Tag Archives: me made everyday

Seamwork Audrey jacket – Pattern Review

Is it wrong that I decided to make a denim jacket mainly as somewhere to display my sewing pins and patches?!

As denim is a sturdier, more durable fabric, it is the perfect place for your pin and badge collection.

I had seen a couple of versions of the Seamwork magazine Audrey jacket (I’m looking at you Rhiannon and Vicki!) and thought it would be the perfect Spring/Summer jacket.

I decided to make it out of the grey slub denim that I have in the shop. As I can’t bring myself to do double denim, I figured this would at least mean I could wear the jacket with blue jeans if I wanted to! I had some Liberty Wolf Pack scraps left over, so I used that for the pockets.

Size wise, I made the smallest size, on Vicki’s advice and it still does come up a little bit big, but actually, would be perfect for wearing over a hoodie once it gets cooler. I don’t mind it not being super fitted though as it is a casual jacket.

In terms of construction, it was all pretty straightforward. It calls for lots of nice neat topstitching, which I always enjoy.

I chose to make a lined back yoke, from the Liberty fabric, as I just thought it would give the inside some interest. It is a completely unnecessary step, but sometimes you’ve just got to be a bit “extra”!!

I also added a hanging loop between the collar and the back yoke.

There are a lot of buttonholes to add, which I am always nervous about, and yes, I did have to unpick a few where my machine decided to misbehave!

I installed the jeans buttons using my trusty Prym tripod and they went on like a dream.

I have recently designed some sewing patches which are available in the shop now, and of course, I thought it only fit that one should take pride of place on my jacket. I think it goes perfectly!

Overall, I really love the jacket, I think it will get a lot of wear over summer dresses this year.

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

Sewing workwear and my BHL Pencil Skirt

I recently recorded a vlog about my favourite patterns for workwear and I thought I would share a bit more information about a couple of garments that I made this week – the By Hand London Charlotte pencil skirt and the True Bias Ogden cami top.

I had enough cotton suiting fabric left over from my Pauline Alice Sorell trousers to squeeze in a pencil skirt and I decided on the BHL Charlotte pattern as I really like their sizing as it seems to suit my shape.

You do need to be aware that there is no ease built into this pattern so make sure you take this into account if using a fabric without any stretch. I ended up letting the side seams out by half an inch on both sides just to give myself a bit more room to move. I also cut the waistband slightly longer so that I could give myself the option of making it slightly bigger if necessary.

The long darts give the skirt a lovely shape. There were a lot to sew as I decided to line mine but they work really well.

The pattern doesn’t state that you should interface the waistband, but I always find that interfacing helps waistbands keep their shape so I used it in mine.

I used a black snap fastener for the waistband and I used my Prym vario pliers to install it.

While I love Elisalex’s midi length version on the BHL website, I finished my skirt just below the knee as I thought it would be more practical. I also created a 5 inch slit at the bottom of the skirt to allow me to get up and down stairs and in and out of cars more easily!

I finished the hem of the lining with machine stitching as it won’t be visible from the outside and then I used my blind hem foot for the main fabric. Make sure you check out the BHL Charlotte sewalong for lots of useful tips on how to make the skirt.

I have only recently bought the Ogden cami pattern but having made one recently for a night out, I have to say I absolutely love it. It’s really versatile and makes a lovely flattering top.

I found a few pieces of this striped peachskin fabric at the fabric and pattern swap at the Sewing Weekender and snapped it up as I thought there would be enough to make a top.

I took care to match the stripes when cutting out and sewing and it has turned out beautifully! I even had enough fabric to make the facings too so it worked out really well – especially since the fabric was free!

I think some people may worry that the Ogden cami could show a little too much skin for work, but I have teamed it with a fitted red cardigan and it works perfectly.

The Charlotte skirt and Ogden cami are a great match but would work equally well mixed with other patterns. I just love versatile separates!

 

 

Selena high low hem skirt

I have been living in skirts and dresses this summer and when I saw the Selena skirt pattern that came free with Simply Sewing magazine, I knew I wanted to give it a go.

