Sunday, December 4, 2016

New blog

Hi everyone

I've moved my new blog to

Please come join me over there!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

McCalls M6696

I'm I I'm I've just returned from the Sew Up North blog meet up and inspired by all the lovely bloggers I met I thought I would show you my latest make. 

I had the grand idea of using the timer on my phone but my pictures are still rubbish! Hence why I blog infrequently. 

I made the ubiquitous McCalls M6696 which I think most sewing bloggers have had a crack at. 

It's a great pattern and I didn't need to make any fit adjustments except I took some of the excess width out of the back. I also shortened the bodice about an inch. 

I love the finished dress, it's a little bit twee but it's very me and will even be a great work dress! Bonus. 

The fabric is the Robert Kaufman chambray which I've been hoarding for well over a year and I'm pleased I've finally made something with it!

I definitely need to add an extra closure to the waist, after lunch it was gaping slightly which I didn't even notice until I took these pictures!

The buttons are from eBay but I sewed them wrong side up as the right side had a shine to it. I kind of wish I'd sewn the wooden buttons instead as I think the red hearts can be a little too twee if I'm not in a Cath Kidston esque mood. 

I used Andrea from Four square walls collar attachment and Grainlines burrito method for enclosing the yoke. Everything else I followed the instructions. Except for all the hand sewing, I definitely skipped 90% of that and just hand sewed the inside of the waistband down to be neater. 

I'm totally obsessed with shirt dresses and have at least 2 more in the queue not including the shirts I want to make too!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Self drafted skirt

I've had the idea for this skirt in my head for years ever since I bought these red heart buttons from Cath Kidston. 

The Simplicity competition spurred me on to make it, that and that my Miette skirt is one of my most worn makes because it's so versatile. I was going to use the simplicity pattern and enter the competition however we moved house and I completely lost both patterns!
The seed was there and I decided to draft it myself. 

When I say draft, it's literally 3 rectangles! I measured my waist and added a seam allowance. The skirt pieces take up the whole width of the fabric so I used 98% of the fabric I had. Speaking of which u have no idea where this chambray came from! I'm thinking Blackbird fabrics? But I genuinely have no idea! Which is unusual for me, but then there's a lot of chambray in my stash!

Insides were all overlocked and I added pockets with some scrap fabric leftover from my shirt dress. 
I absolutely love this skirt! It's been in heavy wardrobe rotation since I finished it, which always makes sewing feel more rewarding!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Princess Anna dress

I bought some gorgeous shibori fabric from Blackbird fabrics and immediately knew I wanted to make a maxi dress with it. By Hand London's Anna popped into my head and that was it, it shot to the top of my holiday sewing queue.

The last few things I've made have been a bit of a disaster in terms of fit and the Anna dress pinged my memory of a few people having fit issues. After a quick google most of the problem seems to be gaping of the neckline. 

Guys, I MADE MY FIRST TOILE. And I am SO glad I did. Had I made the dress without checking fit I would've been so angry!

This was my toile:

You might be able to see there's a lot of excess fabric above the bust. I cut a size 12 which corresponded with my measurements and it fit lovely in the back and sides/bust, just a slight bagginess across the top. I consulted Instagram and Heather said it could be a hollow chest adjustment. A quick google found this post which incidentally is also an Anna which showed the same problem I had. 
I pinched and pinned the excess out and transferred it to the pattern piece:

I also reduced the sleeve width to a size 10 as they looked too big. 

The fit is so much better! Except when I made the toile I didn't realise the bodice was so short which meant I had to use a teeny seam allowance when attaching the skirt. 

Speaking of the skirt, I didn't have enough fabric for the Anna maxi skirt (and this fabric HAD to be a maxi dress) so I used the True Bias southport skirt and added pleats to mimic the Anna bodice. So called the Princess Anna dress because that's exactly how I felt when I tried it on for first time!

The invisible zip is the best I've inserted (it's not done all the way up the top here).

I can definitely see this won't be my last Anna dress! I've been hoarding some. Rifle Paper Co fabric which would be perfect.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Another Emery dress

I've only made one other Emery dress which I wasn't keen on once I'd finished making it but I keep seeing lots of lovely ones floating around the Internet and it's an excellent basic bodice block (trying saying that five times after a few drinks). 

I recently went to London and had a bit of a shopping spree for fabric. 

