Monday, 15 July 2019

White Twist Top

I've always been a big fan of basic tops with a slight twist, such as adding a patch or a ruffle. For this twist, I literally added a twist to an otherwise very basic white t-shirt, a feature I've been meaning to try and recreate for a while. Although I wasn't entirely sure where I was heading with it for most of the project, I'm realy pleased to have tried out a new technique whilst creating a very versatile garment.

The twist that I ended up with isn't quite as prominent as what I had in mind. Originally, I hoped it would be bigger and also looser. However, having to make this up as I went along meant that I had to go with what I had and to be honest I'm not displeased with the result. While I'd like to try and make another top with a bigger twist in the future the small one on this top has allowed it to be worn more often and I do quite like the subtleness of the feature.

A white t-shirt is pretty much as basic as an item of clothing can get yet I've been amazed at how much I've worn this top. It's filled apparent wardrobe gaps that I had no idea previously existed. Even though there was a high chance this top would be a complete failure I was able to experiment thanks to the fabric - white jersey bought for €2 from a market in Bordeaux! Using cheap fabric is a brilliant way to experiment with made up designs and in this case the fabric actually feels pretty good quality considering the price.

Other than the addition of the twist this top is pretty much as basic as it can get. I based the design to be the same as that of my stripy top which has been worn all the time since I've made it. Such a simple design meant that once I mastered the twist the top came together in no time at all and it's often quick projects like these which end up being the most enjoyable to make as well as the most worn garments. 

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Pink Fluffy Jacket

Some projects are sewn on the spur of the moment while others are in the works for months due to the amount of planning that is involved; this project is definitely the latter. While the actual sewing of this jacket didn't take long at all, I've been thinking and planning this project for a very long time. I'm not sure what convinced me that I needed a pink fluffy jacket but I made one and I love it!

I've noticed people wearing teddy coats or fluffy jackets for a while now and I've wanted to make one for a while. With a project like this, the fabric is absolutely key and it was the lack of opportunity for finding the perfect fabric that delayed this project somewhat. I actually discovered the perfect fabric on a trip to fabric land. I wasn't actively searching for faux fur but they happened to have a lot of gorgeous faux fur fabrics in stock, including black, grey, white and pink. While I had the idea for a fluffy jacket at the back of my mind I don't think I was actively intending it to be pink but the shade of pink that fabric land had in stock was just perfect and the jacket was immediately destined to be sewn.

I tend to sew projects fairly soon after buying the fabric but in this case I was stuck for a while over what I wanted the design to look like. As I mentioned I've seen quite a few jackets like this one being worn recently but each design seemed to have a slightly different variation. It came down to deciding between a collar, hood or lapel and as you can see I chose to go for a jacket with a hood which I'm really glad I went for.

Once I decided on the design I created the pattern. I actually used my dressing gown as the base which seems crazy but the width of it was exactly what I was hoping for. Using a coat that I own I measured the zip length and width to ensure that the proportions were correct. The wrong side of the pink fabric is quite stiff so it required a lining, I purchased a simple grey lining fabric from John Lewis (which is actually the same fabric that I used for the sleeves of my Kelly Anorak). The lining also has the added benefit of making the jacket feel slightly more professional.

When it came to sewing the jacket I actually followed the Closetcase Patterns tutorial for bagging the lining of the Kelly as I remembered it to be really clear when I sewed my anorak. The contruction of the jacket actually came together really easily despite the fact that I made up the order of the majority of the steps! Possibly my favourite feature is the elastic at the cuffs and hem which makes it feel that bit more professional. Because of the bulk of the faux fur the seams were a struggle to sew, especially with the elastic, but it all came together in the end.
I really love this jacket, it's slighlty crazy but remains very wearable thanks to the current trend. The pink fabric is so soft and fluffy but it did shed everywhere while I was trying to sew it! After a lot of hoovering the room has just about recovered...

Sunday, 30 June 2019

White Jersey Shirt

It isn't always evident at the time which makes will turn out to be the good ones but I was fairly certain that my grey jersey shirt would become a much loved staple and it has quickly become just that. So much so that I decided to make another. I wanted to make myself a white long sleeved top and the design of this shirt is perfect in that it elevates a very basic garment into something a bit more interesting while still being basic enough to easily pair with clothes.

I made this shirt in exactly the same way that I made the last one with the addition of long sleeves instead of short ones. The different weight fabric means that it hangs differently as the white jersey is slightly thicker than the grey and although I prefer the grey one slightly the white still feels fine and the stiffness wouldn't have been something I'd have noticed had I not had the grey shirt to compare it to. The pattern I drafted for the grey top worked out really well the first time round which doesn't happen often and it was nice to be able to just sew this without having to draft a pattern. I actually really like the addition of the long sleeves, I've noticed that I have very few long sleeved t-shirts that aren't jumpers and this new top has definitely filled a gap. Once again I repeated the lettuce hem on the sleeves and hem which for me is the perfect way to finish jersey garments. I love the contrast between a shirt like collar and buttons with the more casual jersey and lettuce hem finish.

