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?

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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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A sneaky peak of my Dressmakers’ Ball dress

I thought I would share a few snaps of my Dressmakers’ Ball dress – because I want to keep the grand unveiling until the night. And also because I haven’t finished it yet!

I haven’t hemmed it yet:

I’m using the leftover fabric from when I made my By Hand London Alix Dress, because I ended up with quite a lot left after ordering almost twice as much as I needed so I’d have enough to underline the whole dress. I still love the colour, but I don’t like how it frays and creases like a bitch – I did iron it before taking these photos, but you wouldn’t know!

Because of the fraying – and to give it a ball gown-y feel – I’ve used french seams. You may be able to make out 2 lines of stitching, though. I trimmed the seam allowances down to what I thought was teeny tiny, but then I sewed the second part of the french seam and the fabric edge was sticking out on the right side. I trimmed it down as much as possible, but you could still see the edge on the right side, so I sewed another line of stitching with a slightly bigger seam allowance. This slightly ruins the couture effect I was going for, but I didn’t really want to unpick the original line of stitching because this fabric does not like being unpicked!

My dress has sleeves! (And darts, which you can just about make out)

And although the bodice is lined, I decided to do french seams through both the shell and lining layers because of the fraying problem, and I feared any hand stitching would show on the right side of the fabric – it’s pretty thin and bruises easily, so even picking up one thread might have left a mark.

Also pockets because pockets. And pockets with french seams (except for the first seam where you attach the pocket to the skirt pieces, because I forgot/wasn’t sure that was possible.

Part of the skirt is pleated….

And there will be a split on the front, if I can ever bring myself to cut the fabric! I found a Burda tutorial that said you can make a split by sewing fabric on the top in 2 lines really close together, then you cut between the 2 lines of stitching and turn the fabric to the inside, which neatens what would have been an exposed edge. It said to interface the piece you sew on the top, but I haven’t because I didn’t want to mess with the drape and didn’t have any interfacing light enough. This weekend I’ll have to suck it up and cut the split. Or unpick it completely, but that might leave a mark!

Are you going to the Dressmakers’ Ball? If so, do you have as much to finish on your dress as me!? What colour are you wearing? Are you making something new or wearing something you’ve already made? I was tempted to wear my navy lace dress I made to go to a wedding in last year – if only it was like the Oscars and there was an after party, then I could wear both!

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Bright Pink Alix Dress

I made a pink  maxi Alix Dress and I love it!

pink-maxi-alix-dress-1I actually made this back in November – it was one of the things I planned to make that month – for a party in the middle of the month. I also wore it to my work Christmas dinner last week. People can dress up as much as they want for the Christmas dinner and most people did not dress up as much as I did, but I didn’t care because I love this dress. Also there was a guy in almost a tux (it was a normal suit with a posh shirt and bow tie!).

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I made the size 10 as it perfectly matched my waist and hip measurement, thought it was 2 inches too big for my bust. I made a toile of the bodice (the cups, yoke and waistband) to see how much fullness I had to take out – I thought it might have been more or less than 2 inches. I took 1/2 inch out of each cup in the end, having measured my full bust measurement and my high bust measurement, as demonstrated by By Hand London in their sewalong to the Georgia Dress. To do the actual small bust adjustment I hunted around for a pattern with a sewalong with similar cups with gathering at the bottom as I wasn’t sure how best to remove the fullness. Then I had a brainwave – Tilly and the Buttons’s Fifi pyjamas. I followed exactly the instructions in the bust adjustment post and it worked perfectly. I probably could have taken a little more fullness out of the armpit area, but I think the fit is pretty good, if I say so myself!

pink-maxi-alix-dress-6The fabric is this cerise plain viscose from Abakhan. I ordered a sample first to check on the shade of pink and realised the fabric was maybe a little thin – I didn’t want a Princess Diana moment of the skirt becoming see-through, so I decided to underline the dress. This gave it a nice weight so means it moves well when I walk. I don’t know if this is something everyone know – this was my first time working with viscose – but my god does it crease! You can see above the creases around the arms and across the waist because I wore it to the work party but didn’t iron it before taking this photos! Even lightly folding up the pieces once I’d cut them out, I had to really iron them as they looked like they’d been screwed up in a bag for a month!

pink-maxi-alix-dress-4I doubled the cups, the front skirt and the back of the dress – the yoke and waist panel are self-lined anyway. I ordered 7m of fabric. The pattern calls for 4m for the maxi dress but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t need fully twice the amount – I find By Hand London sometimes overestimate the fabric required.

I really love the huge pleat in the back, and the waist tie means I can cheat that it fits better across the back than it probably really does! Fun fact, then back piece of the dress is one piece – that was fun to cut out!

pink-maxi-alix-dress-3 I like the pleats on the top of the skirt front and the ones on the shoulders, which I forgot to take a detail shot of! This is a good dress for eating a big meal in, by the way! The tightest part is above the stomach so you can look chic but there’s room for a full belly, especially because of the pleats!

pink-maxi-alix-dress-7Apart from the sba, the only other change I made was to cut 8cm off the length, leaving 4cm for the hem. I measured the finished length of the dress before I made it and should really have shortened the pattern piece, but I wanted to make it the full length in case I decided to wear it with heels, then it would still reach the floor. I decided to wear flats, though, in the end, so 8cm came off the hem. I found with the Elisalex dress that I was shorter than the person the pattern was drafted for, so I think it’s a standard change for me to shorten BHL patterns.

pink-maxi-alix-dress-8I hope you’re impressed, btw, that I ventured outside to take some photos! Finally! I’ve felt too silly to do this in the past as our flat in London didn’t have a garden (obvs) so since moving into our flat in Cirencester, I’ve been meaning to go into our shared courtyard-y garden-y type thing and it was fine. Most of the other tennants don’t use the garden much, expecially in this weather, so it’s relatively private 🙂 It gives a truer sense of the colour of the fabric too, which is a bonus!

pink-maxi-alix-dress-9This is definitely a good dress to flounce about in because of the fullness of the skirt – it’s just pleasing how it moves when you move. It’s not so great for climbing stairs but that’s a small price to pay for such a cool dress!

