Thursday, 25 June 2015

TATB Lilou Skirt and Marilla Sailor Top!

Back in April I made a Lilou Dress from Tilly's book Love at First Stitch.  I have so far made the Delphine Skirt (twice), the Mimi Blouse, the Clémence Skirt and the Megan Dress (just the pyjamas to go then!).  When I made the Clémence skirt I ended up unpicking it and changing it to the Megan dress because I felt the fabric wasn't right for the pattern.  While that was true, I just don't think the pattern suited me - too many gathers around already curvy hips!  A similar thing has happened with the Lilou dress.  While I really, really like the pattern and have seen plenty of great ones on other people I just don't think it is the pattern for me and I am really okay with that because if we all had the same taste, the same shape, the same style the world would be a very boring place with far fewer sewing patterns to try!

So after canvassing opinion on Instagram I decided to go with the minority vote and take the bodice off and turn it into a skirt.  And oh my word I am in love with my new skirt!!  This is the best skirt ever!  This is the shape I was looking for when I made the Clémence, I love the flat front and the pleats to the side, the length is perfect for me and the only thing I will change when I make it next time, and there will be lots of next times, is to add pockets.  

The fabric I used for the dress is Robert Kaufman chambray in indigo from The Village Haberdashery, bought in the January sale.  This fabric is a lovely weight in the perfect indigo colour with a slight sheen on the surface.  I knew when I bought it that I wanted to make a chambray dress so in hindsight I should have made a muslin first but since I love my skirt so much I forgive myself!  What I am not so happy about is that I lined the bodice in the last of my beagle print cotton that I used for my bag last year.  I have kept the bodice just in case I have a bright idea about it but I am sad about those beagles.

I used the waistband from the Delphine skirt as I know it fits me well, but added an extension to the back and put a trouser hook and bar thingy in.  I changed the zip from a concealed one to a normal one but didn't want to unpick the whole seam so as a result the zip is really visible but actually, whatever!  It is functional so it's staying!  I am wearing it with my top tucked in here to show the waistband but I prefer it with my tops untucked, it is the perfect skirt to wear with all my brontes and I have plans for more summery sleeveless tops too, if the weather improves enough to warrant it!

While I was on my sewing binge last week I also made a Marilla Walker Sailor Top.  This is a one size free top that Marilla released last year and I have been meaning to make ever since.  As I loved Marilla's version so much I went right ahead and copied it, using exactly the same fabric which we bought at the same time (or rather, I bought because I liked hers).  I am such a sheep!

The top was really quick to make, I had it cut out and sewn in an evening with a fair amount of faffing around at the same time.  As usual for Marilla's patterns it is finished really neatly on the inside.  The neck line is finished with ribbon for stability and neatness and I really like this part of it.  I chose a nautical-ish ribbon to be in keeping with the rest of the top. I also love the underarm gussets which I thought were going to be complicated to sew having never sewn gussets before but they were really easy.  Also gussets is such a good word!

After I and finished sewing the top I tried it on with my new skirt and felt it was slightly too long for the silhouette I was after.  I shortened it by turning the hem up and hand sewing it as I am a bit scared of the length, or lack of, and didn't want to commit to it permanently!  I love it with this skirt but may lengthen it again to wear with trousers in the autumn.  

I feel like I have got a lot of sewing done lately.  I had put it down to my new sewing configuration, with my machines permanently on a desk in the sitting room it is easy to just snatch a few minutes here and there when I am supposed to be doing something else and in the evening I actually feel like I am spending time with my husband while I am sewing instead of tucking myself away on my own.  However when looking through my blog posts from this time last year I noticed I did quite a bit then so maybe it is a summer thing!  How is everyone else's sewing at the moment, is June a productive month?

Look how happy I am with my new outfit!  Cheeeeese!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Oliver & S Fieldtrip T-Shirt and Sunny Day Shorts

As part of my mission to replenish the Child's empty wardrobe I have made her a few new things recently.  She is short of everything at the moment and it is a bit hard to know where to start but since I made her a new dress earlier in the month I decided to go for some more casual things.  For all three items I used Oliver & S patterns which I cannot recommend enough.  The instructions are brilliant, the drafting is brilliant, they are just brilliant!  I don't have a lot of them but the ones I do have I tend to used a lot to get my monies worth. 

