Nancy Dress from Crowd Fabric

I know I say this all the time, but this really is one of my favourite makes. If I say so myself, it was a good combination of fabric and pattern – and I love the pattern! It’s the Sew Over It Nancy Dress, which was I think the first pattern they released as part of their PDF club in January last year. The fabric was from Fabrics Galore and although I bought it ages ago, miraculously they still have it! There is a second colourway too. which is more blue and green. I made the size 10 based on my waist and hip measurements and since it’s a loose-fitting dress, I thought it would be okay that my bust measurement is about 2 inches smaller than listed for the size 10 and I think I was right. I’m glad I didn’t fiddle around trying to do a small bust adjustment!

I found the pattern quite simple to make, and even with my slightly inaccurate cutting because of the shifty fabric. The only fiddley part is adding the side panels in as there is a square corner, but the instructions talk you through how to do it and it worked out fine.

I like the fact that there isn’t a zip or any buttonholes in this dress. It just has a hook and eye at the top of the opening on the back. I used one from the old sewing box I bought from our local antiques shop, but it was a bad choice as it doesn’t stay closed. I think I need a smaller, tighter hook that will stay in its eye. Of course I finished this in November and still haven’t fixed this issue! I just put a safety pin on it! Anyone else do this – once something is finished and wearable, I can’t be bothered to fix it?! The trousers I altered in 2016 were missing a button until about 3 weeks ago!

I really love the swingy shape of this dress – and I’ve got loads of compliments on it each time I’ve worn it. I even wore it on Christmas Day! It was supposed to be my birthday dress but I didn’t get it finished in time so I wore my yellow Marianne dress instead on that day. I’ve already got another Nancy cut out from some viscose I bought ages and ages ago because I really like it as a comfortable but smart-looking work dress. I might sew the sleeves with a reduced seam allowance as that’s the only place that could be slight improved –  things are always tight on the sleeves on me and I don’t know why. I don’t think I have disproportionately big arms compared to the rest of me, but perhaps I do!

I tried to do some twirling to show the movement of the dress, but it didn’t really work – I think I should have filmed it and made a GIF (I say this as though I would know how to do this!).

This is definitely one of my favourite dresses – the only downside with viscose is it needs ironing and creases quite easily while worn but it’s worth it for the lovely drape. Do you have any favourite fabrics to sew with?

I didn’t have any funny outtakes from this photoshoot so I thought I’d share this ‘real’ photo of what I looked like before I took the other photos – in a warm jumper and slippers.

Btw, I forgot to mention it in my plans for 2018 post but one of my resolutions is to try to take better photos of my me-made outfits – I want to try to venture outside and maybe try different poses! I just need to magically become unselfconscious! If you have any tips for taking photos of yourself, please let me know!

 

 

New Craft House Summer Party Outfit

Last Saturday I went down to London for the New Craft House Summer Party and it was ace!  I knew it was going to be good when I spotted this on my way to the venue:

And of course I basically forgot to take any photos all evening – I think that’s the mark of a good party, though! I saw some people I’ve met before and lots of new people too, and it was so lovely to hang out with fellow sewing people. Sewing people really are the best.

It was great to catch up with Nina of Nina Lee Patterns – and her patterns are now in paper form! I don’t mind a PDF, but I would much rather have a printed pattern – I like having a nice object that I can handle, especially when they’re this beautiful. I’d had my eye on the Portobello Trousers and Carnaby Dress for a while so I’m really pleased to have them now in my collection. Now I just need some fabric……

You should definitely check out the hashtag on Instagram – some people did remember to take some photos! And speaking of Instagram, if you follow me there you will already know this, but I won best handmade outfit! Here I am flanked by the 2 honourable mentions – Girlswear and ZoeSews. They both looked brilliant!

I have literally never won anything in my life before, so I was pretty chuffed! I think part of what swung it was the number of items I made! I decided to go for separates instead of a dress as – though I like a good party dress – I’ve made a few in the last year or so for specific parties and then I don’t really wear them again. Though I’m not sure how much wear I’ll get out of a shiny silver top! With black skinny jeans, though, it could look cool.

Although it was August, it was pretty cold last weekend so I wore my trusty Victoria Blazer, made a few years ago from some mystery black fabric. One of the really nice things about the party was that I had a quite long chats with Elisalex and Charlotte from By Hand London, as well as Zeena, after whom the Zeena Dress is named.

I think the main ‘party’ elements to my outfit were the shiny, shiny Inari Tee I made from some (I think) viscose foil from Ray Stitch. I’m pretty sure this is the fabric as I know it was from Ray Stitch and the photos on their website look about right.  I was given it for Christmas and immediately thought of making a boxy tee out of it. After mentioning I might make some changes to the Inari after making my first sort-of-practice one, in the end the only thing I did was to use only a tiny hem instead of the 2cm one the pattern suggests – I overlocked the lining and the shell together then turned both layers up together by 0.5cm. Oh yeah, I lined it with some white polycotton in my stash as I thought this fabric may not be that nice right next to the skin! This also gave it a bit more structure as it really is drapey – it almost looks liquid. BE WARNED if you buy this fabric, though, that you cannot put pins in it or unpick stitching without leaving marks. It’s like leather, once it’s marked, that’s it. I used paperclips instead of pins to hold the seams together while I sewed each bit.

