Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sew over it ultimate cowl neck dress OR 'When is floral fabric too floral'..........

    So this weekend I had planned to sew a spring version of New Look 6148 in this art gallery fabric that I got on sale from Dragonfly Fabrics:

 But on Thursday I was checking my instagram feed and I saw that Sew over it had released a new dress pattern - The cowl neck dress/top

 So there ensued an inner dialogue that went something like this:

Voice A: ohhhhhh that is so pretty and feminine - you should buy it.
Voice B: The reason why this looks so good is that Lisa from Sew over it is gorgeous as well as skinny - this would look awful on you - this is not the kind of thing that you ever wear....
Voice A: Well perhaps if you made sure it was a bit more loose fitting on you, you wouldn't feel so self conscious and might actually enjoy wearing it, it is good to try new things - plus it is on offer at the moment......

  I am of course assuming that everyone has these inner dialogues and I am not coming across as a total loony! Anyway voice A won so I ordered and downloaded the pattern. It just so happened that the next day Mr Sewingsu and I both had planned a day off work and I suggested that rather than clearing out the garage we travel to Chichester for lunch (I rather hoped that we might manage to pop into a few shops too) - I had heard that C and H fabrics had a good range of fabrics and thought I might find a suitable jersey for this dress. There were lots of wonderful fabrics but the Jersey choice was not huge. I found a lovely black cotton jersey - a very slimming colour, goes with everything but not very summery and just a bit boring really! I also found a blue floral viscose jersey but it looked like it was already bobbling on the roll. Then I saw this fabric (65% viscose, 35% cotton) - nice and summery and floral's do seem to be 'in' at the moment, but was this just too floral? (I seem to remember my parents having a sofa with a similar pattern on it when I was a child). I decided to take a risk and bought 2 meters.

  The pattern was easy to print off and put together, and the instructions were clear, I was reminded however how much I hate laying out and cutting Jersey fabric! I cut a 14 on top and graded out (get me with the sewing terminology!!) to a 16 at the hip and took it up 4cm at the hem. I also decided to make a short sleeved version ready for spring/summer! I managed to get my over locker working (only with three threads but hey - at least it was working). I was eager to try my new twin needle but realized that it was for woven fabrics (despite assurances from the guy in the shop that I bought it from!) so I ended up straight stitching my hems which will be OK for the bottom hem and neckline but I may have to re-do the sleeves at some point. My tiny brain just can't seem to cope with pattern matching, so all I managed to do was make sure the pattern was centered on the front, back, and sleeve pieces.

  My littlest little one is reading 'The enormous turnip' story at school and as part of his homework we had to reenact the story so I thought I would use the opportunity to take some dress photos in the garden - I have no idea why I am leaning so heavily on the fork - I must have been feeling exhausted!!

I wonder if a mustard cardi would look good with this dress and weather I have enough of an excuse to buy one!

I think it looks OK with leggings but is also long enough to be worn without them in the warmer months.

  I am pleased with the fit and don't feel too self conscious in it - so verdicts on the floral fabric - is it too much? do I look like I'm wearing curtains?

  I can see me making a long sleeved grey version for next winter, a sleeveless black version paired with a sparkly belt for evenings out (because I have so many evenings out to attend - ha ha!), and perhaps another short sleeved one in something a bit more casual - stripes perhaps? OK so I probably won't be making one for evenings out, but if I ever find time I would like to make another version(s) of this dress.

  I couldn't resist adding an 'enormous turnip' shot.......

  Thanks for stopping by!

                         Su xx

Spring is just around the corner - Yay!!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A New Look 6148 (wearable?) muslin

  I hate the idea of making muslins - all that time wasted! And if I were to chose material that I liked to make a muslin it would probably cost nearly as much as the final garment. However after my recent 'not so great garments' I thought a muslin would be a good idea to see if I liked the style of the pattern etc plus the husband had another shirt with a worn collar ready for the bin -  I just couldn't let all that material go to waste!

