2016 Round Up

In 2016 I made 15 garments; 8 dresses, 1 pair of jeans, 1 skirt, 2 tops, 1 pair of dungarees and 2 pairs of trousers. Here are my hits and misses of the year.

Hits:


Robert Collection dungarees – well until I split the crotch seam that is and they’re too big now. I really want to make some Turia dungarees but the paper pattern is sold out everywhere and I HATE HATE HATE PDFs!


Anna/Southport maxi dress – absolutely love this dress, I just wish I had more occasions to wear it! I almost considered shortening it so I could wear it more often!


Red heart skirt – worn to death until the weather turned colder. A little too big on the waist now.


Alexandria trousers – easy to wear and great for work. They feel really smart and they’re made of my absolute favourite ever fabric collection.


Alder shirt dress – I love the fabric, the style, it feels very ‘me’. Worn and washed to death.

Misses:


Ginger jeans – I need a swayback adjustment and have no idea how to do one. The waistband came up really big and so they were worn for a few hours. Shame because it put me off jeans sewing as I have no idea how to correct the fit. They did make me realise I don’t need to sew everything, there’s nothing wrong with the 6 pairs of identical Levi’s I have especially as they fit really well.


Ultimate wrap dress – worn once and then washed but the fabric (from Fabworks) has already faded and it looks terrible. Not to mention it’s very revealing and very short!


McCalls denim shirt – I don’t like how wide and deep the button placket is and the dress comes up  quite short. It was only worn a few times.


Emery button front dress – far far far too big for me now. I made it very early on after having Emily. I’m still mourning this fabric as it came from a Cabbages and Roses fabric sale and is very special to me.


Seersucker Cynthia Rowley dress – something about the fit is off with this dress and I caught one of the pleats in the waist seam so it doesn’t sit flat. Everything about it is wrong (to me).

I’m trying to fix the handmade clothes that I don’t like. For example this Emery dress didn’t get worn because I felt frumpy with the high neck and long sleeves so I chopped them off. Now I love it!

 

This year I’ve learned to stick to the style I know that I will love as otherwise all that hard work is for nothing! I really need to start doing muslins on a regular basis too but that’s unlikely to start happening!!

Making a coat

I’ve been thinking about making a coat for a couple of years now. I’ve had my current blue duffle coat for 4 years and it really needs an upgrade. There’s so many coat patterns out there that it’s taken me this long to decide what I want!

My Pinterest board for a coat has a mix of the coats I need in my winter wardrobe. 

The Ninot coat ticks a few boxes 

I’d love one in a black wool coating to mimic a Cabbages and Roses coat sold a few years ago. 

I also fancied the Closet Case Files Kelly anorak but it’s not lined and one problem with my current duffle coat is it’s not warm enough. I’ll wait until Heather releases the lining pack. 

I also picked up a copy of vogue 1266 at Sew Up North but I’m a little nervous about it being my first coat and I can’t find any Blackwatch coating to make it from. 


This morning Emily was gifted a red duffle coat and it immediately reminded me how much I loved duffle coats and I really wanted a red one. My last two winter coats have been duffle so why break with tradition!?

So of course I’m making Grainline Studios Cascade duffle coat in red wool coating. 


I’d love a tartan version but I haven’t found the fabric so for now a red one will do. I also feel like I could make this in a twill and add snaps and save myself buying another pattern 🙈

So that’s my January/February/March sewing plan!

You may have noticed I’ve swapped my domain and moved to WordPress which I should have done years ago. It’s much more intuitive and easy to use. Hopefully this means I may be able to blog more!

Self drafted skirt

I’ve had the idea for this skirt in my head for years ever since I bought these red heart buttons from Cath Kidston. 

The Simplicity competition spurred me on to make it, that and that my Miette skirt is one of my most worn makes because it’s so versatile. I was going to use the simplicity pattern and enter the competition however we moved house and I completely lost both patterns!
The seed was there and I decided to draft it myself. 
When I say draft, it’s literally 3 rectangles! I measured my waist and added a seam allowance. The skirt pieces take up the whole width of the fabric so I used 98% of the fabric I had. Speaking of which u have no idea where this chambray came from! I’m thinking Blackbird fabrics? But I genuinely have no idea! Which is unusual for me, but then there’s a lot of chambray in my stash!

Insides were all overlocked and I added pockets with some scrap fabric leftover from my shirt dress. 
I absolutely love this skirt! It’s been in heavy wardrobe rotation since I finished it, which always makes sewing feel more rewarding!

Princess Anna dress

I bought some gorgeous shibori fabric from Blackbird fabrics and immediately knew I wanted to make a maxi dress with it. By Hand London’s Anna popped into my head and that was it, it shot to the top of my holiday sewing queue.

