The Fifi eyemask

Sometimes the simplest gifts can be the loveliest things to make for someone you care about. Last Christmas (yes I am quite behind on posts… don’t jud20161214_182528ge lol), probably for the first time, I did actually make a few gifts. I didn’t want to make for making’s sake, so I tried to find practical items that I could make with care and hope they would be appreciated.

My sister is moving abroad in a few months and will be going on a very long flight to get there, so I wanted to make her something to make the travelling a little bit more bearable. I settled on a simple eye-mask as theyre cute but practical. I hunted around for a pattern and found the Fifi eye-mask from Tilly and the Buttons.  This free downloadable is designed to accompany the Fifi cami pyjama pattern which is completely adorable.

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Sorry about my very tired old table – it’s seen a lot of abuse over the years!

This pattern is a great scrap buster – you only need 15cm of fashion and lining fabrics and enough to make the elasticated band, but you could also adapt it to use ribbon instead. Many years ago my sister gave me a beautiful vintage silk qipao to cut up into different projects, so I wanted to use a little scrap of that to make the mask for her. I went to John Lewis and found some matching turquoise silk for the lining, because beautiful cool silk will be lovely on a hot cramped plane! The silk is a little brighter in colour than the pictures show – I must have taken these late at night! You can see how good a colour match the silk from John Lewis was though, I was surprised to find any good silk in my local store at all!

I made no adjustments to the pattern and followed the instructions as written as they were so clear and easy to follow. I had heard from other sewists and bloggers  that Tilly’s instructions are brilliantly clear, but I have yet to make up one of her patterns, so I was pleased to find the hype was true. The tip for turning through the strap after sewing – so simple! This was a really quick make but it has come out so nicely. My sister seemed pleased to receive it too which is definitely the main thing – as long as it brings her a little comfort on her long journey I’m happy!

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February sewing plans

How can it be February already?! I feel like I hardly got started with January and now it’s over! I certainly haven’t been as prolific with my makes as I would like to have been, but I’ve had a busy month, so a slightly more chilled out February with just a few makes ticked off the list will be nice.

  • Make 3 versions of New Look 6483. This is one of my #2017makenine picks! I know 3 versions of the same pattern in one month seems excessive but there are a few different neckline and sleeve options so it’s hopefully going to be a good wardrobe builder. I have a few simple shell tops like this that really don’t fit any more so I’m keeping my fingers crossed what this will be a quick pattern! Need to raid my stash for fabrics though.
  • Catch up on 4 more makes from 2016. I lost a bit of mojo this month so didn’t get as caught up as I’d have liked to, but there is light at the end of the tunnel! I’ve got lots of posts to write (if you don’t include the drafts on WordPress!). Don’t worry, you won’t get bombarded – I’ll schedule a few for March too!
  • Sew a button back onto my Vogue peacoat. I wear handbags that go across my body and for some reason every time I wear my burgundy coat at least one button will pop off!
  • Buy the Datura blouse from Deer and Doe! This pattern is one of my #2017makenine choices but it’s the only one I don’t own yet! I’ve bought some beautiful cotton to make it already.

January in review

I set 4 goals for January, and am happy to say I managed to do 3 and 3 quarters of them! I made my Steeplechase leggings that some of you may have seen on instagram, and these will be on the Cali Fabrics blog soon. I fixed my coat and my pyjamas but I didn’t quite manage to completely organise my fabric stash. I did make a good stab at it and I got through 6 out of 8 boxes so I feel quite pleased! I’ve already found it useful to have it catalogued so I’ll try to finish the last 2 boxes soon. Maybe one day I can do trimmings etc but until my fabric stash has dwindled a little that can wait…

 

A spotty Ogden cami

photo-26-10-2016-15-40-38-2After the general success of my first version of the Ogden Cami from true Bias (ignoring the 2nd attempt that was miniscule lol) I knew I would want a few more versions in my wardrobe as this is a great staple piece that works great dressed up or down.

