Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Me-Made-May 15


Just to say that I am signing up to Me-Made-May'15 this year. Here is my pledge, and I think this is the first time I have actually managed to sign up before the 1st of May!:

 'I, TamsinWP of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I will endeavour to wear a me-made or repurposed item for at least 5 days each week for the duration of May 2015. I am also looking to go through my current wardrobe and weed out stuff I no longer wear'

I really want to weed out my wardrobe. I do it sporadically, but often end up not getting rid of the things that I weeded out because I like the fabric/it might be suitable for one of my girls/it's the only thing I have that goes with something I want to keep. This means I have a lot ot stuff around the house including a pile of things to sort through that is almost as tall at me! With 5 of us in the house and the girls growing constantly, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we all generate!

I am planning to sign up to the Pinterest group and the Flickr group, but I will probably only post here each week with a summary post.

Good luck everyone!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Work in progress - dress for Eldest

I am currently working on a dress for Eldest but am unable to continue until she gets home from school. We chose a contrasting trim for the sleeves, but I'm not sure how she will want it - in-your-face obvious (on left) or discrete (on right), bearing in mind we also an orange zip which will be exposed. We shall see....

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A technicolour dreamcoat

Image result for joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat
image from wikipedia

Youngest's primary school have just put on a show of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Over the years word has got out that I sew, and I was anticipating being asked to make something - they did Bugsy Malone a couple of years ago but I was making my sisters wedding dress at the time so couldn't help.

I was asked a couple of weeks ago if I could come up with something and I already had a plan.  My Mother in law had made my girls some dressing up cloak things when they were little and we still have one. I didn't take any before pictures, but it is a rich purple velour fabric with a wadding type backing and quilted.  The teacher had bought 2 metres of a multicoloured zigzag patterned fabric which I thought would look good cut into strips and then sewn onto the cloak.

I tore off a strip from the fabric to see how it would look, then washed the rest of the fabric.  This is a lesson to anyone who doesn't wash their fabric before making it up .... 5 and a bit centimetres, people! Imagine if that was a garment that had just been made!
5+ centimetres of shrinkage!

I cut the fabric into strips of roughly 5-6cm wide with pinking shears, then pinned them to the coat with gaps in between of about a centimetre. I then sewed down the centre of each strip and stopped sewing about 2 thirds of the way down the body. I was hoping that doing this would allow a small amount of fluttering as the coat was put on and worn.

cutting the strips

Pinning the strips

Here is the finished article on my dress form. 

I haven't any photos from the performance - licensing conditions prevent any photos from being taken during a show (even in a Primary school), and the whole cast were so hot at the end that I didn't feel I could get a photo of Joseph afterwards! I may get a shot of Youngest modelling it later but she is considerably taller at 9yrs old, than the girl who played Joseph, who is nearly 11!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

FO: Christmas Shirt for Husband - number 4

More unselfish sewing... I made Husband another shirt for Christmas 2014 using the same pattern as I have used before (McCalls 6044). 

He had asked for a shirt that was plain or at least a bit more 'everyday' than some of his others. He feels that a couple are a bit flamboyant and therefore need an occasion to be worn.  Well, I have a couple of plain fabrics would be suitable but when I was at Goldhawk Road last November (for the Lauren Lladybird meet-up) I found a lovely striped fabric that I thought would go with a couple of Husband's sweaters, in a teal/turquoise colour. I think is it 100% cotton and is lovely and soft. There were a couple of other colours too, but this one just 'spoke' to me.

I used the same pattern, in the smaller size and even remembered to use Carolyn's tutorial for flat felling the sleeve seam this time.

I tried to do it last time but trimmed the wrong bit of the seam allowance so they ended up being faux felled seams! My only quibble with this one is that the buttonholes are not as good as I would have liked, but we sewists like to point out the bad points don't we?!

Husband has worn this a lot but I have only just managed to get any pictures:
happy Husband!

Catalogue man?

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?