Friday, 27 May 2016

Some new Evan skirts

Some new Evan skirts to show you. This is my sons name and when I told him earlier I had been working on my Evan skirts he laughed and thought it was terribly funny!

I have actually been refreshing the instructions for the Evan skirt pattern as they may have been lacking in illustrations for some of the steps. It was the pin tucked pocket trims on the skirt front that seemed to really fox people, so hopefully this area is a lot clearer. Of course once you start to look back at something you can't help but tinker in other ways (or at least I can't), so I reworded some bits and ended up re-doing all the illustrations. I have developed a more consistent way of working since that pattern and just could not help reformatting bits and bobs. Essentially it is all still the same, but a bit prettier! Nothing has changed on the actual pattern, but if you have previously purchased the pattern and want the updated instructions then contact me via etsy through your order receipt (should be stored on your account somewhere) and I'll send it to you.

These two new samples are totally instant favourites of mine. I have been wearing this red one all day and it is so light an airy. The fabric is very soft and I want to say it is silk? It has a look of linen, but is much softer like a silk noil without the slub. It was gifted to me, but silk tends to have a smell about it and this smells of that smell.

I still find taking photos for patterns a bit of a nightmare. These were taken in my living room and the light is so bad that they are pretty bad quality. I don't know how to get a better set up, but these are definitely an improvement on the ones that went before!

I am wearing the skirt with a Mexican top my mum bought me and it seems to work well with these heavily embroidered tops. I think a good stripe tee will be a good match also.

This next one is my dream denim skirt. I actually salvaged the denim from a pencil skirt I started making before Christmas and was starting to hate (it can be seen at the end of this post)! I regretted wasting my good denim on it so carefully unpicked it and together with the fabric I had leftover was able to cut this skirt. so happy!

I am on a printing frenzy over here and was planning on the black spots, but they looked like they would be a bit lost on the darker right side of the denim, so when the bright idea to print the wrong side instead struck I was pretty excited. The denim was pre-washed and has gone a little streaky from the blue dye, but it kind of adds to the effect. I love how this turned out so much!

The pockets were printed to match the spots on the skirt backs. I did this by laying the pockets in position and laying the stencil in line with the print on the skirt backs. I should probably mention the print was stencilled using screen printing ink and a sponge!

So that's my new skirts and it means I have new pics for my shop and new skirts for me! Yippee!

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Jeans making!

I have made jeans before. Of course I have, but I've never really enjoyed it! Apart from anything else I dreaded all the top stitching. My old machine was a bottom of the range Toyota that my parents for me whilst I was still at school about (cough, cough) 20 years ago! It has served me well and been a good companion throughout the years, but it was noisy, the needle had become misaligned and no longer central and it did not produce an even stitch. I had known for a while that it needed to be retired, but I was kind of scared. Scared of investing in something flashy only to discover that it's niggles were more annoying than the Toyota, or that actually no domestic would ever compare to the purr of an industrial so what would be the point? All this was forgotten the day I actually walked into a sewing machine shop with permission to buy a machine. I say permission, but what I mean is that I had finally given myself over to the idea of upgrading. All sounds very dramatic doesn't it? But I actually felt very emotionally attached to the machine my parents bought me, that has carried me through work, study and beyond! Now it sits on a shelf and I barely acknowledge it's existence, but I didn't know my heart could belong to another! Whatever, I bought a new Pfaff passport 2.0 is what I'm getting to and it has made sewing so infinitely more enjoyable I can't even tell you. It has bits that bother me like the way the bobbin is loaded (and the fact they are plastic). Other things I can't remember now, but what it does do is sew magnificently and it topstitches like a dream. It has 3 options for buttonholes, a built in walking foot (best thing ever) and is so so quiet. No machine is perfect, but I really love it and am certain that I made the very best choice for me.

