Dinosaur PJs

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I really love the movie Jurassic Park and dinosaurs in general. A while ago I saw an item of clothing that I knew I needed in my wardrobe, desperately. Dinosaur print PJs.

As you saw in one of my previous posts I traced off the Margot pyjamas from Tilly Walnes’ book ‘Love at first stitch’, so I already had the pattern handy. Then a few weeks ago I was rummaging in a charity shop (this particular shop is in Urmston and has the uncanny knack of always having exactly what you are looking for) and I hit the upcycling jackpot. I found a bedsheet set (single duvet cover and pillowcase). white cotton, printed with green dinosaurs. £2.99. A steal. It became mine.

Side note, I really enjoy making things from pre-existing items like bed linen. It’s incredibly satisfying to give something a new lease of life as a garment. I like to think of it as liberating the fabric, allowing it to find its potential. But then, I am a tad pretentious.

Then last week I had a big cut of fabric and cut out the dinosaur fabric using the Margot pattern. I decided to shorten them to just below the knee, and make a matching button up shirt from the GBSB book (bowling shirt) to make a nice lightweight summer pj set. But to begin with, Margot.

Construction was basic. Sew the front and back of each leg together then turn one the right way round and put it inside the other leg to sew the crotch. Then I made a small hem to the top, so that my casing line for my elastic wasn’t a raw edge. I inserted some 3cm wide elastic and closed the casing gap.

dino pjs 1

 

I had waited until this stage to shorten them so I was sure I had the fit right. I cut the bottoms off with pinking shears and turned the hem up about 2cm. And somehow I still managed to cut one side shorter than the other. ah well.

 

 

I also sewed in a little tag of green satin (left over from the Merida dress) at the back to remind me which way round they go.

dino pjs 2

 

Overall, I’m really pleased with them; they are comfy and cool, were quick to make (took me about 2 hours) and most importantly, they have dinosaurs on them. I can’t wait to trace the Bowling shirt pattern to make it a matching set.As they were so quick to whip up, my other half may get a pair of these pants for xmas though. Watch out Jack.

dino pjs 4

TLSO

 

Apologies

I’m a very bad blogger. I’m so sorry for ignoring my blogging responsibilities for so long. I’ve been working on my teacher training applications, which you’ll be pleased to hear has been successful. I start in September.

In other news my laptop has gone from being mostly decrepit to full on senile. Hopefully, I’ll get another soon, but until then I’m on my kindle which I don’t know how to put pictures and stuff on, so your patience is muchly appreciated.

New post soon regarding new makes and exciting new hobbies. Until then, cheerio, bye, Tata.

TLSO
Xx

My first Coco!

I only managed one make in January (Must do better!) and it was yet again a Tilly and the Buttons pattern. I just can’t help myself. Her patterns are just so pretty, and so simple and so… well… me.

Coco is the first jersey item i have made for myself and I must start by saying I’m a total convert. To anyone toying with the idea of sewing with jersey – JUST DO IT! its not as scary as it seems. Stick with your trusty zig zag stitch and you’ll not go far wrong. I opted for the 3/4 cuffed sleeve, funnel neck version, aiming for a vintage sixties vibe, and I already had the perfect fabric in my stash.

coco 3

I bought this black and green floral patterned jersey back in september last year, hoping to use it for my ‘slouchy gilet’ pattern I got from ‘Love Sewing’ magazine. But, as I also boughtsome dark grey jersey to make a second gilet (don’t judge me! I couldn’t decide – it was like picking a favourite child) this month (technically 2 months ago now – I’m a terrible blogger) I turned it into a Coco instead.

Best decision! I love her. She has already been on quite a few adventures with me and we are firm friends. She is so darn reliable and comfortable. But it wasn’t all sunshine and smiles in the beginning. I began her tired which was never a going to be a good plan.

coco 6

All was well, Tilly’s instructions were once again clear and easy to follow. It was going swimmingly until the cuffs. due to sleepiness I managed to muck them up not once…

coco 7

not twice….

coco 8

but three times.

coco 9

In the words of Hermione Granger “what. an. idiot”.

I eventually managed to get her sorted out and the rest, as they say, was hemming.

So inspite of my own mistakes, Coco is a very satisfying make. She is comfy, only took a few hours to make, including unpicking and pattern puzzling, and most importantly she is tres chic with with a pair of black trousers or even jeans. Its like a triple word score of a pattern for those scrabble lovers among you. I already have plans for another so I’ll let you know how that goes.

TLSO

xx

The Sewing Weekend 2015

Going a bit wild today and haven’t written a draft for this post. Fortunately I have two other posts in waiting which will force me to get this one out to you.

So, way back in summer last year, myself and 3 uni friends hit a creative lull. I needed motivation, Leila wanted something to wear for work, Imogen wanted to do something creative for someone else and Portia wanted to learn a new skill. We decided that as the four of us were creatively minded but only two of us new how to sew (to quote Imogen) “properly and from a pattern”, Leila and I would help Imogen and Portia to sew something. It was also decided that we needed a whole weekend to do this, including a trip to a fabric shop, chocolate and wine. Unfortunately, the first available weekend that all four of us could commit to wasn’t until November.