When we moved house in May I discovered bags and bags of things which I thought had been taken to a charity shop five years ago.  I was having a quick look through last week and found a few of my old dresses and trousers with plenty of life left in them so decided to start with a dress and turn it into a pair of shorts.  I used the free Sunny Day Shorts pattern which I used last year using a pair of my Mum's old trousers for the fabric.  This time I made a size bigger (size 5) and didn't bother to alter the pattern at all (no pockets - yay no sticky mess in the washing machine!!).  The only thing I did was to add the original bow from the front of the dress.  This pattern is so brilliantly straight forward but so useful, I said last time I would make loads of these and I really would, if I was a less selfish individual!  As it is I will probably make enough clothes so she has something to wear then get back to sewing for me!
I also made her a couple of new tops using the Oliver & S Fieldtrip T-Shirt pattern.  I bought this pattern as a single (rather than buy it with the cargo trousers which I just cannot see me making any time soon).   For my first one I used some really cheap jersey of questionable quality just to gauge the size.  I have used this jersey on a few other projects now and although it isn't great, it should hold up for enough washes and wears until she grows out of it.  To add a bit of interest I added a heart appliqué to the front and used yellow for the neckband.  I shortened the sleeves to t-shirt length and on the whole I am really happy with the top, I am not so happy with the lack of stripe matching but you can't win at everything!

For the second version I used some pirate sweatshirting that my Mum recently bought back from Switzerland.  She bought a half a metre and there was only a small scrap left over at the end (which I used to make a matching jumper for Edwina!).  I added a waistband and cuff bands to this to make it look more like a sweatshirt.  The jersey I used for the bands also came from my Mum, the rest of which is destined to be a top for me!

The Child ended up wearing her new outfit all weekend, firstly for fabric shopping in Walthamstow Market on Saturday (where we coordinated nicely!) and then for a beach trip on Sunday for Fathers' Day.  I can see these clothes getting a lot of wear this summer, especially if I don't get a wriggle on and make some more things!  Yesterday marked the start of the summer Kids Clothes Week which Zoe has written about.  I have signed up for the first time, I don't know how I will get on with following the travelling theme but I do plan to try and sew for an hour a day - except yesterday because I was really tired after a trip to the beach with the Guides!  Not a good start but I plan to make up for it today...

Edwina sunbathing!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Vintage Pattern Pledge - Butterick 7648

Yay!  My fourth vintage pattern this year!

My Husband and I were invited to a wedding at the weekend in North Yorkshire and although I probably did have something I could wear I wanted to make something.  Actually, I think I wanted an excuse to sew one of my vintage patterns up and if I'm going to put time and effort into fitting something properly (or haphazardly in my case) it has to be for something special!!

The pattern I used is Butterick 7648 from 1956 which I have had in my drawer for a while.  I think I probably got it on eBay as part of a batch buy but I can't really remember. I had never really looked at it with a view to making it before until we moved and I was going through all of my patterns, then it stood out and suddenly I desperately wanted to make it.  I had originally wanted to make the fuller skirted version but after canvassing a few people (Husband, parents and Marilla) I decided to go with popular opinion and make the slimmer skirt.  I still want to make the full skirt at some point so I am glad I took time to fit the bodice (kind of!).

I made a trial version up in some quilting cotton I have had in my stash for about 5 years because I knew it would have a similar weight and drape to my final fabric.  I may go back and finish this at some stage because I made it quite neatly, never wanting to waste my sewing time on things I can't wear!  The main fitting issues I had were that it gaped at the neck and was tight at the waist.  I know I took a pretty slack route to fixing this so please don't judge me!  I rotated the pattern piece slightly along the centre fold to add to the waist and take out of the neck.  This did fix the neckline but on trying it on I realised I had excess fabric at the waist, so I then added two waist darts which seemed to do the trick.  I know there were plenty of better ways to do this but I am intrinsically lazy and needed a quick fix!! And actually I think I would make it the same way next time because I am happy with the fit. 