This version is the same as my first version, made up in this multi-coloured polka dot silky polyestery type fabric. This was actually something my mum bought from the Rag Market ages ago –  I had buyers remorse because I didn’t buy any but she kindly gave me what was left over from her project. I loved it because the little dots look like planets! Space nerd. There was more than enough to squeeze out an Ogden – this is a good stash-busting pattern!

As mentioned in my first Ogden post, I added 2 inches in length to the lining pieces and this sits in a much better position and doesn’t drift up at all. Howevephoto-26-10-2016-15-41-11-4r for some reason this version there is a lot more room around the hips – it really needs taking in a little bit and the pattern adjusting (properly this time lol) but for now it’s fine. The straps also feel a little too short in this version – there isn’t any stretch in the fabric whereas there is a little give in viscose, so I’ll have to remember that for the next version. I didn’t turn the hem on the lining sections this time either – this seemed like it would add bulk so I just left it overlocked to keep it flat and neat. I think on my next version I will also add another 1.5 inches to the length of the top layer piece as I feel like it’s a little bit short on me. Maybe a split hem on a longer version might work… *plots*

This version has already had a lot of wear, and surprisingly goes with most of my cardigans haha! I think a few plain coloured versions would be useful and practical layering pieces, so when I get round to sorting my fabric stash I’ll see what I have in there to use up! photo-26-10-2016-15-40-25-2

(Hayden took these pictures in Retiro Park in Madrid last October – that’s how long I’ve been ignoring my drafts haha! Madrid is a great city and the monument to Alfonso XII is stunning!)

Ogden Cami by True Bias

Time to start blogging that queue of makes! It’s not a big queue but I have fallen behind and want to catch up a bit before we get too far in to 2017!

I made this back in September or October so the making details are a little fuzzy I’m afraid! This has been written from memory as I didn’t take many pictures during making it as it was so quick to whizz up. I hadn’t realised how much I wanted simple cami tops in my life until True Bias released their latest pattern, the Ogden Cami, earlier this year. I had bought something very similar years ago and wore it all the time, but eventually stopped wearing it because the fit was a bit off (no surprises there, Primark…).

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I look a bit like an egg but I’m in front of the Eiffel Tower so who cares?! (me)

The Ogden is a slightly fitted, partially lined strappy camisole top, and when I saw it on social media, I loved it immediately, but was reluctant to buy it because of the lack of a bust dart. As I normally need to do a FBA I was a bit put off buying the pattern because I thought the top would just drape badly and not be very flattering. I did a lot of hunting around online to see if there was a similar style that had a bust dart, but came up empty handed. I decided to bite the bullet and make it up as is and see how it looked. I am pleased to say I was totally wrong about the Ogden being unflattering – it’s loose and floaty without being oversized and is very comfy to wear as well as very good for hiding those bloated days!

I made this version out of a colourful viscose from the Rag Market in Birmingham that was £2 a metre and made it up as drafted, cutting a 14 at the bust down to an 18 to accommodate my hips and shortening the straps by 5cm (it would have been indecent otherwise!). It’s comfy to wear and the v-neck on the front and back neckline iimg-20161101-wa0012s very flattering. My only quibble with the pattern is that the partial lining stops mid-boob so the seam sits in an unkind place and therefore rides up a bit and makes the top look a bit lumpy. In my next version I will lengthen the lining piece to make sure the seam sits more or less level with the bottom of my bra too prevent it wiggling up too much. I also think the pattern comes up a little big, so I chopped loads off the paper pattern only to discover I’d removed WAY too much and had to stick it all back
on again. Naturally I only discovered my mistake when I made a second version in another fabric and couldn’t get it on… Whoops! In hindsight I’d rather have it a little looser and have the room to breathe and move comfortably. I do have to own up to not wearing this as much as I should do but only because I am too lazy to iron it – the viscose is lightweight and wrinkles a lot but it’s so comfy.

This is a quick make and is a great layering piece for the coming chilly months. I’ve already made a second (successful) version which will be on the blog soon!

 

 

 

January sewing plans

Following on from yesterdays posts about my #2017makenine plans, I wanted to start off my sewing year strong, with my goals for January clearly laid out. I’ll review each month when I post my goals for the following month to keep me accountable. The aim at the moment is to make one pattern from the list per month but we all know life has a habit of getting in the way so this may change!!

