Tag Archives: sewing vlogger

Agnes dress hack

One of my favourite go-to patterns is the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top. It is the perfect shape jersey top, with enough variations to keep it interesting. I love the shape of it and it is great for work paired with trousers or a skirt or more casually under a dungaree dress.

If I use a busy print, I tend to stick with the classic neckline, but it I use a plain fabric, then I like to add in the ruching detail at the front to add a bit of interest.

As One Week One Pattern is coming up, I thought I would join in this year using the Agnes as my chosen base pattern. If you haven’t heard of it, Sheona from Sewisfaction is running this year’s challenge, and sewists are tasked with wearing one pattern for one week and documenting it. You can style your chosen pattern however you like, and can add whatever twists and turns and hacks you like. There are more details over on Sheona’s website.

I have already made a couple of hacks to the Agnes pattern. I made a lace cap sleeve version and also altered it to make it into a vest pattern. So my next step was to turn it into a dress.

As the Agnes is already curved out at the hips, I just followed that line down and then brought it back in again towards the knee, to form a pencil skirt shape. I used the same skirt piece for both front and back.

I decided not to use a very fine jersey as I knew it would be quite clingy and would show every lump and bump (I have very prominent hip bones). I found this great textured jersey from Fabricland that I thought would be stretchy enough for the pattern but also have enough body.

It was really easy to work with, despite being fairly thick. I did account for the extra bulk by narrowing the seam allowances to 3/8 inch and it worked really well.

I had a matching colour rib grey jersey that I chose to use for the neckband as I thought it would sit better than the textured jersey. I also decided to shorted the sleeves slightly and make ribbed cuffs too for a bit of interest and then I just coverstitched the hem below the knee.

Overall, I have to say I am really pleased with the finished result. It is lovely and warm and I think it will be fab with tights and boots for Wintery days.

I am really looking forward to the One Week One Pattern challenge at the end of the month when I will get to showcase all of my (at last count 12) Agnes’s! Is anyone else joining in? If so, which pattern have you gone with?

S x

Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry Dress Pattern Review

I recently tested a lovely day dress pattern for New Zealand designer Jennifer Lauren Handmade, called the Mayberry Dress. If you haven’t seen her patterns yet, head on over to her website immediately!

The Mayberry is quite a casual dress with side seam pockets, a button up bodice and a waist tie.

I made my test dress from a lovely navy and floral cotton fabric that I got from Fabricland. I chose pink snaps, rather than buttons for the bodice and then a pink grosgain ribbon for the waist tie.

JLH’s last couple of patterns have been released with different cup size options, which is a great idea. I made the size 6 D cup and the fit is spot on. Enough room to move about and not feel constricted but not too baggy.

I love that Jennifer always includes quirky details in her patterns, such as the crossover bodice. It sits really nicely and enables you to get it on and off easily without the need for a zip.

I did find that the skirt was a little too A-line for my taste, and I may go back in and take some width out of it at some stage. However, I think that if the fabric was drapier, like a viscose, it wouldn’t be an issue.

The only change I made to the pattern was to create a really narrow hem using bias binding, as I didn’t want to lose any length from the skirt as I felt it would have been too short on me.

I have done a tutorial on how to use bias binding to finish a hem here.

Overall, I am really pleased with how this turned out and will definitely make another version out of a drapier fabric next time. I’ve seen Jennifer’s 3/4 length sleeve version and will try that one out for a more Autumnal feel.