So armed with a new machine I wanted to make some jeans. I bought and toiled the recent Morgan jeans pattern, but it was not quite right. The fit was great by the way and I opened up the back leg between the hem and the crotch by a couple of inches prior to toiling for my ample calves and it worked a treat! My issue was that I was suddenly in a position where I was over analysing what my perfect jeans were and these weren't quite it! I went back to the drawing board and combined and tweaked the Roberts leg with my trouser block for a new pattern to toile. The significant difference is the length of the crotch (low) and also the room in the seat. I don't want the back of my thighs to be hugged by jeans or the pockets to be tight up against my body. I was looking for something more easy to move around in and that looks a bit more slouchy. As an aside, the Morgan pattern seems fantastic. I didn't refer to the instructions, so can't comment, but it is a fantastic pattern!!!

This is a first toile in a really cheap denim. I have been wearing them for 3 days straight and they are great! Things to change in the fit and styling, but I shall happily wear these. I am looking forward to making a linen pair using an old vintage sheet that intend to garment dye and perhaps print?

I also really want to consider all the details. I am going for a minimal look in the topstitching and seam treatments. It is so much fun to think of these things when you know your machine will do it justice! Eww, that front waistband needs lowering, although they are mighty comfortable nice and high!

These look to be a kind of funky mum jean. I think once the waist band is lowered there will be slightly less of that about them, but I'm down with that if that's what they are!

No plans for a future jeans pattern release at this point in time by the way... ;-)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

new Bennett dress pattern

Well yes I have released another pattern so soon! I started working on this a while ago and really wanted to get it finished in time for the warm weather, holidays, weddings etc... Let's start with some pictures!
The bennet dress is essentially a pull on A-line shift dress with princess seams on the front to create a nicely fitted shape across the shoulders. Depending on which view you choose to make the silhouette can either show off your curves or be left loose and free flowing.

Both views have a centre front panel, which can be left plain or buttoned depending on your preference, but view A has additional waist ties sewn in with the panel to pull the shape in and tie around the back of the dress. View A is also a slightly longer length finishing below the knee. Something that is important to me, as I am not so keen on my knees!

The sample shown here is sewn in a glorious silk/cupro mix and has the perfect flowy drape to be gathered in. You want to stick to nice soft viscose, silks or maybe a cotton lawn so as to not add too much bulk around your middle.
 View B finishes a little shorter above the knee, but not too short (you can obviously adjust this to your preference). It needs to be at least above the knee if you are going to leave the shape loose for it to remain playful and fun. I have used a fairly stiff linen here (hand printed) and the shape can take it, but it obviously sticks out more, so if you prefer less structure stick to flowy fabrics!
So excited to get this out there and I hope you like it! As always, it is available to buy in my shop here.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Finshing things off!

I have experienced a burst of energy when it comes to attacking and finishing off fairly long standing unfinished objects this week! I put it down to the recent fashion revolution week and that we are currently in me made May. Anyway, what ever the reason it has done nothing but good things to my sewing space.

First up is this jumper/sweater thing!

This is part hand knit and part sewn. I started the jumper front before Christmas with the intention of knitting the whole jumper, but then lost interest. This is probably because I had no real plan and was kind of making it up as I went along. The bottom half (reverse colour work) is a castellation type motif/stripe which I felt was too ordinary and on a whim decided to reverse it so the loops are on the face side and the top half is a contrast pattern with the colour work on the face side. When I posted this on Instagram I definitely sensed some gasps of horror at the idea of reversing a distinctive pattern like that, but I really like the contrast in texture and how the colours work together on the loopy side.

I had started to knit the back (it was all knitted together and continued on from the shoulders), but didn't like where it was going and ripped back. In desperation to not knit any more of it I thought of adding this loop back sweater knit/French terry to make up the un-knitted portions. I cut the back and left it for about 5 months.

It took me so little time to put together last week that I could kick myself for not doing it sooner!

