Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sherbet Scout Woven Tee

My first Grainline Scout tee and, like the Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank, definitely the first of many! I love this pattern and it's perfect for my expanding pregnancy tum.  I'm now five months pregnant and all of a sudden most of my skirts, jeans and dresses (eh that'll be most of my clothes then) are just that wee bit too tight.  So why I'm sewing tops when most of my tops still fit ok?  Well I just couldn't resist another Grainline pattern, and the chance of a sew-along with Nettie!  The Scout sew-along is on the Kollabora website - an online sewing community.  I remember reading about it a while ago but I hadn't signed up until this sew-along.  It looks like a great website though, with some really useful video tutorials, and lots of inspiration from fellow sewers.

Nettie's instructions for checking the fit using another top that fits well was such a good idea and really helped.  From using a really old and comfy shop-bought short sleeved shirt I was quickly able to see that the arm scythe was going to be too tight.  I'm not sure if there's a 'proper' way to fix this but I just drew a new lower line under the arm and cut it.  This has resulted in the sleeve fitting perfectly without any gathering which is a bonus as I do find easing the sleeves in quite difficult (luckily I quite like puffed sleeves haha!). I had to put a seam down the middle of the back and managed to line the pattern up really well - yay! I used french seams throughout and really love this method now.  Check out Jen's tutorial for this as it's so clear.  This fits perfectly now but still has plenty of room in the front for my growing bump!

The fabric I used for this one came from a very flouncy dress I bought at a market stall in Brighton because I just couldn't resist the colours and pattern.    The colours remind me of sherbet, you know like those flying saucers you used to get for a penny from the local shop?  It's difficult to see but in the photo below you can just make out the vertical lines of cut-out dots which give the fabric a really light and airy feel. This is a perfect summer top and I know it'll get so much wear - in fact I'm almost finished my second one as I write this (I'm just off to finish the sleeves and do the hem now).

If you need any more convincing on how great this pattern is then just check out the gallery of completed Scouts - how could you not be inspired by these!?!

Following a sew-along is just such a nice feeling - knowing that all over the world there are other sewers making the same pattern or alterations on the same pattern, and knowing there's a whole community of people you can compare notes with, ask questions too, and share tips. If you've never taken part in a sew-along, or are new to sewing, I'd really recommend it! So thanks Nettie, and thanks Kollabora!

This also counts as part of Indie Pattern Month

Saturday, 29 June 2013

London sewing meet-up (or, are all sewing blogger's this friendly?)

It's been a full week since my mini-blogger meet-up with Roisin, Solvi and Anneke and I still can't believe what a lovely day I had - it really felt like we'd all known each other for ages! I'm sitting at home filled with the cold right now on a hot day so remembering last Saturday's fun is really cheering me up!  One down side of how much fun we were all having though - nobody remembered to take many photos.  You can see Roisin's or Anneke's post for a few more photos if you'd like - they're also much better than my terrible attempts at candid camera below.

Anneke in the vintage fabric shop, Cheshire St
Solvi and Roisin in the vintage fabric shop, Cheshire St

We started off with brunch at Bills, where we were joined by Roisin's boyfriend Nick.  The chat started straight away and didn't stop all day.  We were soon joined by Anneke's boyfriend Dimitri and while we girls all headed off to Liberty, Nick and Dimitri went to a comic shop in Soho.  After Liberty we got on the tube and headed east to explore Kathryn's recommendation of the Vintage Shop on Cheshire St.  If you're in London and haven't been, you should really check it out.  It was amazing - shelves and drawers just bursting with fabric!  After a good wander round Brick Lane we headed to the Carpenter's Arms on Cheshire St for some much needed refreshments.  Solvi's boyfriend Anders then joined us and we all headed back towards Soho to meet up with Zoe.  Zoe's was one of the first sewing blogs I started reading so I was really excited to meet her and she was as lovely as you'd imagine - and looking absolutely glowing in her pregnancy too! We went to Brasserie Zedel for some food and more drinks and had such a great evening.  I know I said it already but I still can't believe I'd never met any of these people before that day - we all got on so well it was like we were old friends.  I'm so hoping I'll be able to make the big August meet-up in London, who else is going?!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Kirsten Kimono Tee

This is my first make since Me Made May - a MariaDenmark Kirsten kimono t-shirt.  I often name my makes after whatever I've been listening to most when cutting it out/sewing it up, however this make came together so quickly, quite late on on a Sunday night that I don't think I even had the radio on so I'm afraid there's no fancy name.  Can I just say how great this pattern is! I was a bit worried at first as it doesn't include seam allowances but I'd read a few reviews where folk had said they didn't bother to add a seam allowance and it worked out.  This sounded good to me so I just went with it, cut out a size small and it worked out fine. Well, as you can see from my smug face below I think it worked out more than fine, I'm really happy with it! 

