Friday, 21 March 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 - Victory Patterns Ava Top

I'm sure by now you've all heard of this wonderful new concept by the lovely Jill and Rachael.  I was delighted to get an email from them a few weeks ago asking me to get involved and help them launch their amazing idea: Perfect Pattern Parcel.  In case you've been living under a rock, here's the details from the girls themselves:
About PPP:
Put together two entrepreneurial makers driven by their internal voices and one self-taught hacker with an "if you build it, they will come" mentality, and Perfect Pattern Parcel was born. We are passionate about supporting independent designers in their craft and fostering a community of makers to grow. Our mission is to offer high-quality pdf sewing patterns written by indie designers while supporting children's education.

About Donors Choose:
Donors Choose is an organization that matches up the needs of teachers and their students for specific projects with willing donors. The funds raised from each Pattern Parcel sale will go to help K-12 students in minimizing educational inequality and encourage a community where children have the tools and experiences necessary for an excellent education.

About Parcel #1:
Pattern Parcel #1 includes sewing patterns for women that are modern classics, featuring both flattering silhouettes and garments that are comfortable to wear. From a new little black dress to weekend play wear, the patterns in Parcel #1 have got you covered.

Support Indie Designers
Independent designers create patterns that are innovative, imaginative and in line with current style trends. Their patterns encompass a broad range of sizes and fabulous “out of the envelope” fit because they're thoroughly tested by real people. With detailed and well-explained instructions, these patterns often teach as you sew. Independent designers are approachable, providing support, suggestions, publishing additions to your favorite designs, and hosting interactive sewing events. When we are patrons of indie designers, we are supporting small, mostly women owned, businesses. We are developing the community around us. We are helping to making dream come true.

All I'll add, is that this a totally phenomenal idea and perfect for beginner sewers who can get a little overwhelmed by the choice of patterns available out there!  I know some of you guys are at that stage and I would encourage you to check this out and treat yourself to this first bundle.  The patterns included are:
Accordion Bag by Sew Sweetness  
Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY 
Ava by Victory Patterns 
The Skater Dress by Kitschycoo 
Dandelion Dress & Top by Disparate Disciplines  
  Such an amazing list!  I wanted to try two or three of them, but due to that whole dissertation thing, I could only squeeze in the time to make one and I chose the Victory Patterns Ava, top version.
I'd been wanting to make this for a while and this gave me the excuse to.  And it truly is a great pattern.  I think my only problem was my fabric choice.  It's a silk effect poly chiffon from work and was a bargain at £4.99/m.  I only needed 1.2m plus the poly for the yoke and underlining.  Now it looks good, but the underlining added extra hassle for me which I could have done without.  And also using it for the yoke was stupid as it's a bit thin.  But I am so pleased with how it turned out!
So have I convinced you yet that you should go buy this first Perfect Pattern Parcel?  Well today is the last day you'll get the chance to do so!  So head on over NOW and get your hands on it!  The last part?  There's no set cost for this, you suggest a donation from the list provided in order to support the charity and designers involved with each one.  Who doesn't love that idea?
Oh and don't forget to check out the full list of bloggers involved in launching this:
  One Little Minute 
 SeamstressErin Designs  
One Girl Circus 
casa crafty  
the quirky peach 
Sew Caroline 
Fishsticks Designs 
the Brodrick blog 
sew a straight line 
Adventures in Dressmaking 
true bias 
Idle Fancy 
 La Pantigana 
Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts 
 Max California 
la inglesita 
Diary of a Chainstitcher 
four square walls 
Lauren Dahl 
mingo & grace 
Dandelion Drift 
Sanae Ishida  
Sew Jereli 
Froo & Boo  
a happy stitch
  Disaster in a Dress
  Things for Boys  
mama says sew 
sew Amy sew  
Sew Busy Lizzy 
Made With Moxie 
imagine gnats

Not only have the girls organised this amazing blog tour, but they've also come up with an amazing giveaway to celebrate!  Seriously, how awesome are they?! Click here to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Facts
Pattern: Ava Top by Victory Patterns, as included in Perfect Pattern Parcel #1
Size Cut: 16
Fabric: 1.2m tartan chiffon and 2m poly both from work
Notions: none
Alterations: none
Notes: better fabric next time!
Wearability: 8/10

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

More outerwear! Republique du Chiffon's Gerard Coat

Oh my goodness guys!  I'm riding on such a high from my last post.  Y'all are soo lovely and your comments were just wonderful!  I loved seeing comment notifications pop up in my inbox and reading what you had to say!  Thank you all soo much XD