  1. Make the Steeplechase leggings from FehrTrade. These are my first pattern pick from my #2017makenine list. I already have the lycra for these, but I haven’t even looked properly at the pattern since I bought it in the Black Friday sale on Pattern Review to see what else I need!
  2. Fix my elephant print pyjamas. These were made pre-overlocker and the seam was  finished with a zigzag but now I have a small tear across the seat of my jammie bottoms. I’ve been ignoring this for about 6 months (I know I know) and all it really needs is a quick patch.
  3. Fix the hole in my pocket on my Knipmode trenchcoat. Again this is something I’ve been avoiding  for a while and it should just be quite a simple fix.
  4. Finish organising my fabric stash. I have way too much fabric that I know I won’t ever use, but because I have so much I don’t really know exactly what I have. I’ve made a start and worked through 2 tubs (out of, 8 not including all the stuff piled on top of the tubs and my cutting table) and I’m at 58 metres in lengths already. This sounds like a lot but a fair few of these aren’t very wide at all but are too big to throw away or recycle. I plan on going through all of my fabrics and then filtering down to things I can keep that I will actually use and things I can sell or donate (maybe I can do an instagram sale?). I want to downsize my stash by 2 tubs minimum so they all fit under my cutting table. I have so much fabric everywhere at the moment that I don’t know where to start anymore!

 

 

Sewing plans for #2017makenine

Happy New Year everyone! I hope NYE was fun, warm and safe whatever you were doing and that 2017 will be a positive year for you all. I have lots of exciting things planned for 2017 so keep your eyes peeled!

Over the last 12 months I’ve been periodically throwing out or donating clothes I don’t wear for whatever reason, and I want to streamline my wardrobe further. I am probably never going to have the perfect capsule wardrobe but as I slowly move towards mostly wearing me-mades, I want to make pieces that work better with everything else, not just one thing.

On instagram there are a couple of hashtags for sharing sewing plans for the new year for those of you who want to check out what other people have planned.

#sewmystyle is a year long project from Bluebird Fabrics who have chosen 12 patterns and created a schedule for participants of the challenge. I decided not to sign up for this challenge as a lot of the patterns are not things I would make or wear. Sign up has now ended but you can still follow along using the same patterns and the schedule here!

#2017makenine was created by Rochelle from Lucky Lucille following the popularity of the ‘2015 Best Nine’ app that appeared at the end of 2015. The idea behind this one is to choose nine projects you want to make to help keep you focused throughout the year. You can read her original post from 2015 here.

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The patterns I’ve chosen for this year are ones that I haven’t yet made yet but have had my eye on for a while now. I already have most of them and I hopefully will be able to use up fabrics from my stash. (When I started writing this post I only had 9 patterns in mind but the more I pondered 2 more were added to the list. #2017makeeleven sounds a bit odd though haha!)

