Sunday, 23 June 2013

Pink Panda Pyjama Party!

Hooray for brand new pyjamas! I had already been eyeing up this fantastic fabric from The Eternal Maker for some new PJs; it's called hidden panda!

Of course I used the new Sewaholic Tofino pattern. Toino is a great pattern this is; straight forward and pretty. My new jim-jams came together really quickly, despite my best efforts to screw them up. The phrase more haste less speed comes to mind.

I realised I would be away at the in-laws and a friend's wedding from 19-23 June. So I'd have to get ahead and have a blog post all sorted before we left. But it really is a good idea to buy the correct supplies. I couldn't find any piping cord in my local Hobby Craft so I left with some chunky braid thinking it would be fine.... guess what? not fine. My piping was a big fat mess, wonky and twisted. I only then realised it would probably be uncomfortable too. After a touch of internet shopping and a short wait I had some nice skinny piping cord and a brand new piping foot for my machine. Postage and unpicking time slowing me up a bit.

A piping foot has a two channels in the base to guide it over the piping cord, keeping your stitches even and close to the cord. In the end, I found my concealed zip foot worked even better as my piping was so skinny.

Based on my measurements, the finished garment measurements (so useful) and some existing pyjama pants, I cut a size 6. Existing pink panda print pyjamas no less! The only change I made to the pattern was to remove 4 inches of length from the legs, which at 5'1 is fairly standard for me. When I was finished I added contrast cuffs to the legs, just cutting a strip of fabric to to correct width. I really like how the cuff pulls it all together.

I'm very pleased with how they have worked out. I think I'll be needing another pair for the winter. Now, where can I get my hands on some panda print brushed cotton?!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Un-selfish sewing

A few of weeks ago I whipped up a couple of appliqué cushions. My friends' sweet girls were both turning one within a week of each other, time to put my fabric stash to work!  I made long quilted cushion covers and the cut down cushion pads to go inside.

I'm pleased to report that both mothers loved them. Charlotte and Emilia have yet to comment, fingers crossed they like them too!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Me-Made-May Results or my love for Scouts!

So with May behind us it's about time to see how it went. First up, the last batch of ropey selfies...

Clockwise from top  left;17/05/13; 18/05/13; 23/05/13; 30/05/13; 26/05/13, 25/05/13

The briefest hint of sunshine allowed me to wear my Darling Ranges dress, albeit with a vest, half slip, tights and (later) boots. Then I tested out a couple of yet-to-be-blogged tops; a cute Washi tunic made from a soft grey anchor print cotton and a pinstripe Scout with a self drafted peter pan collar. Next I wore my crabby Ginger. And finally my denim tulip skirt and beloved Liberty Scout to finish with.

What have I learnt? My pledge was to wear two me-made or refashioned garments a week, I make that at least 8 garments. I managed 14! Yay! I've also learnt that I really love a Scout T-shirt...

 ...and my yellow cardigan! I have fabric washed and waiting patiently to be made into another Scout. Looks like if it wasn't wearing a Scout it was a skirt, not bad for a jeans&tee sort of girl. Again I have some fabric lined up for another pleated knee length skirt. Well, if it aint broke..

The three occasions I didn't wear a Scout or knee length skirt are below, all of which were made in May, along with my peter pan Scout and refashioned silk Scout. I'm pretty pleased with my self, especially as of the clothes I've worn only four skirts and a top were made before May (and two of those just a week before!)

I have loved taking part, even though I couldn't commit to a garment every day, maybe next year. I have loved seeing what everyone has worn although my to-make list is as ling as my arm now!

Now I'd better get to bed, unless I just cut out my next Scout!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Progress report: Me-Made-May'13

So, half way through May and how am I doing with my Me-Made-May'13 challenge? Not bad at all!

I've committed to two me-made or refashioned garments a week and I'm actually exceeding that target! I've been recording my progress on Instgram, so here's what i've been wearing;

Clockwise from top left; 01/05/13; 02/05/13; 07/05/13; 04/05/13
For the first of May I wore my brand new 1000 cranes skirt. I'm so pleased with it! I've managed to get the fit pretty good and felt great in it. Next up was my Scout. I made this from a beautiful piece of cotton lawn I grabbed from Liberty's remnant bin last summer. It is a touch wide on the shoulders/neck but so comfy and easy to wear. I felt awful on the 4th and I have to say I didn't last the day in my red corduroy mini skirt. I drafted it myself last autumn, copying an even smaller skirt (from many years ago). I think it's just too short and low waisted; I'm no longer 19 :(  The 7th was the last of the lovely (brief) warm spell of weather so I wore my denim tulip skirt. I went back and took in the waist after it's first outing as it was gaping a bit. While I was messing with the waistband I put in a lining. Why I didn't in the fist place I don't know!

