Category Archives: Sewing

New Year New Decade, the roaring 20’s

This year I made a New Years Resolutions list! Ive gone years without making even one NY resoultion and here I am with a bucket load!

My main one is learn how to use my Bernina 770s sewing machine, more specifically how to use the button hole function and while Im at it I should also learn how to put a zip in. Why I have such resistance to watching a few minutes on you tube or opening up the manual, I have no idea. Anyway 2020 will see me learning all about my amazing machine and what it can do for me.

Number 2 sewing resolution is to sew in 20 mins blocks: this was something I dabbled with last year and I think its something that could really help me make more items. I often have multiple small blocks of time and I will now plan out my garments in 20 min tasks rather than necessarily following the instructions in order…i will just have to see how this goes.

Number 3 Learn how to make my own jeans.

Number 4 Continue my zero waste knitting and sewing practice and try and extend that to all the crafts I do.

Number 5 Try more crafts

christmas fabric

Christmas is coming…and my stash is still fat

Christmas fabric from John Lewis
New Christmas Fabric from John Lewis Oxford Street

I happened to be showing Little One the christmas lights in oxford street when I realised how close I was to John Lewis, so off we went for a look. I wasn’t going to buy but then I saw these 2 beauties and all was lost. The red one i bought 2 meters and made a long table runner for our dinning room table and the white one (that looks oddly pink in all the photos) with birds and glitter was for our eldest as I wanted to make her a table cloth, for her expanding kitchen table.

As I have mentioned before I have lost my sewjo and decided that “Perfection is the enemy of progress” quite right Mr Churchill so I folded the 2 meters down the centre and just cut, no measuring. Then I joined to the two pieces, end to end to make one very long table runner. I didn’t even hem the side which had the selvage. All very sloppy in my book but it got done and was on the table for the entire christmas period.

Winter Birds (according to the selvage) also was quickly hemed but not the salvage side, and Tada there was a gorgeous table cloth.

Hubbies annual Christmas jumper works Christmas jumper competition was fast approaching and as i lost last year (my jumper was considered an ensemble) I decided in the spirit of recycle and re use i would update the one I made the year before. NOt much to do this time as I just sewed on baubles, as you do, and filled the calendar with chocolates to bribe people in his office to vote for the jumper and hey presto I won again this year.

Up cycled christmas jumper

Dressing Gown for Children

Little One who is not so little now needed a new dressing gown. In the past I made her 2, one from fleece and one from towelling, both cut from the same simplicity pattern and the same size when she was 2.

Making a dressing gown

I have not idea how that they have lasted till she was 7! but they are rather short. So as I knew the pattern was a good one but only went up to age 3, i decided to re draft it and make it bigger.

Super soft minky fleece dressing gown

I loved that the ties were sewn into the side seams so the belt can never come off! I also let Little One pick her own fabric now she is older and I was really surprised by her colour and pattern choice. She chose this teal super soft minky with neon flamingos, I just wished there was enough over to make me one.

Rainbow Belle Disney Dress

Its that time of year again and Little One wants a princess of everthing dress…once again no pressure!

She decided this year for her 6th Birthday she wanted a the simplicity pattern that was of Belle from beauty and the beast, in rainbow colours.

the original Belle Dress pattern

Somehow I found rainbow satin and rainbow chiffon in 2 different shops (World of Sewing in Tunbridge Wells and The Range in Maidstone, Kent)

Then I thought I know this is the most complicated dress I have ever made, i think I should pattern match…what was I thinking

Pattern matching the rainbow

The instructions were great and I found it alot easier to make than I thought it would be.

Princess of Everything Dress

She looked amazing in it and better than that she loved it too

With a hooped underskirt

I really struggled to do rolled hems on the chiffon my overlocker just didn’t like it so most of it I did by hand!

Veronika The Big Red Dress

In all the years that I have been making clothes, sewing and crafting, I have never made myself a party dress. I make an extravagant birthday occasion dress every year for my 5-year-old so I am no stranger to the dramas of working with slippery, fragile and fine fabrics, so I decided it was time for some selfish sewing.

I was inspired by the name of Simple Sew Patterns Veronika Dress and decided she was going to be a red silk beauty. I couldn’t believe luck that the fabulous people at doughtys had exactly the colour I needed, click the link to buy the same gorgeous fabric.

Veronika pattern from Simple sew patterns, and red silk dupioni from Doughty on line

They were very generous and gave me the material to make this dress. The pattern said 2.7 meters was needed but I managed to cut it out of 2m, so will have some over to make The Little One a party dress from the remnants. I aim to practice a zero waste system in my dressmaking, so no scraps will go wasted from this fabric. The larger ones will be used for a dress for my daughter and the small ones go to her old nursery school for crafting and anything left over is made into dolls clothes.

