Saturday, 13 July 2019

Musings on Stress, grief, and a Seamwork Clarke

  A few weeks ago I spoke to my husbands Aunt, she's a straight talking lady and she said 'well its been a *bleep* couple of years, I'm sorry but there's no other way to say it'. And I can't think of any other way to sum it up. As well as all of the normal stresses of life I've had some pretty bad health issues, and for different reasons two of the children have had a really rough time at school. But all of these things pale into insignificance - just over two years ago we lost my mother in law and earlier this year lost my mum very unexpectedly. They were both great champions of my sewing, they both read my blog and commented on the things I made, frequently asking about what I was making and what would I be making next. My mum had even started sewing again and made some great garments, we buried her in a beautiful maroon pinafore she had lovingly made. I have some amazing friends but at times I still feel terribly alone. Life can be cruel and fragile, and is so very precious, this quote from After Life says it all -

   It is difficult sometimes but I try my hardest to see the beauty in things and to make a mental note of all of the good things that happen, I remind myself daily of how much I have to be grateful for.

  Anyway enough of the serious chat and on to some sewing! Despite neglecting my blog I have still been sewing - you can catch up on what I've been doing on my Instagram account @sewingsu. I haven't managed much in the last few months but am now determined to work on reducing my stash.

  I am a member of Seamwork and when they released the Clarke I knew it was something that I would wear.

  The straps are wide enough to hide bra straps but the neckline isn't too high. It comes up very short which isn't my style at all so I cut the longest length and then added 3 inches to the length as well.

  I used a beautiful light and floaty linen. I think I bought it many years ago at one of the knitting and stitching shows. It really is a lovely fabric, drapes really well, very light but not see through - perfect for the summer (assuming the nice weather continues).

  The pattern instructions were great - you could definitely make it even as a beginner. Construction was fine, although I did mess up the back 'v' so it is a rounded neckline - which actually looks OK.

  Initially I wasn't terribly happy with the outcome. The front was way too low for me, I must have weird shoulders and it seemed like the top was constantly pulling itself down even lower.

I am attempting to show how low the top is on me without exposing too much!!

Showing the accidental rounded back (excuse the yukky arms!). I honestly did iron it before taking the photos - but linen is as linen does.

I was feeling a bit sad that I probably wouldn't ever wear it, when I had the brainwave to just wear it backwards! 

Problem solved!

 No cleavage, even bending over!

I think the back looks quite good with a deep 'v'.

  I often find that tops like this gape at the arms on me - but no gaping here! Another Yay!!

  So all's well that ends well - Perfect!

  I saw this jumpsuit in Fatface recently - I love it but not the £69 price tag. I have some lovely black linen in my stash and I think the Peppermint jumpsuit (its a FREE download!) might be the perfect pattern.........

Thanks for stopping by

  Su xx

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Lou Box Dress 1

Hello from a very rainy south coast!

  I must apologise for the quality of these photos. I really wanted to get this blog post done today but the weather wasn't good for taking photos plus my photographer was not very enthusiastic!

Sew DIY recently released two new dress patterns. I was really taken by Lou box dress 1

  It is a basic boxy dress but with a cocoon shape, a high low hem and short sleeves or 3/4 length. You can make it in a woven or a knit fabric, and it has either patch pockets or in seam pockets.

  I used a brushed cotton I bought from Miss Matatabi at the same time as the cord I used for my last Cleo dungaree dress. I originally bought it to make a Fen dress but the fabric was thicker than I thought it would be.

  Construction was easy, the instructions were great and everything came together well. It has a faced hem which I am not used to but I like as it gives a good weight to the bottom of the dress. The woven version is a little short - I wouldn't wear it without leggings, so would need to add length for the summer. The knit version is longer as you add a hem band. The only thing I don't like is the sleeve length, they are not really 3/4 length but a weird elbow length - I think it would be easy to add length and correct this problem.

I am really pleased with the finished dress, it is super cosy for winter and I could easily wear a long sleeved top underneath for colder days.

I chose in seam pockets rather than patch pockets.

Trying to show the hem line!

The photos look better on Instagram - you can check them out here Sewingsu

I hope it is less wet wherever you are!

