Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Crazy Cat Lady Dress

Good Afternoon! I hope you had a wonderful Easter. I know I did. I got to finish off a dress, start a new one and I got to see family too. How wonderful is that?

I've been trying to post this for a few days now, but unfortunately, the Blogger app on my phone no longer works. I've tried uninstalling and re-installing, I've soft reset my phone and it still wants to pop up with errors about the app stopping so I've given up. I didn't really use it for actually posting actual content anyway, that would be crazy as these new fangle touch screen jobbies aren't very nice to use to type lots of words out on. What I did use it for was a quick way to upload the photos to my blog, prior to adding the words. I suppose it was kinda a lazy thing to do anyway. So here's to a renewed relationship with Flickr!

So, I finished my Crazy Cat Lady dress just in time to wear for our dinner party with Barry's Brother, partner and ickle baby on Sunday. I certainly did feel like a domestic goddess with my hand made dress and the dinner that I cooked up from the Hairy Biker's diet cookbook. (I made their beef in red wine and I thought it was rather delish!)

I do have a little bit of a confession to make.... I am a big fat copy cat! Yup, I saw a dress that Sarah from a million dresses had made and I just had to have one of my own! Sarah's Christine Haynes version can be found here.

This is another Elisalex from By Hand London. I just love the low back, I feel so classy wearing it!


I used Andover fabric from their Catnap collection by Lizzy House. I think it's possibly one of my favourite fabrics. For quilting cotton it's surprisingly soft and I just can't resist anything to do with cats!

I am giving my cat these treats, I swear it - I'm not that much of a crazy cat lady! I love how the treat packet almost co-ordinates with my dress though...

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The First Lady Peplum

So I mentioned yesterday that I had another Peplum on the way, not wanting to disappoint, I made sure that I wore it today so I could get a few snaps before I left for work.

After the Great British Sewing Bee finished last week, I thought it was about time that I made myself an African Wax print Peplum, I was so inspired by Chinelo Bally's Peplums that I just had to have one! I was absolutely gutted that she didn't win, but Heather really pulled it out of the bag with her final dress.

So, first things first I had to go and find some African Wax print material. This was a little tricky. I wanted some similar to the one she used above. But everything that I could find had massive prints, that I could only really use in a dress or long skirt. I ended up with this bright bright pink fabric from eBay.

It's a little out of my comfort zone to use such a bright colour. I wasn't even sure I could wear it let alone pull it off. But I thought go on, let's just give it a bash and see what I end up with!
I used my favourite Peplum pattern, Vogue 8815. It's so easy to construct, so I made it in almost no time at all. The bodice consists of 2 darts in the front and 4 on the back, I don't think you can get any more simple than that for a bodice.

The fabric is quite stiff and has almost no give in it at all. So, as a result it feels quite snug, but it's not uncomfortable until I try and raise my hands above my head! I'm thinking I may take the seams out a little, just to give a little more ease. My previous version of this top was made from some quilting cotton and that's no where near as stiff as this.

It was quite difficult trying to pattern match with this fabric as the pattern doesn't quite have the same spacing all the way round. I only realised this after cutting the fabric, so in places it doesn't quite match where I feel it should.

The resulted garment is growing on me and I think the more I wear it, the more I'll like it. I just need to be more comfortable with bright colours. After all, before I started to make my own clothes, most of my wardrobe was shades of grey and black so I think I'm being rather brave don't you?!

Monday, 14 April 2014

If I carry on this way, I'm in serious danger of becoming a one trick pony!

I've done it again, it's another Peplum! It's also not the first of the week as I have another on the way!!! If I'm not careful I certainly will end up a one trick pony. But I so lurrrrve the Peplum. I have such a boy figure that it helps me fake a shape and it also hides my tummy a little, so it just perfect for me. 

I've been lusting over this pattern for a while now, it's Simplicity 1590, which is a vintage Peplum blouse. Simplicity are currently selling their patterns at half price, so this was the ideal time for me to get my hands on it. Call me a cheapskate, but I hate paying full price for patterns these days, unless they are really special.

"You will sit down"

Unfortunately I managed to mess up a little on the measurements whilst I was making this blouse as I have made it a tiny bit snug around the waist. (D'oh) There's not much ease left so you can see it pulling a little. Yup, that's what you make toiles for! 
But that's not really much of a concern for me as I'd made it out of some cheap broderie anglais that I bought from Boyes, so even if I hadn't ever worn it ever again it wouldn't have been so much of a loss.

A close up, as you can't see the detail in the photos.

I was thinking this morning as I put it on that I hated it. I thought this will be the first and last time I ever wear it ever. But looking at the pictures, maybe it's not so bad after all? In fact maybe it's even a little bit cute? All in all it took 5 hours to make, I couldn't believe how quickly it came together. OK, so 5 hours isn't so speedy, but I like to take my time! 

This is definitely a blouse that I will make again, but next time a few adjustments need to be made. This time I traced a 10 and graded out to a 12 at the waist, but next time I think I will trace a 10 and grade down to half way between a 12 and a 14 at the waist. I can see it in all kinds of fabrics, but mostly I have my eye on Moda's 'April showers' collection for the next one!

Monday, 7 April 2014

My first Re-fashion!

I'm really excited to tell you that I have completed my first re-fashion! This is something that I have never delved in to, I'm really not sure why as it's a brilliant way of recycling, so this is the first of many.

