Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Heather: May Sewing Roundup
Roll up, roll up! It's another sewing extravaganza! Somehow, despite an exceptionally busy month month both at work and play, I've managed to make a whopping 14, yes FOURTEEN, new garments. Grab your candyfloss, folks... we're ready to start the show...
We start the month with the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress. If I'm being entirely truthful I actually made the majority of it in April but it wasn't quite ready in time for last month's blog. I chose the Liberty Cotton Lawn from (ever fruitful) Fabric Corner in Lincoln and knew exactly what I was going to make with it. I've made this dress once before, with limited success after making some dubious alterations to the pattern. This time round I decided to make the dress as a straight size 8 without any alterations, and I'm really pleased with it.
After a couple of wears, I would definitely shorten the front bodice across the collarbone as it's a bit gapey; and I have subsequently added two extra buttons at the bottom of the skirt after a slightly unfortunate gust-of-wind-and-first-day-in-nude-tights incident last week.
I'm going to make another one of these for the #sewtogetherforsummer challenge, though I need to get my skates on!
I picked up this next fabric, a lovely stripe and floral cotton, from Fabric Corner last summer, fully intending to make it into a pretty summer dress. Then, I wanted to make it into a night shirt. Then a few weeks ago I found some fantastic orange sweat-shirting (once again at Fabric Corner) and the decision was made... summer PJs! Over the course of two evenings, armed with a well fitting pair of Jack Wills PJ bottoms and my trouser block, the Tilly and the Buttons Fifi Pyjamas cami top, and a Burda raglan sleeve jumper pattern, I made these gorgeous summer PJs. I love wearing these and the fit is absolutely perfect for lounging!
The next make of the month was a really unusual choice for me; Vogue 1395, a slouchy wrap dress. I spotted the pattern on a reselling group on facebook for the bargain price of £2 and I was sufficiently intrigued to give it a go. I had picked up some fab printed polyester for my Birthday back in March and it seemed ideal for this make.
As is so often the case with Vogue patterns, this was definitely not what I would call easy! There is a sweet back gather detail, not pictured, which requires significant dexterity (not to be attempted after a couple of wines, it turns out) and an awful lot of precision top stitching. The pattern also has a full lining, I can only assume because it's intended for more sheer fabrics. I wanted this dress to be cool for those warmer days we had in the middle of the month so I omitted the lining pieces and instead cut a very creative facing piece out of the absolute scraps of fabric I had left over. I was really proud of myself for getting this whole garment (include made up facings) out of 1.5m, seeing as the pattern requires 2.5m!
I'm happy with the finished dress though I'll be honest and say I'm not sure how much I'll wear it. Next time I would shorten the back by at least an inch and probably lengthen the skirt by an inch too.
Next up is a bit of a failed project. The lovely Simona from Sewing Adventures in the Attick sent me this lovely abstract poly from her destash, and upon first glance I knew wanted to make it up into McCalls 7094, the free blouse pattern from last month's Love Sewing magazine.
As nice a pattern as this is (and once again kudos to Love Sewing for the multi-sized patterns) I just don't think I'm a baggy blouse kinda gal. The neckline detail was really complicated and definitely not a beginner make. And although I'm really pleased with that part of the blouse, and the fit across the shoulders in size XS is exceptional... everywhere else it's just vast. Huge. Enormous. You get the idea. In a drapier fabric I think it could have worked really well but, sadly, after just one wear this has been relegated to the remake pile.
Throughout the month I've been taking part in MeMadeMay (#MMMAY17) and whilst I haven't kept up with the pics on Instagram, I have successfully worn at least one hand made item every day throughout May. The idea behind the challenge is to help identify some of the gaps in your wardrobe, but I found it had the exact opposite effect. Having worked in retail for nearly 7 years my wardrobe is absolutely full to bursting with gorgeous, hardly worn high street clothes... which I don't wear! I really love wearing my handmade wardrobe and will turn to one of my own items over a ready-to-wear garment any day. So I had a clear out! A proper, bin-bags-and-stuff-on-ebay clear out. And it feels great! I now have just a handful of RTW garments in my wardrobe and I'm looking forward to filling that space with more handmade items.
One gap I did identify, however, was in my work wardrobe. Last summer I made quite a few lovely floral dresses, but I didn't feel I had many items that were smart enough for work. Resorting to my favourite Butterick 6166 I made this birdy print jersey dress in about 90 minutes on the overlocker...
... and then did some remnant busting by making these two simple t-shirts from a Burda pleated roll neck pattern which is another tried and tested favourite.
I also made this elephant print blouse for my work wardrobe, mashing up the Simple Sew Pussy Bow Blouse with a front button channel and some self-drafted sleeves. A very quick win!
(We're more than half way folks, I promise!)
You'll remember previous blogs that I've made a few items for my sister-in-law, who is always appreciative of a wardrobe top-up! She spotted the Sew Over It Ella Blouse pattern when it was released last month and I made it up for her in this floral viscose as a surprise gift for her holidays.
Apparently it's a great fit and she really likes it- every sewists favourite sentence.
I've been coveting the Butterick range of vintage style dresses by Gretchen Hirsch for several months now and finally bought the pattern in a half price sale last month. It was with dismay that I realised the pattern required 4 metres of fabric and, despite having a pretty healthy stash, I didn't have enough of anything that I could use to make this! Luckily there's a fabric shop just around the corner...
This Palm Tree print viscose was the perfect pick for this dress, and the pattern itself is quite an easy make. Unfortunately everything that could go wrong with this make, did. Having secured my 4 metres of oh-so-perfect fabric, I discovered that there was a very slight, but unavoidable, hole right in the middle of the design. Each skirt panel takes about a metre and a half of fabric, and with the amount of gathering you really wouldn't know it was there, but there was no working round it sadly. Next, I snipped through my stitching when clipping the neckline and the whole thing unravelled quicker than a ball of wool at the paws of a kitten. And then, just as I had finished and pressed the dress, and snipped off the last few stitches ready to get dressed for a night out... the zipper broke. Straight down the middle and no saving it. (As I had made the dress fit really rather well, I can assure you it was a pretty stressful experience getting out of it with no one else in the house too!) Furious, and without time to resolve the issue, I resorted to one of last year's sundresses and popped a new zip in the next morning as well as a hook and eye at the waist to support the weight of the skirts. Lesson learned.
In the same stack of viscose temptation as the previous make, I also picked up this lightweight black viscose with an abstract check pattern which I made up into another tried-and-tested pattern, Butterick 6016. Perfect for a warm but grey day in the office!
And last but not least, hot off the machine this evening is this totally adorable Sew Over It Tulip Skirt in some red floral border print.
And I think it's probably the nicest and best fitting skirt I've ever made, not to mention a super quick sew at just an hour after all the pieces were cut out.
Finally, next month's Dressmaking Blogger Challenge will be... "Garden Party"!
As always it's a just-for-fun challenge and you can share your makes using #dressmakingbloggerchallenge on Instagram or by joining the Dressmaking Bogging Network on Facebook.
Thanks for reading. Happy Sewing everyone!!!