Monday, August 31, 2015

Dropping the dress

Karen recently talked about dropping the dress in this post, the majority of my sewing has been dresses. I love wearing dresses, they make me feel like I've made an effort when I haven't brushed my hair or am barely wearing a scrap of makeup. I'm all about the low maintenance!

However with my rapidly changing shape, I'm having to rethink my sewing habits. At first I was convinced I would have to stop sewing! The creative part of my brain scoffed at that idea and immediately started brainstorming ideas at 2 am - don't you just hate that!?
I find a good break away really helps your creative battery recharge and coming back from Kos I was raring to go. 

I love that pregnancy is causing me to rethink my sewing wardrobe, I'm now thinking about the cake rather than the icing. Currently swirling around are trousers, jackets and lots and lots of knit tops/dresses.

Has anything caused you to rethink your sewing plans?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WIPs and when to give up

Do you ever give up on projects? Or are you one of those who sticks it out until the end?
The majority of my knitting projects have been abandoned and ripped back but this is the first sewing project I've not completed fully.

I've been making another hexie blanket since I finished the Tilda one for my Gran at Christmas.
I made a mistake and sewed a whole flower in the wrong place. I stalled and completely lost interest in it. I couldn't bear to rip it out and couldn't carry on. Stalemate!
I think if I didn't have the small matter of the tiny person I'm currently growing I would have just carried on with it but I know my craft time will be limited soon and I just don't love the blanket enough to keep going.

So today I decided enough was enough, the blanket was hogging far too much space in my WIPs basket and it needed to be gone! Actually I was supposed to be making a baby quilt but I'm procrastinating cutting out all those blasted triangles and seeing as I've lost my dressmaking mojo this was the next best thing...

Instead of carrying on with the hexie blanket I decided to cut the reminder of my fabric into 6" squares to make a really simple patchwork quilt and considered what to do with the hexies I have already sewn together. With a little tweaking it could make a nice baby play mat albeit a little small but I think it's going to be re-purposed into two cushions.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Emergency holiday sewing

Well what's a sewist/dressmaking/sewer (*delete as applicable) supposed to do when they book a holiday except sew some new clothes!?
I originally had a list of 4 or 5 things to make but when I found out we were expecting I was put off by the idea of making something I wouldn't fit into very soon.
Plus with exam marking and sewing a baby dress for a present I didn't have much free time.
Two days before we went away I was frantically cutting and sewing and managed to make the True Bias Southport dress and the Merchant and Mills saltmarsh skirt from their new workbook.

I've been wanting to sew the Southport dress since it was released but the first version got canned after buying rayon fabric and not stabilising it when cutting which led to some very wonky cutting. A shame because the fabric was gorgeous! 

The second version was made from this rayon from eBay. I didn't have any trouble sewing it up, I anticipated the bias binding armholes to be a pain but with a bit of pressing they went in fine. I omitted the button band and cut a size 4 grading to a 6 to accommodate bump, I think the bodice is a little big though and could've stayed at my usual 2. 

One problem I did have was trying to match the bodice and the skirt together and ended up with an 8 inch gap between the waistband casing and the skirt! I had to try and gather the spare fabric in the skirt so that I could sew the two together but I have no idea where I went wrong. I used ribbon from my stash as the waistband drawstring.

Next up was the Saltmarsh skirt from the new Merchant and Mills workbook, the fabric is from John Lewis bought when we went away to Edinburgh in Easter.

I originally tried to make the skirt with no pattern, just a straight dirndl with an elastic casing waistband but it looked so homemade I knew I wouldn't wear it. It was the first thing I'd tried to sew since being pregnant and the first trimester tiredness is no joke.. I couldn't visualise how to sew the bloody thing together! Following someone else's instructions and a pattern turned out to be much better.

All in all the the skirt was very easy to sew, I used the ribbon M&M had tied some fabric together for me from a delivery as the drawstring and used my over locker for the sides. I loved how the waistband came together.

We went to Kos, in Greece, and had a fantastic time! I thoroughly needed a rest, we've had a stressful few weeks and a break was sorely needed. A bonus was just how beautiful it is over there as you can see in some of these pictures.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Maternity Moneta

I've never needed to Moneta until I saw Rachel's in stripey jersey, I'm a total sucker for stripes and knew I needed to shamelessly copy hers!
I probably wouldn't have ended up making one had I had not found the softest squishiest jersey in Simply Solids. I might go buy the rest because it's the perfect stripe fabric.

Anyway all was going swimmingly sewing the Moneta, I sewed the whole thing on my overlocker, pockets and all, and twin needled all the hems. I was starting to think it was the most professional dress I'd ever made. 

