Wednesday, 25 June 2014

By Hand London Anna Part 1

I knew when I saw the By Hand London Anna Dress that I wanted, at some point, to make it but I also know that where sewing for my self is concerned I have eyes bigger than my tummy!  I held off buying the pattern until April when I was gearing up for MMM and finally doing some selfish sewing, but even then I didn't make it a priority as a) I didn't know what fabric to use and b) while I love a good dress in the summer the reality is that I wear them for 1 month of the year and spend the rest of the time shivering in varying combinations of leggings/skirts/tops/cardigans so sewing separates makes a lot more sense.

However, I bought this fabric on my trip to Goldhawk Road and it was screaming summer dress at me!  It is quite light and I was worried about it being see through but as long as the light isn't directly behind it seems to be fine.

I made this dress just before I left for my holiday a couple of weeks ago and I was determined to get it finished in time.  Construction wise this went together really well.  I didn't particularly follow the pattern instructions as I was working on autopilot so did a couple of things differently, in particular the order of zip insertion and adding the neck facing but the end result is the same.  I french seamed the entire dress so the innards look lovely and pretty.

Fit wise, it's not perfect but since I didn't bother to make a muslin (I never do!) what should I expect!  It's not terrible either and since making this I have worn it 5 times so I am not complaining.  Both the neckline and the back gape quite a bit, and the front pleats could do with lowering by a couple of centimetres.  I took about 1.5 centimetres out of the back either side of the zip but didn't try to alter the front.  I have actually started making a top version of this with those changes in and so far it seems to be going well.

Overall I am really happy with this dress and I love wearing it.  I'm looking forward to seeing how my Anna top comes out but first I've got to finish some overdue gift sewing.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Last Minute Holiday Essentials

Because what everybody needs to be doing the night before a very early morning flight is making a new crochet bag.

Please excuse the terrible pictures, they were taken at night
In my defence (why do I feel the need to justify my sewing?!!) I didn't have anything suitable to carry a small crochet project in except a carrier bag and I felt it would be against nature to put something handmade in something so plasticky and disposable.

This little drawstring bag is heavily influence by the bag in the Oliver & S book "Little Things to Sew".  I couldn't be bothered, at 11.00pm, to trace the pattern so I just eyeballed the fabric and cut it out and used a baked bean can to round off the corners.  Very technical.  Also, I think the bag in the book may be lined and this isn't.

In a further fit of laziness I didn't make a separate channel for the drawstring to go through, instead I folded twice and topstitched having already put in some buttonholes for the ribbon to pass through.  It just about works but would have been neater had I spent the extra time and effort.  Oh well.

The fabrics are both home dec weight and came from The Village Haberdashery and I bought them with the intention of making a new work bag for myself but I haven't got round to doing anything about that yet.

I am really happy with my new little crochet bag.  It fulfils its function admirably and I did feel happier knowing that should my bags be searched at the airport my crochet would be happily tucked away in a smart new bag!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Green Bee Patterns Sally Playsuit

I bought this fabric from The Village Haberdashery almost a year ago because I thought it would be perfect for Élodie (it is from Tula Pink's Salt Water collection) but after I bought it I didn't know what to do with it.  She has enough dresses at the moment and somehow I couldn't see it as a top, it felt too special.  When I found this pattern I felt it would be the perfect combination.

This is the Sally Romper by Green Bee Patterns in size 4.  For reference Élodie is 4 and currently wears a 3-4 in most RTW.  I hope this has enough space in it to last next year too, as this really is only a summer garment and, let's face it, British summers last for 2 days!

I only bought 1 metre of this fabric, which I am kicking myself for.  I have got so used to buying 1 metre and it being enough, I now need to adjust to my baby being a big girl now!  I know there is a lot that can be made with just 1 metre, but this was pushing it.  The inside yoke facings are made from a coordinating print and the pockets are made from the same fabric I used to make this top:

Sailboat Top by Oliver & S
As I only had 1 metre and the pattern calls for more than that I couldn't try to pattern match, but I did try to make sure the pattern fell at the same level on all the pieces. I did have to decapitate a few octopuses (octopi?) along the way but it couldn't be helped!

I decided to put poppers down the front out of sheer laziness because although Élodie can get herself dressed I felt that emergency toilet breaks would be a lot easier with poppers!

I am really pleased with how this turned out and I think Élodie is too!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Chevron Baby Blanket

As a lifelong knitter I have had an irrational fear of crochet for a long time.  For some reason it felt unnatural to be using one needle (okay, hook) when there should be two.  Recently though I have gone off knitting and have not been able to put my finger on why, perhaps it is because it is slow compared to sewing or because I have had a couple of failed projects.  However, I still needed something to do whilst watching television so I decided to try the unnatural and see if I could do it.  I got hooked (excuse the pun!).

