Happy New Year everyone! I've set all sorts of intentions for 2018, and one of them is to sew more, and another is to post to my blog more often. So here's hoping I can share lots of new additions to my wardrobe with you this year. My first make of the year is these super comfy capri trousers that I made as part for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. If you'd like to find out more about this pattern you can read more here Danni x
My latest Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post is now live - and it's all about this snazzy pair of culottes I made for my holiday to Lanzarote this November. To find out how I got on, and where to find all the materials to make a pair yourself, head on over to Minerva Crafts now to read more.
I'm so excited to announce that I am now part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network - and today my first post goes live! Head on over to my post Wearable Rockabilly Style to find out my thoughts on this pinup perfect sewing pattern.
Uh oh, I've been spending | April Pattern & Fabric Haul | Oh Sew Quaint - YouTube
I'm back on YouTube with another pattern and fabric haul - I just couldn't resist those spring sale savings. If you like the video, don't forget to subscribe and you can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for daily updates.
I mentioned in the video that my shop will be on holiday from the 1st May - 21st May. If you have placed an order before the 29th April then don't worry, it will be processed as normal, I just won't be taking on new orders during this time. Apologies for any inconvenience.
Oh Sew Quaint is the home of handmade sewing equipment, from sweet treat pattern weights to delicious doughnut magnetic pin cushions
Late summer in 2016 I had decided I needed a hobby and blew the dust off the sewing machine my Mum had given to me 10 years ago as a Christmas present. My mum has been sewing for as long as I remember, and had always egged me on to try it too. But it wasn't until I started watching the Great British Sewing Bee that I felt inspired to give it a go. I loved the idea of having a handmade wardrobe, and I was determined to learn this new skill.
As I started to sew, my collection of sewing paraphernalia grew and I found myself disappointed with the selection of sewing tools available. While of course they suited their purpose, everything just looked a bit drab. I remember thinking it was such a contrast against the personalities of creative people, and I wanted a sewing haven full pretty and colourful things.
An idea popped into my head out of the blue as I was searching for some pattern weights. I had a picture of some colourful macaron pattern weights in my head, and I decided to make some. I loved them, and wondered if other people had felt the way I did about sewing equipment. Would they be interested in buying something like these pattern weights?
I flirted with the idea of creating an Etsy account to sell them, halfheartedly at first as I didn't think it would really take off. But the thought was stuck in my head and I decided to just go for it. A few months later Oh Sew Quaint opened it's virtual doors, and what happened next completely threw me.
I had my first order 2 days after the shop opened, I still remember jumping around with joy when the notification popped up on my phone and the dread that followed. What if the customer hates them? Am I going to get a bad review? What if I can't do this? What have I got myself into? Well fortunately she did love her pattern weights, and as did the 150 customers that ordered in the month that followed.
Fondant Fancies are the most recent addition to the pattern weights selection, and come in the original colours or cute pastels!
Honestly, when I started my shop my goal was to have 20 sales by January, and I had actually had over 200 by 2017! It was a complete whirlwind and an experience I was totally unprepared for, but I loved every second of it. I soon outgrew my work space, which was a small desk and a few shelves at my boyfriends house. I turned my old room at my parents into my new home studio, a polymer clay haven! There are many perks to working at my parents place; my mum is always bringing me cups of tea and sandwiches, and is very supportive of the business, helping me with ideas and making products.
I was able to leave my job 6 weeks after opening my shop, it felt incredible being able to completely support myself through my own business, but I was terrified of what would happen after Christmas - I thought I'd be grovelling for my job back! Fortunately Oh Sew Quaint is still soaring 7 months later, and it's product range has expanded too, with plenty of new instalments planned for the future.
Over 4000 individual doughnuts have been handmade to date! Hopefully the number of them which have been eaten is 0!
My best selling product, the Doughnut Pattern Weights, has been the key to my success no doubt. To date I've made over 350 boxes - that's 4,200 individuals doughnuts made with my own two hands! I'm always asked if I sick at the sight of them by now, and I won't lie to you - sometimes I am! But every time I pack a box and see them sat there ready to go, I do a little happy dance in my head. I'm forever grateful that 7 months later people are still buying from my little shop and keeping this girls dream of running an online business alive.
