Vogue 8784: DIY Wrap Dress

Vogue 8784 - DIY wrap dress
Vogue 8784 - DIY wrap dress

Vogue 8784 – DIY wrap dress

Good Afternoon Friends,

Everyone talks about wrap dresses and how universally flattering and versatile they are. I have only ever bought one (true) RTW wrap dress, and was never happy with the fit. It has since been passed on to charity. A couple of years ago I made a wrap dress, using this same pattern, Vogue 8784. You can see that version here. Bear in mind that dress was actually the very first thing I ever sewed using a knit fabric, and it was pre-serger days.

I have worn the first version of that dress once. For half a day. I felt frumpy wearing it (due to the longer length), and I wasn’t comfortable with the gaping at the bust. Fast forward two years and I decided to re-visit the pattern and have another go.

Vogue 8784 - DIY wrap dress

Vogue 8784 – DIY wrap dress

This time round I made the bust bigger and used twill tape to stabilise the bodice front edges. I shortened the length of the skirt and the sleeves (although I think if I made this again I would narrow the lower part of the sleeves down). The major change I made was I omitted the lining for this dress, choosing instead to use a bias tape (made from self fabric) as a facing finish. What a pain in the ar*e that was. I should have made the bias tape wider. I got away with it in the end, but it made the front skirt edges stretch out and curl horribly. Look:

Vogue 8784 - DIY wrap dress - stretched out front skirt edges with bias tape facing applied.

Vogue 8784 – DIY wrap dress – stretched out front skirt edges with bias tape facing applied.

I almost threw the whole thing in the bin. But, after sleeping on it for a night, the following day I used my rotary cutter to slice away the offending edge, bias tape and all, and serged the raw edge, turned and stitched. That is what you can see on the finished dress. Not ideal but much better. Next time round, if I don’t add a lining, I need to think about how I am going to finish the edges. Draft a facing for the front and finish the skirt edges before joining skirt to bodice?

Vogue 8784 - DIY wrap dress - bias tape facing finish at collar.

Vogue 8784 – DIY wrap dress – bias tape facing finish at collar.

So how do I feel about this version? I wore it for most of the day yesterday and I can report it definitely doesn’t gape. I know you can see a fair amount of cleavage here but you can’t see my bra. It feels secure and comfortable and I feel very…womanly…wearing it. In a good way. I can’t decide whether omitting the lining was a good idea or not. I believe Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses are generally unlined. But most of them seem to  be made of silk/ silk jersey nowadays? Is silk jersey likely to be more flattering than cotton jersey? BTW, this one’s my favourite at Selfridges. Hmmm, finding (printed) silk jersey in these parts is a little like finding hen’s teeth I fear….

Vogue 8784 - DIY wrap dress

Vogue 8784 – DIY wrap dress

In short, I do like this pattern for the versatility it offers. You have the choice of the flared skirt or the more fitted skirt, and the fitted skirt has pleats over the tummy which I like, a lot. I think maybe I should try a different weight of jersey next time round. Or possibly just try putting the lining back in. The first time I made this pattern I used a pongee stretch lining, which doesn’t have a comparable stretch to the jersey used. I think that’s what I didn’t like. Next time I could use a tricot or stretch lining or even self fabric for the bodice at least and I think I might feel happier. Making this version has made me see why women rave about the wrap dress. Another version, a little more tweaking, and I might have the perfect pattern for me.

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Lined, wrap dress has close-fitting bodice with front tucks, back princess seams, side opening for tie ends, and topstitching. A: narrow hem. B: semi-fitted, front pleated skirt, and stitched hemline/sleeve hem.

Pattern Sizing:

6 – 22

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes, although I omitted the lining.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

This is my second time making this pattern. The first time round I wasn’t happy with the fit on the bust or the length (too long). This time I made modifications to address both those issues. I do like this pattern for the versatility it offers. You have the choice of the flared skirt or the more fitted skirt, and the fitted skirt has pleats over the tummy which I like, a lot. The first time I made this pattern I used a pongee stretch lining, which doesn’t have a comparable stretch to the jersey used. I think that’s what I didn’t like. So this time round I omitted the lining. If I made this dress again I might include a tricot or stretch lining or even self fabric for the bodice at least and I think I might feel happier.

Fabric Used:

Cotton jersey.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I made the bust bigger relative to the first time of sewing.

I used twill tape along the front bodice edges to prevent gaping.

I stabilised the shoulders using clear elastic.

I set the sleeves in flat.

