Monday, 26 October 2015

Compagnie-M Louisa Dress

Before I start I feel I should just mention that the face in the majority of these pictures is not a reflection of the Child's feelings about this dress, more a reaction to being told to stop pulling funny faces so I could get a decent picture!  Oops, next time I guess I just take a photo of the funny face, except that she feels that to pull an adequately funny face she must also be standing in an equally ridiculous pose!

So the dress is the Louisa Dress by Compagnie-M.  I have recently made two other Compagnie-M dresses, the Mara Blouse and the Lotta Dress so this one completes the trilogy, and it was this pattern I really wanted when I bought the other two.  There are a lot of amazing versions of this dress around and Zoe has recently made one in the same fabric for her beautiful little girl.  I have to say though that I am not 100% happy with this dress but I think it is mostly down to me not reading the instructions properly when I was making it.  

I chose not to line the dress, as suggested, but instead finished the neck with bias binding which I made from the plain fabric used in the dress.  This was quite a stiff fabric and the binding does not lie completely flat and causes the neck to stick up a bit.  This is actually where my main disappointment with the dress lies as I know I could do better.  At some point I will take this off and add a lining.  My reason for not doing so before was I hadn't read the instructions before making the dress so didn't realise I needed a lining and didn't have anything suitable in my stash.  Lesson learnt!

My other issue with the dress is the pocket.  As far as I can make out (I may have misread the instructions) this is just fastened using the buttons, which does not seem very secure to me.  In fact, one of the buttons fell off on the dress' first outing at a birthday party.  I had warned her not to walk around with her hands in the pocket but what are pockets for if not to put hands in?!  I will put a line of stitching across the top of the pocket to secure it in future.

The fabric used for this dress is from the Small World line by Rae Hoekstra which I bought from The Village Haberdashery in May with this dress in mind.  I should really start buying more than 1m pieces for the Child now because although you can get quite a lot out of 1m, it isn't really enough for a dress anymore!  The contrast blue fabric came as a lovely present from Marilla and, as I said, is fairly stiff but works well with this a-line silhouette.  The Husband, Child and I all had a discussion (I think I talked and they nodded!) about what colour piping to do and "we" decided on orange.  There are so many colours in this beautiful fabric to choose from but I liked the orange and royal blue together.  I used a yellow lapped zip in the back because that was what I had.  The colour shows through a bit but I like it.

On the whole I like this dress.  I made a size 5 for my smallish 5 and a half year old and it fits with room for growth.  (I like to get 2 year's wear out of clothes so I can spend more time sewing for me!)  I love the shape of the dress, the pocket and the piping and, like Zoe says, the possibilities for contrast fabrics.  I am not so happy with my level of finish on the dress which is obviously something I can change.   Having now sewn with all three of the Compagnie-M patterns that I bought I am surprised to find that this one is not my favourite and that the Lotta dress is.  I will probably make this again at some point, maybe when the adult version comes out and we can have matching dresses!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Marilla Walker Roberts Collection

I am so excited about Marilla's new pattern release, the Roberts Collection.  I know this is my third blog post in a row featuring Marilla's patterns (sorry, not sorry!) but I really feel this collection is just awesome!  There are four and a half options to choose from (jumpsuit, dungarees, dungadress in two lengths and a top) and at just £8.40 that is incredible value for money!

I was asked to be a tester and I decided to start with the jumpsuit first, although it is not going to get a lot of wear until the weather warms up again as I made it in a lineny type fabric.  I know the pattern has changed slightly since the tester version but I think that most of the changes were to the dress version so this should still be a good representation of the final product.

I made a straight size 3 all over and the fit is absolutely spot on for me.  The only two things I changed when I was making it was to shorten the legs because the linen had distorted at the bottom of the leg and I was really impatient and just hacked it off!  This means I don't have as much of a turn up as I would have liked but I will have a play around with this when I wear it next.  The other thing I changed was to put my buttons and buttonholes on the wrong side as my fabric matched up better this way!    When I tried to do it the correct way round the stripes were slightly out which was soooo annoying!

One of the (many) things I love about this pattern is the detail on the back.  I can't wait to make this in denim because the seam will really stand out - I've seen Marilla's and it's amazing!  I also love the pleats at the front which give a subtle bit of shaping.  

I can't wait to make more versions of this pattern.  On a recent trip to Walthamstow I picked up 3m of denim which is fairly stiff but I think it'll be perfect for a dungadress.   I have also ordered some of the same denim Marilla made her sample jumpsuit in from an EBay seller which I am intending to make the dungarees from.  I would love a denim jumpsuit too but I think I will find it too chilly to wear until next spring so will probably wait until then to make it, and the same for the top.  I do feel the cold though and work in a really cold warehouse so tend to wear a lot of layers!

Speaking of layers, I am very short on vests, knickers and layering tops at the moment (despite making two larks recently), as is the Child, so I think I am going to have a big jersey sewing week ahead of me.  Not interesting sewing, but necessary!  What is everybody else up to this week?

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Love Sewing Magazine - Marilla Walker Sailor Dress

When my copy of Love Sewing Magazine plopped through my door yesterday afternoon my plans for the evening suddenly changed!  I was going to have made a start on the Child's new dress but this seemed more important!  The pattern is a new version of Marilla Walker's Sailor Top which I made in June and wore a lot over the summer, so I knew I would love this (and I do!).

Marilla has updated the pattern to include multiple sizes, a dress length as well as top, longer sleeves (although I lengthened mine further) and some other little changes.  This pattern comes on a pattern sheet with the magazine so it was really easy to trace out and start making straight away.

