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

Thank you!

Just a quick post to say a few things.

Firstly, a massive thank you to all my readers and followers. It genuinely makes my day when I post a new blog and I get to see that people are reading and enjoying it. I’m still not massively au fait with wordpress yet but I love blogging and you all make it a sunnier experience.

Secondly, I might be a little quiet in the weeks to come as I have been applying for my teacher training and have some interviews coming up which will probably mean that I won’t get to do as much sewing and blogging as I’d have liked. But I want to say a huge thank you to those readers and friends who have supported me in my application and preparation for interviews and I’ll hopefully be up to speed again soon.

Its not an official hiatus, just a warning in case I seem quiet. Thanks guys.

TLSO

x

A leap year bonus: Coco again

So on the 29th of February I decided I needed to make use of the extra day and make one more thing. Now if you know me, you’ll know that me leaving a fabric shop with just what I went in for is a rarity. When I went to buy fabric for the Merida dress I also bought some grey lightweight jersey from the remnant basket and I thought I might be able to squeeze a Coco out of it if i kept it simple, no cuffs or funnel neck, just a boat neck long sleeved top with a small pocket.

After I laid it out I realised that if I wanted the long sleeves I’d have to cut the sleeves on the crosswise grain. Fortunately it didn’t matter too much as the fabric wasn’t too stretchy.

While I love it and its really easy to wear, its massively casual so having worn it to work once I think I will put this top to bed. Literally. I’m probably gonna use it as a PJ top from now on unless I’m having a really casual day.

So that’s it. really short post on this. I’ll probably post more pretty soon as I have a growing list of stuff to make. But ttfn.

TLSO

xx

February makes: Merida and Arielle

February was almost a write off sewing wise. I had all the plans and no sew-jo. Until my brother’s girlfriend asked for my help with her costume for a fancy dress sponsored walk. She was going dressed as Merida from Disney’s Brave, which is one of my favourite Disney movies so I just couldn’t resist.

We went fabric shopping in the half term holiday and got 3m of green satin back crepe, some golden yellow ribbon and cream cotton to make the classic Merida dress.

merida 11

While I was at uni I was taught by a lovely girl from the medieval reenactment society how to create accurate medieval dresses without a pattern; so I figured I’d use the same method for this dress. It’s really very simple; an over the head tabard (much like the walk-away. What is it about me and tabards?), with flat sewn sleeves (like Coco) and shaped from the hips down with godets. We decided that as lovely as the satin side was, the crepe side was more appropriate for a Highland Princess. I adapted the sleeves to include a fake underdress and made some gathers for the neckline.

Because this dress was so simple, she had one fitting, largely to assess the neckline and length as she is shorter than me. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

merida 5

So now i had my sew-jo back but only a week left of February. There was only one thing for it. I had to speed sew my velvet Arielle. Tilly and the Buttons should flipping well sponsor my blog at this rate, she has saved my bacon that many times (as you will see in blogs to come). I had the velvet already cut out, one for me and at her insistance, one for my mum too. I also had some gorgeous faun coloured lining with black polka dots which was too adorable to leave in the shop. The issue with making two of these however became apparent when I mixed up the pieces and accidentally sewed the lining and facings for my mum’s skirt (which buttons the opposite way due to cutting out) instead of my own. Drawing positively from this, when I come to make hers, the lining and facing are already sewn so its just the skirt construction and attaching everything together for hers.┬áBut, it meant I had to cut additional pieces and generally added time onto the make.

I had never sewn a lining to a facing before so the curved edges proved tricky to navigate and I kinda messed them up meaning the rest didn’t line up so well. But I unpicked and re-sewed and it looks passable now.

The main problem I had at the end was that the bottom edges don’t line up. There is maybe half an inch in it but the front is shorter than the back on the overlap.

I’m not too bothered about this as I know where I went wrong. I wasn’t too accurate with my measurements on the bottom edge when I trimmed it and turned it up. In future I will listen to Tilly and stop being a lazy sewist, and I know this will be a TNT pattern. I mean, I’m making one for mum so it has to be whether it likes it or not. Here she is finished. I basically designed it around the buttons, which I found at the sewing and hobbycraft show way back last September. I couldn’t leave buttons with sewing machines on and they are nice neutral colours. I have already worn her out. She is super comfy and goes with practically everything.

Overall, on my second making of this skirt, I much prefer the short version to the longer denim version I made. I think that will need some adjustments for summer. But its a really nice pattern to follow if you pay attention to it and don’t get too cocky.

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

This is it… The Walkaway Dress

If any of you are familiar with the sewing bee, aka the best TV show in existence, you may also be familiar with Butterick 4790, or ‘The Walkaway Dress’. If this is not the case (dear me where have you been. Pause reading, catch up on the sewing bee and then return immediately) then I shall do my best to explain. So dubbed because one could supposedly “cut it out after breakfast and *walkaway* in it for luncheon”, this pattern is a reprint of a popular vintage 50s dress.

All I can say is if 50s women were making this beast in a single morning they were flipping machines. The main time suck on this dress was the 5-6m of bias binding which is applied to the edges. So if ladies making this in the 1950s edged it in bias binding they must have known something I don’t about it’s application.

Anyway, this dress nearly didn’t get made at all. Soon after the pattern arrived I was given (very generously) a roll, yes a whole roll, of something dark blue and silky. I think its a lining of some kind. Thinking I might get a wearable muslin out of it, in June I began cutting out a walkaway dress. However, I hit a major snag in that the fabric wasn’t wide enough to fold in half to get the front piece out as a whole. I quickly abandoned the blue silky walkaway, stashing the pattern for the perfect fabric. I was prepared to wait years. As it turned out I only had to wait until September.

walkaway fabric

Isn’t she pretty? Could you have left her there? I thought not.

The “there” in question was the sewing and craft show I went to in September 2015. I spotted the little bunnies and instantly my mind went PING! Alice in wonderland style walkaway! SOLD. Anyway, I got it home and cut out (a beautifully simple process. It only had three pieces!).

Now, the construction. In essence it’s a tabard, an over-the-head jobby of the like worn by dinner ladies but with a big skirt that wraps around and cinches the waist. The front fastens round the back and the back skirt is brought to the front and fastens with 3 buttons under the bust. It is shaped with darts but the fit left something to be desired . The armholes were a tad gapey and the big skirt rested a little low.

Unfortunately I was on a bit of a roll with the bias binding and attached it all before properly checking the fit. But like I said, there was so much and it took so long there was no way I was re-doing it, so I made my adjustments anyway. I took in the shoulder seams about 1cm, and after toying with an FBA and a tuck in the underarm (the bit that came from the back to the front), I decided that if i just used button holes instead of loops the front would pull tighter together. This combined with the lifted front from the shoulder adjustments gave it a much nicer line to the waist.

unhemmed walkaway dress

I’m planning on shortening her for the summer. Can’t you just see her floating around the park with some pumps and huge shades? Hard to imagine with the roll neck underneath I know but a girl can dream. Though I might not make another for a while.

I also promise to get better at taking photos. And cropping them down.

TLSO

x