Tuesday, 19 August 2014

There's a story behind this dress...

Way back before Easter, I spotted a dress in River Island that I really, really loved but couldn't justfy buying at the time.  How do I know it was before easter?  Because for easter my parents said they would get me the dress (I don't do easter eggs, hence the small gift instead).  However when we went to get the dress, we couldn't find it in my size anywhere.  Not one local store, not on the River Island website or ASOS.  So instead they gave me some money to find another dress that I would like.

 I never gave up hope on that dress.  But I couldn't find it anywhere.  Then some months passed and I happened to be in Remnant Kings having a nosey.  And I found this fabric.  In my head it was the same fabric.  And it was only £1.99/m, so I bought 3 metres knowing I would get something out of it.  Still doubting that it was the same fabric, I made a Roxanne tunic and wore it in to town one day.  That day we went in to River Island for a look at their sale and I found the dress I had wanted, in my size.  And it was the same fabric. Photographic evidence:
I headed straight from their to Remnant Kings and bought another few metres.  I was making the dress I couldn't buy.
I used Colette's Laurel as a base pattern, pivoting the hem slightly and taking the neck in.  For sleeve I again used the Ava sleeve pattern.  Other than that construction went as detailed in the pattern.  And I was soo happy that I finally had my dress.
Having enough left over from these two makes, I made a simple cami and used the other remaining pieces as lining for the next make I'll be sharing with ya!

The Facts
Pattern: Colette Laurel
Size Cut: 16
Fabric: Poly georgette from Remnant Kings 
 Notions: None
Alterations: pivoted hem out to add a little swing
Wearability: 8/10

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Friday, 15 August 2014

Liberty Love #2

Well it's time for the second of my Liberty Love posts.  This time, something a little more unusual for me, a blouse.  This past year or so I've been loving shirt style blouses.  You know with a proper collar that I can wear under jumpers (sweaters?) with the collar and tails showing and a statement necklace to finish it off.  Knowing that I was liking that look, I started to look at patterns that were more along these lines.  Kind of in line with my last post about making things that I would buy in the shops.
I picked up this pattern whilst I was on holiday In Joann's as they had them at like $4.99 each (truth be told I totally stocked up!).  I had initially intended to make it up in a plain like the pattern shows but I had just bought this Liberty Print in sale at work and thought that it would be good for a trial version.  And it worked out pretty well.
The Liberty print is from last years Autumn collection and named Solsteur.  I bought some of the silk of this print in the blue colourway last winter and made some simple tee's with it.  When this lawn arrived in the shop I knew I had to get some of it.  It's a very un-me colour choice but there was something about it I couldn't resist.
The pattern is Vogue V1387, which was fairly straight forward in construction.  It has a front binding placket that is used for the snap fasteners (instead of buttons, a design feature I really liked about this pattern) and pleated shoulder detailing.  When (not if) I make this top again, I'm going to use something a bit drapey-ier in order to get the full effect of the pleating.  I also like the shaped yoke detail that accommodates the pleating, it's the kind of detail that sets Vogue patterns apart from the others.  I think its a pretty good basic blouse pattern and it doesn't have the fussiness of a collar insertion or tiny buttonhole making.
All in I'm pleased with this make and know that it'll go in to good rotation in my wardrobe.  When I was looking the pics before uploading them I realised that it's a good length on me, most of the time I'm complaining that something is too short so that's a welcome thought!  I'm going to search my stash for a plain to make it up in next...

The Facts
Pattern: Vogue 1387
Size Cut: 20 with no alterations
Fabric: 1.5m Solsteur Liberty Tana Lawn
Notions: snap fasteners
Alterations: none really, changed the sleeve to my new go to cap sleeve from the Ava pattern
Notes: Probably best made in a plain rather than print and something with more fluidity to show off the pleats.
Wearability: 7/10

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Saturday, 9 August 2014

Fashion vs Fabric

I can't believe that it's been almost a month since my last post!  I'm not even sure where that time has gone!  But it's not been all lost time, I've been sewing up lots and lots but have had hardly any time to stop and take decent photos of what I've made.  So this post isn't about a make but rather a thought I've been having lately.  About why I choose what to sew and how I go about making it happen.  You see there are two sides to this story;
1. Fashion Student Hazel
Fashion student Hazel has great fashion ideals.  She knows how she would like to dress and how to go about it.  But she also knows that she's not the same dress size as the girls she sees wearing these things.  But that doesn't stop her, she attempts to interpret these looks and make them confortable for her everyday.  
She's inspired by these kind of fashion images: 
  2. Fabric Shop Assistant Hazel
 Now this Hazel has totally different ideas.  Show her some colour and an awesome print and she's all over it.  There's nothing wrong with colour and print, but it's just not what Fashion Student Hazel deems suitable for everyday where.  This means that a lot of the fabrics she buys become relegated to her stash or made into something that's worn only a few times and relegated to the back of her wardrobe.  And yet she keeps buying such prints and colours.
I've been trying to combine these two Hazels.  Mixing prints and plains so that I can love both equally and make them work together.  But what keeps bugging me is that some of the items I make, aren't garments I would get excited about seeing in stores.  So I'm trying to make a change and sew things that I know I'd definitely pick up if I seen it in a shop.  It's a difficult transition but I'm getting there.  My last few fabric purchases have been far more conservative: plain navy crepe, grey jersey and some cashmere/wool mix.
The only difficulty I'm finding now is patterns to match my fashion ideas.  The big names have some gems that appear every so often and I have some great patterns in my stash, but they aren't consistently fashion focussed.  The more fashionable indie patterns are great, but aren't always available in my size or are 'over-done' that I loose my want to sew them after seeing so many versions online that I'm overwhelmed.
That's where I'm at with my sewing plans for this side of the year.  Since I've been thinking this way, I've made items I know that will fit effortlessly into how I want to dress and I'm hoping it continues.  Has anyone ever else felt this way about the garments they make vs. what they buy?  Please tell me I'm not alone in this thinking!
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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Liberty Love

