Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Me Made May 2015

I love Me Made May, the brainchild of the very lovely Zoe.  This will be my third year taking part and I also started my blog during May last year so I will be celebrating my one year blogiversary mid-way through!  Last year I pledged to wear one me made item for six days a week during May which I felt was a challenge before hand but actually I managed the whole month fine and although there were repeats I didn't feel like I was wearing the same thing every day for a month.

Me Made May 2014

In the year since last May I have barely sewed anything for my daughter and consequently my wardrobe is looking much fuller!  So I have been putting a lot of thought into my pledge for this year.  Zoe, in her pointers has said "IT IS A CHALLENGE and not meant to be easy or what you do usually" so I do need to up the ante from last year but at the same time I think May might be a challenging month for me already this year so I don't want to make it impossible for myself.

I currently wear me made most days, I haven't bought any new clothes for myself (with the exception of underwear, tights and socks) for well over a year, probably since the end of 2013 but I do have clothes that were bought before this and a couple of second hand cardigans.

My biggest guilt when it comes to sewing is my stash.  I stress buy fabric.  The stressier life gets the more fabric I accumulate, and the last year or so hasn't been completely stress free soooooo I have an embarrassingly large amount of fabric.  Which actually makes my conscience uncomfortable as I would like to be living more sustainably and using fabrics from better sources.  

So as I do not want to sell my fabric I would like to use this month to seriously sort through my guilty habit, sort through mine and my daughter's wardrobes and try and match gaps with fabric and make a sort of plan moving forwards.  Not too much of a plan because that can cause it's own stresses and for me and most of us sewing is my hobby, my therapy, my stress reliever and I don't want anything to come in the way of that!

I would also like to spend some time in May making more underwear for myself and try and only wear me made knickers and the same for my daughter.  We already have a week's worth each but I think ideally we need two weeks worth, or I need to do laundry more often!

 'I, Jenna of Just Sew Jenna, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear clothes (including knickers but not bras or tights) made by or refashioned by me each day for the duration of May 2015.  I also pledge to try and match up gaps in my and my daughter's wardrobe with fabric and patterns already in my possession.'

I am so looking forward to the beginning of May and seeing everyone's lovely clothes everyday on Flickr and Instragram, I've got a couple of photographers primed and ready to go!  The only thing left to do is make sure I've got some clean clothes to wear!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Bronte Top and Barry Pants!

I have had this post written and almost ready to go for well over a week!  I thought I would finish it on holiday but had no internet (I survived - just!) and now my laptop has broken...future posts may be sporadic for a bit until I talk it into turning on again!

I have been meaning to make this top for ages and I am so glad I have, I'm in love!  It is, of course, the Bronte Top from Jennifer Lauren Vintage which I bought as part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel a while ago.

This fabric choice for this top was completely inspired by Anna's version and Zoe, who I had a conversation with about fabric choices ages ago.   I bought the stripe fabric off eBay as an auction probably a year ago.  I got 7m for not very much at all so I gave some away to people I thought would appreciate it and was left with about 2m. I am not sure of the content but I don't have any hopes of it being natural!  I thought it would be a good first choice for a pattern I have not tried before, and it is actually perfect for it albeit a bit staticky!

I opted to go for short sleeves because I do not actually own any short sleeve tops except wovens.  It is at times like this I question my wardrobe choices but all of that is for a different post because I am shortly to post about my MMM'15 pledge!  I will, however, be making some long sleeved ones for next winter - I do love a long sleeved t-shirt!

I made absolutely no changes to the pattern and I love the fit as it is.  It feels very flattering and, like the Bonnie Sweater, the shoulders fit exactly how I would want them to.  The only slight deliberation I had was sewing down the envelope neck and worrying about how it should sit.  Once I stopped worrying and actually sewed it how it looked best once it was on all problems were removed.  This is excellent news for those of us who may be less than symmetrical.  When I had finished making this I realised that both shoulders are sewn at different points but when on, it looks right.  I used three anchor buttons on each side which I just happened to have lurking in my button tin.  They are pretty useless as functional buttons so perfect for a decorative finish like this.

I loved this top and making it so much that I went on to make another two. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get proper photos of these yet but I am sure they will get an outing during MMM'15!  The first was made using some unspeakably awesome puffin jersey from KitschyCoo which appears to be out of stock now.  It is especially apt as the Child and I are reading Polly and the Puffin at the moment!  I bound the neck in Art Gallery Knits in Sahara from The Village Haberdashery, mainly bought because it would coordinate with my next version which is made using a Petal and Plume knit (also from The Village Haberdashery) which unfortunately also appears to be out of stock!  Both knits are lovely quality, the puffins being ever so slightly firmer.  All three tops are so nice to wear and will be in heavy rotation this spring/summer.

While I was cutting out my first Bronte top, Amanda at KitschyCoo released her Barrie Boy Cut Briefs pattern which I snapped up immediately.  I thought I would love this shape of pant as I love the junior version so much on the Child and I am a fan of big pants anyway!  So while I had the stripy jersey and red jersey out I thought I might as well make a matching top/pant combo which is definitely the way forward!  If I'd had the time I would have done this for the puffin and feather knits too!

The fits of these pants is almost perfect on me - I seem to need a bit more rise around the back where my back dips in and it gapes a bit but otherwise I am happy!  With this and Zoe's knicker pattern I feel I am set for life now!  I have plans to make a bikini using the Watson Bra for the top and these for the bottoms.  I have the fabric and most of the notions ready and waiting, now all I need is time and inclination!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Tilly and the Buttons Lacy Coco - For Mum!

