Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Handmade White Hoodie

It's often hard to predict which makes are going to be winners but I was certain when making this that it was going to be a good one, and so far I've been proven right. In the weeks since making this hoodie it's already become one of my currently most worn me-mades and I absolutely love wearing it! 

I've wanted to make a simple white hoodie for quite a long time but have struggled to find the perfect fabric. I wanted the fabric to be thick enough to be worn as a jumper with a top underneath but thin enough to be able to keep some drape and add in lots of interesting details. This white jersey fabric from Craft Cotton Co was absolutely perfect: the right weight so it could be easily manipulated but not too thin. Most importantly when it comes to white jersey - its opaque! I've been disappointed by so many see-through white jerseys so it was brilliant to find that this one isn't.

I first got the idea of this hoodie from a ready to wear one that I own. It's a fairly basic hoodie but the design made it something else and I wanted to try and replicate it's interesting panneling. I find that when drafting patterns it also helps hugely to have similar style garment on hand to get the proportions right. This is especially the case when it comes to anything cropped and boxy as it's important to get the proportions of the length and width right.

A white hoodie may seem like the plainest and potentially most boring thing possible to make, but that's where the details come in! My favourite parts of clothing are always in the details such as topstitching and interesting pattern design. For this hoodie the detail is all in the design. With the addition of something as simple as an extra pannel in the side seam the top becomes an entirely different garment. Combined with topstiching along its seams, the hoodie was elevated into something much more interesting. I like the subtleness of the white topstiching but it could look amazing in a contrast colour too, something I'm very tempted to try. 

An interesting part of this hoodie is how big the hood is. Hoods are an oddly make or break detail as the proportions can often look off. I love the massive hood here! It's hard to tell the size from the photos, but I can't see anything when it's up. The only problem with this was that it used a lot of fabric! The width of the bodice and sleeves to give the hoodie its slouchy feel meant that it used up quite a bit of material. The large fully lined hood took up the same amount of fabric as the back and front bodice combined so it's probably not one to be making from scraps. Definitely worth it in my mind though.

The only issue I had sewing this was when it came to the button holes. Usually, button holes can be sewn fairly easily on jersey if interfacing is added to the back. For whatever reason my machine just wasn't cooperating with this fabric so in the end I made the decision to hand sew the button holes. I'm so glad I did that as they've turned out so much neater than they would have been had I sewn them with the machine and because they're not being used for buttons it doesn't matter if they aren't as durable.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with this hoodie! I've worn it so much already. The interesting design makes it a bit less casual but doesn't take anything away from how comfy it is. The only thing that I'd like to add are drawstrings, I'm thinking about buying a long shoelace and using that.

Monday, 20 January 2020

A handmade bag

For my mum's Christmas present this year I made her handbag. I love making her clothes, but when it comes to presents it's often safer to make something other than a garment. I did make her a Linden sweatshirt last year though, so I would say that patterns that have been made before are also good for presents. I could have made another Linden but I wanted to make something a bit different that I knew she needed.

Here's the thing about this bag: I was actually supposed to make it a while ago. On our trip to Denmark, my mum bought this really lovely upholstery weight fabric from Stoff & Stil and asked me if I could make a bag for her out of it. That was over two years ago! In my defence, I wasn't purposely putting off the bag making: shortly after she bought the fabric she actually got given a new bag and so this one was no longer needed. After that I think we both kind of forgot about the fabric until I found it again in November. As her other bag was beginning to wear out, I realised it would be perfect to finally make her one out of the fabric for Christmas.

I would never normally make my mum a bag without first consulting her, so I was really lucky that she had actually already planned this one. This meant that I was able to use a fabric that she chose herself and a design that she liked without her actually knowing that I was making it for her as a present. For the design, I remembered her saying that she wanted an a copy of her old one, which is pretty much exactly what this one is. I even managed to re-use the old straps which I'm pretty pleased about. I think that on something like a bag it's really important to get the finishing details like straps right, so it's nice to have been able to use more professional looking ones. 

