Sunday, 6 April 2014

Bonjour Gerard mon cher

Hello again!

So after an epic break from sewing I got back into the swing of things last weekend when the urge just took me to make a coat. I had seen this pattern some time ago on the blog of Jolie Bobines - a lady with effortless classic style, and had instantly fancied having a go.

I'd been looking for a similar coat in the shops but to no avail so one weekend when the other half was away  thought I'd just give it a go. The pattern was simple to download and print - and only 6 Euros! 

The pattern pieces overlap so out came the baking paper and I traced my pattern and cut everything out. The sizing chart was very accurate - I should have cut halfway between Medium and Large however knowing it was an 'oversized' style coat just went for Medium.

A trip to Anglia Fashion Fabrics proved fruitful and they were very helpful indeed. I specifically wanted a herringbone fabric in black and white, and they found it for me in folders full of samples! Just by luck as well 2.5 meters were left on the roll, just right! I picked out a fantastic cherry red lining fabric for a bit of contrast.

The pieces were easy to follow and well marked - the handy French/English translation sheet was fantastic as all the pieces are in French. I'm not a stranger to French but had no idea about any technical sewing terms!

The majority of the time to make this coat is spent cutting out and interfacing the pieces. After that the construction of the jacket itself was not too difficult. Bearing in mind that this is the first jacket I have ever properly made the instructions must have been fine. The only scary bits were trying to figure out how to finish off the lapel when you add the facing, and then how to attach the lining to the jacket at the end. After a few quick consultations with You Tube it didn't turn out as challenging as you may expect. The lining is attached all around the front facings and collar facings. Its turned inside out and like magic, there is a jacket! The lining was hand-stitched to the cuffs and bottom of the jacket.

Its a fantastic pattern and so glad I tried it - feeling very proud of my new coat! I would definitely recommend this pattern to try out if anyone fancied a go.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Victory V

I've not had much time for sewing of late but I have yet again returned to the ol' self-drafted stretch jersey dress pattern. (I'll do something else soon I promise!)

I used 'ponte de roma' jersey in navy blue - ponte is a great fabric as its lovely and soft and stretchy, but thicker and sturdier that regular t-shirt jersey. Its a bit more forgiving on the body, not as clingy.

So this time I went for a simple knee length dress, nice for coming spring weather, with sleeves just above the elbow. The entire dress (except for the hem) was done on the overlocker.

The main alteration I made here was to add cuff/bands to the sleeves and also create a bound v-neck.

This is the first time I've had a go at this technique and I'm rather pleased about how simple it turned out to be.

As its jersey and stretchy fabric anyway, the strips for the cuffs and neck binding are just straight strips of fabric (the stretch going across the length) ironed in half.

I wanted to share this great tutorial on HOW TO MAKE A BOUND V NECK. Its another great tutorial from the sewing community on Burdastyle. Incidentally I learnt how to sew completely from that website, its fantastic.

I think it turned out fairly well for a first go - you can see I overshot the stitching at the V but no matter. The same technique was used for the cuffs. The next time I try this I may try doing the band in a contrasting colour - I was thinking and black/white stripe dress with bright accents at the neck and sleeves.

I would highly recommend giving this v-neck method a try, a great bit of ammo for the sewing armoury!

Monday, 13 January 2014

New Year - making the Shift

So fortunately my first main sewing project turned out ok! It usually takes me 2 disasters per wearable outfit so this was a nice surprise.

Its a self drafted pattern - a classic shift dress. I cannot recommend Winifred Aldrich - Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear enough. It's my sewing bible. The instructions are clear and precise, easy to follow and doesn't require mountains of special equipment. I draft my patterns on baking paper! A ruler, calculator and french curve suffice to draw the pattern out.

What I SHOULD have done is make the pattern, then make a muslin for a perfect fit, disassemble and create a fresh pattern from the muslin. But I'm lazy and didn't.

The basic fit without adjustment was fine however I tweaked the bust and waist darts a little to make the fit more accurate.

I've wanted a blue dress for ages then after a clear out of the stash realised I had enough to make a basic dress! Its not lined but it does have an invisible zip, overlocked seams and a neck facing to keep it neat and tidy. I figures a slip underneath would keep tights from sticking, or it would be just fine and light for warmer weather as it is. Plus again, I was being lazy and wanted a finished dress.