The last few things I’ve made have been a bit of a disaster in terms of fit and the Anna dress pinged my memory of a few people having fit issues. After a quick google most of the problem seems to be gaping of the neckline. 
Guys, I MADE MY FIRST TOILE. And I am SO glad I did. Had I made the dress without checking fit I would’ve been so angry!
This was my toile:

You might be able to see there’s a lot of excess fabric above the bust. I cut a size 12 which corresponded with my measurements and it fit lovely in the back and sides/bust, just a slight bagginess across the top. I consulted Instagram and Heather said it could be a hollow chest adjustment. A quick google found this post which incidentally is also an Anna which showed the same problem I had. 
I pinched and pinned the excess out and transferred it to the pattern piece:

I also reduced the sleeve width to a size 10 as they looked too big. 
The fit is so much better! Except when I made the toile I didn’t realise the bodice was so short which meant I had to use a teeny seam allowance when attaching the skirt. 

Speaking of the skirt, I didn’t have enough fabric for the Anna maxi skirt (and this fabric HAD to be a maxi dress) so I used the True Bias southport skirt and added pleats to mimic the Anna bodice. So called the Princess Anna dress because that’s exactly how I felt when I tried it on for first time!

The invisible zip is the best I’ve inserted (it’s not done all the way up the top here).

I can definitely see this won’t be my last Anna dress! I’ve been hoarding some. Rifle Paper Co fabric which would be perfect.  

Another Emery dress

I’ve only made one other Emery dress which I wasn’t keen on once I’d finished making it but I keep seeing lots of lovely ones floating around the Internet and it’s an excellent basic bodice block (trying saying that five times after a few drinks). 



I recently went to London and had a bit of a shopping spree for fabric. 


The top two are from Shaukat, who have the most fabric I’ve ever seen in one place all mostly Liberty which is slightly cheaper than the department store at £18 a metre. The last three fabrics are from the Cabbages and Roses sample sale, the plaid is the same as a shirt dress I bought myself as a well done present for having a baby (honestly any excuse to drop £££ on a dress is great in my book). The gingham I was especially pleased with as I’ve wanted to make a circle skirt dress in black and white gingham since I started dressmaking, so around 2 years. 

I’m running low on outfits that 1) fit my (now ginormous) bosom in and 2) have easy boob access for nursing so I decided to hack the emery to be suitable. 

To do this I added a button placket to the front. I originally just added two inches to the front and folded it over and topstitched it down as my usual size 4 should have fit according to the finished measurements. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. 

Queue lots of unpicking and adding a button placket separately. Whilst trying the bodice on I also noticed one of the darts needed bringing back slightly. Queue more unpicking. 

I drafted my own circle skirt using the power of the Internet which was surprisingly easy and used the emery pockets (which I use in every project that needs pockets). My fabric wasn’t wide enough so I had to cut 4 quarter circle skirts and stitch them together. I tried to match the plaid as best I could and used the best match for the front. 

I eliminated the lining as I didn’t want to try figuring out how to line the placket and just went with a bias finish. The sleeves are cut really short to give a cap sleeve effect. I also hemmed them before stitching to the bodice as I hate hemming sleeves – they’re so fiddly!

One thing I loved most about this project was that I didn’t follow any instructions so I just sewed whatever appealed to me. Dont want to sew darts? Okay I’ll sew the skirt together instead. 

The other thing I love is how well it fits, I usually avoid woven fitted dresses because I can’t be bothered to toile and fit but basting and trying on as I went worked really well. The only problem is I scooped a little too much of the neck out and it slips off my shoulders slightly. 
This blogpost was written 3 months ago and it’s taken me that long to hem it with a rolled hem (took 10 mins on overlocker) and fix the shoulder slippage. One reason I’ve waited so long is because I wasn’t sure how to adjust it, this quick and dirty fix just took two triangles out of the shoulder seam. Not pretty but it will do!

Work in progress

Well hello! Long time no blogging. Life catches up with us all, I’ve been sewing and knitting but have barely taken Instagram pictures let alone blogged about them! A lot of my time has been spent faffing with my treasures and finding places to put them in our new house. 

I made a Sew Over It Wrap dress for a friend in return for a stash of yarn she gave me. 
I finished my jeans but they need a swayback adjustment and I can’t bring myself to unpick and adjust. They look pretty good though! I made a gingham Emery and then lost a tonne of weight so it needs adjusting. 
And I also made a chambray skirt which I love and have worn constantly since making (before I managed to get photos it got baby poop and sick all over it…)
I also found the perfect mustard cardigan in M&S today. I debated for a while about buying it as I’m knitting a mustard cardigan but I’m really unhappy with my decreases. They’ve turned out bumpy and really obvious looking. I’m in that annoying place of not wanting to continue and not wanting to frog a whole sleeve. So in the pile it waits. Meanwhile I’m browsing ravelry for the jumper I really wanted to make. Will this one get finished or resigned to The Pile. Only time will tell…