I omitted the lining, using a self fabric bias tape as facing.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes. Yes, I would recommend.

Conclusion:

Making this version has made me see why women rave about the wrap dress. Another version, a little more tweaking, and I might have the perfect pattern for me.

Vogue 8784 - DIY wrap dress

Vogue 8784 – DIY wrap dress

Have a great week everyone, and remember you still have until next Sunday to enter my Linton Tweed Giveaway.

Linton Tweed Fabric Giveaway

Linton Tweed Skirt Length Giveaway
Linton Tweed Skirt Length Giveaway

Linton Tweed Skirt Length Giveaway

Hi Readers,

I have  mentioned before that Linton Tweeds is in my hometown of Carlisle. To celebrate 2 years of blogging (which was actually at the start of this month), I have a special giveaway.

One lucky reader will win a skirt length of genuine Linton Tweed. It is (IMO) beautiful fabric. I would say this particular length is more of a winter weight. It is black in colour, with greyish white and metallic royal blue threads running through it. It measures 140 cm width x 1m in length.

Linton Tweed Skirt Length Giveaway

Linton Tweed Skirt Length Giveaway

It is hard to capture the true beauty of this fabric!

Linton Tweed Skirt Length Giveaway

Linton Tweed Skirt Length Giveaway

Anyway, if you would like a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment below. The giveway is open until 12pm GMT, on Sunday 7th September. I will then pick a winner randomly. The giveway is open worldwide.

See you all soon!

Linton Tweed Skirt Length Giveaway

Linton Tweed Skirt Length Giveaway

Burdastyle Placket Blouse (Plus Size) 01/2010#133: DIY Floral Print Pintucked Bib Blouse

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133
Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Dear Friends,

This blouse has a special meaning to me for two reasons. First of all, it feels as if I have undergone a rite of passion. This blouse was made using a Burdastyle downloaded pattern! And I made it, even with the crappy instructions!! Secondly, the floral fabric you see was sent to me by the wonderfully stylish Ange from Blacklabel blog. When Ange made this amazing Kimono, I admired her fabric, and before I knew it, she had sent me some in the post. How generous is our sewing community?

So let’s talk fabric first. This is a Ramie fabric. Ange tells you about it more in her kimono post. It has a light and breezy feel to it like cotton, but a little like the texture of linen. It does wrinkle somewhat, but hey, it didn’t give me any problems sewing it. I LOVE the print. It IS summer in fabric form, for me.

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

So, I think Ange sent me around 1.5 metres of this fabric, and I could have gone for something simpler, but I have had my eye on the placket blouse pattern from Burdastyle for a while. Of course, I didn’t have quite enough material to make it, so I decided to make more of a feature of the bib and cut that from a white dobby cotton lawn that I had. In fact, I decided to use my pintuck foot and pintucked the entire bib area. This was done before cutting the bib pieces out.

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133: close up of pintucked bib and piping.

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133: close up of pintucked bib and piping.

I also made the piping myself from some lilac coloured cotton lawn I had in my stash. Making the piping (including making the bias binding) and doing the pintucking added on several hours to his project. I also cut the inner yoke, the collar and button bands from the same white dobby cotton. I decided to use the bias binding to bind the neck seam line.

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133: inner yoke and bound collar/ neck seam

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133: inner yoke and bound collar/ neck seam

I used french seams on pretty much everything else. I decided to shorten the sleeves. Unfortunately I didn’t consider the fact that my elbows are considerably wider than my wrists, and to compensate for this I made the pleats at the cuff miniscule, and I also had to extend the cuff pieces by a couple of inches. You really can’t tell. I handsewed the hem. I tried machine stitching it at first, and it just looked terrible due to the curvy hem and trying to ease the fabric in.

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133: cuff detail.

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133: cuff detail.

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

A button placket outlined in contrasting piping gives just a hint of folk to this three quarter sleeve blouse. Pair it with boyfriend jeans and flats for a sweet weekend outfit.

Pattern Sizing:

44 – 52 Burdastyle sizing

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes. Although I omitted the piping at the collar, and used a contrasting fabric for the bib and collar.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

I managed (insert smug smile)! Burdastyle. ’nuff said.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I am happy with the finished blouse. It is the perfect summer blouse. I don’t know if the contrast bib makes me look a bit too busty. I don’t care because I love it :-)

Fabric Used:

A floral ramie. Sent to me by a special friend :-) Dobby cotton lawn for the bib, inner yoke, button bands and collar.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I pintucked the bib area before cutting it out.