I should have taken a better photo from the side but you can kind of see I've made a not-bad job of matching up the stripes at the side - not perfect but almost there.  I love this stripey fabric, it feels really good quality and, unlike my jersey Banksia, the stripes aren't just painted on.  The fit under the arms is perfect, an area I'm realising I have problems with, and the length is pretty spot on.  Niggles? My neckband - I don't think I really understood the instructions properly for this stage and am not sure I attached it properly, plus I've managed to stretch it out a bit when sewing it on, as you can see below.  However I do like the effect of the stripes going in the opposite direction.

I quite like when other bloggers break down the cost of the make, any problems/issues, etc so I think I'll try and do that more regularly.
Pattern: Maria Denmark Kirsten kimono t-shirt - Free!!
Fabric: striped jersey from John Lewis, £14 a metre. Only 1 metre needed (still have a wee bit left over)
Notions: I already had white thread, a twin needle and a jersey needle so I didn't need anything extra for this, except the greaseproof paper I used to trace off the pattern.
Problems/Issues: Does anyone have any tips for keeping the neckline steady and stopping it from stretching out? I was also being very lazy to begin with and left my pins in when sewing the should seams - you can see what happened in the photo below, it's resulted in slipped stitches with the zigzag stitch.  Nothing major though and apart from that and the neckband no problems at all.  The instructions are very clear and I had no problems printing this PDF off to scale.
Total cost: £14
Will I make this again: For sure! I'd also like to try extending this and making a kimono style dress as I think it would be so comfy for work. I might try and branch out from stripes though as I have so many stripey clothes! However stripes are always so tempting, especially Lula Louise's great idea for making a striped cap sleeve dress, I think this tee shirt pattern would be the perfect base for that.

This also counts as part of Indie Pattern Month

Monday, 17 June 2013

Fabric give-away winner and Indie pattern month

I was really excited to host my first give-away.  Thanks to everyone who took part! There was only one commenter interested in the Bernina Zip foot so congratulations to Jennifer57!
For the fabric I numbered all the comments from the 1st through to the last (there were 12 entries in total) and used the random number generator on  As you can see the winner was number 5 which makes the winner Amy from Sew Amy Sew - congratulations Amy!
I'll be in touch with both winners tonight.

Also I mentioned in my last post that I was trying to decide what sew-alongs to take part in - well I decided to start with the Kollabora sew-along hosted by Nettie from Sown Brooklyn.  I've also got a new make to share with you tomorrow which is part of my participation in Indie Pattern Month, as of course the Grainline Scout tee's will be. Have you heard about Indie Pattern Month? It's a great idea from Kat of Modern Vintage Cupcakes to showcase and highlight all the fantastic independent pattern designers.  You just leave a comment with a note of what indie patterns you're working on through the month of June, and you can add the side button if you like too (I'm not quite sure why mine is showing up so large?!)

So hopefully see some of you in the Kollabora sew-along, or sewing up other indie patterns this month!
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Fabric give-away

Sorry, this give-away is now closed.
There are a number of reasons for this fabric give-away.  The selfish one is that we're moving house soon so I'm trying to de-stash as much as I can. But more importantly I wanted to give a little something back to the amazing online sewing community.  I really can't get over how wonderful the Me Made May Flickr group has been, or how great the online sewing community is in general.  You are all a real source of support and inspiration for me! So in the interests of giving something back I've gone through all my fabric and found two that I am sure could have a better home elsewhere. I'm giving both of these away to one lucky reader. I'm also giving away a Bernina zip foot.
Sorry, I forgot to say this give-away is open world-wide.