 

As the hem of the skirt is higher at the front than it is at the back, you would be able to see the seams on the inside so they need to be really pretty. I would recommend doing French seams, rather than overlocking the edges.

I was very much inspired to line my skirt in a contrasting colour by the lovely Nina from Thumblenina, who had made an amazing satin high low hem dress for the Dressmakers Ball. I had also seen Elizalex from By Hand London‘s stunning gown made from blue cupro at the same event and knew I would like to make something from that fabric as it almost looks like silk, while being infinitely easier to work with!

I found some more of the blue cupro from Rainbow Fabric in Kilburn and I bought that along with the smokey black colour way.

The original pattern had the zip on one of the side seams but I prefer zips to be at the back so I altered it. I also made the waistband piece longer so that I could add a button, rather than have the zip go all the way to the top, as I prefer that look. I also omitted the tie belt as I thought that would look too fussy.

Once I had constructed both the outer skirt and lining skirt, I placed them wrong sides together, and then basted them at the top, before adding the zip and waistband.

To hem the skirt, I sewed a line of basting stitched around the hem at a 5/8 inch seam allowance and then pressed up to that line on both the outer skirt and lining. I then hand slip stitched them together for an almost invisible hem.

The cupro was really easy to work with  and I think the colours really compliment each other. I love how the skirt is very easy to twirl in (always a good test) and I think it looks great both for the office with a cropped cardigan or dressed up for a night out.

 

 

 

By Hand London Orsola pattern review

I absolutely fell in love with the latest pattern release from the girls at By Hand London – the Orsola dress and skirt.

It is a unique take on a shift dress that means you put in on almost like an apron and it wraps at the back and ties at the front – no zips, buttons or anything!

What I particularly loved was the deep v of the back neckline and the stunning scalloped hem.

Fabric recommendations for the Orsola are quite drapey fabrics, such as viscose. I chose to make mine in a cotton lawn from Liberty as, with all of the bias cut edges, I wanted to use something a bit more stable. Plus, I had just bought this gorgeous black and white print in the recent Liberty sale, and thought it would be perfect.

I decided to line the bodice with plain black cotton lawn, to save some of the Liberty fabric for another project. It was really easy to fit into much less fabric than the pattern suggested – probably less than 2 metres.

There is a wide facing that runs along the entire curved hem. I did initially think that I would scrap the facing and use bias binding instead, however, on second look, I decided that this would be much harder to do as I wanted to make the version with the front scallop, so I stuck to the original instructions. I do think that you could use bias binding on the non-scalloped version though.

In terms of construction, it all came together pretty easily. The instructions were clear and concise and the illustrations were helpful. If you are making this pattern yourself, I would add a few pointers:

  1. It may be helpful to draw a stitching guide for the scalloped hem to make sure you get an even curve.
  2. Sew the hem with the facing side towards you.
  3. Topstitch the hem with the facing towards you, otherwise the main fabric can bunch up a little if that is on top. It may also be worth using a walking foot for this stage.
  4. Take the time to do all of the stay stitching advised at the start of the pattern – these details will make all of the difference and prevent any stretching out.
  5. There are 18 darts to sew in total (!) Mark and pin them all out and batch sew them in the beginning for greater efficiency.
  6. Press the lining darts in the opposite direction to the main fabric darts. This means that you will have less bulk at the seams.

Overall, I am absolutely thrilled with this dress. I really enjoyed the process of making it. I think the fit is brilliant and really true to size. I love that it is a smart dress that can be worn to work, or out to dinner.

I actually don’t have that many darker items in my handmade wardrobe so I am really pleased with this combination, especially as it means that I can wear it in the summer, but also in the winter with tights and a cardi. I love the way you can synch it in or let it out, using the waist tie, as needed.

The crossover back and scalloped hem details are what really sets this pattern apart and make it a really special dress.

Well done to the girls at By Hand London!

