Thursday, 31 December 2015

So how did 2015 go?

Incredibly it's the end of another year and that time when we take stock of things.  My aims were to sew less (in quantity) but sew better and, in general, to have only items in my wardrobe that I love and get worn regularly.

So what did I make?

For the husband:

2 pair of Liberty pyjamas (for Christmas)
Pair of 3/4 length Thread theory Jutland trousers.
Liberty shirt

I enjoyed making the Jutlands especially, because I learnt some new techniques, such as sewing flat-felled seams, there were a lot of details, such as various types of pockets etc so there was a sense of accomplishment on finishing them, added bonus hubbie like them and they fit!

For myself

In total:

7 dresses
1 trousers
1 culottes
1 skirt
8 jersey tops
8 woven tops
1 jacket

So, in terms of quantity, I definitely made less, so that's good and I also took more time in finishing items.  The most successful makes were from Liesl & Co/Lisette, Merchant and Mills (the Workbook and individual patterns), Papercut and Sewaholic.  I haven't used any of the big 4 sewing patterns for ages.

So which have been my favourites?

 -Two pussybow blouses.

Sewaholic Oakridge blouse

Sewoverit Pussybow blouse
-The Liesl and co Maritime top pattern - I made 4 long sleeve and 2 short sleeve!

- The Liesl and co Girl Friday Culottes pattern, pictured above and worn quite a bit since I finished them.

 - The Liesl and co Cappuccino dress pattern, made in Liberty Lantana fabric

 - The Lisette B6182 patterns

Worn loads during the summer.

 - The Haremere jacket from the Merchantandmils Workbook

There have been a few disappointments in that some of the items that I thought I would wear a lot just didn't get worn very much.  The OliverandS Gallery dress was one of these, I think I should have gone down a size, especially in the bottom half as it just feels too big and baggy, but I might try it again and do some adjustments.  The same with the Merchantandmills Factory dress, it just feels too big and baggy.

It hasn't been an easy year, started with my husband having a very nasty accident with a circular saw, which put him off work for six weeks.

He was lucky and thanks to a brilliant surgeon he came through not too badly.

Also, my lovely dad has been very ill and, unfortunately, we've been told that his condition has advanced with no further treatment options. (Prostate cancer)  There have been almost daily hospital visits as he has had repeated infections, so that has been hard.

I do, however, have an awful lot to be thankful for and keep optimistic for 2016.  The husband and I will both be 50 in 2016 and it will be our 25th wedding anniversary.  We hope to travel to Iceland in the autumn so lots to look forward to.  Both of us are losing weight, so might try making more fitted things in 2016.  It's also my eldest sons last year at school, so it could be a year of change for all of us.  I will have to go and make a plan now for 2016.


Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas Girl Friday Culottes and a pussybow blouse

So, a year late, but I finally got the red Girl Friday Culottes finished.  I had started them last November but couldn't understand why the waistband wouldn't fit the culottes.  Turned out there was a small error in the pattern and I kinda abandoned them.  I probably should have twigged on myself, anyway I couldn't face ripping it out at that stage, so I left them.  So coming up towards Christmas this year, with culottes still very much en vogue, I decided to return to them.  In the end they were very straightforward.

As you can see, they are pretty full in style, with front and back inverted box pleats, also front pleats and back darts, so not short on detailing.  They also have hidden in-seam pockets and a side zipper.

The fabric I used was a red heavy weight, but drapey crepe fabric from Clothspot.  The red seems to have gone but there are other colours.  It's ideal for these culottes and quite cosy too.  I'm pretty pleased with them, I toyed with the idea of going knee length, but I'm glad I didn't, they are meant to be calf length and definitely need to be worn with heels.

So the other bit of my 'Christmas outfit' this year is the Sewoverit Pussybow blouse, which has been out for a while now.  It's quite a simple version of a Pussy Bow blouse in that it's an over-the-head job, no closures to do, other than the loops at the cuff.  Mine turned out extremely tiny (even though it warns you in the pattern - doh!) so I just rolled them up slightly.  I used Atelier brunette fabric, halo from misformake.  This link is the blue, mine is a darker version and it is a viscose fabric, more on the heavier side, which is great for this time of the year.
Just to prove they are culottes.