New Look 6493 Jumpsuit

 As the weather was so nice over this bank holiday weekend, I thought I would give some summer sewing one last go, before I go fully into focusing on Autumn/Winter. I had previously made the New Look 6493 jumpsuit from a gorgeous yellow floral viscose that I got from Fabricland. This fabric then became quite popular all over Instagram once Cottonreelstudio started stocking it, but I like to think I was ahead of the curve!
I made my new version from a stretch crepe fabric that I got from the Sewing Weekender fabric swap. It really caught my eye and, at first, I thought I would make a dress from it, but then I remembered the jumpsuit pattern and thought they would be a match made in heaven!
The crepe did feel a little bouncy and I was worried that it wouldn’t be easy to press, but it actually holds its shape really well.
It is a fairly easy pattern and can definitely be made in a day and is pretty versatile. I am thinking of making a plain black crepe version next to wear to work during Autumn with a nice pair of heeled boots.
In terms of alterations to the pattern, I used a 1 inch seam allowance for the side seams of the bodice, facings and trousers, as the previous version that I made came up too big. The picture on the front of the pattern is very deceiving as it really isn’t that fitted, and you would struggle to wear it without a top or vest underneath. I have actually sewn a little popper in to mine so that I can wear it on its own if I am feeling brave!
I also raised the hems by 3 inches for a more contemporary feel.
I found with the viscose versions that the facings had a tendency to flap out as they are quite wide, but I solved this by using some hemming tape sandwiched between the facing and the main fabric and ironing in place. It works really well and keeps everything nice and neat.
It is a great pattern, but my only concern is that the sizing is completely out. If you do plan on making it yourself, make sure you look at the finished garment measurements that are printed on the pattern pieces.
PS, excuse all of the photobombs by Jasmine! x

Sew Over It Elsie Dress – Pattern Review

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest dress release from Sew Over It  – The Elsie dress. I love a full skirted 50’s style and the big pleats on the skirt had me swooning!

The fabric recommendations call for stretch cotton and I found this gorgeous green abstract print in the sale section of Minerva Crafts. When it arrived, it was more sheer than I had anticipated so I bought some white cotton lawn, also from Minerva Crafts and used it to line both the bodice and the skirt.

I made a few alterations to the pattern, as I usually find that the sizing of SOI designs are too big for me. I made the smallest size but ended up taking a good 2 inches out of the bodice and down into the hips. I could have taken out a bit more but I’m really happy with the fit and I feel comfortable in it and not constricted.

The Elsie dress has a combination of facings and lining on the bodice, which is a really pretty detail and looks really high end. I didn’t really follow the pattern instructions though as it made more sense to construct the entire lining/facing section and add that all as one piece, and then slip stitch down.

I added in seam pockets to the skirt, as I really hate it when dresses don’t have them. I just used an old pocket pattern piece that I had from a different pattern.

I chose to line the skirt, as I didn’t want it to be too see though. I also finished the lining hem with green bias trim. This is one of my favourite finishes as it gives a flash of colour as you move and just looks really pretty. I have a tutorial on this method if you would like more information.

I took two and a half inches off of the hem so that it sits just below the knee. Having the lining and with the bias trim kicks the whole skirt out slightly and gives a lovely effect – it almost looks like there is a big petticoat under there!

There’s nothing particularly complicated in the pattern, apart from maybe the princess seams, but as long as you use lots of pins and take your time, you should be fine.

Overall, I think The Elsie dress would be perfect to wear for a Christmas do or if you were a guest at a wedding – it is a proper party dress with plenty of scope for twirling!

The Sewing Weekender 2017

Wow, what a weekend! I was definitely in my happy place spending two days in the company of some amazing sewists.

Hats off to Kate and Rachel from The Foldline and Charlotte from English Girl at Home for all the hard work and effort that went into organising the event at the stunning Murray Edwards College in Cambridge. A big thanks to all of the amazing sponsors too for making the event possible (and the goodie bags!)

 

The weekend was a perfect blend of chatting, sewing, workshops, talks and tea!

I drove down on the Friday with a couple of lovely local sewists, Jill and Jade. It was a bit of a mammoth drive from the south west but it was made easier with lots of sewing chatter. We headed down to Backstitch, which is a gorgeous local fabric shop, just outside of Cambridge town centre. We met up with Rachel, Jodie, Jen, and Elle and had a fab time stroking all of the fabric. I bought some gorgeous fabric to make some Pauline Alice Sorrell trousers with.

We all met up again for a pizza in the evening, full of excitement for the weekend ahead.

On Saturday morning we headed to the college and were met with a room full of sewing machines and the loveliest people you could hope for, along with some amazingly generous goodie bags!!

After the intros, we got on with the business of sewing and getting to know each other. I decided to make a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo as I wanted something easy that I could get done in the time we had. I had bought this lovely olive green fine needlecord from Miss Matabi recently and thought that this little flamingo (who we have named Barry) would sit right at home on the front pocket. I decided to do Hong Kong bound seams as I wasn’t sure I would have access to an overlocker.

Following a morning of sewing, we all headed into the town centre for lunch at possibly the worst time ever! What started out as just a bit of rain, turned into a full-on storm, which we were out in for about twenty minutes! I think a few pairs of shoes have had to be chucked in the bin, after our rain-soaked adventures!

