Category Archives: Sewing

Seven days of sewing

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Anyone who knows me will tell you in great length how I’m not the best at organising things… as my old papa would say, “You can’t organise a shindig in a brewery!” (well he wouldn’t have said shindig but I thought I’d stick with the PC version). And as as much as I know it drives those around me mad, and there are days when I wish I could be a bit more organised, with less running around headless and a bit more planning, I do secretly like the laid-back approach. Having a slightly more laissez faire approach to life means that I never know where an adventure or activity is going to end up, where I’ll end up going or what a project will end up turning into. We all spend so much time rushing around to get to our goals that I think we sometimes miss out on the middle bit. For me, the enjoying part about sewing isn’t necessarily the finished item, although I do like sparkly new things, but it’s more about the learning of new skills, mastering new patterns and being able to accomplish a new challenge. Read the rest of this entry

♫ Oh we all love Clover, All over this land ♫

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The past few weeks have been fairly quiet on the sewing front for me, somewhere between the colder weather, working lots of earlies, trying to muster the energy to meet up with friends and family and still trying to have quality time with the loving boyfriend (and by quality I mean nights where I’m not asleep on the sofa by 8pm) I’ve struggled to find the time to make a start on any new projects.

But luckily for me, and possibly for you, I’ve got a backlog of projects to post here on my little blog space. And a spontaneous road-trip to Bournemouth this Sunday gave me the perfect opportunity to take some much needed photos.

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Read the rest of this entry

Here Comes the Rain Again…

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Today I woke up to this…

Rain

Now normally, being British and all, this would fill me with dread and an overwhelming need to complain about the weather. But not today. Oh no, day-off for me so seeing the grey skies and pouring rain filled me with not only an element of schadenfreunde (sorry guys but I had just worked the weekend and endured endless TGIF related Facebook statuses) but also a sense of excitement.

A day-off when everyone else is at work + rainy weather = Guilt-free Sewing Time.

I was more excited than a puppy-dog rolling in mud

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But what to do with this free-pass of a sewing day? Like I said previously, I’ve got lots of exciting projects in the pipeline. I’ve got both patterns and selected fabrics waiting for me. I’ve got half finished sewing garments just waiting for me to hem them. I’ve got second-hand clothes just waiting for me to add a quick dart before being RTW. And, I’ve even some beautiful IKEA fabric sat waiting to be made into matching lampshade/cushion cover combo.

So which of these did I sew I here you ask? Short answer, none. Long answer, none but… Sometimes things don’t go to plan. Learning to sew means that things don’t always go to plan and the planning stages sometimes takes a bit longer than it might for others. This is all part of the learning curve. So here’s what I spent my morning doing instead:

Sewing Inspiration:  SIMPLICITY 1607

A few weekends ago, Jaycotts were having a pattern sale and I picked up this beauty of a pattern, Simplicity 1607 from the Cynthia Rowley collection.

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Isn’t that neckline fantastic?

Now normally, for me, buying a patten involves a lengthy process of ummm-ing and aah-ing, browsing the net for inspiration, looking at potential fabric options and then, after much indecision, I’ll either buy the pattern or be distracted by the next shiny thing.

But with this pattern I’d thrown caution to the wind and brought it with no research or planning. And I was all set to start sewing it this morning, using a fabric remnant in my stash.

But I couldn’t do that without a quick search for others versions of the dress. And boy am I glad I did!

Here’s a couple of my favourite versions out there:

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Dixie DIYThe use of fabric and the placement of the stripes makes this version just adorable. Before seeing this I was against the frill on the skirt and was planning to swap it for either a circle skirt or a more fitted pencil skirt. However, as this shows, with the right fabric the frill makes this dress the cutest thing.

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What I WoreThere is nothing I don’t love about this adorable adaptation of the pattern, it’s so romantic and dreamy! I was planning on making a muslin of the bodice for this pattern (this is where I normally have to make adaptations anyway) and after seeing this version I’d love to make it a wearable cropped bodice. Perfect for a high waisted skirt on a night-out.

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Chillwear on BurdaStyle: I’ve been wanting to use African wax-print fabric (like these or these) on a project for a while now, those patterns and colours are just mouthwatering! And whilst this version I found on BurdaStyle is made from cotton, it made me think that this just might be the pattern I was waiting for.

