Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Needlecord Top

I find that each time I make a garment it's something else that inspires it. Sometimes it's a trend I want to copy or the fabric jumps out to be made into something in particular. For this make it was all about the details. I started out with this gorgeous pink cuffing that I knew I wanted to use. I started with only a vague idea of wanting to use the cuffing and adding the detail of an elasticated hem and ended up with a top.

The cuffing is the main feature of this top and my favourite part. When I went to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace back in October, the stand that I was most excited about was Stoff and Still. I was fortunate to be able to visit one of their many shops in Denmark around almost two years ago (you can see some of the things that I bought there in this post) and it is possibly my absolute favourite shop ever - and I've been to quite a few! The quality and range of their fabric is amazing, it's just a shame that the shops are a plane journey away... 
I believe it was their first time at a sewing show and rather than bringing fabric on the bolt they brought with them pre-cut pieces of a few different fabric collections. While I didn't buy any of their fabric I did buy a few pieces of accessories, one of which was this gorgeous cuffing. I love the idea of adding details to homemade garments to make them seem more proffesional and cuffing is perfect for that.

This top hasn't actually photographed particularly well possibly due the the dark fabric and to me it feels a bit more special in real life. I wanted the cuffing to stand out so knew that pairing it with a black fabric was the way forward. Amazingly, upon rumaging though my fabric leftovers I discovered enough black needlecord left over from this dress to make a top! It did involve some careful pattern placements and there were litterally threads left by the end but I was so pleased to have been able to get another garment out of the fabric, usually pieces I have left over are too small to be made into anything else.

The other detail that I added to this top that I also love is this elasticated hem. It's a detail that I've seem on quite a few ready to wear tops lately and again I think it just adds a nice professional touch. I was really pleased to find the adjustors in my local craft shop they are such a lovely finishing detail. This top was really fun to plan out and see come to life, rather than the fabric or pattern it's the finishing touches that make the top and I like that about it.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

The Knitting and Stiching Show - Dressmaking Competition

You might have heard of the Knitting and Stitching Show, a sewing show which provides everything from fabric shopping to sewing workshops. In other words, the perfect day out for anyone who has a love of textiles. I went to the show for the first time for my birthday back in October. I then spent the most wonderful and magical day there last weekend.
For the first time the show hosted a dressmaking competition, for which there were three categories (Upcycling, A Dress From Your Stash and Go Green). You may remember this top that I made last summer, created from several old pairs of jeans and much loved during the summer heat. As a somewhat spur of the moment decision I entered it into the Upcycling category and was simultaneously shocked and delighted to hear back that my top had made it into the top 5 of it's category! The top was posted immediately and was then displayed at the show in a gallery during it's 4-day duration and all that was left for me to do was to count down the days until I would be going!

The first thing I did upon arrival was to visit the gallery where the 15 garments were displayed. Seeing my top on a mannequin in a exhibition was such a surreal experience but I think what felt the most extraordinary was the plaque next to it. My name was displayed on the wall! My words that I wrote about my top! It was, for want of words, the best feeling ever.

Having recovered from the initial shock of seeing my top on display I was able to properly look round the gallery. Some of the other garments were just incredible and I think that the categories really allowed for creativity to be explored and as such the makes were amazing. My favourite dress was one made out of maps, in the Go Green category there were dresses made out of all sorts including umbrellas and bubble wrap.

For me, the day was already crazy enough but there was still an element remaining, and one which took my definition of crazy to a whole new level: the finalists catwalk. A catwalk is definitely not the kind of thing I could ever imagine myself doing and despite being nerve-wracking it was also incredibly fun and thankfully very informal! The atmostphere was lovely too and I just about managed to survive my first (and last) catwalk. I don't believe a catwalk was something any of us had ever done (or considered doing!) which was quite a relief. I very much doubt that I'll be doing another catwalk any time soon but I'm so glad to have had the experience, it was a lot of fun!

After the morning's debacles I spent a wonderful afternoon at the show too, looking at patterns, exhibitions and discovering new crafts. I bought some fabric too, of course! I also met Esme Young, the judge of the Great British Sewing Bee as well as some sewing pattern designers. You might recognise the top I'm wearing as my beloved gingham top which I'm so happy to have worn to such a special event. I think it's safe to say that I had the most wonderful day and I still can't qutie believe it!

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Sparkly Top

I really enjoy experiencing sewing with different techniques and fabric and this top incorporates both an entirely new technique and a new fabric for me. This was a top that, while it may not receive as much wear as, say, a jumper, was something that I really enjoyed making and will be glad to have in my wardrobe for special occasions. In other words, it's frosting not cake!

Let's begin with the fabric. I have wanted to sew with some lurex knit fabric for a while after seeing lots of lovely garments made out of it on the high street around new year. I decided to use this lovely fabric from Minerva Crafts. I wanted to use a lurex fabric which was black and silver as I love the contrast between the two colours and the silver catches beautifully on the light. The only thing I hadn't anticipated was that the fabric was transluscent.