After being ID’d at the pub (!) and a quick bite to eat, we headed back and got changed into some warm, dry clothes and settled down to listen to the two afternoon speakers.

First up was Portia Laurie from Makery. Her talk focused on refashioning clothes and making the most from your wardrobe. I was really inspired to join in with the refashioners project this year, which is all about up cycling mens suits.

Fiona Parker from Diary of a Chainstitcher then talked to us about her fascinating job working to create costumes for stage and screen.

I spent some time with the ever wonderful Elle from Sew Positivity, learning about the new Janome MC500e embroidery machine. We all got to make our own badges as a memento of the weekend.

I then did a hand embroidery workshop with the gorgeous Elisalex from By Hand London. I made a start on a back pocket of a pair of jeans. I didn’t get the chance to finish it, but it’s something I can sit and finish in front of the tv at some stage soon.

By the end of day one, I had made the majority of my Cleo dungaree dress and just had to hem it and do the buttonholes the next day. I was pretty pleased with my progress considering I had spent the majority of the day chatting!

We all descending on a local pub for dinner in the evening. To their credit, they coped with the siege of 50+ sewists admirably and the food was great. We then spent the rest of the evening in the pub chatting until we got kicked out!

Day two started with another couple of talks.

Melissa Fehr from Fehr Trade, gave a really interesting talk about active wear and fitting your clothes according to your needs, environment and lifestyle. I instantly bonded with Melissa over her  cat leggings too!

Elena Rosa Brown from Randomly Happy’s talk really resonated with a lot of us. She talked about mindfulness in sewing and being really present and not putting too much pressure on yourself. The key takeaway from Elena’s session was to remember to breathe while you sew!

I managed to finish my Cleo off relatively quickly, following some arguing with the machine over the buttonholes! I’m glad I chose a relatively easy pattern as it meant I didn’t have to concentrate too hard and could just enjoy myself and get to know lots of other lovely sewing people more.

As the weekend drew to a close there were lots of hugs and promises of meeting up soon and I really do think that some great friendships have been forged and nurtured.

I’ve come away from the weekend so inspired and excited.  Sewing really is good for the soul.

Thanks once again to Charlotte, Kate and Rach for organising it – you are all smashers! xx

Edit: I made a video on my youtube channel all about the Sewing Weekender and the Goodie Bag!! https://youtu.be/3dTp4-q3lUs

 

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.

 

 

 

Me Made May 17

For the past three years, I have taken part in Me Made May. If you don’t already know, this challenge started by a sewing blogger called Zoe, eight years ago.

It is a fun challenge that gets the sewing community together and we make a pledge for the month of May regarding our handmade wardrobes.

The pledge is completely unique to you and what you feel you want to do in that month. As my handmade wardrobe has grown so much over the past couple of years, I feel very confident that I will be able to wear handmade clothes every day, seeing as I wear handmade most of the time anyway! I thought that I would add some extra elements in for myself as well this year, so here is my pledge:

 ‘I, Sarah McKenna, of LikeSewAmazing, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2017.

I will post daily outfit pictures on Instagram and also do a weekly round up blog post of my handmade items with a final summary blog at the end of May.

I pledge to not buy any new fabric during the month of May, but to shop from my stash (commissions aside)’

Apologies in advance for all of the outfit of the day spam!!

Let me know in the comments if you are joining in and what your pledge is!

Hemming a circle skirt tutorial

I was asked by a few people how I hemmed my Paris dress so I decided to film a quick tutorial while I was hemming my latest Zinnia skirt by Colette Patterns.

I used the toucan fabric that I bought in Paris for the outer skirt and lined it with some of the grey lining that I bought on my recent trip to Birmingham. I added pockets made from the contrasting pineapple fabric, and changed up the skirt waistband so that I created two pieces, rather than one folded over piece, and put the pineapples on the inner waistband too.

I found some bias binding that matched the orange on the outer fabric perfectly, so I created a bias bound hem on the lining, that is just visible when twirling!

Please let me know if you have any questions about the tutorial – I hope to do a few more of these in the future too, so please let me know if there is any specific subject you would like me to cover.

Hop on over to YouTube to check out the tutorial!

