Sunday, 31 May 2015

Love At First Stitch, Mimi Blouse

Anyone who knows me knows I am a fan of getting a bit nautical, and I've been after some fabric with anchors on for a while now. I have also been on the search for something I was inspired to make Tilly and the Button's Mimi Blouse out of. So I felt like I'd hit the jackpot when I found this anchor-print fabric in Abakhan in Manchester. Found in their offcut section downstairs at about 3 meters, it still cost me under £10 with the houndstooth I bought for my latest Lottie Blouse!

I'd been putting off this pattern for a while as it seemed to have a lot going off- facings, gathers, tucks, sleeves, buttons and a collar... Seemed like a lot could go wrong. So I set aside my Bank Holiday Weekend so I could have three solid days so blouse making. Only to find I had it finished with a whole day to spare!

I was worried that the collar wouldn't lie flat, as I ended up cutting each half separately and sewing together instead of cutting on the fold so that my anchors were facing in the right direction. In the past this has spelled match-up disaster, but I was very careful with my seam allowances and tried extra hard to be as accurate as possible. Tilly's tip of cutting the under collar a smidge smaller than the upper collar was great! This helps pull the seam where the two are joined to the underneath of the collar so it is less visible. Will definitely be using that one again. If I make the blouse again I think I will alter the collar to a peterpan shape and possibly make the back of the collar a little wider. I feel much more confident in making and attaching collars and their facings than I did a few days ago.

The pattern is pretty keen on gathers- I am particularly fond of the gentle gathers in the back piece attached to the yoke. I have considered maybe making the yoke longer where it attaches to the front bodice and having my front gathers a little lower- maybe adding some piping to the seams and adding some yeehaw country and western patches/embroidery(!!) to the shoulder/chest area. One of the great things about this pattern is it is just so versatile! There are plenty of little tweaks and changes that would be relatively simple to make that could completely transform the whole style of the blouse. Thicker fabric could make it a bit more shirty- I've already taken to knotting up the front and wearing it like a 50's work shirt (that didn't take me long!), I imagine that would look pretty cool as a sleeveless version. Also, with a button opening at the front, there is quite a bit of allowance for taking the side seams in a bit If I fancy something more fitted. So many ideas!

Knowing that I was likely to be tucking the blouse in quite a bit, I omitted the last button at the bottom to save me from being lumpy under my work skirt. I realised this was an even better idea when I tried on for the first time and needed another button on the top to a) stop the collar sagging and b)protect my er, modesty. I'd only bought six buttons so was pretty lucky I hadn't used them all! My mother looked pretty horrified that I was going to add another button hole to the top- I think she would have prefered me sticking it with blu-tack as that would be much less risky! But I'd done five already that went very well indeed (110% concentration there- almost forgot to breathe...) so was prepared to add another. She was concerned that just bunging on another button to the top that wasn't the same distance apart from the others was a bit of a dodgy idea. I said that two at the top wouldn't bother me, made a 'keep out' joke and I seemed to talk her round. It definitely looks better with a button at the top than it did before. Next time I make a Mimi I think I will play around a bit with the button placement, with this in mind!

Big thanks to Tilly for such an amazing pattern! I had such a great time making this and realised I had come such a long way from when I first bought the book and was terrified just by the idea of interfacing! Can't wait to make more Mimis!


Currently listening to: The End, The Doors

Me Made May 2015

Here's what my month looked like!

It's been fun! Though I'm sure everyone on my Instagram is now sick of the sight of me!
I have managed to wear something homemade everyday for a month. It has been a challenge, and there have been a few repeats- but that just shows these things are versatile, right?
One of the points in doing the challenge though is to find out where the 'gaps' in your self-made wardrobe are. I found casual wear to be a bit tricky sometimes. I think I could do with more tops that aren't work blouses. I suppose the same applies to skirts that aren't work skirts. I need to crack on and make some weekend-wear!

May is a bit of a benchmark for me as it is a year since I started sewing! I've come a long way, so I am incredibly pleased with how well MMM15 has gone. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the next year brings!
Well done everyone! Have loved seeing everyone's posts :-)


Currently listening to: Social Enemies, Orgy

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Matching Leopard Set

As discussed in my last post- I was eager to make a matching set of underwear, so instead of just using up odds and ends I took a quick trip to the fabric shop this morning and bought some stretchy lace bundles, some bra straps (because who has time to make their own, really?) and some leopard print velvet that I've had my eye on for ages.

I started out with the knickers as I have made a few pairs now and know the deal. The pattern is based on So Zo's free knicker pattern, but I've broken it down to six pieces- two side panels and a back from lace, front cut from leopard print and two gusset pieces made from stretch jersey. The leg holes are edged with stretchy lace and elastic around the top.

The bra pattern again, is based on the Babycakes Bra pattern in the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie book by Katherine Sheers and Laura Stanford. This time I wanted to incorporate a subtle hint of leopard print, so cut a triangle in the front piece and inserted a triangle of velvet. Not too sure if I did this in the right way but it seems to look ok! I'm sure there are some rules to abide by when just bunging in panels of different fabric- but I'm sure I'll pick them up as I go along!

