Sleek Silhouette

November 10, 2014
by Katy
13 Comments

A Quilted Sweatshirt!

Ooof it suddenly got cold round here! I need jumpers! I have barely any, and seeing as I want to end up with an entirely home sewn wardrobe,  I need to sew a few up. I was literally seconds away from drafting my own version when Jen, from Grainline, released her newest pattern – the Linden sweatshirt. Thus saving me from a drafting headache. This pattern is pretty perfect for my needs. It is simple and comfy and insanely easy to wear. In fact so easy to make and wear, I made two! I think this might be what I do when I like a pattern –  Just make everything in dublicate. You need options, right?
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I have been dreaming up the first version for ages… since I saw this quilted jersey on the Minerva craft website. However, I didn’t want the jumper to be completely made from the quilting, and the lines of the raglan sleeves gave me an idea. I recreated the diagonal lines of the sleeves at the bottom of the jumper, by cutting the pattern diagonally from the armscye to the hem, to create a diamond shape at the front and back of the jumper.
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I cut the diamond out in the quilted jersey and the rest of the jumper in thick jumper jersey, also from Minerva, and sewed it all up. It’s all sewn on my overlocker. Nice and quick!
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I’m mightily pleased with the result. It’s still a pretty simple jumper but I really like the texture of the extra quilting, and the diamond shape at the front.
I’ve had to turn up the exposure really high so you guys can see the quilting.
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I also made a version in grey sweatshirt jersey, which I know will become a useful staple in my wardrobe, perfect for uni days! This fabric, also from Minerva, was nowhere near as stretchy as the black and made adding the neckband a little tricky, as it wouldn’t quite stretch around the whole neckline. I fudged it by using larger seam allowances on the sleeves. I think If I were to make another version in the same fabric, I’d re-draft the neckband to be a little longer. I think that’s just due to this fabric though, the pattern asks for fabric with 20% stretch, and I did not check this before cutting it out. My bad!
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I haven’t made the t-shirt version, but I have some more quilting in a dark grey which I think will look great in a t-shirt.

I can’t wait to see Jen’s next pattern, I have I feeling I’ll probably love it too!

November 5, 2014
by Katy
8 Comments

Autumn Sewing – Alder Alder!

To continue with my autumn sewing from my last post I’m showing you my two recently made Alder shirtdresses. I’ve already made a version of this dress in dip dye silk, but this time I wanted to make something a little more wearable. Now I know that the Alder may not be the first pattern to spring to mind when you think of Autumn sewing – seeing as it’s sleeveless – but I really love the design of it, and really I just wanted another shirt dress – I loves them!

I had already planned and bought the fabric for my two Alder dresses when, to my delight, Jen posted a tutorial on how to add the Archer sleeves to the dress.  It was like she read my mind! What a totally awesome way to make them wearable into Autumn. Luckily I hadn’t cut the fabric yet and so was able to cut out the sleeves too for one of the dresses! However, adding the sleeves meant that I didn’t have enough fabric for view B of the dress (gathered skirt) with sleeves :( . To get round this I made one version of view A (A-line) with sleeves, and a version of view B (gathered skirt) without sleeves.

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Both versions are awesome, but lets start with the sleeveless version, just cos it’s my favourite! I’ll make you wait to see if the sleeves were successful, haha! First lets talk fabric. The last few months I have been feeling increasingly frustrated at the fabrics available to buy. I have a number of fabric shops which I know well and buy from regularly (both online and in the real world), but nothing in these places was hitting the spot. I wanted a really interesting print, and hadn’t found anything I liked for aaaaaages. This was until I stumbled upon this website. Now I’ve been vaguely aware of this shop before but never bought from it as it seemed pretty pricey. But, seeing as I was in a fabric slump, I figured maybe one has to pay more for good fabric?? Maybe that’s why I haven’t found anything I like? I immediately fell in love with these two prints and luckily one was on sale, score! (I am very aware of the fact that both of these prints are geometric patterns in pretty monochrome colours, is this becoming a style rut for me?) The white fabric is apparently a quilting cotton, which I thought would be fine as the crisper the fabric the more it will hold the shape. It turned out that this ‘quilting cotton’ is actually totally dreamy and soft. It’s amazing! I bought 3 metres as it isn’t very wide and only just managed to fit view B on – no hope for sleeves.

