I might as well face it I’m addicted to camisole tops. I use the free pattern download from Love Sewing here with instructions inside issue 43. They’re super quick to sew up and they’re amazing scrap busters. I’ve made four in total so far and have plans for several more. I can squeeze one out of half a metre if I use shop bought bias tape.
I started with a toile made from a Primark bow cotton print sundress I’d long since been able to fit in. Mega cute! I made a straight M but added an inch to the length. I used flat self-fabric straps and used red bias tape inside.
Then I made my silk parrot version and added flat crossing straps at the back. It was a little short in the body as I forgot to add the extra length but looks lovely with a skirt.
This fabric is so precious to me, I got it on a fun shopping trip with Katie I have enough left for another top of some description but I can’t bring myself to make a mistake so haven’t chosen a style yet.
Next up were two viscose versions in quick succession – both with the length added back in! This swallow print version is a lovely viscose I got from Simply Fabrics Brixton at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate. I added rouleaux straps for this version and it’s such a lovely delicate touch. This may be my favourite of the versions.
Last but not least I used a remnant from Guthrie and Ghani that I picked up at Sew Brum. It’s a subtle print and there was just enough for a camisole so I treated myself! Sadly I used vintage bias binding inside and it hasn’t held up to the wash. The bias has ripped in multiple places so I’m going to have to unpick and re-stitch which is disappointing. Unpicking black on black is the worst!!
The pattern comes together pretty easily and you may actually spot this was an old Sew Loft pattern. It’s not as nice as the True Bias Ogden Cami which has a lovely facing but if I thought about it properly I’m sure I could draft a facing and change up the construction to make this my dream button loop front cami top. More sewing plans, not enough time!
Hello everyone! Hope you’re enjoying this amazing weather!! I’ve been sewing up a storm for my honeymoon and finalising wedding details. It’s all pretty manic at work because I’m trying to do two issues at once so then my team only have to cover the third issue on their own. Oh what fun! But when I’m laid out in the sunshine with a tropical cocktail in my hand, the publishing panic will be far far far out of my mind. In other exciting news I finished my macrame plant hanger from November! I dyed white rope with tumeric, used wooden beads as accents and bought a pretty fern to go in the base. This is a result of our Wednesday craft clubs at work but I had to pause because it turns out you can’t buy little ferns during winter… who’d have thought!
I made myself another version of the utterly fab Lisette Simplicity 1419 dress that I made once before here. I really need to make a few more before the year is out! The sweet keyhole detail and perfectly fitting sleeve make this the dream bodice for me and you can add any style of skirt you like on the bottom for an all round winning dress.
This time I used a beautiful teal crepe from Fabworks that has a slight texture to it but not too pronounced. The print is oriental in feel with pretty birds and peonies (MY FAVE FLOWERS EVER so I’m calling them peonies even if they’re not for definite) but I can’t seem to find it on the website so it may have sold out, or be an in-store special. A reader already emailed me after seeing a little pic of this dress on my welcome page. So sorry I couldn’t help further Tara! I love working with crepes like this as they don’t really need ironing, plus the amount of drape is great and garments from it hang perfectly. Fabrics like this fit into my lifestyle so well as I never have time for ironing and even when I do, two hours in a car and the seatbelt crumples everything I’ve smoothed out!
Unlike my last version I didn’t alter the neckline at all; Being a touch higher works when you’re adding a button loop but I’d lower it again if sewing a plain front. The loop somehow makes it feel even more traditional like a cheongsam dress or something. I wasn’t really going for that but I think it makes the dress look a touch more formal. This is of course the Emery dress skirt added onto the bodice.
I made this dress on a whim to wear to the lovely Ruth’s hen do in York. It was a bit of a rush so I sewed the most awful zip I’ve done in a long long time. Partly this was because I just added a centre installed zipper where you use a close ended zipper and sew down either side. I’ve always hated this finish as they never sit neatly flat and open up, exposing the teeth in an unsightly way. BUT, now it’s done will I really be bothered to unpick and resew? Other than the shame of other sewists seeing it, I don’t care what non-sewing folk think as their clothes usually pale in comparison with off grain jeans, misaligned plaids and careless stitching.
