Sewing Fail :(

Have you ever make something and it’s just all wrong? I have……..

This is my trusty Grainline Scout Tee. I have made this so many times (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), you would think I couldn’t possibly do it wrong! But you would be wrong. As you can see below, the neck band was a bit of a disaster.

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This was the left over fabric from my first Colette Laurel dress and I thought this could be another Breton-style top to add to my Plantain tee. I cut it out ages ago and then sewed it just after Christmas (so this, along with my pink pencil skirt, was my last make of 2015). I don’t remember why I cut out the back in 2 pieces – I don’t know if this was on purpose because of a lack of fabric or if it was a mistake!

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I carefully sewed french seams for all the seams. I didn’t even realise I hadn’t hemmed the sleeves until I went to take pictures – this was just shoddy all around.

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At this point you might be thinking ‘well it doesn’t look that bad’ but there is a reason I am not modelling this tee. It ended up really small and really short! Here is it compared to one of my earlier versions of the Scout Tee – I did make them the same size!

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It’s particularly short at the front – no idea why! I think some bad cutting out is to blame….

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For an even more hilarious comparison, here is is next to my Dear Creatures Scout. I did make this a size bigger than all the others, but it looks about 3 sizes bigger here. This version feels a little too big in places, so I think what I need to do if/when I make it again is to use the sleeves and armscyes and length of the larger size but the width of the smaller size.

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At lease I didn’t waste any expensive fabric or too much time! Have you every had something turn out completely unwearable?

Best Makes of 2015

So since it’s New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d do the obvious thing of looking back over the last year and seeing what I’ve made and done. This was inspired in part by the Instragram #2015BestNine hashtag.

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I’ve made myself 14 garments, which isn’t really that many – I have felt like I haven’t had as much time for sewing as I would have liked.

I particularly like my BHL Victoria Blazer, and definitely feel smarter when I wear it instead of a cardigan.  I like my Merchant and Mills denim Dress Shirt, too.

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I made a few things with knits, for the first time this year: a Closet Case Files Sallie Maxi Dress; a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress; and a Breton-style Deer and Doe Plantain Tee.

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I have also refashioned 7 things, so I’ve been a bit more productive than a first glance might imply!

My 3 favourite refashions were my ugly skirt to Grainline Scout tee (which I unfortunately shrank in the wash, boo!), my Refashioners Dear Creatures rip-off and, probably the one I’m most proud of, my ugly coat which I remade into a Freemantle Coat.

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I’ve made 6 non-clothes things, including my first (pusheen) and second amigurumi (a Minion), and my first scrapbook, for my Dad’s 65th Birthday.

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But my very favourite non-clothes thing (and probably favourite out of everything I’ve made) was the felt allotment I made for my friend’s daughter for Christmas 2 (which happens in January so this was made this year). This was one of those things that I saw on A Beautiful Mess and knew I had to make it, and then was super excited to see my friend’s daughter open it! I was almost too excited to wait until the present exchange, and wanted to open it as soon as I arrived for Christmas 2!

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This is the anniversary of this blog, too – I had an old one but transferred the content over and focused just on sewing and crafty things (I had previously written about food and books too), and I’ve introduced a couple of new regular posts – style inspiration and fashion history. I’ll continue with these I think, as they help me to cement my personal style and guide me what to make next! I’ve also reviewed some books, events and shops. You can see the archive of all these posts here.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year and I hope you’ll come back in 2016. xx

The Refashioners: Dear Creatures rip off!

So after the success of finishing my Made Up Initiative dress, this is the second time I’ve finished a sewalong on time! Hopefully this is also the first of my 2 entries to the Refashioners. The second shirt is currently in the washing machine being dyed, so I haven’t got much time to then refashion it, so we’ll see if I get it done in time!

I decided to make this beige shirt into something that made it unrecognisable as a shirt. I bought the biggest size I could find in my local charity shop. (I maybe should have ironed it before these pictures!)

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I also chose one in a solid colour, as I was planning to dye it, and this beige one seemed the best option for taking multiple colours of dye.

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As you can see, it was only £2.99, which is pretty cheap for the amount of fabric.

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I decided pretty early on that I would use a Dear Creatures top as my inspiration. It’s called the optimist sweater, which is quite lovely!

