Sunday, 21 July 2013

Maximum Chrysanthemums!

Yesterday I spent the day at the wonderful Sew Over It in Clapham. I had a whole day to make a maxi dress, learn new skills, meet other like minded folk and be inspired by the wonderful Lisa Comfort herself!

A few weeks ago I visited Fabrics Galore and found the perfect material, a beautiful cotton lawn from Liberty called 'Meandering Chrysanthemums'

Our lesson started with a quick measure - gulp - size determined, we set about cutting out our pattern then pinning and cutting out the fabric.

Alongside being given thorough instructions, Lisa led us through each step - explaining why and how. With just three of us in the class we got loads of attention, especially with fiddly bits and it didn't take long for the dress to come together. One of the most satisfying bits was using an overlocker (serger in the US!). It was ace! It managed to make short work of even the most shabby seams resulting in a professional effect - I want one.

And here it is, the finished product. A beautiful, perfectly fitting new frock that I made myself! All I need now is a skinny red belt to cinch in the waist and some matching red shoes. My outfit for a September wedding - sorted. Now I possess a tailored pattern it won't be long until other versions are knocked up!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Summer Shirt

I was given the Great British Sewing Bee book for my birthday and was keen to attempt to make something. Like many I really wanted to sew the button back blouse but its the one pattern not included, a little disappointed I went for the boyfriend shirt instead. After printing, taping and finally cutting out the pattern pieces I was ready.

The only fabric I had enough of was this green floral fabric - not my first choice for a shirt but I was happy to use it for a test. It didn't take long to pin and cut out the pieces ready for a day of sewing.

The first few steps were straight forward attaching a fake yoke and pocket then joining the front panels to the back at the shoulder seams. If I was going to do this again I would think about adding a contrast hem of fabric under my yokes and along the top of the pocket.

The sleeves do not have cuffs but have ties that button up. I misread the instruction and sewed the tie on the front rather than the reverse.

The collar was pretty straightforward - perhaps a little bigger than necessary but it looks fine. My first big learning curve was finally using the buttonhole setting on my machine. Having lost the instruction booklet I found a film on YouTube that gave a little insight into what I should be doing and after several practices I had it cracked and was confident enough to sew buttonholes along the bias binding edge. I tried it on before deciding where to place the buttonholes to make sure I had them in the right places.

My other big learning curve was sleeves. The instructions showed how to use easing stitches to draw the fabric in so it fits the armhole. With a little more practice I think they'll be perfect, luckily the pattern stops the imperfection from standing out.

The finished product! I'm pretty pleased with it, not perfect, but I learnt lots and have made lots of notes for tweaks i'll make on my next attempt!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

A refashion experiment!

I follow a blog by Jillian Owens who has been refashioning clothes found at charity shops and 'goodwill' and sharing the creations she makes. I like her style as she often has 'no-sew' creations and has a no fuss attitude to the process.

I rediscovered this jersey dress in my huge pile of scraps (which I am desperately trying to clear out!) and rememberd how much I loved wearing it. Its so soft and the colours suit me. Unfortunately it a super large as I wore it as a maternity dress when I pregnant with Finn. So I got my scissors out and started chopping. First I cut the skirt section from the bodice - I was pleased to see how much fabric there was - plenty to make a top. I dug out my beaten up favourite t-shirt and used this as a template.

I folded the front of the skirt section in half and lay it flat on the table. I then folded my t-shirt in half and lay it on top - folds together. I then drew round my t-shirt - adding a small allowance for my seams. I moved the sleeves out of the way and drew a scooped line for the neck. I then did this again with the other piece of skirt material, this time I made the scoop a little lower for the front of my top.

I attached the shoulders together first and then opened my new top out. I placed two pieces of leftover fabric under the arm hole and drew a shape using my t-shirt again as a template. These were then cut out and pinned on to make the sleeves. I needed to ease the two bits of fabric together to make them fit but as it was jersey this was easy to do. 

I then pinned the side seams together - doing my best to match the grey band so it flowed properly. All seams were finished with a small zigzag stitch. Finally I used the zigzag stitch around the raw edges of my sleeves and neckline which created a slightly scalloped finish,

My new top!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Violet Quilt

It's finally finished! Inspired by Andy's win today and too nervous to watch i frantically stitched the final words to the poem I've been sewing to the back of Sophie's quilt.

I've called this quilt The Violet after the poem stitched round the edge and Sophie's middle name. It's written by Jane Taylor who also wrote Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:

Down in a green and shady bed, 
A modest violet grew; 
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head
As if to hide from view. 
And yet it was a lovely flower, 
Its colour bright and fair; 
It might have graced a rosy bower, 
Instead of hiding there. 

Yet thus it was content to bloom, 
In modest tints arrayed; 
And there diffused a sweet perfume, 
Within the silent shade. 

Then let me to the valley go
This pretty flower to see; 
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility. 

All the fabrics used are a mix of vintage, designer and donated florals that combined make an impressive bunch.