Let's be honest guys, I've never been shy about my love of Liberty of London print fabric.  There's been many a project featured here that's been made of the glorious Tana Lawn they make and few other fibres in between!  
Saiph Tunic
Gertie Dress
Gathered waist skirt
Peplum top
(as well as a ton of unblogged older makes!)
I joked a month or so ago that if I could sew exclusively in Liberty print (my budget doesn't agree) that I would.  It seems since I said this that I've made it my life mission to do so.
You see, my work has always sold Liberty prints.  And I've always been obsessed with them.  Even before I was a sew-er, I always visited the haberdashery in the London store.  Back in April you may have seen that I even got to go a buying trip to their warehouse (cue kid in a sweetie shop moment) and when these arrived in store I could not contain myself or my excitement!  Then they went in our summer sale at 20% off.  Yes folks, £12.59m for my beloved Liberty of London prints.  In Tana Lawn, Lantana Wool, cotton & viscose jersey, sweatshirting, crepe cotton, silks, cords and even some cotton canvas.  We seriously got in such an amazing selection.  And I went seriously crazy with my purchasing (and there are still more on my wishlist!)!  I bought:
Not only did I buy these from work, I was recently down in London and bought two silks on Goldhawk Road for £12.50m!  How can a girl resist?
It's getting beyond a joke now.  But at least I'm making things with them!  Including this great wee summer top.  I traced round one of my favourite camisoles and have used this a pattern a few times now.  I cropped the length and added the gathered skirt hem.  And used only 1m of fabric!  WIN.
The rest of them you'll just have to patiently wait and see what I've made with them, cause they're all sewn, just not all worn yet!
Are there any fabric companies that you all swear by?  I know we all love Liberty, but is there another brand out there I should know about and diversify to?

The Facts
Pattern: none, traced from existing top
Size Cut: none
Fabric: Liberty Silk from Classic Textile, Goldhawk Road
Notions: none, just some self bias
Alterations: changed to drop frill hem!
Notes: maybe take in a little as it's a bit baggy at waist
Wearability: 9/10

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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Organising my stash!

Lately my stash has been getting a little bit out of control.  I have a daily joke with customer about this in work and even although it seems like I'm kidding, I'm really not.  I'm pretty sure I have a problem but instead of going on a stash diet or promising to not buy anything new (I work in a fabric shop, that's never going to happen) I've decided to get organised and from now on only buy fabrics that are too good to pass or that I know what I'm going to do with.
So how am I getting organised?  Well, a little while after I first started sewing, my dad built me shelves underneath where my sewing machine was living at the time.  These shelves are now over-run with scraps of fabrics and UFO's (although I'm pretty good at not collecting UFO's and bin them on a regualr basis if I really don't see them going anywhere).  I'm starting here and getting rid of, either by binning/donating/sharing these random bits of fabric.  With the pieces I am keeping, they're moving to under my new(ish) desk.  It's got shelving built in to it at one end perfect for fabric storing.  So my to use fabric stash now looks like this.
I've rolled the fabrics to help reduce creasing and permanent lines.  This is a tip I picked up years ago for traveling, apparently if you roll garments to go in your case, not only are they less likely to crease, they take up less room!  This also helps fool me into thinking I have less fabric than I actually do!
I've also started labeling my fabrics.  I done this prior to going on holiday so I would know what I had and didn't have.  Each fabric is wrapped with parcel string and has a travel label with the type, name, price, yardage, where and when it was bought.  Hopefully this will keep me on track or shame me in the future!  Once each piece is labelled, I've noted it down in a notebook which I can easily refer to.
You might have noticed over at the Coletterie that they shared a similar way of labeling fabrics.  There's even a downloadable swatch card that you can use!  I'm sticking with my way just now (I had it in place prior to that post) but it's a great resource for anyone who wants to start getting a bit more organised!
Hopefully this will make life a little easier, but who know, with my fabric addiction, anything could happen!

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