My new favourite technique is to sew buttons through both layers without needing buttonholes - it's the best! The buttonholes are completely unnecessary on jersey too as the farbic is stretchy enough to easily go over my head. For both of my jersey shirts I removed buttons from old shirts of my dad as they're the perfect size and colour, although I am running out of old shirts with buttons on now!

I've been amazed at just how much I've worn my grey top and I'm so glad to have made another. I actually used the wrong side of the fabric accidentally but I love how it's turned out as the wrong side of the rib provides a really nice texture! I made this top a while ago as it was made with the same fabric that I bought to make this top for my friend's birthday and in the time since making it I've worn this one quite a bit too and definitely want to make a couple more, both long sleeved and short sleeved ones.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Off the Shoulder Chambray Top

Much like my latest pair of culottes, I've had this make planned out in my head for a long time. It came down to a question of weather as I knew that an off the shoulder top would be perfect for the summer. I made my self an off the shoulder top a couple of years ago and have found that it's one of my favourite things to wear on holiday so I was keen to make another but with a couple of changes.

Having a make that turns out exactly as envisioned is a much sought after situation and this top is exactly that. I pictured a plain chambray off the shoulder top with a gathered waist and cuffs and, through the magic that is sewing, I was able to create just that. For me it's the fabric that is the making or breaking of most garments. Having a 100% cotton fabric always makes the garment feel better quality and is much nicer to wear in summer. I was keen to use a plain fabric for this top to show off the details of the elastic and I really like the colour of this chambray from Craft Cotton Co. The weight of chambray fabric was perfect for the gathers of this top and feels light and summery too.

This top is such a simple design but the addition of the elastic elevates it somewhat, in particular on the sleeves. I wanted to create a sleeve which was fairly volumous so that it could be gathered in at the wrist without it looking too ridiculous and I think that the perfect balance was achieved! To create this top I used this great tutorial for drafting the bodice and sleeves, I then simply extended the sleeves and made them wider for the gathering and also shorterned the top at the waist.

I'm hoping that this will be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. It's slightly fancier than a basic t-shirt but is still comfortable enough to wear everyday. I'm really pleased with how the pattern turned out too, I like the elastic features a lot so I expect that another similar top may be made in the near future!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

English Paper Piecing - The Soothing Quilt

When I finally wrote a blog post all about my Perpetual Spring EPP I mentioned that I'd embarked on a new English paper piecing project and here it is: introducing The Soothing Quilt. Named by my Mum, this idea of this quilt is to do just that. For me, EPP is the perfect evening pass time and perhaps the only hobby that I find entirely relaxing (dressmaking can definitely have it's moments of stress!) and so I wanted to start a new long term project that could guide me through exams and provide a cocoon of calm. I'm quite quick at EPP (all being relative, of course!) so one of the main features was that it had to be big. I've also always wanted to make a quilt but machine quilting has never appealed to me in the same way that dressmaking does so to this quilt seemed like the perfect way to combine these two things.

I spent a long time planning the design - and I mean a very, very long time! Too long. I scoured the internet for hours looking for quilt patterns for EPP but to no avail. There seems to be a quite a lack of modern English paper piecing patterns, presumambly because it's such a time consuming and perhaps forgotten hobby. Other than Florence's wonderful patterns I've struggled to find EPP patterns that I really love. For the most part I use geometric shapes that I piece together to design small blocks but this time I wanted something on a much larger scale. I didn't want to design my own block in case I didn't like the look of it as a whole quilt but I struggled to find pictures of blocks made into whole quilts.

There is definitely plently of EPP inspiration to be found, a couple of my favourite designers being Tales of Cloth and The DIY Addict but while I love their designs they weren't quite right for this project. I wanted the pattern to be simple, so a clean and neat geometric repeat was what I looked for. I also wanted to find something where the shapes were all connected together without a border in between purely because by this point finding the fabric was also starting to become an issue. In the end, I did stumble across the perfect pattern for me, called the Kwik Whirligig EPP. It's very simple but it was perfect for the modern feel I was going for. I wanted the fabric to be bright and to be the main part of the quilt so a clean design allows the fabric to stand out. I also love the quilt featured on the website, the colour gradient was exactly the kind of thing I had in mind and I've decided to pretty much copy her gradual colour change as it looks incredible.

