I’ve Rebranded!

I’ve had this last week off work, which is brilliant but I haven’t yet done any sewing because I’ve been working on rebranding my little corner of the internet!

The biggest change is the name (obviously!). I hadn’t been super happy with the name of my blog for a while because the ‘Thrift’ part (of ‘Thrift, Make, Sew’) didn’t really make sense. I thought it sort of represented the refashions I sometimes do, but then I’ve done only 1 (or possibly 2) this whole year so far and since I don’t really analyse the costs of my makes, it bothered me that it didn’t seem to fit with what I wrote about. Ironically I do now have a few refashions in the works, but I still fancied a change.

I hope you like the new name. I like the sort of play on ‘sewing machine’ but it also fits with the other things I now write about – like the posts I do monthly planning what I’m making and the Wardrobe Architect series I’ve been doing. I also have ideas for adding another large set of projects…..when I eventually get around to it!

I swear I took some screenshots to show what my blog looked like before but now I can’t find them, wah!

My old header was this:

I’ve changed it for a photo, with more bright colours in. I haven’t really changed my colour palette (turquoise, yellow, coral, grey, light turquoise) but I wanted more colours in the header photo.

I’ve also changed my profile picture, from one of my garment shots to one I took specifically as a profile picture and I think that was a good move.

The biggest job, which has taken me a massive chunk of the last 3 days was to update the thumbnails on my archive pages. I decided to use a different font – Calibri instead of Tahoma and to make all the writing black. Previously I did them in different colours depending on the category, but the yellow, grey and turquoise weren’t super easy to read!

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The new ones are at the bottom. I definitely prefer the look of them – they look cleaner and there’s a bit more white space I think. I have replaced all of the thumbnails on the archive pages, which took a while, I can tell you!

There are still some things to update – I manually add recommendations to the bottom of each post and I haven’t changed them all yet, so the old thumbnails will appear there. With 12 pages of posts in my dashboard, it might take a while to change them all. And on some of them, I’d forgotten to add them in the first place so it’s been good to check so far.

The other change I’ve made is to streamline my sidebar as I felt it looked a bit messy. It still might need some work, though! I’ve also changed themes, and this theme removes the sidebar when you’re on a page, which I like. I also like that the menu stays at the top all the time. I’m still getting to grips with customizing the CSS so I expect there will be some other tweaks to come, but overall I’m pretty happy with my new look and new name – and .com instead of .wordpress.com domain! I’ve paid to redirect all the links from the old site, so hopefully everything should be seamless, but let me know if you spot anything that doesn’t work and I’ll see if I can figure out how to fix it!

I hope you continue to read my little blog, despite all the changes! If you follow me on bloglovin, you may have to follow my new site name, sorry! I thought it would update automatically but I think I did all the changes a bit wrong for that to happen!

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Style Crush: Alison Brie

I’ve loved Alison Brie since binge-watching Community a couple of years ago when it was on Netflix – for some reason it has now disappeared, which is a shame because it’s brilliant! Also, of course, I then enjoyed her role as Trudy in Mad Men.

Then last month Netflix released GLOW – Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. We watched it all in 2 days and could easily have watched it all in one go. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a funny, smart show about women. The central friendship between Alison Brie’s and Betty Gilpin’s characters is a refreshingly 3 dimensional look at female friendship. And there are lots of good female characters as all the wrestlers have personalities and get time being more of a central character. And they don’t just talk about men all the time, so this definitely passes the Bechdel Test!

I also slightly love all the terrible 80s fashion, hair and make-up! Can someone please invite me to an 80s party so I have an excuse to make an 80s outfit?

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I saw an interview with Alison Brie where she said she got a perm for the role! Now that’s dedication to your craft.

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Since I now have a total girl crush on her, I thought I’d do a post about her style, which I really like. I also totally want to be as fit as she is in GLOW. I have (again) started jogging, so maybe one day!

I’m not sure I could pull off leather trousers tbh (I’m not Theresa May after all!), but I do like this look. I like the top and the lipstick too. If only I ever wore lipstick…..

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I really like the details on this dress – the black side panels and the unlined part of the skirt at the bottom. I really want to know what kind of fabric this is! On the skirt it looks almost like chain, but that would weigh a tonne, so I’m sure it’s not! Answers on a postcard please if you know.