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Dear Creatures inspiration 2(images source)

It looks like this top/ jumper has all the colours knitted together, but I had to cut out the pieces separately. I used my beloved Grainline Scout Tee pattern as the base, and traced it off in a size 6, a size larger than I’ve made before as I feel like the Scouts I’ve made before are a little short and perhaps snugger than I would like – I’ve developed a taste for more loose-fitting tops these days. I traced the pattern so that I had the back and front as whole pieces (so I traced the front one half, then flipped the paper and traced the other side. I think that makes sense!? I planned where the colours would go:

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My colours don’t match the Dear Creatures one completely – because my shirt was beige, I didn’t have the white (if only I’d been able to find a white shirt!), so I added green where the white is in the original one.

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Once I’d got my front and back traced off, I drew the lines on to divide where I wanted the colours, making sure to match the lines on the side seams and shoulder seam, where the colours bisected the seams. I then re-traced each of the little shapes, adding 1.5cm seam allowance to each part that needed to meet another part (I failed to take any pictures to illustrate this unfortunately).

Once I’d cut out all the pieces, I put them in 3 piles: yellow, blue, and green and dyed each little pile. The fabric is pretty synthetic so didn’t take the full colour, which I’m actually quite pleased about – I used Dylon’s hand dyes in Sunflower Yellow, Navy Blue and Dark Green. For reference of the colour, I put the trousers I’m wearing in these pictures in the navy dye to give them a bit of a lift, where they’d faded – obviously they were already navy blue, but the dye definitely made them a richer shade.

This is what the pieces looked like when dyed:

Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-4And this is them all sewn together:

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It took quite a while to sew all the pieced together, and the corner where the blue and green both meet the yellow was really fiddley – I couldn’t get it to be a squarer corner. I clipped the yellow a bit to try to make it go around the corner, but the best I could do was the slightly corners you can see above.

To make sure the seams didn’t get annoying on the inside, I zig-zagged the seam allowances separately and then top stitched them with contrasting yellow thread.

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I’m really glad I decided to do the top stitching as it makes the difference between the colours more accented somehow. I used the same thread for the hems and neckline, to give it some uniformity.

The back is the reverse of the front….

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…..which means there are some really nice shapes on the side seams, where the various colours meet. I like the yellow sort-of-star.

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And there’s a nice point on the other side, which I definitely don’t think you’d see so much if not for the top-stitching.

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The only other change I made to the pattern, aside from the colour-blocking, was to make the sleeves a little longer – by 7cm. I considered doing the half-and-half sleeve (blue and yellow), but I couldn’t really be bothered to be honest!

Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-9Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-16All in all, I’m really pleased with how this turned out! It took a while to trace all the pattern pieces and cut it out, but once it was dyed, it was pretty quick to assemble – I’ve made the Scout Tee so many times I don’t need to think about it. I used French seams for the construction, so, with the zig-zagged and top-stitched colour block joins, the inside looks almost as nice as the outside!

Are you/ Have you made something for the refashioners?

A Belated Me Made May Round Up

How did you find Me Made May this year, if you took part?

This was my second time taking part and I definitely felt the difference in the amount of garments I had to choose from! I didn’t even get a chance to wear everything I have made. I decided to wear me-mades on 5 days of each week, basically at work as I am still working towards having a good casual wardrobe for weekends and I am still yet to try sewing with jersey! Maybe I should sign up to Tilly’s new online class?

Sorry if you follow me on instagram – you’ll have seen these all before, but in case you haven’t…..(sorry for the crappy, blurry selfies – I hate taking selfies!)

Day 1: Tilly and the Buttons Mimi Blouse + Black By Hand London Victoria Blazer.

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Day 4: Refashioned High-Necked top and Refashioned Coat to BHL Victoria Blazer

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Day 5: Grainline Scout Tee with self-drafted collar.

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Day 6: Blue and White Striped Colette Laurel Dress.

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Day 7: Colette Violet Blouse.

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Day 8: Pink Stripey Banksia + Blue Simplicity 2451 Skirt.

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Day 11: Refashioned Shirt Dress.

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Day 12: Refashioned Peter Pan Collar Dress.

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Day 13: Refashioned High-Necked top + Black Simplicity 2451 Skirt.

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Day 14: Refashioned Parrot Shirt.

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Day 15: Flowery Grainline Scout Tee.                             MMM15-Day-15
Day 16: Refashioned Ugly Skirt into Grainline Scout Tee.

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Day 19: GBSB Boyfriend Shirt.

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Day 20: Tilly and the Buttons Francoise Dress.

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Day 22: Pink Spotty Grainline Scout Tee + Black Victoria Blazer

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Day 26: Emery Dress by Christine Haynes.