Now, this piece of outerwear I completed in January but just kind of forgot to take photos of and actually blog.  It's the awesome Republique du Chiffon Gerard Coat!  When I bought my version it was in French only, however by the time I got round to making it, English instructions had been released and I emailled and was sent these by .  But to be honest, it's such a straight forward make that if you bought the wrong version you'd be fine!
I toyed and toyed with which fabric to use for this pattern and I hadn't really seen anything in work that was jumping out at me so I figured I'd wait for the sale and find one I kinda liked and just go with that.  Then after Christmas, I was browsing online and found this beaut from Ditto Fabrics.  I fell in love and ordered 1.8m.  Which was squeezing things but I was working on a budget!
With some creative cutting out, I managed to get my coat all cut out.  And patterned matched the front which was a pure fluke (is that an international term or just local for us?!)  I tried with the pockets and think it worked ok but I'm pleased with them anyway.  Buttons wise, I used these metal ones from my stash and thought about bound button holes but decided against it.
I used a piece of cotton from my stash to line the jacket but left the sleeves unlined as I had no anti-static to line them with and the cotton I used was a bit rough.  I need to line them at somepoint but I've been scrunching them up so it's all right without just now.
Finally, I topstitched around the collar/front with topstitching thread.  It seems I like my topstitching eh? Ha!
I really do like this coat, it's not quite the same as my biker and the pride I felt with that.  But it's unusual and super comfy and warm and I'm sure I'll get loads of wear out of it over spring!
After I made this coat, I found these street style images online, the fabric and shape sure looks similar!  Clearly I'm a fashion student, who likes to pretend they're on trend!
Has anyone else been tackling outerwear this season?  I've seen a few of these popping up around the blogs the last couple of weeks :)

The Facts
Pattern:  Republique du Chiffon Gerard Coat
Size Cut: XL and added a little room to the back
Fabric: 1.8m Italian Wool Mix for Ditto Fabrics Online and stash cotton lining
Notions: Buttons from stash
Alterations: Added a little room to the back, shortened sleeves
Notes: Would like to make again in a plain, darker colour, maybe this winter?
Wearability: 8/10

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Friday, 7 March 2014

Kwik Sew 3764 - Mint. Green. Biker. Jacket.

Do I really need to say any more, or should I just leave it to the photos?
 Just kidding, of course you weren't gonna get a wordless post! Let me tell you how this came about.  We got this beautiful Mint Green wool in work a few weeks ago and I fell in love with it.  I knew I had to have it and made something amazing from it.  My initial thoughts had been to make Republique du Chiffon's Gerard Coat (as I made a successful, yet to be blogged, tartan version) but then I saw this Gant advert.
My mind was made, I was making a biker jacket.  Now I've got a bit of a biker obsession.  A couple years ago I got a wool/leatherette DKNY one for a bargain in Canada, then I bought another one (this time tweed and leatherette) and then for my birthday last year my parents bought me a biker coat which I adore.  So clearly I needed a spring/summer one!
I got to work on finding a pattern, and let's be honest biker jacket patterns are few and far between, but I found Kwik Sew 3764 and promptly bought it.  This pattern and my 2m of wool and I was good to go!
If you read my last post, you'll know how I feel about it.  Start to finish it probably took me about 10 hours to complete, which ain't too bad.  But I am incredibly proud of this make and have been loving wearing it and having people ask where I bought it!  I think the main reason why no-one believes me that I made it, is because I put so much effort into the top-stitching.  Every seam is top-stitched down as well as round the collar.
I got a bit snap happy with this project too, hammering my snaps in at like 10pm when I was on a roll!  I was totally surprised by how straight forward these were to do!  I even went as far to make the ones on the epaulettes functional (although I don't know what epaulettes do! ha)
As for lining, I used a floral printed cotton, also from work.  I always say that the insides of your garment should be as interesting as the outside, and I definitely done that here.  I made the welt, zip pockets in the same fabric and I love that the touch of colour peeks when the pocket is open.
I really do love this jacket.  It's comfy, cosy and pretty on trend for Spring/Summer 2014.  I've already had requests from friends to go into production of these, maybe with enough encouragement, I just might! 

The Facts
Pattern: Kwik Sew 3764
Size Cut: XL
Fabric: 2m wool from Mandors and 1.5m cotton for lining, also from Mandors
Notions: 3x metal zips, snap fasteners and thread
Alterations: Took in side seams from wrist to waist approximately 1.5" on each side.  Used outer pieces to cut lining to fully line jacket.
Notes: Next time go easier on the snaps and consider putting the zips in the sleeves (if I make it again!)
Wearability: 10/10

