Friday, 27 February 2015

FO: Figgy's Sunki Dress - double take

Some time ago Youngest asked me to make her something and after a bit of research I decided on the Sunki Dress by Figgy's.
When I had first looked at it ( about a year ago) it was only available up to the age/size 8/9. When I was clicking around the internets in the run up to Christmas I found that tween /teen sizes had been added and the sizing now goes up to age 16(XL). I decided to purchase this larger sizing, just in case one of my older girls fancied it. I took Youngest measurements and she fell in the 'small' size.  At the same time the eldest daughter of my friend was coming up to her 10th birthday. Having made a couple of things for her younger sister I thought I would make her something too. Her measurements were roughly the same as my Youngest so I decided to make them both the same dress in same size.

Youngest had requested denim with a contrast panel - she chose a turquoise and white polka dot cotton that I bought ages ago just because I liked it.

I thought navy corduroy with a contrast would be nice for my friends daughter - I used scraps left over from my Polly top for the contrast panel.

I made them in tandem - sewing each step on both dresses before moving on. I didn't need to change out the threads on my machines as the main colour for both is navy which made life a bit easier. The style is a straight tunic with shaped panels at the side which also form pockets.

The shoulder seam has a pretty overlap detail and the sleeves have pleating at the sleeve head.

The style is similar to the Lisette Portfolio dress that I made a few years ago, including the style of pocket. Sewing the pocket was the trickiest bit even though I had done similar on the Portfolio dress and I was following the online tutorial provided on the Figgy's website. I think it worked out OK, there isn't too much puckering at the pocket seams. The corduroy was much easier to manipulate than the denim.

The zips when in without a hitch:

Both girls were delighted with their dresses.
picture taken at another friends birthday party

Considering that their measurements were within a centimetre of each other and I made the same size, they fit quite differently. I think because the corduroy has a softer hand, it drapes better and appears to be a fraction longer. The denim is quite stiff, although it is a stretch denim, and doesn't move with the body so well, which makes it ride up and appear shorter. Having worn hers several times, Youngest has asked me to put on cuffs made from the contrasting fabric as she struggles to get a cardi on over it at the moment - she needs something to hold onto on the sleeve as she pulls the cardi on. I thought I had made full length sleeves, but looking at the pictures I may not have done.  If I were to make this again (which I probably will in the summer) I would have a go at making the pockets bigger - they look like they are going to be nice and deep but are actually very shallow and not much use as pockets. These were also my first finished makes of the year.

Overall I hade two very happy girls!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

FO: Skirts for Eldest

Happy New Year to everyone. I am probably not going to do a review of last year as the latter half was not much fun. I have lots of catching up still to do with blogging my makes, so here are a couple of skirts for Eldest.

Skirt one was started (as in she cut it out) by Eldest two summers ago, I think, in a heavy denim from my Mother-in-law. It was finished by me towards the end of the summer 2014. We used Burda 9562 view A, which does not seem to be available anymore.

top stitching and pleats
It was very short so I added at least 5 cm to the length before we cut it out and it is still a bit short! We used age 15 to ensure it would fit her as she is quite curvy, however her shape is still changing plus she prefers to wear things on her waist rather than below, so I ended up putting elastic in the back of the yoke at the waist.

This pattern is designed to sit just below the natural waist, but with Eldest prefering to wear it on her waist, it makes it shorter than planned when worn!

Skirt two was inspired by this skirt in the window of J Crew:

 and this skirt in Johnnie B, the Boden teen section:
Tasha Skirt
Photo from

I could see that it was a pretty simple design and that I could 'knock something up' pretty quickly.  I bought some chambray from a local shop. I think it was 4.95 or maybe £7 (I can't quite remember) a metre and nice quality. I loosely used this chart for sizing and this tutorial for making skirt - which I think has probably made the skirt too poofy for Eldest. I thought for a future skirt it may be better to have a plain front to the skirt with any gathering just in the back.  I intially hemmed the skirt to be 22" at the back and 21" in the front (her curvy bottom lifts skirts slightly and makes the hem uneven). This was not a flattering length, so I shortened  it by 2" all round.