The top two are from Shaukat, who have the most fabric I've ever seen in one place all mostly Liberty which is slightly cheaper than the department store at £18 a metre. The last three fabrics are from the Cabbages and Roses sample sale, the plaid is the same as a shirt dress I bought myself as a well done present for having a baby (honestly any excuse to drop £££ on a dress is great in my book). The gingham I was especially pleased with as I've wanted to make a circle skirt dress in black and white gingham since I started dressmaking, so around 2 years. 

I'm running low on outfits that 1) fit my (now ginormous) bosom in and 2) have easy boob access for nursing so I decided to hack the emery to be suitable. 

To do this I added a button placket to the front. I originally just added two inches to the front and folded it over and topstitched it down as my usual size 4 should have fit according to the finished measurements. Spoiler alert: it didn't. 

Queue lots of unpicking and adding a button placket separately. Whilst trying the bodice on I also noticed one of the darts needed bringing back slightly. Queue more unpicking. 

I drafted my own circle skirt using the power of the Internet which was surprisingly easy and used the emery pockets (which I use in every project that needs pockets). My fabric wasn't wide enough so I had to cut 4 quarter circle skirts and stitch them together. I tried to match the plaid as best I could and used the best match for the front. 

I eliminated the lining as I didn't want to try figuring out how to line the placket and just went with a bias finish. The sleeves are cut really short to give a cap sleeve effect. I also hemmed them before stitching to the bodice as I hate hemming sleeves - they're so fiddly!

One thing I loved most about this project was that I didn't follow any instructions so I just sewed whatever appealed to me. Dont want to sew darts? Okay I'll sew the skirt together instead. 

The other thing I love is how well it fits, I usually avoid woven fitted dresses because I can't be bothered to toile and fit but basting and trying on as I went worked really well. The only problem is I scooped a little too much of the neck out and it slips off my shoulders slightly. 

This blogpost was written 3 months ago and it's taken me that long to hem it with a rolled hem (took 10 mins on overlocker) and fix the shoulder slippage. One reason I've waited so long is because I wasn't sure how to adjust it, this quick and dirty fix just took two triangles out of the shoulder seam. Not pretty but it will do!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Work in progress

Well hello! Long time no blogging. Life catches up with us all, I've been sewing and knitting but have barely taken Instagram pictures let alone blogged about them! A lot of my time has been spent faffing with my treasures and finding places to put them in our new house. 
I made a Sew Over It Wrap dress for a friend in return for a stash of yarn she gave me. 
I finished my jeans but they need a swayback adjustment and I can't bring myself to unpick and adjust. They look pretty good though! I made a gingham Emery and then lost a tonne of weight so it needs adjusting. 
And I also made a chambray skirt which I love and have worn constantly since making (before I managed to get photos it got baby poop and sick all over it...)

I also found the perfect mustard cardigan in M&S today. I debated for a while about buying it as I'm knitting a mustard cardigan but I'm really unhappy with my decreases. They've turned out bumpy and really obvious looking. I'm in that annoying place of not wanting to continue and not wanting to frog a whole sleeve. So in the pile it waits. Meanwhile I'm browsing ravelry for the jumper I really wanted to make. Will this one get finished or resigned to The Pile. Only time will tell...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fabric or pattern first?

How do you choose what to make? Do you find the fabric first or the pattern?

All my fabric has a project attached before I buy it otherwise it lingers in my stash and I have no idea what to make. 

That is unless it's really, really, REALLY special fabric!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Doomed project: Ginger jeans update

Well. I don't think I've ever had a project have so many problems. I'm tempted to give up but at the same time I have a small stubborn streak that tells me to keep going. 

First up I cut the back legs crossgrain so I recut them after painstakingly measuring the grainline from the selvedge. Then after it had taken me 2 weeks to cut all the pieces out I realised I had two right legs - I hadn't flipped the pattern piece over! 
Then after ordering more fabric I realised that the length wasn't long enough! I ended up cutting both legs on the cross grain which means it's not as stretchy. Doh!!

So far I've got the pockets sewn up, I tried to sew the coin pocket but it's too many layers for my sewing machine to sew through. 

I'm starting(!) to think this project is doomed. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ginger jeans

Prepping my next project, yup I'm sewing the Ginger jeans!

Thoughts so far:

The paper pattern is printed in blue ink on tissue paper which means it's difficult to trace. I ended up cutting out my paper pattern which I promised myself I'd stop doing but I had no choice. 

The low rise option (view A) is still relatively high waisted for how I like to wear my jeans. I'm debating whether to sew them as they are or lower the waist. I'm relatively short bodied so I'm thinking that view A will be too high. Although the higher waist will be super flattering at hiding the "mum tum". Hmmm... Thoughts?

