Category Archives: Handmade

My Sewcialite Soiree Outfit

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since the Sewcialite Soiree, but I finally managed to get some better pictures of my outfit and some close ups to show you the details!

The inspiration behind my outfit was the gorgeous sea green tulle skirt that Carrie wears on her trip to Paris in the final episode of Sex and the City!

I also had some fabulous shoe boots that I wanted to wear so kind of built my dress around that!

My outfit comprised of three parts: a top, a skirt and a sash. I’ll take each one in turn.

The top

I used the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top as the basis for my bodice. I’ve done a previous post showing how I hacked the pattern into my go to vest top. I knew that the ruching on the neckline would give a hint of ballerina to go with the tulle skirt! I used some of our Glass Velour Mink as I love the colour and the glorious sheen that it has. I used my coverstitch machine to finish off the neckline, armholes and hem so it was a really quick make.

The skirt

I had wanted to make a tulle skirt for a while and this party seemed like as good a reason as any! I decided to use the By Hand London Charlotte pencil skirt as a base to add the layers of tulle to. I modified it by shortening it to mid thigh and adding button plackets down the back so I could get in an out more easily than having to deal with tulle and zips!

I used a beautiful pink micro satin for the skirt base and then two colours of tulle for the over layers – a baby pink and a hot pink.

Along with fellow tulle wrangler Jenny from Give Us A Toile, we spent a day measuring out, cutting, gathering and attaching about 40 layers of tulle to the skirt. It definitely helps to have another pair of hands to keep things straight.

I decided to sew most of the layers closed at the back (leaving a couple of buttons free so I could get in and out) but I left the top layers free, apart from a couple of catch stitches so that the skirt would have more movement.

In hindsight, I should have added the waistband last so that I could cover up that last line of tulle more neatly.

Jenny patiently hemmed the finished skirt for me, as I think it would be a really difficult task on your own. We trimmed it to a midi length and I think it works really well. I love it with the shoe boots and definitely felt like I was channeling my inner SJP!

The sash

To bring the whole outfit together, I decided to make a really long sash that would cover the join between the top and skirt and also hide any bit of tulle at the back that were still open.

I just made a really long narrow belt with angled ends from the same pink micro satin. I left a small gap to turn it through and then hand stitched that closed with a ladder stitch.

Overall outfit

I was so pleased with how the outfit came together. Yes, I was still sewing it on the day of the party, but that all adds to the fun! I would definitely wear it again to another party. The skirt was incredibly heavy, so I may remove a few layers of tulle as I don’t think they are all necessary. I will also be able to wear the top more casually on nights out.

But I think we can all agree that this outfit qualifies as part of the #SewFrosting challenge, given that I essentially look like a cupcake!

 

 

The Handmade Fair – Special Offer

It’s that time of year again – the Handmade Fair is coming back to Hampton court and I have a very exciting offer to share with you all!

The lovely people at The Handmade Fair have given me a discount code for anyone who wants to go.

This is the fifth year that the event has been running and it will return to The Green at Hampton Court Palace from the 14th-16th of September.

It is such a wonderfully inspiring event and I always make sure I try out lots of crafts outside of sewing to see what else I might like!

I’ll be there on the Friday this year and would love to organise a little meet up on the day!

Ticket Offer:

Ticket Type Full Price Saving Offer Price
Entry Only £16 Save £4 £12.00*
Full Experience £33 Save £5 £28.00*
VIP £95 Save £10 £85.00*

 

Book at thehandmadefair.com quoting SEWAMAZING

 

Hope to see you there!

Sarah x

Birthday Anna dress

I made my first By Hand London Anna dress a couple of months ago and I absolutely love everything about it and resolved to make another one very soon.

I was lucky enough to get some money for my birthday earlier in the month so headed to Liberty at the first opportunity and bought a couple of metres of one of their new collection cotton tana lawns – Earthly Delights.

I thought it would be perfect for another Anna and as it is on a black base, it would still be good to wear in winter with tights, but I decided to make it fully lined so I wouldn’t have to worry about it riding up.