Then came the skirt. Now if you've never made a Moneta before you gather the skirt using elastic by cutting the elastic to the length of the bodice and stretching it. In THEORY this is supposed to gather the skirt nice and evenly. It doesn't. There was bad swearing. There was ripping out. There were tantrums. 
I sewed the effing thing twice and I still couldn't get it to gather evenly. Eventually I gathered the bodice using the embroidery thread method and then overlocked the elastic and the bodice and skirt at the same time. My sewing machine hated sewing the elastic but my overlocker didn't even notice it was there.

There was some searching of the Internet during this skirt fiasco, and it seems most people don't sew the skirt the way that Colette suggest. Now this really pissed me off, this is supposed to be a beginner pattern. Now had I picked this up and sewed it as my first jersey dress pattern I would've possibly given sewing jersey up forever which is a shame because I looooove jersey, especially dem stripes. Anyway, I digress, the point is, there are easier ways to do what Colette suggest without having to 
lose your sanity along the way. Theres too many factors that can go wrong using the elastic to gather the skirt; the machine, the tension, type of elastic etc. I may being a little dramatic but it's put me off Colette a little. I sewed the Marianne dress which is also jersey and a beginner pattern with elastic in the shoulders with no problems!

Anyway, rant over, I love my dress. I sized up to accommodate my (newly) massive bust and expanding waistline but it still came out bigger than I was expecting, the fabric is quite heavy which pulls the bodice down. Don't worry if you think you won't fit into your usual size, there's a bit of negative ease here. I love the oversized look so this will be perfect after my pregnancy.

In order to make it maternity friendly, I shortened the bodice by 3 stripes (technical term) and lengthened the front of the skirt by about a a few stripes and graded the sides up to match the back. Unfortunately the fabric isn't on grain and therefore the stripes aren't parallel to the selvedge which means the stripe at the bodice seam is wonky. I can really notice it but it doesn't look too bad in the pictures. I can always resew the bodice slightly to match it if it really bothers me. Once my pregnancy is over I just need to shorten the front skirt as its a little too long at the moment. 

Overall I love my new dress despite the difficulty I had, it's like wearing secret pyjamas! Which is never a bad thing. I can see me living in this dress for quite some time. Oh and in case you're wondering we went to Bolton abbey in North Yorkshire for a walk and a picnic, I do love our little adventures!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Pregnancy sewing


If you don't follow me on Instagram you won't have heard my good news; I'm pregnant! Due 2nd January. If anyone is interested in my pregnancy journey so far I've been blogging over at 
From about week 7 my lower abdomen bloated up and I couldn't wear any of my trousers or jeans! Fairly quickly I had to think of some alternatives. I ended up buying some stretchy drawstring trousers from h&m and some maternity tops to hide my teeny tiny bump. 

We recently came back from Kos and I'd taken a few of my me-mades with me to wear, I found to my dismay that the baggy waisted dress I love so much didn't fit! I assumed, like most pregnant ladies I think, that my normal clothes would fit for a good few months. 
However I didn't factor in the boob increase! I haven't been measured but I've definitely gone up a band size and at least 2 cup sizes!! Which means none of my dresses fit anymore. I'll be honest here my expanding waistline was getting me down a little, partly because I've always been slim but mainly because of all the gorgeous clothes I want to make!

The morning we got back I was brainstorming maternity makes, I've never one to let myself brood, I'd rather try solve the problem. 
I'm off work over summer #teacherperks and have a lot of free time (and a new overlocker to play with!). I'm really grateful of my ability to sew because there isn't much choice in maternity clothes. 
My style has also completely changed, whereas before I used to favour baggy clothes I'm definitely leaning towards a more fitted silhouette. In baggy clothes I just feel swamped and much bigger than I am! Tighter tops and dresses flatter my figure more. 

Here's some of the ideas I've come up with so far:

Plantain shirt - this is a free shirt pattern from Deer and Doe which I already have printed (sewing win!) but not cut or assembled (fail). I read Sew Caroline's tips on making a shirt maternity here which got my cogs whirring. A couple of plantains should keep me going for a while. 

Hudson pants - I need comfy stretchy pants but some slim legged ones. My baggy ones make me look a lot wider especially with maternity/baggy shirts. I plan on making a black pair and a patterned pair too.

Mission Maxi dress - uh, why haven't I found this amazing pattern before!? It's perfect! I absolutely love maxi dresses, they're so feminine and easy to wear. I always find they're not long enough though so sewing my own will fix that. Sew Caroline's ruched sides tip will help this baby fit throughout my pregnancy. I'm thinking a tie dye effect and of course a striped version!

Rub off pattern - I'm currently wearing a slim fit dress bought from h&m years ago. It's exactly what I'm looking for but couldn't find a pattern to make. I'm going to try the rub off method to make my own, or possibly just adapt a mission maxi to be a bit shorter.

I bought a tonne of fabric and am going to spend a few weeks of my summer holiday happily sewing them up!