To all of my customers old and new; everyone that has liked, commented or followed my posts on social media; friends and family and my partner Ollie for putting up with me talking about packaging and sprinkles at 12am - thank you. Thank you so much for believing in me and Oh Sew Quaint, for your love and your support, and your patience (I'm talking to my more recent customers waiting for their products after my clay drama - sorry!).
The last 7 months have been brilliant, and I can only hope that the next year will be even better. My store reopens from it's hiatus on the 22nd May, and every fortnight a new product will be added to the shop, yay! I can't wait to show you what I've got planned, your sewing boxes are in for a treat!
The Colette Moneta dress - your new favourite knit sewing pattern - because the best dresses have pockets!
You know those first sunny days of spring where you want to leave your coat at the door but there is a still a slight chill in the air? The long-sleeved Moneta dress is the perfect thing to wear! I was first inspired to make a jersey dress after seeing The Crafty Pinup's TATB Agnes Dress Hack which she also made in a black jersey with pink flowers. While it's rude to copy other people's sewing projects, I fell in love with the dress so much I just HAD to have my own.
With a dress like this, you look effortlessly glam but in reality you feel like you're wearing an oversized T-shirt - so comfy!
I bought 3 metres of black floral jersey from Minerva Crafts - it's fairly thick but not so thick you'd be uncomfortable in direct sunlight and it's plenty breathable. I'd had it sat on my shelf all winter prepping myself to cut into it. I'm still fairly new to jersey so I didn't want to start this project until I had some previous experience.
I'd forgotten about this project until the Moneta party came along and I really wanted to join in but was too busy with my Etsy store to sew during the party competition, but a window opened up just in time for spring. A shame really, as this dress is best suited to wear from Sep-April in my opinion, but I'm sure this will be brightening up rainy summer days knowing England's luck with weather.
A petticoat underneath really brings out the structure of the skirt nicely whilst still using a soft and drapey fabric.
I chose the Moneta over the Agnes hack mostly because I couldn't be bothered to make any pattern adjustments! But I also prefer the neckline on the Moneta, and there are some lovely collar variations available for free on the Colette website. I had no issues with the cutting out or the sewing instructions of the garment. If anything, I was pleased with how quick and it easy it all was. The most time consuming part was gathering the skirt, and I quite enjoyed the elastic method suggested in the instructions. I didn't have any clear elastic to hand so I just used regular elastic and it's come out okay, albeit a bit bulky. I'd be keen to try clear elastic next time.
Warning: Wearing a petticoat also makes you pose a lot...
I can only find one fault in this pattern and that is the sleeve/armhole situation. Myself and a few other bloggers have noticed that there is a lot of fabric in the upper arm where the sleeve meets the armhole. On this particular fabric it's not too noticeable but I'd like to figure out how to adjust it for future Moneta dresses as it's just looks a bit odd and could be quite distracting on a lighter coloured fabric.
I am already planning my next Moneta and I can see this being a pattern I return to again and again. As much as I love dressing up in 50's inspired cotton fit-and-flare dresses, they aren't that comfortable to wear day-to-day. As I work from home I typically wear pyjamas all day, but I'm hoping Moneta will change that as these dresses are SO comfortable.
The Moneta is simple to accessorise too, a waist belt adds a welcome pop of block colour to the busy print of the fabric.
This is a sewing pattern staple. It has endless dress possibilities with it's 3 sleeve lengths, several collar variations and of course you could make it with any skirt length. I was put off the price of this pattern initially but I feel it's well worth the money as I can see several Moneta's joining my handmade wardrobe in future.
Have you made a Colette Moneta dress yet? If so, how did you get on - and did you have any issues with the sleeves? What's your favourite spring dress sewing pattern? Let's chat about it in the comments below!
Spring is finally here and I'm switching my cosy jersey knits to pretty cotton fabrics. My first make of the season is the Audrey Dress: fun, flirty and full of 50's flare. My fabric choice was a cheap and cheerful cotton poplin I purchased from eBay for £4 per metre. As with many cheap cottons the fabric is quite thin and worn without a slip this dress won't leave much to the imagination, so in hindsight I should have inserted a lining.
