Sunday, 29 May 2016

Tried and true - plantain dress

There's a well known sewing acronym, a T&T pattern. This means a tried and true pattern, something you've made multiple times, used as a base for variations, and continually come back to. For me the free plantain tee from Deer & Doe patterns most definitely falls in this category. This is my sixth time using this pattern and I'm sure there are many more to come!  I had been looking for some Kelly green knit fabric for a t-shirt dress for a while and when I saw this ponte on Girl Charlee I just couldn't resist, especially with their 10%  off introductory offer!

The fabric was lovely to work with, not quite as thick as I thought ponte would be but it actually works perfectly for a summer dress.  It is such a brilliant vivid green and I'm sure there's enough left for a top which is a nice bonus! I'm so pleased with this and have worn it 3 times already this month and know this will get plenty of wear both summer and winter. I do love these quick makes that I know will get so much use! It's also very satisfying to re-use a pattern so much like this.

Summary -
Pattern: Deer & Doe Plantain t-shirt, free
Size: 38 graded to 40 at the waist, and 42 at the hip when I made the t-shirt version
Alterations: From the waist down I traced round an old H&M t-shirt dress to make this pattern
Fabric & notions: Fabric £21.90 from Girl Charlee including post & packaging, with 10% welcome discount, green thread £1.60
Total cost: £23.80

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Sew U Home Stretch - raglan sweater

Yes, I'm back with more pink. and with another make I'm really proud of.  This was a lot simpler than the wool skirt though!  This is the Raglan Sweater from the Sew U Home Stretch book. I  bought some beautiful knit fabric from Faberwood with birthday money earlier in the year which was earmarked for this pattern but I wanted to do a trial run first.  On my way to search the local fabric shops for sweatshirt fabric I stopped in one of my local charity shops and found a pink men's medium Reiss sweater with grey ribbed cuffs, waist and neck band. Too big to wear as it was and the grey ribbing looked very tired and worn but the pink fabric was really good quality. At £5.99 it was quite pricey, but then I was in the British Heart Foundation shop AKA the most expensive charity shop in Walthamstow. And really, it's easy to lose perspective when buying second hand - £6 for a jumper isn't much at all is it, especially given the alternative of buying new and adding to consumer waste/landfill, not to mention the working conditions of the garment makers. So I happily handed over £6 and the jumper went straight in the wash when I got home. The grey ribbing didn't look any better after the wash but luckily I had this lovely golden yellow/orange ribbing that I bought from Kitschycoo Fabrics a few months ago (along with some black and some red).

Although this was a relatively quick make I took a bit more time than I usually do with knits and pressede seams as I went along rather than just at the end. I think this made a difference with the bulkier material so I'll be doing this next time I make this sweater. I also used the overlock stitch ony Bernina to finish all the seams. I keep meaning to try the lightning stitch as I've read good things about it, has anyone else used this? I'll need to remember next time. 

Summary -
Pattern: Raglan sweater from Sew U Home Stretch Built by Wendy book, a Christmas present from my husband
Size: small 
Alterations: None
Fabric and notions: Pink sweatshirt from charity shop £6, ribbing from Kitschycoo £5 for 1/3 of a metre (I still have plenty left for toddler projects), thread from stash
Any changes I'd make next time: nope, none at all.
Total cost: £11

Has anyone else used this book? I can't wait to try some of the variations. A few of them look really dated but most of them are pretty classic. There's a plain T-shirt,  a Breton style top, and a hoody that all look great!

This has been worn a few times already and I'm sure you'll be seeing more of it during Me Made May if you follow me on Instagram! I hope everyone that's going MMMay this year is having as much fun as I am! 

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Think Pink! Pink skirt #2

You know when you make something you love so much that it just gets worn all the time before you even get a photograph or a blog post up? Well this is what happened with my last make, a proper 'woohoo make' as Kirsty would say! 

I like pink, a lot. My Wildwood Flower skirt gets worn loads so I thought it was about time to make another pink skirt to add to the wardrobe. This is the Great British Sewing Bee A-line tweed mini skirt pattern from the Fashion with Fabric book. There are so many lovely patterns in this book but I decided to start with this as I really needed a warmer skirt for winter.  I am so so pleased with this skirt and wear it at least once a week, often more!

One very neat invisible zip!
Making this skirt involved learning some new sewing skills. This was my first time attaching a lining, first time hand-sewing a hem, and first time using binding to finish a waistline.  The wonderfully vibrant pink wool came from a batch of fabrics gifted to me by a friend who works for a high street fashion store - they hold these fabric sales to get rid of left-over fabric from sample stock and she picked me up some wonderful fabrics! I splashed out and bought some Bremsilk Cupro lining from MacCulloch and Wallis, which is also where I got the brown faux-leather binding.

