Honeycomb Shirt (and my first time pattern testing)

I recently did my first bit of pattern testing, for CocoWawa Craft’s newest pattern the Honeycomb shirt (and shirtdress). I’ve met Ana a couple of times and she is as lovely in person as you would imagine, so I was thrilled when she asked me to pattern test for her. I’ve made quite a few different shirt patterns before and I was excited to give a new one a go. I haven’t pattern tested before because, although I’ve seen calls put out for testers a few times, I’ve always worried that I wouldn’t find the time to make the pattern in time. Especially as my output is quite a bit lower this year than it has been in the last couple of years. But I did get it done in time, phew!

The pink fabric is some mystery drapey stuff I’ve had in my stash for years – I originally bought it from Rolls and Rems on Holloway Road, which I think might not be there any more. I used some of this fabric to make one of my very early makes, a Grainline Scout Tee (long since consigned to the charity shop) and I lined a Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt for the #SewDots initiative last year or the year before. I think it was a good choice for this pattern as it’s quite loose fitting (which is, handily, how I prefer my tops to fit) so I think it benefits from a bit of drape.

I made the shirt version as since I changed jobs (from a boring office job to rolling furnishing fabric) I’ve not worn so many dresses. I already have a couple more dresses cut out and didn’t think I really needed any more – I definitely need more separates. I made it in the size 3 (which is a UK size 10) as this was the size closest to my bust and waist measurements – my hips were a little big for the size, but there is so much ease there that I figured it would be fine. I also left off all the ties which can be included with the shirt or the shirtdress as they’re not really my style. I also made the short sleeves so I could wear this in this weird warm weather we’ve been having recently – the fabric is quite thin so not the best for Autumn/Winter.

I feel that the short sleeves are a little long on me – I am only 5’3″ so it might be that I have short arms. I might take them up a bit the next time I’m at my machine and have white thread in it.

The instructions were really easy to follow and I would definitely recommend this as a first shirt pattern to make – there is a grandad collar rather than a collar with collar stand and there aren’t sleeve plackets on the short sleeves. There are also some nice seam details which would allow you to adjust the fit to be a bit closer if you wanted.

Heh, I like how the wind caught the peplum skirt. Also, not sure what I’m doing with my face in the below photo!

The buttons were some I had in my stash – they’re leftovers from my Kalle Shirt, which I haven’t got around to blogging yet.

I did enjoy my first time pattern testing – I had enough time to make the shirt in time for the deadline and the pattern came together really easily. I’m not sure I had any particularly useful feedback, though. But I guess pattern designers try to have the pattern as finished as possible before it goes to testers, so I wouldn’t expect ti find major errors or anything. Maybe I’ll sign up to pattern test again in the future.

And this week’s outtake….

 

 

Another Coco top, but this time I’m not in love

This is my fourth coco (I think, at last count! 1, 2 & 3 here) and I have to be honest, I don’t love it 😦 After my last post where I wondered if it was bad that I liked most of what I make, now I get to something I’m not so pleased with. Sod’s law!

Cream-Patterned-Coco 1

I love this fabric – it’s one of my remnants left over from Rolls and Rems. There was just enough fabric to make this top, which was great obviously. The flowers have light blue, a limey green and a corally pink, plus the black blobs, so there is plenty that I can wear with it, including a skirt my friend gave me in her big wardrobe clear out.

I think the fabric is too drapey for this pattern unfortunately. I think it works better with more stable knits – I feel the same really about the dress version I made, I don’t like how it hangs on me.

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Definitely some pooling at the back. I think it’s because of the shape of the top as well as the fabric – the non-boxy, slightly shaped in at the waist and out again at the hips is oddly not my favourite. I find I’m more drawn to boxy tops. Especially because this is loose on my waist and then kind of tight on my hips.

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The neckline is a particular issue for me – it seems a bit too wide. And it doesn’t sit quite right. I used my twin needle for all the hems. I think this might have been better with some kind of neckband, which of course isn’t part of this pattern – but it is a part of many other tee shirt patterns, so I might steel one of those if I make a coco top again.

Cream-Patterned-Coco-5

This top is part of my exploration of the perfect t-shirt. I’ve already made the Plantain twice (1 & 2) and I’ve made a Hemlock, which I’ll blog soon hopefully. I also have the Maya top and the top which is part of the Roberts Collection. I also have my trusty Scout Tee pattern still. Hopefully I’ll realise which of these are good on me and which aren’t – and hopefully I’ll end up with a go-to tee pattern for woven and jersey fabric. Do you have a favourite basic top pattern? It feels like there are so many it’s sometimes overwhelming!

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Royal Blue Coco Top Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress (Made Up Initiative) thumbnail Turquoise Coco Top with Funnel neck thumbnail

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5 Things I Learned from Me Made May 2016

mmmay16Did you take part in Me Made May this year? How did you find it? I think this was the year I enjoyed least – the first 2 years I took part I was so excited to have enough me made clothes to be able to take part that I really enjoyed making an effort to wear my me mades and find ways to make them work in my wardrobe. I wonder if it was because for the first 3/4 of May I wasn’t working so it felt odd to get slightly dressed up – I feel like most of my me mades are smart/casual. But then conversely when I did get some temping work I found it hard to dress for a smarter office than I’ve worked in before.

