Pink Stripey Collins Top

This is definitely one of my favourite makes I’ve made in a while, and certainly one that fits me the best straight out of the packet. As I’m sure you know, I am lazy when it comes to fitting things, and I treated this as a sort of wearable toile – I basically always do that but then I never make any fit changes to the second version!  But this fits me really well, and I like how it falls.

I made the size b and used some leftover fabric I’ve had for several years after making my first Banksia top out of it. It was from Goldhawk Road, probably one of the first times I went, if not the first time I went. It’s just a cotton, but it’s really soft. I thought I wasn’t going to have enough fabric, but given that this pattern was made for the stripes to go different ways,  I managed to do some expert tetrissing (I know this isn’t a word, but it should be: v the act of squeezing a sewing pattern out of a tiny amount of fabric) and just squeezed it out. I did the version with the facing, which is in some cheap white polycotton I had in my stash. The only change I made to the pattern/instructions was to stitch the facing down to the side seams – I did this as top stitching right in the ditch of the seam line.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that when I was overlocking a seam on this top, I was pulling it through to get a long enough tail to cut and stopped paying attention for a second, which led to me accidentally cutting part of one of the back shoulder pieces. Luckily I cut it along the same direction as the stripes and so I put an odd piece of white fabric behind it and zig-zagged it a few times to secure it. And now you can’t really see it – I think unless I pointed it out, you wouldn’t know it was there! It must be visible in the below photo, but I can’t see it, hurrah!

I wanted a close up of the stripes all going different ways, so here you go!

I think I might be pretty bad at gathering all the supplies I might need for a certain project – I always think about the fabric and, say, a zip for a dress or buttons for a shirt, but I rarely actually check the list of notions needed for a pattern, so when I got to the hemming stage of this make, that was the first time I realised I needed bias binding. I could have maybe done without, but luckily I had this baby pink stuff in my stash – it was literally the only bias binding I had and luckily it sort of matches! I think I might do bias hems more often as I like how it looks and it’s pretty easy!

I feel that with more of these makes I share, the less I have to say about them. I’ve got a few more of these kinds of quick projects, but I do have some ideas about some more involved projects, so then hopefully I would have a bit more to talk about!  Jeans are definitely in this category and I want to make a coat (it’s one of my #2017MakeNine after all) and a bag, so they should keep me a bit busier.

I have already bought some more fabric to make another version of this, but given I’ve only managed to wear this one about twice because the weather has gone totally to pot in the last couple of weeks, I’m not sure how much wear I would get out of it. *sobs* I’m wondering about layering them over long-sleeved basic tops when it’s cold, though. What do you think? Would that look terrible? I feel like a white top with this one would look okay?

Greyish-Blueish Melilot Shirt

This shirt is sort of one of my makes for June, but I finished it in July as I was scared to sew the button holes because my machine does not like them! But they’re never as bad as I think they’re going to be, they’re just not totally straight sometimes.

Anyway, here is the shirt:

The fabric is some blueish-greyish cotton I bought from Barry’s fabrics in Birmingham when I went shopping with some Bristol lovelies. As with my other Melilot, I made the size 38 with no changes, though this is the other view, with sort sleeves.

This version was definitely easier to make because the fabric is much more stable – and I cut it out much more accurately! One of the main things I really like about this pattern is the shape of the hem, and especially how it dips down lower at the back. BTW it’s really hard to take a photo of a hem from the side without your arm getting in the way, or looking weird and folding your arms or something!

I don’t really have a huge amount to say about this make, except to say I really like it. I like how it’s sort of between 2 colours, and I like the 2 pockets. The only slight problem is when I wore it with my Simplicity trousers, it did look a bit like a crappy uniform. It was especially bad when I tucked it in for some reason!

The only thing I did ‘wrong’ was  to not use any interfacing…….because I didn’t have any and I’m impatient and wanted to just sew it already! I thought it was a thick enough cotton (though not as thick as quilting cotton) to cope without, and I think it will hold up.

I really like my long-sleeved version, but for these warm-ish months, I’m really liking kimono-style sleeves, especially if they have little cuffs, like these. I think this would be a great version to make (again) with a drapier fabric, so the sleeves sit better.

