Sunday, 22 February 2015

What a Liberty!

Today I just wanted to take a look at a couple of gorgeous fabrics by Liberty of London.

It isn't something I thought I would like having always seen Liberty as very floral and twee however I was doing myself out of some good fabric finds.

It all stemmed from finding this AMAZING fabric - involving two of my favourite things, both lizards and tortoises no less (swoon). I had no idea it was a Liberty print when I saw the image but it certainly changed my mind about the designer. I figured this was a slightly more grown up way of getting reptile print into my clothing right? (A possible Anna dress me-thinks)

Gustav and Otto by Liberty of London
 I found it on a fantastic website AliceCaroline who sells a vast range of Liberty prints, sometimes ones not available through Liberty themselves. I'm not kidding I bought reems of this stuff...and its beautiful! Its 'tana cotton lawn' and has like a silk feel about it but with the sturdier less-flimsy quality of cotton.

There are some cool pigeon/doves in our new garden that alway eat our neighbours berries and when I saw a fabric that reminded me of them - 'Strawberry Thief' -  another deal was done.

Said bird...
 I have a simple shift dress in mind for the dark blue version - and well the other is all bright and tropical so I just got that for the stash...



I ordered the Tropical one from AliceCaroline and the Blue version from Liberty directly. Look what they sent!! What a treat....I felt so guilty it wasn't a gift :-/


How special is that!
Just so you can see colours...AliceCaroline purchase
Now these are some fabrics I don't want to mess up....I've selected a very simple shift dress pattern and will try with that, instructions and all...

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Monday, 9 February 2015

Black Prada Dress - Is it Amish?

Another day another Prada dress..... but this one took significantly less time to make - one weekend it turns out. Do you ever get those random bursts of sewing energy? I try to take full advantage and finish what I can when the mood is like that!

Lovely fabric again from MinervaCrafts - they have 11 colours of this stuff by the way!!

I wanted to try sleeves on this one so trial and error, whacked some on there - as usual it didn't fit first time around so made the armholes much wider to accommodate a small sleeve. Considering this is my self-drafted TNT pattern, I had to make a lot of adjustments to fit it which is odd, not sure I've changed shape that much! These dresses have been a lesson in going back to basics - the next bit of clothing I make will be from an actual pattern with actual instructions and everything....weird.


It is exactly the same as the other one except with sleeves....and a bit longer as this one didn't get chopped up. I can't help but feel a bit dowdy in it - I think its the neckline - something just isn't quite right. But neither can I be bothered to fix it. It reminds me of those Amish dresses that are a bit like shapeless dresses with head holes in the top.

See?

I have therefore attempted to jazz it up a bit with heels and a spiky belt to feel less weird. And have worn actual makeup which is unusual for this blog! (Just had those semi-permanent eyebrows done - amazing).


Bit more awkward posing...

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Sunday, 1 February 2015

Purple Prada Procrastination Dress - was it a win?

This dress was a loooooonnnngggg time in the making! Talk about procrastination - I started it last August. And as per usual it did not turn out as per the original plan!



I found some beautiful Prada fabric from Minerva Crafts - its a lovely drapey crepe fabric that is 'self-lined' i.e. its got satin on the back of it. Its a great weight fabric and such high quality I would recommend this no end.

Back in August I started this project with such enthusiasm - I used my self-drafted shirt dress pattern and wanted to make use of the silky backed fabric by using as a feature. The centre plackets were turned outwards to contrast with the matte crepe side and sewn straight up for a chic and slick look. An invisible zip was inserted in the side seam again for a flawless finish. And that's about where the 'high-end'ness of this dress ended....and typical bodge-it-up me started again.

I have absolutely no idea why but the hem went seriously awry...It was so uneven that I had to start trimming and trimming around to get it vaguely the same length all the way round - it started out as knee length!! I had also made bias strips from the satin side with the intention of making a lovely collar and contrast bound armhole...

Then work stopped. For months. I think I just had no idea how to finish the hem, or daren't try. So there it sat until a couple of weeks ago when I just wanted to get rid of it.

Spurred on by having hemmed the circle skirt I figured I would just get on and do it, it wasn't so scary hemming a curved line after all, particularly with the slight stretch of this fabric.

I then added the bias binding to the neck and armholes - then promptly had to cut the armhole ones off again - sigh - they made the dress way too tight. In order to just have done with the matter then got serged and hemmed normally  no fancy trim!

So this was the end result after all this time! In the end it was quite comfortable and not too bad - weirdly enough I used the black version of the same fabric to make an almost identical dress in only 2 days! (I'll post that one up next :-)


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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sutton Blouse - mini disaster

Time to share the one that didn't work!

I have seen this pattern all over the web and really liked the simple style as it is something I would probably wear over leggings. The Sutton Blouse is the product of True Bias who now has a few patterns of her own and they are fab.

There is a brilliant sew along which gives clear and concise instructions for every step of this garment. Yet I still managed to bodge it up.

First mistake was that I picked some not so floaty crepe fabric from the stash - I was in a rush to try out the pattern and thought it would do - turns out its way too thick and doesn't hang all that well. I HAD tried to get drapey crepe fabric on the Internet (lack of fabric shop near the new pad) however could find nothing at all remotely interesting that wasn't plain. So I ended up wasting money on fabric I have no idea what to do with :-( The second mistake was picking stretch lace for the yoke - because that's the only kind I had. Fool I am.



