Friday, 21 October 2016

October Minerva make: Red, blue and stripes

Hello all! My latest Minerva make is a double whammy. I've been looking for the perfect navy and white striped knit for yonks and yonks and yonks, and as soon as I saw it on their Instagram I knew it would be included in one of my kits. Then I had to decide what I wanted to pair it with. In the end I decided to go classic red pleated skirt for that timeless silhouette.
You can read all about these makes over at Minerva.

Thanks very much to Minerva Crafts for the kit and to Lucy for taking the photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Leopard print 118 shorts

A while back my good friend Ieuan asked me to make him some 80s 118 style leopard print shorts and I was happy to oblige him, for a small fee of course.
The fabric is a polyester knit from Minerva Crafts, although I can't find it on their site anymore. The fabric was very slinky and quite see through so I underlined it with a nice soft cotton jersey. I used this stretch bias binding for the first time which was an adventure.
I started with a basic short pattern, shortened it considerably and curved the side seams. In retrospect, I might have curved them a little too drastically. I planned to topstitch the bias binding into place but when I tried it was stretching more than the already sewn side making a very ripply seam. So I unpicked that and handsewed a large proportion of it in Starbucks instead. I used the white jersey for the waistband so it would co-ordinate nicely with the bias binding.
I gave Ieuan a little questionnaire to answer so you can hear about these shorts from his perspective. Enjoy!

What inspired you to commission a pair of 80s leopard print short shorts?
Who doesn't want a pair of leopard print short shorts.

How do you feel about your shorts?
I love 'em. Dream Pair of shorts.
Are they comfortable?
Top Notch, keeps you cool in hot weather because they are shorter than your average pair of shorts.

How is the fit?
Marvellous, they hug me in all the right places (especially round the genitalia area;) which means no inappropriate slips.
What would you change about them?
Zebra print silk on the inside, to make these bad boys reversible.

Were they a worthy investment?
Most definitely...
Would you recommend them to a friend?
Yes. Of course. Very practical. Good for lunging and other sports, but also incredible for when you want to come home after a hard days work and want to light the stove, feed the Labrador, whack on the kettle and tune into Gogglebox.

Score out of 10?
Due to these being completely out of this world of amazingness, I hereby award these leopard print short shorts in the style of 118 118 running man... an outstanding 10/10. That's a bingo.

Signing off me, the one and only, highly esteemed,

Ieuan Newman

Professional Lunger/short shorts wearer
Thank you for reading and a thousand thanks to Ieuan for being such a good sport.
Lauren xx