I bound the collar/ neck seam.

I shortened the sleeves and ended up making the pleats as small as possible and extending the cuff pieces to compensate for the extra width needed.

No major changes needed.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

This pattern is one I would like to sew again. Perhaps in a single colour. Or a plaid. Or a chambray. Limitless possibilities. I would recommend to someone with some experience who can puzzle the instructions out.

Conclusion:

The perfect summer blouse.

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Have a great week wherever you are. And if you are lucky enough to have a long weekend, enjoy it!

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Until soon…..

New Look 6225: DIY easy cotton summer top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

Hi Readers,

I promised last time I have 2 summer tops left to blog about: here’s the first. It hardly seems worth blogging about, being as it is so simple, but hey, it might be useful to someone.

New Look 6225 is a simple pull on top designed to be made in light weight wovens. It features raglan sleeves in three different lengths and can be made into a longer tunic length top with side slits (as I’ve made) or a shorter length. It’s one of those patterns where the fabric has to be the star. This fabric doesn’t have much star quality. I mean, it’s a pretty coral colour, but it’s just a plain lawn. I added the ruffled corsage thing to jazz things up and a box pleat to the centre front (which I wish I had made a bit bigger).

I made the ruffled corsage thing out of bias strips which I just had pleated and sewed directly on to the top. All very…organic. I left the edges raw (just sewed a line of stitching next to the edges to stop complete disintegration).

New Look 6225: easy cotton top - close up of corsage

New Look 6225: easy cotton top – close up of corsage

This top comes together so easily. I french seamed everything.

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

The raw edges at the neck are enclosed with bias binding. It’s the neatest binding I have ever sewn!

New Look 6225: easy cotton top - close up of binding

New Look 6225: easy cotton top – close up of binding

I know Beth just did a post on a woven top that she made and she said she wasn’t happy with the fit on the arms. I do wear woven tops like shirts and blouses. It’s the first time I have made a style like this. And I am actually very happy with the fit. It is very comfortable. I wore it for a day to an amusement park and it allowed me to go on all the rides and not feel restricted in the slightest. Maybe it would be different with the longer length sleeves?

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

Misses’ woven tee shirt has scoop neck, can be made with three-quarter, short or cap sleeves. Change it up with contrast sleeves & neck band or make it your favorite go-to top in lace.

Pattern Sizing:

8 – 20

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Very simple to sew. Good fit (for me at least). Good basic woven top/ tunic that allows lots of customisation. Nothing to dislike as such.

Fabric Used:

Cotton lawn.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

After doing a tissue fit I decided to move the bust darts down by 1.5 inches. After sewing it in fabric I think they need to be raised by around 0.5 inches if  I were to sew this again.

I increased the length of the side slits by approx. 2 inches. More comfortable for me.

Approx. 1 inch sway back adjustment.

I added a ruffled fabric corsage made out of pleated bias strips of fabric.

I added a box pleat to the centre front.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Possibly and yes.

Conclusion:

Good basic pattern to have in your stash. Once you’ve perfected the fit sew it in something luxurious!

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

Finally, it was Philip’s birthday last week so I made him a shirt. A third version of McCalls 6613. (If it ain’t broke….version 1, version2). The fabric was picked up in Paris last year. This cotton is probably not at all suitable for shirt making. It is too thin and I wasn’t able to get a perfect match on the checks. However, I used a double layer of interfacing at the collar and something was made. He wore it, seemed to like it, another point scored on the selfless sewing front. Comparing the collar to the previous versions this one is the best yet.

McCalls 6613

McCalls 6613

McCalls 6613

McCalls 6613

So that’s all for now. Back soon. Until then…

Vogue 1386: DIY Missoni Knit Dress: White Tree Fabrics Post

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress
Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Hello My Friends,

It may be hard to believe but I think, at least in my corner of the world, that summer is over. We have had very heavy rain and strong winds for the last few days and it already feels like autumn is here. I may be being pessimistic, but that’s why the boots and tights.

But forget all that. I am so ready to start with the autumn sewing (although I have two summer tops left to blog about in the next week or so), but today I have got what I think is the perfect transition weight dress.

First of all I have to announce that I am now part of the White Tree Fabrics Blogging Team. What an honour to be picked. They have some beautiful fabrics, including  this gorgeous Missoni knit lace fabric on their site. This fabric is virtually weightless when you wear it. It has the most beautiful sheen to it, and a subtle silver metallic thread running through it, which is very hard to photograph. But trust me when I say you will not regret buying this fabric. It is a very classy classic!

