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

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Top 5 Highlights, Reflections and Goals

I'm going to power through my highlights, reflections and goals today!
Top 5 2014 #sewingtop5

Highlights

1. Passing my driving test! I'm now as free as a bird. (And this bird has now figured out how to put petrol in a car. Finally)
2. Passing my AS Levels so I could get back into my final year of school.
3. I've made some amazing friends this year and have kept up some great friendships.
4. My trip to Australia in the summer was a pretty cool experience. Now I can officially say that I've been rescued by a lifeguard. I actually got to spend time with family as well, which sounds weird but I don't see a lot of them at home. And I got to go fabric shopping with Susan!
5. I was the costume person for the schools production of Oliver which was a lot of fun. I learnt to always carry safety pins on my person. Always.

Reflections

1. I don't really have any because I think they kind of link in with goals, so I'll go on to those.
Oh wait I have one.
1. When people pay you to make something for them and you give them a quote it'll probably take double the time you thought it would so take that into account.

Goals

1. I need to make more tops. This year has been a dresses year. 5 days a week I am required to wear a matching suit. I've made 2 suits and I would like to make some interesting tops to go with them. A third suit would be great as well. I should probably make that sooner rather than later because I won't need it after June. 
2. Experiment more with pattern drafting, adaptation and draping.
3. Instead of thinking "I don't know how to do that so I'll do it a way that I do know how to do instead" find out how to do the thing that I don't know otherwise I'll never learn! 
4. Stop taking shortcuts if it's going to compromise the quality of the garment. You won't believe the difference understitching makes until you try it.
5. I've got some pretty important exams this year and ultimately they need to come first, so I need to stop beating myself up if I don't have a finished garment to post every Sunday. 
6. I'd quite like to do a series of some kind which gives a bit of variety to finished object, finished object, another finished object. I'm not quite sure what it would be though.

That's me finished for now, thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Tartan Francoise

 I've had a longing for a tartan something for a while and when Remnant House announced that postage was free for a few days I pounced on a metre of this beautiful black watch tartan. With only 1 metre of it, it had to become a Francoise.
 The plaid matching was pretty interesting with the front darts, but I tried my best! I cut the front and the back on the fold so at least they were continuous. In hindsight, maybe I should have put the zip in the back instead of the side seam because the back is easier to match. I'm pretty pleased with how the side seam turned out though.
The fit is quite loose, but I think that's okay with this dress. It's not supposed to be tight. The back could fit a tad better though, it's a bit baggy.
The neckline was finished with a facing which I need to stitch down because it flaps everywhere. The armholes are finished with bias tape and the hem was turned over twice and slipstitched during the big fat quiz of the year.
I wore this dress over a black jumper which worked really well for a walk around a national trust property near Stratford with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins. I attempted to get blog photos there but my dress didn't look it's best and you couldn't see the neckline so I retook them. I did get a really cute photo with my cousins though, who wanted to be on the blog!
My outfit that day was centered about being warm so it wasn't the most co-ordinated of outfits but it was certainly striking...
Well, a very happy new year to you all. I hope it's a good one. Thank you very much for reading my blog! I always jump up and down when I receive a new comment.
Thanks to Dad and Ed for taking various photos,
Lauren xx

Monday, 29 December 2014

Top 5 Misses 2014

When looking through my portfolio I had to scroll pretty far down to find any misses which is great as my sewing seems to be on the whole much more successful this year. That's pretty good for only my second year of sewing.

1. First up in chronological order are my first pair of jeans. They are just too uncomfortable in a denim without any stretch and as a result they haven't been worn much atall. The zip in the back just looks bad, and I wish I had made the effort to put a fly front in instead. The pockets just aren't positioned right either. However, I do have new jeans plans for 2015. I have bought the Ginger jeans pattern and plan to make those up in a stretch denim. Fingers crossed they will be more successful than these!

2. Next up, made all the way back in March was my Stardust dress made for my birthday party. It was too short and the fabric frayed disgustingly. When beating up my birthday pinata the dress sustained several rips and thus became unwearable. It has since been cut up and transferred to paper pattern pieces because it did fit well when it was still in one piece.
3. Third up is my red wool blazer. It was a pretty ambitious make, by far the most complicated thing I've ever made but a couple of elements have put me off it and as a result, it barely gets worn. I didn't make a muslin and it was just too big. I may just be an extremely lazy person but 5 buttons is just too much when putting a coat on and off. It takes too much time to button up.
4. My penultimate "miss" is the dotty woven strips dress that I made for project sewn. Weaving the strips of fabric together was a great experiment that just didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. The bodice was just too heavy for a dress. The woven strips would maybe have been better suited for a coat. As a result of this the dress was cut up and the skirt recycled for something else.
5. My last miss was the floral trousers. I took all the ease out off the back pieces for some stupid reason so these are pretty uncomfortable to wear. Shame, because I feel great when I wear them. 

That's all 5! I think the reason that more of my garments are wearable is that now I pay more attention to fit, I feel better in them, so I wear them more. It makes sense.

Thanks for reading,
Lauren xx

Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas Jumper and Velvet Lady Skater

A christmas dress for me needs to be warm, comfortable and able to take a lot of food whilst also being slightly "special occasion". After a lot of consideration I decided on a stretch velvet lady skater which would be all of the above. The black velvet was left over from a school project last year so essential this dress was free! It's a bit black though, so I decided it needed a Christmas jumper to brighten it up a bit.
The pink sweatshirt I made a couple of months ago fit the bill, but needed making a little more Christmassy. There was a battle between the penguin and the christmas tree but the penguin won.
 And ta-da! It was a great Christmas outfit. I felt festive but was still warm and cosy. This time the lady skater bodice was quite right (in the past it's been too low) and I added some volume to the skirt to give it a bit more oomph. I am wearing 2 petticoats here just to maximize the poof.
I hope you all had a great Christmas! Thanks very much to Dad for taking these photos on our morning walk, and to you for reading!
Lauren xx

Monday, 22 December 2014

Top 5 Hits 2014

This year I found it a lot harder to narrow down my successful makes which is such a good thing because this years makes have been so much more wearable than last years. It's interesting that the 5 I have picked are from May onwards, so that's obviously a point where my sewing took a turn for the better! They are listed from the earliest make to the most recent.

No. 1 is my floral strapless maxi dress which I made for the sewalong of Project Sewn. It's definitely one of my top 5 because I feel so good when I wear it. And it fits. And I love the fabric. I'm planning on wearing it to prom this year.
No. 2 is my lace lady skater because it's the perfect more casual party dress. The knit factor is very good for overeating, and it's a very comfortable dress to wear. This dress has been worn many many times.
No.3 is my navy archer shirt, purely because this was one of my first times making a shirt and figuring out the collar and the button placket and buttonholes worked out pretty well. I have yet to attempt shirt sleeves though. Maybe next year is the year. Those shorts are also amazing, but living in England they haven't had much wear. They did come in really handy in Singapore though.
No. 4 would have to be my blazer with the shawl collar, purely for the sheer amount of time and perseverance that went into it. Last year it would have been chucked into the corner for eternity but this year I managed to retrieve it from the corner fairly quickly and get it done. This was good because I wear it practically every day for school. I should probably started making another suit really.
No. 5 would be my dotty shirt-dress because it really developed my pattern adaptation skills as it was adapted from my bodice block to have a gathered front with a shaped waistband. I then added a V neck and a buttonband. It has been worn loads and I feel good in it. Next year I want to take my pattern drafting skills further and will maybe delve into coats. 
That's it for now folks! Thanks for reading and have a good Christmas if I don't post before!
Lauren xx