I’m not sure I’ll ever made a version with the peter pan collar as they may be look extremely childlike on me but I won’t say never… that’s not the way to live. I should really try the included skirt pieces as the pleats would be quite flattering now. My changing waistline has led to me rediscovering some patterns and styles I previously ruled out.
Hello June! And hello everyone else. We’re well into a new month and well past the end of Me Made May. If you participated I hope you enjoyed the challenge. Maybe you’re keeping the fun going with #memadeveryday a great way of documenting your outfits more regularly.
If you weren’t aware, I started my blog with Me Made May way back when. I had only a handful of handmade garments but I wanted the kick to wear them out in public and share my thoughts online. This was several years ago so it’s always like a kind of anniversary for me when I take part now. I wear my handmade wardrobe everyday now so I have to get a bit more creative with the challenge aspect of the month.
This year I pledged to wear unloved or neglected makes to see whether they could be resurrected. You can see the highlights of this experiments at the top of my Instagram wall.
The main reasons for neglect were:
I hate ironing
Too short/too big/too tight
Needs nude lingerie
Inexperience on early makes
This list contains both easily avoidable issues and things that you need to accept as part of life!
I really don’t need to pick fabrics that rely on ironing. That’s my own stupid mistake. I know my lifestyle and patience levels aren’t compatible with ironing. I’ve got better things to do and I don’t get any enjoyment out of it! And nude lingerie is easily available so that has been pure laziness on my part. It’s been brilliant to rediscover some of those light-coloured garments.
Working out your style is a lifelong exploit. Anyone who doesn’t experiment can’t be having much fun with their wardrobe. You’ll create a few mistakes but you’ll get a clearer idea of what you like!
While it was fun to try on some of those experimental garments again, I’m still not convinced they have a place in my wardrobe. Other than the maxi skirt… I really need to try that out a bit more!
Chasing a great fit can be an endless obsession with fluctuating success. Our bodies are constantly changing with age, activity and diet.
And interpreting wrinkles and drag lines on garments can be a black hole of fit iterations that you have to start again when you revisit the pattern after your body has changed or even just if you’re changing fabric!
Lastly, I’m both fiercely proud and terribly embarrassed by my early makes. So I don’t think I’ll be ever able to get rid of them but they can stay out of heavy rotation.
I know I’m a little late with this round up but I hope you enjoyed stepping into the world of my neglected clothes. Sometimes I worry that it looks like everything goes dreamily for me but that’s not real life! Failure and mistakes are part of learning and succeeding.
Trying to write a post before the lovely weather goes away has proven a little tricky so I’m currently typing in my car before work starts! Every day I have to leave 2 hours to get to Stockport and find a parking spot but when I catch some good luck it takes an exceptional 1.5hrs and I get the sweet delight of bonus podcast listening, a breakfast snack window or typing time.
Today I’m sharing my version of Simplicity 8342. You’ve probably seen this top crop up on my social media a few times. I made it for my birthday last year and it’s a great summer item. It’s sold out on the Simplicity site but I bet you’ll find it elsewhere online. I’m wearing it here with my turquoise denim A-line skirt, made from a pattern we gave away on issue 44 of Love Sewing (also sold out, sorry!).
Simplicity kindly sent me a copy of this pattern for free when I made major googly eyes at it. It was part of the Summer Sewing Challenge where everyone could claim a free copy but as I couldn’t enter (work conflict) I was super pleased to still be allowed a copy. The top features an empire line bodice with keyhole and front ties, elastic back channel and different sleeve options. There’s a great pair of high waisted capris included for stretch fabrics and a wiggle skirt with sewn on buttons and frill hem details.
The top is super quick to put together and is a major stash buster! I used some breton striped jersey from Empress Mills that was left over from a t-shirt I made for work. It’s a rather thin viscose jersey that isn’t very stable but the stripes are great for a fun vintage pinup nautical feel.
The bow is constructed by self lining the upper bodice and then the wrong side can show as you tie the bow. The bow isn’t so narrow that it creates any bother turning things out, you just need to trim your seam allowance nicely. Don’t expect a super crisp point on your ties.
The fit for a small bust like mine is a touch roomy. Everything is secure but there’s probably more space than you actually need for an A cup. Empire lines where the seam line ends in a point can be a little tricky for some sewists I know, but this project is super simple as the keyhole means you don’t have to pivot around a point!