  Now that all of my little people have started school I find myself working more and my preferred wardrobe choices of leggings, tunics, dresses, and skirts are not suitable. I want something comfortable, loose fitting, but smart. I have seen quite a few loose fitting woven tops that I love the look of but that have a price tag beyond my means.

  I thought Simplicity New Look 6148 might provide me with the perfect work top.

  There are quite a few variations, I particularly like the contrasting yoke options  - I think a sleeveless one for the summer would look good too. I decided to go for the longer length of view D.

  After I cut down all of the seams of the shirt I discovered that my pattern pieces didn't quite fit onto the fabric so I had to add a strip of contrasting fabric into what would be the middle of my back (rather than cut two back pieces I just cut one on the fold). I also used the hem of the shirt as my hem - partly because I am lazy and partly because I liked the curve at the side seams. I had to make the sleeves slightly shorter than the pattern requires as the plackets of the shirt sleeves were quite long.

  Construction was OK but I did panic when joining the yoke as the fabric all seemed to bunch up at the 'v'. Joining the neck binding to the neck line was also tricky (mostly because I cut one back piece on the fold and forgot to take out the seam allowances!) and has resulted in some puckering of the fabric.

 The front.......

and the back....

The fabric is very soft and drapes beautifully but the pattern on it does make me feel a little like I am wearing some kind of uniform, so I'm not sure how much of a wearable muslin it is. However I like the feel and look of the top, perhaps the shorter version in  a different fabric with some skinny trousers will be perfect for work!

  I have the 'end of holiday blues' as it has been half term this week - I love having the little people at home and not having to rush around everywhere so I am always miserable on the last day of school holidays!

        Su xx

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Up-cycled Pom Pom scarf!

  I love pom pom edged scarves like this one but they always seem so expensive in the shops and I have yet to discover one in our local charity shop.

 So I thought I might try to make one of my own. A while ago I found a hardly used Ikea single duvet set in a charity shop. The fabric was a nice open weave and I loved the scandi style pattern. It struck me that the two pillowcases opened up and sewn together with a pom pom trim added might make a great scarf!

I cut off the seams to open the pillowcases out and then attached the pom pom trim all around one pillow case edge:

 Then right sides together with the trim on the inside I stitched the two opened out pillowcases together on three sides and then turned them right side out. I probably should have hand sewn the last edge but I am lazy by nature so I just top-stitched it! The pom pom's made it slightly fiddly but nothing too tricky!

 I wasn't feeling very photogenic so I hung it on a bush to show the finished product! It really does look good when wrapped around my neck!

The cost of the whole duvet set was £3.50 so I estimate the pillowcases to be around £1 (I am planning a top or summer dress from the duvet cover!). I ended up needing nearly 5m of trim! This cost £1.20 per m so the total cost was around £7. To make it less expensive you could just use trim on each short edge, then it really would have been inexpensive!!

  During the process I dropped all my pins! It was easy to pick them up with my new magnetic pin dish, the pattern the pins made reminded me of all those science lessons using iron filings sprinkled around magnets so an impromptu discussion about magnetic fields with my biggest little person followed!


    Thanks for popping by!

              Su xx

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Knickers and up-cycling!

  In our house when the little people have something really cool to tell me they use the phrase 'Actually in real life mummy'.

  Well this week I actually in real life made actual real life knickers like the kind that you could actually in real life buy in an actual real life shop!!

  There seems to be a bit of a knicker making frenzy going on in the sewing blogosphere at the moment I was inspired by the knickers made by justsewtherapeuticLazy Daizy Jones, and Clarinda Kaleidoscope

  I bought this kit and some extra elastic on-line:

I panicked at the instructions, had a cup of tea, re-read them and got going!

It really was very simple, quick and satisfying! 

 A few weeks ago I stumbled accross the my make do and mend year blog, Jen is running a me made wardrobe challenge (#mmaw2015), there is a facebook group and a pinterest board, and I thought it sounded like fun so I joined up too!