My Mum got a new overlocker for her Christmas present but, although I have been reliably informed that she has had it out of the box and got it threaded correctly, she hasn't actually made anything using it yet.  Part of that is confidence (she has a degree in textiles and taught me how to sew when I was younger!) so while she was staying with me over Easter we made a Coco top together.

We chose some fabrics from Stone Fabrics and Mum really liked the stretch lace, so we decided to use that for the sleeves to make a pretty summery top.  There was enough lace left over after cutting the sleeves so we used that for the yokes too, I think this looks really effective and joins the two fabrics together nicely.

For the yokes, we cut out the front and backs from the blue jersey, then laid the lace yokes on top.  These were then stitched down around the armholes and neckline using a straight stitch - attaching the two fabrics and stay stitching at the same time - then zig zagged the lace along the raw edge.  After we had attached the sleeves the line of overlocking was visible against the lace so we pressed it towards the top then topstitched, which looks really neat.

We then made a neckband for the top instead of turning and stitching.  This makes the lace feel more securely attached and I do prefer the look of it, although the top is less boat necked now.  It actually took two attempts to attach the neckband, the first one was slightly too long and looked wobbly but it didn't take long to take it off and cut a new, shorter one.

 This is what Mum has to say:  "I couldn't have had a better tutor to help me through the process of using knitted fabrics for the first time.  Tilly's pattern and instructions were also very well prepared for a first timer, and the top has come out exactly as it was in my head - quel surprise!  I am so pleased with my top, plus I have the confidence to go back home and make myself some more, but best of all it was a great Mother/Daughter bonding session :)"

Mum has bought some other new fabrics to take back to Switzerland with her and I am really looking forward to seeing what she makes of them.  I'm also looking forward to some more Mum poses like this one!!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Refashion - Ladies Top to Child Playsuit

As I said in my previous post I recently bought three items of clothes from a charity shop with a view to refashioning them all, and this one is number two!  This top caught my eye because of the fabric and as much as I really wanted to make something for me with it I knew the Child would love it!  She has always been quite good at identifying birds and loves blue tits and owls in particular.

I did not use any original features of this top, except the bottom hem, and instead cut it up to harvest it for the fabric.  The pattern I based the finished playsuit on is Butterick 3259 from 1985, so I guess this counts as one of my Vintage Pattern Pledges too, which means I have sewed three items from vintage patterns so far this year!

The pattern has a lot of options all revolving around an elasticated bodice with spaghetti straps.  I made a lot of changes to this.  The bodice was seamed both front and back due to the choice of fabric and there is a funny seam on the back leg pieces where I had to cut those bits out over an existing seam.  There are 6 panels in the lower section of the top so cutting out was challenging!  As I said, I did manage to use the original hem for the bottom of the shorts.  

Instead of sewing a channel to feed the elastic through for the bodice and waist I used shirring elastic, I just prefer the look and ease of it on a garment like this.  I am considering making a dress version of this for our upcoming holiday and would do the same on that.  I also altered the straps from thin spaghetti style ones to thick ones which I cut out from the sleeves. I just prefer the look of them, and I think they will last better!

There really was not a lot of fabric left when I had finished making this, and it was actually a very quick make, once I had finished faffing around trying to find the best place to cut things out!  It has certainly gone down very well with the Child, she refused to take it off after I had finished taking the photos!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Refashion: Skirt and Blouse to Ilsley Dress

I do love a bit of charity shop shopping but I haven't seen anything (clothes or fabric wise) for a while until I went to my local fantastic shop and bought three things for £5 with the intention of refashioning them all, so this is the first of, hopefully, three posts with refashions in!

This started out life as a blouse and elasticated skirt combo made from viscose.  I like the colours and the print and could see that there was enough fabric to do something with.  I am off on my hols soon and need a beach cover up style dress so that was where I started.

Marilla has just released a free pattern so I thought I would combine two ideas and use that for the skirt portion of the dress.  In hindsight I think I should have left the pockets out because the fabric is extremely soft and drapey and I am not 100% convinced that they work but they are there and will probably prove invaluable in a beach dress!  As usual for all of Marilla's patterns, the skirt was brilliantly drafted and is finished really nicely, although I confess to skipping the french seamed pockets and just used my overlocker!  I really love the shaped hem and can't wait to make the skirt again "properly".

For the top portion, I started by checking the bust darts which were roughly at the right height, but the whole blouse was much too wide.  I took the sleeves off and the sides in, using french seams to keep it looking the same as the skirt, but then realised I had baggy underarms!  I seamed together the lower section of the armhole opening which made the blouse slightly too narrow across the front, so this is now stitched closed to prevent gaping.  The armholes are finished in bias binding and with the side french seams the insides look nice and neat.

To attach the top to the skirt I simply ran a line of gathering stitches along the top of the skirt, sewed the two together, overlocked the seam and then zigzagged some elastic onto the seam allowance for shaping.  I had toyed with the idea of adding a waistband section but I didn't want to overcomplicate things and really I just wanted a simple pull-on dress, which is what I've ended up with!

I am really happy with my charity shop purchase.  It cost me £2 to buy, I used very little other materials to change it (some elastic, thread and bias binding) and I now have a wearable dress out of recycled fabric.  That makes me very pleased!  I am midway through my next refashion so hopefully I can get some pics of that very soon.