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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McCalls 3341 #3…

One of my favourite skirt patterns so far, this time I added in seam pockets following this tutorial from A Common Thread.

The fabric was gifted to me from my lovely friend Pamela and I have about 5 metres of it left! I’m thinking of an Elisalex dress in this fabric but I have to get ’round to making the muslin first. Anyway, here are some pics of the work in progress…

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When finished…

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And in the garden just for fun…

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Gotta love a sewing challenge…

I feel as though I have been sewing a lot recently having made about 3 or 4 garments in as many weeks. Despite this I like the idea of a challenge and have signed up for a few!

My first pledge was to take part in Me-Made-May 14, a brilliant sewing challenge, the brainchild of ‘So, Zo… what do you know ’ blogger Zoe. I initially came across this last year after reading Sinbad and Sailor’s weekly blog posts about it and knew from then that I wanted to get involved. Unfortunately I was quite ill at the time and hardly doing any sewing so I didn’t have much to wear and I was also pretty much living in pyjamas because I was at home most of the time! This time around I must say I’m quite looking forward to #MMM14 and seeing how other participants choose to ‘pledge their allegiance’ to MMM. I’ve gone in and set myself up for wearing 1 handmade item each day which is going to prove a little difficult as I don’t have that many handmade clothes, so there will probably be quite a few repeats but hey, it’s not against the rules so I’ll just go with the flow. Not sure I’m going to blog about it though. A daily post seems a bit much to me so maybe a weekly round-up of my wears, I’ll give it some thought, let me know though if you have any ideas…

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I have also joined the Monthly Stitch Collective, who set monthly sewing challenges of all sorts from sewing a vintage pattern to sewing capes. This month’s challenge is sewing double – sewing a second version of a pattern that you have used before. I have the perfect pattern in mind, my beloved McCalls 3341. I wore my pocketed version on Tuesday and loved it – I have a thing for skirts with pockets you know! I was thinking of making a summer maxi version although I’m not sure how a long version of this will look – I fear that it may not be a ‘swishy’ as I would like. Failing that another short one would be a welcome addition to my wardrobe, and it would also allow to me kill two birds with one stone, (metaphorically speaking!) as the current Sewcialist challenge is #PinkApril, you guessed it right – sew anything pink this month :o) I have some bright pink cotton drill which would be nice for this skirt (and has been in my stash for ages) or I could get creative and somehow combine the pink with my left over black cotton drill, and with pockets of course!

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As if that isn’t enough, I have also pledged to give vintage sewing a go with A Stitching Odyssey’s #VintagePledge . I actually bought my first vintage pattern this week, a Maudella 5987 skirt which I love the look of, I just need to find that right fabric (a good excuse for more fabric shopping). Are you taking part in any sewing challenges? If you are, let me know how you get on ♥

 

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My first vintage sewing pattern!

 

My first vintage sewing pattern – Maudella 5987

My first vintage sewing pattern – Maudella 5987

Can’t wait to get sewing with my first vintage sewing pattern…

Fabric shopping + Walthamstow market = Joy!

I LOVE shopping for fabric! I think it’s one of the best things about sewing my own clothes, being able to choose the material and the pattern to make my dress/skirt/whatever just the way I like it. There’s so much to choose from aswell! Natural fibres are my favourite and I was tempted by some nice linen today but ended up going with cool cotton flowery, leafy, not-really-sure-what-it-is print from ‘the man outside Sainsburys’. The plan was to make a wearable muslin of New Look 6180 although I like this fabric so much I think it’s too nice to be classed as my muslin. Might have to make a muslin of the muslin!
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The Textile Centre also had some lovely fabrics. I usually pop by their stall in Watney market when I’m in the area and they always have something I like. This striking red, blue and white striped pattern immediately caught my eye and at £2.75 a meter I took 2! I have a skirt in mind for this and might even get round to sewing it up this week, if I have the time. I also picked up this ivory lacy fabric. Who knows what I’ll make with it, but I think I think it’s a nice addition to my stash. So where do you go shopping for fabrics? Are there any great other East London fabric shops/markets I should know about?

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The GBSB: sew your own wardrobe book

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I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book and I must say I’m impressed. I have the first sewing bee book which I think is really good but I think this one has got an improved format and more projects that I would actually make. The book is split into three main sections (fabric, fit and finish) and within each section there are projects which highlight each of these aspects of sewing. What’s even better is that after each project there is a mini masterclass showcasing various techniques such as inserting a zip or sewing buttonholes. There is also an upcycling project and a patternless project for the free-handers out there (Chinelo is a genius!).

I already have my eye on a few projects from this book, one of my favourites is the bowling shirt. I like the casual shape and the flat collar and especially the way they have used contrasting fabrics in the picture. I think when I make this I’ll also use a different colour fabric for the collar and cuff. Although it has darts in the front and the back is quite a loose fit so it will be perfect for casual summer days.

The draped top looks absolutely gorgeous. I love the gathers at the neckline and the low back. It’s a fantastic shape and as it’s one of the makes for beginner sewers it looks super easy to sew. There are only three pattern pieces and it’s a one size fits all garment. I have the pattern printed, ready to
go, I just need some fabric!

Last but not least is the yoke skirt. I have been looking for another skirt pattern for while and I saw something similar to this a while ago while surfing the net. I think the shape is gorgeous and because the main skirt pieces are cut on the bias the fabric drapes beautifully.

So I think those are my top three patterns from the book, I’m sure once I get started I’ll make many of the others. So have you got the new GBSB book, what’s your favourite pattern?

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Birthday strawberries!

For my niece’s birthday I decided to make her a gathered skirt and I was fortunate enough to come across some lovely fabric in Rolls and Rems last week. It is a smooth, soft, cotton with a beautiful strawberry print that I’m sure she will love. This type of skirt is super-quick to make and there are loads of tutorials online – there’s even instructions for an adult version of a gathered skirt in the new Great British sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe book (which arrived on Tuesday, thanks to The Book People!

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I started off by sewing the back seam and making the waistband casing before hemming the bottom and then inserting the elastic. I also added some ric-rac to the bottom which I think looks lovely. I followed the instructions in this tutorial which I think are really clear and simple.

I did make a little mistake though, after I had sewed it all together I realised that I hadn’t pattern-matched the seam! Apart from that little blunder I’m pretty pleased with the outcome – so easy and quick that I’ll be making another on Friday – a girl can never have enough skirts! (and this time I will remember to match the pattern ♥).

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