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Friday, 28 February 2014

The joy of sewing

This is a bit of an impromptu post.  Y'know how sometimes when you're sewing and you get something into you head and you just can't seem to get rid if it?  Well this post is the result of that today.
As of this year I'll have been sewing properly for 4 years.  In that time, I've gone from complete novice to somewhat confident and would consider myself to be an intermediate sew-er.  My sewing story can be read here, if you're interested, but that's not what I want to write about today.  What I want to talk about is (as my title suggests) the joy one gets from a finished sewing project.
Now most of the sewing I do these days is done fairly quickly and done mostly because that's how I want to get new garments.  This sometimes means that some projects are completed just to be completed and often to get them 'out the way' so I can start on the next.  But back when I started sewing, this was never the case.  I took my time with each project and although my initial garments were never perfect or finished with the same ability I have now, I was soo proud to have completed each one.  I took pride in wearing them and I told anyone who would listen that I had made it.  Don't get me started on how I felt when someone asked me where I got something I had made.  It was always such a great feeling completing something that I had made.  But then as I got 'better' at sewing I stopped seeing each garment as an achievement.  Gone were the days when I would run downstairs having made something to show whoever was in the house and the need to wear said garment the next day (yes even if it was totally non-daytime appropriate).
Yesterday I started a new project.  A project that I hadn't really planned but sort of just came about.  We'd got the fabric I used (a beautiful, soft, mint green wool) in work a few weeks ago and I knew I wanted to make some form of outerwear with it.  My initial plans quickly changed and I decided I wanted to re-make my favourite jacket (a biker) having seen a pastel one online somewhere.  I got all the right notions (metals zips x3 and hammer-in snap fasteners), the right pattern (Kwik Sew 3764) and I got to work.
The pattern required many different techniques, like zip, welt pockets, epaulettes, those hammer in snaps, open end zips, hand-stitching and I decided to fully line the jacket.  It was quite an involved project, so I took my time and treated it like one of those initial projects where I took time and care with each step.  And it felt like those early days again!  When I stitched the final hem in place, I genuinely felt such joy at completing my jacket.  I couldn't wait to wear it (and I did for a quick run to Tesco) and show it to anyone who would want to see it!

It felt really good to have that completion joy again.  And it's made me want to continue making projects like this.  I don't know everyone else's thoughts on this or if I'm alone in finding myself treating projects this way.  What are your thoughts on this?  :)

p.s. I'll be blogging the jacket soon, I still have a few projects to blog first though!

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Monday, 24 February 2014

Easy Jersey T-Dress Tutorial

As I promised, here's the tutorial for the easy jersey t-dress I posted the other day!
First a little bit of background, I never used to be a great fan of making things from jersey. Considering on the highstreet it’s the foundation of you’re basic wardrobe, I always rationalised that it was cheaper to buy than to make. Now, as someone who works in a fabric shop and encourages people to go ahead and try things, I really shouldn’t be admitting that on our blog. But then we got a massive delivery of John Kaldor prints, most of which were jersey, and I couldn’t resist treating myself to a few of those! It took me a while to work out what exactly I was going to do with them and then I wore one of my favourite, simple jersey dresses and knew that what it had to be! And so I came up with this easy way to re-create it!

2m (approx) jersey with a reasonable amount of stretch in in
 1m of ½” elastic
Measuring tape A jersey t-shirt that fits you comfortably
 How to:

 1. Using your existing t-shirt, lay it on top of your jersey meterage, draw around the neckline and sides to about 6” below the sleeve and move the sleeves out the way and draw around the line there too.

 2. place a pin through the t-shirt into your jersey at the lowest point of the front neckline and mark this point. Draw a curved line, roughly the same shape as the neckline from the shoulder to the pin.

3. Cut out what you’ve drawn above, remembering to cut through only one layer when cutting the front neckline.

 4. Measure from above your waist to where you’d like the skirt to fall and use this for the length of the skirt; use the width of the fabric by this and cut out. (if fabric is 45” wide, you may want to do this twice to allow for fullness)

5. Sew the shoulder seams together.

6. Take the bodice pieces and lay them flat with the shoulder seam open and trace around the curved line. The will be the sleeve head. Graducally grade these out towards the edge of the sleeve. Next, draw a straight line from this point (on both ends) to the length you’d like the sleeve to be and join these two lines together.

7. Cut out your sleeves and attach to the bodice pieces, easing the curved edges together. This is known as a flat sleeve insertation.

8. Sew the undersleeve/bodice side seams, this is you finished with the bodice construction.

 9. Finish the neckline and sleeves in your usual way, I’ve used bias on the neckline (there’s a tutorial for that method here) and simply hemmed the sleeves.

10. For the skirt, we firstly need to gather it. Normally this would be done with gathering stitches, however, these don’t work well on jersey. Instead, cut your elastic to your waist measurement (where the bodice will meet the skirt) minus a couple of centimetres.

11. Pin the end of the elastic to one end of the fabric width and stretch the elastic along the full width, parallel to the width edge. Doubly, doubly pin this so the next part is a little easier.

12. Sew the elastic in place, stretching elastic to fill the gaps as you go along. Use a wide stretch stitch for this to ensure to catch the elastic and take your time doing do.

 13. Stitch the edges of the skirt together.

14. Now it’s time to attach the skirt to the bodice. It should be a rough match, size wise, however, the skirt may require some stretching to meet the size of the bodice.

15. Make sure there is no exposed elastic or stitches and then finally hem to bottom edge. Some people recommend leaving jersey overnight hanging up to allow the hem to ‘fall’ meaning that the jersey won’t stretch out of shape once worn, however it can often be ok to miss this out if you’re eager to finish your project!

And that’s it. A simple dress that only takes a short time to make but is very comfortable and easy to wear! I’ve already made two of these dresses and can see more in my future! Let me know if you try this out and I can maybe do a little link-y post?

Happy Sewing :)
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