2 Elliot Tops

Well this little blog has been rather neglected recently, hey!?

And now I’m updating during a very weird time in the world, and in the UK specifically. We were officially placed in lockdown last night because of the Coronavirus, which was the right thing to do to hopefully mean that the NHS isn’t overwhelmed and as many people survive the illness as possible.

I have definitely been struggling with heavy anxiety as the situation has worsened but I’m glad that I have sewing and music, both hobbies which bring me joy and calmness (most of the time, when I don’t have to unpick too much!), and which I can do still at home while in isolation.

But that’s enough about that – I’m sure we’re all a bit fed up with thinking and talking about it – so here is some sewing I did back in October! I have a bit of a backlog as you can imagine after 6 months of not posting!

Here I present 2 Elliot Sweaters which I love! The pattern is, of course, by Helen’s Closet. I was a bit torn between this pattern and Tilly and the Buttons’ Nora pattern and I feel like they came out at about the same time, but I went for the Elliot in the end as I like the roll neck better. Though I think I may have to cave and get Nora too as I’ve got some knits in my stash which I think would look good in the more slouchy style.

I have worn both of these tops so much since I finished them in October! I work in a bookshop, where we have to have the doors open and I really really feel the cold so I have been layering them up with thermal tops underneath and thick cardigans in the top. I’m looking forward to spring (if we’re allowed outside by then) when I can hopefully wear them on their own – especially as I like the sleeve length and it gets hidden under cardis!

The pattern is super easy to put together so I’d definitely recommend it for a knits noob.

I especially love how the hem dips down lower at the back – though I should have done a slightly deeper hem all the way around as this fabric rolls out like crazy so you can basically always see the overlocked edge on the outside. Sigh.

The only tweak I made to the pattern was to add a little pocket to each one. I can’t now remember which pattern I stoke the pocket from – maybe the archer shirt – but you can use any breast pocket pattern.

I matched the stripes on the pockets so that they would kind of blend in. When I first got the fabric – which I think was from Material Girl Laura – I thought about using the navy fabric as the pocket on the mustard top and vice versa, but I decided against that in the end as it would have made too much of a focus out of the pockets, and that wasn’t really the look I was going for.

I made both tops in the size small and I like the fit over all. I could maybe have gone up a size to get a more slouchy fit, which I might do if I make the pattern again.

I especially love the mustard colour of this version. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know how much I love mustard yellow!

I managed to mostly pattern match the side seams, which I measured from the armpits as the hems are obviously at different lengths. Because of the raglan sleeves, it’s impossible to match all the strips but I really don’t think anyone would notice that the stripes aren’t perfectly matched everywhere!

I am hoping to get a bunch of isolation sewing done – maybe I’ll finally catch up on my backlog of projects I want to make!? Are you planning to sew all the things too?

 

 

Roberts Dungarees of Dreams

After making my Roberts dungaree dress, I realised I wanted to make the dungaree version…….and it only took me 2 years to realise my dreams!

As with the dress I made the size 2 and the only alterations I made were to add a pocket on the bib, which I stole from the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo pattern, and to make a turn up/cuff at the bottom. I used a tutorial from Amy Nicole Studio for how to do this – I think she’s a bit short like me, so it’s a useful tutorial if trouser legs end up a bit long! And luckily I love how they look!

If it looks like the side of the bib is sitting a bit funny under my left arm, it’s because that’s the side that has poppers on, to get in and out of the dungarees, and I was so desperate to wear these that I just safety pinned the side closed, so it’s looking a bit weird. And actually I can easily get these on and off without undoing the safety pin so I may just sew the opening closed, rather than wasting poppers I don’t really need to use.

I really love the shape of the back on this pattern (even with one of the straps twisted!).

And pockets! You can never have enough pockets in my opinion. And the pockets were particularly useful when I wore these to help my in-laws move house (what better outfit for moving things that dungarees!) so I could hold all the keys and my phone and my lip balm!

The fabric was the last of the leftovers from my suit which I made for the Sewcialite Soiree (which I’d already made a Cleo from!). I could really go over the top in wearing mustard corduroy now!