 

 

 

Parisian adventures

Bonjour!

Last weekend I took a trip to Paris for four days with my family to celebrate my Mum’s 70th birthday.

I decided that it would be a great challenge for me to wear only handmade clothes during the trip.

Day One:

Our flight left Bristol at 7:30am so we arrived in Paris at about 9:15am. After a ridiculously long (and overly expensive) Taxi journey to our hotel, we dropped off our bags and headed out to visit Sacre Cour to get a good view of the city.

Sacre Cour

I wore my cherry print Sew Over it Carrie Trousers and a black vest from Measure Twice as they are super comfy for travelling in. I didn’t get any good pictures though, as I was hampered by bags and coats but here is a recent pic of them!

Carrie cherry trousers

In the evening, we had a pre-dinner walk to the Louvre and a little wander along by the Seine.

SeineFamily

Louvre

Day Two:

While we waited for my brother and his girlfriend to arrive, I decided to kill some time by going back to the Sacre Cour area and looking around the fabric shops. I had been given some tips as to where to look for fabric by the lovely sewsarahuk. I couldn’t believe the sheer volume of shops and the size of some of them!

Frou FrouFabric shopping

I was actually a bit overwhelmed by choice so didn’t buy all that much! I got a lovely viscose cotton mix in an iridescent green, which will make a nice Sorbetto top . I also got a beautifully soft cotton pale blue striped cotton lawn, which I plan to make into a self-designed ruffled shirt.

The last shop I visited was just huge and I only made it through the ground floor! I bought some cotton to make a summer top from and also some crazy toucan and pineapple print cotton and matching pineapple print to make a circle skirt with contrast waistband – I am very excited to make this one as it will be perfect for the summer!

I was nearly very tempted by the gorgeous wools and cashmere but decided to let head rule over purse!

All of the details of the fabrics can be found on my Paris vlog!

As it was such lovely sunny day, I was very excited to debut my newly made Tilly and the Buttons Rosa shirtdress. I made it from a maroon spotty Robert Kaufman chambray that I bought from Sewn. I love that the reverse of the fabric can be used too so I made contrasting yokes, inner collar band and button plackets. I am so pleased with how it turned out and love the contrast detail. I decided against adding the patch pockets and opted for more practical side pockets, which I drafted myself. As with my previous Rosa shirt, I opted to omit the sleeves altogether and finish the armholes with satin bias binding.

My brother and his girlfriend arrived after lunch so we met up with them and caught up before heading out to dinner.

I am allergic to gluten, so eating in Paris was a bit of challenge for me. Thanks to google, I did track down some lovely places that were Celiac-friendly and on the Friday night, we went to a place called NoGlu, which was 100% gluten free. The food was incredible and I am so glad we found it. They also had a bakery where I could stock up for lunches and snacks!

NoGlu

Day Three:

I took my Sew Over It, Mollie dress out for a boat trip on the Seine!

We took a hop on hop off boat and visited lots of Paris’ main attractions. We stopped off at the Eiffel Tower and had a good look around. We decided not to go up it, as the queues were horrendous!

After that, we went to look at the Arc de Triumph and then took a stroll down the Champs Elysées.

As this was my Mum’s actual birthday, we got all dressed up and went out for dinner.

  

I wore my Vogue 8997 dress, which is part of the McCalls Pattern Company Cocktail Hour for the Eve Appeal. I am so pleased with the finished dress. I did have to make a few adjustments on the princess seams over the bust and also take out a good couple of inches from the back seam but it has turned out really well. I made it in a black stretch cotton sateen and navy lining, both from Minerva Crafts. I hemmed the lining with a silver bias trim for a cute little flash of colour when I sit down! I was planning on wearing it with strappy heels but the weather wasn’t quite warm enough so I had to stick with tights and boots.

After dinner, Alex and I took a trip down to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night – it was beautiful and the sky had put on a stunning display of pink and purple clouds for us!

Day Four:

We spent our last morning wondering around the area near to our hotel and going to see the Moulin Rouge. I wore my Breton Agnes top again, this time paired with my Sew Over It Erin skirt as I figured that would be a comfy outfit for travelling in.

The train ride to the airport and the flight home were pretty non-eventful and we had a lovely welcome home from the cat, who pretty much hasn’t left my side since I’ve been back!

You can hear more about my trip on my latest vlog.