Sunday, 31 January 2016

To what extent can you justify doing nothing?

Hi everyone! I don't have a finished project to show you today, but instead I have some thoughts, lots of questions, and not very many answers.

Is a day in bed watching rubbish on Netflix and continuously refreshing social media wasted? Is it ignorant? If I was bed bound would I be yelling at past me going, 'Get up! Just do something!' I think that I would.
Is it a bit much to restrict hours spent in bed and to enforce hours sewing instead? Or is that not how creativity works? Is creativity something that can't be forced?
Is reading more or less of a waste of time than Netflix? Is it more valuable because it's on a page instead of a screen? Maybe so, because it requires imagination.
But without that downtime, that doing nothing time, would I be an exhausted wreck of a person? Maybe. So how much is too little and how much is too much? Does it depend on the individual? Maybe.
But when I'm old and grey, I would like to look back at the past and say, 'Well done Lauren, you did something.'

I'd love to know your thoughts on the subject.
Thanks for reading,
Lauren xx


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Dino pjs

Hello all! Today I have some really fun pjs to share with you. Marilla posted about this dinosaur fabric a while back and I couldn't resist. I'm not really one to go for novelty prints, but for pajamas I think dinosaurs are perfectly acceptable.
For the top I traced an existing thermal top and then added cuffs and a band for the hem. I think I could have been a bit more precise because the sleeves ended up having little pleats at the top because they were too big. The long sleeves are perfect for keeping me warm at home, but living in an 8 floor building at uni they are too warm. I'm not sure whether I'll cut them down, but it's a possibility.
I used the True Bias Hudson pant pattern for the bottoms. This pattern was such a good investment. I think this is my 5th pair so they didn't take very long to put together at all. 
They have had so much wear already and are so comfy that I never want to take them off. Ugh, why isn't fabric self cleaning already! I accidentally walked into a party wearing them on Friday night and now I have two orders for dino t-shirts, which is great!
Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking photos! It was such a funny set up. He was holding my lamp shade down with a hanger to get the light on me, standing on a stool and taking pictures with his other hand.
Lauren xx

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Red Floral Anna

Hello all! This viscose floral reminded me of 40s tea dresses and this is my modern interpretation of that. I decided that it was high time that I made the By Hand London Anna dress in its original design. I've paired the bodice with half circle skirts twice before and this time I wanted to try it with it's original less-full gored skirt.
 Construction went pretty smoothly, although the hips needed taking in a bit. All the seams were overlocked, the neckline and armholes were finished with self-fabric bias binding with a slip-stitch. I'm still a bit slow, but practice makes perfect! I used a matching red invisible zip for the centre back. I've found that the trick is to sew each side twice to get as close as possible to the zipper teeth.
It's the first fabric that I've come across that I could describe as spongy, although a good iron squashes it down. As a viscose it does crease fairly easily, but it feels nice against the skin and drapes beautifully. The seams were quite tricky to match up with such a shifty fabric, so I settled for a 0.3mm margin of error.
I decided on a 3 inch hem so it would hang nicely, and I think it's the perfect length for me. Long enough to feel elegant, and short enough to feel modern. I was worried that the silhouette wouldn't suit, but I love it. This is just such an elegant dress!
Thanks for reading, to Minerva crafts for providing the kit for this make and Edward for taking photos!
Lauren xx


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Top 5 Hits 2015


It's this time of year again! Top 5 is the brainchild of Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow and it's purpose is a look back at our sewing achievements this year. I'm going to start with what I consider my best makes of 2015 to be. Apologies in advance as I could only narrow it down to 9. I'm so proud of all of these makes. 
I'm going from the start of the year chronologically. Watch how much my face changes pre-op and post-op! This 'Joseph Skirt' was a fairly simple make. It's just a basic skirt, but I am pretty proud of the construction in this make. It was lined, and I really made an effort with stripe matching etc. It's been worn many many times this year, probably because as it has every colour in it, it goes with everything! It was a little big to start with, but that actually turned out pretty well because I like to wear it in winter with fairly thick jumpers which you need a bit more ease for.
As with last year, the rest of my favourite makes are from May onwards. My 'Leavers Ball Dress' was an obvious contender. I definitely 'skilled up' for this make. The bodice was the first thing I've draped and I really love the design. There was so much thinking and planning involved working out how I wanted to stripes to look on the bodice, whether I wanted pleats in the skirt to match with the bodice etc. It was probably the most time I'd ever spent on a personal project with draping the bodice and making all of the flowers which is an achievement in itself. It's not perfect, and I wish the finishing on the inside was better but I love the finished garment and can't wait to wear it again.
Next up is another garment made from silk! (What can I say, I've really spoiled myself this year). I had to include my 'Culotte Jumpsuit' because it makes me feel so damn fabulous when I wear it. Enough said.
'My First Quilt' had to make it here because I'd never made anything like it before on that kind of scale. It was really nice to pop upstairs and join a couple of squares together in between revision. It made my uni room look instantly like home. I loved that I could put a penguin, dinosaur, moose and elephant in each corner. It's definitely not perfect, but I love it to bits.





