I used a couple of jeans buttons left over from my Morgan Jeans button kit for the buttons and they did keep popping off until I really, really hammered them on. There is quite a lot of strain on those 2 buttons, like the whole weight of the dungarees, so they do need to be securely on.

If I made these again (and I really want another pair) I think I might go full on Lucy and Yak and make loops on the bib to tie the ties onto. I think I’d have to lengthen the ties too, to give enough length to be able to tie them on.

As well as the left over corduroy, I had some of the birdy cotton lawn I used to line the jacket with, so I lined the bib and the pockets of these with it. I love those secret details, that other people don’t necessarily notice, but I know is there.

I think dungarees was one of those trends that I wasn’t too sold on when it first came back into fashion – though I had a pair of dungarees I absolutely loved and lived in when I was a young teenager! I feel like sometimes it takes me a while to decide if I would actually like a particular garment in my wardrobe – and I don’t want to spend ages (and money on fabric) making something only to realise it’s not my style and I don’t want to wear it. But I’m really glad I jumped on the dungaree bandwagon when I did!

Are there any trends you think aren’t for you, then 6 months or a year down the line you decide maybe you do like it?

 

 

Wardrobe Architect Week 10: The Capsule Palette

This week’s Wardrobe Architect is about narrowing the colour palettes we came up with before (in week 5) into smaller palettes for each season. I don’t think I really need to narrow my palettes, though, because since I live in the UK, we don’t have much of a Summer and my spring wardrobe is pretty much my Winter wardrobe but with fewer jumpers and cardigans.

I actually had a bit of a clear out last weekend when I got my Summer clothes (which turned out to be half a dozen dresses and 2 thin cardigans!) out of storage and packed a bunch of them off to the charity shop. I also got rid of some of my early me-mades which I no longer wear, and a few bits that were given to me by friends. I mostly used the rule of if I hadn’t worn it for the last year I got rid of it, and quite a few of the things I got rid of didn’t fit with my colour palette – and some didn’t fit with the silhouettes I’ve identified – so this exercise has definitely helped me to focus on what works in my wardrobe and what doesn’t.

I think for me the think to focus on is to sew with more of my accent colours more of the time for the warmer months (but to sew things that can be layered for colder weather).

I spent last weekend (and the Sunday before) cutting out lots of projects and one of them was a Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in the lovely coral fabric I bought in Birmingham at Guthrie and Ghani. I also have a pink and white striped In The Folds Collins top ready to go and a turquoise Named Inari Tee Dress. I hadn’t realised until typing this that these are all the right colours! I tried to cut out a cropped Inari Tee from the gorgeous mustard jersey I got in Guthrie and Ghani but there wasn’t enough, which was a little heartbreaking. Boo! I think the most I’ll get out of it will be a vest top. Any pattern ideas?

I think the other was to use my accent colours is to sew bottoms as well as tops from them. I mostly wear bright tops and black/navy/grey bottoms, which makes me always look a little Wintery even when it’s warm. I also need some more cream and white tops to go with these bright things.

Well this is probably my shortest Wardrobe Architect post so far!

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Mustard Yellow Astoria

A little while ago (I’m a little backed up with finished makes due to my unplanned blogging break) I made this mustard yellow Astoria top.

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This is the first Colette Seamwork pattern I’ve made and they are not lying when they say they are quick to make up. I made a size small and didn’t make any changes – and there are only a couple of pattern pieces.

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I thought the fit of it was fine until I looked at these pictures – I guess with knits it’s easier to feel comfortable even if the fit of something isn’t perfect. Does anyone know what I can do to fix the drag lines around my armpits? This is the area I always find is tight on me, so do I just need to go up a size on the armscyes and sleeves? Maybe it’s easier to just go up a whole size? Also the neckband stands up a little – I’m not sure if that’s because the fabric stretches only one way. And I seem to remember having to work hard to squeeze on all the pattern pieces.

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The fabric was the leftovers from the jacket from the wedding outfit I made back in May. It’s a really nice ponte roma and I’ll definitely look to sew with it again in the future. This one is also relatively thick so it’s almost warm. I like wearing it with the high-waisted navy trousers I altered as I don’t like to have a midriff gap – especially in the Winter!