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I really, really like this sweatshirt. I reckon it would be fairly easy to knock off, with the Grainline Linden pattern, but the tricky thing would be finding the right fabric. I like it with the shirt underneath, too.

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Ah, my love of collars is definitely coming back! Not totally sure about the cuffs, but I love her hair and make-up here.

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I’m not normally a huge fan of strapless dresses, but for some reason I really like this one. Look at the embroidery! I assume it’s embroidery, but it could be on the actual fabric and they’ve done some really clever pattern placement?

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I like the fake cut out type panels on this dress. The (I assume) lace inserts look really cool.

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I really love this dress which she wore to the People’s Choice Awards in 2016. After some googling I have discovered it was designed by Cushnie Et Ochs. I love the minty colour and she shape of the front panel, and the cut outs look great. A contender for my dress for next year’s Dressmaker’s Ball perhaps?

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I really like the simplicity of this dress. I think it works so well because it fits her perfectly. It looks like the edges might be leather/faux leather, which adds a bit of an edge to what might have been a slightly twee dress.

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I love this jumpsuit! I’ve had a couple of jumpsuits patterns in my stash for ages and I’ve still not made one. I’m not generally a fan of wrap fronts (as I don’t have the chest to fill them) but I really like this. Probably mostly in love with it for the colour! And it has pockets!

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I really like this coat and scarf combo. I always feel like I don’t look that stylish when I wear scarves, but I’m not sure how to tie/wrap them to look cool. I might copy this coat at some point in the future……when I apparently have unlimited sewing time and money!

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To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I like this Bella Freud dress so much, but I do really like it. I love the colour, even if it’s one I wouldn’t wear, and I like the seam details across the upper chest and the sleeves. It’s quite 70s I think.

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Have you watched GLOW yet? If so, did you love it? I’m almost certainly going to watch it again next week when I have a sewcation from work πŸ˜€

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Make It: Penguin Pyjama Case

After the success of the monkey pyjama case I made for my niece, I made a penguin shaped one for my nephew and it was not as simple as the monkey!

I made the penguin out of some black and some white twill I had in my stash (well it’s earmarked for a specific thing but I figured I could spare a bit for the penguin!).

First I cut out 2 bowling pin shapes for the fronts (you need 2 so you can sandwich the wadding in between the 2 layers), and a sort of white splodge for the tummy.

I pinned and sewed it onto just one of the front layers, sewing with a zig-zag stitch to prevent the tummy piece fraying.

Close-up of the zig-zag stitching!

I also cut out 4 wing pieces – 2 for each side, and 2 out of wadding. Layer these with the wadding on the top and the 2 wing pieces on the top, right sides together (if your fabric has a right side and a wrong side). Sew all the way around – I used a 1cm seam allowance.

Trim the wadding from the seam allowance, to reduce the bulk and turn the wings the right side around. Leave these to one side.

I had a little bit of yellow fabric left over from one of the first things I made (a yellow skirt that I wore about twice!), so I used that for the feet and the beak. The principle is the same for the feet as it is for the wings – cut 2 feet for each foot and pile them on top of the wadding, right sides together (again, if your fabric has a right side). Sew all the way around (again I used a 1cm seam allowance), trim the wadding from the seam allowance and turn the right way around. Leave to one side.

Now, the thing that was really hard about this make was the beak. I thought about how to do it for literally weeks. I asked people at the dressmaker’s ball for their advice, and I still couldn’t really figure it out. I had a sort of an idea so I thought the best thing would be to just try it.

So I cut out 2 triangles. I pretty much just guessed on the size – and as you’ll see at the bottom of this post, I probably guessed a bit big, but it was meant to look a bit cartoony so it was totally on purpose! I then sewed one side of a zip onto 2 sides of one triangle. Then I sewed the other side of the zip to another, matching, triangle of fabric, making sure that they sat one on top of the other when the zip is closed. These triangles are the inside of the mouth, if that helps to visualise it?!

Next I cut 4 more triangles of a similar size, but a little thinner than the ones above (2 for each beak). Sew 2 together along one of the long sides – the other long side will be joined to the zip, making little pyramids.