I also put a welt pocket on the front.  It is not brilliant but it looks ok and fits her phone. I only did one as I made it up as I went long really, and didn't fancy trying to do a second one and getting the placement wonky!

She seems pretty happy with them both and has worn them, but I only have pictures of her curled up in a chair in the 2nd skirt and you can't actually see much of the skirt!

I have just realised that this ties in with my previous post of using RTW for inspiration!

Monday, 29 December 2014

FO: Knock-off tops

These tops are a knock-off of a top I bought in H&M earlier in the year:

It is a very simple shape with slightly dropped sleeves. I took it to my pattern cutting class and basically drew round it then took lots of measurements to ensure the pattern was symetrical etc. As I discovered during the summer when using a top as a pattern, RTW cutting doesn't seem to be very accurate.

Top number one I used fabric bought at the NYLon14 on Goldhawk Road.

I loved the multi coloured abstract pattern. I had bought lots of it so was happy to cut straight into the fabric with my self drafted pattern. Original top has three-quarter length sleeves that are full length and stitched rolled up, so I just made the sleeves full length. I am extremely pleased with it and have worn it alot.
I wrote myself some intructions for the construction, which were basically the following:

*sew one shoulder together
*attach neck band
*sew other shoulder
*attach sleeves pieces
*sew side seams from sleeve hem down to the hemline of the top
*hem sleeves and top


Top number two was for Eldest for her birthday. Eldest is a fangirl. She loves Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Mortal Instruments, Sherlock, Cherub to name a few (the main ones!) She seems a fairly happy recipent of mum made clothing, so I thought I would make her a top for her birthday with some themed fabric. I went to Spoonflower and got sucked down the rabbit hole that is internet fabric shopping! The choice of Doctor Who themed fabric was mind boggling, but I eventually settled on this in their cotton knit:

The fabric took much longer to arrive than I had anticipated. It arrived about 2 weeks after her birthday, then I put it in a safe place where she wouldn't stumble across it, then found it about a month later. The fabric has a very nice feel to it, butis shrank quite alot after I washed it. I had ordered a metre but after washing only had about 87cm (something like that). I was very glad I had washed it before cutting everything out. She was very pleased with the fabric but decided, wisely I think, to go with a solid as well - overall Tardis's (Tardi?) might be a bit much!

This top is the same size as the one I made for me, but with minimal seam allowances. I intially sewed it up with normal 1.5cm seam allowances, but when she tried it on it was a little snug - she is a bit larger than me in the chest department. I just whizzed down the sleeve/side seam with the overlocker, unpicked the original seam and now it fits fine. She asked for the patches on the elbows, having seen the patches on my Plantain Tee. I put those on before I sewed the side seams.

The plain fabric is a petrol ponte knit left over from my Lady Skater dress and was perfect to go with the dark green/petrol Tardis's/Tardi in the print. The eagle-eyed may notice that there is a seam across one of the sleeves. This is of course a design feature, and nothing at all to do with having to piece the fabric together in order to get two full sleeves!

These were made a little while ago now, but I have quite a bit of catching up to do. Overall I am very pleased with these two tops. The only thing I would change when I make it again would be to scoop the neck line down a bit at the front. The neck line seems a bit higher on these than on the original.

Have you copied/used for insipration a shop bought piece of clothing?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

FO: A Summer of Stripes - part 4 - A Plantain Tee

I am playing catch-up here again, lots of sewing, not much blogging...

Towards the end of the summer I posted this picture:

asking for opinions on the elbow patch.  Nine out of 10 respondants went for the lime green patch for a pop of colour.  The 10th respondant (aka Middlest daughter) said along the lines of 'ugh, what do want to put a patch on for anyway? they're horrible!'. So, lime green it was!