Oh and I also used the fabric to make shoes! I’ve seen these espadrille kits popping up online and I thought what could be better than a crazy shiny silver pair of shoes!? I’m hoping to do a separate post on the shoes, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Suffice it to say I think the shoes swung the win for me!

The culottes are Butterick B6178 that came free with Love Sewing magazine a month or two ago. It seemed there was definitely a time when everyone was making them on Instagram and I liked the pattern more and more, the more versions I saw. I feel like I’m often a bit behind with trends and like them a year after everyone else, but I think culottes are still on trend! Yay! I made the size 12 and although they are a tiny bit big on my waist, I’m impressed that for a big 4 there wasn’t inches and inches of ease built in! I chose the size based on my waist measurement, so that would be my tip if you’re going to make these.

The fabric is this gorgeous viscose challis (called Dillie) from Fabric Godmother. It took me ages to find a fabric I thought would sort of go with the silver and this was the best I came across. I was definitely inspired by Sarah from Like Sew Amazing’s gorgeous jumpsuit which she made from the same fabric. The only change I made to the culottes was to use an invisible zip instead of the dress one the pattern suggested. It made more sense to me to use an invisible one so it would be….well……invisible! I also found a hook and eye from the stash I found inside the vintage sewing box I bought a while ago.

The final thing I made was this necklace. (If you’re counting, I made 5 things if you count the shoes as one – crazy? Probably). I used the tutorial Helen from Stitch My Style did a little while ago, though the fabric I used was probably too thick as it doesn’t look as chic as hers does. The fabric is some seriously old stuff I had left in my stash from one of my earliest makes – a bright yellow skirt which I never wore. I thought about making it in the viscose, but I thought that would be just too matchy-matchy, though I ended up with a pretty matchy-matchy outfit anyway! I used marbles in the necklace as I didn’t have any beads and there aren’t any local shops that sell beads. I used the large marble that came in my bag in the middle, then smaller ones up the sides. I also had to piece the fabric as I didn’t have enough, but the seams are covered by the knots. I really like this method of making necklaces from leftover fabric, so I might try it again – but with thinner fabric I think!

(Wow, you can really see my grey hairs here!)

I’m quite pleased with this as an outfit, if I do say so myself! The culottes also look good with a normal grey t-shirt, which feels a bit more every day than the shiny one! I’m hoping it will be warm this bank holiday weekend so they will get some wear!

There has, however, been a slight tragedy with the silver top since I wore it to the party. I had a sticker on my top, and sort of at the time thought ‘should I stick this on my top?’ and then I thought it would be fine. I then forgot the sticker was on there for a couple of days, when I noticed when I put the top on to take photos. I took the sticker off and it took some of the silver with it. I’ve circled it below so you can see – it’s a bit more obvious in real life than in the photo 😦 I have an idea, though. I bought some silver shiny embroidery thread to do the hems, so they would match the fabric, so I’m going to maybe try a yoke of embroidery to see if I can cover the mark. I don’t want to not be able to wear it again – that was the whole point of making separates! If anyone has any other ideas/any embroidery design ides, I’m all ears! Maybe I’ll end up wearing it to the New Craft House Christmas Party (as they’re mentioned they might organise) in its new form!?

I’ll leave you with this, to make you laugh hopefully! I think this is my favourite outtake so far – lol! I have literally no idea what is going on here, I mean wtf?!

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Refashion: Taking in a Raglan Tee

Wow, it seems I went a bit overboard with making sure the ‘before’ pictures looked as bad as possible! What is going on with my hair?!

This top, made from lovely flowery corally fabric – I think it’s viscose, it has a really nice drape – was kindly given to me by The Boyfriend’s mum. It was a little big for me, so I decided to make it smaller, which was really quite easy because it’s got raglan sleeves.

But first I cut off these annoying hanging ribbon things. Why do they exist?! They just like to work their way out of the neckline to hang out and look crap!

The sleeves also had these little button tabs, so I unpicked them from the hem of the sleeve and took off the button – which I put into my stash for use on another project in the future.

The next thing was to take in the top at the raglan sleeve seams – this would also reshape the neckline so it wasn’t so wide. I took 1.5cm off each seam – 4 in total (2 sleeves, front and back). I made sure the neckline was lined up, so there wouldn’t be steps or a weirdness on the outside.

I tried the top on after taking out the 4 lots of 1.5cm and it was still a bit loose on the back, so I sewed a 1cm seam – which I copied off a fairly old top I’ve got from New Look which I really like.

I then top-stitched the seam down on one side, sewing from the right side, so it looked straight with the seam I’d just sewn.

The last thing I did was to topstitch the cuffs down – there was a cuff already there, so that when it was pulled up by the button tab you wouldn’t see the wrong side of the fabric. I folded this old cuff in half and stitched it down. Simple!

And this is what it looks like – it just fits better and although it’s still a little loose (which I like), it no longer looks like it’s just too big.

The final change I made was to take 6cm off the hem at the front of the top, tapering to the existing hem at the side seams, making a slight high-low hem, which I think it more flattering on a looser top.

I really like the new cuffs! As I mentioned in my post about my second Melilot Shirt, I really like cuffs on short sleeves at the moment.

I do like a fairly simple refashion! There’s no point reinventing the wheel – if you have a nice top but want to alter the fit, there’s no need to try to make it into not-a-top!

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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…….

pink-maxi-alix-dress-5-cropped

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