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Let’s talk about the pattern. The pattern used is Vogue 1386, by Sandra Betzina. This dress couldn’t be simpler to sew. It has two pieces. That’s it. There are no zips or buttons, no sleeves to insert, and no darts to sew. It has a cowl neck to the front and a simple facing for the back neckline (which is stayed with seam tape; I also chose to stay tape the front cowl). There is a pattern piece included to sew a little bag which contains a weight to help the cowl neck drape properly:

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: close up of weight bag attached to front cowl

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: close up of weight bag attached to front cowl

The fabric behaved beautifully on my machine and overlocker alike. I sewed all the seams on my machine  first and then finished edges on my overlocker:

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: 3 thread wide overlock finish on seams

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: 3 thread wide overlock finish on seams

I finished hems on my overlocker then turned and stitched in place:

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: 3 thread wide overlock finish on hems then turned and stitched.

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: 3 thread wide overlock finish on hems then turned and stitched.

I cut the pattern pieces in a single layer in an attempt to pattern match. I think I could have done a bit better but I won’t lose sleep over it :-) I am not a Missoni expert (this is my first time sewing with it), so if there are any experts out there feel free to chime in, but this particular fabric had the stripes running parallel to the selvedge. So I cut the entire dress on the cross grain. Is all Missoni fabric made this way I wonder? Anyway, because I am only 5’3″ and shortened the pattern so much (see below), I was able to cut the pieces on the cross grain, but if you are taller you may struggle….

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

The pattern comes with pattern pieces to sew a self lined pull on slip, which I made using power mesh, again, from White Tree Fabrics. This slip is just brilliant, and although the bodice is slightly too long (I lengthened it; see below), it’s not going to stop me wearing this lots I suspect. It’s again so comfortable and lightweight and you really need the black underneath this fabric to bring out the richness of the colours.

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: power mesh slip

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: power mesh slip

Check out my pattern review below for full details of what alterations I made.

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

Tunic or dress (semi-fitted through bust) has weighted tab forming front neckline drape, and narrow hem. Close-fitting, self-lined slip has raised waist and unfinished hemline. All are pullover.

I made the dress from view B and the slip from view D.

Pattern Sizing:

Bust 32 – 55 inches and hips 34.5 – 57 inches.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes, but I shortened my version dramatically (I lost almost 10 inches off the bottom of the pattern!) and added a ribbon belt to the dress.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

The dress pattern has two pieces. That’s it. There are no zips or buttons, no sleeves to insert, and no darts to sew.I am very happy with the finished dress. I would advise checking the length before cutting out to save precious fabric. The slip pattern is also a brilliant basic pattern to have in your stash. It is fully self lined and very comfortable. It would also make a cute nightdress pattern.
Fabric Used:

A gorgeous Missoni knit lace fabric with a subtle silver thread running through it for the dress, and power mesh for the slip, both from White Tree Fabrics. The dress fabric was cut on the cross grain.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I stay taped the front cowl to avoid it stretching out over time (there is a small weight sewn to the front to aid drape; pattern piece included to stitch weight bag).

I shortened the dress and slip pattern pieces by 7 inches. Yes, this pattern is drafted for a giant! :-) I ended up removing a further 3 inches from the dress hem before hemming.

I did a 1 inch sway back adjustment to the dress and slip.

I added 1.5 inches to the front of the slip but also added this to the back. Too much. Not unwearably so, but next time I would reduce this.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Maybe and yes.

Conclusion:

I love my Missoni knit dress. I can see this being a wardrobe staple for me this autumn and moving forward in to winter it is the perfect layering piece too.

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

If you are interested in ordering this fabric (or any other) from White Tree Fabrics then you can get 20% off all purchases AND free delivery any time you feel like simply by quoting SEWMANJU.

Until soon, have a great week and enjoy what’s left of summer…..

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

FREE McCalls Pattern: Patchwork Teddy Bear

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern
Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Dear Readers,

I am having to do a lot of selfless sewing at the moment and I don’t like it!

Of course, how can I say no to make something special for an innocent new born baby, hmmm?

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

This pattern is FREE (yep, totally free), and I think the end result is pretty cute. Although, this is a fiddly project, made harder by the 1/4″ seam allowance. Be warned, there is also some amount of hand sewing involved (like the arms and the head to the body)!

That said, you could make this for either a girl or boy, personalised any way you wanted too, and it takes very little fabric.

