Wednesday, 2 January 2019

My 2019 Make 9 and some plans for the New Year

I love the New Year! I find it very therapeutic reflecting on the last 365 days and contemplating what the next might bring.

I've put together a Make Nine that I'm aiming to get made over the year. it includes a mix of project types for different seasons and occasions, so I'm hoping it's broad enough that I can achieve it!



1 - Tilly and The Buttons Freya top

I have been admiring this top since the book came out last year and I bought some gorgeous stripy modal jersey from Guthrie and Ghani to make one. I think it will be a great layering piece through the winter and spring so I'm planning to make this early on in the year.

2 - Sew Over It Anna Coat

I bought the latest ebook, Work to Weekend, as soon as it was released but have yet to make anything from it. The Anna coat was my favourite so thought it was a good place to start. I have some red waxed coating from British Millerain in my stash that would be absolutely perfect for this. It won't be warm enough for winter, so I think I will make this as we head into spring - perfect for those April showers!

3 - Style Arc Tully Pants

I have been obsessed with these trousers since I saw Katie's version and recently purchased the pattern. I think they will make excellent work trousers, something I definitely need more of. I have a lot of suitable fabric in my stash so am planning to make a few pairs once I have got the fit right.

4 - Tailor Tailor Desmond Roll Top Backpack

I bought the hardware for this from Guthrie and Ghani sometime last year when Lauren made hers and put kits together. I've even printed, assembled and cut the pattern in preparation. The only thing putting me off is I keep changing my mind about what fabric to use. Sometimes I think a navy waxed cotton would be really versatile and other times I want to make a brightly coloured one. Help! What should I do?

5 - Jennifer Lauren Handmade Sorrell Dress

Jen launched this pattern as part of her Kickstarter campaign to produce paper patterns. I wasn't initially blown away by it but backed the campaign anyway because I love all of Jen's patterns that I've made so far. I'm so pleased I did because it's really grown on me and now I can't wait to have this dress for the summer. I have a lot of lightweight cottons that would look fab made into this, just have to decide which one to use first...

6 - Deer and Doe Hoya Blouse

This was another slow burn pattern for me. Initially I thought 'meh' but recently I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I finally got the pattern and some spotty viscose from Minerva Crafts and will be getting started on this one shortly!

7 - Wear Lemonade Jupe Ada

I have had this pattern in my stash for a while and love everything about it. I have a lot of button front skirt patterns but rarely make any. I think I panic about which one to sew and end up making none. I had the Colette Beignet on my Make Nine list last year but never made it because I also wanted to make the Pauline Alice Rosari skirt and couldn't decide which to do first! I need to get a grip and just make one! So my plan is to make a black Ada to start with, that is suitable for work and will go with everything.

8 - Friday Pattern Company Vernazza Two Piece

This is a bit of a risky choice for me. I have never made swimwear or underwear before. Mainly because I don't enjoy wearing swimwear, I don't like to be so underdressed in public. However, I listened to the infamous Love to Sew Podcast episode on sewing and wearing swimwear and felt so inspired that I thought I should have a go. Including the Vernazza on my make nine is a reminder to myself to be brave and have a go at things that push me out of my comfort zone. Plus there are some absolutely amazing versions of this about, I love the style and think it is simple enough to be a good introduction to sewing swimwear.

9 - Simple Sew Nancy

I am planning to make the top version of this Nancy Tunic for the Simple Sew Blog. I need a simple shift top in my wardrobe, something plain but smart enough for work. I think this will be perfect!

I'm excited to get started and I'm feeling confident that I can make all of these this year, even the swimwear!

Monday, 31 December 2018

2018 - A Year in Review

2018 has been a pretty good year for me sewing-wise! Not such a great year blog-wise though (sorry poor, neglected blog!) I thought I would just do a quick run-through of what I made and what I got uptown over the year. I enjoy reading these kind of posts so here is my first go at writing one!

I started off the year doing some pattern testing for Beth of Sew DIY. I am a regular pattern tester for Beth and I love her patterns. I tested the Lou Box Dress 2, but also love the look of the Lou Box Dress 1 and have one printed out and ready to cut into, that's one for 2019...



Wendy Ward released her latest book, A Beginner's Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics and I immediately sewed up the Kinder Cardigan. This has got a lot of wear actually and I need to make another one!


