Sunday, 29 March 2015

Myrtles Mark 1 & 2

alt="Colette Patterns Myrtle"
Two Myrtles
I think that these two dresses, my woven Myrtles from Colette Patterns, are probably the most favourite things of all of the things that I have made. A bold statement, I know! But, I just totally love how easy they are to make, how quickly they come together AND that I haven't had to make any adjustments to the pattern to make them fit. 

I made the grey version in Robert Kaufman cotton chambray way back in August just after the pattern was first released. I was immediately taken with the idea of the dress in woven, rather than knit, and picked up this fabric from Spool of Thread with my birthday money. 

I did a test version first, which was meant to be a wearable muslin. However, I had a bit of trouble understanding how to install the waistband to start, so there was lots of unpicking involved. And then I realised with horror that I had sewn the skirt in back to front so the seam was running down the middle at the front! Bummer. But I had a muslin that fitted and I was ready to cut into my lovely soft grey dot. 

alt="Colette Patterns Myrtle"
Grey dot Myrtle
Like many other Myrtle makers on the web, in the end I sewed the channel for the elastic first and then threaded it through, rather than pinning it in and trying to sew round it whilst it was all bunched up. This just seemed a lot easier to me, much less stressful and therefore quicker in the long run. On this first version I also left off the pockets as I was going for instant gratification. 

My Myrtle featuring in a Viewbook!
This version made it into our Viewbook at work which is quite exciting (to me) as I'm wearing something I made and this will be seen all over the world! Look how much my hair has grown since this picture was taken at the beginning of October.

Recently I have been getting completely bogged down by fit adjustments and it has completely taken out a lot of the joy of sewing for me. Sad face. Part of the reason for this is that I just despise how long it takes me to make the changes, do the tests and then start again. But I know that it is better to spend more time fitting to have a more perfect garment then to just waste time and beautiful fabric on something that doesn't really fit. What's the point in that? So I am trying to take more time to make sure things fit and make more muslins. I am also spending more time mulling carefully about whether the garment will ever be able to fit me in the way that I want it to, before I spend ages making changes to a pattern. 

It was with the above in mind that I decided that I wanted to give my mind a rest and make another Myrtle with my gorgeous Hana rayon from the Cotton+Steel Frock collection last weekend. It is so soft and I love the colour. I was totally inspired by Jemjam's version from the Frock tour, and I also just wanted a quick win. 

alt="Colette Patterns Myrtle"
Rayon Myrtle
This time round, I did include the pockets as I'm still a bit sad that I don't have them on the original version. However, I'm not sure they work with the thinner fabric as they add a bit of bulk at the waist where I don't really need it. I also used 1 cm wide elastic, rather than 1 inch, so the waist is narrower than my first version and that prescribed by the pattern. It's much better for the thinner belts that I have to wear with the dress. 

I can't decide which dress I like most - they are both quite different because of the different weight of the fabrics. I like that this makes them seem like different dresses and I think I will make more in the future, maybe even a knit version... 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

A Bow Bag for Becky

Bow clutch bag
I made this lovely bow purse for my fabulous friend Becky as a belated Birthday present. Mailing stuff over to the UK is expensive so it’s nice to be able to make something that is extra special to send. 

For the main body of the bag and construction, I used Lisa Lam’s amazing Easy peasy purse instructions from U-Handbag. If anyone is new to clutch purse making, I highly recommend this kit - it is how I learnt everything I know about making purses with metal frames. The instructions are so clear. If you buy this kit with the fabric, all you need is the glue to put your first purse together!

For this purse, I cut out all of my fabric pieces and attached the facing to the shell of the purse. 

For the bow part, I cut two sets of rectangles using the same fabric (a lovely black chambray from Robert Kaufman), one at 5 inches by 10.5 inches and one at 3 inches by 1.5 inches. I then sewed them together to create two tubes, and turned them inside out. 
Rectangles cut and ready to sew
Sew the little one together to create a loop. Turn it inside out and then fix it to one of the shell pieces of the purse with a couple of hand stitches. 
Small loop sewn together at each end
Small loop fixed to the centre of one side of the purse
I then threaded the large tube through the tiny one by folding the fabric like a concertina and then poking it through. 
Concertina the fabric and poke it through the little loop (that is fixed to the purse)
Spread out to your liking and pin in the middle to hold in place.
I then spread it out and pinned it so that when sewing the shell of the purse together (right sides together) it didn't budge when sewing the sides together.

