Ease-y, breezy, New Look 6030 skirt

I was in desperate need of a really casual skirt so I had a look through my pattern stash and found the New Look 6030 pattern which fitted the bill perfectly. I ordered some denim on eBay but had half a metre of some leftover denim in my fabric stash so attempted to make a toile of view D of this skirt (without the tie belt or pockets as there wasn’t enough fabric for all of the pieces).

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I’m have a 29″ waist and 35″ hips so going by the pattern sizing on the envelope I should have cut a 14/16 at the waist grading to a 10 at the hip but I cut a straight size 10 as from measuring the pattern pieces there seemed to be a lot of ease at the waist. After basting the front and back pieces together and trying it on for fit the skirt was huge! So I took in 1.5″ at each side seam and it fitted a lot better. Hurrah! Until I got to the the part where the yoke was to be added and then I realised I had made a mistake. Silly me measured the front and back pattern pieces instead of the yoke ones (which sit on the waist) and also hadn’t added the yoke before I tried on the basted together skirt pieces. So what I thought was the waist of my skirt wasn’t. Argh.

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I continued anyway as I thought it would be good to complete this as a practice for my next version with my new fabric when it arrives. I really like the pattern and it was easy and fairly quick to make and perfect for what I need in my wardrobe. I also I think it will look even better with the pockets and waist tie belt.

So what about the sizing? Well it fits, just. The finished waist is 28″ so is a little tight. I could wear it but I think it would get uncomfortable after a short while!

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Luckily my denim arrived really quickly so I could get going with skirt no.2 and this time I sewed a straight size 12. It came up a little big again so I took in the back seam by about 1.5″. I added the pockets and made the tie belt which I really like and also did some extra topstitching around the yoke/skirt seams to hold the seam allowances down. All in all I really like this, it is just what I was looking for. Next time though i’ll sew a size 10 which should be the perfect fit.

I wore this skirt while out with the Mr on Saturday and it was SO comfortable! I think I can wear this in so many combinations with different tops and shoes that this will get a lot of wear I’m sure. If I make another it will probably be in a different coloured denim, maybe black or a patterned denim, because I do like the versatility of a denim skirt, everyone needs one!

So here’s the finished pic of my new skirt…

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Simplicity 1363 top

I have been wanting to add a few new tops to my me-made wardrobe and this is one of the patterns that I ordered recently as I was looking for a loose-fitting drapey top.

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I made this up in an afternoon in this viscose print that I bought a couple of weeks beforehand. This was my first attempt at sewing with viscose – it’s was a little tricky as it had a tendency to move around a bit but I really do like the drape of the fabric so a little trouble is worth it in my mind.

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Although described as ‘easy-to-sew’ on the pattern envelope it wasn’t all plain sailing for me. I found attaching the neck band to the front and back pieces a bit difficult as well as making the button loops, which I gave up on and used bias binding instead. The instructions say to make a narrow tube of fabric and then turn it inside out but I found that it’s just too narrow to turn in on itself, so out came the binding. I also got a bit over zealous when clipping the seams and cut right through the stitching! I managed to save it though by covering the snip with interfacing on the wrong sides of the fabric.

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I found this little buttons in Rolls and Rems (Lewisham) which I think are quite nice…

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I cut a straight size 4 and the fit is good. The thing I like most about this pattern is the dipped hem and that the seaming allows for mixing colours and patterns. As I’ve used only 1 fabric here you can’t really see the seam detail but the next time I make this I’ll definitely mix maybe a patterned back and front with plain side panels. I think it could even be hacked into a nice summer dress!

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It looks a bit straight up and down on the hanger so I had to go outside…

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Cx

Posted in Top

Fit is not a destination, it’s a way of life… Elisalex dress no.2

I mentioned this dress briefly in my Selfish Sewing Week post but didn’t want to go into too much detail as that was already a long-enough post! I’ve adored this pattern for AGES and treated myself to it for my birthday this year when I made a wax print version for my big night out to the theatre. I did make a toile then but there were still a couple of fit issues; the shoulder seams needed taking in a bit, and the waistline needed to be raised (the waistline has a tendency to rise up constantly, I think that’s because I am shorter than the model that the pattern is designed to fit). Despite these flaws I still love that version of the dress but felt the need to make more adjustments for Elisalex No.2.

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The fabric I used this time is a cotton sateen print from the legendary ‘man outside Sainsbury’s’ in Walthamstow market. It’s a medium weight fabric with a bit of stretch to it and it’s really soft, almost like a brushed cotton, so it’s perfect for the cooler weather.

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Bodice
After cutting out the pattern pieces I pinched out the excess fabric and pinned, which was a bit tricky as I had no helper! But I think it went okay. After 3 or 4 ‘fittings’ I was finally able to transfer all the alterations to the paper pattern pieces ready to go for next time.

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These are the alterations that I made to the bodice:

* I took in the bust seams by 3/4″ at the top tapering down to 3 1/4″ above bodice bottom edge

* I took in the side seams from the underarm tapering down to 7/8″

* I took in the shoulder seams by 1/2″

* I took in the centre back seam by 1/2″ from the top tapering down to 5 1/2 ” above bodice bottom edge

* Once all this was done I then shortened all the bodice pieces by 1 5/8″

* I also lowered the armscyes by 1 3/4″as after I altered the shoulder and side seams they were too small. Lesson learned!