It’s funny how sometimes you make something you really like and you know you will wear it a lot, but you don’t really have anything to say about it! Do you ever feel that? Or is it just me?!

I’ll leave you with this week’s outtake! The Boyfriend was helping me take pictures and I couldn’t tell when he was pressing go so I kept talking!

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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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Black Roberts Dungaree Dress

I’ve made a thing!

And I really like it, though it may not be totally seasonally appropriate as the fabric is quite thick. It’s some mystery black textured something which I got at the fabric swap at the first Sew Brizzle meet up. It was quite thin so I underlined the back and the front skirt with some fairly cheap black polycotton and it seems to have done the trick – judging by these photos which were taken in bright sun anyway!

The pattern is the dress version of Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection. I bought this ages ago, but only printed and assembled the PDF a few months ago. I printed the whole lot in one go, and it took AGES to put together, but I’m glad because now I’m tempted to make the dungaree version for the colder weather later in the year. I particularly like the back! I love how the straps look and the shape of the back.

This is the side view – and I’m pleased it doesn’t sit too low as I was mildly concerned even with a top underneath, it wouldn’t be decent! But there’s a little band on this side and 3 poppers to get a snugger fit and allow you to get in and out of it!

I made the straight size 2 without making any changes. But looking at it on, I think next time I could shorten the bib on the front and the back above the waist as the ‘waist’ seam sits just a bit lower than my waist, so I think it might be a little more flattering if the seam was on my actual waist.

I used poppers to attach the straps on the front – as I think the pattern says you should – but then sewed some buttons on the top as fakes! I thought about actually using buttons, but since my machine doesn’t like sewing button holes at the best of time, and because this fabric is textured and quite thick, I thought they just wouldn’t work so I went with poppers and fake buttons!

And it has pockets! Yay! I don’t think I’ll ever make anything without pockets in the future, it’s just so annoying to not have any!

I guess there isn’t too much to say about this make because the pattern came together really nicely and I think it will get quite a bit of wear in the warmish weather and with tights and a jumper underneath in the Winter. It will definitely fill in a casual gap in my wardrobe!

So I’ll leave you with an outtake to demonstrate how much I had to edit the photos because I’m too pale for the Sun! My top is cream and really isn’t the same colour as my skin, but it looks like it here! Lol!

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My Dressmakers’ Ball Dress (AKA Red Carpet Copycat)

After I shared a sneaky peak of what I was making for the Dressmakers’ Ball, I am now here to show you the finished outfit (which you may have already seen if you follow me on Instagram!)

But first I want to share a little bit about the ball itself……it was amazing! It was run by the lovely ladies at Crafty Sew & So, a fabric shop in Leicester. It was so nice to see everyone go all out when given the excuse – and I’m sure some of us don’t need much of an excuse! I kept thinking how awesome it was that sewing allows us to express ourselves exactly as we want to. I can’t imagine how painful it is shopping for a prom dress, or even a wedding dress, and not finding exactly what you want. My prom dress was made by my mum and now I know if I’m going to a wedding or something, whatever I can imagine that I want to wear I can make (within the boundaries of my skills of course!).

These are all the ‘advanced’ dressmakers (which meant you had been sewing for 3 or more years). The photo is by TKL Photography, and I thought it was great that they had a professional photographer taking pictures because whenever I’m having a good time I don’t think to take any (which I guess it how it should be!)

I went with my friend Sarah who I met at the Sew Brizzle meet ups and Jen, also from Bristol, was there too (though she didn’t take part in the competition so isn’t in the photo above).

I was really impressed with the beginner dressmakers too – they had all been sewing for less than 3 years, and some of them had made their dress for the ball and it was the first or second thing they every made! They were a lot, lot, lot better than the first and second things I made, I can tell you! I tried to take some photos, but they’re all terrible and mostly of people’s backs, so do go check out the photo album on CraftySew&So’s facebook page.

Special shout out goes to Kendell, who I sat next to at dinner, and who won the beginner dressmaker category. She has only been sewing since September! (Photo by TKL Photography). Amazing!

Helen from Stitch My Style (who I’ve had a bit of a girl crush on for a while now because I love her vlogs!) won the advanced dressmaker category for her latest recreation project – after the amazingness that was her Marilyn Monroe Dress – the opera dress from Pretty Woman. It truly was a wonder to behold, and she had completely shelf-drafted it. She is a very talented lady! Also I got to chat to her a little bit on the night, and the next morning when some people met for breakfast and she’s as lovely and funny in real life as you’d expect from her videos.

