Sunday, 7 July 2013

The 'not such a disaster after all' maxi dress

This dress is such a lovely surprise! My plan was for a maxi dress which would be comfy to wear to work (so many of my skirts don't fit me any more and I still have 4 months to go!).  Instead of buying another pattern I thought I would use the Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank pattern.  I raised the neckline slightly (next time I'll raise it more) and then just extended down from the waist in an A shape making a front and back pattern piece, each 38cm wide at the bottom (the only reason for this figure was that this was the maximum width of the fabric).   The problems started when I left the cut fabric sitting over a chair for weeks before I got round to sewing it up - it had stretched quite a lot!  I really thought that was it, game over, and left the dress for a week annoyed at myself for messing it up. 

One very stretched maxi dress
However a while later I started thinking of how I could fix it so tried it on again inside out, pinned it in quite substantially at the waist and hips, and marked a new hemline.  Voila - a maxi dress that fitted! Then I followed the advice I got on the Kimono t-shirt from The Toile and Trouble and cut the neckline band 30% shorter than the neckline and stretched it into place.  I didn't stretch it quite enough at the start so ended up really having to stretch at the end which resulted in some wonky tops stitching.  The neckline sits so much better than on my Kimono t-shirt so I do think cutting the neckband piece shorter worked.  I used a twin needle on the neckline, arm holes (which I just folded under), and hem and used a zigzag stitch with a jersey needle for the rest.

A success!

Pattern - Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank - already bought and well used so no cost for this make.  The alterations were really straightforward to do, just lengthening it and widening it out to the bottom width of 76cm.
Fabric - £3 a metre from Saeeds fabric shop in Walthamstow and I only needed 2 metres for this (with some left over).
Thread - in stash
All in this cost me £6!  I'll definitely be making this again but raising the neckline slightly to make it more work suitable. It's so comfy and perfect for my expanding tum!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Sailing, I am sailing - Scout Tee

I don't know about you but every time I hear that Rod Stewart song it brings a wee tear to my eye!  I am all about the Grainline patterns at the moment - this is my second Scout Tee and I have a Tiny Pocket Tank maxi-dress I need to blog about too.

Me wearing my Grainline Scout Tee

So this is another Scout for the Scout sewalong over at Kollabora.  This is one of those items of clothing that the first time I wore it out I just felt so me, do you know what I mean? It's really comfy and easy to wear and teamed with grey trousers, my favourite summer jacket (£5 from Primark about 6 years ago and still going strong!), and my blue clogs this was a really simple but smart outfit for work.  This time I used a lovely Japanese double gauze I bought from M is for Make.  It was £16 a metre but I had a 15% discount so it was £13.60.  It was my first time using double gauze and it's lovely and soft  though it does fray easily as well. I already had the fabric but I had to buy thread, say £2, so all in this only cost me about £16 and I know I'll get lots of wear out of it. I'd be hard pushed to say which version I prefer out of the 2 I've made so far as I love them both!

Grainline Scout Tee

Not much to say about the construction of this except I made the same adjustment under the arm and lowered it a cm or so.  I used Jen's tutorial for the French seams again - though stupidly forgot to use it for attaching the arms so ended up using the overlock stitch on my machine afterwards. This really is such a satisfying make, and I love the shape of the top.  Next time I'm going to try Jen's full back tutorial to give me a bit more leeway as my pregnancy progresses (thanks to Amanda for the tutorial link)

Me wearing my Grainline Scout Tee

Friday, 5 July 2013

Some blog Liebster love!

A huge big thank you to the lovely Fiona at Diary of Chain Stitcher for nominating me for a Liebster blog award! I think I discovered Fiona's blog through Me Made May 2013 and she's got such a great sense of style and eye for fabrics.  If you need some proof check out her gorgeous Charlotte skirt or her polka dot Elisalex.

I couldn't find out much about Liebster online, asides from on other blogs, but the idea is that you nominate 11 blogs you love that have less than 100 followers.  The aim is to show some blogging love, and raise the profile of the blogs.  The rules seem to change but I'm going to go with the most common ones I've seen - answer the 11 questions set to you, give 11 random facts about yourself, then nominate 11 blogs and ask them 11 questions. Simple, right?!

So, to start with - the questions Fiona asked me:
1. What is your favourite film of all time and why?
I’d love to say something really deep and cultured but for favourite film of all time I have to go with something I watch over and over again – Bladerunner. I just love it, every time I watch it I notice something different and don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it.
2. What kind of holidays do you like? Beach, city break, raving in Ibiza?! 
A mix of beach and city break would be my ideal holiday so if someone could just arrange for a last-minute holiday for me to Barcelona before I get too big to travel then that would be ideal, thank you kindly!
3. I spend a lot of time commuting, if you had a spare hour on the train what would you do? 