For the previous version, I had done the slash neck option but I decided to try out the v neck for this one. Having looked at a few pictures of other people’s makes on Instagram, I took the decision to take the v down about half an inch as I thought that would look more flattering. I think I might split the difference though next time, as it is maybe a teeny bit low for work, without a cami underneath!

The other major change I made, was to abandon all of the facings and line the top instead. I think this gives a much nicer finish, and as I wanted to line the skirt, it made much more sense. I managed to engineer it so that I could machine stitch all of the seams to make it a really clean finish. if you would like more details or a tutorial on how I did this, please let me know!

The Liberty lawn was such a pleasure to work with – if you’ve been working with slippery or difficult fabrics for a while, it is such a refreshing change to work with something that just behaves itself!

The biggest challenge I had though was when it came to pattern placement. The fabric contains lots of fruits and vegetables that, if placed incorrectly could be quite comical. There are some very phallic looking carrots and some very “yonic” looking fruits – look at me, I learned a new word. Basically, I didn’t want to end up with any of these in the wrong place but it did create the hashtag #secretvajayjay!

I also had to avoid any melons on my er, melons!

Amazingly, I managed to avoid all of the pitfalls although cutting out did take a lot of thought and consideration!

Had I bought the fabric online, I may have been more clued in, as the website describes it as capturing “a hidden fairy-tale world of thick foliage and luscious fruits, presented with a delectably twisted sense of humour”!

So yes, secret vajayjays aside, I have a lovely new Anna dress and it is one of my favourites!

x

Birthday Ogden Cami

Yesterday was my birthday and I recently discovered that I share my birthday with two other lovely sewing friends, Jen from Gingerthread Girl and Amelia from Sewing Machinations.

We were all together for Sew Brum last weekend and Jen and I cooked up an idea as a way to celebrate.

Jen and I decided to buy each other 1 metre of fabric as a gift and make the same garment. We decided on the True Bias Ogden Cami, as it is a quick easy make and is easily done with a metre of fabric.

We quickly decided on this stunning petrol blue peachskin from Guthrie & Ghani. At time of writing, it is still available on their webstore.

I had already made two previous versions of the Ogden cami but it was Jen’s first time. I love how simple and wearable the top is. I love to wear it to work under a cardigan or on a (very rare) night out, with skinny black jeans.

The peachskin was beautiful but it was actually a bit tricky to work with as it was quite slippery, which made sewing the facings to the outer shell a bit fiddly and I don’t think my straps are lying as straight as they should be, but I don’t think anyone else would notice so I have just left it as is!

I also made the mistake of ironing on too higher heat so I have left a slight iron mark, but again, probably something only I would see.

Jen and I decided to launch our new tops using the new Instagram Live ‘add a friend’ feature, which was essentially just like skypeing a friend but having the rest of the internet watching – very strange!

Anyway, I am super pleased with my top and I can’t wait to see Jen again in real life so we can get a good picture of us both together in out birthday camis!

x

 

 

The Handmade Fair – who’s in?!

I have a very exciting offer to share with you all, dear readers!

The lovely people at The Handmade Fair have given me a discount code for anyone who wants to go.

For those of you that haven’t been before, this is the fourth year that the event has been running and it will return to The Green at Hampton Court Palace from the 15th-17th of September

I went to the very first Handmade Fair and had such an amazing time. I found it so inspiring to try out different crafts and workshops – I particularly loved the Annie Sloan master class!

I’ll be there on the Sunday and I will organise a little sewing meet up over a cuppa with anyone there that day. Let me know if you are going to be coming along!

5% off Full Experience or Entry + Super Theatre tickets

Full Experience tickets (including entry, 1 x Super Theatre, 1 x Skills Workshop and 1 x Grand Make): £27 instead of £32 – save £5

Entry + Super Theatre (including entry and 1 x Super Theatre session): £17 instead of £20 – save £3

Book at thehandmadefair.com or by calling 0871 230 7153* quoting LIKESEW15

 

*Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras. Booking fees apply. Offer ends 14/09/2017 or when sold out.