The pattern itself though is wonderful and actually very enjoyable to make. There were some new techniques here including using bias binding to finish the neckline and french seams for every join. It's a very neatly finished and professional garment (if you do it right of course - ahem.) The bias neckline I would definitely try again at some point as it looked very neat indeed.

I lengthened the pattern about 4 inches so I could wear it more as a long tunic over leggings, gotta have some coverage folks.

If I made it again - which actually I would like to - I would make the neckline a little lower though, maybe an inch or 2 as I felt a bit covered up. HOWEVER this could be the fact that half way through sewing I put a massive hole in the lace at the back and had to shave off about 2 inches from the back yoke to correct the mistake. So I may have lost some dimensions along the way.

It also turns out I'm quite bad at pleats aswell. Sigh. Although again pure laziness and rushing stopped me from getting the iron out and pressing the back pleat in properly - lesson learnt :-(

I wore it for dinner and that's probably about as much wear as it is going to get - not because of the pattern in any way, that is brilliant, but due to my shoddy skills and thick fabric! Please also excuse the lack of general ironing pre-photo!


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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Slippery Bird...

I was rather blinded by the sale price and bird print of this fabric and bought 2 meters of it... Birds good, £2.99 per metre good. (Bought from Minerva Crafts) Then I started trying to create a dress and realised why it was probably on sale. I like the result but it was a bitch to cut and sew.

Due to the crazy slippery nature of this fabric I just needed a super simple pattern to cut and minimal seams to sew! This is basically just a large pillowcase with a head hole! Think giant oversized t-shirt shape held in with a belt. 2 pieces sewn together with the overlocker at the sides and shoulders. I overlocker all the raw edges then just straight stitched all the hems. Whack on a belt and ta-dah! Dress.

Oh yeah, this was also mega see-through so I had to put a little black slip on underneath - very handy garment!





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Friday, 9 January 2015

The Half Circle Skirt - Love it or Hate it

I have been a bit obsessed with a purple skirt and stripe t-shirt after seeing a photo on Burdastyle on their blog section ages ago. I looked all over to find one online but then had a word with myself and realised I could just make it.

Now I'm not ordinarily a fan of circle skirts and they are a bit too girl for my liking however I think the look I was going for called for one in this case. I have however toned down the twirl by making it a half circle instead. It takes out a bit of the fullness but leaves movement.

Now I love a bit of maths so this was great - remember C=2πr?? No? Shame on you.

You need to crack out the Pi formulae to create circle skirt patterns, but they are so simple to draft and sew up its a good beginners project.

C= circumference. ie. Yours. Around your waist. 

We are after r (radius). The length you need to draw out your circle.

r = C / (2π) This is for a full circle skirt by the way. For a half circle use: r = 2C / (2π)

OR you can use this rather fabulous application from By Hand London!

Take a sheet of paper and from one corner draw out your radius. See how long you want your skirt to be, add to the radius and draw another massive quarter circle. Voila - your pattern. Take your fabric and fold it in half (fold down he left hand side). Pop on your pattern, pin and cut. You have one massive piece of circular fabric with a waist! I wasn't going to do a tutorial as there seem to be a million of them out there including here. However should anyone want a step by step tutorial doing by all means I will - just pop a comment in the box at the end! x


I used an invisible zip and also lined the fabric with anti-static lining so I can wear tights underneath in this cold weather. The fabric is a beautiful heavy crepe fabric from Minerva.


Sun in eyes NOT a Forsyth impression

I also acquired a pair of these rather marvellous Pamela Mann tights first seen on RetroChick's blog to go with it.



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Sunday, 4 January 2015

Happy New Year! Sewing room sneak preview...

Happy New Year to all - I hope 2015 is treating everyone well so far.

It has been a lovely long break here and the sewing room is all up and running and functional thanks to some much needed time off over the holidays. I just thought I would share some pics as well as some lovely little sewing related gifts I was very lucky to receive. A mega trip to Ikea resulted in a fully Swedish based kitted out room!

Sewing room sponsored by Ikea
These Kallax cabinets are very useful indeed for stashing away all that accumulated/hoarded fabric and the green shelving stores books nicely and is a haven for hiding messier items and UFOs away.


The dress form is in with a long mirror for adjustments. Couldn't resist the ladybird seat. To be fair its a kids item but whatever - this was much encouraged by my sister who I believe said 'do it man - people could, you know, hang out on it'. Sold. Giant ladybird seat is surely an essential piece of furniture right?


This bit of space invader wall art is an incredible gift from a very talented friend indeed :-)


How great is this for organisation?! Again I was very luck and grateful to receive these beautiful little pin boxes. I believe they are from Next.

Full of treats!

Another fabulous friend Angie kindly got me a lovely sewing machine hand painting on a 100 year old book print (as well as a banana case which happily houses all my machine tools and presser feet!). Mason jars proved a handy home for stray buttons and the master piece - this could not have been more perfect - a measuring tape tortoise frame!!!! I may have to add a photo of Clyde shortly - he's in hibernation now and we miss his little green beastie-ness around. 


I have been having a great debate as to whether to continue with the blog or not this year - I think I will carry on for now and see how it goes - never sure if I'm just chatting away to myself :-) If you feel like saying hello or anything at all comments are all welcome! Don't forget I'm on Facebook, Twitter or Bloglovin too xxx