If you'd like to follow my progress I'm on Instagram @whatamymade and using the hashtag #amysewsgingerjeans. 
Also I'd like to point out this is the first time I've sewn jeans so very much a beginner!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

My birth story

I promise I won't spam you all with too much baby talk but I did want to share my birth story as I feel we spread the negative horror stories and not the positive ones! 

I was 5 days overdue and my waters broke before my contractions started, this means that I had 24 hours to get going otherwise I'd have to be induced which I was dreading. 

I really wanted to go to the local birth centre and have a water birth. I'd tried some hypnobirthing and felt like I would be able to stay calm and relaxed. 
Unfortunately my contractions didn't get going fast enough and I had to go to the hospital to be induced. 

Gary had a little snooze on a beanbag on the floor and I asked the nurse for something to eat at 3am. I was absolutely starving and the Angel that she was she brought me some toast! Best thing ever. 

When they inserted the canular I was really upset because although I never had a birth plan I had always heard inductions were more painful and I was admittedly terrified. 

However! This is where my birth story turns positive, yes the induction was more intense but there is pain relief there for a reason. I can be quite stubborn and planned to give birth without pain relief which is all well and admirable but you don't get a medal for it!

I managed on gas and air for a while but once my drip was increased I asked for more pain relief. I was given pethidine and it totally spaced me out! Not to the point that it didn't hurt but so that I couldn't concentrate on the pain as much I just had to go with it. I even remember thinking this is an amazing experience! At one point my body just totally took over and the incredible urge to push came over me. It was so involuntary! I said to the midwife I need to push she not yet to which I replied I can't, I'm not doing this! That's how much my body took over. 

From the start of being induced to pushing her out was 4 hours! Not too bad all in all. We didn't know the gender before hand so to see her pop out and then hear "it's a girl!" was incredible. My first thought was I knew it! Aha. From about 15 weeks I thought she was a girl but I wasn't sure because I didn't have much sickness which you usually do with girls. 

When she was born I still stared at her on the bed in amazement. She was here!
She didn't make much noise when born and I asked the midwife if she was okay and breathing to which she replied I think so!? She cut the cord and whisked her over to the resuscitation bay but she was absolutely fine just a little quiet. Finally I got a cuddle! 
After being stitched up I had some more toast, wow. Hospital toast is the best thing ever! 
Despite not having slept for 3 days after our first lot of visitors left we just stared at her in awe. She was finally here and she was a girl! I was filled with such an overwhelming feeling of love that every time I looked at her I cried. 

I love being a mama it's the best (and hardest) thing ever!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

McCalls M6885

As I mentioned before I'm obsessed with chambray at the moment, specifically shirtdresses. Jen over a Grainline just released the popover pattern but I was already halfway through making my M6885. 

This is the first time I've sewn a pattern that isn't from an indie designer. I helped a lady at the dressing class to see a Vogue blouse but I've always been put off by the Big 4 as sizing is supposed to be way off. 

My new measurements fell into the 14 category but the finished measurements came out at a 12. I cut a 10 at the shoulders and sleeves as they are a bit narrower but I'm really happy with the way the dress fits me especially with no alterations. The sleeves are a little tight but I could let the seam allowance out if it bugs me. 

I found the instructions fairly straightforward I just had some trouble with the placket as I put the notch in the wrong place and couldn't recut having already down one and messed it up. So it meant I couldn't have my placket all neat and tidy. You can see it on this picture. 

I used Robert Kaufman chambray from m is for make and the floral poplin was from Backstitch (who incidentally are excellent for patterns. M6885 was from eBay though). The snaps and fixing tool were from eBay too. I specifically bought an edge stitching foot for the collar and I'm really pleased with how it came out.

I really took my time sewing this and enjoyed the process rather than just the end result and it's making me love my handmade items even more because so much time has gone into them. 

I especially love the details like the floral plackets and the pearl snaps. 

Sorry for the creasing this was after wearing it all day!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Capsule wardrobe

Having a baby has really challenged my personal style. Pregnancy forced me to see clothes as functional rather than a way of expressing myself. Now that I'm breastfeeding I have to wear clothes which enable easy access. 
Since having Emily my measurements have changed. My hips are the same size but my bust is ginormous and a whopping 5 inches larger! Which means none of my pre pregnancy dresses still don't fit. Although I did get back into my pre pregnancy jeans!

As I now need to sew clothes to replace the ones that don't fit I'm thinking about my personal style and the gaps in my wardrobe. This seems to involve a lot of chambray and mustard! I'm obsessed at the moment and especially chambray shirt dresses. I'm going for looser fit as I think my measurements will change again as I lose weight and my body adjusts to breastfeeding. 

