Sunday, 22 February 2015

Quilted Lady Skater

This week I finally had a chance to sew up my birthday fabric from the lovely Beth into yet another Lady Skater dress.
The fabric is a quilted knit from Minerva Crafts in a lovely wine/burgundy colour which I'm really loving at the moment. Because of the various layers in the fabric, it did fray so all the seams were overlocked. I could just about get the whole dress out of the metre which is pretty economical.
The dress was originally a top and a skirt because I thought a quilted crop top would work really well over my dresses, but I didn't take the neckline into consideration when I cut out the pieces. The lady skater neckline is below most of my dresses, and it didn't look right when I wore it over them so I just joined the top and skirt together to make the original dress.
It does look however, a little too long in the back. When cutting out what I thought was going to be a top, I lengthened the bodice which seems okay in the front, but there is a  bit of excess in the back. Nothing that a bit of pulling down won't solve, I'm sure!
Overall, it's a really cozy dress and I'm going to get as much wear out of it as I can until it gets too warm! I'm curious to know whether you wear different colours according to the seasons? Is burgundy a colour suitable only for Autumn/Winter because it's a dark shade? Please let me know your thoughts!
Thanks very much to Ed for taking photos and to Beth for the fabric and to you for reading!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Navy Victoria Blazer

It seems that I'm on an indie sewing pattern binge at the moment! Today I'm showing you my version of By Hand London's Victoria blazer. They had a 20% off certain patterns a couple of weeks ago, and I've been eyeing Victoria up for ages so I bit the bullet. I decided that it was time to add another suit to my rotation and I thought that I'd give Victoria a try.
I used a 100% wool fabric that I scored in a charity shop last year. Just under 3 metres for 8.99 was a crazy price and I obviously couldn't leave it there! Unfortunately I only noticed after it was sewn up that there are some teeny holes in parts of it, but they've been patched up the best I can.
The only changes to the pattern I made were to extend the sleeves to full length (because I want to wear it all year round) and to take a wedge out of the back to make it slightly more fitted. I also lined the sleeves as well as the body because that wool is itchy! It was interesting to sew up in comparison to my other blazers. This one doesn't have a facing, which means that the lining sometimes shows.
It ends at exactly the right place which is good. I tacked down the collar ends to keep them in place. The lining was bagged, to keep the insides neat.
I'm pretty happy with it, and I think it looks good with the matching Chardon skirt (yet to blog).
The navy colour seems to go with pretty much anything, so no doubt I'll be wearing it in the spring out of school. I love it with the stripey dress.
Thanks very much for reading and to Ed for taking the photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Cherry Blossom Tree Chardon

A couple of weeks ago, I had another interview. My last interview. It quite frankly needed to go well because after getting 2 rejections from other uni's I was running out of options! My interview dress obviously wasn't cutting it so I came up with this outfit instead. I felt happy wearing it and hopefully that came across in the interview. Ironically this was the only place that didn't ask whether I was wearing something that I've made and I made all 3 pieces in this outfit! (Under the pink jumper I'm wearing a white archer)
I asked for the Chardon pattern for my birthday because I've been eyeing it up for some time. I've tried many an improvised pleated skirt in the past, which haven't been so successful so I saved the tears and frustration and just used the pattern instead!
After wearing it that day, I made 2 little pleats at the side seam because it was a bit big at the waist but it's fine now. The fabric was given to me by some friends for my birthday and the print is gorgeous. I managed to squeeze it out of the 1 metre but had to sacrifice any print matching. However, as I can't see the skirt from the back and the front is cut on the fold everything is fine!
The skirt is fastened with an invisible zip at the centre back and the hem was finished with bias binding because I didn't want to sacrifice any of the length. I had to sacrifice a fair bit of the length fitting it on the fabric already. Okay, the pockets. This is the second time I've put inseam pockets into a garment (the first was my pajama bottoms) and I love them! They are just so useful. I must admit, I keep trying to put my hands in the non-existant pockets of my other skirts so I need to put more pockets in skirts, stat!
This outfit must have done the trick, because the interview was successful and I'm going to uni next year to do a degree in costume production! Woo! Thanks to Dad for accompanying (chauffeuring) me and taking pictures in the convenient park next to the uni, and for the post-interview fabric shopping. That was also very good.
Thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Joseph Mini Skirt

Hello all! This very skirt is very much all about the fabric. I found this amazing multicoloured woven cotton fabric for 10 pounds a metre in a local fabric shop which I had no idea existed. I could have bought half of the shop, but settled for this fabric because it was special. 
 It's medium-weight to heavy-weight and I was originally going to make a Chardon with it, but I decided that it was too heavy and the box pleats just wouldn't hang right. I settled for a simple mini skirt which would showcase the amazing weave of the fabric. The stripes are actually vertical, and going in the same direction as the grainline, but I preferred the stripes going horizontally so I cut it on the cross-grain instead. 
 I'm so chuffed with the stripe matching on this project. Can you spot the seam?! I can't!!! And the darts are almost invisible which is fab. The pattern I used was New Look 6335 which I've used a number of times before. I thought I'd got the fit right after a couple of cm's was shaved off each side seam, but I had to take even more out. To be honest, I could have done with taking even more out!
 I used a yellow zip, because I will never make a yellow piece of clothing, and it co-ordinates well with the yellow in the skirt. It was hand-picked for accuracy. I love how many colours are in the skirt because it means that it goes with pretty much everything!
 I wanted to make the skirt really special. Something that will be worn loads and last a long time. I overlocked all of the pieces separately and pressed all of the seams open. I also lined it by attaching it right sides together at the waist seam, understitching and turning it inside the skirt. The lining was then handpicked to the zip from the inside so it should be doubly secure! The hem was bias bound right sides to right sides, turned to the inside and slip-stitched in place.
 I haven't actually blogged the cardigan and the shirt, both of which I made last year so I'll quickly talk about them now. The shirt is a Grainline Archer which I made at the same time as my navy one. It's sleeveless, so was taken in quite a bit at the underarm to stop gaping. For the cardigan I used the basic tee pattern from  Wendy Mullins Sew U Home Stretch and adapted it to get the open front.
We couldn't resist an action shot...
Thanks very much for reading and to Beth for very kindly taking this weeks pictures!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 25 January 2015

