Sunday, 10 May 2015

Sew Different Panel Tee

Whilst browsing Pinterest the other day, this top came up in my feed. 


I thought it looked really interesting, so followed the link through and found myself at Sew Different.  I hadn't heard of Sew Different before, it appears as though it's a pretty new website, and the owner Laura offers lots of free patterns.  I decided to have a go at this one. 

As you would expect, it's a pdf download.  There are three pattern pieces (you use the same piece for the front and back and just cut the neckline lower on the front) and the pdf itself is only 7 pages!

The pattern doesn't include instructions, but there is a link on Laura's website to instructions for a dress constructed in a very similar way. 

The only thing I wasn't sure about was whether the pattern included seam allowances.   After doing a bit of measuring to see how the pieces lined up I added about 10mm to be on the safe side, but I'm not sure that I needed to.

The pieces went together really easily, you start by hemming the sleeve pieces and attaching them to the side panel.  After sewing the shoulder seams the two side panels get attached to the front and back pieces in one long seam each.  This looks as if it's going to be tricky, but isn't really. 

My top has a centre back seam because I was re-purposing some fabric from a failed dress, and I think I would include a centre back seam again as I like to add a little bit of shaping there. 

You can see I've also curved the hem and made the back longer than the front. 

As I mentioned, the bird print fabric was salvaged from a failed dress I attempted just before I went on holiday and the satin I used for the side panels was from my stash.   Luckily they went together really well.

I really like this top and can definitely see myself making it again.  It was a pretty quick project too, I completed it yesterday afternoon in a few hours.  I've got some black jersey that I think would work well for this, and that would make it even quicker to put together. 

All that remains for me to say is thank you to Laura for providing the pattern!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Made by Me: Butterick/Lisette 6169 Biker Jacket

Hello my lovelies!

I've finally got another project to share with you today.  I've been a bit absent from this blog, and I have to admit I've been finding blogging a bit hard recently.   What I find hardest is taking decent photos, as currently we don't really have anywhere  in our house that has good enough lighting and a good background.  That's why todays project is modelled by Rosie rather than me - it's easier for me to drag her about the house and find a little spot for her than it is for me to set up the camera on self timer and try to photograph myself.

Hopefully though we will be reconfiguring our spare bedroom soon, which should mean I have a blank wall and decent lighting in the same room!

Anyway, enough of my blogging and photography woes, lets get down to the nitty gritty.   I've made a jacket using the newly released Butterick Lisette B6169 pattern.

Butterick Lisette B6169 line drawing

As soon as I saw this pattern I knew I had to have it.  I'm not keen on the dress, but I have a RTW jacket that I love and that is almost identical to this one.  I had been searching for a pattern to no avail, when suddenly this one was released.   This one is actually better than my RTW jacket, as the RTW one doesn't have pockets!

Butterick 6169 front view

I was lazy again and didn't make a muslin, instead I checked the finished measurements on the pattern pieces, and cut a size 10 for the shoulders and bust, grading out to a size 12 at the hips.  I ended up having to narrow the shoulders about another half an inch, so if I made this pattern again I would cut a size 8 there.  I then made the lining up as my muslin, and once happy with the fit went on to cut my fashion fabric. 

Butterick 6169 back view

The fabric is some I bought a couple of years ago to make a jacket for a wedding.  However at the time I was also making the mother of the grooms outfit for the same wedding and didn't have time to make my outfit.  I went off the fabric after that, but I'm quite in love with it again now.  I believe it is a cotton/rayon blend, and it's got a very Chanel look to it. 

It also frays like mad if you so much as look in it's direction.  As I was in the process of making it, the edges of the pieces were fraying more and more, but I kind of liked the look.  I wondered if it was possible to leave the edges raw, but realised that I'd probably have something only suitable for the rag bag within weeks if I did.  Playing about with some fabric scraps I hit upon the idea of using some bias strips as a trim, which I sewed in between the outer fabric and lining during construction.  It does make the edges a bit thicker than I would prefer, but I like the effect.

Butterick 6169 trim

Construction-wise the jacket went together really well and the instructions were generally pretty good.  The only place I got a bit stuck was with the hem, as somehow I ended up with the lining being a bit too short.  I'm not sure exactly what I did wrong, but I solved the problem by adding some pre-made bias tape and some lace trim to cover the join. 