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Having already made an Alder before (and by this point being pretty well versed in shirt making) the pattern sewed together like a dream. I’ve not made this version before though, and I love the extra volume given by the gathered skirt. It feels a bit more modern than the A-line version? I also personally feel that the print suits the pattern perfectly (but then I would say that! haha). You know that feeling when you finish a make that you are totally in love with and are so proud of yourself?? Yup, that was me with this dress! I love it, I love it, I love it! Haha.

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I had limited fabric when cutting out all the pieces and ended up having to cut the yoke on the crossgrain. I’m so glad I did now, I think the contrast with the rest of the dress looks great :)

The only downside is that I’m not totally sure that this style completely suits me. I think it’s fair to point out that I have a bit of an obsession about grainline patterns! I LOVE the Archer pattern, have now made 3 Alders, am currently making a scout tee dress mash up, and have just bought the new jumper pattern! Yup, bit obsessed. I just absolutely love the style aesthetic. Unfortunately, I’m not totally sure that the style suits me – being a curvy shape I think that the loose fit can make me look much bigger than I am. However this hasn’t seemed to stop me from sewing up the patterns though!

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I also love this version with a jumper, and seeing as this is mainly how I’ll be wearing it this winter, I thought I’d throw a photo in.

Now the second version, with sleeves! Since I was adding the sleeves to this version I stuck with view A (A line skirt). I only had two metres of fabric, and it was a squeeze, but I did  manage to just fit the pattern plus sleeves on.  Adding the sleeves means re-drafting the front and pieces and back yoke, seeing as the Alder and the Archer patterns were designed separately. Jen has a fab tutorial for this which worked perfectly for me.

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Sadly, the addition of sleeves was not enough to save this dress. I’m not totally sure how I feel about it. I love the fabric! I was so excited to cut into it, but somehow in this style it feels a little un-stylish and shapeless. I don’t really know how to wear it?I’m almost temped to turn it into another shirt. What do you think? It hasn’t put me off adding sleeves to the Alder at all, but I might add sleeves to the view B instead next time.

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Now, as much as I love sewing Shirts and Shirtdresses (and I really do) I cannot wait to sew something a little quicker! I see jersey in my future, haha.

October 27, 2014
by Katy
6 Comments

Autumn Sewing – Archer, Archer!

As Autumn approaches I’ve become very aware that I have very few weather appropriate clothes – almost nothing with sleeves! Having gotten used to wearing mainly home sewn clothes over summer it feels like cheating to go back to RTW. I have therefore been sewing like a mad woman to avoid all my uni work   to sew a more useful wardrobe! I seem to have gone a bit shirt crazy, and decided to sew not one, not two, not three, but FOUR shirts/shirtdresses.  I thought four might be a tad much for one post, so here are the two Archer’s I made. and I’ll show you the other shirt dresses in another post :)

I have made a few Archers in the past (here, here and here) but they have never fitted quite right, and I finally worked out why. This is a lesson in always checking the ‘fit to page’ box when printing your patterns. I am normally soo very careful about this, but my computer makes it tricky to do this and I guess one of the first times I printed with it I forgot to uncheck this box –  meaning my Archer pattern printed too small, Grrr! I finally printed it all out again, properly, and hey presto! The pattern now fits perfectly without any alterations :) SO be warned, check the ‘FIT TO PAGE’ box and untick it! I feel a bit stupid…
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My first shirt was made with a teeny tiny black and white polka dot cotton. I bought pretty cheap cotton for this which means that although it was a breeze to sew it’s not the softest against my skin (not compared to some the other versions) but it’s still wonderfully wearable. There’s not too much to say about this version, other than it fits really nicely and was very enjoyable to sew! I think shirts may be my favourite item of clothing to sew as they are so intricate with so many different elements to perfect – I can totally get my perfectionist geek on!

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Speaking of which, here are some details. Since I topstitched everything in black thread it’s almost impossible to see it but hopefully you can see a bit on the cuffs.

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I have now made so many of these that I feel I could make shirts in my sleep! However, I should mention that the instructions for the Archer are very clear and easy to follow, and if you need any help there is a fabulous sewalong on the Grainline blog. I only stray from these when adding in the collar stand, which I find fiddly if done the way Jen recommends, so I follow this tutorial instead.
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If there was one thing I might change about this shirt it’s that it feels a little poofy at the back. It feels too big.  I think this is in part due to the difference in my back measurement and my hip measurement – my hips are much bigger! Therefore the shirt is a bit tighter here, throwing the proportions off.