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Kelly Anorak

Hello all! Today I am very excited to present to you my tester version of Closet Case Files' latest pattern; the Kelly Anorak. I was over the moon when I got the email asking me to test because I've wanted to make a jacket like this for forever.
My original fabric choice was this super cool flour resist dyed cotton that I prepped last year, but when I got it out it was just too lightweight. More dress weight than coat weight. I remembered Carolyn mentioning something about shower curtains a while ago and so I had a look on Amazon and when I found this penguin shower curtain I knew it was the one.
I bought 2 of them so I could be sure that I would have enough, which worked out to about £17 for them both. When they arrived I realised that I would have a nightmare pattern matching the lines of penguins and decided to make the sleeves, zip plackets and the centre of the hood sans penguins. If I'd worked that out before I bought them I would have bought 1 penguin shower curtain and 1 white one which would have saved me a bit of money.
I am very happy with how the penguins are on the back, and less so with the front. The nature of the pockets meant they were impossible to match with the penguins underneath. The yoke and centre row of penguins work well though. I ordered the zip when I was still thinking of using the purple fabric, but I really like the pop of colour it gives. It was the most expensive zip I've ever bought, so it had better last forever. It cost £6 including postage!
I did mess up a bit when I cut out and so my zip is the men's way round instead of the woman's. Though, if you read the instructions before you cut, it is very clear. The construction of the zip is one of my favourite parts of this coat. It just looks so professional.
I must admit, working with a shower curtain as a main fabric was a bit of a disaster. I spent ages doing various things to get the creases out because ironing was not an option. None of my methods worked, but the creases aren't so noticeable in the end. I couldn't pin or unpick, which was a nightmare when it was time to sew the pockets on. Oh, and the pockets are my other favourite part of the pattern by the way. So good! I ended up using blue tack to stick the pockets down while I sewed them. It worked alright, but it wasn't great.
The other major issue I had with the fabric is that it has no give whatsoever, which was a bit of a disaster when it came to setting the sleeves in. One went in better than the other, but I had to settle with doing little pleats, just to get them to fit in each armhole. The fabric is quite see through, so instead of doing a facing I just turned the edge and topstitched. I did have to do a lot of clipping to get it to turn but it worked out alright in the end.
The saving grace of this fabric is that it doesn't fray. That meant that instead of doing flatfell seams I just sewed right sides together as usual and topstitched the SA down. I didn't fancy hammering grommets into this fabric so I opted instead for stick on Velcro. Worked a treat. I plonked it on the hood,  cuffs and to keep the pocket flaps down and I might still add some to keep the zip placket down.
I think that this anorak is quite possibly one of my most favourite makes. I loved that it challenged me with new techniques like the pockets and the zip. It's one of the makes that no one quite believes that you've actually made. Sadly I'm not sure how much wear this fabric is going to withstand. The fabric is already a bit ripped along the pockets. I would love it to last forever though. I definitely want to make a red duffel winter coat version, sizing up to fit some more layers underneath, without the drawstring and with some nice toggles. I'd also like to make a floral version for spring.
Thank you so much for reading, to Heather Lou for asking me to test the pattern and to Lucy for taking the photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Joseph Dress

Hello all! I have something fun to share with you today. Freshers week has just finished at my uni and one of the events was a dress up party. We all had to dress as something beginning with the letters R, B or C, because my uni is called Rose Bruford College. I had a couple of ideas, ranging from cowboy to clock, but when I looked through the fabrics I bought at this years Sew Brum it was obvious. I had to be a rainbow.
I bought five metres of a poly fabric at Sew Brum in five different colours for a fiver. I chose green, turquoise, purple, red and navy. They were intended for 5 little cami tops in different colours that would go with everything.
I still wanted to use the fabric after it was used for the costume so all of the sewing was done along the edges of the fabric and no cuts were made. The orange fabric was leftovers from some harem pants I made for a friend for the same night. (He won the prize by the way!)
The sewing was very very simple. I tied the corners of each colour together at the shoulders, measured how deep I wanted the neckline to be and then inserted the orange panel at the centre front. I then measured how deep I wanted the armholes to be, and then sewed down the rest of the edge of the fabric for a side seam. All in all this dress only took 5 straight lines of sewing.
I used the selvedges for the necklines so they didn't have to be finished, and hoped that everyone would be too drunk to notice the lack of hem.
Then the tent dress was cinched in by a fantastically 80s elastic which I tied round my waist for a belt.
When I twirled up to my housemate's room for her to examine it she noticed that the rainbow was not in order, so I unpicked the side seams and swapped the turquoise and purple round with a cheeky French seam. Then I just had to sew back up the side seams and everything was politically correct.
It is funny that even though this dress is such a quick and simple sew, just how much of a statement it makes. We got quite a few funny looks when we walked down the meadows for pictures.
It worked very well for a night for dancing and fun and I'm happy that I can rip each piece of fabric back to its original state and make what I intended.
Thank you for reading and a massive thank you to Abby for being such a wonderful picture-taker and director. Also thank you to Kristen for letting my hijack your walk with blog photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Tablecloth Top

