. I've seen different weights (base fabrics?) for wax prints.  This is like a traditional cotton but I have seen ones that are smoother, more like a lawn.  You do need to beware of width though - the fabrics are narrow, like quilting cotton. 

What centre back seam?
 This meant I had to add a seam down the front  of the skirt.  I made a big attempt at pattern matching on the skirt and don't think I did too badly - it's only slightly off at the zip, but not enough to unpick (and a good invisible zip insertion does not get unpicked, amirite?).  Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the pattern matching on the bodice though.  The pattern isn't symmetrical, and does have a right way up (the lozenges - is that the right word? - are wider at the top so I couldn't cut upside down).  I went for a line of green lozenges running down the straps, but perhaps I should have tried to match the yellow one at centre front?

The bodice is lined in black cotton lawn.

I really like this dress - it's pretty much as I envisaged it in my head.  It will work in the summer with bare legs and sandals or pumps and for cooler weather with tights (c'mon summer, bored now! There was a massive thunderstorm happening overhead while these were being taken). I am going to make a lace version for an evening event coming up and wondered if anyone could help me get rid of those wrinkles at the front crossover piece?  Would I just shave a little bit off the top of the front wrap pieces below the centre front? Or is the bodice just a little bit too roomy? Or are those wrinkles just part of the style of a wrap?

Any advice appreciated as usual!