After seeing these inspiring versions of the pattern I was all set to rush off and treat myself to the perfect fabric. But then I realised it was raining outside, I hadn’t showered/brushed my hair and doing so would require me changing out of pyjamas and into something more sociably acceptable. No thanks!

So instead I decided to make use of fabrics I already had. Which leads me onto….

Half-completed garment: BurdaStyle 10/14, Top 117

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The October issue of BurdaStyle UK magazine, featured this Top 117, which consisted of a floaty strap top over a very basic strap top pattern. The floaty sequin chiffon top is pretty but what I was drawn to was the idea of having a well-fitting strap top pattern. Strap tops made out of floaty fabrics are an essential for me, so easy to style up or down, they form an important part of wardrobe essentials. But whilst I like well made strap tops, I’m always reluctant to spend well-earned pennies on a garment that uses such little fabric. Sewists solution = DIY it!

After tracing a Burda 38 (size 10), I made a muslin bodice and realised that a 3 inch full-bust adjustment would be needed. I’m still learning pattern-fitting so don’t feel confident in doing a step-by-step guide for this but I ended up with something that looked like this.

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Looks about right I hope? The pattern uses an angled side-dart which threw me but we worked through it.

Another muslin later and I decided to soften the neckline, with a slight v shape. The pattern is has a straight neckline, which would work if worn under another top but I wanted a top I could wear on it’s own so it had to be lowered.

By now I was so involved with sewing that I forgot to take any more construction photos but here we are nearly finished:

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Looks basic right? But look what happens when you add sequins….

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Isn’t she just lovely. I’ve still got to hem this version, and I think, for future makes, I’ll make the V-neck a bit deeper but all in all I’m pretty happy with this make so far. And even better, I used fabric I already had, which means I’ve cleared space for my next fabric purchase. Because that’s how it works right?

What do you all think? Has anyone else used a pattern from the October BurdaStyle magazine? What do you get up to on rainy days?

Love to hear your comments. But for now, au revoir 🙂

Elle x

Georgia on my mind

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I’ve got a very exciting finished project to share with you all but first I need to make a very important introduction.

Blog buddies …meet Martha. Martha meet the world!

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Isn’t she pretty? Martha is my dress-form, a surprise Christmas pressie given to me by the very generous boyfriend. Now I LOVE Martha. Many a time she has rescued from screwing up a project, convinced it won’t work, Martha has been there to show how it might look on and make it seem do-able. That said Martha does have her flaws. Firstly she’s not much of a talker and is known to loose her head (I’m sorry, couldn’t resist!). The actual problem with Martha is that she’s a non-adjustable body form. She looks pretty and elegant but at times when I’ve eaten too many puddings and my belly seems to be expanding, Martha remains her same slim self. I make clothes to fit my proportions, often needing to make a size-able full bust adjustment to do so, which means that at times what looks baggy on Martha will be snug as a bug on me.

Despite this flaw of never gaining weight (which FYI is equally annoying in REAL people) I can predict that many of my completed projects that I’ll be showing on this blog will be modeled on Martha. She never has bad hair days, bags under her eyes and taking photos of her in clothes doesn’t require any skill in contortion. So if items seem poor fitting, from now on, I will be blaming Martha 🙂

Excuses over on to the main act…

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# Georgia, Georgia the whole day through. Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind #

Pattern: ,The stunning Georgia dress from By Hand London. I originally brought this pattern intending to take part in the sew-along held back in January but undecided on the fabric and scared of the fitting required it sat untackled for too many months.

Fabric: I brought this fabric from a man at Leicester Market who sells scraps of material left over (I imagine) from manufacturers. Not for the faint-hearted, you have to rummage through his stall, wait for his return from the bookies and then he will give you the price he decides in the moment.

I was lucky and got enough to make this dress, along with another piece of the black stretch fabric and a beautiful piece of neoprene (made into a soon to be blogged skirt) for £2.50. £2.50… absolute steal!

Fitting and changes made: I originally made a muslin out of cotton fabric for this dress in a UK12 and it didn’t seem any chance of it fitting. Vanity aside I went up a size to a (gulp) 14, completed a 3″ full-bust adjustment and boldly went for it. For a cost of £1.25 I went for the motto of “nothing ventured…”

Nothing ventured indeed! Using a full-bust adjustment meant that the finished bodice was easily 3 inches too big, which I was able to take in at the sides taking it down to somewhere between a 10/12. In the future, I think I will make the bodice in a 12, with the necessary adjustments and grade the skirt down to a 10.

