CaliFaye Valley blouse

Apologies for the rubbish photos I’ve had this in my drafts folder for over a year and just wanted to get it published!

I’ve been wanting to sew more casual tops as I have some great outfits for work but I tend to only wear jersey tops on a weekend. I feel overdressed if I wear a dress (plus it’s impractical running after a toddler) and so I tend to feel really dressed down on a weekend.

I don’t have any casual tops for a weekend and when I saw the valley blouse I was immediately all hearty emoji eyes.

I love the sample in clip dot but decided to try and stick to using up the stash. I chose a blue gingham which I bought from Ditto fabrics ages ago. It’s a lightweight cotton which has a small gingham pattern and larger pattern on the other side.

I originally was going to use the larger pattern but when I started cutting it out thought the smaller size more subtle.

This project was one of those where you don’t really enjoy the process because you’re so desperate to have the finished garment to wear. I forced myself to slow down when sewing it as I was rushing and making some stupid mistakes.

It’s really oversized and I wish I’d gone down a size. The neckline gapes a little and it’s very boobie. So much so that I picked my toddler up who shouted boobies! Kids. I ended up taking the button off and folding the yoke over more to prevent the gaping.

I found the instructions confusing and mislabelled. She says to neaten the seams instead of finishing and the labelling of the yoke pieces is confusing.

There’s also a lined yoke but only at the front. The back has a collar facing which means you then have the overlocked seam inside. I’m not sure why there’s a facing and a lining? If I’d had my brain switched on I would’ve cut another back yoke and lined the whole thing.

Overall I’m happy with the top and can imagine making another but possibly in a drapier fabric. I’d love some interesting woven top recommendations so I can add to my weekend wardrobe. (Anyone else have a work/weekend wardrobe?!).

Sewing frosting

Closet case files and True Bias are running a competition at the minute to sew more “frosting”. That is frivolous dresses which barely get worn but you love to make and wear (rarely). I’m not going to lie my brain has been buzzing with ideas.

I haven’t sewn much frosting as I prefer to sew clothes I wear regularly but now I’ve built my wardrobe up it feels like there’s room to go a little mad here and there. These two dresses are my least worn/most fancy dresses and I love them! Especially my floral tulle dress despite only being worn once.

After seeing Heather’s blogpost I hit Instagram for some Diorspiration:

These could all be made with a corset bra pattern + skirt.

Then there’s these which were wedding dress inspiration:

The challenge isn’t over until the end of November so I might sneak some frosting in between sewing jeans and coats! Then persuade my boyfriend to take me out somewhere fancy to wear it.

Another pair of Ginger jeans

After the success of my black pair and after buying a pair of high waisted skinny jeans I decided I needed an indigo pair in my life. I’d been hoarding some Cone Mills denim but didn’t want to make another pair of low slung skinny jeans as I already have 3 pairs of Levi’s in rotation. This seemed like the perfect compromise! I’m always late to the (fashion) party as I only just realised how comfy high waists are. I pull my RTW ones out of the wash all the time and wanting some me mades to add to the rotation.

Based on these Pinterest pictures I’m slowly building my autumn wardrobe up.

The jeans came together easily except the front fly. I always struggle with her instructions for this and managed to sew the zip too close to the flappy bit and had to unpick all my perfect topstitching. Annoyingly I also caught the side of the flappy bit and it’s starting to fray. I tried to seal it with a bar tack and some fray check.

The denim was from Blackbird fabrics and was a total dream to sew. Easiest sewing of any of the pairs I’ve made! The only issue I had was with the button hole which my janome hates doing. It kept sewing it too small!

I cut a size 10 which is the same as the black pair I made but then I took the waist in another half inch and the centre back in so they’re probably more like an 8-10. I did a swayback adjustment as illustrated on Closet Case patterns website.

I took about an inch off the top of the back leg and it worked a treat. I only had to take the centre back on by half an inch instead of the 4(!) inches I took in my black pair.

Over the course of the day the jeans have bagged out a fair bit annoyingly so I could have probably sew them even tighter. I can never seem to get this right, I either make them too tight or too big! Hopefully when washed they will shrink up a bit!?

I realised when trying them on in the morning and evening that I tend to get bloated in the evening and can be up to an inch bigger! As I tend to sew and fit in the evening I’ve made them at my biggest. Annoying as I used my precious denim but I can wear them with a belt and hopefully they’ll shrink in the wash a bit.

Another Jessica dress

My previous Jessica dress (by Mimi G) has been my favourite to wear over this heatwave (summer!?) we’ve had here in the uk. When I planned and started making my summer wardrobe for Barcelona and (soon) Canada I wasn’t expecting us to have such nice weather. As a result I’ve worn my new summer clothes a fair bit already!

When this chambray/linen stripe popped up on Guthrie Ghani’s blog post I knew I had to have it. I was originally going to make another Jessica in some embroidered cotton but it would’ve looked too similar to the one I already have.

I spent one of my baby free days (whilst Emily is in nursery in the school holidays I get 2 days off to myself) I spent a good 3 hours matching the stripes. I wanted a chevron pattern around the front with contrasting skirt. I’ve never been good at pattern matching until I read this blog post which explains you have to match inside the seam allowance. Seems obvious because you’d think if you match the side it will all align but not necessarily!

I cut the xs grading to a small at the waist (thanks small boobies) like my previous version except this time it turned out an inch too big? Possibly due to some of the panels being on the bias. I removed the excess out of the back panel which I didn’t stripe match. Luckily I tried it on before I’d finished it (which is what I usually do) so it was a major problem. It was actually this photo that made me realise it would be too big as my mannequin is a 10 and I’m an 8/10 (again thanks small boobies).

The buttons as usual come from Dunelm Mill and I’m really happy with them. I think they suit the dress perfectly! I definitely bought 10 buttons and managed to lose one 🤔 otherwise the skirt would’ve had a lot more buttons than it does!

Due to fabric constraints I shortened the dress, then when I was putting it together realised the back was 3 inches shorter than the front! It’s shorter that I would normally like but I think it suits the style of the fabric more than the midi length. Speaking of shortening I also shortened the straps by 2 inches. Due to the length of the dress those big beautiful oversized pockets looked ridiculous as they took up nearly half the skirt! I’m debating whether to cut them down and then sew them on. I need pockets!

I didn’t follow the instructions so I can’t say how good they were but I did find that my back facing came up too large, which was good as the excess I took out made them match perfectly. The facing seams don’t match the bodice seams either which is slightly annoying. Other than that I’m really pleased with my new dress and can see it being worn a lot whilst we’re in Canada.