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I therefore decided to make a change in my next version – a blue chambray shirt! I have wanted a chambray shirt for forever, I think it might have to be compulsory for every sewist to make one? haha. And WOW I love this shirt! I love the colour, I love the symmetrical pockets, I love the cream stitching against the blue. LOVE! This really is an excellent pattern.  The only change I made to the pattern this time was to omit the pleat on the back piece below the yoke. However, this omits two inches from the whole back piece – which I need when it gets to my hips – so I graded out an extra inch (to where the pattern would be if I had not taken out the pleat) from the waist to the hips.

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This completely reduced the poof at the back of the shirt and makes it far more stream lined, Fab!

Here are some more details shots, cos I’m a geek :)
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Some of the topstitching isn’t absolutely perfect, but it’s good enough :) you’ll have to excuse the creases, this stuff does not stay crease free for longer than a few seconds!

You may think I’ve had enough of shirt making for now (and I kinda have) but I have another, slightly more glamorous version planned and I think I’ll remove the pleat again, I’m also thinking about slimming down the sleeves, and possibly increasing the length. I can’t wait to see how that version looks! Stay tuned for my shirt dresses too (I know you can hardly wait ;))

I still have more autumn sewing planned but these will keep me going a while longer :) Have you started autumn/winter sewing yet?

October 13, 2014
by Katy
4 Comments

Dolores Batwing top

I was recently one of the lucky readers chosen by Zoe of ‘So Zo’ to try out her new pattern the Dolores top. Naturally, I was over and the moon! I really like the causal and comfy look of the top, and I really need some more long sleeved tops right now!
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(I broke my camera the other week so I only have phone photos till I get a new one :( hence the not so perfect photos!)

This pattern only takes 11 pages of paper to stick together to get the pattern pieces – Zoe’s utilised the space as much as possible and has managed to loose a page entirely. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a pattern with so few pages :) I was really pleased by this – the number of times I have been frustrated that after cutting out pages and pages of pattern pieces only to find that one or two actually have nothing useful printed on them! Such a waste of paper. I love that Zoe’s environmental beliefs have influenced the layout of her patterns!

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The pattern has a few variations for you to choose from: a top, longer tunic and dress, with or without long sleeves. I decided to make two versions of the top, a dress with long sleeves, and a tunic with short sleeves, cos, options!

First up was the dress version. I decided to use my loved mustard yellow Jersey that I’ve had for aaaages. This is a very loved fabric. I love the colour and have been waiting for forever for the right pattern to make a dress from it. (It had to be a dress!). Also, mustard is just so Zoe! The pattern calls for very light, drapey Jersey fabric and in hindsight this fabric might be a tad too thick. It’s ended up a bit more like a jumper (awesome!). However, I actually really like the look.
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Now, the observant among you might realise that this is not a dress…. My machine and I had a little disagreement when it came to sewing the hem… It won, and after unpicking it THREE TIMES! and it still not hanging right I decided to chop off the hem and turn the dress into a tunic. I was sad, but actually a top is more versatile, so win! I don’t know what happened to my machine, first it kept making the hem wavy by stretching the fabric as it was sewing somehow – even with my trusty walking foot, then it would not sew without getting caught and making a big thread ball every few stitches… It looked totally nasty. I finally managed to get it to sew a passable hem on the tunic and after that it worked just fine, typical! I’ve since given it a good clean and it seems to be working fine now.

My body shape is very different to Zoe’s therefore I had to make changes to the pattern. My bust and hips fitted the size 14, and I cut down to the size 10 on my waist and shoulders. It’s still a bit baggy round my waist so I might go down another size next time I make it. I also had to make changes to the pattern due to fabric limitations – I only had a metre of fabric and was desperate to make a dress! I had to cut off length off both the sleeves and dress. The length of the dress doesn’t really matter now that it’s a top (but at least know it is possible with some sneaky cutting), but I took around 4 inches off the sleeves. The sleeves are now more like three quarter length, which I prefer anyway so that’s another win ;). Here they are when I haven’t rolled them up.

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The instructions included are also really easy to understand and are accompanied by photos which really helps a visual brain like mine!

My second make was the short sleeved tunic as I wanted to see how these sleeves would look. I used a black and white Aztec-y patterned Jersey for this one. This Jersey was very drapey so probably more how Zoe envisioned it.