  Reading her blog got me thinking about up-cycling and refashioning clothes, my husband was about to throw out a shirt with a stain on it and as I was in a bit of a knicker making phase I thought I would up-cycle it!!

Ta da!!

 I'm not sure how economical it is to recycle in this way as fancy knicker elastic seems to be quite expensive (if anyone finds a good quality but inexpensive supplier please do let me know!) and the result is wearable but as my husband pointed out not very sexy. I think the Seamwork Geneva Knickers could look a bit less like granny pants and I could see how you could reuse old t-shirts but add in some stretch lace/elastic........

  I'm certain that most of my neighbors already think I am bonkers so seeing me out in the garden hanging knickers from a bush and taking photos of them on a cold Sunday morning probably came as no surprise!

  Thanks for popping by!

                    Su xx

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Seamwork Manila leggings and yoga with the dog.....

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Warning: The photos in this post were taken by my 7 year old and the dog decided it would be fun to join in!!

    Thank heaven for sewing blogs! I was becoming a little downhearted until I read two experienced sewing blogs.......

  I was so excited about the Seamwork Manila leggings The tulip cuff just looked so cute and different, I thought that they would be perfect for doing yoga in. I ordered a beautiful grey cotton Jersey from Myfabrics and spent more on it than I normally would given I had never made the pattern before. I must have got a little confused when looking at all of the fabrics as when it arrived I realized it was 100% cotton and had no Lycra in it. It still just about stretched to the right amount when I measured it against the guide that came with the pattern so I went ahead and made them anyway. The instructions were clear and easy to follow (I still struggled with the cuffs like I did with the seamwork oslo but I think this is my issue rather than anything to do with the pattern). I contrast lined the cuffs with a fabric from an old t-shirt. I also managed to fix my overlocker and it didn't break again until the very last stitch!
    However I was totally dismayed to discover that they finished mid calf rather than ankle length - and couldn't for the life of me work out why! I knew I had followed the pattern, I knew I had printed it out correctly - what had gone wrong?

Another issue was that I had tried a trick I read about on another blog and replaced only one of my overlocker spools - In my excitement to get going I foolishly didn't check that I had replaced the right one, and because the 'ankle' is now mid calf there is a great deal of stretch and my mistake is very obvious.

I do love the tulip cuff so much and would love to make a functional version of these.

After this disaster I really did wonder if perhaps sewing just wasn't my thing! But then I read about Scruffy Badgers Floral leggings and the lack of stretch in her fabric meant that they were much shorter - perhaps this was also the issue with my leggings???? Any comments on where I have gone wrong are gratefully received! I have worn them for some yoga work outs and they do not have quite enough stretch, comfie enough for around the house - but perhaps better suited to warmer days when my ankles won't get so cold!! I love the pattern enough to give them another go - this time using the correct (and probably less expensive) fabric!

  In the only other clothing item I have made this year (Seamwork Oslo) I also didn't like the result and although I have worn it around the house I can't quite bring myself to wear it out anywhere. I recently read this blog by 110 creations Beth has used a similar fabric to me and has had similar issues!! - I was so relieved that my 2015 sewing disasters may not all be down to me but rather my fabric choices!

   I have bought a few patterns in the Simplicity New Look sale and have plans for a denim shift type dress, as well as trying to make a few tops I could wear for work.
  I have also enrolled in a sewing evening class and am making a pair of colette clover trousers - or as they say stateside 'pants'. I bought the pattern and fabric last summer and was never brave enough to tackle them on my own!

One out take (there were many!) My 'downward dog' with dog in situ!

  Thanks for reading!