So on to the layout and cutting…it was so lovely to cut into, very satisfying, my favourite part of creating is cutting the fabric, I have no idea why I like it so sew much.

laying out the pattern pieces

I take ages doing this part as I am trying to aim for zero waste.

First I cut the skirt, look at the fullness of this skirt, so exciting.

placing and pinning the skirt sections in place

Wow this skirt is going to be great for dancing in!

I then cut the front bodice and tacked the bust point (you can just about see the black cotton. I then pinned the darts. I did this so I could try it on again to see if any further adjustments were needed. I did a very brief pattern fit, eg I pinned the darts on the pattern and tried on the bodice front and back to see if the fit was ok before I selected the size I needed.

pinning and tacking the front bodice darts

I know I should pin the other way, ie pins at 90 degrees, but as I mentioned I wanted to try it on for fine tuning the fit.

front bodice with darts pinned

Heres what she looked liked from the right side

bodice front with bust and waist darts pinned

I decided I wanted to use the silk as the lining rather than use cotton or a poly satin. I recently made a dress for the royal wedding sew along and I also used silk dupioni and a cotton lawn for the lining, however, I didn’t like the finish, so decided to self-line this time.

attaching the back facing of the bodice to the shoulders of the front facing

I attached the front and back facings at the shoulders.

Then I pinned the facing to the bodice

Stitching the join

joining the side seams

Attaching the waist band to the bodice.

Loving the V neck shaping, will need to get some bra stays so the bra won’t show.

The exciting bit attaching the bodice to the skirt.

…and here she is Veronika, the red dress, Gorgeous. Still hemming and pressing to go. More photos of her in the wild to follow. I have also ordered a big red petticoat to complete the look.

And here she is in the wild

Me in my big red veronica

First Birthday Party Dress Fit For a Princess!

I was given this pattern by my pattern cutting lecturer at Morley College last year and I like the fact that it is was a simple style, and wanted to make it up but was waiting for the right occasion. My Little One is now 5 and I made most of her clothes far too big (as in the early days I was worried I would not finish them before she outgrew them! My worst nightmare) Consequently she has loads of summer dresses she had hardly worn.

So when I heard my cousin was having a baby I fished out the dress pattern to make for her little one. It’s particularly good for smaller children as it doesn’t have a zip or buttons or hooks. Also, the bows on the shoulder mean that it will go up and down a size or two. I also wondered what it would be like made up in party fabric. I asked my cousin what her favourite colours were and then I was off to one of my happy places Sewing and Craft superstore

And here she is all finished. I was really happy with the way she came out. I would make her again for sure. The only thing I did differently to the instructions was cut the bodice twice (i wanted the lilac and pink to show in the bows and stitched them together and then bagged out the bodice. Then I cut the skirt twice, once in satin and once in organza.

Perfect for a 1-year-old Princess. And fast and easy as Butterick claim.

Butterick 3859 Fast and Easy

Royal Wedding Sew Along with McCalls

I have decided to join the royal wedding sew along by McCalls. Firstly I am going to a wonderful wedding that day and I also have never sewn occasion wear for myself only my Little One.

I ran into all sorts of problems as I couldn’t decide which pattern as you can see below. Some were too over the top and other were too understated and weren’t going to stretch my sewing skills.

In the end, the ‘convertible’ won. I chose this pattern as it is a simple shift dress with a fancy overskirt that you can button on and off, ideal as I love to dance.

I have decided to do version C and E. This is because as my friend would prefer us guests to wear green,  so I feel I will get the most amount of wear out of a short version.

So now for the fun bit of to buy fabric, worth breaking my fabric diet over, I don’t own anything green (long story to do with my Grandad,  Green Chartreuse, and a racehorse ;-0 ) so it was buy, or make, and where is the fun in buying when you can make it at twice the price, in double the time it would have taken to find one…only kidding, I hope.

royal wedding sew along
silk and silk chiffon to make my entry for the royal wedding sew along

the finished dress and hat

Sophia Skirt with extra pleats from Simple Sew Patterns

This make for Simple Sew Patterns is the Sophia skirt. I used lovely black denim from fabric land as I wanted this skirt for the winter autumn months.

The skirt is made of 3 panels, pockets, and a waistband, so it was super quick to cut.

The front and back is made of 3 panels

The photo above shows the front panel and the 2 side panel.

I took 2 inches off the hem as I am 5ft 2.

