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

Sunday, 29 June 2014

My Multiple Liebsters

Hi All! Today I've got a bit of catching up to do. Throughout the last couple of months I've been nominated by no fewer than 5 people for a Liebster award: Sew Rachel, One Small Stitch, Sally Bee Makes, The Enantiomer Project and Design by Lindsay. So, I'd better get a move on and answer everybody's questions! I'll try and keep it short and snappy.

Sew Over It

1. Why did you start blogging?
Because I wanted to keep a record of everything I made.
2. How do you get yourself out of a sewing funk?
By starting a project that really excites me.
3. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Hmm. Not sure.
4. Sewing for other people: love it or loathe it?
Depends what it is. And whether I'm being paid to make it. And who it's for.
5. What is your best feature?
My hair!
6. What is your favourite fabric shop?
The market stall in Leicester.
7. What is your biggest sewing sin?
Not pinning fabric when I cut it. (only occasionally)
8. If you could make any sewing process disappear what would it be?
IRONING
9. Which other crafts, if any, do you do?
I bake cakes for peoples birthdays if that counts? If you want to see any of the cakes I've made for people feel free to browse my pinterest board here.
10. Cats or dogs?
Neither.

One Small Stitch

1. What was your best holiday ever?
I'm hoping that it's going to be our trip to Australia this summer.
2. What is something that comes easily to you?
Sewing!
3. What is your favourite thing about your home?
My sewing room/bedroom.
4. Early bird or night owl?
Both. Have no choice in being an early bird because my first bus is at 7.21am...
5. Who was your first crush?
Ahem... too recent to divulge...
6. What two things do you want to do before you die?
Go to goldhawk road and to the NYC garment district. Is it bad that these are the first things that came into my head?
7. What makes you laugh?
My Dad. Every time without fail.
8. What was the best decision you ever made?
To start sewing!
9. What are you most afraid of?
Having an accident that wouldn't allow me to sew anymore.
10. What three wishes would you request from a genie?
Unlimited fabric money, a castle and a time machine (so I can have a lie in instead of getting the buses to school)
11. What is the most essential thing you've learned so far?
Mistakes are okay!


Sally Bee Makes

1. If you had an infinite amount of money that would disappear after one day, how would you spend that day?
Fabric shopping!!!!!
(the rest I've answered above)


The Enantiomer Project

1. Why/ How did you choose the name of your blog?
I was walking through the school gates one morning with my friend Lucy and I was talking about my blog that lacked a name. Apparently it was based on Sir Lancelot as she's a huge Merlin fan.
2. What fashion icon do you take inspiration from?
I don't have a particular fashion icon. I take inspiration from pretty much everyone and pinterest.
3. What is the most difficult fabric you have worked with?
This monstrosity of a 4 way stretch chiffon before I knew what 4 way stretch even meant. It did not end well.
4. What is your proudest sewing moment?
This dress

Design by Lindsay

1. What's one sewing fear that you've overcome?
Buttonholes!
2. What type of garment is your favourite to sew? Is it also your favourite type of garment to wear?
I love sewing dresses because they're easy to wear.
2. Do you prefer sewing with indie patterns or traditional patterns?
Indie patterns because they hold your hand more.

Questions for my nominees: 

Monica from Seams Right to Me and Margo from Creating in the Gap.

1. Your favourite childhood movie
2. What's your favourite colour? Is it  incorporated into your sewing?
3. Do you prefer the summer or winter months? And does that translate to your sewing?
4. Do you focus on projects that you NEED to make or projects that you WANT to make?
5. Why did you decide to start your blog?
6. How did you decide on your blog name?
7. How do you get inspired to sew something?
8. If you have a massive sewing list, how do you prioritize the things that you make?

I can't wait to hear the answers to my questions! Thanks so much everyone who nominated me for this award, I had tons of fun answering the questions and thinking up new ones.
Lauren xx

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Purple Culotte Playsuit

I'm a huge advocate of dresses. They are my favourite thing to wear. However, most of my social gatherings are spent on the floor playing monopoly and I tend to have issues keeping everything covered. This is where the miracle of culottes come in. Now I've made this playsuit, I'm not sure I'll be making a full skirt any time soon! 
I drafted the culottes from Helen Joseph Armstrongs book on patternmaking. It was really interesting to learn that you use A-Line skirts as a base for culottes as opposed to the trouser block. Weird, huh! For the top half I used the T-Shirt block from Sew U Home Stretch by Wendy Mullin. To make the culottes suitable to wear as a playsuit I lowered the crotch by 1/2 inch. I also slashed and spread my culottes at the top so they'd match up with the waist circumference of the bodice part. I then stretched elastic the size of my waist into the waist seam to bring it in at that point. Before the elastic went in, the whole ensemble just looked wrong.
For the neckline and the arm holes I cut strips of fabric 1 1/2 inches wide and not as long as the actual neckline and the arm holes, folded them in half width ways, overlocked right sides together and pressed upwards a la Lady Skater which worked a treat.
What makes this playsuit so comfortable is the knit fabric it's made from. I think it's a single jersey of some kind, a remnant inherited from my Grandmas stash. I think I got the whole playsuit out of 1m or so. What's interesting about it is that there's a plain side and a sparkly side. After a heated debate with myself I went for the plain side because I want to wear it as much as possible and I just wouldn't wear it so much if it was sparkly. 
The culottes were originally about 5 inches longer but it just looked wrong so I chopped it off. Perhaps if I made them fuller they would look more like a skirt and then they'd look okay longer. Something to try for next time, because of course there is going to be a next time.
And now I've said everything that I have to say about this playsuit and  I'm going to bombard you with the pictures Emma, Darren and I took last night and had so much fun while doing so. 

My grapes, please?

I bet you can't see me behind this tree...
3, 2, 1...
BOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Piggy-back proof? Check.

Hear me ROOOOOOAAAARRRRR!
Run Forest, ruuuuuuuunnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me and the photographers :)
Okay, that's it! Thanks so much for reading and to Darren and Emma for taking such brilliant photos!
Lauren xx


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Lace Bomber Jacket

 Here is my lace bomber jacket as promised! Although, I think the bomber jacket look would have been a lot more successful if I'd used navy ribbing for the hem band and cuffs. I do like it how it is though. I used the same pattern that I did for my black hoodie which is based off the baseball tee pattern in Wendy Mullins book Sew U Home Stretch, omitting the hood.

 To make the hoodie cropped I folded the hem band to the width it'd be when attached, put it where the waist was marked on the front and back patterns and drew a line where it ended. I completely misjudged this, making it far too short so had to make the hem band wider than it was supposed to be. I also took it in a fair bit at the back because it was pretty baggy back there.
 And a close up of the lace which I am just so in love with. I ended up using around a metre of lace and a metre of navy ponte so I have loads left, so a lace lady skater has been planned for when it gets colder. All the seams were sewn with my overlocker making for a very neat finish inside. I hand picked the zip and slip-stitched the hem to make sure that they were just right.
I love how versatile this little jacket is. My favourite outfit combo is probably with the deck chair dress.


That's pretty much all I have to say about this little number! It's back to school tomorrow so less sewing time for me :( I did manage to do a whole load of it this week though which was good.
Thanks so much for reading and to Ed for taking half of the photos and to Iona to taking the other half!
I hope the week ahead of you is a good one!
Lauren xx