I also changed the order of construction and would alter it further next time I make this.  The pattern originally has a side zip and the facings are all sewn in before the shoulder seams are sewn together.  Because I altered the pattern to have a back zip I then changed the order of construction and couldn't figure out how to finish the armholes.  I know there is a proper way but really my brain wasn't up to thinking and I've been quite busy lately so didn't have time for some research so I bound the edges of the bodice with bias binding.  This is not ideal and definitely not what I would do next time but it worked.  In fact, I think next time I would a) make this dress in a fabric with a bit of stretch and b) fully line it.

The fabric I used for the dress is a Liberty Poplin called Carline.  I saw Helen (Just Sew Therapeutic) had bought some in a different colour way off eBay and being a bit of a sheep about things like that I followed suit immediately!  I bought three metres thinking I was going to make the full skirt but in the end only used two so I have some left to do something with.  I was thinking of a skirt for me but may be tempted into making a matching dress for the Child.  The fabric is lovely and crisp with a slight sheen that certainly felt special enough to be wearing for a wedding.  

The kimono sleeved jacket was much more straight forward.  I didn't make a trial version trusting that it would fit straight out of the packet as the dress fit was quite close.  I used some pretty eyelet fabric I got in Goldhawk Road last May and have been waiting for the right project to use it on.  I like the contrast in textures between the two fabrics.  The sleeves have three darts on the elbows which work really well to give some movement but which would show up much better in a different, plainer fabric.  It was fairly fiddly to sew down the facings onto the eyelet but I got there in the end.

To finish my outfit off I decorated a hat to match.  The hat itself came from eBay (for about £7 - so quite a bargain!) but I didn't really like the flowers, they looked a bit sad.  Luckily they were sewn on so I removed them then with a mixture of sewing and superglue (I really wish I had a glue gun!) I attached a bow made of three rectangles of fabric  - one for the lower bow, one for the higher and one for the central piece.  I was quite pleased with my efforts!

The wedding was wonderful, very personal and moving, and I am so pleased the Husband and I made the trip up there.  We had such a fantastic weekend and were very fortunate to have my Mum to stay so she could look after the Child for us while we were gone.  She also hemmed my dress for me while I fiddled about with the jacket and hat so thank you Mum!!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Compagnie M. Mara Blouse/Dress

The Child has just had a long awaited for growth spurt and when I cleared her wardrobe out after moving recently I realised that the total of her non school clothes consisted of a pair of shorts, a skirt, a top and a Chewbacca dress.  She has even grown out of her pants!  As it was my Granny's 90th birthday party yesterday a new dress had to be the first thing on my list of wardrobe replenishments.

I recently bought three new patterns from Compagnie M. - the Mara Blouse, the Lotta Dress and the Louisa Dress.  If you buy more than one pattern from Compagnie M.  there is a discount (if you buy 1 pattern it would be 16, 2 would be 15.20 each and 3 14.40 each and it keeps going down) so naturally I bought three and with the pound being strong against the Euro at the moment this made excellent financial sense. Obviously.

I decided to start with the Mara blouse but the key is in the name.  It is a blouse and not a dress.  There is a tutorial for turning the blouse into an a-line dress, or a dress with a ruffle hem but I really wanted a mix between the Lotta dress and the Mara blouse.  I started by tracing the blouse outline, laying the Lotta bodice underneath then matching up the armholes and tracing a new line for the side seam and waistline.  The skirt is the Lotta skirt without any pockets (which are lovely and I can't wait to make them but I just felt would be lost in this print, or rather the print would be lost).

I then constructed the front using the blouse instructions and assembled the dress as I would normally do.  The other change I made was to the sleeves.  The pattern has three sleeve variations, none of which I felt were what I was looking for with this dress.  I used the butterfly sleeve option but cut them on the fold so they don't have a split down the centre.

After I had finished the dress I hung it up and realised it did not look right.  I hadn't taken enough width out of the front bodice and the waist seam was too low.  I unpicked the waist seam, remeasured the side seams using one of her school dresses as a guide then reattached the skirt back on and was very relieved that it worked!  I still have a few issues with the dress, for example the chambray I used is a bit on the lightweight side to be paired with a quilting cotton (but just about works) and when I made this mash up again I would consider leaving out the pin tucks and adding a back zip, but on the whole I am really pleased.