The eyelets are another detail that really elevate the bag into looking less handmade, as well as the metallic clasp to shut it. It's hardware elements like these that I think are always worth buying as they are the finishing touches. I also added a small pouch on the inside of the bag - again a feature copied from the other bag and something which my mum finds really useful. I made sure it's big enough to fit a phone in, but it's perfect for keeping safe anything that's small. As a finishing touch I added one of my labels onto the pouch and also a brown leather patch to the outside. Once again this was bought from Stoff & Stil, it's a small brown rectangle with a star on it and I love it! It's the perfect finishing touch and exactly the kind of thing you would find on a shop bought bag.
I was so pleased with how well this bag turned out and I think my mum really likes it. It's exactly the style that she wanted but with the added benefit of being in a really lovely fabric that she picked out herself - and of course the fact that it's made by me!  It may have taken a couple of years but the bag did finally get made!

Friday, 10 January 2020

White Long Sleeved T-shirt

The top is a perfect example of how the most simple makes are the most useful ones. Last summer, I made myself a white t-shirt. I had no idea just how much wear I would get out of it, so making a long-sleeved white t-shirt to wear when the weather is a bit colder was imminent. I'll probably have to make another short-sleeved one at some point too, I really have nearly worn it to death!

Unlike the twist that I added to the short-sleeved t-shirt, this one is as simple as it could possibly be. I wanted to have a t-shirt that I could pair with anything and it's been perfect for wearing with patterned trousers like these ones or these. The other great thing about this top is that it took hardly any time to make! T-shirts are the perfect project to whip up when you only have a small amout of time and they also use very little fabric.

Whilst this is as simple as possible, I did decide to add a lettuce hem - just becuase I love the finish. It's pretty subtle on this top and leads to a much better finish on jersey than having to hem it. I'm so pleased with this quick and easy make. It might seem like a boring thing to sew but I love speedy projects and it's alwasy nice making something that I know I'll get a lot of wear out of.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Black Sparkly Top

As much as I am someone who plans sewing projects, I do enjoy making things on the spur of the moment. These makes have much less pressure attatched as it doesn't matter whether or not they work out. On top of that, it's a really good way to use fabric leftovers which makes the project free and without expectations.

I whipped up this top in an afternoon when I wanted to do some sewing but didn't have a project on the go. I've been wanting to make a few more tops as opposed to jumpers or t-shirts and this also fit the brief of not requiring too much fabric and therefore perfect for scraps. I decided on the design of a simple faux-wrap top which I drafted. It was actually quite simple to draft, two trapezium shapes that overlap each other joining together at the opposite side seam. 

The fabric and pattern kind of came together at the same moment. I wanted to make a sparkly top and had some of the black lurex fabric left over from this top. I've never actually worn that other top (I just don't like the design) but I wanted to give the fabric another go. Thanks to having used it before I knew that it was sheer so each piece of lurex is lined with a plain black jersey fabric. It's worked perfectly, the fabrics are sewn together at the top and side seams but not at the bottom. This creates a loose floating affect of the layers when the top is being worn which I really love.

Considering the fact that this top required no planning I am so pleased with how well it turned out. The fabric works so well with the black underneath and I think the wrap shape adds to the floatiness. I'll definitely be making this design again, it's perfect for a simple top and requires very little fabric.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Top 5 Favourite Makes of 2019

This year I think I've managed to sew some things that I really want to wear. I'm so pleased with so many of this year's makes and it's always so difficult to choose definite favourites, but these are my final five.

These aren't in any particular order but I had to place my prom dress first! I mentioned in this post just how proud I am of it and seeing the photos always make me smile. I really enjoy more in depth makes and like to have at least one bigger project every year.

This linden is such a simple make but it's rapidly become one that is worn again and again. The rib fabric is so soft and such a lovely shade of grey. All round it's a great staple to have.

These trousers might be my absolute favourite make of 2019! I just love them so much. The fabric is exactly what I was looking for, the pattern is comfy and smart and they remind me of my trip to Tomato in Tokyo where I bought the fabric.