Clockwise from top left; 08/05/13; 11/05/13; 15/05/13; 13/05/13

On the 8th, almost the moment it was finished, my silk shirt x Scout refashion got a test drive. I'm very pleased with it (see smug face pic) I might sew the button placket together though, the top button did slip out at one point. Next was my yellow t-shirt, almost too boring to mention, except that the fit is pretty bad; kind of loose and a bit short. I definitely need more practice with knits. My beloved Liberty Scout (again) straight off the ironing board. I think a few more Scouts are needed! And finally my crabby Ginger skirt from last summer. It used to have the beautiful shaped waistband, but it always folded up on it's self. I think I'm too short waisted for it. So it's been recently straightened. It's also unlined, so the waistband is currently just tacked down because I'm *getting round* to lining it. Any minute now....

8 me-made days out of 15, pretty good going! Maybe my initial pledge of 2 garments a week was a bit pessimistic. I think I'll keep this up, I'm wearing my Darling Ranges dress as I type and finished a cute top last night (not even a Scout) Onwards and upwards!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Completed! Poppies Darling Ranges Dress

Excellent timing on this dress, I finished just as the brief spell of sunshine ended! Ah well, surely the sun will come back soon.... I've had my eye on the Darling Ranges Dress pattern for so long, I'm so glad that I finally went for it. I paired it with some beautiful Anna Maria Horner Field Study Poppies rayon from M is for Make.

First up, after seeing other bloggers' versions, I knew I should make a muslin of the bodice (FYI not something I normally do) I am SO glad I did! Based on my measurements I made up a medium and was fairly disappointed that it in no way fitted around the bust. So I hacked it up into a small, still awful. I then went back to a medium, did (my first ever!) small bust adjustment. Now I was finally getting somewhere! But the bust darts were still not really doing anything good in relation to my bust though so I pinned the muslin on me until it looked right. I think I ended up with narrower, longer darts. I also raised the neckline about 1 3/4 inches and cut about 1/4 inch off the length at the shoulders (does that even make sense?) 

When I put the bodice together the fit was pretty good but the side seams were different lengths. I extended the side seam on the back bodice. By then I just wanted it done already and I deemed it 'good enough'.

butchered bodice front
The construction was nice and straight forward after that although the bias and placket folding had me reading the instructions quite carefully. I should have stay-stiched the neckline, I think I stretched it out a touch before I got the bias on. I did under-stitch it though which has given me a crisp turn. I have a bag of left over quilting cotton bias, the blue was a good match. Being stiffer than the rayon has helped keep it smooth, I think.

I had cut out the ties for the back of the dress but as I can't see myself wearing it without a belt I turned them into cuffs for the sleeves. They were just the right length too! I added twill tape to the waist to give it a bit more support and put a belt loop at each side seam.

I went rogue with the button placement and skipped the waistline, sewing a snap on instead so not to be squashed into my by my belt. I couldn't find buttons I liked that were the right size and colour but I think these clear ones work well, the print is busy enough! Speaking of the print, I'd love to say I planned the placement but it was fluke. I was concentrating on having all the pieces the right way up!

I just wish it was warm enough to wear it! Maybe with tights, a slip, and a cardigan, boots....

(Please excuse my grumpy face, I haven't worked out the balance between manic smile and stroppy stare yet!)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

My first re-fashion; purple silk shirt

So a couple of weeks ago I had a bit of time to kill before a coffee date and ended up in Oxfam. I scored four 100% silk shirts for £2.99 each. Two of them exactly the same; plain button up shirts with no darts. Basically a fair amount of jewel coloured silk for the price of a large coffee each.

not quite a 'before' photo

I finally cut into one of the last week, after a session with the iron and a damp tea towel. I had just enough to make a Scout t-shirt! First I cut up all the seams to give me some nice flat pieces of fabric to work with. I decided to keep the buttons up the centre front and face the neck and sleeves with bias strips cut from the spare sleeve.

I went for french seams on the sides and armsyce. French seams on the armsyce was a first for me but it came together very smoothly.

inside french seam glory

A silk top for less than £4.50 (£1.50 for thread) and I didn't even have to sew on a single button!

The perfect quick make to help me out with Me-Made-May.  But the question is, shall I do exactly the same with the green shirt or is that just to boring? Maybe. Or the buttons down the back instead perhaps?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

1000 Cranes for Me-Made-May'13

What better way to start Me-Made-May than with a brand new skirt? One of my panic fabric purchases has already been transformed! 

I bought 1.5m of this beautiful cotton from Rashida Coleman-Hale's Tsuru collection for Could 9 from M is for Make. Just enough to whip up this skirt in time for May Day, thanks to very speedy delivery and a weekend of childcare.

I might need a tripod/box/photographer?

Boringly, it's the same Jenny Gordy tulip skirt pattern. Again with the added pockets but swapping the button placket for a side zip. I also added a purple lining.

I was so pleased with having resisted the cranes in my usual go-to colourway (navy), the cerulean is so pretty. Then with only hems and a bit of slip stitching left to do I took against it. Does that ever happen to you? Almost getting to the finish to suddenly fall out of love? I'm so glad I did finish it though, I have absolutely loved wearing it today. Bring on Me-Made-May!