The main fabric I used for the dress is French Lessons by Dear Stella from The Village Haberdashery.  My husband and I had our first date in Paris (not as romantic as it sounds but still quite cool!) just over ten years ago and he and the Child chose this fabric together which I thought was really sweet.  I bought a metre and there is not a lot left over.  I had just enough to make a matching hair tie using a free pattern from Oliver & S and I might see if I can squeeze out a little something for Edwina (her favourite bear).  The chambray used for the bodice was an EBay buy and is really lightweight and drapey.  I bought quite a lot of this and am intending to use the rest on a dress for me, at some point!

We had such a lovely day yesterday with my Granny and the rest of the family.  It was really good to see everyone again and celebrate such an amazing and inspirational lady's 90th birthday - she taught me how to knit when I was five and now I'm hoping my Mum will teach my little lady.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Me Made May Roundup and New Dolores Top!

Day 22 - Jersey maxi and New Look 6808
So it's over already!  I cannot believe how quickly May has gone this year but it has certainly been a busy month which always helps to speed things along.  Moving house has taken up so much time over the past month, much longer than I anticipated!  I spent the first week of May packing up, we moved on 7th May and from then I was back to work and the normal daily routine whilst trying to find clothes amidst the chaos!

Day 23 - Brand new Ultimate Trousers and stripy Bronte Top
This was the pledge I made prior to taking part:

'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.'

Day 24 - Emery Dress (child in KitschyCoo Skater Dress)
Day 25 - Ultimate Trousers and Mathilde Blouse
Well I succeeded in the first part and did only wear things made or refashioned by me, including knickers, but I have to confess I did not do a lot of fabric and pattern matching.  I did locate the gaps in my daughter's wardrobe, and they are big!  She has just had a huuuuge growth spurt (long awaited) so now needs new everything including knickers...I have a lot of sewing ahead of me!  However I did actually buy new patterns for her as I only have a few left in her size range (and I really wanted some new patterns, sometimes it's as simple as that!).

Day 26 - Ultimate Trousers and Marilla Walker Maya Top (Child in Skater Dress and me knitted cardi)

Day 27 -  Refashioned skirt, NewLook 6808, Mum Knitted cardi (child in Kwazii outfit)
I made some new trousers for me which were very much needed and filled a gap so I suppose I have not completely failed, I just envisaged that I would come up with more of an actual plan.  Not being a very planny person I really shouldn't be surprised!  I have come up with some vague plans for the fabric I have but I have bought yet more fabric so I do feel like I have failed with part of my pledge.

Day 28 - Mimi Blouse and Ultimate Trousers
As a way to monitor my fabric habit I have started to make a note of how much has come into my possession during 2015 versus how much has gone out i.e. been used.  At the moment I have still bought more but the gap is closing and hopefully with a bit of intense sewing over the next few weeks to refill the Child's wardrobe the outgoings might actually overtake the incoming.  At least I have identified that I have a problem!

Day 29 - Marilla Walker Evan Skirt with Bonnie Sweater
The most worn of all my clothes this month has been my two pairs of Ultimate Trousers which I wore for five days each.  Part of this was weather related, had we had better weather there would have been more skirt and dresses but we didn't and I think it just reinforces to me that I did need another pair of trousers.  I will go on to make more in the autumn too.  If I can wear trousers that fit me like that I might wear more of them!

Day 30 - Jersey Maxi skirt with stripy Renfrew
I also made a lovely new Dolores top (pattern from the amazing Zoe, rather an apt end to the month I thought) to wear on the last day.  I have actually had the Liberty jersey I used for this in my stash for far too long, and as with special fabrics that don't get used straight away the longer I put off making this into something the harder it became.  It is really drapey and I am not a big fan of drapey knits, either wearing or sewing, so I just did not know what to do with it.  I knew the Dolores top would be perfect for it though and I love the result.

Day 31 - Liberty Dolores Top and Ultimate Trousers
I used just under a metre of this top, which I sized up to be slightly slouchier than I would normally go for.  (I have just over a metre left which I am giving to my Mum in exchange for some other jersey that I've had my eye on - matching mother and daughter tops not quite so cute in adults??)  I am really happy with how this came out, and it looks really nice with my new trousers so a lovely last outfit of the month.

Looking at the pictures below it is clear I have colour preferences, but it is nice to see all the photos (minus 1 - I don't know where that went!) in one place.  Next up, some more vintage pattern sewing for a wedding next weekend - if I can get it finished in time!