The fabric is crepe and has a very slight stretch with is handy for bending and sitting! 

I have used this pattern last year to make a shorter space print 'cosmic shift' (get it!? - geek joke).

Hopefully this can be a good staple pattern for a few more colours - coral for spring perhaps? :-)

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Easy-Peasy Zip-Free Cushion Cover Tutorial

Hello again :)

Having taken the Christmas decs down today and given the living room a clear out I figured we could spruce it up further with some new sofa cushions. These are so quick and easy to make you could have a whole stack of them to change your mind about print every week! I used some robot print from Plush Addict.

This is a real beginners project as it just involves squares and sewing straight lines, the closure doesn't need a zip either but looks neat, sleek and tidy...

You will need:
  • Fabric
  • Cushion inside
  • Thread

I'm using a cushion filler that is 40cm x 40cm, you can get these in Wilkos and various places, about £1.50. This one came with the sofa those so I'm just re-using!

Step 1
Cut out a square of fabric for the front of your cushion. As the cushion is 40x40cm, the square of fabric is 43x43cm (that's because 40cm cushion, with 1.5cm seam allowance on either side = 43cm)

 Step 2
Now cut out the pieces for the back of the cushion, the back consists of 2 rectangles. You want a piece of fabric and 3/4 the length of the front. Actually you need 2 of these. Mine are 43cm across, 30cm down. (These rectangles get placed over each other and create an envelope style flap where the cushion filling can be inserted and removed).
1 front square, 2 back rectangles
Step 3
Hem one long edge on each of the back rectangles. As you will be able to see these turn a edge down about 1.5cm and sew it down to form a nice neat edge.

Step 4
Now we can assemble the cushion cover for sewing. The fabric should be placed together RIGHT SIDES FACING. The easiest way to do this is have your front piece on the table with the print the right way up and looking at you. Take one of the rectangles and line it up with the top edge of the front fabric, with the neat hemmed edge resting in the middle of the front piece print. (You should be looking at the back side of the rectangle, hard to show in the pics as I used black. If its print, the print should be right side facing inwards).
Line up back rectangle with hemmed edge in centre
Step 5
Place the second rectangle on the bottom. This will now overlap with the top piece forming a flap.

Bottom rectangle now placed over the top
Step 6
Pin all the way around the edge! No gaps needed just go for it :-)
Step 7
Sew all around! I went for the over locker so it created a neat finish straight away. You can use an ordinary machine, sew your edges 1.5cm in. If you don't want to neaten the raw edges don't worry about it, no-one will see them!
Step 8You now have your sewn up cushion cover! Cut the loose threads from the end and turn it inside out (the right way round!)

Step 9
Stuff it with your cushion filler! VoilĂ , one fab new sofa cushion....!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Fox Satchel

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope everyone had a good break and rest over the holidays. I thought I would now share one of the items I handmade as a gift this Christmas for my that she has unwrapped it its ok to post!

She actually picked out this fantastic fox print fabric a few months ago and after hunting high and low I managed to find some through a seller on Etsy called FreshFabrics. Considering it came from Australia it was very reasonably priced and arrived in only a few days!

I drafted the pattern myself, its basically just a set of rectangles. This one needed to be big enough to fit some lever arch binders in so went for a full size satchel.

I first started by cutting out all the pieces, outer fabric, lining fabric and interfacing for strength.


Then it was just a case of assembling the whole thing. I attached the flap piece to the back piece and from there sewed up the rest of the outer pieces to form the 'boxy' shape of the satchel and just repeated the whole process with lining, effectively having 2 identical items. For the lining I added a phone pocket and zip compartment as well for detail.

Lining of the satchel
Once both inner and outer were complete, I turned one inside out in order to attach it to the other. Sew all around the edges leaving a portion open for turning out et voila.

I then hand stitched the gap that remained from turning inside out and went on to put the details. I found some fantastic leather buckles from Bag Clasps UK who sell all kinds of great bag making tools and equipment. I attached these to the front of the bag for the closures and also added D rings to each side of the bag to make a place for the leather strap to attach.  .