This all started when I put my name down for the 'Name Tag Swap' that Rachel from House of Pinheiro is organising on her blog. Basically you have to create a name tag for your new buddy and they have to make one for you. Name tags must be received by 9th May and Rachel has very kindly pinned some for inspiration here.

My buddy is the amazing Andrea from Little did you know. I've had an extremely thorough stalk read through her blog to get some ideas for the name tag. Andrea's main interest is in re-fashioning clothes, something that I had never really considered trying. So I thought what better way to get to know someone than to walk a mile in their shoes?!!

I don't currently have any clothes that I could re-fashion. Mainly because I often donate them to charity. Now, in my little town, there are only 3 charity shops to choose from. I spent a Saturday afternoon looking in them and not one thing jumped out at me as something that I'd like to re-fashion. How the heck does Andrea find all of these gems?? 

I gave up. I went to Tesco's for some tights and I came out with this as well:

Slightly hideous, it was a size 18 shapeless 3/4 sleeve t-shirt. I think I saw the sale rack and out of desperation grabbed it because it was only a fiver. Looking at this picture it really is even more hideous than I remember! 

As soon as I got it home I knew exactly what it would become. I bet you can't guess!! :-P

I did cheat a little. OK a lot. First of all I un-picked the side seams and removed the sleeves. I then took out my traced pattern pieces from my favourite Peplum (yep I'm soooo predictable) pattern, Vogue 8815, and placed them over the t-shirt like so: 

I wanted to keep the neckline as I liked the pink piping and it sat fine on my neck. So I folded the t-shirt and placed the paper pattern to match with the fold and shoulder seams.

Yep, I thought I was pretty darn clever for doing that!

Unfortunately, the peplum pattern pieces were a little too big and I didn't quite have enough fabric left to make them. So, what I did was make them a little bit shorter. The T-shirt also came with a folded piece of fabric as the hem, I detached it carefully and used it to add length to the peplum.

Folded fabric hem
All in all I think it took me about 4 hours to make. Most of the time was spent un-picking the seams of the original t-shirt. I could have cut them off, but then I wouldn't have quite had enough fabric, which you can see on the picture at the top of the page showing where the front bodice pattern piece ends.

Unfortunately I did not pattern match the fabric. There wasn't enough, if there had been enough though I would not have been able to keep the neckline, because like a lot of RTW clothes the manufacturer hadn't matched the pattern between the front and back either!

What a silly pose to show off my lack of pattern matching!!

I love my new top, it fits so much nicer than any RTW top I could buy and for a fiver it was an absolute bargain. I also have a new appreciation of re-fashioning. It's a very painstaking process and I have absolutely no idea how Andrea has the patience to do it so often. But regardless, it's very rewarding and I will definitely be trying it again soon, once I have actually made Andrea's Name tag that is!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Catch up: Joel Dewberry's Meadow Spirit Skirt and Colette's Zinnia

Good Morning! I had a pretty intense weekend sewing (and watching BSG) and didn't actually get round to getting pictures of my new makes. Plus le Baz went out for drinks with his friends at Lunchtime on Saturday and didn't come home until 2 am Sunday morning!! He was a little tipsy and then spent most of Sunday feeling rather sorry for himself. He must have had a great night!!

I mentioned previously that I had gotten my Joel Dewberry skirt out of the UFO box and completed it. Yay for me! The pattern that I used was Joel Dewberry Eclectic modern, Meadow Spirit skirt in Joel's Modern Meadow fabric. Ya I know, not very imaginative considering this is the fabric they used on the envelope. You can also see that I did not add the pleats to the bottom, this just added far to much length for my liking.

I should have really switched that TV off...

This skirt was a bit of a nightmare for me last year. I tweaked and tweaked and couldn't get it to fit. Thus, in an angry rage, the UFO box was born. Back when I started this skirt I hadn't actually had much experience of fit. I'd pick a size off the envelope that looked like my size and hope for the best. I'm a little bit more savvy than that now, or at least I hope I am!

The problem that I had was around the back of the waistband. It was almost as though it was designed for someone was a big juicy butt as I had two baggy bum shaped bumps sticking out. When I returned to the skirt I realised that was down to my lack of hips and all round boy shaped figure. I pinched the fabric round my hips and as if by magic the weird bumps disappeared.

I'm so pleased with the results, however, it's not summer here yet. It's still pouring with rain on a daily basis, so I was a little premature in the making of this one, but I can definitely see me pulling this back out when the rain dries up.

The next make was another Colette Zinnia skirt. You may remember that I made one as a gift for my bestie at Christmas. I liked the pattern so much that I just had to make one for myself. 

Well why not?

The fabric that I used was Moda's Bluebird Park. Unfortunately, you can't really see the detail of the design on the fabric but it kinda looks like a yellow chambray. 

I'm not sure it's possible to have awful fit issues with this pattern as the only measurement you need is your waist. So it's just a case of measuring the waistband in the correct place.

I don't think that this was a particularly good fabric to make the skirt out of. It was a bit of a pain to hem and to me it doesn't look very sharp. It's also a little see through so I'd definitely wear it out with a slip.

Besides all this I think it's a wonderful skirt. Again, it's not really the weather for it yet, but just you wait until it is!