Currently I'm sewing McCalls M6885 and I've just ordered the Alder shirt dress for an anchor chambray dress. 

Other than a shed load of chambray and shirt dresses I'm struggling with figuring out my personal style and I think I need a good wardrobe clear out to see the gaps. 

Anyone else struggling with style?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Roberts Collection Dungarees

As soon as Marilla posted a sneak peak of her new pattern on Instagram I knew I had to make them. I eagerly awaited their release but was put off by the lack of paper pattern. Then Marilla had a small run of paper patterns printed which I snapped up.

I had bought some dungarees in the Topshop sale but not only could I not get them past my hips they were also going to be miles too short. This led to me developing a serious itch to make dungarees when 40 weeks pregnant!

The fact that the Roberts dungarees are loose fitting meant that it didn't matter what measurements I would be. I measured my hips and bust and cut what I think was a size 3 based on one reviewer who said they came up quite baggy. The day before I went into labour I was ordering dungaree clips from eBay!

It wasn't until Emily arrived that I cut the fabric out. Two weeks after she was born I finally finished them! I really took my time stitching them (not much choice with a newborn!) and enjoyed the process rather than rushing to get them done. 

I made a few changes to them after obsessively searching blogs for finished dungarees. Most people seem to have made the dress which wasn't very helpful! I narrowed the legs, cut a size smaller than my measurements, widened the straps, added clips instead of poppers and changed the shape of the front bib slightly to look less like overalls and more like dungarees. 

I found the instructions really difficult to follow in places. However I don't think this is a problem with Marilla's instructions and more to do with the fact I have a newborn baby and slight sleep deprivation! I can be really stubborn though and when I set my mind to something it will get done.

I was so desperate to start making these that I checked my stash for suitable fabric but only had chambray which Marilla said might not take the strain of the crotch seam. I ordered some 5oz denim from Merchant and Mills which is quite lightweight and not much heavier than chambray so I'm hoping it holds up! The clips and poppers were from eBay. 

They fit perfectly except around my mum tum but I'm losing inches very quickly (thanks to breastfeeding) and I'm hoping they will fit nicely soon. I'm really happy with how they have come out and am already planning a second pair! 

T shirt is from Boden is actually yellow and not green as its showing up! Shoes are Lotta from Stockholm. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 "re-sew-lutions"

Whilst waiting for baby to arrive my creative brain has been in overdrive. I can't make clothes for myself at the moment with my bust and waist changing all the time (funnily enough my hips haven't) and so I've been doing a lot of brainstorming.

As a rule I've never made New Years Resolutions, even as a kid I always thought that if you wanted to change you needn't wait until a new year to do it - I was a wise child!

Timehop threw up a picture from a year ago saying that my 2015 resolution was one thing and one thing only - to learn how to knit. I managed to do this and knit a baby hat, baby cardigan and I've nearly finished the body on a cardigan for me! 

I don't have any resolutions this year but this is what is like to make:

Watson Bra - I love learning new skills and bra making seems like it really takes it up a notch!

Ginger jeans - ditto above, plus I have expensive jeans taste so it would be great to be able to recreate these! The only thing that puts me off is finding good quality denim. Any thoughts?

Roberts dungarees - I recently bought some dungarees from Topshop in the sale and although they might have fit my pre pregnancy thighs I had no chance at 9 months pregnant! Having said that they were too short anyway. Ever since I've been obsessed with making my own!

McCalls M6885 - chambray shirt dress. Laura made one and I fell in love! I'm going to shamelessly copy her and make one in a dark chambray. 

Tilly Clemence skirt - I've wanted to make this skirt for YEARS and just never gotten round to it. Now I've got some Lark tees to go with it and my brand new Lotta From Stockholm red clogs (ALL the heart eyes) I might finally get around to it. I'm pretty sure my stash will cover this make too. 

McCalls M6696 - this dress has been doing the rounds around the blogosphere and the many variations I've seen have been gorgeous. I really want to make an anchor chambray version (in Robert Kaufman) which is already in my stash waiting for me to return to normal ish figure. I also fancy a polka dot chambray version. 

Cabbages and Roses skirt - I love this skirt and it's a simple design (at £200 in the sale I don't think so!) I don't have a pattern or the fabric but I'd love to make one one day. This is probably the most unlikely item to get made as I don't have any of "ingredients" and can't afford to add to the stash whilst on maternity leave. 

What are your re-sew-lutions?