I only made two small changes to the pattern.  As I said before I lengthened the sleeves by a few centimetres as I do prefer a longer sleeve length (I get cold easily!) and I followed the instructions for the original top for the neckline so my ribbon is on the inside rather than the outside.  This was purely because I used yellow ribbon and wanted it on the inside.  My favourite bit about this pattern is the shoulder gussets, they really lend themselves to being made in stripes but I would like to try some contrast fabrics next time like Kathryn's which I love.  Or maybe two separate solids.

The jersey I used for this dress is the same as I used for my last Sailor top but in the reverse colour way.  This is a very stable jersey in a lovely weight which is perfect for this dress.  It is also very soft and this dress definitely comes under the secret pyjamas category! Unfortunately the eBay seller this came from is out of stock of this fabric but if there was more I would buy a lot of it.  I do have another two metres left and I think I'm going to save it until I find the right pattern to use it on.

For the pocket I used a small piece of Nani Iro double gauze which I had leftover from a Maya dress I made in August.  I do love that dress so much but it won't be getting much wear until the spring (I had it on this morning and was a bit chilly on the school run!) so it will be nice to see the fabric on something I hope to wear until the weather gets really cold.

While I had the remains of my Nani Iro out I pieced them together and whipped up a quick cowl.  For the other side I used the same jersey I used for my dress so it's lovely and soft on both sides.  It's long enough to wrap around twice but could be worn just draped over once.

I am really pleased I found a use for the rest of this fabric, I don't like wasting any fabric but this is my favourite colour and it's perfectly suited to being a scarf.  I think I'll be wearing this most days from now on!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Two Larks, a Linden and a Maya

There hasn't been a huge amount of activity 'round these parts lately due to one thing an another and I'm not quite sure what, but then I had a few days where I managed to churn out four pieces of clothing!  It's taken me a while to photograph them but I finally managed it this morning and, well, here they are!

The photo thing took a bit longer than usual because my husband, who normally takes my photos, has been too busy (how dare he!) so I thought I would try and take my tripod and wander further afield à la Gillian and try to join in with her "Better Pictures Project".  However, I think I was having a bad week because in all the photos I took, regardless of location, I looked terrible!  I'm not saying that I only want to have the glossy perfect (like that's ever going to happen!) photos on here but there is a line and those photos definitely crossed it.  So I tried again this morning and found my favourite place for taking photos front of my garage.  The yellow door may have something to do with it!

First up on my epic making week was a Linden.  Now I know the whole world and her cat made this pattern like, last year, but I'm slow on the uptake!  A couple of weeks ago The Village Haberdashery posted a picture on Instagram of some beautiful Liberty sweat shirting and suggested ribbing to go with it and I think I waited a whole week before ordering.  I used my birthday Stash Points to soften the blow a bit and feeling optimistic only ordered 1 metre.  I do love a Liberty print and this just spoke to me!

The fabric is lovely and thick with not a lot of stretch in it, unlike the sweat shirting I bought from Kitschycoo earlier this year which I used to make a couple of Bonnies.  This time I wanted something looser and the obvious answer was the Linden.  As so many people have already said before me this is a very quick and satisfying make.  I taped the pattern together and sewed it up all in one evening whilst watching television and I was still in bed by 10pm!

To get the sweatshirt out of 1 metre of fabric means there is a seam down the back which I haven't managed to get a photo of because I totally forgot it was there when I was taking the photos!  However I really don't think it detracts from the sweater in any way and at £4.50 per quarter I really wouldn't have been able to afford the extra half metre to prevent it.  I love this jumper so much, the colours work really well together and I know this will get a lot of wear when the weather turns a bit cooler.  This was definitely a special purchase but I am so happy with how it turned out.

While I was buying the Linden pattern it made sense to put the newest Grainline pattern, the Lark Tee, into my basket at the same time.  I actually have a lot of t-shirt type patterns already so probably didn't neeeeed this one but I wanted it!  I wanted a less fitted top than the ones I currently have and something that would be perfect for layering under things in the autumn.  Also, I had seen Marilla's and loved it!  For my first version I used some red and white striped jersey which has been sat in my stash for a while because I don't like the quality of it.  It is too lightweight for my liking and was actually not a pleasant make.  My sewing machine also took exception to it and ate some of the sleeve hem which is why this one has cuffs!  It is also unhemmed and I think it may stay that way!

I was happy with the fit (I think I could probably have sized down but since I was looking for something a bit looser I decided to go with it) so I cut out another one straight away using some beautiful yellow striped jersey which Marilla gave to me a couple of months ago. This has been waiting for the perfect pattern and I think it found it!  I had been wondering whether to make a light weight cardi with it, but this is going to get far more use and it's probably the nicest t shirt I've ever owned!  It was so nice to sew I even cracked out the twin needle on it which behaved perfectly!

Lastly, I made a new Maya.  I have made this pattern twice before, once as a top length and more recently as a dress. I have worn them both a lot but particularly the second one has been washed twice a week since I made it!  I really wanted a denimy look one for autumn that could be layered up and it just so happened that my last piece of chambray in my stash was the perfect colour and weight for my vision.  I bought a lot of chambray last year just in case world stocks run low (I heard the rumour about Prosecco and have been buying that in bulk too!!) so hopefully the world doesn't run out now I have used all of mine up.  Or I just need to buy more!

This version is identical to my last with the exception of the patch pockets on the front rather than a top pocket.  Once again I was too lazy to do french seams and everything is overlocked.  One of the things I love about this pattern is the facings.  As a rule I hate facings because they flap up everywhere and I can never get them to look right but as these are top stitched down they stay in place as they are supposed to and look ever so nice and neat on the inside too.  

I am hoping my productive streak carries on now, next on my list is a dress for the Child completely inspired by Zoe's.  And then maybe some more clothes for meeeee!