I also found the straps were far too long for me, which was tricky given that I’d already sewn them in with the lining! I liked the wideness of the straps where they met the bodice and also wanted to wear the dress that evening so did a slightly botched job sewing them in the middle of the straps… passable for a muslin but this is something that I would address if I make again.

I also didn’t use a zip in the making in the dress, it would probably be necessary for a less-stretchy fabric but for these fabrics and with this fit it was not necessary.

Overall: A stunning dress pattern, that I will definitely be making again in the future. The fitted style of the dress means that it is important to get measurements and sizing right but the sew-along mentioned above is fantastic in guiding you with this… that’s if you actually read it before sewing rather than after making the mistakes! 

Lucky Georgia was ready just in time for a night on the town celebrating the birthday of one of my besties. Unfortunately, whilst Georgia looked the party, I’ve still not mastered the art of posing or even keeping my eyes open in photos but here are a few 3 blurry photos from the night nonetheless…

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Till next time 🙂

Elle xx

Confession Time

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“It’s not until you dive in that you know the true depth of the water”

So I’ve got a little admission to make, something I omitted in my last post. The astute amongst you will have noticed that in that post I said that my main reason for blogging was to take my first steps in ticking of my “30 Things Before 30” whilst also providing a platform for me to document and reflect on the journey.

But what was it that meant that, out of all my hopes and ambitions, this one made it to the very top of my list? What was I planning to write about before I sat down with friends, put pen to paper and scribed “start a blog”

It is with trepidation that I make my confession. Since writing my first post I have spent time mentally writing and rewriting the words for this reveal but have struggled to find the right words to fit the purpose. This trepidation is something that  has puzzled me.

But luckily to help in my path of self-analysis I had a secret weapon to help me. This time my secret weapon came in the form of a late-night drive home from work and some strong ballads from my main girls Paloma and Tracy (Faith and Chapman). After failing to hit every note and scaring the driver next to me with my dramatic moves, I was able to begin to understand what I had been struggling with in writing this post.

I have never been particularly confident. My teenage years were spent with the same angst and self-doubt that girls everywhere can sympathise with, reluctant to share my inner thoughts for fear of some how not quite being as good as everyone else. Whilst getting older, and questionably wiser, has meant that my confidence is slowly building I can, at times, still find myself being riddled with self-doubt and the nagging feeling that there’s something that everyone else understands but that I’m still falling short on. As a result of this I still find myself holding back and reluctant to share my true self with others. Sharing is caring but it’s also pretty scary!

However, as I gradually let others know the real me I am starting to realise that it is only in letting others know the real you that you can begin to accept yourself and live life fully. In trying to protect ourselves we can sacrifice much of life’s true richness. So in keeping with the living life to the full and seizing the moment, I plan to dive straight in and reveal the real reason for starting a blog… no apologies, no more waffling… just go ahead and do it!

So here goes…

My names Elle and I’m addicted to sewing!

There I’ve said it. Originally, the reason I wanted to start a blog was not to document my journey to the big 3-0 (though that is now also a goal of mine) but it was instead to grow and develop one of my main passions in life: sewing.

I’ve always enjoyed being the creative and crafty things… coming from a large family with little money you really appreciate the value in being able to make something from nothing. But it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I really got into sewing. I had been given a machine as a present when I was younger (identical machines, bulk brought Christmas presents for me and my two sisters) but it sat under my bed for many years.

I can’t remember what it was that first got me back into sewing but I can remember the first sewing blog I ever read. In fact, I can remember the very first sewing post I ever read was this maxi dress by Suzannah at Adventures in Dressmaking (now Create-Enjoy), which led to an obsession following the journey of the many fantastic sewing bloggers out there on the wide web. There really are some truly inspirational seamstresses out there, looking at you House of Pinheiro, the Little Tailoress and the girls at By Hand London

Now I don’t claim to be anything special or advanced in the field of sewing, I’m still learning and even the basic pattern can throw me into a frenzied panic. But I do know how much I enjoy reading about others sewing adventures and how inspiring I find it when a new post appears in my email.
So whilst I am fairly new to dressmaking here I am, taking my first steps into the world of a sewing blog and hoping that I can give back at least a fraction of the support and advice I’ve taken from others in the online sewing community.

 

And not to brag but I’ve got some pretty exciting projects coming up!

So till next time guys and gals

Elle xx