Read, read, read! Although I know I’m very lucky at the moment that my commute to work is on bus and not on the tube I can’t read on the bus as I get travel sick but I can read on the train or the tube. Though I don’t envy anyone a 1 hour or more commute!
4. What is the best sewing book you have read? 

I love my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing as a reference tool however I have to say I’ve definitely learnt the most from sewing blogs, and from asking friends.
5. Knits or wovens? 

Knits right now as I’m pregnant so wovens are currently proving a bit of a nightmare haha!
6. What is your favourite blog? 

Too difficult, I’m afraid I’m going to opt out of this one as there are so many blogs I love to read.
7. What other crafts do you do and which is your favourite?   

I do like to bake if I can count that as a craft? Though I haven’t been baking so much recently – sewing kind of takes over! I also occasionally take a wee notion for making jewellery but again, it’s been kind of side-lined for sewing.
8. What is your karaoke song?  
The thought of karaoke makes me so nervous – the only times I’ve done it I’ve been really drunk, and even then only sang as part of a group – said alcohol means I can’t really remember what I sung, oops!
9. Sweet or savoury?
Ooh another difficult one as right now I’m loving all food, and lots of it! I’d have to say sweet though, I can never resist a chocolate, or cake,  or spoonful of nutella yum!
10. What is your favourite accessory? 
Bags! My husband just doesn’t get how I can never leave the house with just one bag. I always like to have a handbag and a tote – it cuts down on plastic bags and I just feel more prepared somehow when I have both, probably a bit silly really!
11. If I gave you £50 to spend on fabrics, patterns or craft supplies what would you make from it? 
I would love to get the Megan Nielson maternity survival pack of 4 patterns – they all look like they’d be real wardrobe staples.  That would only come to about £32 so I’d use the rest to get myself lots of nice bright jersey solids to make them up in. 

11 random facts about me
1. My middle name's spelled Mhairi but 'mh' is pronounced as 'v' so it isn't 'ma hary' as some people have pronounced it - though that pronounciation still makes me laugh!
2. Following on from above, all the way through primary school I couldn't remember how to spell my middle name and always hoped we'd never get asked in class
3. I got married in Las Vegas in March 2010 and we sent postcards to our friends to share our news
4. Following on from the above, we had a big party back in Glasgow with famiyl and friends at the end of that summer so we kind of have two wedding anniversaries, almost.
5. My first musical love was heavy metal and I still love AC/DC, Guns'n'Roses and Bon Jovi though haven't listened to Alice Cooper, Poison or the Quireboys in years!
6. I'm originally from Glasgow but we've lived in London for 3 years now and absolutely love it
7.I've had 3 dogs and 3 cats as pets and I still miss them all and dream about them sometimes, is that weird?!
8. My blog name is from one of my favourite series of books when I was wee - Richard Scarry's 'Busy Town' though I didn't think it through properly and get a lot of weird hits as the name is pretttty close to 'busty town' - maybe time for a blog name change!
9. I've been toting my mum's guitar around with me for the past 5 years but unlike her sewing machine I've never learned to use it
10. I studied art history for the first 2 years of my degree and always wish I'd kept it up
11. One day I'd love to go back to study and do a PhD in something related to film and archives

So, on to the most important part, passing on the blog love! This was difficult as there are so many blogs I love to read, and now there are so many ways to follow it's sometimes difficult to see who has less than 100 followers, so apologies if any of you here have more than that.
Amanda at Blanca Pate
Jen & Elena at Tea for Two
Solvi at Delfinelise
Anneke at Annette Tirette
BlueSewn Cat
A Good Talking To
Helen at Grosgrain Green
Kacie at Thimble and Cork
Kim at PunkMik
Milena at I made this dress
and just yesterday I discovered Katie at the creative counsellor

I love reading all these ladies' blog posts and get so much sewing inspiration from them and other sewing blogs.

My 11 questions:
1. I love the film question so I'm going to ask that too - what is your favourite film and why?
2. When and why did you start sewing?
3. What is your favourite make? This could be for you or something you've made for someone else
4. Do you have a favourite type of fabric to work with, or favourite type of garment to make?
5. Do you have a favourite fabric shop, online or actual real life physical shop?
6. What's the best book you've read recently? (this is a bit of a selfish one as I'm always on the look out for good book recommendations!)
7. Do you have a favourite artist, or art work?
8. Cats or dogs?
9. Sweet or savoury?
10. If you could have 3 dinner guests, alive/dead, real/fictitious characters, who would they be and why?
11. If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go and why?