So we waited and chatted about what we would make (Imogen wanted to make PJs for her Dad’s Christmas present, Leila, a smart shift dress, I had a few small projects in mind the most prominent being T&TBs Arielle skirt, and Portia didn’t know what she wanted to make but she knew she wanted to learn to sew). Occasionally we did little happy dances of excitement at the rapidly approaching BIG WEEKEND. Then it arrived.

Our location, Leila’s house, it transpired was the most amazingly well suited place for a sewing weekend. The first night we cut out all our fabric, a particularly large job for Imogen, on the huge table.

sewing weekend 10

I knocked up a black crop top (an entirely unnecessary and inappropriate wardrobe item for me to make – what was I thinking?) with the intention of trying out my new narrow hem foot. Though the top was simple, the narrow hem was not. It looked abysmal. But it was a first real go, and it was dark and late and I don’t wear the top anyway so its not a big deal. Portia had elected to make a top from the same pattern in a cute red cotton patterned with ice skates. I really loved watching her diligently cutting it out with my right handed shears (she’s a leftie) and getting her head around facings and such. She did incredibly well and from the look on her face I think she enjoyed herself.

 

Imogen’s PJs were something new. I had never attempted a button up top but the pattern was remarkably simple to follow, even if it did take three of us to figure out one section (the collar attachment if you are interested). I think the end result was fantastic.

Now, on the second day I cut out my denim for my Arielle skirt. I had wanted a button up denim skirt for simply yonks and this pattern from Tilly and The Buttons looked perfect. I opted for the unlined version, in a mid-blue denim with gold buttons. Cutting was simple, six pieces, lovely shaping darts. I cut a size 7 but I reckon I could have got away with a 6 as I took it in a little (and having tried it on yesterday I will have to take it in some more – Faberoo!). I did have a little mishap with the iron on interfacing where I allowed some steam to roll the edge onto itself – oops!

sewing weekend 11

At Leila’s suggestion I edged my facings with this fetching polka dot binding. I really like the effect and once again bias binding has been my best sewing friend.

As some of you know my Machine is called Guinevere because sometimes she can be a B**** to me (as she was to king Arthur). But usually buttonholes prove to be no issue. Merrily we rolled along until the fifth buttonhole. It was a little out of line with the others. No worries, I thought, I’ll carry on and unpick if it looks awful. By buttonhole 7 I’d lost the plot. It just didn’t work. I couldn’t leave it so I unpicked it and tried again. Only marginally better this time. Deciding this was the best I could get from this one I moved onto the last one. Perfect! How did I manage that? Guinevere and I had words and exchanged very surprised yet frustrated looks. She claimed it was not her fault, I replied that it was like she didn’t even try anymore. It was very nearly a very serious break up. But we patched things up and are on better terms now. Behold the buttonholes.

so after sewing on the buttons on the train home and finishing the hem the next day, the whole skirt only took me a day to sew (and that was with sharing a machine and helping with other projects). I’m pleased with the result and I can’t wait to rock this in the summer with my bicycle top and red converse.

So that’s it, my run down of our November sewing weekend is complete. I had a blast and talks are already in motion organising the next one. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. I found that I really like sewing with company. Chatting and giggling, drinking wine, eating chinese takeaways and chocolate, being with like minded people. All this contributed to an amazing weekend. So if you have like minded/ sewist friends, or simply friends who would like to share a bottle with you while you craft or sew, I urge you to get together and do it. What could go wrong?

TLSO

x

P.S. I’m assured that Leila’s dress is nearly finished, zip inserted and everything, and I know she will look stunning in it. Green always was your colour darling. x

Ghosts of garments yet to come… and a tin of soup

Today I’m veering from my pattern slightly (sewing pun very much intended). I’m taking a quick break from blogging about my past makes to blog about some future ones.

Last week (on New years day) I made some resolutions, the first of which was to do with the creation of my hand made wardrobe. From this came glorious evening of planning makes for the year ahead. That’s right folks, the whole year. I’m aiming for 2 makes a month minimum, and wrote me a little list of what to make each month as a guide. This month its going to be knickers using the Sew Over It kit I got for Christmas and Tilly and the Buttons’ Coco funnel neck top. Anyway, because of the high number of patterns I have which are overlapped on sheets (like the free magazine ones) I decided to be a grown up about this. Today I traced them.

Well not all of them. I traced the Coco top and dress (for later in the year), the Margot PJs from ‘Love at First Stitch’, and the Mathilde blouse pattern (which I had been planning on buying but then came free with this month’s ‘Love Sewing’ magazine – too exciting). To counter all this grown up-ness I have decided to make the PJs in a dinosaur print cotton. This feels much better already.

I still have the Megan and Lilou dresses  and Mimi blouse to trace along with the Bowling shirt, coat and man’s shirt from the GBSB book, but I’m happy with three for today.