The Plantain Tee is a free pattern from the French pattern company Deer & Doe and it seemed fairly straight forward to sew up - I finished this in the summer holidays so I can't really remember too much about it.

I do remember finishing the sleeve and shirt hems with my twin-needle, but they are not as stretchy as I thought they'd be.  Every time I shove my sleeve up my arm I think the stitching will snap.

I used some fabric that I bought in NZ when we were living there. It wasn't my first choice of colour, there was a lovely turquoise/grey that I loved, but I procrastinated so long that that colour was sold out by the time I had decided to buy it. I don't know what the fabric content is, but it is very stretchy.

Here are some photos:

and a couple of the top in action:

Having worn it quite a bit since I finished it, I have decided that whilst I will wear it, it is not my favourite shape of top. It is a touch too wide (for my taste) at the hem and I think that if I were to make another I would bring the shoulder seam forward, probably by about 1cm. Also looking at the photo with the hedgehog, I might do something about the arm hole as well...

I have included it in the Summer of Stripes because of when I made it - I am very aware that it is not summer in the Northern Hemisphere now!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

FO: Anda/Staples dress mashup

I started this dress last year during a mini staycation/sewcation in the summer holidays. It was originally a Burda Anda dress.
Image from BurdaStyle

I downloaded the pattern whilst we were still living in NZ and took forever to do anthing with it. (I did start a tunic top for eldest a couple of years ago using the pattern, but it remains a UFO).

I deserted this make part way through because when I tried it on it was a shapeless sack reminiencent of a hospital gown. This was as much to do with the fabric as the style. The Anda is supposed to have a drawstring tie, but whatever I did I couldn't get the channel for the tie to go in the right palce around my middle or for it to look level all the way round - so I had a bit of a hissy fit and gave up.

Earlier this summer I found it whilst looking for something else, as you do, and thought I could probably do something with it. I actually finished this at the beginning of July, took all the pictures, wrote the bare outline of a blogpost, then didn't do anything else until now. 

Having seen quite a few pretty versions of the April Rhodes Staple Dress, I had already noted the similar style so I decided to do some shirring around the middle as I had a bobbin of elastic left over from this.  The shirring isn't as tidy as it could be, and I have probably done one row too many, but I was trying to control some of the volume in the back - it's pretty blousey.
blousey back
 I lined the skirt section only, otherwise I'd be doing my own version of the famous 'Lady Diana Spencer' shot!

It's not my best make, but for the swelteringly hot days we had at various points in the summer, it was great. The weave of the fabric is quite open and was perfect for letting cooling breezes pass through. I considered a high-low hem as per the Staples dress, but to make the proprtions look right, the skirt would have been uncomfortabley short at the front, so a straight hem it was.
It's quite swishy:

And lastly, this picture is here just because I like it!

Monday, 22 September 2014

A Summer of Stripes- part 3 and a sad summer

This pattern may look a little familiar - it is the Burda Raglan sleeve top 2/2013#127 that I have made 3 times before, but this time it is a dress (seen first here):

I got the fabric from Lisa (formerly of Small Things now blogging at Paprika Patterns) during the Spring Sewing Swap hosted by Kerry of Kestrel Makes, earlier this year. As soon as I saw the fabric I thought it would be perfect for a little t-shirt dress to take on my summer holiday to Italy. There-in lies a tale...

I started the dress during a quiet weekend right at the beginning of the summer holidays. My eldest two had finished school for the summer and my youngest still had 2 days to go. Husband and Middlest had travelled to Norfolk with the aim of Middlest doing some sailing and Husband and one of his nephews cycling from Norfolk back home (roughly 100km). Unfortunately not all had gone to plan - I had a phone call from a very distressed and disorientated Husband, who had come off his bike in the middle of nowhere. He was clearly in a bad way and ended up being taken to hospital in Kings Lynn. My dress was left forgotten mid-stitch on the machine, while I sorted out the other 2 children and hot-footed it to the hospital (an hour and a half away).  Husband had been unconscoius, was found to have 3 broken ribs, a black eye, very painful shoulder, severe bruising and multiple grazes and gashes. Luckily he was with his nephew who had called an ambulance, unluckily he was very injured, and was told by the hospital that he couldn't fly for six weeks - this all happening 2 days before we due to fly to Italy for our first hot family holiday since we got back from living in NZ.  Cue cancelled holiday and very sad, worried and disappointed family. We did get all our money back including extenuating circumstances refund from RyanAir - surprisingly.