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Day 27: Refashioned Mustard Corduroy Shorts.

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Day 29: Refashioned Ugly Skirt into Grainline Scout Tee + Bright Yellow Butterick Skirt (worn to a ceilidh!)

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I think I must have forgotten to take pictures on some days because I’m sure I wore my other Banksia top and there don’t seem to be enough pictures, but I definitely wore me-mades on 5 days of each week! I definitely forgot to take a picture on the last day, when I wore my Orla Kiely-esque Laurel and my black Victoria Blazer (again).

The things I learnt from Me Made May were:

1. I hate taking selfies – I took about 20 each time, just to get one I liked! Documenting the month is definitely the least fun part for me!

2. There are still some me-mades that I have never worn/ don’t like wearing, but wear because I made them (my 2 Elisalex Dresses [1 + 2], my Miette cardigan, Gertie Bow Tied Blouse and my first dress, New Look 6000). These tend to be the things I made earlier on in my sewing, so hopefully this means I’m getting more of a handle on my style and what I like wearing and not being seduced by patterns which look great on other people but aren’t really me.

3. I definitely need to make some skinny jeans/ trousers, probably from the Ginger Jeans pattern.

4. I definitely need to conquer knits, so I have more comfortable, casual clothes for weekends and days when I don’t fancy dressing up.

5. It felt like a lot of effort to wear a dress as I cycle to work now. But when I actually put on the dresses, it was fine, so I think I can afford to wear them more often, especially as the weather warms up!

I did enjoy taking part in Me Made May as it does force me to look at what I have in my wardrobe and to not just put on shop-bought skinny trousers and tee shirts. Did you enjoy taking part? What did you learn?

Refashioned ugly skirt

Do you remember this skirt? (and the crap photo!?)

Fara-blue-and-gold-skirt-1I got it from the Fara Workshop before it sadly closed down.

This is a close up of the shiny, shiny lining and you can see the lovely check fabric – I bought the skirt because I loved the fabric.

Fara-blue-and-gold-skirt-2Fara-blue-and-gold-skirt-3When I buy something to refashion I generally sit in front of the tele and unpick all the seams I think I need to unpick, so that the bits are all ready to go when I get around to refashioning it. I unpicked the pleats and the waistband and then I went to unpick the side seams, but there was only one seam, at the back. Yes, folks, this is a one-seamed skirt! I’d never heard of this before I read Handmade Jane’s post on the one-seamed skirt a month ago, and then I had one on my hands!

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And this is the lovely lining – not sure why I didn’t iron this before I took the picture! I have plans for this lining – basically as the lining for a new skirt, ooh, imaginative! I have also kept the zip to see if I can use that elsewhere.

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I decided to make yet another Grainline Scout Tee. This is I think my 6th! (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) And I think it’s my favourite (I probably said that about all of them!).

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I made the effort to centre the big check on the front. I slightly wish I’d centered the electric blue strip instead, but at least the pattern placement looks deliberate – I’ve learnt so much since making my boyfriend shirt.  The same pattern placement is on the back.
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I’ve decided I really like boxy tees, worn with tighter trousers/ jeans. I wish I had made the sleeves a bit longer – I’d forgotten they’re quite short. Next time! Because I’m sure there will be a next time!

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In none of the pictures, including the more close up, can you see the tiny gold stripes shot through the fabric, but that’s one of the things I particularly love. I’ve worn this with a mustard yellow cardigan and I think it could look nice with my bright yellow skirt, which I never wear because I don’t have much to wear it with!Fara-blue-and-gold-skirt-9 I used all french seams on the inside to make it look all pretty. This fabric is fairly thick, but it isn’t too bulky with the french seams. It’s also a little scratchy, but when I’m wearing it, it doesn’t feel too bad.

Fara-blue-and-gold-skirt-6Fara-blue-and-gold-skirt-11On the first day of Me Made May 2015, this is one of about 2 things I’ve managed to finish to augment my homemade wardrobe ready for a month of wearing as much of it as possible. This is significantly less than I hoped I would make when I wrote my pledge! I always have such huge plans and I had a week off work, but wasn’t feeling the joy so didn’t get much finish. I also always think ‘oh, I can make a skirt (or whatever) in about 2 hours’ but it always takes me a lot longer – does anyone else do that? I am going to try to finish and make a couple of things during this coming long weekend, so that I have some new things near the beginning of Me Made May.