Hand-stitched hem and lovely purple lining

The instructions were pretty straight-forward as there are no pockets or facings and the directions given for adding the lining worked really well. I made up a straight size 10 but only used 1cm seam allowance instead of the recommended 1.5cm as I thought it would be too snug otherwise. However it's actually turned out a smidgeon too loose so if I make this again I'll just use the given seam allowance. I hand-tacked my zip down before sewing it and am really pleased with how it looks. I can see from these photos that I need to press the hem more but I was scared to as when I initially pressed the fabric it burnt a little bit, thankfully it's on the back and with a little bit of brushing the wool it's not noticeable at all.  Also, it looks squint in these photos but it really isn't, it must be the way I'm standing! I really took my time over this and, I think because of the influence of the quilting I've been doing recently, did more hand-sewing than I usually would on a garment. Both the hem and the back of the binding are hand-sewn, and the tacking stitches for the zip were done by hand.  It was so nice to challenge myself a bit with a pattern after lots of jersey sewing (with more jersey sewing to follow soon!) and I'm looking forward to doing some more sewing with wovens over the summer.

Summary -
Pattern: A-line Tweed mini skirt hack from Fashion with Fabric, Great British Sewing Bee book. This was a present from my husband for Christmas.
Size: 10, no alterations except reduced seam allowance by 0.5cm
Pink wool - present from a friend
Lining - £10 from MacCulloch & Wallis
Binding - £4 from MacCulloch & Wallis
Zip - stash
Thread - purple and brown thread from stash, pink thread £1.60 Hobbycraft
Total cost £15.60 - for a lined wool skirt, woohoo indeed!

This week though it's all about jersey again as I'm taking part in Katie's, from The Creative Counselor, 'Back to Basics week' - which is all about sewing yourself basics, as simple as it sounds. It's been a great push for me and I can't wait to share my next make with you when I get some photos!
And it's Me Made May soon! Who's taking part? Have you changed your pledge at all? 
Here is mine:
'I, Kathryn of Kathryn's Busy Town, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '16. I endeavour to wear one me-made/refashioned item each day for the duration of May 2016. I also pledge to start work on one of my vintage patterns during the month of May'

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Stack-o-cats baby quilt

Well I think I can safely say that's me hooked on quilting now. This is my second quilt and I so enjoyed making it and am very happy with how it turned out! I still love sewing clothes but have a feeling there will be more quilts making an appearance here now, in between sewing for me and toddler sewing. This quilt uses the 'Quilt for a baby boy' pattern, another free pattern from Purl Soho.
I could go on a rant about gender/sewing/colours etc here but I won't as Molly, the creator of the pattern quite clearly states she doesn't agree with genderising colours/patterns etc but created this quilt for a particular baby boy, hence the name.

The starting point for this quilt was when I saw the cat print fabric on M is for Make. Well actually the starting point was of course my friend having her baby girl but when I saw the cat fabric, that's when I knew I was going to make her a quilt as my friend loves cats and knitting so this 'stack-o-cats' fabric featuring cats with balls of wool was just perfect! I couldn't decide between the two colour-ways of the print so I ordered both thinking I would find fabrics in my stash to co-ordinate (like I did on my first quilt). However I could only find the green, violet and the coral fabric in my stash so I contacted Kate at 'M is for Make' and she was brilliant! (I'm not getting any sponsorship or freebies from them, I just happen to love their selection of fabrics, and their customer service). She gave me a list of options that all went really well and I picked out some solids, and the lovely Atelier Brunette tangerine.  The white is a lovely quality double sheet I found in our local charity shop (for £1) and the binding is Tangerine Kona, also used in the quilt. I bought the cotton batting from my local Hobbycraft store.

I am so pleased with how this quilt turned out! I love the combination of colours but I think it's the expanses of white that really set the colours off and make this quilt so nice and bold. I used the Purl Soho tutorials again, for making double-fold binding, sewing on double-fold binding, and slip stitching, as I find these so clear and helpful.  The quilt instructions by Molly are also easy to follow and the nice straight lines make for easy quilting.  I think my next quilting challenge might be to try some more free-form quilting, using circles and waves instead of just straight lines. So many things I've read about quilting say a walking foot makes a huge difference but for my Bernina that would mean £80-100 so I think that will need to wait a while. In the meantime I've got a foot my mum used for free-hand machine embroidery so I'm going to do some experiments with that. There's also the rabbit hole of quilting blogs which I've just discovered so I may be spending a lot of my time getting inspiration from them!