  1. Steeplechase leggings from FehrTrade. I really enjoy running but sportswear tends to be quite pricey so I want to have a go at making my own.
  2. Datura blouse from Deer and Doe. I’ve loved the triangle cut-out version for ages but haven’t yet treated myself to the pattern!
  3. Simplicity 1696 Amazing Fit slim trousers. I desperately need trousers for work and I want some casual trousers that aren’t jeans but laziness and an unwillingness to push myself much in 2016 means I never got round to making these. If I can nail the fit then these can be smart or casual depending on what fabric I choose.
  4. McCalls 6696 shirt dress. This is the dress that so many sewists I follow have made and love. After discovering I actually quite like wearing dresses occasionally, I picked this up in a sale a few months ago.
  5. Button-up cardigan from Threadcount 1607. This was a freebie with a magazine and the cardigan is a classic shape. I wear a lot of cardis as I am a fan of layering, so hopefully I can sew up a rainbow to match all my outfits!
  6. Burda 6875 blazer. I love a classic blazer as this can be dressed up or down and again this would work well with the rest of my wardrobe. I haven’t made anything vaguely tailored for years so this should be an interesting challenge.
  7. New Look 9483 easy woven tops. I think this was also a magazine freebie but I like the simple shapes and different neckline options which will be great for showing off beautiful fabrics.
  8. New Look 6107 tie-front blouse. This too was a magazine freebie (who doesn’t like a free gift haha) but I’ve got some great printed chiffon that would work well for work wear and for everyday wear.
  9. Closet Case Files Ginger jeans. I’ve mentioned these so many times in different photo challenges in 2016 and I still haven’t made them! Buying jeans is always a nightmare for me and everyone who has made these rates the pattern very highly so I have high hopes for this project.
  10. On The Cutting Floor easy hoodie. Hoodies are great for when you want to be comfy and I wear the only one I have a lot. I could do with one in a neutral colour and at least 1 bright one for running outdoors, so this pattern will be great for casual and sportswear (plus it’s a freebie!).
  11. An as yet undecided costume project. I trained as a costume maker at RADA but after moving out of London I’ve had no opportunity to make any historical costumes. This year I plan on making something just to really push myself. I don’t have anything in mind and I certainly don’t have the room to keep it once it has been made so I will probably make it with the intention of donating to a local museum – I think picking what to make will be the hardest part though!

I will be posting at the start of each month what I hope to achieve so my follow-up post for January will be posted tomorrow. I am hoping that regularly reviewing how I’m doing will help me stay focused on making everything in the above list. Last year I picked 9 patterns and succeeded in making just 1 of them!

I also want to make more effort to repair me-mades when they rip or I lose a button etc. I’ve been ignoring a few easy jobs out of laziness for WEEKS and as a seamstress there’s no excuse really! I’m going to try to include these goals in my monthly posts. I definitely want to try to keep on top of blogging as I sew. I’ve neglected my blog somewhat in the last six months 😦

2016 was very up and down for me and for lots of people, so I want to start this year feeling positive. I’m already so excited to see what everyone else has picked for their #2017makenine. It’s going to be a good year!

 

 

My new Cali Fabrics post is now live!

My latest post on the Cali Fabrics blog went live a few days ago! I made another Granville Shirt from Sewaholic (third one and counting – any more is an addiction, right?) in a super cute micro gingham seersucker, and this one is comfy and I feel quite sassy in it!

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Weirdly holding my phone for some reason – not out of shot as I thought I was apparently…

Check out my post here on the Cali Fabrics site!

Pattern testing – Cuba Libre shirt

As some of you may have seen from my instagram post last night, I was lucky enough to photo-04-12-2016-14-49-54pattern test for the recently released Winter 2016 collection from Capital Chic Patterns! I was browsing twitter a few months ago and saw a shout-out for volunteers to test some patterns, so OF COURSE I volunteered and I was lucky enough to be chosen! Sally, who you can find over at Charity Shop Chic contacted me and asked me which pattern I’d liked to test for her small collection. It was actually a close-run thing between Cuba Libre and the Gimlet dress, but because I’ve been trying to work on a more consolidated wardrobe, I chose the Cuba Libre as I felt like it would work harder as a piece with my other clothes and future planned makes.

Cuba Libre is a loose fitting, boxy shirt in three length options – shirt, shirt dress and maxi dress. As I’m quite short I knew the maxi dress length wouldn’t photo-04-12-2016-14-50-25-1work, and I knew I wouldn’t wear the shirt length as I prefer a more fitted shirt shape, so I opted for the shirt dress length. The PDF went together with no issues, even at the testing stage, which is nice. I used a cheap medium weight poly crepe I’d picked up from the Rag Market during SewBrum back in September (with a completely different dress in mind when I bought it haha) for something silly like £2 per metre, with simple black shirt buttons. The instructions were easy to follow, although the only stumbling block I had was which direction the back pleat should face. I opted for the pleat on the outside, like on men’s shirts, but Charlotte from English Girl At Home placed hers on the inside in her tester shirt length version, which also looks lovely.