Me Made May 17 – final round up

With May drawing to a close, I thought I would blog about the final few days and a little summary of the month and what I got out of it.

Day 29

 

As it was a particularly rainy bank holiday Monday and I had lots of sewing to do, I pretty much wore my pjs all day! I made these lovely Rosalind pyjama trousers by Sew Me Something in a lovely cotton lawn with a contrast inside waistband. I decided not to make the matching pyjama shirt in the end, as it is just not something I would wear. I wore it with my beloved Linden star sweater.

Day 30

Back to work today and keeping it smart in my sleeveless wrap dress. I can’t remember the pattern I used here as I made it a few years ago but it was one of the big 4. The fabric is a lovely brown and white polka dot jersey from Guthrie and Gharni.

Day 31

For the final day of Me Made May, I wore my stretch dress that I tested recently for Kommatia Patterns. I love the fit of this dress – the neckline is perfect. I used this stretch jersey from my stash and had great fun matching all of the stripes!

Me Made May Summary

At the end of the month, I sat back and thought about what I have learned:

  1. I wear a lot of blue!
  2. I don’t have a lot of ‘going out’ clothes (mind you, I don’t go out that often anymore!)
  3. I definitely have a certain silhouette that I stick to
  4. I probably need to get rid of some items that, while I was pleased with them at the time, are just not really my style
  5. I managed to get through 53 unique items of Me Made clothing
  6. I love my handmade wardrobe and am really proud to wear it

Even though it is extra work each day to remember to take pictures and write round ups etc, I actually really enjoy the process of documenting my daily outfits. It forced me to be more creative with my wardrobe and not rely on the same few pieces. Thanks once again to Zoe for organising the challenge!

x

Me Made May 17 – week four round up

That’s the last full week of Me Made May – only a few more days to go!

Day 22

The sun was out in full force so I finally got to wear one of my favourite me made summer dresses – the Rosie dress that was free last summer with Simply Sewing Magazine. I bought this gorgeous fabric from John Lewis – I still have some left so need to think of something else to make from it.

I also wore my me made yoga pants and Star Linden top to my dance fit class in the evening.

Day 23

I had woken up to the news of the awful terror attack in Manchester this morning so I felt very strange and frivolous posting a picture this day. I wore one of my Colette Patterns Moneta dresses in this lovely jersey from Sew Over It.

Day 24

I wore my kitty hearts blouse with contrast lace yoke – the pattern is the 6107  by New Look patterns and I bought the fabric from Miss Matatabi fabrics. I paired the blouse with my Tilly and the Buttons Clemence skirt, which is made from a navy stretch cotton.

Day 25

Today I wore my other favourite Colette Patterns Zinnia skirt in this lovely Russian Dolls fabric. I wore it with a self drafted cropped top made from an ivory broderie anglaise. This skirt height is perfect with this top so that I don’t actually flash my tummy!

Today was also a really happy day as I managed to get tickets to the Sewing Weekender, which is an event at the start of August run by The Fold Line and English Girl at Home. There were only 50 tickets up for grabs and I just happened to check on them before I left for work and got lucky. I can’t wait for a lovely weekend away in Cambridge meeting lots of new sewing friends.

 

Day 26

The sun was still out in full force so I wore my other Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress in this beautifully soft chambray from John Lewis. It’s the perfect dress to throw on in the summertime and I definitely plan to make another soon.

Day 27

I was head to toe in Sew Over It today! I wore my denim Erin skirt from the City Break capsule wardrobe, paired with one of my Silk Cami tops in a lovely Liberty lawn. I did change into another me made outfit in the evening as I went out to my other half’s EP launch gig but there was no time to take pictures! I wore some ginger jeans and a cross back top.