D rings

Leather buckles added

For the finishing touch I found a great seller on Ebay who makes made to measure leather bag straps. I don't have a photo with the strap attached but it was fantastic quality in matt black leather.
I hope my sis likes it and gets some use from it! :-)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Box Pouch Tutorial

Here is another little tutorial for you! These bags are a lot of fun to make and look very effective. Perfect for travel bags, make up pouches and pretty much whatever you want...

I've used some Tortoise print fabric by Dashwood Studios, purchased from PlushAddict, along with some laminated cotton for the interior - this means the inside is plastic and wipeable, handy for a make up bag.

You will need:

  • 1 zip (to match length of your fabric)
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Outer Fabric + Lining Fabric
  • Pins
  • Ruler
Step 1
Cut out all your pieces. These pieces were about 18cm x 24cm. I added fusible interfacing to the back of my outer fabric to make it thicker and sturdier - it will help the bag keeps its nice boxy shape once finished.
Step 2
You now need to attach your fabric to the zip. I find the easiest way to do this - and for a nice clean seam with no stitching showing - is to lay an outer fabric piece over a lining piece (right sides of the fabric together) and trap the zip between the two layers. Make sure you are attaching the fabric to the top edge of the zip.
Step 3
Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew the fabric to zip where you have pinned.
Once your fabric is attached, if you bend back the pieces you'll see your nice neat zip inserted! Press the fabric firmly back and run a finger (or iron - careful not to melt anything though) on the crease so it stays put.
Step 4
Repeat on the other side!
Lining side
Outer side
Bend these pieces back and you will now see all your pieces where they should be (hopefully - if not grab that unpicker and a glass of wine and start again).

Step 5
Now fold your pieces so that the lining fabric touches each other, right sides facing together, and the outer side touches each other, right sides together. Pin and sew the seams so that you form 2 loops with the zip in the centre.
Step 6
Here's the weird bit that is difficult to photograph. Turn the lining loop inside out - so that the print is facing outwards and you can see it. As you turn it inside out, it will take the outer fabric inside of it so it forms a little roll. You want to to look like this:
Step 7
Once you have your roll, place the zip over the bottom seam and line it up. Squash the layers of fabric together to it lays flat and pin across the open ends.
Step 8
Sew those bad boys closed.
Now if you aren't using an overlocker, your seams will have raw edges. You can tidy these up by either using pinking shears and just giving it a nice zigzag edged; or use the zigzag stitch on your machine to create a 'fake' overlocked look and encase the frayed edges; or use bias binding on all raw edges (time consuming but very pretty).

Step 9
Form some corners. Fluff out the bag a bit and grab the corners. Take each corner in turn and measure equally for each one so you get triangles. The bigger the triangle corner, the deeper your box pouch will be. Pin your triangle corners and sew down these lines.

For non-overlocked bags you will need to snip off the excess fabric once its sewn
 Step 10
Flip it the right way round and you've got yourself a bag!

I hope you have found this tutorial useful - if anyone has a go at making it let me know! Would love to see some more of these :-)

Leave me a comment, join the group on Facebook or give me a tweet! x

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Black Lace Party Dress

It's been another age since the last post so Id thought I'd share this little creation. In between sewing up a load of Christmas presents I thought it only appropriate to throw myself a little treat in the mix...

I got this gorgeous stretch black lace from TiaKnight on eBay, otherwise known as In Fashion Fabrics. She's my go to gal for all things stretchy and jersey, a fantastic range and good quality fabrics...  

I wanted to show the versatility of the very simple stretch pattern I used on Missoni, this dress is the exact same pattern, the length is slightly shorter and the sleeves are 3/4 instead. 

The fabric has a great scalloped edge, so no hemming for me! Just have to make sure you measure carefully and have the scalloped edge sitting where you want it to. I intended this to be a bit longer but seems to work like this too. (Excuse the strange line in the photo, I couldnt find my underslip so had to improvise with ves top and bottoms!)

Sewn entirely on the overlocker as its sheer and all seams can be seen! Overlocker gives them a lovely clean black line instead :-)