I’m pleased I matched the stripes down the side seams but the area I fell down on is the centre back seam… though I should have gotten rid of it really if I’d had my wits about me. My elastic channel in the upper back edge could be tighter too. Oh the failure! Don’t look at that white zipper head either please (lazy seamstresses don’t always wait for the right colour zipper to arrive).
Next time I’ll make the classic straps rather than the halter. And I’ve got a lot of jersey scraps that should be large enough! I also made a toile of the trousers but never stitched them up so need to rectify that right??
Happy heatwave everyone! This glorious arrival of the sun has boosted my spirits like you wouldn’t believe. Work is unbelievably manic, the wedding admin is piling up and I haven’t been sleeping well at all. What’s keeping me going is that bolt of vitamin D, a daily zma tablet and some therapeutic sewing when I can… plus oreo cookies. Something else that’s pretty cool is we’ve set up a craft club at the office, where every Wednesday we take our various crafts into the boardroom and chat and work away creatively as a group. Each magazine produced by the company is run by a crafter so we all look for opportunities to work on projects and share our knowledge with other people. I’ve played with macrame, failed at crochet and knitted most of a snuggly blanket. I generally do embroidery on my lunchtime and then help with other people’s dressmaking queries but with the big boardroom table doubling as a cutting table I was able to prep most of this project in a week of lunches.
Now the one thing I never thought I’d make is dungarees. I got pretty tempted last year by a skinny jeans version in H&M but when I tried them on in the shops they gave me ginormous love handles due to the cut of the waist and I got scared again. Then we decided to run M7547 as one of the free patterns on Love Sewing 53 I thought I better suck it up and give them a go. I was convinced by the fact that I am forever in love with my high-waisted jeans and this pattern features a high-waist style. I’m only 5ft 4 and I think the high waist makes me look waaay taller than that. I could hear you thinking – Wow Amy looks as tall as Rachel Pinheiro – but it’s all a trick of the eye!
These McCall’s dungarees are super quick to make because there’s no fly front zipper which are great to make but not as speedy as a good old lapped side zipper. You do need to do a bit of topstitching but if you do this in the same colour thread you don’t have to swap over your machine and can stay on track. The directions don’t include how to finish your seams so thinking ahead and jumping onto your overlocker is necessary which does take you out of the flow. As is normal for me, I pinned everything I possibly could then did a mass sewing session, then repeated this until they were done.
I made a straight size 12 of the skinny jean version but could do with a smidge more length in the upper body and a smidge less width and length in the legs. The shoulder straps are very short if you ask me and it would be best to extend them a good inch then cut off any excess once you’ve tried the assembled dungarees on. I omitted the pockets due to lack of denim too.
My brace kit was from Minerva Crafts (salvaged from a disastrous dungaree dress that never got blogged) and I have a thousand jeans buttons in my sewing room so found some that matched. This dark indigo denim was actually from the Abakhan remnant’s bin and has a slight flaw which I placed at the ankle level on the back so it was even less noticeable. It has great stretch recovery and has held it’s colour during several washes but it could be a bit less stretchy and it attracts fluff LIKE CRAZY! So infuriating. You can’t see the fluff in the main photos but check out the close up back shot; It’s there mocking me.
Kerry said I had a Rosie the Riveter vibe going on which is mega fun! We played it up on set haha. Her floral sateen version is amazing, go check out the review (I think she’s posting it today or tomorrow!). I used a frilly sleeved version of New Look 6808 to balance out my top and wore my red loafers. The lack of pockets sort of makes my crotch area look HUGE which is endlessly cringeworthy in photos but you forget when you’re wearing them… until I try and put my phone in the back pocket! Ho ho I made you look at my crotch, you filthy scoundrel!!
I’m definitely going to use this pattern to make a pair of skinny jeans as I really enjoyed making my last pair of jeans but got fatigue by the end and these felt much quicker. I also have a copy of the new Megan Nielsen Ash jeans which look great so will also make those later this year. First though I need to find some great quality denim! Katie is a wonderful source of inspiration in this respect but please send me details of high quality stretch denim suitable for jeans!! I saw some lovely stuff on Fabric Godmother and Guthrie & Ghani but would love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up with suggestions in the comments!