You can see below that where I’m holding is the seam of the 2 smaller triangles, and the other edges (one from each triangle) are pinned – and then sewn – to the other size of the zip. The teeth of the zip should be on the inside as the pyramid will be turned the right way round once sewn, to hide all the stitching inside the beaks, where they will be stuffed. Sorry of this isn’t making much sense, by the way, my brain was definitely hurting by the time I’d figured any of this out!

Once you’ve done the above couple of steps for both beaks, you should end up with something that looks a bit like below – quite creepy! I used a zip that was way too long so I would definitely have one long enough. I shortened it by zig-zag stitching over the teeth first, then trimming off the excess. I’m not going to pretend that this beak works perfectly, unfortunately. The zip is quite tricky to use as it keeps getting caught in the inside of the mouth – I guess if I’d have done some actual triangle calculations, I could have made the inside of the beak a bit more taut so it wouldn’t get caught as much. Oops!

This is the side view, with half the zip undone. I stuffed the beak at this point, too.

The next thing I did was to sew on the eyes. I waited until the beak was finished to do this so I could work out the best placement for them. Again I used a small zig-zag stitch to make sure they don’t fray.

The next step is to assemble the penguin front and back, but sandwiching the 2 fronts (one of which has the tummy sewn on it) with the wadding in the middle. You need to put the fabric with right sides out – this isn’t a seam, the layers are topstitched together.

For the back of the penguin, I decided I wanted him to have a little tail because cute! So I traced half of the penguin front pattern piece, having drawn a line down the middle. I then added a triangle shape onto the centre line and added a 1cm seam allowance, as below. You have to cut 4 of these because there are 2 halves of the back. Sandwich each pair of back pieces with wadding in the middle and topstitch around the edge as for the front.

You’ll then want to sew the seam to attach the 2 back pieces together. I then overlocked the seam to neaten and finish it.

You’ll also want to sew a small seam along the bottom of the tail, as below. Otherwise he’ll have a hole in his bottom and we don’t want that! You just want to sew until roughly in line with the seam to attach both pieces together.

The next thing is to attach the beak. This bit was a bit scary because you just have to cut a hole in the penguin front. I sewed the whole beak on by hand – I sewed around the edge of one half, then cut the hole and stitched the beak to the opening, then stitched around the edge of the other half. Hope that makes sense!

This is the view from the inside – the beak ended up being slightly off centre, but there wasn’t much I could do about it by that point!

And this is what he looks like from the front, with his beak open. The opening is quite narrow for getting the pyjamas in and out of, so if you make this it might be worth putting another zip or some velcro into the side seam.

Apparently I stopped taking photos at this point. The last step is to sew the front to the back, with right sides (the eyes/beak and the tail) together. I found it easiest to open the beak and push it half to the inside, to be able to get the penguin under my machine. You, of course, need to put the wings and the feet in to the seam before you stitch it. You’ll need to place them with the unsewn edges facing out towards the edge of the front/back, sandwiching them between the 2 layers. I overlocked the seam to neaten it. Then all you need to do is to turn it the right way around.

Here’s how he eats the pyjamas πŸ™‚

I’m sort of pleased with how this turned out, but I feel like it could have been better. I just don’t know how, though! Usually I enjoy thinking up how to make things without a pattern, but this time it just wasn’t quite right unfortunately.

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Wardrobe Architect Week 11: Planning Your Pieces

This week’s Wardrobe Architect is all about planning what to make to achieve the capsule (ish) wardrobe of our dreams. I think I might slightly struggle with this because although I’ve been planning my sewing since October, I still feel I am a little bit all over the place and I definitely get seduced by shiny new patterns all the time!

The original post says: “In the last couple installments, we talked about choosing silhouettes for our new mini wardrobes and defining a color palette.

With those two things in mind, along with all the work we’ve done before on defining our style and prints that we like, it’s time to decide what pieces we need to create a coherent little wardrobe.”

In the original post she suggests you shop your closet to see what you already have that fits with your chosen silhouettes and palettes. I’ve put together a couple of collages of vaguely what I’m aiming for.