I like it’s fat little bottom :-)

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

I embroidered (by machine), the name of the recipient on the bear’s foot: Raven (a girl, just in case anyone is wondering).

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

I embroidered (by hand), the face, because I was worried that if the baby did decide to play with it (it’s not really meant to be a toy!), she might pull off the suggested sewn on buttons or glued on nose.

This is a good pattern to have in your stash to make speedy baby gifts. My top tip would be don’t overstuff the legs, and make the seam allowances on the sides and the bottom of the body (where the legs join) larger: getting those legs in is very hard otherwise (but do able if you don’t mind swearing alot).

Back soon (hopefully) with the last of my summer sewing. Until then, have a great week.

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

 

Simplicity 2571: DIY Anna from Frozen Cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape
Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Hello Readers,

The love for Frozen still rumbles on in this household.

Here’s the inspiration:

Anna from Frozen

Anna from Frozen

Here’s my version:

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

I used view D from Simplicity 2571. If I had thought about it I would have rounded the corners off. The fabric is the same fabric I used to make my New Look 6097 wrap dress. I simply cut 2 back pieces; one lengthened to around 70 cm, and one shortened to around 30 cm, and treated them as one, sewing them to a shortened front piece. I didn’t interface the collar.

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Close up of the pom pom trim:

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

It’s all very rough and ready. I didn’t even finish any edges or hem it…but it’s a ponte knit…so what…and the important thing is that Kezia loves it.

About this pattern: I (or rather Kezia) have had my money’s worth out of it. Pre-blogging days I used view A to make her a wedding dress. This photo was taken in 2011…how fast they grow!

Simplicity 2571: wedding dress (2011)

Simplicity 2571: wedding dress (2011)

And this is her in 2012 wearing the red riding hood cape from view B. Off to take lunch to granny’s house through the woods!

Simplicity 2571: red riding hood cape (2012)

Simplicity 2571: red riding hood cape (2012)

One pattern. Many looks. So many happy childhood memories. These are the things which make sewing worthwhile.

Have a great Sunday and week ahead!

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

The Reasons That I Started to Sew and Sew for Myself Now

Next month (August), my local lifestyle magazine, Carlisle Living, is running a small feature article on me. The focus of the article is not just on my sewing and my blog (although that is a prominent part of the article), but on my life, career and education. I was asked to pick eight items that have a special meaning to me and explain what that meaning was. It was not that easy to find eight items, let me tell you!

Anyway, it may surprise you to know that quite a number of my friends/ acquaintances don’t actually know that I make my own clothes, or write a sewing blog. It will probably come as quite a surprise to lots of them….and now I am not even sure what I was doing agreeing to be featured! I would describe myself as a confident woman, but I don’t advertise the fact I make my own clothes to all and sundry. I figured that the timing of the article would be good as I am hoping to teach local sewing classes after the summer.

Lots of people don’t understand why I chose to make (most) of my own clothes. Initially, it was a creative outlet for me at a time when  I needed it. I was a new mum, back at part time work, and also studying a fairly intensive distance learning program for a diploma in medical toxicology. The sewing was a way for me to be creative and expressive.

After that it became something to fill the quiet (winter) nights. My husband works evenings and my daughter would be asleep by 7:30pm. Obviously I couldn’t leave the house, so I would go and sit in my sewing room near her bedroom and sew for a couple of hours in the evening with the TV on in the background for company.

But now it has become much more than that. I find sewing my own clothes very….empowering. I don’t have to fit in with the industry standards in terms of size. And that applies to all women whether you are petite or plus size….we don’t all just fit into the standard measurement models that the Ready to Wear Industry uses. I also enjoy the fact that my clothes are individual and perhaps have a special story or meaning behind them.

Another thing that people don’t understand is why I don’t sew clothes for other people or for money. Well, being perfectly honest with you, I just don’t enjoy it, and I don’t want to spend the spare time I have doing that. All us sewists understand the time it takes to make an item….something that non-sewists don’t perhaps appreciate. I enjoy making clothes for myself….any other sewing time is pretty much exclusively reserved for my husband and daughter.