Hello everyone. It’s nice to be typing today as I’m feeling rather deaf and croaky from some mysterious lurgy that hasn’t fully taken hold (thank god) but is making me feel pretty crummy. Whenever I’m feeling sorry for myself, I love indulging in a hot bath and a g&t to cheer myself up. Sewing always makes me happy but some days there’s just not the time to get started before you have to stop! Other things that perk me up are good looking plants, a Fox’s chunky choc chip cookie (the ones that are half coated in chocolate and are life changing), a cuddly cat, watching my fella do the swish swish dance and Summer Breeze by the Isley Brothers. Even just writing that list lifts my spirits.
There’s not been much sewing I can share online or on social media but hopefully you’ve been enjoying tidbits from my honeymoon sewing activity and my embroidery. I thought I could share a hoop today. I am a huge fan of Amanda’s work and the Brynn and Co brand! And I actually mentioned the LOVE embroidery hoop pattern on the blog before. Well surprise surprise, I’ve finally finished it. YAY!
It actually came as a free kit with Mollie Makes just before Christmas too, so I got to see pictures of other people stitching it before I got started which helped me plan my version. I decided to use the same colours as the pattern suggests to get that great mix of contrast but I may make it again in other shades. There’s a beautiful lilac version on Hello Hooray’s blog – Clare’s blog is amazingly inspiring and colourful so go check it out.
The hoop comes together really quickly because you’re repeating a few key stitches but then the magic of the negative space lettering shines through. When I do embroidery I work in one length of colour and when it runs out I switch to another colour… even if I haven’t finished that section. This helps me stay energised with the piece instead of getting burned out on a load of green work, or exhausted with French knots.
On the Love hoop you’ll master satin stitch on curved leaf edges that still need to finish in a crisp shape around the letters. The French knots add a lovely texture and I like to do a double knot to really make them pop. A little bit of split stitch makes the blue stems stand out and I went off book and used lazy daisy stitch for the lime green leaves.
The mix of zesty green and teal green is really satisfying – like the right kind of clash. The blue looks really fresh in the mix. Most of the Brynn and Co designs are more traditional which makes this colour palette really grab your attention. There was also a limited run with this design as a needle catcher which is a fun idea to show your needles some love heehee. Fingers crossed they come back in stock.
Next up in terms of embroidery I’m working on this adorable cat from the DMC pattern archive! I decided to use black felt instead of long and short stitch to speed things up. I’ve prickstitched the cat onto the background and will start filling him(?) in with fun colours.
Hope you like the hoop! And feel free to steal any of my perk up tricks if you think they’ll help you. I mean who wouldn’t be happy with a gin in one hand, a biscuit in the other, belting out “Oh Summer Breeeeeeze” while in the bath ?
Hi everyone! Since the weather matches my blogging schedule (sporadic) I thought I’d share a long overdue finished jacket. As some of you will know from my social media posts I have around 40 unblogged makes. Thankfully five of them have been photographed but I still need to find some blogging time which is proving difficult. Let’s crack on then shall we!
If you’ve considered making a jacket as a step into tailoring I heartedly recommend the Colette Patterns Anise Jacket. It has enough new techniques for someone wanting to learn outerwear but not too many that you can get overwhelmed. I in fact made my first version when I was very much an adventurous beginner, in 2013! I copied my favourite blue coat and was pretty chuffed with the results… see my fabulously grainy photo below if you don’t have time to click through. I thought given all those years of experience I’ve managed to accumulate it would be interesting to see how I found the pattern four years later (yep this jacket is a year old people).
Let’s start by saying the sewalong for this jacket is superb. The welt pockets and bound button hole tutorials are excellent and work on many other garments. Probably doesn’t need to be said but welt pockets are super lovely to make but not great for putting your hands in on a bitter English day. The way the back seams curve to match the sleeve seams at the armhole is also my sign of a superior coat. It drives me crazy when they’re close but intentionally not aligned! Also having made several coats since this I realise how special it is to have a separate pattern piece for interfacing the the roll line. The collar is kind of a pain in that it refuses to neatly meet at the centre front due to the way the buttons strain and move. It still comes together pretty nicely and the clean finish you get by hand sewing everything closed at the armholes and hem is very neat inside.