              Su xx

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Simple blanket using vintage fabric

So far I have no successful 2015 garment makes (My seamwork manila disaster is as yet unblogged - I can't seem to find many makes of this pattern on the blogosphere yet, if anyone has made it please do comment and let me know if you had any issues).  I seem to have contracted some kind of lurgy so for this weekend I decided to make something very easy. Last year I sewed a simple blanket for my newborn niece and my daughter really wanted me to make one for her too.
    My grandma -in-law used to sew all of her own clothes and worked at a tailors in America, when my parents -in-law visit they sometimes bring back some fabric from my grandma-in-laws stash (I assume they ask her first!). Last visit one of the fabric's they brought back was this:
  It is such a pretty floral design on quilted fabric. I think it would have probably been bought to make a dressing gown (I remember my own Grandma having a dressing gown made out of similar fabric). For some reason we don't seem to wear dressing gowns much in this house so it seemed silly to use it to make one, but I knew I wanted to use it for something.
  My daughter has a cabin bed so blankets and bed covers that hang down are no good - it struck me that this quilted fabric was the perfect width for her bed. All I needed to do was back it with another fabric and she would have the blanket that she wanted! I had a cute little ditsy floral cotton in my stash that I thought would do just the job!
  One day I would love to make a proper quilt, currently I know nothing about quilting nor do I have any of the necessary equipment - I'm sure if I had some quilting knowledge It would have helped me to join the two fabric's with a professional finish. I knew it would be a bit of a risk just trying to join the two fabric's together especially as the quilted one was slightly stretchy, and I have to admit that after finishing the third side I had a 2 inch excess of the quilted fabric on one side! However amazingly I managed to join everything up with no real issues! I did wonder about bias binding the edges - I think it would look nice and neat with a contrast edging however given my 2015 sewing history I thought I should quit while I was ahead!
My daughter loved her bedtime owl peaking out from between the seams!
I was worried that the flowers on the cotton would be too bright, but I think it works well.
  I really love this fabric not only because it is so pretty but also because of it's history I am so pleased that I have been able to make something useful and beautiful, hopefully my daughter will cherish it for years to come.

  Thanks for dropping by!

             Su xx



Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Back to school and a Seamwork Oslo

So school has begun again and we are getting back into the routine of things. I always look forward to every holiday and dread the beginning of each school term, I both love and hate that my little people are growing up and I really do miss spending time with them.

  On the plus side the dog and I get to walk through the woods on the way home from dropping the little ones off at their schools, which is always lovely!


  There are even a few signs of spring:
Now onto the more important subject of sewing: Over the Christmas break I was working on the Seamwork Oslo Cardigan . When I initially saw the pattern I knew it was just my sort of thing - snuggly and loose fitting. I wanted a knitted fabric and really struggled to find one, eventually I chose this lovely light knit from plush addict.
  Now I have never sewn with this type of fabric before which is probably the first thing that went wrong. The second thing is that I have a love  hate relationship with my serger - I bought it second hand and have spent more money on having it serviced and repaired than I spent buying it originally. In fact I think it has only managed to see one project through from beginning to end! The third thing was that as I love loose fitting garments I made it in a size bigger than it should be so it is huge!
    The Instructions were easy to follow (I did struggle with the cuffs a little -  but this was more my problem rather than the instructions). Putting in the clear elastic for the shoulder seams was tricky and not at all neat, but I think the effort would have been worth it (if only the rest of the make had gone as planned!). There is an option to add buttons which also looks good, but I never wear my cardigans buttoned up so I decided not to add any.
  As I couldn't get my serger working I had to learn how to use the overlock setting on my sewing machine so at least I learnt from the experience!

  Here is the finished result - please excuse my awful selfies in the only mirror in the house that you can see your whole body in (I think I need to invest in a remote for the camera, as well as clean the mirror! - oops!!) The photo's give it a bit of an orange hue, it is more of a pinky colour in real life. Given all that went wrong if I had stuck to the right size I think it would be more wearable - as it is I feel like I am wearing a dressing gown.

  I really am disappointed as the fabric was so soft and pretty and I feel it has been a bit of a waste - still I have learnt new things and as the saying goes 'onwards and upwards' (hopefully)
      Thanks for dropping by!
            Su xx