Thanks for stopping by!

        Su xx

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Last makes of 2017

Well it's been a bit of a sparse blogging year for me! I have been busy with life and have not sewn as much as last year and blogged even less of what I have sewn. I have however been sewing slower and enjoying the little details rather than rushing everything through and I have challenged myself with a few of my makes.

  So before we say goodbye to 2017 I thought I had better squeeze in one last blog.

First up is V9136. My first coat! Wow what a learning curve!

  Even though the pattern says 'very easy' I didn't find it totally straight forward and the end product is not perfect. I did enjoy making it and certainly learnt a lot. One of the issues I had was finishing the seams. I had visions of beautifully bound inside seams and had bought some silky gold bias binding. Certain sections of the seams were so bulky I was unable to bind them or overlock them so I ended up trying to use the zigzag stitch on my sewing machine or hand sewing in places - it does the job but doesn't look pretty. If anyone has any tips they would be gratefully received! 
    The coat is supposed to be loose fitting but mine is definitely on the large side, if I were to make it again I would go down a size. With all that said I am still proud of making my first coat and I have been wearing it on non-rainy days - I especially like the large collar it is so cozy! Will I make another coat? - Yes definitely but probably not until next year!

I took these photos outside Kensington Palace - My mum, sister, daughter and I had a girly day out to see the Diana dress exhibition. They are amazing and well worth a visit.

The fabric is a wool and acrylic mix, nice and snuggly but not itchy at all.

As you can see I need to shorten the belt.

My very last project of 2017 was a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dungaree dress. The fabric was bought months ago in a Miss Matabi sale (the postage cost was nearly as much as the fabric!) It is a gorgeous needle cord and I fell in love with the forest animal print.  I have made two previous Cleo's so the construction was straight forward and I managed to get it made in time for Christmas day at my parents (and have been wearing it nearly constantly since then).

The top I am wearing is a Plaintain made with sparkly gold jersey.

I didn't want the stress of pattern matching on the front so didn't put on any front pockets at all. I can't face making something without pockets so just added back hip pockets - I am pretty pleased with the pattern matching I achieved.

Anyway 'that's a wrap' as they say!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2018!!

Thanks for stopping by


Sunday, 1 October 2017

Leisel & Co Gallery tunic

Hi Guys! I can't believe its been so long since I last wrote a blog post. I have been sewing (not as much as I would have liked) but as always life gets in the way.

  My latest make is very Autumn appropriate - the Leisel & Co Gallery tunic and dress. This was my first time adding a dart to a pattern as well as doing a full bust adjustment, sewing a placket and any type of collar. The instructions were fantastic - in fact I would go as far as to say that they are the best pattern instructions that I have come across. I was expecting the make to be a little tricky, but thanks to the instructions it was a breeze! This is actually my wearable muslin and is a lovely cotton lawn that I have had in my stash almost since the beginning of the stash!

 Not a great photo of the placket and collar but you get the idea. I used a contrast fabric for the inside of the collar.

I thought I might struggle with the curve of the hem but again thanks to the instructions and tips it was fine.

I think this will be a versatile layering garment for the autumn and winter, great with jeans/jeggings and boots. 

  Thanks for stopping by - hopefully it won't be as long next time!

     Su xx

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Simple sew cocoon dress

 I've had a stressful few weeks so haven't been sewing much. To get back into things again I thought I would go for something easy. I had the Simple sew cocoon dress pattern so decided to give it a go. I used a browny/beige linen I bought at the knitting and stitching show last year. I bought it to make trousers with and to be honest I think the thickness of the fabric would work better as trousers - but I still love the dress! I think it will be perfect for cooler summer days and in autumn with leggings/tights.

I used contrast top stitching on the center front seam.

Liberty facings and pocket linings

I am pleased to have found a neck line that is not too high but not too low. I work with animals and I am constantly bending over and stretching  so can't have a low neck line - this dress will be perfect for work wear.

Thanks for stopping by!

