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

Monday, 5 September 2016

Refashioners 2016: Denim Jumpsuit

Hello all! I hope you've had a lovely weekend. I spent mine waiting tables at Burghley Horse Trials. It was the first time that I've done work of that kind and I was mildly terrified but I got through it without any major mishaps. When Portia announced this years Refashioners challenge was denim I got quite excited, sent a request around the family dinner table for unwanted jeans, browsed her pinterest board for inspo and got to work!
My original inspiration picture was this one, which was a denim jumpsuit with a basic bodice and V shaped cut outs at the side seams. I planned a bit of sashiko to spice things up a bit, but in the end I kept it simple. I had 2 pairs of Dads jeans and I decided to work on the bottom portion first. I wanted to keep the jeans mostly intact, but they were pretty big around the waist and crotch area. To rectify this I cut a new crotch curve for the front and back using the Holly trousers pattern as a guide, whilst also getting rid of the flys. I also took them in at the inseam a bit as well.
I then unpicked the waistband and took the side seams and CB in even more so they fit to my waist. Then the waistband using what was previously the CB at the CF and the raw ends at the CB was sewn on. I then inserted zip a lot of times and decided to settle with a bit of a bump.  The trouser legs were rolled up and I was ready to start on the bodice.
I started with opening up the legs of my other pair of jeans flat and cutting out my bodice block. I fiddled around for a bit and it just wasn't working so I scrapped that plan and found another inspiration image with a fantastic laced back. I got to work with a rectangle with some patched up bits at the top where I'd cut off bits that I then realised I needed and wacked 2 darts in at the bust. The side seams were slightly on the bias so I stabilized them with twill tape, turned them over and top stitched. Then the bodice was sewn onto the waistband.
I unpicked all of the belt loops from that second pair of jeans to use as rouleau loops and sewed them on at regular intervals. I ended up doing a row of 3 on each side. Then I unpicked the waistband from the second pair of jeans, cut it into 4 strips to turn into 1 massive cord which threaded through the loops to make a really nice criss-cross effect.
What was really nice about this project was that it was no pressure. I could go with the flow and change the plan if plan A wasn't working. I treated it a bit like the refashion round on the Sewing Bee. It's all about the creativity and less emphasis is placed on the execution and finishing. I could just play.
And I'm really happy with how it turned out. I walk very tall down the street wearing this jumpsuit. Yes the zip isn't great, and the bodice bags a bit at the side seams, but I look freaking cool which cancels that out completely.
Thanks very much for reading, and to Portia, for without her this jumpsuit would not exist.
Lauren xx

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Tent Dress

Hello all! I hope your weekends are all going swimmingly. This dress is my too-hot-to-function outfit of the year. Some great memories have been made whilst wearing this dress, such as falling bottom first onto a straw and dung covered floor and visiting a waterfall. All good stuff.
According to Instagram I started this project a whole 60 weeks ago last summer. I cut all the pieces out using the vintage pattern Style 2401 omitting the ruffle, sewed a single seam and then it got thrown to the wayside for some more pressing makes.
I dug it up again at Easter when I was looking for some summer projects to take back to uni and thought it would be great for hot weather, should we have any. I then had one of those argh I have nothing to wear tomorrow moments sometime in May and made a huge amount of progress. Late into the night I decided that enough was enough. I did have something to wear really, and so the dress lay to be completed another day. And then when I was looking for a dress to wear to visit my dear friend Rachel in Derby last month I pounced upon this dress and finally got it finished.
There wasn't much to the sewing really. There are only 4 pattern pieces. I wasn't that impressed with the amount of gathering that goes into the yoke though. It's rather pitiful. The volume of the dress as a whole is fantastic though, I have no quarrel with that!
After trying it on I ended up taking a few cm off the shoulders and the side seams to tighten the armholes up a bit. I bias bound the neckline and armholes, handsewn into place as always. I also cut a bit off the hem to make it a bit more fun than frumpy. I then pinned up the hem various amounts, sewed it once, then decided that it was rather too short so I unpicked that and did a baby machine hem instead. It is a bit dodgy, but not hugely noticeable so I decided to go with it.
The fabric is a beautifully patterned silk that you may remember from one of last years vintage pledge makes, the culotte jumpsuit. This is a really breezy and cool dress to wear, perfect for the occasional really hot days we've had this summer.
Thanks very much for reading and to Ed for interrupting his rocky ramblings to take pictures. As always, much obliged.
Lauren xx

Monday, 22 August 2016

August Minerva Make: Floral strappy back dress and linen top

Hello all! For this months Minerva Make I picked out this gorgeous floral print for a skirt and some pink linen for a co-ordinating top. The plan was to have 2 pieces that would be great to mix and match.
Lauren xx

Sunday, 21 August 2016

City gym shorts and an off the shoulder tee

 Hello all! Today I have another holiday make to share with you. I wanted some comfier shorts for travel and beach days, had a quick google for patterns and this one by Purl Soho came up. I love binding and curved side seams. The extra detail just makes them that bit more special.
The fabric was a cotton remnant from a skirt that my Mum made once upon a time. There wasn't very much of it at all and I've been hoarding it for quite some time, waiting for the perfect project. It's finally got its time to shine. I think the colours in it are fantastic, and it's such a fun print.
The shorts were pretty quick to sew up, even with the binding. I used a pink linen which was a left over from one of my Minerva makes. It was very satisfying to press into place and topstitch and I'm very proud of the results. The waistband is narrower than specified in the pattern, only because I had a narrower width of elastic to hand which works perfectly fine. There isn't an awful lot of ease in the hips, so I'd probably add a bit more next time but the shorts are still perfectly comfortable to wear.
The top was whipped up from another jersey remnant using the raglan tee pattern from sew you home stretch yet again. See it used for completely different looks here and here. I just folded down the neckline on each pattern piece an inch or two to get the off the shoulder look.
All the seams are zigzagged using my sewing machine. I stretched the elastic slightly when sewing it onto the neckline, turned it over and topstitched. All the hems are raw because I liked the length of everything where it was at. I'm really happy with both the pieces in this outfit and I hope there's still enough summer left in the UK to enjoy wearing them!
Thanks very much for reading and to Edward for taking photos,
Lauren xx