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Comparitively to the other top this took no time at all as the hem went in first time with no problems! Zoe notes that her favourite way to sew a hem in Jersey is a 3-stitch zig zag, which I had not seen before so I decided to give it a go. I am pretty much converted to this stitch! It gives ways more stretch than a standard zig zag and looks pretty neat. I’ll be using this technique again for sure :)

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Overall, I really like this pattern. It’s quick and easy to sew – probably perfect for a beginner. The dress is smart casual – perfect for work. A great pattern for Autumn :)

October 1, 2014
by Katy
9 Comments

Mix and match!

Ever felt like you want an outfit in every colour? Yeah, me too! That’s what inspired this little collection of beauties. I am loving the crop top/high waisted look at the moment, so I decided to make a few to mix and match: multiple outfit combinations!

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Separates were everywhere this summer, crop tops and high waisted skirts/trousers, you name it. So many bloggers have made really lovely versions, Salieoh, Tasia, Katy and Laney, and many more. I really loved this look and have been meaning to make my own version all summer. Thing is though I wanted options. The love the matching separates look, but plains are so much more versatile.  You can’t tell easily in these photos but the colours are white, navy blue and black. I have to admit, I’m unlikely to wear the black and navy blue outfit often, but I love the blue/ white and black/white combo’s. In fact I have worn variations of these outfits practically everytime I’ve gone out recently! I was planning to make another patterned version (with some african wax print, love!), but didn’t get round to it! Oh well, hopefully this trend will still be here next year.

But seeing as these are in plain colours these outfits don’t just go together, they also go so well with so many of my other separates – RTW and homemade. I think these items may just be the most versatile I’ve ever sewn! Separates Rule!
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So what are these little beauties? Well the skirts are simple enough, they are just half circle skirts based on my waist measurement. I think this is just about the most important skirt for a sewist to have in her wardrobe. Not only does it take absolutely no time to make one (ignoring hanging time) but the shape is amazing. I decided after making my full circle skirt that while the shape is nice, there is just way too much fabric for me! I felt swamped by it, and I am far too comedy clumsy enough to pull of the lady-like look. A half circle skirt by comparison has the perfect amount of fullness – not too much, not too little – I’m coming over all goldilocks :) . The fabric you choose also makes such a difference. I used a stretch cotton twill from here. It’s really soft while having a great amount of body, meaning that the skirts really hold their shape. I love how much they ‘stick out’. The stretch also means I can eat without feeling too constricted, something I have used to great effect recently, oops!

The tops are made from the bodice of the Salme Sonja dress pattern. I really love the shape of this pattern as it is slightly racer shaped at the front and back, which I think is a really modern look.  I’ve made the full dress of this pattern a couple of times (here and here) and absolutely love it! I can’t recommend it enough, and remember – it’s free! Get it here. Seeing as these tops were meant to be part of a dress I had to work out exactly how to add a zip and still be able to get the top on. In the end I decided to sew in open end zips, meaning that putting on the tops is kind of like putting a jacket on back to front, does that make sense? This way they are super easy to put on!
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I also lined the tops in the same fabric. I could have just used bias binding, or a facing… But I hate facings and I love how neat a lining is. Using the same fabric means that the tops still stretch if needed, and I really like how strong and sturdy the tops feel. They aren’t going to fall apart at all!

So, basically, even though summer is over and these outfits aren’t particularly weather appropriate any more I love ‘em! Separates are the way forward people. Have you made any?

September 23, 2014
by Katy
15 Comments

Belated summer tops

Belated in that I actually made both these tops much earlier in the summer and have been wearing them A LOT in the (occasional) heat we’ve had.
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The first is a refash! Check it out, I’m actually capable to doing (simple) refashions now! *smug* ;) Last year I fell in love with these cute topshop dresses in a vivid yellow print. To be honest I wasn’t that fussed about the dress, but I loved that print! Alas, they sold out before I could get my grubby mits on one :(

Isn’t the fabric cute??? I totally loved it’s vibrancy, but sadly I didn’t find one in time. So, imagine my delight when I saw this very dress hanging in my local charity shop window, for £4 no less! I bought it there and then without even thinking about the size. When I got it home I realised it was a size 14, and too big for me as a dress without some serious taking in around the waist. But I wasn’t sure I wanted it as a dress, I mean who wants to walk around in last years fashion? Or something that’s not homemade? ;)

Plus this is the back: (you’ll have to make do with photos from the web as I forgot to take any of me in it,doh!)