Tomorrow my best friend from way back is coming over for a crafting day. She makes and sells gorgeous jewellery which I can only marvel at. You can find her blog at beckyjojewellery.wordpress.com, which I totally encourage you to do. We have some exciting plans which I’ll reveal in due course.

Finally, at the weekend I went to Leon’s, my favourite fabric shop to purchase specific things. Be prepared to be proud of me.

I left the shop with only what I went in for! I know, take a moment to take that information in. The result was some lovely black cotton velvet and purple lining for a short Arielle skirt and a gorgeously soft fleur de lis print chambray for a summer Bettine. Soon, dear readers, soon.

TLSO

x

My first dress

Okay, so the title is a lie. This wasn’t technically my first dress. I made a can can dress for my A level project, a few velcro-down-the-side tube dresses for a production of ‘Guys and Dolls’ at uni and I started a dress for my friend Portia which unfortunately never made it passed the pinning together stage. But this was the first dress I had made to fit me and wear. What’s more it was to be the first dress that my 14 year old cousin had ever sewn and I was teaching her how.

A little background info: My cousin wanted to take GCSE textiles but it was in the same options block as PE. Sporty little thing that she is she chose PE, but still wanted to learn how to make clothes. I said that I would show her how to follow a dress pattern as her mum had shown my mum some 20 years previously. We decided to make one each together.

bardot dress pattern

I selected the pattern that came free with ‘Love Sewing’ Magazine. The Bardot dress was rated easy, had a handmade bias bound off the shoulder neckline and a zipped back. Keeping it simple we both opted for the short sleeve option and used light quilting cotton, though I added side seam pockets (to challenge myself) and a lining because my fabric was pale and lightweight.

bardot dress fabric

cute non?

It was a really simple dress to put together, shaped with darts and with raglan sleeves, the most difficult bit was the homemade bias binding as the instructions do not give enough length for the whole neckline. Having never made a garment before my cousin coped really well. The waist darts matched the skirt pleats pretty much perfectly, the topstitched the neck binding neatly and even made her own adjustments. I teach older students who couldn’t have done as much on their own as neatly.

Just as I added the much needed lining and (for me) essential pockets, she put her own spin on it. Adding a tuck on each sleeve and a gather in the centre neckline, changed the shape of the dress completely. It really suited her, in spite of her complaints about the length (it sits a few inches above her knee – a highly flattering but deeply unfashionable length for a 5’9″ 14 year old).

I on the other hand was unhappy with everything but the length. Proud as I was of myself for adding a lining and pockets, when I wore it I really hated it. the colour and pattern were wrong, the thing was the wrong shape and style for me. It did nothing for me but wash me out and make me look huge.

see the huge waist, washed out face and gapey back? (ignore the socks)

However, my cousin got a lovely dress out of the experience, and skills she can use forever. She mastered inserting a zip, making and using bias binding, pleats, darts and following a pattern.

So, in spite of her repeated use of the phrase “that’s not in my job description” (code for teenage laziness I remember all to well) we both really enjoyed the experience and I couldn’t be prouder. Slimmer maybe, but certainly not prouder.

TLSO

(P.S. I tried it with a red belt. What do you think?)

Bardot dress with belt

Two simple skirts

I have a confession to make. I quite like a skirt with an elasticated waist. There, I said it! Usually restricted to the fashion realms of the octogenarian and abhorred by my textiles teacher, I find strange comfort in being able to take a rectangle or two of fabric and a piece of elastic, and producing a very wearable item of clothing. No fastenings. No interfaced waistband. No real measurements. Bliss.

I made two such skirts last year (yes, I know, only 2. My sewing game was weak in 2015). The first was in a beautiful, lightweight but drapey fabric which I’m still not confident on the name of. I found it in the discount buckets in abakhan’s Liverpool and fell immediately in love.

elasticated skirt 4

isn’t she beautiful? Flowers or party ring biscuits? Either way, a very exciting find.  I originally wore it to a christening but the pictures from that day don’t show the skirt well. I’m very happy with it. Its swishy and drapey and very flattering on.

elasticated skirt 3

The second was the result of another impulse buy (*slaps wrist* naughty. better impulse control needed). A gorgeous medium to heavy weight cotton from hobby craft of all places. Expensive for me at £12 a metre but super cute. I duly made my elastic casing and turned it into a skirt. Thing was, it was too heavy. The elasticated waistband I so loved was too bunchy and the fabric too thick and stuck out wrong. I wore it a few times but the waist made me feel huge. I’ve decided the time has come to make a proper waistband. I’m going to use the same method as my graduation skirt (first post remember? do keep up), and attach a plain black interfaced waistband and zip. Fortunately, Paris (as I have named her) is already hemmed, so all I should have to do is unpick and remove the elastic, press it (me, willing to iron, what a time to be alive!), cut the back piece in two, insert a zip, gather it and attach the waistband. Simples!

elasticated skirt 1

I may also take tips from Tilly and the buttons’ Clemence skirt (a self drafted skirt in ‘Love at first stitch’).

I should clarify that my affection for the elasticated waist remains strong providing I choose the right fabric. I am 82 after all (in my mind).

TLSO

xx