And of course, now I have my blog, and through that I have “met” some amazing, supportive, talented people both virtually and in real life. That’s YOU, readers :-)

So, I bet you are wondering what the eight items I picked were? In short:

  1. A handmade quilt I made for Kezia when she was 2 years old
  2. My PhD thesis
  3. An oil painting of Pultney Bridge in Bath, the place where I had my first full time, permanent job after getting my PhD and which holds happy memories
  4. A book commemorating 75 years of OXO (yes, that’s right, the gravy granule cube), published about 25 years ago. Whilst I was at school I entered a competition to design a tin commemorating 75 years of the OXO brand, and I won a highly commended prize…part of which included this book
  5. A saree that I wore for my betrothal ceremony the night before I got married to Philip in India (10 years ago at the end of this year)
  6. A carved wooden box that was one of the last gifts my father gave me the year he died (in 1994)
  7. A photobook I made for one of our favourite ever family holidays to Kefalonia in Greece…beautiful, beautiful place
  8. The white eyelet dress that I made using fabric from Paris. I picked this one because everytime I wear this dress I am reminded of our trip to Paris and how magical it was for my daughter meeting Cinderella and seeing the princesses dance.

So, what were the reasons that you started sewing? And does everyone know that you sew or write a sewing blog? Or is it just me keeping secrets and being a dark horse (I admit I always have been one to keep my cards close to my chest)?

Until next time….

 

 

 

OOP McCalls 6291: DIY Cuffed Printed Patterned Summer Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers
McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Patterned Cuffed Trousers worn with Wallis Top

Hello Friends,

Here in the UK we are currently enjoying a fantastic hot summer. It makes me want to sew quick and easy items which are cool and breezy to wear.

I have had this pattern, (OOP) McCalls 6291, in my stash for a while. I decided to make them up in some patterned viscose (rayon) fabric. I saw lots of women in Barcelona wearing trousers just like this. They are so cool and comfortable to wear when the temperatures soar.

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

The pattern itself features double elastic casings at the waist and ankles, and front pleats, which I know can be unflattering on many women (myself included), but I think I got away with it because of the viscose fabric I used. I used my overlocker to finish all the inside seams.

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

Pull-on shorts A or pants B, C have front pleats, side pockets, separate waistband with double elastic casings, elastic leg casings, patch pockets and flaps with buttonhole closure; shorts A are upper thigh length; pants B are above ankle length, self-carriers with buttonhole closure, casing with elastic cording and purchased stopper, back patch pockets; pants C are ankle length with double elastic leg casings and back patch pockets.

I made view C (although I actually cut view B and added 3 inches).

Pattern Sizing:

XS – XXL

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

These are so easy to sew up. They are designed to be loose fitting, and as they have elastic at the waist, there was no need for any fitting (for me). Nothing to dislike really. You either like this style, or you don’t. They are incredibly comfortable and perfect in this drapey viscose for the hot weather we are currently enjoying.

Fabric Used:

A patterned viscose fabric.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Nothing aside from adding 3 inches of length.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Maybe and yes.

Conclusion:

You either love these or hate these I guess. I love them.

I know loose fitting trousers like this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. What do you think? Would you wear trousers like this? I wore them out for drinks with a girl friend last night and have worn them again today with flat sandals…I felt very comfortable and cool wearing them.

Until soon….

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6844: DIY Crochet Effect Knit Cardigan

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan
McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan worn with McCalls 6694 dress

Hi Friends,

A quick post for a super quick make: McCalls 6844…an extremely popular pattern from McCalls last year, and yes, a definite winner. So many potential fabrics and looks from this pattern.

I made a very lightweight, casual summer version using this crochet effect fabric supplied by Click Fabrics. This fabric might be a little scary to sew with initially. It is very soft and feels a little bit like you are trying to sew cotton wool. But it behaved brilliantly on both my machine and serger. I wore this outfit today to the cinema and it was perfect to keep the air conditioned chill at bay. It would also be the perfect weight cardigan to take travelling or on a plane, and this fabric is so lovely and soft it would be fabulous made into something special for a little person.

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

There’s not a great deal to say about this cardigan that hasn’t already been said. For my version I:

  • Did not interface the collar. I wanted to keep the feel soft and drapey.
  • Cut a single layer for all pieces to match the stripes.
  • Did a 1 inch sway back adjustment.
  • Shortened the sleeves by 4.5 inches.
  • Cut view A but levelled the hem off.
McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

Oh, yes, I have to mention the bag (because I LOVE it). It is this one from LK Bennett. The gold option (the one I have) is sold out, but there are some other gorgeous colours left. It is the perfect summer bag (for me), but what I love about it is that I can zip the sides up and completely change the shape when I get bored with it.

 

So that’s it for today. Back soon with my first pair of trousers!! Until then, happy sewing.

 

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

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