I managed to get all the way through Me Made May, successfully wearing at least one item of me-made clothing everyday. May was also when I had my first post as one of Sarah's Like Sew Amazing bloggers. I was so honoured to be asked to join the Blog Squad and there are some fabulous bloggers on the team. Sarah's shop has gone from strength to strength this year, culminating in her opening a physical shop in Bristol. I can't wait to visit next year!




I continued to be part of the Simple Sew Bloggers too, headed up by lovely Gabby of Gabberdashery. I made several things this year, one of my favourites being the Kimono dress that I hacked into a blouse.


I attended my first proper sewing meet up, The Sewing Weekender, on Bank Holiday August weekend. I was initially so nervous about going but had such an amazing time and met some fabulous sewists that I've admired from afar for a while!



I made one of my favourite dresses whilst I was there, a Colette Moneta dress in gorgeous jersey from Like Sew Amazing.



I also made my first coat this year, which I wore to my first Sew Brum meet up! That was such a busy day, but so great getting to chat and go fabric shopping.






I attended the Sewcialite Soiree in Bristol and made a sparkly dress specially! Head over to the Minerva Crafts Blog to read all about that one!



Overall I have had a great year, I've taken part in some fun challenges, been part of excellent blog teams and met a lot of sewing people in real life! I'm looking forward to more of the same in 2019! I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has read my blog, followed me on Instagram and chatted to me. You have made this so much more fun for me and it has been a pleasure being part of the sewing community for another year! Happy new year everyone!






Thursday, 20 December 2018

Like Sew Amazing Blog Squad - Velvet Friday Pattern Company Lucida Dress




I decided to take part in The Little Red Dress project this year, and found this beautiful deep red stretch velvet from Like Sew Amazing that I thought would be really festive. I have recently purchased the Friday Pattern Company Lucida dress and thought it would be the perfect match for this fabric. 





The velvet has quite a short pile, which makes it easier to work with. It has a good amount of stretch and a really decent recovery. The colour is beautiful, really rich and jewel toned. I didn’t really do anything differently when working with this fabric, I just treated it like a normal jersey. It is a little bit more slinky, but when the right sides are together they stick to each other, meaning it doesn’t shift around.





I cut the pieces out with the fabric folded, right sides together. I bought 2 metres of fabric but managed to get the dress out of 1.5 metres. I lengthened the bodice and the skirt by an inch each and the sleeves by 3 inches. The pieces need to be cut out all facing the same way as the velvet has a nap, I chose to have the nap running down so that the dress feels smooth when you run your hand from top to bottom. 






This was my first time sewing up a pattern by Friday Pattern company and I was really impressed. It’s such a simple dress, but the instructions are clear and thorough, it’s definitely beginner friendly. The ruching on the front bodice is created by threading ties through channels and it can be adjusted to suit your figure / style. I think it is so flattering and very effective for such a simple approach.




I lengthened the sleeves as I’m self-conscious about my upper arms (I don’t think I’m alone in this!) and I just cut a line 3 inches lower than the pattern piece when I was cutting out the fabric. 




I lengthened the sleeves as I’m self-conscious about my upper arms (I don’t think I’m alone in this!) and I just cut a line 3 inches lower than the pattern piece when I was cutting out the fabric. 

My overlocker is currently being fixed so I sewed this up completely on my sewing machine. One thing that is worth mentioning is that the bodice is self lined, so in places the seam allowances get quite bulky (with 6 layers of velvet) so it is worth grading them so that they sit well.




Overall I’m really pleased with this and can’t wait to wear it out! It’s ridiculously soft and comfy to wear but I still feel dressed up! I think that’s the perfect combination for Christmas party wear!




Jenny x

Friday, 31 August 2018

Like Sew Amazing Blog Squad - Colette Moneta Dress

I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the Sewing Weekender at the end of August and wanted a project that would be simple enough to sew whilst chatting. I picked this lovely coral/red clover print jersey from the new Albstoffe fabrics at Like Sew Amazing and thought it would be perfect for a Colette Moneta dress.



I had not made the Moneta before but have seen a huge amount of lovely versions around, it’s a popular pattern for a reason! It was very simple to sew and a really satisfying make. 