So there you go, my 2015 Christmas ensemble, already worn a few times and hope to get a lot more wear.
Sew Over It Pussybow blouse.
Next up - the 2015 summary and aims for next year.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Two turtles and a Haremere

Thought I would share some recent makes that have been getting a good bit of wear lately.

The first is the Papercutpatterns Rise and fall turtlenecks, let's face it if you are a fan of layering and you like turtle/polo necks you really need to have this pattern.

I've made version version 1 which is a slightly more fitted style with a lower turtle neck.  The one above is a teal modal/silk jersey fabric from which as you'd imagine is incredibly soft and silky with a good bit of stretch, absolutely perfect for this pattern.

 The second one is the same version but in a Liberty jersey which is completely different from the teal one.  Being a cotton jersey with just a little elastane it is more rigid and disappointingly it seems to have shrunk, even though I pre-washed it.  It just doesn't seem to work as well as the more stretchy fabric above.  Amazing the difference choice of fabric makes, also the Liberty jersey seems to stick to itself a lot.

I do love the pattern and these turtles are very useful as they are fine enough to be worn under a blouse, which gives your blouses a bit more seasonal longevity.  Turtles are also very 'in' at the moment for you trendsetters out there.

I plan to make the second version, which is more drop-shoulder style, less fitted at the waist and a deeper turtle neck, it would probably suit a knit/merino fabric better.

My other recent make is the Haremere jacket from the Merchantandmills Workbook.  I'm getting through this book rightly and I must say everything I've made from it has been very wearable, including this jacket.  It's a longer length jacket with a shawl type collar, two buttons and lined at the shoulders and sleeves.  I used a cotton jacketing fabric from, I think it was in the spring and they don't seem to have it now.  It has a tweed-like appearance and is actually quite cosy and being navy it goes with a lot of my wardrobe. 

It is a loose-fitting style, I made the Medium and I would say it's turned out quite big on me, so if you are of a petite stature (I'm 5'5") you would have a bit of fitting to do or it could drown you.

There are two lined pockets, which are a good size and are place over the side of the jacket.

You can see the dart detailing on the shoulder above.

I finished all my exposed seams in bias binding as my fabric was fraying like mad, it also makes the inside look pretty.

It's the type of jacket style that you can wear with trousers, dresses and skirts, sort of a 'throw-it-on' type jacket.  It's a bit longer than my ideal jacket style, but I actually quite like it.  As regards sewing it up, probably the trickiest bit was stitching the collar and the lining on at the shoulders, there is some easing which you really need to take your time with, but otherwise it's quite straightforward.

I used an Atelier Brunette fabric (Cosmic Blue) for the lining of the shoulders and sleeves, which is perfect for it, I love the way it looks.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Fancy Tiger Craft's Fen top

I'm a little behind in blog posts, life has a habit of taking over sometimes, but there has been some sewing going on, so I will share some with you now.

This is the fancytigercrafts fen pattern which I purchased from The Village Haberdashery, the fabric is Liberty cord which I also purchased in The Village Haberdashery, here.  It's a beautiful , fairly lightweight fabric (I am now wearing a lightweight turtle neck under it), perhaps not completely perfect for the Fen.  I say this as it is inclined to pop out at the front, so perhaps a more drapey fabric would work best.

Teal, lime and black on ivory background.

Fancy Tiger Crafts, Fen top and dress

I opted for the V-necked, long sleeved, curved hem version, it is a very straightforward pattern, made in the way a jersey t-shirt would be made.  The neckline is attached and just top-stitched down.

There are also round neck options and and a different shirt-tail-type hemline and, of course, there is also the dress version, which has a gathered waist and pockets.  I daresay I'll be giving that a go sometime.

So there you have it, a quick and easy tunic, not a lot else to say really, other than I like it.

I'll be back soon to share some other makes, a bit of catching up to do.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Project 333 Autumn 2015

Thought I would share what I have chosen for my autumn Project 333, I have been wearing most of this from September and it will run until the end of November, as long as the weather doesn't get too cool too early.  This will be the fourth time I have done Project 333 and it's working fairly well for me.  I'm not too hung up on 33 items, if I need something out of 'storage' I'll get it.  I suppose that's the tricky bit, planning for weather changes.

