Wednesday, 27 August 2014

2 Piece Lady Skater

This outfit has completely skipped the blog post queue so I can fit it in for Ada Spragg's 2 Piece Setacular; the Australia makes are just going to have to wait! It's been getting colder again in England so the summer dresses I'd planned wouldn't be worn and would be a waste of the precious sewing time I have left before school starts. This jersey knit jumped out at me as something more suitable for Autumn weather because it's so soft and cozy.   
It was originally going to be a Lady Skater dress but then the idea to separate it into a skirt and crop top came to me and I couldn't get rid of it! This 2 piece should be so versatile. To do this I added a hem band to the bodice. This can be folded under for a more cropped look or unfolded if a bit more coverage is needed. I then added a waistband to the skirt, stabilizing the seam with clear elastic.
It was really difficult to sew the waistband on evenly because the edges kept curling. I really need to get hold of some knit interfacing because I think that would solve the job, and give the waistband a bit more oomph. 
I think the skirt looks better with a petticoat underneath to give the skirt a bit more volume. As the knit is quite thin the drape isn't stiff enough to give the A-line shape that I like without a petticoat.
The fabric is the first I've used up from Australia. I went fabric shopping with Susan in Sydney and picked this beauty up for $4 a metre. This combo took up around 1 1/2 metres. I'm thing of making a looser top with the remains of it.
With the jet lag from Australia I've been getting up ridiculously early, around 5 or 6 when holiday days are supposed to be lie in days! I started this outift at 6.30 and was done by 8.30 with a spot of breakfast in the middle. It's amazing how much you can get done in the early hours of the morning. 
Everything was overlocked but neither the sleeves or skirt hems have hems yet so I'll leave as is or do them on the normal machine with a zig zag. 
Ninja chopping my way through the willow tree...
...And I'm through. Phew.
I'm glad I've got the fit cracked of the Lady Skater pattern now. For this one I didn't shorten the waist because it didn't have the skirt to weigh it down.
Ta-da!!!!!! Ever the graceful dancer...
And I'm think that's it. Thanks so much for Emma and Darren's amazing photo skills. You guys know the best poses. 
Thanks for reading!
Lauren xx
(obligatory group photo)

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Lace Lady Skater

Hey everyone! I'm back from our holiday to Australia and have a huge number of makes to show you so I'm going to plough through them a bit this week to make up for the last 3 weeks of radio silence. First up is my favourite of them all: A lace Lady Skater dress. 
Technically this dress is only half Lady Skater because the skirt is a rectangle so I could showcase the scalloped selvedges. The bodice and the sleeves are from the Lady Skater pattern though. The rectangle was the width of the stretched length of elastic which unstretched was my waist measurement. That unfortunately meant that I didn't get as much volume as I wanted. But I do quite like the tulipy-y silhouette on me. Always good to try new things, huh!
I underlined the skirt and the bodice with a navy ponte, but made the ponte skirt shorter so the scallops at the hem would be more visible. To make the lace pattern more visible on the sleeves I omitted underlining it entirely.
I did have issues with what should have been a simple, quick and easy make. The weight of the skirt dragged the bodice down, putting it 2 or 3 inches below my natural waist, which believe me, isn't a good look. As a quick fix I sewed the waist seam again 2 inches further in than the original stitching but then that created the problem of a massive waist! That was then slimmed down and eventually it fit. Next time Lauren just shorten the pattern first. Save yourself so much trouble.
I am really pleased with the fit now though.

The beach where we took these photos was 5 minutes walk away from our little chalet in Port Douglas and was just so beautiful! And it was practically empty because for all the Australians it wasn't beach weather!
Thanks to Dad who took the photos with 3 pairs of shoes and my rucksack in his arms!
It's nice to be back!
Thanks for reading,
Lauren xx

Saturday, 2 August 2014


 Over the past year I've had several attempts at making jeans. I thought that I could get away with using a legging pattern for fabric with 2% Lycra. I couldn't. Not even with fabric with 5% Lycra. With those failures in mind I chose this denim from Remnant House in the medium blue with absolutely no stretch.
 I used Simplicity 9944 because I knew it fit in the waist, hips and the crotch and tapered it in at the legs to make them skinnier. The pockets were added from another pattern in my stash.
Even though I had tapered them in they still felt too baggy as can be seen in the picture below. I also decided that the hem slits had to go. They just weren't working.
With that in mind I slimmed them down even more and got rid of the slits entirely. So much better!
For the pocket lining I used some pink gingham. It's funny how that little pop of colour makes me feel so happy every time I put them on.
The one thing I am disappointed with is the back zip. The first time it looked perfect but the jeans were just too big! So I unpicked it and pinned it and unpinned it and pinned it and I just can't get it to look half decent. I have to do something about it though, because it looks dire.
I'm definitely getting there with the perfect jeans which is fab!
That's all I can think to say about them for now so thanks so much for reading and to Dad for taking the pics!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Perfect Summer Dress