I then marked the pleats on all the skirt panels

adding pleats on the Sophia skirt (inside view)

I found the pleats moved slightly when I stitched them, as the fabric had a slight bit of stretch, so I secured them with more pins.

I added a few extra pleats at the front and then basted across all the pleats.

Adding the waistband

 

I cut one side of the pockets in this lovely floral cotton also from fabric land

Sewing in the pockets.

Here she is with the extra pleats at the front and the waistband finished

Here she is with extra pleats

And teamed with my first knitted cardigan (more about that knit later)

 

 

Zoe dress and top make by Simple Sew Patterns

This month, my make from the  Simple Sew Patterns company is the Zoe top and dress.

I chose to make the dress option.  I decided to make it in heavyweight fabric as I wanted
a winter/ spring dress

In my stash, I had this black and white 2-meter fabric which is reversible. I bought the fabric in a market in Le Touquet, Northen France and always had a dress in mind for it and the Zoe dress, seemed like the best option for it.

 

Here she is all cut out. (see below) I cut the facing and arm cuffs and pocket, on the white side and the main body on the black side.

 

 

Arm cuffs cut in contrast fabric

 

pocket cut in contrast fabric

I then joined the two neck facings together at their edges

Collar facing cut in contrast fabric

I am 5ft 2 so I took 9.5 inches of the hem!

 

As this is really upholstery fabric and therefore thick, I decided to use pinking shears on the raw edges to reduced the bulk in the seams

I decided not to cut the front of the dress as 2 panels as the pattern is bold, it would have been hard to pattern match., especially as I only had 2 meters of this fabric. On the back I did cut 2 panels and because I had limited fabric I couldn’t pattern match. Next time I make it I would cut the back as one panel too.

 

I inserting the neck facking, I used wonderclips and pins to ease the facing in.

All ready for top stitching

 

I added the sleeve cuff, once I had sewn the sides up as I wanted to check the neckline wasn’t too wide, which it wasn’t. I would suggest that you follow the instructions that is a much better way of getting a match on the cuff seams.

joining the arm cuffs after I had sewn up the sides did make it a bit trickier but I wanted to make sure the  fit of the neck was ok.

Phew I managed to line it up ok!! Stick to the instrutions kids it’s easier!!

and here she is with and without pockets…cant decide yet what I prefer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cara Jumpsuit Hack

For my next make for Simple Sew Patterns is the Cara jump suit. I choose to make the wide leg version which is View A.

I chose a beautiful black crepe from the amazing Sew Essential. It is a prestige medium weight 148cm wide. You can buy it here 

As with all simple sew patterns they are so easy to cut out and the crepe was really lovely to cut. One of my favorite things to do in the process of making a garment is cutting out the fabric…I find it very satisfying for some reason!

First I cut out the bodice and the ties and waistband, see photo above.

Then I joined the two shoulder seams.

 

and pinned the ties to the shoulders, which I made by sewing along the long side, right side together and then turned them the right way around. Apologies for the terrible photography, photographing black in a room without any natural light is a nightmare…

Then I sewed the side seams up

Then I made the belt channel. I found this a bit tricky as I hadn’t done this before but once I realized that you are making a ‘tunnel’ for the tie to go through it made sense.

Here it is below with the channels attached

As I am 5ft 2, I shortened the bodice by an inch, to suit my size.

I decided to remove the back ‘cowl drape’ as and I did this by removing a v shape section, which then left a seam down the back. See photo below.

I liked the look of the satin bias binding with the crepe so added that around both arm holes.

Adding satin bias binding to the cara jumpsuit top

In the end, I removed the channel and added it to the trousers to make a waistband, so that the jumpsuit would become seperates.

I was happy with it being a jumpsuit but decided it would more versatile having them as separates.

Here is another view of the back without the drape

With the top finished I sewed up the side seams and around the crotch, see below. I then used the channel to make the drawstring waistband.

Here is the back view… I ran out of tailors chalk so improvised by using pins to make a B for the back!

Here is one of the ways that you could use the pattern, with very little modification to make a waistband. In the end, I used elastic, rather than a drawstring (looks rather strange here like neon glow stick!) I threaded a cord through to see how it looked before I decided how I was going to finish it.

making the waistband of the cara trousers

So far so good! Here is the jumpsuit hacked into a top and flairs.

Together …

And separate with black jeans

 

In summary, I found this to be a very versatile pattern. You have the choice to make 2 different styles of jumpsuits, with either wide or straight leg, and the option to make it into separates. You could even make the top and bottoms off different fabric and designs.