Β I already have (I know it’s boring but I’m just going to list these because I don’t know how best to create collages from things I’ve made):

Dresses (I have others but don’t really wear them!)
Electric blue jersey dress
Navy blue Rushcutter dress
Spotty drapey knit dress (GBSB)
2 Summer Elisalex dresses
Mustard and navy flowers Sallie maxi dress
Jazzy Moneta dress
Navy and white striped Marianne dress

Skirts
Navy blue Simplicity skirt
Black Simplicity skirt
Denim Moss skirt
Silver Delphine skirt
Grey quilted Mabel skirt

Tops
2 blue (turquoise and electric blue) Cocos
2 Archer shirts (blue spotty and flowery)
Blue patterned Melilot shirt
2 Plantain tees (Breton-style and yellow and navy flowers)
A RTW cream tee with kimono sleeves, slightly oversized
A RTW (charity shop find) mustard yellow flowy blouse with a peter pan collar
(These last 2 tops are some of my favourites to wear to I intend to rub them off and copy them at some point so I can have more of the same style in my wardrobe)

Trousers and Jeans
Simplicity trousers
RTW wide legged navy trousers (which I took in last year)
RTW primark grey patterned pleated trousers (which I’ve had for years).
One pair of grey jeans given to me by a friend.
Black and navy skinny trousers which I’ve had for years and are getting a bit worn out

Coats and Jackets
Black Victoria blazer
Refashioned blue Victoria blazer
Freemantle coat
A now quite old duffel coat which has seen better days

Wow, now I’ve written all this down it seems like a lot! It’s hard to believe I still have holes in my wardrobe! I have a lot of basic long-sleeved jersey tops (all from primark shamefully, though I have worn them for probably 10 years now!) which I plan to replace over the course of next Winter, so I won’t include these in my plans below.

  1. White Archer shirt – I don’t actually own a white shirt!
  2. Dark blue Ginger jeans
  3. Black Ginger jeans
  4. Dark blue Morgan jeans
  5. Light blue (and thin denim) Morgan jeans
  6. Yellow Albion duffel coat
  7. Mustard yellow or powder blue 60s-style coat from the GBSB book
  8. Navy and white or black and white culottes from Butterick B6178
  9. Black wide-legged trousers (probably from McCalls M6515
  10. Papercut Guise pants from a patterned fabric with either black or navy in

I think 10 things should be enough to be getting on with! Especially on top of my #2017MakeNine. I’m not going to set myself a deadline for sewing all of these pieces, because that will remove all the fun I think – I’m not a quick sewist I have realised – but hopefully once I’ve ticked these and my Make Nine off (and, of course, there is some overlap like the 2 jeans patterns), I should be pretty close to having a working capsule-ish wardrobe! I’m already finding I have more outfits since starting the Wardrobe Architect because of focussing on my colour palette, and once I’ve got the above pieces, I should have loads of ways of putting things together. Yay!

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June Makes and July Plans

Well, another month has come and gone! I made a few things in June; after a quiet May, my sewjo definitely returned. I did spend a couple of weekend days cutting out lots of projects (as I like to do every couple of months) so I’ve got lots of things ready to go when I have time to sew. Yay! Future me will be happy with past me!

I mostly made 2 garments for myself in June, including my black Roberts Collection dungaree dress, which I still love.

The ‘mostly’ part of my finished garments is my greyish blueish melilot shirt. I’ve finished it apart from the buttons, because my sewing machine does not enjoy sewing button holes, meaning I don’t enjoy sewing button holes! I might get some snaps or something instead, as I’d have to buy buttons anyway. Any thoughts?

The final thing I finished this month was a penguin pyjama case for my nephew. After the success of the monkey one for my niece, I made another one!

And now onto my plans for July – these are all things I’ve already got cut out, yay!

The first is for when it gets hot again in the UK – though it’s actually been quite warm since the weekend, which is good! It’s a stripey In The Folds Collins Top. The fabric is left over from a banksia top I made years ago, and required some tetris to get all the pieces to fit. Luckily I wanted to have the stripes going in different directions, otherwise I definitely would not have had enough fabric!

I’ve cut out the lovely Robert Kaufman fabric I bought from Guthrie and Ghani in Birmingham into a Colette Aster blouse. I do have buttons for this one, so I’ll have to suck it up and sew the button holes.

My final definitely plan for this month is a Sew Over It Anderson Blouse from the amazing Coral crepe I bought, also from Guthrie and Ghani.

I actually have a week off later in July, so my main project for that week is to actually finally make a start on making Jeans. I have now pre-washed both my denims, so it should be all ready to go, though I haven’t traced the pattern yet!

Have you got lots of summery things on your to make list at the moment?

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