I started with some granny squares and am in the middle of crocheting a giant granny square blanket for my bed.  I made a hat, and gradually got more confident.  So when some friends of ours were getting near their due date I decided to try making a crochet baby blanket.

I used a tutorial from Attic24 for a ripple blanket.  The instructions are so clear and each stage is really well described and photographed.  I used two and a bit balls each of Ice Blue and Light Grey Rico Baby Classic (DK) from Wool Warehouse and a 3.5mm hook.  I started with a foundation chain of 115 chains and this has made a nice pram sized blanket.  I didn't know the gender of the baby beforehand so choose these colours because I like them and I think they are quite calm colours.

I am really pleased with how this turned out, it was relatively quick to make and surprisingly I didn't get bored halfway through, which is a good thing as I am just about to start a second for another new baby!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Mini Skaters 10 & 11

More summer sewing for Élodie!

I actually make about 85% of Élodie's clothes with the rest being made up of hand-me-downs (less frequent now), gifts and occasional charity shop clothes (only occasional because being the only granddaughter/niece on one side of the family she is bought quite a lot!).  Now that she is 4 I have found that I don't have to make her clothes so often as things don't get grown out of so quickly.  For example she has some trousers/shorts which actually say 2-3 on the label but still fit her waist, they are just a bit shorter than they used to be.  

However, I realised I was coasting along last summer making a couple of bits for her but the majority of her summer clothes were from the year before, or the year before that.  So I have suddenly been hit with a very depleted summer selection, hence my panic sewing!

A few weeks ago I let Élodie choose some fabric from Kitschy Coo and I have to say I was rather impressed with her choice.  She chose two patterned fabric and two coordinating stripes with very little input from me!

Copying her mother's favourite MMM pose!

 Her first choice was this lovely whale fabric because both the colours and the whales themselves reminded her of the Octonauts!  For the top I lengthened the Skater pattern to make it into a t-shirt length (I added 13cm to the bottom) and squared it off then used the stripes to make the bindings.  Very straight forward.  I made this in a 3-4 which is still fitting her well.  For the skirt I used Amanda's tutorial to make a tennis skirt.  I cut out a 5-6 but did a smaller waistband so the skirt looks a bit more gathered than it should.  It worked, I'm happy!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
Her second choice was these amazing rainbow coloured fish, again because of the Octonaut connotation.  I had originally intended to make a peplum top (tutorial here) but realised with only half a metre of each fabric I didn't have enough.  Instead I used the skirt pieces from the dress pattern and cut it off half way down.  The back skirt section is cut upside down but I don't think it will notice unless you are looking really hard!  Again I used the coordinating stripe to make the bindings.

The shorts are Go To Leggings size 4 in short length.  I have made these leggings up a few times and they are brilliant, a really useful pattern to have and one which, I am sure, will get used almost as much as the Skater dress.


So, two more outfits done over two evenings.  I have a few more things in the pipeline for Élodie which I hope to have done in the next couple of weeks and then it is back to selfish sewing for a while.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Mimi et Clémence

Mimi avec un design feature, multicoloured buttons! 

I decided to use some of my Goldhawk Road fabrics to make myself a MMM final day outfit and since Tilly's book had just arrived through the post what better place to find a pattern.  I started with the Mimi Blouse which I made out of this grey fabric with tiny, bright flowers all over it.

I made a straight size 4 without making a muslin and the fit is perfect.  I am in love with this blouse, so much so that I wore it for 3 days in a row after MMM!  It does not photograph well and I struggled to get any decent pictures of it, but I love it anyway.

The pattern is extremely well drafted and the instructions are very thorough.  There isn't really much more to say about it, I made this over two nights whilst watching something rubbish and finished it before I realised it!  I love it and loved making it so much there are definitely going to be more of these in my life soon.

Stand normally....
Next up I decided to use my favourite fabric bought from Goldhawk Road, the yellow eyelet.  I think in my hast to make a "last day outfit" I did not think this skirt through properly.  The skirt is the Clémence pattern from "Love at First Stitch" and while I think this skirt would be beautiful made in a lighter fabric, it just doesn't suit me made in eyelet which is actually thicker than I thought it would be.

I lined the skirt in a pale lemon cotton and whilst I still feel it does need some lining, I didn't need to make the lining the exact replica of the outer fabric.  There is so much fabric gathered into the waistband that it flares out a lot.  I also made the skirt too long and I felt swamped in fabric and quite uncomfortable wearing it.  I did wear it for a whole day and I still love the fabric but I just feel like I have not done either the pattern or the fabric justice.

Posing still leaves a lot to be desired!
All is not lost though.  As I left the skirt so long I think I will be able to remake this into (hopefully) a dress, or if not a more fitted skirt.  I bought 2 metres of this and I still have a fair chunk uncut so I hope to start working on plan B very soon!

Goodbye little skirt, it was fun to make you!
Before I do that I have to make some more summer clothes for Élodie.  I am quite enjoying selfish sewing at the moment though!