Finished outer shell with bow
I then followed the rest of the instructions according to the Easy Peasy kit and voila, a purse for Becky!  (The lining fabric is a double gauze from Sevenberry – it is sooo soft).

Sevenberry double gauze for the lining
Blurry sidey shot

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Wardrobe Architect Update!

I really enjoyed doing the first month of challenges for the Wardrobe Architect and I really did learn a lot about what shapes I like and what I actually feel comfortable, and more importantly, confident wearing. I spent practically a whole afternoon browsing the internet for patterns and looking at the wonderful creations that others have come up with on Pinterest. I managed to narrow down my list to patterns that I think will actually suit me, as well as meeting my requirements so I’m all good to go now. Doing this exercise also made me realise how many patterns I already own, which is helpful as Andy and I have been trying to be frugal recently. 

I’m really looking forward to making lots of dresses, including Darling Ranges, Staple Dresses and the Papercut Patterns Sigma dress. My list of shirts includes the Colette Violet, Grainline Alder and Archer and some basic camis/tops such as the Colette Sorbetto and the Sew Over It Cami.  I am also going to try and be a bit more daring and attempt a pair of trousers, a pair of shorts AND the Victoria Blazer from By Hand London (I think). I also need to tie in my aim to sew with knits in, so Mabel and Moneta are both on my to do list. 

One of the main things that I learnt from this process was that I need to nail my fabric choices for the clothes that I make. From now I’m going to be using a lot more neutral and/or subtle fabrics for my dressmaking. I learnt the hard way when I spent ages trying to make a Grainline Alder with some pale flowery double gauze which quite frankly, makes it look like I’m just off to bed in the Victorian times. Not a good choice, as beautiful as the fabric is, but the silver lining of this cloud is that my FBA worked a dream and I’m ready to use some much nicer fabric to perfect this garment!

Lots to do, so little time. But at the moment all this sewing is keeping me from going insane from the monotony of my day job which I’m very glad about.

Paper Bag Skirt

alt="Salme Patterns Paper Bag Skirt"
Paper Bag Skirt & Colette Sorbetto
I just love love love this style of skirt, as it is super comfortable and now I love it even more as this pattern from Salme Patterns was so quick to whip up! I used to have a similar skirt from Topshop but it just didn’t fit around my waist (my biggest body part!) and my hips that nicely. Luckily it looked great on my friend Lydia – isn’t it great when your friends can make such good use of your awkwardly fitting clothes?!

I found out about Salme Patterns through Pinterest, and there are so many good patterns to try at a very reasonable price. The instructions are minimal, but OK if you kind of know what you’re doing like I do, most of the time. When I printed out the PDF pattern I was amazed that there weren’t many pieces but this is because the waistband and belt are just rectangle pieces so the dimensions are in the pattern for you to cut your own without a paper pattern. I thought that this was a good idea as it saves time on cutting, sticking and more cutting again with paper so this made me happy. I managed to whip this skirt up in just a couple of hours as it was quite straightforward, and the black twill that I was using (from Dressew) was so nice to use, especially when making the pleats. 

alt="Salme Patterns Paper Bag Skirt"
Paper Bag pleats
There are a couple of iffy parts to this pattern. The first is that there are no finished garment measurements with the pattern so I ummed and aahed for quite a while about which size to make (because my waist is quite out of proportion to my hips and legs). In the end I measured the pattern pieces and subtracted the darts/gathers to work out what the finished size would be so I could work out which size to cut. Seam allowances aren't included in the main pattern pieces so I also had to remember to include these when I was cutting out.

alt="Salme Patterns Paper Bag Skirt"

I've already worn this skirt quite a bit - it's perfect for work with a little top. This one is a Colette Patterns Sorbetto that I made before we left the UK with some Koi Voile for Cloud 9I totally love this skirt now and think that I will make many more at some point.  I was having a bit of a disastrous sewing time when I decided to make it as I had completely mucked up the shoulders on a Laurel dress that I was making, and totally out of love with some fabric that I’d used to make a shirt, so this really helped me to feel better!