This and the VERY short length (on me) meant it all just felt a little too skimpy for me to wear. So I unpicked it into the skirt, top, and zip and played around with what I had…. Not quite enough for a tee, bit boring to just have it as a skirt….I needed to do something interesting with it.
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As an aside, having started to unpick RTW clothes, I am surprised by how badly they are made! Just look at how wiggly that hem is, nothing seems to be cut particularly straight. Anyhoo, in the end I decided I had juuust enough fabric to make another top, based on my newly made denim dress. This was a lovely, simple make. Since I already had the pattern pieces I just laid them on the fabric from the gathered skirt and cut them out. There wasn’t enough fabric to have both the front and back on fabric clear of seams so I made sure this time that the centre back had a seam down it, not the centre front. I also reused the hem – it may be uneven but it’s already done!
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Et voila, the final top. Very simple, but I like that it puts that gorgeous print centre stage.
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I really love that back! The hem may be slightly wavy, but I can live with it!
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So a very simple cami, but I’m pleased I have something saved from that dress, and for only £4, bargain! I see many of these tops in my future! (Btw, it got caught in the wind in this photo – I’m not pregnant or anything :) )

The second top I made using the left overs of my gorgeous tie die fabric, which had made my kimono. Initially I had no idea what to do with it as I wanted the top to be special. I finally decided to trace one of my favourite RTW tops and make a copy. The top I copied is a very simple, racer back, floaty top, which I love to death and has started to fall apart :( . All was fine until I sewed the bias binding on the neckline. Now, I have no idea what I did, but I messed it up good and proper. Embarrassingly so. It gaped like you wouldn’t believe and was totally unwearable. I unlocked and tried to save it several times, but it didn’t work. I did take a photo at the time, but it was a while ago and I can’t find it anywhere, trust me – it was baaad! I was really quite gutted as this was my lovely hand died fabric, and I needed to save it!

In the end I cut out the offending sections of neckline, until it sat flat. I then made some spaghetti straps and attached them to the front and to the racer back, which I had also cut, at the back. Extra straps on tops seem to be a ‘in’ right now, so I’ve inadvertently made the top more fashionable! How ironic.
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By cutting the neckline the top now fits slightly higher up than before, and I can only wear it with a strapless bra, but I’m ok with that. I top stitched everything with white thread so it stands out, a touch I like :)
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In the end, and considering the disaster it was, I’m quite pleased with the outcome and have worn this top frequently over the summer.
So, two simple tops. Did you make any this summer?

September 18, 2014
by Katy
40 Comments

RecreKate: Striped Moto Jacket, with HOOD!

I finished it! I finally finished it! I have been ‘making’ this jacket for a while now. What that actually means is that it has sat in a corner half sewn together while I happily sew together a summer wardrobe, and generally chill out ;) … Oops? But the weather has turned a bit and am now in need of a new jacket – one with a hood!

You may remember I wanted to recreate this lovely (and expensive) jacket from Karen Millen:

Striped leather biker jacket

I’m obsessed with stripes, and with monochrome – what can I say? So this is my version, what do you think?
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Just like my floral jacket I used Burdastyle Asymmetrical Moto Jacket 11/2013 but I made some alterations. Firstly I got rid of the peplum effect by sellotaping the pattern pieces directly together. The second change I made was to add a hood! England rains, a lot, and I don’t like umbrellas!  This was very easy to do as the pattern already has a large collar. I simply added the hood from the Minoru to the pattern. This was a mega easy pattern hack.
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The fabric is a stripe Denim from Fabric Godmother, and is such a beautiful fabric. It’s soft but thick. The only issue is that it is a stretch fabric with the stretch running the wrong way. This wasn’t a huge problem but was something to bear in mind when sewing the seams, so I used my walking foot throughout to avoiding the seams stretching and becoming distorted.
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Having made the jacket up before it was a breeze to sew it together again, but I completely ignored the Burdastyle instructions – those things are just too confusing! Like last time I lined the whole jacket in the same fabric as you can see the lining at several points. This also makes sure the jacket will be warm in the autumn weather :)
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The sleeves are made of leather – yup, REAL leather! I bought my leather from here  and was really impressed with the quality. There were no holes in it and it sewed up beautifully! It was my first time using leather and I was a bit nervous about giving it a go, but actually it worked absolutely fine. I just sewed with a leather needle and there were no probs. I went over all the seams with my overlocker, not because I was worried about it fraying, but because I wanted the seams to be nice and strong. I didn’t line the sleeves and instead did a blind hem along at the cuffs. But this is a bit visible so I might go back and line the sleeves.  It will look more professional this way, buuuut…. the jacket is finished now, so the likelihood of that happening? Slim to none :)
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So? I am so happy with the outcome. It is comfy, fits well, HAS A HOOD and I like the slightly sportswear look created by adding it. Oh and I saved about £400!! Now I just have to go through my wardrobe to work out what I can wear with it :)