The neon flecked sweater knit was from the cloth house last year and the green ribbing was from Kitschy koo and the third of a metre I bought has served me well so far. It is such nice quality. I highly recommend it if your are looking for t-shirt neck bands in funky colours!

 The ribbing is on the bottom of the jumper back and I kind of like how it totally doesn't match the depth of the front ribbing. Also sneaky detail of the inside pattern!

Next up is this tote and knitting project bag made from some hand printed natural denim. It was an experiment on a scrap of fabric that I wanted to use somehow, but was finally inspired a couple of weeks ago. No pattern for either, but basically just rectangles wrangled into bags. The leather handles and screw in rivets were all from Merchant and Mills.

I just love these items and they were propelled straight into high rotation.

I only had enough of the screws to put one on the base of each strap which means they move around a lot so I stitched them either side with strong thread so they are fixed in position.

Last of all (well, I'm still finishing off 2 garments) is this dress which I was developing into a pattern mid last year. It wasn't doing much for me after a time working on it, but I finished sewing this version last week and am now inspired to get back to it. The overall verdict on Instagram was that it looked like scrubs, but I have seen it in a new light and there are areas that really work. Watch this space to see if this design can be de-scrubbed!

So that has been fun and really helped clear my head. Just need to sew the buttons on a silk crepe Maya dress and rebuild an early Roberts dress. Phew!!!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Reduced waste dress

Here is another incarnation of this dress. This one has many improvements in the construction that I was figuring out whilst making the first one. It's not markedly different, but there are nicer finishing's and a sturdier seams throughout.

The fabric I used is this dreamy linen from Merchant and Mills and was a birthday gift. I am not going to go on about it, but basically it's my favourite fabric of all time! I am firmly in the linen loving camp, but finding good quality linen with a good hand is not that easy. I am a big fan of vintage linens, which when well worn are so tactile and have a depth of texture that is uncommon in the cloth I see in local fabric shops. This however has that lovely drapey softness and squishy rustic texture that I crave.

I was initially going to make a shirt dress from a pattern I drafted years and years ago, but with this still fresh in my mind I decided to go for it! The fabric is a lot wider than my first zero waste dress at 150cm and I only ordered 2 metres, so the bit cut off the width was added to the bottom hem for the length. There is some left over from this piecing which I will turn into a soft linen cushion for our living room (zero waste achieved).

The fabric is quite a lot thicker than the quilting cotton I used for my first dress also, so the origami like sleeves didn't look great. I wrapped the bottom sleeve flap around the back instead and hand stitched it down.

I left the back pleat loose. I topstitched it down at around waist length for a closer fit on the top before.

 The collar has a much nicer finish with all raw edges caught in a seam and are then folded and hand stitched down.

Some reinforcement detail on the neck/shoulder junction. This has potential to be a real weak spot and susceptible to tearing, so I strengthened it with a bit of the fabric selvedge. I also used part of the strong selvedge to strengthen the underarm junction as I have already had to go back and fix this on the first dress.

A bottom split on the side seams for extra breeziness!

I really enjoyed making this and I know that this has been a good investment in fabric and also my time as it is an instant favourite! I love that feeling and hope to hold onto and carry it as inspiration for me-made May this year. I'm taking part on Instagram, but I'll probably not do daily photos. The biggest reason for that being that I'll mostly be wearing this! It is obvious to say that we should all be making investment pieces, but it's not always that easy to get it right. This one ticks all the right boxes though ;-)

sorry, I only took photos with my hands in pockets!
Am I done with this pattern? Not quite! I admit I bought some fabric yesterday. A blue sandwashed silk and a copper silk/cupro mix. I think I shall use the sandwashed silk to make another version truer to the first dress with the folded sleeves. I am going to a wedding next month and I think that this would be lovely with a sash belt and heels for a relaxed and swishy dress. I am thinking of developing a pattern for my shop using this design, but it will have to be an adapted version in some way as this is not quite suitable. I'm excited though.

Roll on me-made May and all the fun!