These are my colours.

Gray, navy, teal, wine, amethyst and rose pink.

Project 333 autumn 2015

First of all I pick ten main items ( as per the dailyconnoisseur's ten-item-wardrobe) This year for me that is 3 trousers, 1 skirt, 4 dresses and 2 blouses.


Dark denim slim jeans (Meandem)
Gray slim jeans (Meandem)
Fuchsia trousers (Toast)


Maria Denmark Yasmin yoke skirt


 - Liberty Lantana Cappuccino dress

 - Denim Curlew dress from Merchant and Mills Workbook

 - Wine Gallery dress by Liesl & Co

This is a recent addition.

 - Teal Bettine dress by Tilly & the buttons

This one has short sleeves and the length is quite short so might have to do some layering.


Sewaholic Patterns Oakridge blouse

Weekend getaway blouse by Liesl & Co

So those are the ten main items, then I have extras to make up to a total of 33 items.  This includes some more tops, including jersey tops, leggings, a couple of sweaters and cardigans, 3 coats and in total 5 footwear.  (3 ankle boots, 1 long pair of boots and 1 pair of flat brogues.

I don't include accessories or jewellry in the 33 items, although I have restricted my choices by only keeping out certain items to use in the 3 months, the rest get hidden away.  This season I also got rid of some more of my original hand made items which were starting to get fairly worn, either that or they just didn't suit or fit me.

It is an on-going process, I have dramatically reduced the amount of clothing I have compared to a few years ago.  As a sewer you have to be quite disciplined as there are so many sewing patterns being released now, but if you have less items overall it really helps you to ascertain what does really suit you as you won't want anything in your precious 33 items that isn't getting worn on a regular basis and that you don't enjoy wearing.

It also makes you a lot more disciplined when you get those 20% off emails coming into your in-box. Once you have chosen your items you don't have to think about buying until the next season. (in theory)

I have enjoyed reading about Slow fashion October and I suppose it has made me realise I need to be aware of how I choose my fabrics for dressmaking and try to make more items with a view to longevity and be more sustainable.  Last weeks theme was 'loved' the ideas being to pick an item that is your most loved, most frequently worn, proudest accomplishment.  I gave this a lot of thought and instead of picking one item, I have chosen the accomplishment of this autumn's ten item wardrobe.  I love the colours and most of the styles, I never set out to make 80% of my clothes when I started dabbling 3 years ago but the more you do it, the more you realise how good it is.  I'm far from an accomplished sewer but certainly glad I started.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Liesl & Co Gallery dress

So this is the Liesl and co Gallery dress, I bought the pattern when it first came out but have been deliberating over it since then, but now that autumn is well and truly in full swing I thought it would be a good transition dress to see me into winter.

The fabric I have used is from Clothspot, it is a damson suiting fabric, a mixture of viscose and polyester and is light to medium weight, which has a black thread running through it too.  I think I can layer up with a fine polo or crew neck top when the weather gets colder.

The dress has an inset front placket, I used some Liberty for the facings (some leftovers from my hubbies shirt, which is a paisley tana lawn called Bourton), the burgundy in it is a great match.

At the back there is an inverted box pleat, which gives a little detail, and the curved shirttail hem is slightly longer at the back than at the front.

There are also in-seam pockets, I also used the Liberty for them so they aren't too heavy.  you can just about see a little peak of it in the photo.

For the dress version, there are full length sleeves with a button cuff.  The method of attaching the cuff is nice and neat and worked very well.  I have a bit of a phobia of making buttonholes, the pressure of getting them nice and neat.  The horror of getting to the end of a project and then for your machine to chew it up at the buttonhole stage!! But, thankfully this did not happen, phew!

And how is it that no matter how many buttons we have in our stash, you still never have the right ones and have to take a mad race to your local haberdashery to buy some.  They didn't come out that well in the photo, but they are a wine and pink mixture, quite pleased, it's all in the details, isn't it?

