Sorry I can’t go out this week I’m too busy sewing… #selfishsewingweek

Did you know that this week is selfish sewing week? Hosted in part by Imagine Gnats who says that it’s all about celebrating ourselves so I’m just going to jump in head first and celebrate with some of my recent fabric buys – Yes, I’ve bought more, I can’t help it I’m addicted! Thanks to Watney market I bought some polka dot cotton for some PJs, a really soft, patterned viscose destined to become a top and some beautiful red velvet which I’m still deciding what to make with…

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To be fair it’s always selfish sewing week for me because I RARELY sew for anyone but myself – I find it so stressful because I want to achieve perfection if I’m making a garment for someone else, something that usually never happens.

Well I had quite a few things in the pipeline for my autumn/winter wardrobe (which I spoke about in my post here) so I started off early by spending last Thursday evening and Friday dedicated to cutting patterns and fabric. I find that when I want to make something it takes ages to get into the sewing because of tracing or printing the pattern and cutting out the fabric so I wanted to get that out of the way all at once. Then I could just sew!

On Thursday evening I cut out the fabric for a Deer and Doe Plantain tee and a Tilly Buttons Coco. I really like Quirky Peach Sally’s tunic version of the Plantain tee and might go for that hack for my next version if I like the fit of this one. And the Coco, what can I say? It’s a wardrobe staple for me now as this is my 4th one. I love the fit, the shape and that funnel collar. I bought the ponte roma fabric way back at the NYLon2014 meet up back in May, hosted by the lovely Rachel from House of Pinheiro. We went to Goldhawk road and there was so much fabric to choose from, luckily Lindsey was on hand to help me decide!

Friday was a mega cutting day with Simplicity 1317, a By Hand London Flora Skirt (totally inspired by Heather Lou from Closet Case Files’ version) an Elisalex Dress and last but not least a Colette Sorbetto top. I cut the pattern for the Simplicity pyjama shorts but I didn’t have enough fabric – aaargh!

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So how did I get on with all that sewing?

*Coco top – Love, love, love.

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*Plantain tee – I like this pattern but I think the neckline may be a little to wide for me so I’ll probably take it in a little next time. Just like the Coco this top was really easy to make, in fact the process is pretty much the same.

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*Colette Sorbetto – made with a facing instead of bias binding the neck and armholes. Also inserted a back invisible zip and French seamed the shoulder and side seams.

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*Simplicity 1317 – You win some, you lose some. This was a loss. The top was really easy to make except for attaching the neck binding. I know that the neck binding piece should be slightly smaller than the neckline but I think it’s just too small. It was really hard to get it to stretch enough to fit and as a result I have puckers all the way around the neck. Because of this I knew I wouldn’t be wearing this out and about so I didn’t even trim down the seam allowance around the neck – I’ll probably just wear this to bed and around the house! This is a size xxs but next time I make this pattern I’ll cut the neck binding in size xs and see how that fits. I also think I’ll make the 3/4 sleeve version.

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*BHL Flora skirt – made with a side zip instead of at centre back and following instructions for attaching a waistband from the BHL website. Also underlined in a black anti-static polyester lining.

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And last but not least, my absolute favourite…

*BHL Elisalex dress – made with a side zip and bias bound neckline and armsyces.

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Wow. It’s been an epic sewing week and I’ve loved every minute of it. 6 garments in 6 days and I don’t even feel like I need a break from sewing yet. Bring on selfish sewing week 2015!

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Happy birthday to me in my Elisalex!

I’d had my eye on the By Hand London Elisalex dress pattern for over a year but never really felt that I has the skills to create a dress from a pattern. I’d used patterns to make tops and skirts before but dresses just seemed that little bit more complex – linings, joining bodice to skirt and fitting, OMG fitting, that’s for the experts! I bought this pattern to make myself a dress for my birthday – I had asked my husband to get us theatre tickets and I wanted to go handmade for the occasion. I thought this dress would fit the bill nicely ♥

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 It wasn’t as difficult as I initially expected (thank goodness). I made a toile and needed to take the centre back seams in a little. I think this pattern (and patterns in general) are designed with quite tall people in mind because I also had to take about 12 inches off of the hemline!

I had to spend a fair amount of time playing with the pleat notches on the pattern because initially they didn’t match up, although I’m no expert so it may have been down to pattern-user error rather than problems with the pattern itself (anyone else have this problem?). Thankfully, in the end it all worked out!

I learned quite a bit during the process of making this dress, firstly this is the first time that I’ve ever lined anything – the bodice is lined in a soft red cotton and I really like the way it makes the garment look and feel (albeit from the inside).

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Secondly, I learned that I need to be more accurate with my sewing – the back waist seams either side of the zip are slightly out of line. Boo. Fixing it would have meant unpicking half of the dress so I’ll just have to live with it!

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And lastly, the next time I use fabric with a big pattern I’ll cut the skirt pieces (the biggest pieces) first and then cut the bodice pieces because they’re smaller and therefore it’s easier to match the pattern. I would have liked to at least match the skirt front with the bodice front but I couldn’t fit the pattern piece onto the fabric in a way that matched the pattern. To be honest I was a bit worried about that but I actually love the finished result, who cares about pattern matching!!!

So I think that’s all to say for now, apart from confessing that I put in a regular zip instead of a invisible one – the result of a combination of not actually buying an invisible zip and being scared of sewing one in, surely it can’t be that hard?

So, time for the reveal!…

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And just in case you were wondering what we saw at the Theatre, we saw ‘Wicked’ after a lovely meal at a South African restaurant. Lovely, lovely, just lovely :o)

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My first swish

Today I went to my first swishing event and cant wait to go again. In a small pub on a quiet street just a stone’s throw from Spitalfields market, Mrs Bears organised a fab afternoon of clothes swapping delight. As I waited in line to hand over my unwanted items and receive my tickets I was unsure of what I may find but I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised. The rails were well stocked and I came out with 2 beautiful dresses. All for the princely sum of a £7 entry fee and some items of clothing that I no longer wore. Result! Note to self: next time I have clothes gathering dust in my drawers go swish! Just so you believe me, here is a pic of one of my dresses. It’s a full length gown so I couldn’t get in all in the pic…

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