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I really enjoyed making this pattern even though it’s not usually the kind of style I’m drawn to. I love, love, looooove that it has no fastenings! Makes it seem quicker to make somehow. I think I’ll have a go a the tunic version, probably to wear at work, and maybe the mini dress, though I think this is my least favourite length. I’m sure sewing this pattern was influences by my watching Good Girls Revolt around the same time. This was a really good series, I thought, made by Amazon, but they’ve said they’re not going to make any more, which is a shame. Did you watch it? What did you think? There were lots of comparisons to Mad Men because of the era, but I thought it was less polished, in a good way.

And now I will leave you with an outtake from my photoshoot – with thanks to The Boyfriend for taking loads of photos to make sure there were at least a few I was happy with! Not sure what’s going on here…….

pink-maxi-alix-dress-5And zoomed in for extra lolz…….

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Style Crush: Melissa McCarthy

So I’m probably the last person in the world to start watching Gilmore Girls! But start watching it I have. And I love it (no spoilers please, I’m on season 3!). I’ve loved Melissa McCarthy since seeing Bridesmaids – unbelievably I’d not really seen her in much before that – and it’s fun seeing her earlier in her career. Like most other people, I think, I thought she stole the show in Bridesmaids and I’m glad to see her career has gone from strength to strength. I’ve just looked it up and she was nominated for an Oscar and a Bafta for Bridesmaids!

I also love Melissa McCarthy’s style. She can totally rock a leather dress. And I really want the leopard print shoes! (not sure about her hair here though….)

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I reckon this outfit would be fairly easy to replicate and would be a great choice for holiday parties this year. Sequins are always a good choice for Christmas! There are loads of tunic tops and leggings patterns so you could totally use your go-tos to copy this.

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 I really, really love this outfit – the pleating on the skirt is great and it makes it a lovely shape. I’m digging cocoon-y shaped things at the moment. I love the simplicty of the blouse with the lux fabric. This could totally work for a work outfit, if you work in a fairly smart office.

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I definitely think pink is her colour, so I love this photo.

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This dress is quite simple, apart from the embellishment around the neck, but it looks great because it fits her so well. Again, I think this would be easy to replicate, maybe with the Colette Dahlia.

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I like this dress too, expecially styled with bright blue shoes! It’s pretty much all about the fabric, this one.

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I’m a huge fan of blue (as you’ll probably know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or know me in real life!) so I love this. She does seem to stick to fairly simple silhouettes and showcases great fabrics and embellishments, which is probably why I’m drawn to her style – I love a shift dress.

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Having just said that, though, check out these sleeves! I think I may seriously have to copy this dress. I love the pleat on the skirt and the fabric – I’m loving pink at the moment. I think I could use one of the tutorials from Rosie Martin’s book to copy these sleeves, probably adding them to a dress pattern……though I don’t know which one! Any ideas?

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Speaking of pink……I love, love, love this jumpsuit! I’m glad they are still kind of in fashion as I’ve been meaning to make one or two for aaaages so fingers crossed I’m not too late!

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And speaking of jumpsuits. How amazeballs is this!? I love it all – the pleats, the leather and it has POCKETS!

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I do love yellow – mostly mustard on me, but all shades on those that suit them. I think I chose this photo because of the combo of her happy face and the happy dress. I like the nude underlayer too.

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I like the fabric and the style of this dress. I like the reddish-corally colour in the pattern and the cut of the dress looks great on her.

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I really love this lace top – again it has excellent sleeves. I think this might be the same skirt from the outit higher up with the silver blouse. I’ve still got some of my navy lace left over after making my dress for a wedding, so maybe I’ll copy this top!?

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I picked this photo because I love the colour blocking. I think it could be easily achieved with any shift dress pattern – I have the Colette Laurel and I think it could also work with Tilly’s Coco, and she even has a tutorial on her website on how to draft a contrast yoke.

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She can also totally rock a gown on the red carpet – though I like that most of the outfits I found and liked are a bit more edgy and rock and roll. Also weirdly both gowns I picked out are the same very pale pink colour!

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I like the textured fabric on this one particularly. And it’s pretty similar to the By Hand London Alix dress so I think I could rip it off!

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One of the other reasons I love Melissa McCarthy is because she lanched her own fashion line. She is certainly not alone in doing this in Hollywood but she did it from a standpoint of body positivity and trying to make clothes for women of all shapes and sizes. I read a quote where she said some days she wants to dress really girly and other days like a rock star and she had stopped being able to dress how she wanted on the high street. So she launched a label called Seven7. (Side note, this is why sewing is awesome, you can make any clothes you want to wear :D)

I really love this spangley skirt.

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She actually studied textiles at university and was going to go into fashion as a career….before having an amazingly successful acting career!

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I particularly like the top Melissa is wearing in this photo. And I like the spotty sweatshirt-y top on the left.

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I really like the fabric she used in this top. And how happy she looks 😀 I think I would look that happy if I had adorable dimples and a fashion line and a Hollywood film career!

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