August 17, 2014
by Katy
16 Comments

Fabrikate Alder Shirtdress

Hey! I’m so excited to show you my lovely new Grainline Alder Shirtdress!

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It’s made using some silk I recently dyed when I also dyed using shibori techinques. I actually wasn’t planning on dyeing this fabric, but then I was dyeing my shibori dyed silk and fancied shoving some more in (Yes, that’s a technical term ;) ), but this time I wanted it to look dip-dye. I prepared the fabric in the same way as I did before , prepared the acid dye, and then….. hung it from a hanger while I let some of it fall into the pot.

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I boiled up the dye for nearly an hour and can’t quite believe that the silk hasn’t shrunk – the part that isn’t dyed it exactly the same width. Considering the high temperatures the silk was in, I was very surprised!

The dye hasn’t seeped/spread up the fabric like I imagine it would had I used procion dyes, or Dylan dyes. But I like the uneven effect it’s given it, which is more or less just due to where I put the fabric in the dye solution.

I had no idea what to do with this gorgeous fabric once it was done, but then I saw the new Grainline Alder Shirtdress and I knew they would look good together!

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Naturally I had to make some changes in the length of the dress. I think I added on about 2 or 3 inches overall, and I reckon it’s a perfectly respectable length now. I made up a size 6, thinking that it would fit my bust ok, but it’s a little bit too tight…. I really do have to just bite the bullet and learn how to do a FBA! Annoyingly there is enough ease in the dress for my bust, but some is at the back – where I don’t need it.  I should have added in more ease to the front of the dress. Having said that, It looks fine with a top underneath, and I was unlikely to ever really wear it done up fully so no real problem.

The Grainline pattern and instructions where easy to follow and the whole project was like a dream. If you’d like some extra help there’s a sewalong going on at Grainline at the moment! It was really enjoyable to sew something slightly more complex again, I feel I’ve been sewing a lot of basics recently.

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I really love the dip dye effect, and so added on a dip dye pocket too! Although working with this silk was a little tricky – it was soooo slippy, so the pocket is not sewn on perfectly but I’m happy with it. The slippyness of the fabric worried me so I took my time to make this one perfectly. I’m so pleased with the outcome, the sewing is all straight and I even made my own silk bias binding which I was not expecting to go in as easily as it did. This being made of silk I could only sew french seams, the fabric almost demands it!  When I’m not sewing things together quickly with my overlocker this is my preferred way of sewing seams, it just looks so much more sleek. Overall? Chuffed!

I found it difficult to decide which thread to use for all the topstiching, seeing as the dress goes from white to black. I originally sewed it all in white, including the buttons holes, but I really didn’t like the look. So I went out and bought a fabric pen and blacked out all the white stitching. It think it’s pretty successful – it’s managed to hide the white and I don’t have ugly sections where I’ve had to change the thread. I did a similar thing with the buttons and started with white buttons at the top and changed to black buttons at the bottom. Thanks to everyone on instagram who helped me with that conundrum! It’s looks much cleaner this way! Although next time I’m buying smaller buttons, I always go too big!!

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So, opinions? My husband thinks it’s a bit too ‘art teacher’, I’m hoping you disagree??

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Also, how much do you love my shoes? I’m in LOVE! Far too tall to wear, far to beautiful not to wear!

 

August 11, 2014
by Katy
4 Comments

Single layer dress

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So, Today I give you the double layer dress from Burdastyle! This is a simple, SIMPLE dress. So simple that I’ve even managed to enticed my non sewing friends to give it a try! As an easy, non-fussy dress I think it’s perfect.

