No, I am not entering a Chris Evans look-alike contest (British reference there). Today’s post features fabric kindly sent to me by Spoonflower. I am sure many of you have already heard of the eco-friendly custom printing firm. About 1.5 years ago they opened a second factory in Berlin, and to celebrate they asked a few British bloggers to be part of a Blog Tour, and make items using Spoonflower fabric. You can see the list of bloggers here on the Spoonflower Blog. The fabric I have used in this post was sent to me for no charge by Spoonflower, but all opinions are my own.
I have never ordered fabric from Spoonflower before. The choice of already uploaded designs on the Spoonflower website is vast (of course the option is also there to upload your own design), and somewhat overwhelming. I searched using key words of prints I have a passion for (like dark florals), and elected to go for Jungle Passion Floral Navy by Joan McLemore, printed on to the lightweight cotton twill (58″ width).
Because of my own indecision, Spoonflower ended up sending me this fabric in two separate lengths but I was not able to detect any differences in the colours between the two lengths. I think the colours are a pretty good match to what was shown on screen when I was making my selection. I also liked the fact that, at least for the design I selected, previews were provided of the fabric made up into a cushion and a dress, so I could guage the scale of the print.
I did run the fabrics through a hot (60 degree) pre-wash before cutting out and did not notice any running, bleeding or fading. This particular fabric was easy to cut, sew and press. It’s a good weight without being too heavy and bulky. Full disclosure: will I ever wear these two pieces together? Probably not, but as separates in my wardrobe I love them and how individual and quirky they are. I already have lots of things which these items will go with.
The trousers were made using Butterick 6331. This is actually my third iteration of these pants (I haven’t shown you version two yet), but you can see my first version here. For this version I took on board what some of you said in the comments and scooped out the back crotch by 0.25 inches and added 0.5 inches to the upper back thigh. I know it’s hard to see in this busy print but overall I think it’s better. Other changes for this version:
- I fully interfaced the waistband.
- I had to let the side seams out a touch from the waist down to the bottom of the pockets.
- I hemmed the bottoms by hand.
- These are trousers but with some jeans details like additional topstitching, jeans button and bar tacks.
The blazer was made using Simplicity 2446, which I first made in wool ponte. I do love my first version, and since going back to work, have worn it a few times. But the shoulders are too big (although I did go back and alter them to be smaller). So for this version I made sure to do a small shoulder adjustment.
- I did a 5/8ths inch small shoulder adjustment.
- I shaved 0.25 inches off all the shoulder princess seams above the bust.
- I added a centre back seam for shaping.
- I shortened the pocket bag length by 1.5 inches.
- I added small ready made shoulder pads but omitted sleeve heads and chest reinforcement.
- You can see a picture of the internal interfacing here on Instagram if you want.
My previous two blazers have taken me approx. 3 weeks each to make: I slaved over this blazer to get it done in a week! Gosh it was tough but overall I am pretty happy with the finished result.
Like I say, being honest, I don’t think I would be brave enough to go full on head to toe pattern, but as individual pieces I think these are going to get worn lots. I am also very proud of how far I have come on with my sewing techniques tackling things like the welt pockets and sleeve vents and even the trouser fitting and sewing.
Happy sewing everyone!
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:
- A handmade quilt I made for Kezia when she was 2 years old
- My PhD thesis
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- A carved wooden box that was one of the last gifts my father gave me the year he died (in 1994)
- A photobook I made for one of our favourite ever family holidays to Kefalonia in Greece…beautiful, beautiful place
- 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….