Me Made May 17 – week two round up

Week two of Me Made May is officially over and what a week it was!

Day 8

I started my new job today so decided to go in reasonably smart until I knew what the dress code was. I chose my latest Colette Patterns Moneta dress, in the autumnal leaf print as I can wear it with tights, it looks smart but is one of the comfiest dresses in the world!

Day 9

I opted for my Kommatia Patterns black Palazzo pants that I recently tested, teamed with my Sew Over It Silk Cami in this fab black and white rayon. My grey Driftless cardigan was a big staple this week too.

Day 10

As the girls at work had been having a look at my blog, there was definitely some interest in the Toucan Zinnia skirt that I recently made. I paired this with another Silk Cami top in this stunning polyester silk from Sewn. This outfit definitely is a conversation starter!

Day 11

I was lulled into a false sense of security due to the previous day’s lovely weather so got my legs out in one of my Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dresses. I adore this pattern, especially the pockets! The fabric is a double gauze that I bought from Miss Matatabi fabrics. I did manage to avoid the tropical thunder storms luckily!

Day 12

Friday was the day of the Dressmakers Ball, an event put on by the lovely Sarah and Freya of Crafty Sew and So, in Leicester. I travelled up there with my sewing buddy Amelia, and we got all glammed up in our me made finery! I decided to give my McCalls 7154 birthday dress another outing, as it was such a labour of love to make and definitely needed to be worn more than once! I also took my gold sequinned dress to get changed into for dancing! The event was such a lovely evening, where I got to meet lots of Instagram friends in real life and spend the night cooing over fabric, gossiping, making new friends and dancing!

Day 13

Due to a lack of sleep from the ball and a day of travelling, I get it casual in me made yoga pants and my lovely cat print blouse. Again this fabric was from Miss Matatabi and is the prettiest, softest cotton lawn.

I may have also slightly broken my not buying fabric this month pledge, as there was a closing down sale at Sewn and some Robert Kaufman jersey that I had had my eye on for months was too good to resist!

Day 14

A day of life admin and visiting family meant double Tilly and the Buttons! I think the the Agnes top and the Cleo dungaree dress work perfectly together. This was the first Agnes I made, from the gorgeous Sugar Skulls fabric from Fabrics Galore.

So, we are halfway through and I have still got lots more outfits in my handmade wardrobe to get through. Let’s see what the weather has in store!

 

Sugar Skulls Agnes Top

I have liked the look of the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top since it was released but didn’t get round to buying it until I was at the Knitting and Stitching Show a couple of weeks ago.

I thought about buying it while I was chatting to the girls on the stand, but it was only when I spotted the perfect fabric over at Fabrics Galore, that I headed back over to buy the pattern too.

sugar skull fabric

I made it up last weekend and absolutely love it! I only regret waiting so long to buy it!

The pattern itself is a pretty easy make – just a front and back piece, two sleeves and the neckband and I managed to get it out of under a metre of fabric.

Due to SWT (sewing when tired!) I made the very silly mistake of cutting out two back pieces, instead of a back and a front, but fortunately, the front piece fits neatly inside the back piece so crisis averted!!

disaster averted

As the fabric edges were quite wavy, I used the design to line up the grain line and that worked really well. I used the upside down heart noses on the sugar skulls as a guide!

I cut out a size 2, as that was closest to my measurements, and as I wasn’t sure of the fit, I sewed it using the stretch stitch on my sewing machine and overlocking the edges, but next time, I will go straight to the overlocker.

Pretty insides

I chose to go with the plain sleeves on this occasion, as I thought that would show off the fabric better, but I went for the ruched neckline, as I think it is super flattering and adds some interest. I did this using the same clear elastic that I had used to stabilise the shoulder seams.

neckline

I didn’t make any changes to the pattern and I think it turned out really well. I used a narrow zig zag on the cuffs and hems, as I didn’t have enough thread for twin needling!