  1. Liberty tana lawn fabric Durie B (designed by children's illustrator Brian Wildsmith) - 2.3 metres x 1.4 metres.  This is a really gorgeous fabric and I'm pretty sure I only paid for 2 metres so think I got a good deal here! The colours are a bit more vibrant than they seem in this photo.
  2. Timeless Treasures 100% cotton - aprox 2.8metres (along the width of the design) by .6metres. This is a more awkward size but it would still be enough for a lovely tote bag, or children's clothes, or maybe even a wee top with some clever pattern piece placement.
  3. Zip foot No.4 for a Bernina.  This should fit Bernina models from 700 up to 1530 and a 1008.  When I was starting to learn to sew I thought I should order myself an invisible zip foot for my sewing machine. However instead I ordered a normal zip foot, exactly the same one I already had! As I don't really need two of the same foot I'd love to pass this on if there's anyone who doesn't have one.  I can't imagine there's that many folk needing this foot as I have a feeling it may come as standard with the machine but if there are more than one of you then I'll do a draw but obviously if there's only one then you get it!
Instructions and rules are below the photographs.

Liberty fabric Durie B
1. Liberty tana lawn, Durie B
2. Timeless Treasures 100% cotton
3. Bernina zip foot No.4
If you're interested in winning both these fabrics and/or the zip foot please leave a comment below. To restate, there will be two draws, using a random number generator.  One winner will receive both these fabrics, the other winner the zip foot.  You can enter both give-aways in one comment.   Please also leave your email address or some other method of getting in touch with you.
Of course if you are only interested in the zip foot then state that, but what sewist (sewer? never quite sure what sounds better/less weird!) wouldn't want these two lovely fabrics as well!
I'd also be really interested to know how you follow my blog (assuming of course that you do follow my blog!).

Thanks for reading!

For any family members that read this blog, this isn't open to you, sorry!

This competition is open from today, Saturday 8th June 2013.  The closing date is Sunday 16th June at 6pm GMT.  
I will notifiy winners within 28 days (I'll do it much sooner than that but this is the official rules from the CAP code) and if I don't hear back, I'll continue to try to contact the winners in an additional 28 days before redrawing.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Me Made May round-up

Well that's it finished - my first Me Made May experience! I really enjoyed it, and although I was very happy to stop taking photos of myself every day (and I'm sure my husband was glad when I stopped asking him to take them too!) I'm still a wee bit sad it's all finished. As I said on my Flickr it was wonderful to feel a part of such an amazing community and I'm so glad I took part.  Thanks so much to Zoe for organising it all.

Collage of Me Made May photos

Collage of Me Made May photos

Collage of Me Made May photos

One last time, my pledge was:

'I, Kathryn of Kathryn’s Busy Town, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear one me-made or re-fashioned item of clothing or jewellery each day for the duration of May 2013'

I surprised myself by managing handmade or re-fashioned clothing every day for the whole month, although there were quite a few repeats. The thing that got the most repeats was my Colette Meringue skirt so I can see that I need to make some more basic skirts in bright colours - maybe branch out a bit from pink! It's also quite clear that there are some favourite colours here - pink, blue and yellow.

What have I learned from the experience?
  • I wear more of my me-mades than I thought I did
  • I should have more confidence in wearing the things I make as nothing has fallen apart yet, event the things I made a few years ago when I was just starting out
  • Fellow sewers really are the most wonderful people - I can't exaggerate how much I enjoyed the support and comments of other sewers during MMM, and feel very lucky to have joined such a friendly and supportive community.
  • I love colour - my winter wardrobe this year was just not 'me' - way too much dark colours, so this year I need to remedy this with some winter sewing in bright colours so my me-made winter wardrobe makes me as happy as my spring/summer one
  • Sewing has really changed my attitude towards clothing and consumption - this was something I knew already but taking part in MMM has really confirmed for me my love of sewing and of taking a more active part in decisions regarding what I wear and how I consume
Next up? Trying to decide what sew-alongs to take part in. There are so many coming up in the next few months! Has anyone else signed up to any sew-alongs? What are you sewing next?
Thanks so much to everyone who commented on any of my photos on the Flickr group, or replied to posts here on my blog, I really appreciate it.  I'm so glad to have met lots of new friends through MMM and now have so many new blogs to add to my feed!