I added a neckband to mine, which was an easy addition. The pattern instructions say to turn under and topstitch the neckline, but I had read some reviews that said it gaped a little doing that method. I cut a length of fabric for the neckband and stretched it around the neckline with my fingers to determine the length. I then stitched it along the short edges, wrong sides together, to form a loop and pinned it to the neck edge to fit. 



It has raised the neckline doing a neckband, but I like the additional security! 



I was a bit worried about doing the clear elastic gathering for the waistband of the skirt, as I had previously messed that up on my Colette Wren dress. However, i followed the instructions and it turned out to be perfect first time. I think it is actually a really good method of gathering the skirt and it feels really secure to wear.



In terms of fit, I cut the pattern out about 2 years ago when I was quite a bit thinner, so it is a little tight across the bodice! The fabric has a really good recovery though and can handle the extra stretching really well!



The fabric is AMAZING! It got a lot of compliments at the Sewing Weekender because it is so soft and stretchy and the colours are so vivid! It was really easy to sew with, the print is perfectly on grain and it feels lovely to work with. I think the weight of the jersey is perfect for the Moneta, it has enough structure to hold the shape of the skirt and is super stretchy for the bodice.



I can't believe I haven't made the Moneta dress before, I definitely want to make more very soon! There are a lot of other jerseys in the Like Sew Amazing shop that I think would be perfect, as well as a couple more Albstoffe ones.



This project turned out so well, I'm really pleased with it and I think it is the perfect pattern and fabric combination!

Jenny x

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Like Sew Amazing Blog Squad - Deer and Doe Plantain

For my second Like Sew Amazing Blog Squad make I opted to try a pattern I have not made before - The Deer and Doe Plantain top. I've seen loads of amazing versions of it all over Instagram and can't believe it has taken me this long to try it!



The Plantain is a free pattern from Deer and Doe when you register your details with them. It has a scoop neck and a slightly flared shape. There are optional elbow patches but I left these off. There are 3 sleeve lengths and I was initially planning 3/4 sleeves, but decided on elbow length. To get the length right I folded the pattern piece halfway across the elbow patch marking, so that it would hit at my elbow.





The fabric I chose is this beautiful stripy cotton jersey. It is white and pale sage/teal and is lovely and fresh for this time of year. It is a good weight, very opaque and has a lot of stretch recovery. It is very soft and was stable and easy to work with. The edges do roll slightly when it is cut, but it stays still when cutting and sewing so the stipe matching was much easier!



The Plantain is a very quick, easy sew. In this jersey, including cutting out and stripe matching, the whole process was under an hour and a half. I think cotton jerseys like this make speedy sewing a lot easier because they don't shift around or stretch out awkwardly.



The one part I struggled very slightly with was the neckband, it really has to be stretched a lot to fit the neckline. I thought I would end up with a very puckered neckline, but this fabric held up really well under the tension and with a little bit of a press it lies so flat and neat. I topstitched the seam allowance down all around the neck and I think it might be my neatest one yet!



I think this is a really flattering and versatile pattern and I can see myself making a lot more. I love the fabric and after I made it I spotted a similar fabric on Boden, made into a long sleeved top. 



This top reminds me of the I AM Patterns Zebre, I think it could be completely recreated using this fabric. I also think the fabric is probably better quality than the Boden option as it contains elastane to help it bounce back into shape.




Boden also do a pink version, and the same fabric I used is also available in pink! I love these colours for this time of year and you can't go wrong with stripes!



Jenny x

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Adam Ross Blogger Network - True Bias Lander Pants Review

I was delighted to be asked to be part of the Adam Ross Blogger Network last month and am very happy to share my first make!

Adam Ross stock an amazing selection of fabrics at very reasonable prices. For my first make I wanted to sew up the True Bias Lander Pants so I chose the Soft Grey Denim Fabric.




I was genuinely very impressed with the quality of this fabric when it arrived. It’s soft and densely woven, with a small amount of stretch. It’s a perfect match for the Lander Pants. I have already ordered it in the indigo and midnight colourways too as I would like to make the Pauline Alice Rosari skirt and it would be perfect for that.





As you would expect from denim, it sews and presses very well. I used a brand new denim needle in my machine and it sewed up so easily.