I did try out some stretch knit stay tape that I bought to prevent wavy hems but it didn’t work out as expected, as it actually removed all of the stretch from the fabric, meaning the cuffs hardly fit over my hands. I decided instead to remove it altogether and it worked out fine without it.

I can’t wait to make some more Agnes tops, as they are perfect for layering underneath dungarees or tucking into skirts.

I am currently making an Agnes top hack for a Moulin Rouge theme costume from a burgundy stretch velvet. I am going to use a matching stretch lace to create capped sleeves and will shorten the bodice as I will be wearing an underbust corset over it. I will share more pictures of that one once the outfit is complete.

Velvet Agnes

I can also see it working nicely as a dress, so will be on the look out for some suitable fabric for that.

If you haven’t tried it already, you should definitely give this one a go!

Agnes top

Rosa Shirt

The Rosa shirt by Tilly and the Buttons is on my Make Nine list for this year.

I have actually had the pattern since it was released and even had the fabric washed and ready to go but just hadn’t got round to making it.

I have made quite a few men’s shirts before, so am quite familiar with tailoring techniques and was really keen to sew a nice button up shirt for myself.

I was going to start with the shirtdress option but I then changed my mind and decided to sew up the shirt version in a stunning cornflower blue viscose that I bought from Sewn. This is one of my all time favourite colours – so much so, that the front of my house is painted in this shade!

I chose a floral blue and white cotton for the button stand, collar stand and the inside of the cuffs (more on that later).

collar band and button band

Cutting out the viscose was a little tricky. Despite a new rotary blade and lots of pattern weights, the fabric slipped and shifted around like nobody’s business! Most of the pieces were ok, but the collar and collar band were pretty unrecognisable from their original shape so I decided to interface both pieces , rather than just the upper collar and band. In order to do so, I cut the pieces out of the interfacing first, and then fused them to the main fabric, before I cut it out. I only used a lightweight interfacing and it worked out pretty well.

inside collar

As the viscose was pretty lightweight and drapey, I decided not to use a traditional thicker topstitching thread as I thought it would look out of balance. I just used the matching polyester thread that I was using on a longer stitch length of 3.5 for any topstitching.

collar close up

I had decided to use the longer cuffed sleeve bonus pattern that Tilly released after the main pattern was on sale. I made one modification though as I recut the cuff pattern so that I could have the contrast fabric on the inside of the cuff. This was all going well, until I tried the shirt on during construction to check the rough fit and found that I really loved it as a sleeveless shirt!! I therefore decided to abandon the sleeves and finish the armholes with some bias binding instead.

inside sleeve

I promise that it has nothing to do with the fact that I hate ironing sleeves.

OK, maybe it has a little to do with it.

OK, maybe a lot!

But genuinely, I really loved the look of the sleeveless version and thought it showed how well the colour complimented my skin tone, which you just wouldn’t have seen with a full sleeved shirt. (Plus, ironing!!)

A quick run down of how I altered the pattern to make the sleeveless version…

  1. I ran a basting stitch at the 5/8 inch seam line on the armhole
  2. I measured the seam line to work out how much bias binding I would need and cut it to size
  3. I sewed the bias tape together (cutting across both ends on the diagonal to ensure a straight line
  4. I sewed the side seams of the shirt together
  5. I sewed the bias tape on the outside of the shirt at the 5/8 inch seam line, making sure I was on the basting line
  6. I clipped the excess fabric back to the level of the bias tape
  7. I pressed the bias tape to the inside of the armhole, ensuring I turned a couple of millimetres of the main fabric to the inside so that the facing didn’t show on the outside
  8. I pinned around the armhole to keep the binding in place
  9. I hand stitched the bias tape to the inside using an invisible slip stitch
  10. I pressed the finished armholes to make sure they were nice and neat

Seam line

Bias binding

Pinned armholes

Overall, I am really pleased with the result. It will be perfect for the Spring/Summer, but I think I can get some good wear out of it now, with the aid of a thick cardi!

Unbuttoned collar

Back view

So that is four makes out of nine done, and January isn’t over yet!

Finished shirt