A Dancing Anna

This was originally the dress that I made for my birthday, but got dumped in favor of the jumpsuit! I finished it off anyway to wear to a burns night dance next Saturday. I have no idea what burns night is or what it involves, so it will be an interesting experience to say the least!
I don't tend to make many indie patterns, because I literally don't fit on their size charts. After months and months of ogling the Anna dress, designed by By Hand London I finally decided that it would be worth adjusting and asked for it for Christmas. It turned out that I quite liked how it around the bust area so in the end I left it as is, just lowering the neckline a tad.
I drafted a circle skirt for the bottom half, because I thought that would be better for dancing using the By Hand London circle skirt app. It turned out pretty short, so I'll lengthen that next time! In terms of the insides, I didn't line it because the lining would make it too hot while dancing (I really thought about this!) and instead made bias binding out of the same fabric for the sleeves and neckline. The seams are overlocked and the hem was overlocked, turned under and slip-stitched. 
The fabric was a bit of a devil to work with, as it's a slippery silky kind of fabric that I inherited. It's interesting that it has a twill weave which you normally find on denim and wool fabrics. I'm so glad that I didn't topstitch the binding down, because it would have looked awful. You can still kinda see where I've slip-stitched the binding down which is a shame. 
I tried my best to stop the centre back seam with the zip from puckering by using strips of calico to stabilise it. That didn't work particulaly well either. Maybe I should interface it next time? It was a tad too windy for photos today! Just as well I wasn't in public!
Anyway, I am pleased with the dress, even with puckering issues and I will have great fun wearing it (with shorts) to burns night. 
Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking photos,
Lauren xx

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Birthday Jumpsuit

For my 18th birthday party (which was yesterday) I decided to round up all of my friends for a Who's Line is it Anyway party. If you're not familiar with the programme, it's a TV show based around 4 actors who play lots of improvisational games.  I found it on the plane to Perth, and just might have woken all of the sleeping passengers up because I was laughing so loud! I thought it would be great fun to re-create the TV show with my friends. And obviously I had to make my own outfit.
This party was going to be pretty active, so I decided that I would be better off wearing a jumpsuit than a dress, and that it would need to be made out of a knit for max comfort and move-ability. Of course, this was decided after I'd started birthday dress no.1, but I'm sure it'll get worn another time! I then ordered 2 metres of viscose jersey from Ebay for around 8 pounds and got cracking.
I started with True Bias's Hudson Pant pattern as a base for the bottom half. I added a fair bit to the top of the front and back pieces to make them high-waisted, then I added 5cm more for a bit of jumpsuit ease. Next time I'd probably take that 5cm out because the crotch on this is preeeetty low. I had to put the pocket under the front pattern piece to get the correct shape for the side seam.
 Then I cut a line straight down the front and back to the knee and across. Then I moved each side out a bit until it equaled the measurement for half of the coordinating bodice piece. The shaded bit is the new bit!
For the bodice I used the gathered bodice pattern that I made for the V&A dress. I made a mock up to check the fit. It does look a tad silly because I didn't have enough fabric to have lower legs but it did the job! From the muslin I ascertained that the back was pretty baggy so I lifted that up a bit. Apart from that it was fine so I went for the real thing!
 When I put the real thing together, it sewed up really quickly! I overlocked everything. The neckline and armholes were neatened by bands. Overall, I'm so pleased with how it turned out. It's a fairly big departure from my usual style, but I feel great wearing it. The fact that it's so comfy is an added plus. It's honestly like wearing pj's!
Thanks to Ed for taking photos, and to you for reading!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sewing Machine PJ's

When we open our stockings on Christmas morning, we get to choose 1 present from under the tree. In the past that meant finding the biggest present. This year it was locate the fabric. I successfully located it AND it has sewing machines and mannequins and tape measures on it!!! I wanted to make something that would get a lot of wear, but I wouldn't feel that comfortable wearing it as a dress so pajama bottoms it was!
I have a couple of pajama patterns in my pattern stash but I chose McCall's 6930 because as it was published in 1994 it just qualifies for my vintage pattern pledge!

This, believe it or not, was my first time sewing pockets and they are great! This pic features Alan the sock dinosaur who was my second favourite Christmas present because stitching a  dinosaur together is very time consuming (I've been informed that he took 5 hours), and the end result is adorable. Thank you Bethany!
Most things went together smoothly. Everything was overlocked for longevity. I did completely forget that I'd cut out a waistband piece and stitched the elastic straight onto the trousers and turned it and stitched again, which was fine. They are a bit low rise now though, and I don't have as much pocket as I would have with the waistband!
They are quite baggy, but they're pajama bottoms so that's totally fine! It was nice to sew something in quite a short space of time that didn't need fitting or a lining.
Being on my bed, I did feel compelled to take some jumping pics, which although pretty unsuccessful are pretty funny to look at so you can have them anyway!
Yeah, no.
Anyway, thanks for reading and to Ed for taking pictures! Next week I should have a birthday jumpsuit to show you. (I'm 18 on Tuesday) Exciting times!!!
Lauren xx