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Have you made any Seamwork patterns? I also have the Alder blouse. I haven’t subscribed as I’m not sure I would want enough of the patterns to justify it, but I do think Seamwork is a genius idea. I particularly like the podcast – I find myself getting really into podcasts (and the radio) recently. They’re better to listen to while sewing than trying to watch shows as I’ve done in the past. I always end up sitting behind my machine watching the tv!

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Lace Wedding Outfit

I’ve finally sewn up some of the lace I wrote about in my post about lace. Hurrah! (I was meant to take pictures at the wedding, but totally forgot, sorry! I blame the prosecco….)

Wedding-Outfit-11I made this dress for a wedding I went to last weekend – which was awesome, by the way. I haven’t been to loads of weddings – I’m not someone who has multiple ones every Summer for 5 years in a row (maybe I don’t have many friends!?) – so it was fun to have one to dress up for. There wasn’t an official dress code – which is awesome – but I still wanted the excuse to dress up and make myself something fancy.

You may remember in my lace post I mentioned making a dress for the wedding and I found some photos as inspiration. There was one that stayed with me and became my main inspiration for this dress. I liked the simple top, pleated skirt and sort-of-matching-but-not-really underlining and lace.

Style Inspiration: Navy Lace DressI was planning to also copy the high-low hem, but after a google of what they look like on actual people and after scratching my head about how to do it with the scallop edge of the lace being all around the bottom, I decided to forgo it.

I decided to underline the dress instead of lining it so all the seams would be hidden on the inside and I wouldn’t have to fiddle around with teeny french seams or double stitching or anything like that – I would like to have a go at this, though, and since I have plenty of lace left I can easily make something else that’s lined instead of underlined. I used the left-over fabric from my BHL Georgia dress (this is a bit of a BHL outfit btw) as the underlining. There was exactly enough left – and I had to cut the back bodice sideways to the grain. The 2 skirt pieces are on the selvedge (which cunningly meant I didn’t have to hem them!) and the front bodice is on a scrap folded in towards the middle – I had to cut out the skirt pieces before I could cut it out!

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I agonised for ages about what colour to put underneath my lace. You may remember it looked dull when put over bright colours. I had pretty much decided on cream but then changed my mind and went with navy and I’m soooo glad I did! I cut out the pieces in lace and the cotton sateen (as I think my Georgia was made from) and zig-zagged them together with bright orange thread – so it would be easy to unpick. This was the theory anyway – a lot of the time it got caught in my seams and was a pain to get out, especially in the pleats on the skirt! Definitely use either a tiny or massive seam allowance if you do this!

IMG_0139The bodice is the Emery bodice as I’ve already made it twice (1, 2) and done all the fitting work before and I’m inherently lazy when it comes to fitting! I sewed the side seams with a 1cm instead of 1.5cm seam allowance as I’d done last time when the bodice ended up a bit tight!

I didn’t really think about the pattern placement when I was cutting out the lace – apart from the scallops on the bottom. I probably should have centred the lace pattern on the bodice, I wouldn’t do well on the Great British Sewing Bee! I did manage to remember to sew in one of my labels, though.

Wedding-Outfit-8As well as the bodice, I used the pockets from the Emery. I LOVE pockets!!! It was really useful on the day of the wedding too, as they were big enough to hold my phone so I was always ready to take photos.

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The skirt of this dress was the real challenge. I used the BHL Elisalex skirt as a basis – in terms of length and width at the top of the skirt. I probably could have started from scratch given how much I changed, but it felt too scary! Since the Elisalex already has pleats in, I thought it would be a good starting point. It has box pleats, though, and I wanted knife pleats (I think they’re called knife pleats!). Each box pleat was 8cm on each side, so I could change it easily to be 2 knife pleats also of 8cm each. I initially wanted 3 pleats, though, but couldn’t fit them in nicely – the 3rd one ended up on my hip, which wasn’t the most flattering. I had already added another 8cm into the width of the skirt pieces, though, so I made 2 12cm pleats instead. I’m talking about in each ‘quarter’ so 2 pleats on each side of the front and 2 on each side of the back. I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out! They maybe could have been a little closer to the centre, but they seemed pretty close as it was on the pattern.