Moving on a couple of weeks, Husband was being to feel his recuperation was going well and he was a little more mobile. This was not to last, we had a phone call from my brother-in-law asking me to collect all the children that were at my mother-in-law's house and keep them out of the way. My father-in-law had collapsed whilst playing tennis and there was an ambulance crew in attendance. By the time I got there (5 mins away) it was clear that my father-in-law had died, and I had to go home and break the news to the rest of my family. This was completely and utterly unexpected, and was a huge shock to us all. Husband found himself suddenly having to be much more active and under stress whilst being in pain, at the same time assisting with the arrangements that go with organising a funeral.

So, as I said in my previous post, this summer has been pretty awful and it wasn't really a holiday for any of us. Husband's recuperation is going reasonabley well now, but getting used to my father-in-law not being around will inevitabley take time - if indeed one gets used to that kind of thing.

At some point in Husbands early recuperation I managed to finish this dress.  I think it spent 2 weeks mid-stitch on the machine, needle down. I was fully expecting the dress to have a hole in it where I left the needle in and/or to be stretched out of shape where it was hanging over the table, but all seemed fine.
After the traumas of its beginning, the dress was finished quite quickly without out any further drama, and I am really pleased with it. It is quite figure hugging, and I have to be very aware of my posture (and what underwear I choose) when wearing it, but I love it.

I have hemmed it just above my knees and have worn it like this since finishing it. I have included a picture where I have pinned the hem a lot higher with a view to wearing it with leggings and potentially making it more versatile, but having said that, I am not sure I would wear it that short as a dress...
Shorter length - why don't my legs go brown?
 I am particularly pleased with the neckband on this one - the previous ones have been a bit loose and gappy, even when I reduced the length on my last one.  This time I reduced the length by 12% rather than 10% and it is perfect - and looks rather fetching with the stripes going in the opposite direction. I finished the neck with a twin needle, but I may redo this bit as I think a single line of stitching may look better.

Anyway.... happily Husband's physical recuperation is going reasonabley well, although coming off Tramadol is not for the fainthearted - withdrawal symptoms anyone? Also we have booked a holiday somewhere hot for half-term, so I will get to wear this on holiday after all.

I am not normally one for unburdening myself of woes, but I couldn't do a post on this dress without it really.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

OWOP Round-up 2014

So I made it through the week of OWOP, but am not sure I have photos of all the days. To recap, the pattern I have chosen to use is the Burda Raglan sleeve top 02/2013 #127:


Saturday 6th Sept:
Travelled into London to try and see vlogger Alfie Deyes with Eldest. We were unsuccessful, but had a nice day - didn't take a photo:

Sunday 7th:
Home, working on trousers in an unblogged dress version:

Monday 8th:
This is my 'why didn't I do this earlier?' look:

Tuesday 9th:
Puzzling over pattern instructions having been to the gym:

Wednesday 10th:
Home - working on trousers again...

Thursday 11th
no idea what I wore and seemingly no photos either - oops!

Friday 12th
Home - working on trousers again...

It did get pretty chilly on a couple of days during the week and I almost had to use my other version of this, but it is mid-alteration and I don't really like it very much. I will finish the alteration and see if I like it a bit more - most of my dislike is to do with the fit.

I still really like my makes from this pattern and I wear them pretty regularly. I wouldn't be at all surprised if more turn up in the future! Thanks Jane it's been fun!