There is a piece of elastic around the bottom and hiding that a thick band of stretchy lace. The top of the bra is edged with the same lace as the knicker legs.

It all seemed to run pretty smoothly today!
A few changes I made to the pattern-
- I made the back band of my bra wider than my previous attempt
- I made the gusset pieces a little narrower
- I cheated and used ready made straps! They are detachable, so attached them with little loops of elastic.

The only think I wish I'd done differently, was make my knicker side panels out of black jersey so they matched my bra a little more... But- I do have enough supplies left to knock together another pair. So If it's still bothering me when I wake up tomorrow, that's just what I'll do!


Currently listening to: Good Times, Towers Of London

Monday, 25 May 2015

Babycakes inspired Bra

With one day of Bank holiday sewing left before going back to work tomorrow I wanted to make something fast that used up some supplies I had kicking around the house. My usual go-to project would be a pair of lacey knickers, but this weekend I wanted to mix it up a bit and make a bra to match my last pair. Although the worst thing about losing weight was my boobs getting smaller, this actually comes in pretty handy for making soft-cup bras!

The pattern I used is based on the Babycakes Bra pattern from Secrets of Sewing Lingerie book, however instead of cutting two separate cups I extended the shape and cut on the fold to make one solid front panel. I then cut the wings from my favourite lace fabric- again cutting on the fold so I wouldn't have to mess about with a fastening. Initially my plan was to make the band out of the red velvet I used on my knickers to that we could have a synchronised set. I made quite a good band, but actually attaching it to the bra I had made was just a nightmare! So I unpicked and thought I could make some rouleau velvet straps instead. Well. that didn't work so well either! The rouleau was too bulky and really wasn't getting the job done. So I sacrificed the velvet dream and attached some spare lace to some elastic, which in fairness does look pretty neat.
I am currently toying with the idea of making the centre of the bra (where the darts currently are) a panel and using my velvet in the centre. I'm not too sure how easy it would be to work out the dimensions of the panel- one wrong move and I could have some dodgy looking boobs!

Anyway, despite it not quite being what I set out to do, I am pretty happy with it! I love adding a lace trim to underwear- I was pretty lucky to find a bundle of stretchy wide black lace in Hillsborough that was ideal for lower edge. It also came in handy for hiding any dodgy stitching on the elastic!


Currently listening to: Boys Boys Boys, Lady Gaga

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Love Sewing Magazine/ Simple Sew, Lottie Blouse V- Houndstooth edition

Ok, don't be angry- I made myself another Lottie this weekend. In fact, I got up at 6am and made it in a morning. I know I promised more exciting, challenging patterns but after finding this perfect Houndstooth georgette fabric in Abakhan Manchester I knew I had to make a Lottie. And besides, they are just so perfect for work it was totally worth it.

I thought using a sheer fabric might be a bit of a nightmare, but it actually seemed to go pretty problem free. My machine hated zig-zaging the edges though, so was glad the seams were all french seams. It lead to a bit of a wobbly hem... But I tuck them in anyway! The experience has encouraged me a little more to take the plunge and get an overlocker, but all in due time I think!

I absolutely adore this fabric. Calm yourself boys- it's a bit see through! I have been looking for the perfect houndstooth for a while now and I struck lucky when I stumbled across Abakhans in Manchester. I honestly could have spent all day in there! I was wishing I'd gone with a pattern in mind- then maybe I'd have been a bit more adventurous. I found some anchor fabric which was instant love too- So expect something sailory coming this way soon!

Currently Listening to: In Time, Black Keys

Love Sewing Magazine/Simple Sew, Ruby Dress

It's been a long time coming, but my Ruby Dalmatian Dress is finally here!
I decided to make this dress in class as I wanted to be sure to make a dress that was going to fit- and learn the proper may to make adjustments if it didn't.

As luck would have it, there weren't many adjustments to make to this pattern. I took in the bust darts by about a cm on each side and extended the waistline by about a cm so it would sit on my natural waist. I also made the neckline a little lower- but I was told this may have only needed changing as I didn't stick to the 1.5cm seam allowance on the neck and arm facings.

I learnt it is essential to construct and insert the facings before sewing up the sideseams (!) otherwise you get into a right mess and the unpicker has to make an appearance. I also tired my hand for the first time at understitching- which wasn't mentioned on the pattern. Basically its a cute little row of stitches on the insides of the dress that holds the facing down. Sneaky.

On this dress I was advised to sew a narrow hem- from the right side- just turning over the overlocking to the back. Looks pretty neat!
I had a bit of trouble inserting the invisible zip- for some reason it sent my machine absolutely wacky! When I came to do it at college it ran much smoother. I'm thinking there was just a bad fluff situation going on in the workings...

If I make another I will make extra effort to pattern-match around the zip area- though I always find this difficult as I always have to take more in at zip putting in stage. So maybe I'll just make my next one on block colours!

Check out what else has been happening in class on my lovely friend Aimee's new Blog!


Currently listening to: It's Up To You Now, Black Keys