Hi all! In this last weeks 25-27 degrees weather, I have been struggling and getting way too hot than is comfortable. My answer to the heat is this dress. 
The pattern that I used for the bodice is Style 3595 version 3. To make this a size 8 and not size 14 I used the totally legitimate method of removing the excess from the center front fold. The back piece was fine as is. I then didn't put the waist gathers in so the bodice hung free. A gathered rectangle was attached to the skirt to make a smock dress.
Without a belt the dress is really loose and cool and breezy, perfect for this weather! But it also can be smartened up with a belt or ribbon when I'm not so hot. These pics were taken at Leicester Square in London where my friends and I went on a trip to see the Lion King which by the way, was epic. The costumes were just amazing. There was this little baby elephant which was my favourite, because when the man inside wriggled his front legs the back legs also jiggled like a mini mexican wave. It was fantastic.  
The straps are just rectangles and the skirt ended up a fair bit shorter than I wanted it to be, due to lack of enough fabric. I did get 2 dresses out of it though. You can see the first here. The fabric is a really light cotton, perfect for the hot weather. 
The fabric was free, from my friends Mum Irenee and the invisible zip I used for the back was ripped out from my Stardust dress, which was only fit for the scrap pile, making this dress absolutely free! I did originally have the straps criss-crossing across the back but it was just iffy to get in and out of so I changed them.
 This was me getting on the train home. Incidentally this train went to Cambridge instead of Peterborough which we only realised just in time to sprint out of the train, across Kings Cross from platform 11 to platform 1 for the train we were supposed to be getting on which left in 2 minutes. I'm glad to report that we made it, but had to sit on the floor for most of the journey.
That's it for now!
Thanks so much to Emma for taking the photos and sun cream duty for the bits I couldn't reach!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tanzania Skirt

Hi all! Today's make is all about the fabric, which was given to me by my friend Connor as a souvenir from when he went to Tanzania. I decided that a simple gathered rectangle skirt would work best to showcase the print. A shift dress would also have been good but I like my waist defined, which shift dresses don't tend to do enough of for my liking. This skirt is also my entry for Oonapalooza because of the awesome print!
The fabric consisted of 2 of these panels. I only used one for the skirt so I could keep the other intact for a wall hanging of something. I cut it in half horizontally to get the most fullness and used some white fabric from a bedsheet for the waistband, which you can't see in the pictures because I decided a black ribbon over it looked best for this ensemble.

I kept the selvedge as is and didn't hem it because I like the writing at the bottom. I tried to google translate "ubaya sikuwa nao nawalipa visa vyao" and google translate disappointingly came up with "I was wrong with their visa nawalipa". I like to think that it does translate to something meaningful though.
Frustratingly, even though this is an incredibly simple project, all that could go wrong, went wrong. The invisible zipper broke just after I finished the skirt and the gathering was uneven so the center back had become the side back. So after having a mild strop I unpicked the zip and the waistband, re-gathered the skirt, re-attached to the waistband and re-attached the zip. Now it's done though, I am rather pleased with it and am proud of myself for working through the issues rather than tossing it in the corner and leaving it for a year.
That's all for now!
Thanks very much to Connor for the fabric, and to Ed for taking the pics for the price of 2 marshmallow pancakes.
Thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Robin Hood Costume!

Every year my school holds a summer fete, which my year is in charge of this year. The theme is Disney and I chose to go as the foxy Robin Hood.

As Robin Hood wears a tunic I decided to go for a princess seamed shift dress. My stardust dress fit the bill, made from Style 2370 and was in rags and tatters anyway after this night so I cut it up and traced it and it fit pretty much perfectly. It also means that this dress is part of my vintage pattern pledge! 3 down, 2 to go!
 The hem ended up being way too short as I only guestimated when I cut it up (bad, bad sewer) so I made a hem band which was basically a really long rectangle folded in half and stitched right sides together to the hem. This worked pretty well and eliminated the need for a hand-stitched hem. My invisible zips are getting better and better now I know to press the teeth over with my fingers whilst sewing it down which helps me get a lot closer. The neckline and the armholes are finished with bias binding.The fabric is a really nice textured silk dupion (which really needs an iron) and is the perfect forest green for Robin Hood.

The mask I improvised using google and foam. The tail is made of paper and safety pinned onto the dress! Thanks very much to Lucy for letting me borrow her hat and arrow-holder. (I’m sure there’s a technical term but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is.

That’s it from me for this week! It’s my last full week of school so the summer holidays are so so close!
Until next time,
Thanks so much for reading and to Ed for taking the photos under duress (again)

Lauren xx

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Floral Playsuit

 Howdy to you all! I picked up this amazing fabric at The-Charity-Shop-That-Sells-Fabric for a steal at 5.99 for 2 1/4 metres! It's really soft and smooth and silky and generally lovely. And the print. I love the print. As per my capsule wardrobe plans it was destined to become a playsuit and a playsuit it has become. I decided that matching top and bottoms would be better and more versatile than an all in one. I can't wait to make a navy half circle skirt to go with the bodice and a navy lace tee to go with the shorts.

The bodice I traced off my strapless maxi dress because I lost the pattern pieces I made! Stupid, stupid Lauren for not tidying and consequently adding 2 hours to a project. As I couldn't get hold of a separated zip or a hoody zip the measurement of my armpits to waist I decided that it had to button up at the back instead. To do that I added 1 1/2 inches to the center back pattern piece and all was good.  The bodice is boned to give it some shape and to hold it up and it's lined with calico.
The flappy over bit at the top I drafted by pinning my pattern pieces together and drawing a curve at the top. I self lined it and then sandwiched it between the lining and the bodice to attach it all. In hindsight some navy piping at the hem of the flappy over bit would have been fabulous.

For the shorts I used my TNT simplicity 9944, same as I did for last years floral shorts. I think I'm going to add some straps to the top, probably halterneck ties. 

I can't wait to pair this bodice with a circle skirt because I think it'll be epic.
Thanks so much for reading and to Ed for taking 3 sets of photos 'til they were how I wanted them. (Note to self: Some poses, not for me.)
Lauren xx