I classed this pink fluffy jacket as my most unexpected make this year and I love it because I would never have imagined that I would make something like this! My only regret is that I haven't been brave enough to wear it more often and I'd really like to make another in a less bold colour. Having said that, I do love this jacket!

This is kind of cheating as there are two makes in one here! My flint culottes were a really successful make earlier in the year but my favourite here is the jersey shirt. I have worn this top so much and made another in white that I also love.

I'm really pleased with my 2019 makes and can't wait for more sewing in 2020! The only thing I haven't made this year is jeans and I'm really hoping to make a few pairs next year as I've grown out of my previous handmade pairs. I'm in the process of making a pair of Lander Pants and have the Dawn Jeans in mind too.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

2019 Sew Down

Rounding up my makes for the year is one of my favourite things to do. It's really nice to have an excuse to be able to go back through the things I've made that year and see how my sewing has improved, especially being able to compare this round up with 2018 and 2017.

Proudest make: No surprise here! My proudest make of the year is, of course, my prom dress. I spent hours designing and sewing this dress to make it perfect and it all paid off, I absolutely love it and loved wearing it to prom.

Most worn make: This top feels like such a boring choice but I have worn it so much this year. It's always hard doing this round up in the winter as I can't imagine wearing it now but my white twist top was one of my most worn tops throughout the summer.

Least worn make: The fabric completely put me off ever wearing this jumper and I have since given it to a charity shop. The colour never grew on me and it's also too synthetic for my liking. One of the dangers of ordering fabric online!

Most unexpected make: This has to be my pink fluffy jacket! I find it amazing that as fashion changes things begin to feel much less out there than before. I am still building up the courage to wear this more often but I do love it so much!

Last year's favourite: There were a few things that I could have chosen for this as I try to keep wearing old makes but my grey Anima Pants have been worn continuously this year. They're so comfy to put on at the end of the day and I just love the pattern.

Favourite make for others: The majority of clothes that I make for others are for my mum but from time to time I make something for a friend my own age and these are often some of my favourite presents to give. I made this top for my friend's birthday back in February and she wore it throughout summer. I've also loved making things for my mum this year, particularly this skirt and this top.

Most used pattern: I sew with fewer and fewer patterns now as I try and draft or hack them to get exactly what I want. Sometimes I'm fortunate to find the perfect pattern without needing to design my own and the Papercut Patterns Anima pants are exactly that. These checked ones are my absolute favourites but I've also made two other pairs this year, a blue pair and some pyjamas.

Favourite fabric shop: This year I had an incredible trip to Japan and to Tokyo's fabric shops! Tomato was the best fabric shop I've ever visited and it will probably remain that way for a long time.

Favourite fabric: The checked fabric that I used for my Anima pants was a design that I spent so long looking for and I love it. It has a slight bit of stretch to it and the wrong side is so soft making it even more perfect! It is, of course, from Tomato.

Most exciting event: This was way back in March so feels like a lifetime ago, but the Knitting & Stitching Dressmaking Competion which I entered and won was a real highlight for me. It even included a catwalk at Olympia!

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Long Sleeved Black Sparkly Top

I don't tend to keep fabric lying around for ages without making anything from it but this was one that I got for Christmas last year: too cold for January and February and then too dark for the summer months. It's quite nice to be able to whip out a piece of fabric at the start of a season though which was exactly what I did this autumn.

This fabric is truly gorgeous. It's a black knit fabric (but with very little stretch) with a really subtle silver sparkle in it. I spent an unnecessarily long time umming and ahhing over what to make with it but settled on a simple long sleeved t-shirt which was the perfect design. I added black ribbing for the cuffs and neckband left over from this top which is the perfect extra touch. I would love to add ribbing to the cuffs of all my jumpers but finding matching ribbing is so difficult! I was really pleased to find a few scraps of black rib left over.

This is such a simple top but I love how the sparkle elevates it. Because the colours are quite dark I've been enjoying wearing it with my grey Anima Pants, an outfit which is super comfy. I'm pleased that I waited and planned the right thing to make with the fabric rather than jumping in and making the first thing that sprung to mind.