Next up is my 'Whose line is it anyway' top. I love the design of this top, I love the fabric, I love the fit. I just love everything about this top. Because I live in England and it's definitely a top for summer it didn't get a lot of wear, but I'm holding out for a heatwave next year.
I added my 'Sashiko Francoise' to the list because I think it's the biggest transformation I've accomplished from raw materials to a garment. A tablecloth was dyed blue, hours were spent stitching a design onto the fabric, then the whole sewing process of cutting, fitting and sewing together started. There were a lot of processes involved in the make and I love how it turned out.
And now we've come to the 3rd and final silk garment of this roundup. In this 'Silk dress with tuck details' I especially love how luxurious it is. I've worn it to a special occasion and for standard days at uni. I want to get as much wear out of this dress as possible because I love the design, fabric and fit of it. It makes me happy to wear and so why shouldn't I wear it as much as possible.
My second pair of Ginger Jeans are my last hit of the year. Now I'm not in a suit 5 days a week my lifestyle has become a lot more casual and these jeans suit it perfectly. They aren't perfect but I'm getting there!
My 'hits' for this year have been a nice mix of vintage patterns, indie patterns and self drafted patterns which I think is great. I've definitely tried to make an effort with finishing the insides in a nicer way this year and on the whole I think I've achieved that. I'm still not 100% done figuring out my personal style, but all of the above photos are very me, which is a good start!
Thanks for reading,
Lauren xx


Saturday, 26 December 2015

Boxing day dress

Hello all! Today we went to the beach for a boxing day walk and I thought it would provide the perfect background for this dress. I started it at 11.58am to be ready to wear at 2.30pm for Star Wars on Tuesday and I did make it out of the door, albeit with a pinked hem. We went to a 'Kinema in the woods' which I thought would be a great backdrop for the dress, forgetting that it would be almost pitch black when we got there. But it's okay, because this dress got its moment on the beach today!
 With all the TV I've been watching there's a lot of advert time to do some hand sewing in, so the hem got stitched up Thursday night and it was ready for photos! I used my bodice block with a little extra at the side seams as a result of all the baking I've been doing at uni and paired it with a quarter circle skirt.
I was in the mood for an A-line skirt and a quarter circle skirt seemed to be the simplest way to draft one. I love the drape of the skirt (which is a little obstructed by the wind here) and I'm glad that I didn't draft an A line skirt in the traditional sense. The fabric is a lovely brushed cotton which I believe cost £8 per metre from Goldhawk Road. Add £1 for an invisible zip and you have a £9 dress.
There is a slight V neckline in the back for the simple reason that my zip wasn't long enough. I love a bit of a V back though, so it's not a problem. The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding which as usual is slip-stitched into place. I find that these days I want my makes to be one step above ready to wear and hand sewing is often one of the ways to achieve that finish.
I hope that everybody is having a lovely holiday with plenty good food and sewing time.

























Thanks for reading and to Edward for lugging his camera bag around the beach!
Lauren xx

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Loungewear: Drapey top and sweatpants

Hello all! When I was choosing my Minerva projects I was thinking about the holes in my wardrobe and I realised that I lacked loungewear for after uni and the weekends when I'm just chilling in halls. So, I found this grey knit fabric for some Hudson pants and picked out a floral jersey for a loose t-shirt.
The top was copied from a RTW top I've owned for years and really needs replacing now It's really simple with 2 seams and dolman sleeves which makes it really quick to sew up. Or rather it would have been really simple to sew up without all of the adjustments I had to make.
It ended up being a tad too tight pretty much everywhere for some reason, so I had to unpick all of the seams and sew them at a smaller seam allowance. I also added some triangular gussets to the side seams to give me more room in the hips. After those adjustments I'm really happy with it. The jersey fabric is really soft which makes for a really comfortable top that you don't really realise that you're wearing.
I used hemming tape for the first time for the hem and the sleeve hems and it's amazing! I've come to the point where I like all of my garments to have a hem but hems can go very wrong in jersey. This tape stabilizes it and makes it look a lot more polished. 

For the sweatpants I went up 2 sizes as I wasn't convinced that they would be stretchy enough in my regular size and thank goodness I did because this size is perfect for this fabric. 1 side is softer than the other so I made sure that the softer side was next to my skin for maximum comfort. I've been wearing this outfit all day and I am so so comfy! I think both the top and the bottoms will get to the top of the most worn list very quickly.

Thanks for reading, to Ed for taking photos and to Minerva Crafts for supplying all of the materials in this kit!
Lauren xx


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Stripey knit dress

Hello all! I liked my knit dress from a couple of weeks ago so much that I decided to make another, with a few modifications.
I'm quite particular about striped fabric and for me the perfect stripe is the thinner white stripe widely spaced on a navy background. I've been looking for this kind of stripe for a while and was so excited to find it at Guthrie and Ghani during the Birmingham meet up. It's also available online here.
I was expecting it be a fairly quick make because I'd already blended together the 3 patterns to make my last knit dress. (Zeena sleeves, RTW top and pencil skirt pattern) but I forgot how long stripe matching takes! 
Sewing the stripes was a little hard because the stripes of the fabric are raised, and you have to allow for that when pinning. I found that by pinning them a little out of sync they would match up as they went through the sewing machine. Other than the stripe matching it was a really quick sew as there was only 2 side seams, the neckband and turning up the edges of the hem and the sleeves. 
I really love the simplicity of this dress. It can be paired with so many things! The knit fabric makes it really comfortable to wear which is ultimately what I look for in all of my clothes. If I find some more knit fabric, there will be another in my future!
Thanks for reading and to Edward for taking pics!
Lauren xx