Here she is (left) with the equally lovely Elisalex from By Hand London, who was one of the judges, and Nina from Nina Lee patterns, who I met a couple of years ago at a meet-up and I was surprised she remembered me – for some reason I always assume people will forget me as soon as I leave the room!

Well, this might be enough chat about how great the ball was and maybe I should show you some photos of my dress?

Here it is from the front – looks kind of boring I think, though it is a good colour – the fabric is the leftovers from my By Hand London Alix Dress. The bodice is the Christine Haynes Emery, which is my go to basic bodice as I did quite a bit of fitting back when I first made it, and I’m too lazy to do it all again with a different pattern! The front skirt, though it a sort of made up thing. I used the skirt I drafted for my Navy Lace dress but I extended it to the ground and made the top of the skirt the same length as the bottom of the bodice (plus seam allowances, of course).

There is also a split up the front of the skirt. I did this using a random tutorial I found online, where you make a sort of facing, sewing either side of the line you want for the split, cut the line between the 2 rows of stitching, then turn it to the inside and voila! You have a split, with the raw edges all enclosed. I then handstitched the facing part to the inside using herringbone stitch – there was a lot of handsewing on this dress as the fabric marks quite easily, so where I might have machined a hem on a less ball-worthy dress, I did it all by hand on this one.

You also might be able to see there are trousers underneath my dress. I thought about buying the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers pattern, but then I remembered I have Gertie Sews Vintage Casual which has a Cigarette Trousers pattern, so I used that.

I did have to do quite a bit of adjusting to the trousers, but I failed to write any notes so I’m stuffed if I want to make them again! I moved the back zip to one of the side seams, shortened the legs on the pattern by an inch below the knee and then took them in quite a lot on the legs. Like an inch or more on each leg, inside and out.  They didn’t look perfect but they looked okay. And they fitted okay across the bum from the beginning, so that was a bonus!

Anyway, the interesting thing about my outfit is the back!

As you may have already recognised, this is a copy of an outfit worn by Emma Watson at the Golden Globes a couple of years ago. I tried to recreate her pose, but it didn’t really work. I added a second strap to hide my bra strap. Also I have no idea how her dress is staying up – I added some really strong interfacing to mine, but it still wasn’t quite enough. Luckily Helen from Stitch My Style had some spare (ehem) tit tape so Sarah stuck the top corners to my back, which was great because otherwise I would have spent the whole night adjusting it!

I love how the wind caught the dress in the above photo! The fabric was pleasingly swishy to dance in, but because it’s only half a dress and because of the split, it wasn’t as swirly as Elisalex’s dress, which was definitely one of the best for twirling in!

I’m pretty proud of my pleating on the back, so here’s a close-up. This fabric creases like a bitch, but it does mean once pleats have been ironed in, they stay!

This is me trying to copy Emma Watson’s pose – semi successful I think. If I had a stylist and someone to teach me how to pose, it might have been closer! Oh well!

Emma Watson Christian Dior, Golden Globes

To sum up, I really love this dress/outfit! I really enjoyed working out how to recreate something I’ve only seen in photos. And it was great to have an opportunity/excuse to make one of the things I’ve been dreaming about making for aaages! I also, surprisingly, enjoyed all of the handsewing. I think next year – assuming they’re running the ball again – I want to make something with a more tricky fabric to work with. Maybe velvet, which I’ve not sewn with yet. And I’d like to give boning a try. I’ve already got an idea in mind of another red carpet copy cat dress, but I’m not going to share it yet because no doubt I will change my mind by next May! I might try to recreate some others of my favourite red carpet looks too, like the less formal ones – I don’t know how many gowns I’ll need in my wardrobe!

I’ll leave you with another photo of our photography assistant who showed up again as The Boyfriend was taking these photos! You may recognise him from the photos I took of my denim moss skirt. I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but he lost an eye a few months ago, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed him down.

He seemed pretty determined to photobomb me!

But I couldn’t resist his lovely face. He really is a friendly cat and comes into our flat if we leave our back door open 🙂

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