Wedding-Outfit-18The other bit of measuring was to make sure the width of the top of the skirt minus the pleats matched the bottom of the bodice pieces – I included the seam allowances in my measurements as it was the same on the bodice and skirt. The Emery and Elisalex were pretty close and I only had to alter it by a cm or two. It was particularly important for me to make sure these matched as I was adding the inseam pockets from the Emery, so I couldn’t alter the side seams of the skirt – and I couldn’t alter them on the bodice either, or I wouldn’t have got it on/ it wouldn’t have held together.

Wedding-Outfit-1You may also have noticed the fact that the skirt is not tulip shaped as in the Elisalex, but more a-line. I made the bottom hem of the skirt 10cm wider than the top of the skirt (which was 24cm wider than the original pattern) and drew a straight line for the side seams, for the back and front pieces. Once I’d taken out the pleats, the difference between the top and bottom became more pronounced. I’m really pleased with how it turned out – I didn’t want it to look like a circle skirt but I wanted it to balance out my shoulders.

Wedding-Outfit-16Although I said I didn’t think about the pattern placement – particularly obviously on the bodice! – the one place I did think about it was on the skirt side seams. I made sure the scallops looked uninterrupted so the seam wouldn’t be quite so obvious on the hem. Also, as you can see, the underlining skirt was 1.5 cm shorter than the lace over skirt, so the scallop looked its best. One of the things I loved about making this dress was than I didn’t have to do any hems! Does anyone else hate doing hems?

Wedding-Outfit-13I took a further 2.5cm off the length, on top of the 2ocm I’d removed previously! I wanted it to sit just on my knees – and because of the scallops I knew it would be a massive pain to take it up, so I measured my ideal length and hoped for the best! It could maybe have been a cm or two shorter, but I think it looks fine.

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When I had the idea for this dress I didn’t really think about the weather. Here in the UK we’ve had a rather cold May and it was really really cold the weeks before the wedding, so I decided to make myself a jacket. Since I already had the BHL Victoria and had made it twice (1, 2), I thought it would be a good option and – hopefully – look nice with the dress. I decided to make the cropped version as I measured the hem would hit the waist of the dress.

Wedding-Outfit-3Mustard yellow and navy is one of my fav colour combos, so I ordered 2m of mustard yellow ponte roma from ebay and hoped there would be enough fabric to self-line it. Spoiler alert! There was.

Wedding-Outfit-2I had originally wanted to make the jacket in coral – and have matching coral shoes –  but I really struggled to find any coral fabric. If you know of anywhere that sells coral, do let me know! The other problem is no-one really agrees on what colour coral is! Sometimes it’s pretty much pink and sometimes it’s orange. I couldn’t find any coral shoes either, so I decided to go for mustard. Couldn’t find any mustard shoes either, though – hence the boring navy, though I’ll probably get more wear from navy court shoes. One other thing I learned – love wearing yellow/ mustard. It looks disgusting as nail varnish!

Wedding-Outfit-6The Victoria Blazer really is quick to sew up! It’s not too tailored, which I like – it gives it a more relaxed feeling. I think if I was in a really tailored blazer with this dress I would have felt my outfit was less young, if that makes sense? I love a tailored jacket, but with like skinny jeans. I thought about leaving off the cuffs and collar, but decided against it as I was worried it would look really weird! It was fun to sew this up in a knit – albeit a knit without a huge amount of stretch. I made sure the stretch went across the body and not up and down – I didn’t want it sagging! Because this is a pattern for wovens, though, I used a straight stitch and sewed it up as though it was a woven. Luckily I have a little left of the fabric, so I’m thinking a Colette Astoria, which I just bought in their sale this weekend!

Wedding-Outfit-17All in all I think this was a successful wedding outfit! And I mastered sewing with lace for the first time! Hurrah! Also, I’ll definitely get lots more wears out of the jacket, so it’s not an entirely ‘special occasion’ outfit.

I’ll leave you with a photo of me and The Boyfriend tearing up the dance floor! Sorry-not-sorry for my slightly manic face.

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