Happy Sunday folks! Todays make gets an absolute thumbs down from me and I seriously considered not blogging it, but I've decided that it's important to share the failures as well as the triumphs.
This top was originally a charming lace edged tablecloth gifted to me by my Mums friend Sue, which I thought would look great refashioned into a halterneck top. Easy peasy with one corner folded down to make a channel to pass a neck tie through and a channel at the bottom to make a drawstring waist.
Unfortunately this little refashion hit a few bumps in the road before reaching it's completion. For one thing, the lace border was quite wide and quite see through. This meant I had to underline the front for modesty reasons which doesn't let the border shine as much as I would like.
Even though I had draped it roughly on my dress form it still gaped at the bust so I added some impromptu darts. As you can see below, my impromptu darts need a bit of work. I think that the fix might actually be as simple as tying the neckline cord a bit tighter and raising the whole thing a bit higher.
The darts did ruin the line of the beautiful lacy border but hey, no gaping! The underlining looks like it ended up being shorter than the outer layer, causing the outer layer to bulge a bit at the drawstring at the waist.
I think using a ribbon for ties instead of cord and cotton tape would give it a much more pulled together look.
I originally intended to embroider floral patterns all over the CF like this top, but I'm not happy enough with it to commit that amount of time into something that I'm not going to wear. I'd like to try again with a thinner trim which I have more control over how it's attached.
I think that this is one of those makes that lots of little things that bother me add up until I just can't wear it without feeling self conscious about it. I pride myself on making garments that look as professional as possible and this top just doesn't cut it. I'm glad I posted about it though. It would have been such a waste of a waterfall if I hadn't.
Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking the pictures!
Lauren xx

Friday, 16 September 2016

September Minerva Make: Cotton Lace Dress

 Hello all! For my September Minerva make I decided to skip the practical and go straight to the pretty. This striped cotton lace caught my eye and the lure of playing with stripes was just too much to resist. The fact that it's ivory sealed the deal, because ivory looks so much better with my skin tone than white. I then chose a co-ordinating linen look cotton to underline the dress with.
You can click here to read the rest of the post if you so wish. As for photos, I was lucky enough to spend a night in a castle in Luxembourg this summer. The was a wedding the day we arrived so as soon as the bride and her party went off to party I nabbed the fab setting they left behind.

 Thank you for reading, to Minerva Crafts for providing the kit for this make, and to Edward for taking pics!
Lauren xx

Monday, 12 September 2016

Ginghamalong 2016: Peplum Top

When Karen announced a 'Ginghamalong' I was intrigued but I didn't have any gingham in my stash so I didn't think that I would be able to join in. However, Dad donated a pile of worn out shirts and one of them just happened to be gingham!
His shirts tend to be worn out mostly at the collar and at the underarm, which still leaves me a lot to play with. I decided to make a peplum top, which seemed to be all the rage a few years ago but aren't seen so often nowadays.
I could have used the entire width of the shirt using the original hem for the peplum or cut the back of the shirt in half lengthways. It turned out that the latter option would yield the longest width of fabric so I went for that one. 
I cut both of the shirt fronts and back free and then cut them into rectangles. The back was cut in half lengthways for the peplum and the button bands were cut off the fronts to be added again later.
 I started by pinning the 2 rectangles cut from the front pieces to fit around my bust and sewed them into a tube. I then cut down the middle of one of the rectangles for the CB. Next was gathering the peplum piece to the bodice.
I then sewed the button bands onto the center back to fasten the top. I got a bit enthusiastic and sewed the buttons on before I attached the band to the top. This made sewing the band on a nightmare. Buttons go last!
 Then the top edge was turned down and top-stitched and I did the same for the hem. The straps were just strips sewn right sides together and turned out.
 This was another one of those makes that I wasn't very heavily invested in, but it worked out really well! It's a shame that summer is nearly over.
Thanks very much to Meghan, Jack and Jowan who let me drag them down to the park for table tennis and blog pics. Thanks to dad for enabling me to participate, thanks to Karen for hosting the Ginghamalong and thank you for reading!
Lauren xx