As I mentioned, the transparency of the fabric called for something to be worn underneath it. I wanted to make something quite elegant and a v-shaped camisole seemed perfect. I used a satin-like fabric to make it and I love how it looks underneath the sparkly fabric. Because the silver doesn't show up unless its on top of an opaque fabric the shape can be seen really nicely. I made the cami so that there was a much deeper v at the back and I LOVE the shape of it! For the camisole I drafted a very simple design which is similar to the Ogden Cami if you'd like a pattern to make your own.

The top I made was quite a venture into the unkown, but I think it turned out nicely! Shirring is a technique that I have never tried before but was keen to give a go and this top presented the perfect opportunity to try it out. Honestly, I had no idea if the shirring would work in the slightest but it did and I'm delighted by the result! It's such an addictive thing to sew, just going round in circles is strangely theraputic. 

Overall, this was a project that I really enjoyed making. I love the fabric and the details such as the wide sleeves and I also really enjoyed adding shirring to the top. It has turned out slightly dressier than I was anticipating (again, I think that's mainly due to the length of the peplum) and I'd like to try making another similar version that's slightly more casual.

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

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Needlecord Moss Skirt

The weather has been extremely gloomy lately meaning that taking photos is increasingly difficult, so I'm currently jumping at the slightest glimmer of sunshine to take photos. In the meantime, gloomy days do call for sewing and I've been enjoying doing just that! Due to the lack of photo-taking opportunities I actually made this skirt quite a while ago and have only just come round to writing about it. I do find that with the occasional project I fall at the last hurdle: a hem isn't finished or the sleeves aren't altered. The garment then sits there for a while before that one task is completed and I then wonder why it took me so long to do in the first place! In this particular case it was the button (the button!) that I didn't get round to hammering in for a couple of months after completing everything else. The actual task took minutes and characteristically I can't quite believe that it took me so long to do it! Now that the skirt is completely finished though I love it.

I really like wearing skirts and tights in the winter and I love the current trend for corduroy. Previously, I've only sewn with needlecord which is a much finer corduroy but I've been eager to make something out of a thicker corduroy for a while. I bought this particular fabric at the Knitting and Stitching show in October and I love the colour of it so much. It's a forest green (not dissimilar to the colour of my Rosa shirt) but the thing I love about this fabric is how thick the cord is. Chunky corduroy is perfect for mini-skirts in my opinion and I knew as soon as I bought it that it was destined to become just that.

I've seen quite a lot of skirts made from chunky corduroy on the high street recently (here, here) and one of the details that I really like are trapezium shaped pockets. For the base of my pattern I used the Grainline Studio Moss skirt. I wore the version that I made in the summer so much and I know that the alterations I made to make it high-waisted work well for me. Rather than cutting pockets I cut the front pieces to mimic those of the back and instead added my own pockets on top. I actually used the Tilly and the Buttons Mila add-on pockets which are a free download for the pocket shape. Although the pattern piece isn't quite right as it's specifically designed for those dungarees it was much easier to draft my own shape with a pre-existing template. I'm really happy with the final look of the pockets, the next thing I'd like to try is a skirt out of denim with the same pockets.

I'm really happy to be able to add this skirt to my wardrobe. I quite like the contrast of the brass button and the green needlecord and I'm considering adding rivets to the pocket edges too. I love both the colour and the style of this skirt, I'm so pleased I finally added the button!

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Black Stella Hoodie

After the success of my last Stella hoodie (which has received a lot of wear) I decided it was about time that I make another. What I love about my previous Stella is how the cropped length means that it can be worn with a variety of different things and I wanted to create something of the same style but in a different colour way.

The fabric that I used for this top wasn't actually intended for a hoodie. I purchased this at the Knitting and Stitching show in October with the hopes of making a short-sleeved Linden or some sort of equivalent in the summer. Because of this, I only bought 1m. I was then overcome by the sudden urge to make the fabric into a hoodie, something which was perfect to wear at this time of year. As you can imagine it wasn't easy getting a hoodie out of 1m of fabric but I just about managed with some very skilful pattern placement! I'm really glad I made a hoodie in the end too as it's already received a lot of wear and I think that the darker fabric wouldn't have been as well suited as a top aimed to be worn in the summer.

The main reason I was able to make the hoodie with so little fabric was because I used a contrast fabric for the hood lining. To be honest I probably would have done this anyway as I prefer the contrast and I think that the light grey does a good job of breaking up the black too. I like that while it's black the dots make the jumper a bit more interesting and I somehow discovered that I had the perfect shade of grey jersey to match the spots as a leftover fabric from a different project, so I was very pleased about that! The fabric is such lovely quality, it's a medium weight jersey meaning that it's thick enough to hold it's shape and be a bit warmer while also being light enough to hang nicely. I would like to try making the Stella in a really drapey fabric at some point though to see what it looks like.

My favourite detail of this jumper is the label which I love! My sister gave me this gorgeous label around the time I was making this jumper and they just seemed to match so perfectly. It makes me smile every time I put this top on. Having always used the same labels in all of my garments I've discovered that I love having a variety of different labels, be it a woven label like this one of a snippet of beautiful fabric like the hook in my Kelly anorak.