Finding the right interfacing is a mission though and I’m less happy with the boucle version compared to my melton. I was trying to find something that would keep the boucle weave secure but offer the right support and I think I went too stiff. It’s most noticeable to me at the collar where I can feel it sitting slightly unhappily but I think it looks fine. There’s not a lot of help out there for picking interfacing (no magic unicorn saying you must buy this specific weight and brand) because it all depends on your chosen fabric. The only tip I can offer here is that you’re looking to support not harden the fabric or add too much weight. And remember cheap fusible interfacing isn’t built to last and will bubble and unstick itself over time, so if you’re keen to keep your jacket or coat around, invest in the branded stuff!
Let me share two bits of wisdom I learnt from making both coats. Number one – don’t use covered buttons, no matter how confident you are that the wool is safely enclosed inside. Years later, your buttons will pop apart from the strain and embarrass you in front of your peers. Not pretty. Number two – If you’re not a delicate dresser, use a lining with a tiny amount of stretch. I’m not talking a super spandex mix fabric, but just something with a little give. I always pop the armhole seams on my lining by wrestling myself in and out of my jackets without care. The jackets were I’ve used stretch satin have faired much better. Last tidbit – ALWAYS ADD A HANGING LOOP.
My wool was picked up at an excellent open day at Beyond Measure. Grace had sourced small remnants from a Lancashire mill; Offcuts and end bolts, plus colour coordinated bundles. I succumbed to this smooth soft and almost glossy boucle wool with flecks of bright yellow and blue running through. It was £30 for a 1.6m piece, enough for the jacket with nothing to spare! The lining was chosen to match the yellow flecks as good old B&M Fabrics on Kirkgate outside the market. Every time I see it the super flash of gold makes me giddy. Last but not least those fancy polished metal buttons were from Totally Buttons, an excellent online shop.
It’s a great little jacket and fun pattern to follow. I’m also super grateful past-Amy taped together the PDF and worked out all the fit kinks so I could just crack on and sew the new version!! I’m pleased I finally got to share it with you. I’ll try not to wait so long to post again, but while I’m gone maybe have a read of these lovely Anise jackets.
Have you ever owned a fabric you’ve been too terrified to cut into? I think a lot of us have been there. It can be because it’s so beautiful or so rare or it cost you so much or it represents something much bigger about your sewing status.
I put fabrics up on a pedestal all the time, it can be a £40 silk or a £2 polyester. Its a real problem!
For me this Liberty print ticked so many of those fear boxes; it’s rare because I’ve never found Liberty chambray anywhere other than one Japanese etsy seller. It cost me a bit to buy it and ship it over as you might imagine. And it’s utterly beautiful so I wanted it in my Carline dress family.
I decided a safe bet would be to sew a pattern I’d made before but with a few tweaks. I’d loved making the Elisalex because of the great fitting princess seams and wanted to try adding sleeves to make the dress more versatile. I skipped the instructions for the sleeve insertion and used the clean insertion method which I’ve used a few times – video close up here. I really should post my own version of this tutorial as I think the original post photos are a little hard to see.
With this technique the sleeve is fully enclosed in the bodice lining for a very professional finish. The draft of the sleeves is excellent by the way!
I also swapped out the skirt pleats for gathers as I think the pleats fell a little funny on my lower half.
Seeing photos of the back still makes me smile with it’s gorgeous swooped neckline… makes me sad I can’t see my back when I wear it! Thought I’d need some kind of flamingo or giraffe neck for that to be possible. For the zipper I’m not over the moon with my invisible zipper. Even after installing what feels like a thousand, there are just some that don’t want to stay hidden at the intersections of the seams, even when everything has been graded and stitched properly. This is why my heart belongs to lapped zippers. I might unpick and redo.
As you saw at the start I thought I’d copy Gertie and make a sailor inspired number but changed my mind as I lay the binding on. Maybe it’s plain but I love it. And if down the line I want to fancy it up I can hand-stitch trim on top!