I have never made the Lander Pants before and was very keen to give them a try. When I looked at the body measurements chart, I realised there was a big difference between the size needed for my waist and the size needed for my hips. My hip size is 4 whole sizes bigger than my waist size. After looking around at what some other bloggers had done, I decided to cut the larger size and adjust the waist. I was originally planning to lose the weight I gained during pregnancy before making the Lander Pants, as I'm still not very comfortable carrying the extra weight. However, my weight loss progress is non-existent at the moment so I thought I would just get on and make them as I don't have many pairs of trousers that fit me. I'm not completely convinced the style of these is right for my current body shape and size, but they are very comfortable and easy to wear and I do end up reaching for them a lot when I get dressed.





The adjustments I made were to taper the darts in more at the waist. I tapered them in by 1.5cm at the top of the dart, reducing the waist measurement by 6cm overall. I then used a bigger seam allowance on the side seams at the waist, reducing the waist measurement by a further 10cm overall. I tried them on before adding the waistband to check the fit. When I came to add the waistband it was obviously too long and the notches didn’t match up. I have a hollow back and a big bum, so there is still a little gaping at the waistband but I can live with that. Next time I make these I will cut out a curved waistband to improve the fit.





I love the details on these trousers. The patch pockets are easy and look great, the button fly is an interesting detail and I love the ankle length! I actually feel pretty cool wearing these, which never happens!





The stretch in the denim makes these trousers very comfortable to wear. The recovery is good too, I can wear these all day and not worry about them getting baggy. I also think a little stretch in the fabric makes the fitting easier as the fabric is more forgiving. I haven't got the fit perfect on these yet, I have a difficult body shape for tight fitting trousers and can never seem to get a perfect fit. These are casual trousers though and I think most of the fit issues would not be that noticeable by the general public.






I had a lot of fun making these, installing the buttons, doing belt loops and topstitching. I’m really happy with these and can see many more pairs being made in the different shades of denim stocked by Adam Ross.



Thursday, 7 June 2018

Nina Lee London - Mayfair Dress - Pattern Review

I recently pattern tested the Mayfair Dress by Nina Lee. I made the maxi version with short sleeves, as I only have one maxi dress at the moment and I wear it a lot! I think maxi jersey dresses are so comfy and easy to wear in summer. 





The dress has some interesting details that set it apart, it has a shawl-type collar and the facing is constructed using the burrito method for a clean finish. I think my jersey was a little thick for the burrito method on a maxi dress, there was a lot of fabric to tightly roll! It gives a lovely finish though and is really satisfying!





I like the shaping at the front and the waist tie. The shaping is really flattering and I found that a contrast waist tie helps to break up the maxi dress.




The front has a v-neck and it’s low enough for me to successfully breastfeed in!  I’m not sure how much longer I’ll need that functionality, but it’s really useful at the moment.





I’m planning another Mayfair maxi dress in a grey, dandelion print viscose jersey. I think this time I’ll make the sleeves slightly longer as I’m a little self conscious of my upper arms. I’m already eyeing up lots more viscose jerseys as I can see these dresses getting a lot of wear!




This is the sort of pattern that I love, comfy, flattering, effortless and with some interesting design details. The pattern requires a drapey jersey, such as a viscose jersey. I didn’t have enough viscose jersey in my stash to make the maxi version, so I used an organic cotton-spandex jersey from Elvelyckan Designs. It was mustard with black wavy lines, which at the time I bought it seemed like a good idea, but the yellow colour looks awful with my skin tone so I decided to dye the dress once I’d finished. The dye was not all that successful, but it is still an improvement. I think I will try dyeing it again to get a more even colour as it is a bit patchy in places. The quality of the fabric is amazing, it is so soft and densely knitted and has a great stretch recovery. I will definitely be buying more! I think it is aimed at children's wear but they have started stocking plain colours too and slightly more grown up prints. I did a plain black tie belt as a contrast from some fabric in my stash, which was also a cotton spandex blend.





I was very happy to be able to test the Mayfair Dress by Nina Lee London. This was my first time pattern testing for Nina and it was a really enjoyable experience. There were a few changes made to the pattern after the testing process, but they relate mainly to the longer sleeved versions, so my finished version is a pretty accurate representation of the finalised pattern.






Overall I would really recommend this pattern, Nina’s instructions are fantastic as usual and it’s such a versatile dress with so many options and fabrics available to make every version look very different. Let me know if you have any questions or you are thinking of making this pattern!

Jenny