The pleated skirt on the Audrey Dress - which came free with Issue 24 of Simply Sewing magazine - swayed me towards using this pattern, especially as I had not made pleats before. The original pattern comes in two styles; Dress A is made from one fabric whilst Dress B includes a contrasting bodice and hem band. I chose Dress A but altered the skirt pattern to exclude the hem band by attaching the band to the main skirt template with tape. I felt the hem band would disturb the print of the fabric and thought it to be unnecessary for Dress A.
To me this is a perfect weekend project though I like to take my time with sewing. It's an activity of leisure to me, and is usually interrupted with trips to the kettle and cake tin! If you're a speedy sewist this could be made in a day.
Includes a cheeky glimpse of my new petticoat I got here
The clear and concise instructions allowed the construction of this dress to be relatively simple. I was unsure how well I would tackle the darts and pleats as it was my first time using these techniques, but fortunately they turned out crisp and perfectly aligned with one another. Simple Sewing magazine also included a tutorial on sewing pleats in Issue 24, though I found the pattern instructions to be well illustrated and explained by themselves.
The pleats in the Audrey dress paired with a fitted bodice and waistband create a beautiful feminine shape.
My only criticism of this pattern is the construction of the facing and the shoulder seams. I found this method very confusing, though I'm probably just being daft. In future, I'd look to other methods of attaching facings to a sleeveless dress as the method used seems backwards to me. Out of frustration I decided to sew the shoulders together in an unconventional manner which left stitching on show, but honestly it's barely noticeable and there have been no wardrobe malfunctions so far.
Simple yet elegant, a fit and flare dress suits many colour and pattern variations - including novelty prints like this one!
In the past I'd have been hesitant to use free magazine sewing patterns, I expected them to be poorly written and full of mistakes. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Audrey dress pattern and would go as far to say it was better than some commercial patterns I have used! I haven't needed to make any adjustments with fitting, though I'd probably make adjustments to the shoulder seams to stop the gaping around my neckline if I made another, but this is a problem I have with all garments.
What was the first garment you've made this Spring? Have you made things from free magazine patterns before? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below!
Whilst waiting for their arrival I did some research on the pattern itself, seeing what others sewists had made and any tips for it's construction. This is when I learned the alarming news that this pattern does NOT have a good reputation. It's known for being poorly drafted, which results in bodice being too large to wear modestly. A problem that could be prevented with some pattern adjustment? Think again, the bodice is cut entirely on the bias which makes pattern adjustment a nightmare. I had to start the project but I kept stalling, I don't know what for - it's not like the pattern would magically fix itself, so I sat down one day and went for it, and hoped for the best. Knowing that this could be an entertaining process as I tackled 'the beast', I decided to film the construction for my new YouTube channel. You can watch the two parts below:
Part One: All the Ruffles:
B5708 Sew Along Part One: All the Ruffles! | Vintage Sewing Pattern | Oh Sew Quaint - YouTube
Part Two: Finishing & Final Thoughts
B5708 Sew Along Part Two: Finishing & Final Thoughts | Vintage Sewing Pattern | Oh Sew Quaint - YouTube
Looking back on my sewing journey with this pattern, I know my sewing skills could have been better. Towards the end, my sewing was sloppy which no doubt prevented my seams aligning at the top of the zip, the mess I made of the lining under the arm could have been prevented by trimming the seam allowances and taking more care when sewing. The bodice is distorted due to a mistake I made when attaching the lining on the inside also.
The busy floral print fabric helps to hide the multitude of sins in the construction of this bodice!
But once I had initially tried on the dress, I knew any mistakes I had made wouldn't have bothered me as the dress only just fit, and I didn't care for it enough to adjust it, and rushed to get it finished so I could move on.
I sound as though I hate the dress - I don't. In fact, I am in love with the fullness of the skirt and I really love the fabric. I can't see this pattern revisiting my sewing table as I didn't really enjoy the construction process, but I will be using this skirt pattern again without a doubt.
The full skirt in this pattern looks excessively large at first, but makes you feel like a princess when it's on.