Skirt
The only alteration I made to the skirt was to shorten it by 4″ (I had already shortened the skirt pattern pieces by a fair amount the first time around).

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I didn’t rely on the pattern symbols when it came to assembling the pleats as I didn’t think they would match up with the princess seams since I had shortened the bodice. I just assembled them so they all lined up nicely. You can just about see the pleats and princess seams here, the busy pattern does kinda hide them though…

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Other pattern alterations
I inserted an invisible zip in the left hand side seam instead of at centre back. My first Elisalex has a back zip as per the instructions but I do find it awkward to zip up and now that this dress is complete I really do prefer the side zip. It’s also actually invisible unlike some of my previous attempts! I realised that to get a zip in as invisibly as possible it’s good to hold down the zip teeth as they go through the zipper foot. Like this…

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This time around I omitted the lining and bound the neckline and armscyes with this orange bias binding that I found in my stash. I quite like using a contrasting binding as I think it’s just a bit more fun. It’s like a secret that only I (and now you) know about ;o)

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Finished dress

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I love it! This is one of my favourite patterns and I can’t wait to make my next one. I think I just need to add an extra 1/2″ to the bodice (I took a little too much off this time of I’m honest). I really like this plain black version made by Bec Stitches, it looks so classic! I think Elisalex no.3 will be an all black version too, French seamed throughout and lined for a neat finish.

For now though, I’ll have fun twirling about in this one.

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Red shoes! Love, love, love…

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Cx

My favourite outdoor activity is going back inside where it’s warm.

I knitted this scarf ages ago and it’s just been sitting in a drawer waiting for me to blog about it. In fact, I knitted this before I even had a blog! It’s for my hubby and I hope it will keep him warm and toasty when it gets cold ❤️.

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This was my first attempt at a cable knit which wasn’t that hard once I got used to having an extra needle to contend with. I used a pattern that I found online at Keep on Knitting and it took a while but I think it was worth it as I definitely like the finished product.

The knitting project that I’m working on now is a knitted headband to keep my ears warm in winter! I started ages ago but the forgot about it so at the moment I’m working to get it finished. Here is what I’ve done so far.

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I hope it finished by the time it gets really cold!

Cx

What a wonder, it’s Coco no.3!

I’ve got a feeling I’m going to make a lot of these. And to be fair, why not? It seems like everybody in the sewing blogo/twittersphere is in love with the Coco pattern and I’m no exception. I’m on to my third and I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last, primarily because I still have some pink ponte knit earmarked for a Coco which I bought back in May at the NYLon2014 meet-up! (The weather had just turned really warm when I bought the fabric so I thought I would save it until it gets a bit cooler).

Before I start, let’s talk needles. So there I was, wondering around a well-known, department store haberdashery, looking at all the lovely, overpriced stuff, when I had the bright idea of buying a stretch needle specifically for this project. £4.50 and a journey home later, I’m sitting down at my machine comparing my brand-spanking new needle with the Universal needle that I just unscrewed. Erm, I swear they look the same… And I looked pretty closely. Here, have a look yourself…

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Granted, the needle did a good job but so did the needle I used last time which was a Universal. So the moral of the story is… If it ain’t broke don’t fix it (and save yourself some cash along the way)!!!

I’m not sure there much to say about the make itself. It’s all pretty much the same as before, fairly quick to sew, used a zigzag stitch, walking foot etc etc etc, you know the drill. The only exception is that this time I remembered to not sew right down to the bottom hem, leaving space for the side splits.

The real JOY of making this though was down to a little packet of something called wonder tape, who knew how special this was! I used it (for the first time ever) to secure the turned under neck hem instead of pins. OMG why didn’t someone tell me about this stuff! It held the fabric much more secure than pins and it was SOOOOO much easier to get it all to lie flat. Ive got one little pucker in the neckline which I can live with but it was still much easier than pinning and hopefully next time with a bit more patience I’ll get it perfect. So please go out and buy some, if you haven’t used it already it will change your life!

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This top has a slightly looser fit than my last coco despite using the same pattern pieces, that’s due to the fabric being a little lighter-weight and stretchier than the fabric I used before. By the way, this time I was working with a lovely, soft, cotton jersey that I bought from a little shop in Bath when I was there for my wedding anniversary with hubby in August. I think this top is perfect for the next couple of months though while we’re in between the really hot days and freezing cold ones.

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(Not the best pic, I know, but it was so hard to get the right light against the whiteness of the top 😕)

I’m definitely looking forward to my next Coco especially now that I’ve discovered wonder tape – have you got any fab tools in your sewing box? Please share!

Cx

McCalls 3341 skirt no.4

Today started off as a bad sewing day. I started to make a pleated skirt this morning but halfway through gave up as the fabric really wasn’t what I wanted it to be. It was too lightweight to achieve the structured look that I wanted to so I gave up, deflated.

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However, this afternoon I made a comeback with my trusted skirt pattern McCalls 3341 of which this is my 4th one (talk about value for money)! This fabric is sort of a twill/drill and comes all the way from Florida when I went there on holiday last year. At last, I’ve got around to using it and now I’m happy :o)

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Cx