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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Latecomer to the coco party!

Well it took me some time but I finally got ’round to buying the Tilly Buttons coco pattern! I opted for the .pdf download as it was half the price of the hard copy + delivery and was pleased at the ease of the download. No messin’, just click on the link as ‘Save as’. Joy.

There were 31 pages to piece together which I can’t say was the most fun experience ever but hey, I was on my way to making a coco. I have seen SO many cocos via twitter and I’m in love with the funnel neck version. I was thinking funnel neck, 3/4 sleeves and a little (mini-haribo sized) pocket on the right hand side? The possibilities really were endless…

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The fabric was already purchased thanks to the legend that is 'the man outside Sainsbury's' in Walthamstow market. If you have never been there before, go now. Literally, stop whatever you are doing, down tools and go. The stall is epic. He has all types of fabrics – jerseys, linens, dress fabrics, denims, velvets, silks, the list goes on, and what makes it even better is that it's all reasonably priced. So there's my big-up to 'the man outside Sainsbury's'! FYI I went with some plain black pointe roma fabric which has a tiny bit of stretch to it and I picked up these lovely buttons from one of the shops further up the market.

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The coco really was a quick make, a couple of hours and it was all done. Faithfully following the brilliant instructions on the blog I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was to get to the finish line. I cut a size 1 at the bust and graded to a 3 at the waist because I wanted a snug fit and that’s certainly what I have. I love it! I think the 3 buttons I added really stand out on the black fabric – I added them because I thought that the plain fabric would be, well just too plain, if you know what I mean. And I added a little dinky pocket too – it was the ‘small’ pocket pattern piece and it really is tiny! Now I’ll have to find some miniature things to put in it!

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I’m already thinking about my next coco. I have lots of the black fabric left as I bought 2 metres so I’ll definitely use that for my next coco but I do want to go up a size at the bust next time. I might also add cuffs to the next version and add a bigger pocket, apart from that that who knows! There really is so much that can be done with this pattern. One thing I do know is that this is definitely another wardrobe staple for me. Here’s to many more!

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Stretching my patience with jerseys!

Aaah sewing with jerseys, what can I say! I started last weekend and to be honest it was a total disaster. Having done my research I was set to go with New Look 6140, my twin stretch needle and walking foot, all enthusiastic and a little apprehensive to be honest, but just eager to get on and give it a go. Well, my troubles started with pinning and cutting the fabric, it wouldn’t stay still! But that was nothing compared to actually sewing the stuff. I started with a scrap of fabric, just to see how it sewed together and luckily I did because it didn’t go well at all. I kept getting skipped stitches with the twin needle, strangely only on the left side, which couldn’t be sorted with any amount of tension or stitch length adjustment (which I tried and tried again!). After a lot of back and forth with more scraps of fabric and machine adjustments I threw in the towel eagerly awaited the Breton Tee sewing class at the Thrifty Stitcher studio which I had booked a couple of weeks back.

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So that brings me to today, home from the class this afternoon and very happy with my lovely stretchy Breton tee (and it smells fab too!). Admittedly I found sewing with jersey today again a little stressful. Not because of skipped stitches but because the fabric just moves so much as it goes through the machine. I realised that I actually like the precision of sewing and when it goes awry it not a happy lady! However, one saving grace about it all is that jerseys are quite forgiving of uneven stitching and once it’s all sewn up you can’t really tell anyway. I also found that that sewing with jerseys is brilliant because you don’t need to iron your fabric all of the time and it doesn’t fray! So I think I will be able to run up a couple more of these Breton tees in no time (fingers crossed). I also got some great advice about needle choice from the lovely Melissa, our teacher today. After explaining last weeks jersey sewing woes she suggested an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it approach’ to choosing the best needle, basically go with whatever works even if that’s not necessarily the needle made for the job. When I got home I tried about 6 or 7 different needles with my jersey fabric (stretch, universal, 75, 80, 90…) and finally one worked! No idea what needle it is, I’m too scared to take it out until I finish my top! Who cares that it’s not the needle that I bought specifically for this job, if it works it works! Now off to finish that New Look 6130 and master the art of sewing with jersey fabric. Any tips for sewing with jersey?

Breton Tee

Breton Tee

 

 

I saw, I sewed and it’s way too big.

I saw, I sewed and it’s way too big.

I fancied making a top last weekend and I’ve had this pattern in my stash for a while now (See & Sew B5770) as I bought it in Florida last year. I also thought this was a good match for … Continue reading

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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Paris top – Simplicity 0275

I was looking for a pattern for a top that I could wear with my peplum skirt and came across this one, it’s the Simplicity 0275 and is part of a pattern pack that includes a draped front dress and skirt. I bought this pattern last year when I was in America and haven’t used it yet, the plan was to make a dress for wedding I was going to but I never got round to making it!
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I thought this top would look nice with the peplum skirt because it’s a simple shape and I could wear it tucked it like the picture on the front of the pattern envelope. So I got going and I had to adjust the pattern as I am a size 8 at the bust but a size 14 that the waist. It was a really easy to sew to so as there were only two pattern pieces (well there were three really but I decided to use ready made binding instead of making my own). Instead of following instructions to the letter I sewed with French seams and also bound the armholes instead of creating a narrow hem. I think I’m getting really fussy with my sewing these days, I can’t stand the exposed zig-zag edges that you get inside of a garment they make me go crazy! I think I need to invest in an overlocker and that won’t happen until I move house and have more space! Until then I will have to make do with sewing French seams as I think it looks a lot tidier on the inside.

I just tried this top on with the peplum skirt and I’m not even sure if I like this top/skirt combo, I think I may need something more fitted with that particular skirt. Either way I love this top, I fell in love with the fabric as soon as I saw it and I know I will wear it loads (even if not with the peplum skirt)! Furthermore, at £7 a metre and enough fabric left over to make another top I’d say that this was an absolute bargain ☺️

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