Thursday, 27 February 2014

Denim dress

As if there was not enough denim in my wardrobe already! Denim, denim, denim will I ever tire of you? It would seem not with the addition of this new denim number.

I bought myself 3 metres of denim the other week without any idea of what I may do with it, I just knew I couldn't live without it. The denim in question has now become a denim shirt dress, which by the way is the most perfect denim dress ever, as well as a pair of pleated bottom trousers which I don't really want to talk about right now.

Back to the dress! It just so happens that after the denim was purchased I received an e-newsletter from Uniqlo with a picture of the kind of thing I was thinking of. Very utilitarian, front button placket as well as being a loose fit. I dislike the length however, as I do not like to subject the outside world to my knees.

Having just recently completed the spot chambray shirt I knew that I was happy with the fit of this style, especially on my hips, so simply lengthened the front and back pattern pieces to make a dress. Other changes I made included excluding the collar completely, making a facing for the collar front and ending the button placket at the hip, which then continues into a pleat (similar to the Uniqlo version, but not very visible in these over exposed pictures). I kept the sleeves short and fitted, as I thought this would be easier to wear with cardigans. I have several long sleeved dresses now and they look untidy with another layer on top. I also omitted to add side pockets which, in hindsight, would have been far more practical.

New to me is the technique of adding poppers. This has always seemed like a scary concept, but oh how wrong I was! Apart from getting the first one off centre and having to continue as such for the rest, it was easy peasy. I am now so button averse, that I'm wandering where I can get a lifetimes supply of poppers.

I took a tip from Handmade Jane and ordered me some Gutterman denim thread, which blends perfectly for the topstiching.

I have worn this loads already and as you can see from the pictures the denim has softened and the colour has remained nice and even (£4.99 from fabric land).

And how's this for some denim inspiration? This is an image of the last imperial Japanese soldier to come out of hiding in the Philipines 29 years, that's right, 29 years after WWII had ended!!! His uniform is a glorious mix of faded blues.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Back to basics

Here are a couple of makes that I've completed recently from my beloved Japanese pattern books. I just want loads of good basics at the moment. A wardrobe of fancy dresses is use to me at the moment!

This first one is a short sleeve boxy shirt (Style S from 'Stylish Dress Book: Clothing for Everyday Wear'). I was so excited to finish this garment as I really took my time with the details. I french seamed the inside, finished the yoke with top stitching and took care to make neat machined button holes. Sometimes I don't have much patience for buttonholes and use thread that's too thick, or make them slightly too small, but for this shirt I made them perfectly. 

One of the driving forces in my need for perfection was the fabric. It is a spot print chambray from John Lewis. I am in love with all things denim/chambray at the moment, so payed more than I would normally like on this £8 per metre fabric (to me that is REALLY expensive). It's hard to tell in these pictures, but the buttons are silver metal shirt buttons, which make this similar in finish to a denim shirt I have from Gap.

I love this shirt! I made the medium and it fits almost perfectly. I have already worn it once and promptly became a target for baby vomit. This seems to happen a lot lately, but I can't be too sad about that. I can see myself wearing this until it falls apart, so already have another couple lined up. Next up will be white and blue toile print cotton lawn and black sheer with stars.

This next garment is a boxy dress (Style D from 'Stylish dress book - simple smocks dresses and tops'). I have had an unhealthy hankering for a simple striped dress that seems almost impossible to fulfil. Until now...

Back to John Lewis and the expensive fabric! This was also about £8 per metre I think and is a viscose stripe. It's not a clean stripe weave, it's a slightly wavy print, almost hand drawn looking. This is slightly different to what I was envisaging, but I love how it looks made up. Unlike the shirt above I didn't french seam, I stitched and overlocked, which is neat enough, but with the little sleeves rolled up looks slightly messy on the inside seam.

I added a button placket to the plain front for easy breast feeding access (something to consider with all my clothes these days) and stitched the rolled sleeves in place. I also bound the neck and hem with self made bias, as I think that this is easier and I also thought the length would be getting too short with a turned hem.

Watch out the stripes may make your eyes go funny...

I'll definitely make this again and soon. I'll probably ditch the sleeves altogether next time.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Hemlock T-shirt

I have made myself a t-shirt! 

I have been thinking about it for a while, as I am partial to a stripe t-shirt, but finally decided to take the plunge with this easy free pattern for the 'Hemlock' t-shirt from Grainline studio. I chose this pattern as the fit is nice and loose, but I think I may make the arms taper to a narrower end if I make it again, as I would prefer the sleeve to be tighter. This is a really good pattern though (let's not forget it's free!) and very wearable. Providing I can find more stripy jersey I will be making many more!

My version does not differ greatly from Jen of the Grainline's version as I have also opted for red and white stripes. It was more lack of choice than preference, as there does not seem to be an abundance of striped jerseys in my local fabric shop.

I tried an overlocked flat lock hem for the first time, so the entire top was sewn on my over locking machine. I got the idea from 'what Katie sews', who used this technique on her plantain top. The finish is a bit wonky, but some more practice will make perfect!

As I said before, I made my own t-shirt! Very excited!

Monday, 24 February 2014

My vintage sewing pledge

I have decided to join in and set my very own 'vintage sewing pledge' as per the challenge put forward by Marie of 'a stitching odyssey'. I self draft alot of my own patterns (although not so much since discovering Japanese sewing books) which is slightly ridiculous given the patterns I already own. Most of my bought patterns are actually vintage, as the fact is that they are so much cheaper! This does mean that I have to buy when I see and can never really have anything specific in mind, but I am happier this way. I feel that 3 patterns may be acheivable this year. It doesn't sound like alot, but given the mental list of future makes that is already building up in my mind I do not have the luxury of time with 2 small children to complete much more than I have already set myself.

I'm thinking of attempting one of the below dresses, as I have a nice thick orange jersey that would be perfect for either styles.

I really love the below outfits, but am not sure how they will sit in my current wardrobe, so they are just maybe's at the mo. A pussybow shift is a possiblilty though.

Both of these cullotte styles are perfect, i just need to pick one!

Although very 80's, there is definitely a pretty flapper intrepretation lurking in this pattern somewhere, or maybe a nautical sailor number.

These are the oldest from my selection, but would take some re-grading and time to make them work for me.

So this is where i'm at so far with my pledge, I just need to decide which one to start with...

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Drawing eyes shut!

Well after a long time of not writing (mainly due to new baby commitments) I am returning to it with a vengance.

I will shortly be posting an update of all of the clothes I have been sewing since the new year as well as regular updates of a new art project I am undertaking alongside my lovely knitting pal Ella (check out her blog as she is a really talented lady).

We are both going to produce some form of art each week that centres around a theme set by either Ella or myself. This weeks theme was eyes closed and we have food for next week with a Friday deadline each time. The whole idea really excites me as I love to have a reason for putting pen to paper!

Well, here goes with my first attempt at following a theme. I must admit that I am slightly cringing at the thought of sharing this picture as I'm not overly happy with it. It is a sketch of my daughter sleeping which I have drawn onto a fabric sample and stamped with orange spots. I like the idea of the drawing on a fabric like this, but it's just the execution that has let it down. The drawing's not the best, but I think it can be improved by being emroidered over (maybe)...

The whole point of this excercise is to experiment and be creative, so I feel I have acheived that at least. Lets hope that I improve as the weeks go by!