So after all my deliberation about making it, do I like it?  Honestly, I'm not sure,  I think it's the sizing, I made a straight size 14, but I think I should have blended it to a 12 from the waist down, there just seems to be an awful lot of fabric down there.  The pattern itself has some lovely details and finishes and as it is Slow fashion October I took my time with it and generally I'm pleased with it.  I guess time will tell as to how much wear I get out of it.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Merchant and Mills Chambray Curlew dress.

I've wanted to do the Merchant and Mills Curlew dress for a while.  I made the sleeveless top version of it (here, if you want a wee look) and, in general, I liked it, but it was a little bit snug, so I made the next size up in the dress.

I used a drapey medium weight chambray denim which I bought in my local fabric shop Craftswomanfabric.  They have a great selection of all sorts of fabrics if you are ever in County Antrim.  It's perfect for using on the bias as there is almost a corded line effect which looks very nice on the diagonal.

 On the dress design the back is in two pieces and the two sections are cut on the curve which gives it shape.  As you can see there is some droop going on on mine, looks like there is too much fabric at that point, probably the curve of my back.  If I had more or any training I could probably do something about it but I'm not too bothered about it.

Diagonal lines cut on the bias.

 As with the top, I took my time to tape the armholes, neckline and the back curve to strengthen at these points.  Being on the bias means that there can be some 'drop' so a slight zig-zag stitch is used to counteract the stretch effect.

 I took 3 inches off the length, as I'm not keen on overly long dresses.  I prefer knee-length or just below the knee, just personal preference. (I am 5'5" just to give an idea)  I should also have checked the sleeve length before sewing as they are really long.  I have them rolled up for now but I reckon I would need at least a couple of inches off them, they are also pretty narrow which is a nice feature of the dress, but if you have larger arms you might need to widen the sleeve.  There is nothing too tricky about this dress, probably the hardest part was the actual cutting out of the fabric.  That was a crawl around the floor job, a bit hard on the knees!  Definitely worth taking your time over the little details though.

So that's another new item for my Ten Item Wardrobe, I think this will fit in very well, first time making anything on the bias and I think for those with some more .. ah hem, rounded bits it might even be a bit flattering.

I mostly wear flats or wedge heals during the day but I think it could look well with higher heeled shoes or long boots.

Monday, 5 October 2015

My Weekend Getaway blouse.

It's my favourite time of the year again, that 'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'.  I love the arrival of autumn, to me it has always had a feeling of a fresh, new start.  Maybe it's the association with the new school year, but I love nothing more than putting summer clothing away and deciding on the autumn/winter attire.

Since I embarked on the combination of the Ten Item Wardrobe and theproject333 a few seasons ago, it has made be very selective about what I include in my wardrobe.  Each item has to really WORK for me in every sense, that is, colour, size, style to suit both me and my lifestyle.  I will expand on this a little in a separate post, but one of the pattern designers that I love is Liesl Gibson who has a few lines of patterns, namely the Lisette range (for Butterick) and the Liesl & Co patterns.  Nearly everything I have made from these ranges fits me well and I get a lot of wear from.  

So this pattern, the Liesl & Co Weekend Getaway dress/blouse pattern has a lot to live up to.  I have made it in Atelier brunette viscose fabric called facet.  It's a geometric type print in a navy and black print purchase from misformake.  The pattern itself has been out for a while, I just thought I should give it a go.

I made it in a straight size 14 with a full bust adjustment of 1/2 inch (really well explained in the instructions) and I think it's a pretty good fit.  It's a very straightforward make.  Perhaps this fabric isn't the best for showing off the details of the pattern, there are pretty shaped pockets, cuffed 3/4 length sleeves, and full front facing and a back pleat.  It all blends in a bit too well with this fabric, I think plain fabrics would show the details off better.

Anyway, it's an easy-going style, relaxed fit, just pull over the head and that works for me, so it is part of my Autumn 2015 Ten Item Wardrobe. The only slight adjustment I might make is to sew the facing up another bit, it is just a little bit low for me, but we're only talking 1/2 to 1", not a big deal.

An addition to my 'project333' has been these lovely oxblood ankle boots, probably the most I have ever spent on ankle boots, but I reckon if you're buying less overall, you're better putting more money into things like footwear, coats etc.  I look on them as a long term investment.

Happy Autumn!