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I used this gorgeous multicoloured viscose from croft mill. which sadly is not in stock anymore. Seeing as this fabric is so busy I needed a simple design to show it off – hence this dress! I think it’s a good matching. Sadly, the fabric was quite a bit off grain so I wasn’t able to get much more fabric out of it. Which is a shame as I’d hoped I could have a dipped hem at the back. However, I do like how the dress turned out, and it’s probably more wearable now.

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The fit is pretty good, if a little big across the back and bust. I usually have to make extensive changes to burdastyle patterns to allow for my curves, but seeing as this dress has an elastic waist I could make the waist as small as I needed it to be and so just cut out my bust size with no changes. The style is pretty relaxed - the dress hangs slightly over the waist which I like. The observant among you may have noticed that despite it’s  name this dress has only one layer? Well I just didn’t feel that I needed to make two! The pattern provides style lines for both the dresses on one pattern piece. The ‘outer’ dress has a lower neckline and lower armcycles and, you guessed it, the ‘inner’ dress has  a neckline that is slightly higher. I went with the higher neckline and I think that it’s turned out reasonably modest, but I’m not sure I’d want to wear the ‘outer’ dress without something underneath!

I have not created an elasticated waist this way before but quite like the result – I plan to use it again in the future on other makes. The instructions call for you to zig zag stitch over some elastic thread, which you then pull to the correct length. This makes for easy sewing and a super easy dress to get on and off as it has no fastenings. I’ve been adding a belt to mine just to excentuate my waist, which works well.  I’m thinking this might be a useful dress for all  my friends that seem to be pregnant at the moment! Perhaps I can make them some post pregnancy prezzies :)

The instructions call for you to make your own bias binding, which I’m getting a dab hand at now so no problems there. I think this might even be my cleanest insertion of self made bias binding. I almost copped out and used shop bought, mainly because I’m lazy, but I’m glad I didn’t in the end. This bias binding is almost totally invisible – helped by the busyness of the print.

If you’re looking for easy burdastyle intructions, these are probably the closest you are going to get -seeing as the dress is so simple. But if you wnat clear step-by-step instructions, you’re still going to be disapointed. Luckily there are plenty of tutorials for making and adding bias binding on the web, if you don’t know how to do either of these things you might want to check them out first!

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All in all this is a really easy dress to make and wear, even in the wind!

August 7, 2014
by Katy
18 Comments

Denim Swing Dress

Is it me or is it too hot to sew? All I want to do right now it sit in a beer garden with an ice bucket, and a glass of wine! This is mainly why my output of late has been lacking. Or rather the photographing has been lacking….

But I’ve finally gotten around to both making and photographing something, yay!

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This is my denim swing dress. I have wanted a denim dress for aaaages! I think they look gorgeous in the summer. I’ve tried on a few denim dresses in shops and always found they don’t fit right across my hips. So I really had no excuse to make one, and make it fit right – perks of being a sewist right? Luckily, I had this lovely denim left over from my denim circle skirt. I LOVE the colour of this denim it’s lovely and light, just what I wanted. If you’re interested, it’s from Minerva Crafts and you can get it here.

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This is essentially a very simple dress. I didn’t use a pattern, but made my own :) I couldn’t be bothered to start from scratch so I started with the double layer dress from burda (a post on that coming soon) as I knew that mostly fit. I removed some excess across the bust as it was a bit big, and removed some of the fullness of the skirt. I wanted this to be more swingy than floaty, if that makes sense?

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I actually did something new with the bias binding on this dress. I’ve had problems on the last couple of things I’ve made with the neckline stretching out. I was determined this would not happen with this dress! So I stitched a large stitch along the neckline and slightly, and I mean slightly, gathered it. This way when I added the binding it sat perfectly! I don’t think this is normally necessary, but it helped this time.

I then completely changed the neckline, making it a racer back and making straps by continuing the bias binding. I made the straps cross at the back as I like that little detail.

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Although you can’t really see in these photos (it was so sunny!) There is a design detail at the front of the dress – a strip of denim. This photo probably shows it more clearly.

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This was actually the result of a total cock up on my part – I didn’t have enough fabric to cut both the front and back on the fold, but it was only AFTER I cut it all out that I realised I had put the back on the fold, not the front. Duh!! This is why I take ages over my cutting out – I’m prone to stupid mistakes. In the end I decided to make a feature out of it and added a strip to the front. I like it now :)

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I think it works :) basically, I’m really happy. Finally I’m starting to make some weather appropriate clothes. How are you guys getting on with sewing in this heat?

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