The main thing that I disliked about my first Stella was the lack of cuffs. Although I purposely omitted them in the first place it was something that bothered me every time I wore it. I've since added on cuffs to that hoodie (it took me a long time but I finally did it!) and I knew that I wanted to include cuffs on this hoodie. I'm not sure what it is about them but they seem to be the right way to finish off the sleeves and without them something wasn't quite right.
I'm so pleased I made this hoodie when I did as it's received a lot of wear, especially with my Anima pants. It's such a simple make but is the kind of closet staple that receives a lot of wear.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Burnt Orange Linden

I really excited to write about this Linden as I just love it! This was another handmade Christmas present, this time for my Mum. I love making gifts so much and I was really happy to be able to make both my parents a top this year (you can see the top I made my Dad here). When it comes to sewing clothes for others, especially presents, I find it best to use a pattern that I've used before and that I know fits them and suits them well. For my Mum this is, of course, the Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt. I've made an awful lot for both myself and my Mum. This is actually the fourth one I've made my Mum and if you look at the first, second and third you will see that I've used the same alterations every time. It's an adaptation of view B, slightly cropped but not too much so and with 3/4 length sleeves. It sounds incredibly boring to make the same version each time but I love making them and she loves wearing them so altogether I'd say that it's the perfect combination!

The main concern I had when it came to this top was the fabric. This was the first time that I made a garment for my Mum without her choosing the fabric so I was quite nervous that the colour wouldn't be right. When we visited Backstitch we both admired their burnt orange ponte roma fabric, and remembering this I ordered it online. In the end the fabric was perfect. The colour is gorgeous: bright but not too bright and the weight is spot on for the Linden. Although the pattern can be made with a variety of differently weighted jerseys I much prefer it in a heavier fabric. The colour isn't showing up quite right on screen as in real life it isn't quite as bright.

One of the details that I've added to the majority of my Mum's Lindens is the addition of a wide double-hem. It was her idea initially but I love it. For such a simple thing to do it adds a really nice touch to the garment. It's so lovely to have a well received present when so much time has gone into it, I loved making it and I hope that my Mum loves wearing it!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Jersey shirt

I'm so excited to write about this top because I just love it! This was an idea that formed in my head but I had no idea if it would work or not so I am so pleased that it did. This top was another creation inspired by a top that I saw on the high street. I then drafted a pattern to re-create it and I'll admit that there were a lot of incredibly frustrating parts to this project as always with a self-drafted pattern, however I'm really pleased I resisted the temptation to give up on it because the end result is just what I was hoping for.

I love being able to recreate items of clothing that I see and drafting my own patterns is definitely something that I enjoy and that I'd like to continue doing in 2019. The top that I was inspired by for this project was this one. I really liked the idea of making a shirt out of jersey, definitely not the kind of fabric usually used for a shirt. I recieved this lovely cotton jersey from Craft Cotton Co and the shirt just seemed like the perfect thing to make out of it! The fabric was much more light weight than I was anticipating which meant that I wasn't able to make what I had initially planned, however it is perfect for making t-shirts in. It's a lovely shade of grey too.

When it came to drafting the pattern, it definitely wasn't easy! The collar in particular was really difficult as I wasn't sure how deep the curve should be. After making the collar I did nearly give up: it wasn't at all wide enough to go around the neck of my dress-form and it just wasn't lying flat. In the end, I actually rolled the collar to the inside about a cm and pinned it down to see if it would work; and it did! To keep the collar lying flat I added a few stitches along the edge. I'm so pleased with how well this worked as I really wasn't sure it would. This was definitely a project that I disliked making at the time of making but love it so much now that it's finished!

I decided early on that there was no way I was going to be sewing buttonholes into this fabric. Sewing buttonholes into any knit fabric is hard but with a jersey that was this light-weight would have been nigh on impossible! The buttons are actually sewn through both layers, and the fabric is stretchy enough that I can easily put on the top without the need for buttonholes. I left one button at the top sewn into only the left side to make it look more genuine. I'm so happy with how this method work, I think I'll defintiely do it again! The buttons that I used I believe were taken off of an old shirt that belonged to my Dad, the matching set was perfect for this project. I really like the look of lots of small buttons along the front of this top. 

When it came to the hem I was once again worried about the weight of the fabric as sewing a normal hem would have probably resulted in it turning up constantly. Again, this was an easy solve and I sewed a lettuce hem along the sleeves and hem. Not only does it mean that the hem will stay in place, I also really like the look of it. A double-win!

A final detail that I added was this snippet of orange that I added in the back. I love adding labels to my makes and this stunning cotton cord that my Mum bought from Petit Pan was just perfect. The orange adds such a lovely splash of colour and it makes me smile every time I put this top on.

Being able to re-create a top and draft your own design is, in my opinion, something really special. I love the style of this top but I also love the fabric that I drafted it. I know it is going to get a lot of wear!