My pledge was “I, Amelia of www.sewingmachinations.wordpress.com, pledge to wear at least one me-made garment 5 days per week. I will also try to finish off 3 garments I have cut out and make a completely me-made outfit for a wedding I’m going to at the end of May.”

I definitely completed the days of the week part – there were only 4 days when I didn’t make something me-made (sometimes I wore the same outfit 2 days in a row, in case you think there aren’t enough photos below :)). I did finish the outfit for the wedding – you can see the full post on it here. And I did technically finish 3 garments I already had cut out, though only 2 of them made it to the blog and only those 2 got worn, so I would call that a partial success.

Here are 5 things I realised while taking part in #mmmay16.

1  I freakin’ suck at taking selfies/ photos of myself in my clothes – like really really suck. In my defense I don’t currently have a full-length mirror and I felt bad asking The Boyfriend to take a picture every day. Also I kept forgetting until I’d got ready for bed!

Day 1 insta Day 2 insta Day 3 insta
Day-4-insta-square Day-5-&-6-insta-square Day 8 insta

(clockwise from top left: royal blue coco top, navy blue rushcutter, flowery plantain +
mustard yellow victoria blazer + taken in trousers, blue spotty archer,
breton plantain + refashioned victoria blazer, francoise dress)

2  It was much harder to dress for office work. I’ve been doing some temping since moving and it’s the first time I’ve had to wear office-type clothes – I’ve always been in quite casual jobs where I could wear jeans and trainers.

Day 9 insta Day 10 insta Day 11 insta
Day 12 insta Day 13 insta Day 14 insta

(clockwise from top left: flowery banksia, refashioned parrot shirt,
refashioned shirt dress, pink stripey banksia + black simplicity 2451 skirt,
refashioners refashioned shirt, turquoise coco top)

3  Conversely I don’t have much casual me-made things – for weekends and the weeks before I started temping.

Day 16 Day 17 insta Day 18 insta
Day 19 insta Day 20 insta Day 22 insta

(clockwise from top left: navy blue rushcutter, aztec print linden,
gingham violet blouse,
flowery plantain + mustard yellow victoria blazer +
taken in trousers, 
blue spotty archer, blue stripey laurel

4  I don’t have much warm me-made clothing and this year was unseasonably bloody cold through most of the month.

Day-21-square Day-21-b-square Day 24 insta
Day 25 insta Day 27 insta Day 28 & 29 insta
Day 30 insta Day 31 insta

(clockwise from top left – ending in the middle: lace dress for wedding,
mustard yellow victoria blazer, coco dress, green tartan gbsb
boyfriend shirt
, orla kiely-esque laurel + black victoria blazer,
breton plantain, black victoria blazer + refashioned freemantle
coat
, blue flowery scout tee)

5 I need to make some bottoms, especially trousers. All my photos are of tops or dresses – and mostly where there aren’t bottoms shown, it was a pair of rtw jeans from Primark about 10 years ago or a part of rtw skinny trousers from New Look about 8 years ago!

melilot-shirt-patternSo my plans are to sew some more smarter things for office working, including the Deer and Doe Melilot shirt which I just ordered – I have some perfect floaty fabric already in my stash. I also am going to order the Guise Pants pattern I think and maybe (once I’ve finally made some Ginger Jeans) use the Ginger pattern to make some smarter looking skinny trousers, by not doing the top stitching or adding the hardware – I think this will work, watch this space! I also bought some stuff in the sale Colette had recently – the Aster, Astoria and Zinnia which I think will all work well for office wear.

Roberts Collection 2

I think the 3 Colette patterns could, depending on fabric choice, also fill the other gap I have – relaxing weekend clothes. Apart from jeans I don’t have many items that I would wear just for slobbing around the house – and certainly not any I’ve made. And sometimes I don’t want to wear jeans, especially if I’m feeling bloated and am sitting down a lot – say at my sewing machine – I usually end up undoing the buttons just to feel comfortable. I have Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection and I think this could really help me out with this hole. If you have any suggestions of patterns to sew (I’m too slow at knitting to knit any) warm clothes, I would be thrilled to take them off your hands. Also what fabrics are warm? I feel like I usually don’t take that into account and then end up too cold or too hot a lot of the time – usually too cold as a) I like in Britain and b) I’m cold-blooded I think.

I’m wondering if I should make a pledge for what I will have achieved by next Me Made May, to keep myself accountable!? Nah. I don’t want a whole year’s worth of sewing mapped out for me – what about all the pretty new patterns yet to come out!

 
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Navy-Spotty-Rushcutter-thumb 2 Fix It: Taking in the Waistband of Trousers thumbnail Black-Victoria-Blazer-thumb 2

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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.

Instagram Best 9

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.

Black-Victoria-Blazer-1
Demin-Dress-Shirt-6

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.

Sallie-Maxi-Dress-8

Coco-Dress-6a

Breton-Plaintain-Tee-5

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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Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-9
Fara-coat-19

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.

Pusheen-1

Minion-2

Scrapbook-3

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!

Planting-Game-36

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!)

Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-1

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!

Dear Creatures inspiration 1

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:

Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-15

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.

Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-12

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:

Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-5

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.

Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-13

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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.

Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-8

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?