I love novelty prints. Especially when they’re on a crepe or polyester-mix, something I don’t have to iron. This swan print polyester crepe de chine was from Fabricland’s online shop. They had it in navy as well but red has to be one of my favourite colours.
I used to wear red shoes everyday when I was a young girl and I wear red converse, red ballet pumps or red loafers most days. I used to have the most beautiful pair of red Carvela heels but they are sooooo worn in now that they’re a danger to wear in case the sole splits in half. I’m most commonly found with red nail varnish on my fingers and as you may have guessed, my car is red. So why don’t I have more red clothes?
I got the True Bias Sutton top as part of the Sew Indie Month pattern bundle but wasn’t sure the boxy style would suit me. It’s a great top with fun features like the yoke that rolls over into a dropped front shoulder seam, high low hem and nice v neckline so I thought I’d give it a go… and it’s a top, not a blouse, let’s not fall out over this.
Just to add if I hadn’t found my favourite new jeans I’m not sure I would have been able to pull this look off. For me boxy tops need a streamlined lower half to stop things looking entirely box shaped.
The centre front seam was a real bother for me so that went straight away, and I made the centre front the cut on the fold line. That changed how I finished the neckline a little but I did follow the instructions roughly. It sews up really quickly!
Self made bias binding finished things off prettily inside but polyester cdc fights you with every press. I have tape makers in multiple sizes which is very useful but you can always use a pin attached to your ironing board and make a little channel to feed the fabric through. I’d kill for one of those mechanised tape makers but they stopped producing them.
Above is my 90s tv star pose which shows off the hem step. I wish I could reduce the amount of polyester in my wardrobe but I do not have time for ironing. I barely have time to check I’ve put together a decent outfit in a morning and most days I get to work and discover my make up is all uneven. The perils of leaving the house in the dark.
The crepe is floaty but stable and didn’t snag as I worked. It only gets a little static throughout the day but I wear a cotton vest underneath most days anyway. It makes me feel like I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt somehow, which I LOVE. Just call me Magnum PI.
Hello ladies and gents! Hope you’ve been having a good spell since I last blogged. It’s been fun watching how much sewing time everyone had during the snow storms. That was certainly how I was keeping myself sane! My area of Leeds gets a lot of snow because it’s really high and flat so driving is out, walking anywhere is out, letting the cat out the house is out, basically unless you have ice skates or a snow plough, stay in the house.
So I stayed in and whizzed up some sundresses for my honeymoon, worked on my wedding dress toile(s) and did some embroidery. Thanks to my humungous backlog of finished projects and speedy sewing skills there are still plenty of garments to share on the blog.
Today I thought I’d show you the speediest t-shirt on planet earth… McCall’s 7322. This was a double stuffed pattern I stole from the office (is it stealing if it’s from your own magazine?) that we ran on issue 46 last Christmas. I ended up sewing the size 8-10 with no changes. Normally I’d have to grade to a 12 at the hips but as the pattern works for wovens too there is a good bit of ease built in. If you want to make a close tshirt, definitely go down a size. This is view F which has a boat neckline and 3/4 length sleeves.
In true bargain hunter style I found my fabric in the remnant bin of Abakhan fabrics. It was a knock off Art Gallery Fabrics print I think but I can’t work out the original design name. Please do comment if you know it! It’s a good quality jersey, e.g. the print is crisp, the base doesn’t show through, the recovery is nice and it hasn’t gone bobbly yet. These are all excellent bonus qualities considering I was taking my chances in the mystery metal bins in shop. I think this came to £4 or similar which is a steal.
Now I know I’m not really a t-shirt kind of girl but these are COLD TIMES people. Desperate measures are needed. Although I’ve found I don’t like how it looks with my cardigans so that’s a slight problem. The sleeves are cute though. I like how wide they are which feels balanced with the wider boat neck. The colour is super bright and makes me especially happy when I wear it with my orangey red loafers and this coat! My twin needle top-stitching turned out pretty good and with the help of my new overlocker it only took an hour to make in total!
In other news I’m totally loving Stitcher’s Brew, the new podcast from Gabby and Megan! I like listening to crafty podcasts like Clothes Making Mavens and Love To Sew as well as endless amounts of other podcasts on my drive to work. It’s a nice way to bring my craft in the car with me! Check it out and let me know what you think.