I'm really pleased with the fabric, it's a good quality cotton poplin at a reasonable price and a pleasure to work with. The floral pattern contains some unexpected but beautiful colour combinations, and I would thoroughly recommend a browse of the Sew Essential website as it has been updated with some gorgeous new floral cottons recently which I will likely be purchasing myself very soon.
Overall, if you really love the look of this dress I would say give it a go but don't use your best fabric, a cheap and cheerful cotton is perfect for an attempt on this dress. If you are new to sewing, I would look to other patterns but an experienced sewist wouldn't stumble over the techniques needed for this dress.
The ties on the B5708 sewing pattern are designed to be worn in 4 different ways, pictured is View A.
I would say positives of the dress are the beautiful full skirt that can be easily adapted to other patterns, and the dress only requires 5 pattern pieces. The merits stop there though, as I think this pattern uses more fabric than most would like to use (You'll need between 4-5 metres!), it's unlikely the bodice will fit you and the pattern instructions are a bit vague.
The result is a stunning vintage dress on the hanger but once you've eventually got it on after trying to tie the dress in a way that sits right for 10 minutes, the work put into sewing the dress up just doesn't feel worth it.
Have you made this dress? How'd did you get on, did you have more success than I did? Perhaps you'd tried other patterns in the Retro Butterick series - what vintage items have you made or are planning on making? Share your story in the comments below.
Although I never really wear pencil skirts (I'm living that pyjama life...) when I saw the Simple Sew Duo of Skirts pattern I fell in love. I was definitely swayed by the pretty pink envelope and the big beautiful bow at the top of the waist. Sticking with the pink theme, as always, I decided to make my version of this skirt in a bright raspberry pink cotton which I got from Fabric Rehab in their closing down sale.
Also wearing: Black Scoop Top by Boody, made from Bamboo Jersey - super soft!
The fabric is from the Moda Bella Solids collection in the colour Berrylicious, and I would definitely recommend this fabric collection. It is a good quality, medium weight cotton with enough drape to make most garment types. Plus, there is a huge colour range to choose from - all whilst being an affordable £4-5 a metre. The only downside is that it does tend to crease easily and hold those creases, but this is to be expected with a 100% cotton fabric.
The pattern itself consists of 4 pieces - a skirt front, skirt back, waist band and the tie. The pattern is reasonably easy to follow, but I would have appreciated more information on the pattern. There were no grainline arrow directions to follow, and every size was drawn in solid lines making it hard to follow the right one whilst cutting out. Despite this, I still got the pattern cut out quickly and accurately enough.
My first attempt at pleats - not too shabby!
I managed to sew this garment in one session, and for my first time making pleats I am very pleased with how they have turned out. My only disappointment with the pattern is that the instructions were a bit vague. In my opinion a beginner pattern should be more detailed - especially with concealed zips. That being said, there are a lot of handy tutorials on the Simple Sew website and I also followed this post on the Simple Sew Tutorial blog for clearer instructions.
I cut out the size 10 version of the pattern which is recommended for my 38" hips but unfortunately the skirt is too tight across the thighs for me to wear. Though, I think this is more to do with my body shape than a fault of the pattern, hello thunder thighs! The Christmas weight on my belly looks very unflattering when I sit down in this skirt too - overall it just doesn't suit my body shape. It would be very flattering on people with narrower hips and thighs as the pleats around the waist help to accentuate curves.
A pretty(ish) bow - I just need to get better at tying them!
I like to think I'll get some use out of this skirt for the odd evening meal out, but it's just too uncomfortable for me to wear without losing some weight. In hindsight I should have tried it on before trimming and overlocking the seam allowances so I could let it out for some much needed wiggle room. So, this will probably live in my wardrobe and stay there - sorry skirt, I love cake too much to try to fit into you.
Overall, I think this is still a good and simple pattern - as the company name implies. Perhaps lacking some detail in the instruction booklet and pattern pieces, but there is plenty of advice online for those that need it. There are no tricky techniques here, a beginner may only struggle with putting in the concealed zip and the 'stitch in the ditch' technique along the waistband. I don't think I'll be making another one though, but I would like to try it's sister pattern the 'Wiggle Skirt' but I fear I will have the same issues with the fitting across the thighs as it's even more shapely than this pattern!
If you made this skirt - what fabric would you use? Let me know in the comments below!