The pieces fit together well, which shows a lot of care was taken at drafting stage. The only comment I do have about the drafting is that, based on measurements, it seems to comes up a little bit smaller than other patterns. I had to add about 4 inches to the width of the skirt section to make the largest size fit me, so keep it in mind. I am quite pear-shaped so extra hip width is a normal adjustment for me, but apart from shortening the whole thing this by about 8 inches (even at shirt dress length!) this was the only adjustment I made. There are no bust darts and it’s a slightly  dropped shoulder, so there are some serious 80’s vibes going on! I know it looks like it in the picture, but it’s not a high-low hem – i’m just wearing it badly in the photos!!! It’s definitely comfy to wear, particularly at this time of year when the mince pies and sherry tend to coagulate around our waistlines but I think the cut is going to be flattering on a lot of different body shapes. In a beautiful silk satin this would look so glamorous at any length. The crepe I used was medium weight so it hangs really well without adding too much bulk and when belted I arranged the excess into sort of pleat shapes on front and back to flatten down the gathered look on me. I didn’t add the chest pockets to the dress as I’d never use them, so it seemed like a waste of time and fabric for me, but they’re a decent size and it would work well with one or both pockets. Oh, I also put the buttons on the wrong side, but I’d sewn and cut several photo-04-12-2016-14-51-05-1buttonholes before I realised. We won’t talk about that though…

Now I do have to admit that when I finished this dress, I was a bit dubious about whether I would ever actually wear it. I’d worn it to take some photos for the blog, and then abandoned it because, style-wise, it’s quite unlike me. I don’t wear dresses, and I don’t really wear big prints, and I keep wearing comfy clothes out of laziness more than anything else, so wearing something short, loud (for me anyway) AND waist enhancing was a big deal for me. Last night was our work Christmas do, and as this was the only thing I had that was the least bit smart to wear I threw it on, put a red patent belt on and black tights and heels, and went to the party! I was comfy the entire time, the length was spot on as the traditional shirt hem means the dress is fun and short at the sides, but long enough front and back to cover your modesty. I did elect to cut this quite short for this reason, but styled up the standard length will look really elegant. I wore it with the sleeves rolled up, and looking back today I think I will probably just cut the sleeves to three quarter length as I won’t ever wear the sleeves down.I do have to say though, doing the sleeve placket was really easy following Sally’s instructions – I’ve only done single piece plackets previously rather than a two piece, but using the guidance in the Cuba Libre instructions I found this really easy to follow. Seems a shame to cut them off really! I’m really happy with how the dress turned out and I suspect I may be making another one next year in a lighter weight fabric. I also want to wear this tester version as a cover-up in summer rather than as a dress – even if I crop the sleeves I hope this will still look cool and floaty over tops and shorts, kind of a kimono wrap type vibe?

I would recommend this pattern for confident beginners as the instructions are clear and there are some lovely traditional shirt details to have a go at if you;re a bit intimidated by shirt making.

#bpsewvember Day 28, 29 and 30

Day 28: UFO.

I currently only have one UFO which only really needs about 4 buttons sewing on, but black buttons are quite dull so here’s a photo I took on a disposable camera in Paris in October of some beautiful street art

Day 29: Superpower.

I think my superpower is self-restraint in fabric shops 😂 one of everything please! (Photo from inside Frou Frou in Montmatre,  Paris)

Day 30: What’s next?

Late night micro gingham ✂✂✂ (Yes I know it’s 2 days late 😂)

#bpsewvember Day 25, 26 and 27

Day 25: Chore.

Tidying up is definitely the worst part of sewing (and the reason why I haven’t done any for a few weeks) and I put it off off as long as possible 😂 my plan for tomorrow is to tidy up, hoover the button rug (thread magnet fyi) and then finish 2 projects I’ve been ignoring lol

Day 26: Print/floral.

I actually have no preference for either! My fabric stash is a mix of both but I’m planning on making more solid colour basics to make my wardrobe more coherent

Day 27: One off.

Apart from costumes I don’t really have any one offs – when I find a pattern I like I tend to make it up a couple of times! Instead for today my response is this (I’ve had it saved on my phone for ages because I am a super nerd 😂)