Day 28

I had a lot of sewing to do today so I did spend the majority of the day in me made pjs but I did get changed for a trip to the shops! I wore my latest Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top in the light blue loop back jersey from Guthrie Ghani. You may notice that I already have this top in the navy and that is because I love it!! I wore it with my Kommatia patterns denim braces skirt, which I was a recent pattern tester for.

All in all, this week was very blue themed, with a couple of exceptions. I’ll try to branch out colour-wise for the last few days!

Me Made May 17 – week three round up

Three quarters of the way through Me Made May and we are on the home straight!

Day 15

Despite a brief glimpse of sun last week, we were back to pretty much constant rain by Monday. I wore by navy striped ponte Sew Over It Molly dress from their City Break collection. This is another super comfy dress that is so easy to throw on. Bonus round though, I went to my dance fit class in the evening and wore these fab leopard print leggings that I made from the  Simplicity 8212 pattern.

Day 16

Keeping with the leopard print theme, I wore my batwing dress that I pattern tested for  Kommatia Patterns. Jasmine got in on the action that day too!

Day 17

I wore my fab Tilly and the Buttons Zadie dress with contrast colour blocking on Wednesday. This is another super comfy dress that is really easy to wear and dress up or down.

Day 18

Finally the sun came out on Thursday so I decided to wear my self drafted rayon maxi skirt with one of my Colette Patterns Sorbetto tops. I lengthened this version and used the beautiful border on this broderie anglaise as the hem.

Day 19

I don’t work on Fridays so wore my Thread Theory Lazu trousers to run some errands in. The weather was nice again so it was good to get some sun on my ankles! I also got some sewing done and made the Sew Me Something Rosalind pyjama bottoms in a lovely cotton lawn. I will photograph these shortly!

`

Day 20

I had a very productive sewing weekend. I made four tops and my pj bottoms and cut out two skirts ready to go! Not sure where all of this sewing energy came from but I made the most of it. Probably my favourite make of the weekend is my new Grainline Studios Linden sweatshirt. The fabric is the softest Robert Kaufman double jersey that I bought from Sewn in their closing down sale. The reverse is a cream colour and I used this to appliqué a star on the front of the sweatshirt. I did lots of testing as I wanted to make sure that the jersey wouldn’t stretch out of shape. I love it so much that I have just bought up the last of this fabric so that I can make a replacement, should anything happen to this one! (Anyone else do this?!!)

Day 21

I had another lovely day of sewing and wore one of the tops I made on the Saturday – it is a vest based on the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top. I love the fit of the Agnes and as I usually find vest patterns don’t fit well, I used the Agnes top as a jumping off point. I scooped out the back by three inches and curved in the arm holes. I omitted the neckband, as I wanted to try out my new coverstitch machine. It worked out really well and I think I will make lots more in navy and black. The fabric I used for the toile was from Girl Charlee. I wore the vest with my Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans (when I wasn’t wearing my pjs!)

Not including all of the new things I have made this weekend, I still have tonnes left in my handmade wardrobe that I haven’t worn yet this month. I’m really hoping the weather stays nice so I can get out my summer dresses next week!

Me Made May – Week One

 

I arrived a little too late to the party last Me Made May and certainly didn’t have enough wearable every day clothes in my handmade wardrobe to participate fully.

This year, however, I am embracing the challenge of wearing handmade clothes whenever possible throughout this month. When I first started sewing, I would make occasion wear and party dresses which hardly ever saw the light of day, but since last year, I have made an effort to make items that really are wearable in every day life.  This has also meant that I have spent hardly any money on ready to wear clothes.

The MMMay challenge has also inspired me to work on a few new outfits and finish some items that have been hanging around the sewing room for quite a while.  I seem to have spent every spare minute this week sewing and I can’t tell you how happy that has made me.

I have finished my cropped trousers, altered a couple of necklines to make things a bit more wearable and made a bag, my third moneta dress and my first ever pair of jeans!  The ginger jeans pattern by Close Case Files is really easy to follow and I am really happy with how they have turned out.  I just need to add the belt loops and rivets but it is late and both these activities require a hammer and I’m not too sure my neighbours would appreciate that right now!  More to follow on these soon.