As if the hunt for the perfect pattern wasn't enough I then had to embark on the hunt for the perfect fabric. I honestly believe that the planning and accumulation of resources for this quilt took almost as long as all the time I've put into cutting and stiching so far! The perfect fabric was surprisingly easy to find but of course finding a shop in this country that sold it proved increasingly difficult. I knew early on that I wanted to use, the Alison Glass Sun Print 2018. Unfortunately, because she released her new collection around this time, the 2018 collection was sold out in most of the online shops I looked at and the ones that did have it only had it in a couple of colours or designs. We (my Mum spent just as long planning this quilt as I did despite her lack of interest in the sewing side of things) spent so long trying to hunt the fabric down including actually phoning the manufacturers until I finally found a shop that sold the majority of the fabrics I wanted, Quilt Essential UK. I managed to purchase all but two of the prints from them although they're sold out of nearly all of them now. The other two I had to buy from two separate shops which meant paying postage twice for one fat quarter of fabric but by that point I was so delighted to have the fabrics I didn't care and I was determined to have the entire collection! I am so happy I spent so long searching for those fabrics as I look at them and love them every single day.

After that the only thing left to do was to actualy start sewing the quilt! I'm not entirely sure what size it will be once it's finished as it depends on how much fabric I have so I'm sewing it as a square so that the shape is even the whole way through. I love sitting down and picking out the fabrics for the next row and because of the diagonal colour gradient it's exciting to see which colours are starting to appear as for now I've used primarily blues and purples.

I wanted to be able to intoduce this quilt properly and explain the back story as it's a long term project that I'm hoping to update from time to time - it's already looking different from these photos with the addition of an extra row! The design is much more simple than my last project and I really like that it's all about the fabirc. It's nice to have a project which has been deliberately created with the intention for it to take a long time, it's definitely an 'about the journey not the destination' kind of make.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants

I'm currently enjoying sewing trousers. While on the more difficult end of dressmaking (mainly to do with the fit) they are not only a satisfyingly in-depth garment to make but I find that trousers always get a lot of wear. I love more complicated projects which really allow you to think about the details and trousers are great for that too.  As I mentioned the one downside to sewing trousers are the stuggles with the fit but I think (or at least hope!) that I'm starting to come to grips with a few of the more basic fitting issues and how to solve them.

This suiting fabric from Minerva Crafts seemed to me to be a great oppurtunity to pursue making trousers further and and an excuse to purchase a couple more trouser patterns. I really like the idea of suiting, a traditionally smarter fabric, being worn everyday and wanted to create an everyday pair of trousers out of a smarter fabric. The colour of the fabric was more brown than I was expecting which to me meant that a more modern cut would be required so some pattern hacking was also in order.

I have a pair of ready-to-wear trousers that I love and wanted to try and re-create and thus embarked on a quest to find a matching pattern. The Papercut Patterns Guise Pants were the closest match I could find and one of the details that I really liked about the pattern were the welt pockets.
They were definitely hard to sew but very much worth it, I'm so pleased with them and am also happy to have tried a new technique.

Feel free to head over to Minerva Crafts to read the full blog post.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Duck Egg Blue Anima Pants

What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring that to make a pair of teal trousers?! While the idea of this sounded slightly over the top in my head, in reality the right fabric and pattern lead to a very wearable and already much loved pair of new trousers.

I used this stunning loopback jersey from Guthrie and Ghani to make these trousers. The fabric is truly gorgeous, it feels so soft and the colour is lovely. I actually planned these before I made my grey pair of Anima pants. I asked for the pattern and fabric for my birthday but the time of year seemed wrong to make a blue pair of trousers. I'd always planned on making a grey pair too and ended up making those first as they were more seasonally appropriate. The blue jersey wasn't forgotten though and I'm really pleased that it was finally sunny enough to justify making them!

Sewing this pair was slightly different to sewing the other pair due to the different fabric weights. Loopback jersey is more of a medium weight jersey wheras the grey fabric that I used last time was very stable and more like a sweatshirt knit. I don't mind sewing with stretchy fabrics but I definitely noticed a difference, in particular with the waistband which was much harder to sew than last time as the jersey was so stretchy. I was slightly worried that the lighter weight jersey wouldn't work as well for the shaping of the pattern but they hang really nicely. The way the two pairs hang is different, but I think that the pattern is a brilliant design as both fabrics seem to work well.

It's not often that I find a pattern (especially a trouser pattern) that fits me perfectly but the Papercut Patterns Amina pants do. Elasticated waists are, of course, much easier to fit but it's the shaping of the legs that I think works really well. I mentioned last time how much I like the faux fly detail - well, I still do! I also love the look that the channelling on the elastic gives, definitely worth the horrors of trying to sew it.
I finished these exactly the same as my last pair, with a 2.5cm roll up at the hem. Despite having made two pairs of these I anticipate making a third, I'd really like to make a pair in a woven fabric next.