          Su xx

Sunday, 23 April 2017

My perfect top (x2) and simple sew pleated culottes (x1)

    We have been busy over the Easter holidays with visitors and day trips. The weather has been amazing, hardly a drop of rain and really quite warm for the time of year. I haven't had has as much time as I would like to sew and much of what little time I had was spent on some disastrous trousers now stuffed in a cupboard (one day when the pain has subsided I may blog about them). After the disastrous pair I was still determined to make trousers and thought something a little looser fitting may be just the thing. I always hated culottes as a child and vowed never to wear them again - however I have been seeing a few lovely pairs on the web/ in shops and thought I would give them another chance! I decided on this pattern (mainly because it had it in my stash as it was free with a magazine):

   They would have been straight forward if I hadn't sewn the pockets on the wrong way up (BOTH sides and TWICE!!!!!!!!), and bought the wrong type of zip - it all took much longer than it should have done but I am so pleased with the result! I used a gorgeous grey linen from my stash.

  They are perhaps the only item of clothing that I own which that I would actually wear a t-shirt tucked in! They are really comfie, although I think I may need some extra room behind (I must find out how to do a full butt adjustment for the next pair).

  I am pleased with my invisible zip - I found it odd that the instructions had you place the top of the zip half way down the waistband, I think it is supposed to be a design feature and actually I rather like it but i'm not sure if other people will look at it and think I just haven't finished them properly.

  I have been on the search for my perfect summer t-shirt that I can wear to work. I need it to be something high enough at the neckline for it not to be indecent when I am leaning forward but not too high as I hate things around by throat area. It needs to be loose enough to move around/lean over etc but I didn't want it to look like a sack! I love the boxy kimono sleeved tops that are around at the moment but wanted to find one that had bust darts to add some shape. Jo of Three stories high had made some lovely kids t-shirts from an old issue of Ottobre magazine, I asked her which issue it was and decided to buy a back copy of it, when ordering it, on a whim I decided to get the most recent women's issue too - and I am so glad I did!!  I love the style of the garments in the magazine generally but when I turned a page to find a kimono sleeved top with bust darts I was delighted.

  I have to say that tracing the pattern is very difficult (worse than Burda!). You have to add seem allowances which I did by sellotaping two pens together for a 1cm seem allowance. Construction was straight forwards, the pattern is very economical fabric wise and I used left over linen from my culottes to make the first top:

  I loved it so much I went straight ahead and made a second with some cotton I purchased at the knitting and stitching show:

The fabric was more of a quilting weight cotton so I think I will make another in a lighter tana lawn (perhaps a Liberty print I have been saving).

  I have a few busy work weeks ahead plus I need to make some alterations to a nightshirt I made my Dad for Christmas (said night shirt has been languishing on my sewing table and is impatiently giving me a hard stare whenever I am near!). Hopefully I will squeeze some selfish sewing in as well....

  Thanks for stopping by!

            Su xx

Monday, 10 April 2017

Sew me something Kate X 2

I have been looking for the perfect simple dress pattern, something understated but with a bit of interest. I spied the Sew me something Kate dress and bought it a while ago. There are several variations that make it suitable for every season. I had dreams of a linen summer version and finally got round to making it out of a lovely purple linen/cotton blend. I chose the version with cute puffed sleeves and a little gather at the front neckline.

 Initially I was really disappointed - it was so large that the bust darts were waist height and I had to take it in by 1.5cm at the side seams and shoulders (stupidly I didn't try it on until after I had set in the sleeves!) With all of the alterations and repeated trying on I managed to stretch out the neckline all in all a disaster - or so I thought.....

  Since making it I have worn it loads!!!! I love the colour, the sleeves and especially the contrast bias binding. It is really comfortable and although I have now decided that gathers at the neckline really don't suit me I still think I will get lots of wear over the summer.

  I decided to give the pattern another chance and made a version without a gather at the neckline. I chose a gorgeous Koi carp patterned linen/cotton blend that I bought ages ago from Ditto fabrics. This fabric needed a very simple pattern so I chose the non- bound sleeve option and used the same fabric as the dress for the neck line binding.

  I love the result!!!!

Excuse the odd pose - I'm not quite sure what was going on!!!!

Today as it was a little cooler than at the weekend this is how I wore it:

  Both ways of wearing it are very 'me' and I think this dress will be worn as often as possible!!

  Thanks for stopping by!

        Su xx