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MMMay has also meant that I have dusted off a few handmade items that I had almost forgotten about. There may have one or two trips to the fabric shop too for some new projects.

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Week One has included the following me made items:

  • 1st May – I had to skip this day as I was staying in London for a meeting and had completely forgotten it was May already!
  • 2nd May – dove grey Moneta dress by Collette Patterns
  • 3rd May – strawberry Belcarra blouse by Sewaholic (which I even adjusted during the day as the neckline didn’t sit right)
  • 4th May – blue chambray Matilda blouse by Tilly and the Buttons (featuring pink satin bias binding and pink buttons)
  • 5th May – brown Zinnia skirt by Collette Patterns
  • 6th May – patterned Moneta dress by Collette Patterns (only made this week)
  • 7th May – white yoga pants – pattern by me!  I also have my handmade elephant bag in this picture.

Now, if only the weather would cheer up a bit, maybe some of my summer dresses will get an outing!

A sheepish hello

Moneta

I have wilfully neglected my blog of late – it is now May and this is the first real post this year.  I have been very busy – just see my instagram feed for evidence but in terms of blogging – must try harder!!

It seems to me that May is a productive and creative time for me.  It was around this time last year that I began to really ramp up my dressmaking and started this blog.  I wonder if it is more to do with the renewal of Spring or the fact that there are no good shows on TV at this time of year!!

It is also the start of MeMadeMay, which, for those who don’t know, is when the dressmakers of instagram make a concerted effort to wear their handmade creations for the month of May.  I only caught the tail end of it last year but I think it is a really positive and creative idea and am already meeting lots of new virtual sewing buddies!

All of this has contributed to a very productive couple of days for me.  I made my third Moneta dress by Colette Patterns.

I bought this stunning lightweight jersey from Sew Over It a few months ago and have been waiting for inspiration to strike.  I decided on another Moneta dress as it is just so easy to wear, super comfy and can be either dressed up or dressed down.  It also has pockets and I love a pocket!

Elastic shirring

I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  The shirring of the elastic at the waist was no bother at all (goodness, if I think how hard it was the first time around) and the twin needles didn’t create the awful tunnelling that they sometimes are prone to.  I did use wash-away stay tape and that seemed to do the trick.

I then decided that I would finish off some of the UFOs (unfinished objects) that have been hanging around the sewing room, gathering dust over the past year.

To do list

I changed the neckline of my Dahlia dress so that it follows the curve of my neck and doesn’t gape out anymore.  This involved unpicking all of the bias binding and regathering the neckline to bring it in slightly.  I had to do this twice as I took too much in on the first go and it distorted the plaid pattern too much.  I split the difference on the second try and it is much better now.

Dahlia

As I had no cropped trousers in my wardrobe, I decided to make some last summer.  I did everything but hem them before the weather turned colder and they were relegated to the UFO shelf.   I also realised that they needed to be taken in on the inside leg and front seam as they were just a bit too baggy.  I had forgotten that I had already pinned the adjustment when I went to try them on today leading to a game of pin versus foot (the pin won).  Errant pins aside, the trousers are now better fitted, hemmed and ready for a sunny day.

Cropped trousers

I wore my Belcarra blouse from Sewaholic today as well for MeMadeMay.  I love the strawberry print cotton – it’s very summery and cheery.  I’ve never been quite happy with how the neckline sat though and managed to find a quick way to bring it in which improves the fit dramatically as well as adding extra detail to the front.

BeforeAfter

That’s quite a lot of sewing in my book!  It was really lovely to have an indulgent, creative weekend and the great thing is, there is still one more day to go – gotta love Bank Holidays!

I may have accidentally bought the Ginger Jeans pattern by Closet Case this evening.  I may also have printed it, done the PDF jigsaw/sellotape game and cut it all out.  I may also just casually swing by Fabricland tomorrow and see what they have in the way of stretch denim…maybe!

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