Butterick 6169 inside trim

I'm considering making another in a neutral shade for summer, although there are a couple of other jacket patterns I'm considering, so maybe not.  I think I'd definitely make this again come Autumn/Winter.  In a ponte fabric it would be great for work.  

Monday, 27 April 2015

Holiday bits and bobs

Thank you for your comments on my last post, having long been an admirer of denim shirt dresses on others, I think I've now got one I'm happy to wear myself. 

If you follow me on Instagram (and if not, why not?!) then you might have picked up on the fact that I was on holiday in Spain last week.

I thought I'd share a few of my holiday snaps with you today.

We went to Benalmadena, on the Costa del Sol.  It's quite a large town, much larger than I realised actually, with a long paved promenade behind the beach, leading from the edge of the town to the marina, lined with restaurants and bars.

The marina is quite new, and has apparently been voted the best marina in the world on more than one occasion.  

I can't speak from a boating perspective, but it certainly was a lovely place to sit with a cold drink and watch the world go by.  We managed to spend quite a bit of time doing just that.  One morning we sat and watched the taking part in a triathlon run past, how they managed it in the heat I don't know!

Benalmadena also has a lovely park, which we only discovered on our last day, despite it being on the walk between our hotel and the marina!  My sister-in-law noticed it because she heard the cockerels that run free in the park calling. 

As well as chickens there are rabbits and peacocks roaming free, many of which we encountered as we wandered through the different areas.

We took a couple of trips inland during the week, to visit the town of Mijas.  We had never heard of it, but since visiting I've discovered that several of my friends rate it as their favourite holiday destination, and I can see why.  It's a lovely, very pretty place in the mountains, all white buildings and little cobbled streets.  Again, there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy a cold drink while people watching.  We sat in the square below both times we visited.

There are donkey taxis going through the streets and we were lucky enough to see a display of flamenco dancing on our second visit.

Finally I have to share some photos I had taken in the marina in Benalmadena.  Next to one of the bars we frequented there was a place where you could be dressed in 1920's clothing and hats and have your photo taken.  The 1920's are my favourite period when it comes to fashion, so after sitting and watching a couple of other people, I decided I had to do it myself. 

The photographer had a huge selection of hats - which apparently were all handmade - along with beaded tops, scarves, gloves and jewellery from which she selects an outfit for you to wear. 

Once that's decided she does your make-up and then poses you before taking quite a few photographs.

You then get given a photograph finished in sepia tones for a real period look.
I have been told by several people that it looks nothing like me!  It's not the usual holiday souvenir from Spain, but I'm very pleased with it.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Minerva Blogger Network - McCalls 6696 in Chambray

For this month’s Minerva project I’ve gone a bit out of my comfort zone and made a shirt dress.  

I have long admired shirt dresses on other people, but have disliked the idea of them for myself.  When I realised that this was because I don’t like things with collars I decided I would make myself one and leave the collar off.  That’s the beauty of making your own clothes, you can often choose to omit parts you’re not keen on.

After doing a bit of research I decided to use McCalls 6696, which appears to be a very popular shirt dress pattern.  It comes with a few variations, either a straight or gathered skirt and long, short or sleeveless options.  I decided to go for the straight skirt and no sleeves.

The fabric I chose is a gorgeous indigo blue chambray, which unfortunately is now out of stock, although Minerva does have it in a skyblue. 


For the second month running I was very naughty and didn’t make a muslin.  Basing the size I needed on the finished garment measurements I cut a size 12 for the bodice and a size 16 for the skirt.  This meant that I had quite a bit of extra skirt fabric to squeeze onto the size 12 waistband, and I came up with the idea of gathering it on, instead of using the darts.  The back gathering is positioned directly below the bodice gathers, and I used the positioning of the front darts to place the front gathers.  I really like the result.

I was also a bit out of my comfort zone when it came to the finishing of this garment, as I hate making buttonholes – and there are ten on this dress.   I often avoid making buttonholes completely, but I knew I couldn’t on this dress.  Thankfully, most of them went quite smoothly, I think I only had to unpick one and redo it!

I really like the finished dress.  It’s a bit different for me, but I think it will get quite a bit of wear over the summer months.  Who knows, I might even be tempted to make a long sleeved one come winter!