Liberty Plantain

I made this aaaaages ago (like, 11 months ago) and have worn it a lot – it has remained unblogged til now for no apparent reason. It only needs a quick post!

I bought this gorgeous Liberty jersey for £8/m in Oxford Gloucester Green market back in the summer of 2015. (Unfortunately I’ve heard that the “Liberty man” hasn’t been there for ages! I hope he hasn’t disappeared altogether!) It sat for several months before I eventually cut it into a plain and simple Deer & Doe Plantain top. [By the way, it’s a free pattern!] I had 1m of the fabric and managed to get the short-sleeved top out of it no problem. Bargain!

liberty plantain

I’ve made one other Plantain and really like the fit and style – so easy to wear, and not too low on the neck. So it was an easy sew for me.

However there was one difference – I made this with my overlocker; the first garment I sewed on it (besides finishing seams only). It was so fast! Fast forward 11 months to now and I LOVE my overlocker. I’ve sewn so much on it. And it’s even a breeze to thread!😀

liberty plantain

I also used a twin needle to sew the hems and keep the seam allowance down around the neckline. So neat!

liberty plantain

Hmm, what else do I have in my stash for another Plantain… isn’t it great making the same pattern more than once? My least favourite part of dressmaking is probably tracing patterns so it’s nice to sew the same pattern when it’s all sorted fit-wise!

Hope you’re all well and getting ready for the big C. Including Stitching Santa if you’re involved like me!😉

Beth x

Refashion: Men’s Shirt to Toddler Dress

In November I’m running a course called Upcycle: Sustainable Fashion; it’s all about refashioning textiles into something new. So recently I’ve been sewing up some ideas to bring with me. Here’s one!
A men’s shirt – which most people have lying around – to a girl’s dress.
My inspiration hunt began at Pinterest, and I found a nice tutorial so I actually just used that instead of my own brain… here’s the link to it!

I began with a lovely lilac shirt – not too masculine!

shirt to dress refashion

As per the tutorial and using a dress that fits Little A as a guide, I chopped the shirt up as shown in the photo below, unpicking the chest pocket also. I discarded the rectangle in the middle and the shoulders pieces, and only kept the upper part of the sleeve.

shirt to dress refashion

This is where my in-progress photos ended; but I basically followed the tutorial linked above. It took about an hour in total.

Here’s the finished dress!

shirt to dress refashion

Cute or what?!

Having used this as a practice-run, I then made a dress out of a little girl’s Dad’s old military shirt, as a commission. This is before…

shirt to dress refashion

I made it in a very similar way – I just also had to move some of the Velcro, unpick the zip that was in the way, and unpick the pockets on the sleeves. It was fun! And everyone apparently loved it!

shirt to dress refashion

shirt to dress refashion

Let me know if you have made or do go on to make something similar!

Beth x

 

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse *Tutorial*

I fell in love with this pattern the first time I saw it. I have a soft spot for peter pan collars! And I’m happy to say I also love the finished garment now I’ve sewn one up!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

It has a beautiful slightly large peter pan collar, slightly capped sleeves, and buttons down the back. There aren’t any darts to get flummoxed over; it’s quite a straightforward pattern. With this tutorial we’ll have you sewing one up for yourself in no time!

simple-sew-peter-pan-blouse-tutorial

I made a size 8, and needed less than 1m of fabric (Liberty cotton lawn, which I recommend due to the lovely drape).

First off, trace and cut your pattern pieces; there are just three! (Yes, I took a gamble and cut down to a size 8; I actually NEVER usually cut patterns but I was too excited!!)

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

With your fabric on the fold, cut your pieces as follows: top front cut one on the fold, top back cut two, collar cut four. (I cut two collar pieces, then removed the collar piece; pinned and cut two more).

Iron interfacing on to the wrong sides of two collar pieces (these will be on the reverse/underside of the collar). Pick an interfacing that is the same or lighter weight than your fabric (I used a lightweight one).

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

With right sides together, sew around the outside edges of each pair of collar pieces with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving the inner curve open. Clip and trim the edges; or cheat and use pinking shears!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Turn right side out and give each piece a really good press, rolling the seams slightly to the underside (which is the interfaced side). Set these aside.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Sew your top pieces together at the shoulders (two back pieces to the shoulders of the front piece) right sides together, with a 1cm seam allowance. Finish these seams in your desired way (I overcast them) and press either open or towards the back.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Lay the top right side up. Mark the centre front of the top. Place the collar pieces right side up (interfaced sides down) on top, matching raw edges. You want the collar to meet in the middle and slightly overlap about 1cm; this is so that when you sew the collar to the top with your 1cm seam allowance the collar will meet exactly in the middle – without crossing over and without having too much or a gap.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Pin in place and tack.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Sew the back pieces to the front piece at the sides. (With right sides together, so straight down with a 1cm seam allowance. Finish the seams in your desired way.)

Now you’re going to hem the sides of the back pieces. Fold and press over 5mm, then to the notch (20mm). Sew close to the inner folded edge.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Hem the bottom of the top (you can do this last but I just did it at this point as the fabric was fraying!) Turn the hem up 5mm then 1cm and sew close to the inner fold.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Now, bias binding. Make some or buy some! I made some 1” wide single fold (you could go smaller). In hindsight I should have made it in the same fabric, but I didn’t want to cut diagonally into it and waste it!!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Sew bias binding round the neckline, using a 1cm seam allowance, right sides together.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

When you get to the ends, tuck the ends of the bias binding in to create neat ends – and sew right to the edge.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Trim the curves, and cut notches. Or cheat and use pinking shears like me.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Flip the bias binding to the wrong side of the top, keeping the other edge of it folded. Sew close to that fold. This hides entire bias binding underneath the top. You could sew it so that it shows around the edge; like I did with the armholes. It’s personal preference.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Sew bias binding to the armholes in a similar way. Leave a gap of a few inches and a few inches of bias binding either side, so that you can join it in the middle. It’s really difficult for me to describe how to do this in text – if you need any help with bias binding there are some good videos on YouTube!!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Now, I tried to sew this bias binding the same way as I did the neckline but it didn’t work; it would have created too many puckers. So I sewed it so that the bias binding was folded a further time, then I handstitched it in place on the inside. This is where I wanted bias binding of the same fabric as the white doesn’t work very well… oh well, it could be worse!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Now on to the buttonholes. Mark these on to the left side of the back piece – starting 5mm from the top, and 1” in. Mark them every 10cm. Sew the buttonholes with your machine.

Use a pen or pin to mark through the centre of each buttonhole; this will be where you sew your buttons.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Sew your buttons on. I used some vintage buttons I’ve had stashed for far too long. They’re mismatched but I love them!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Give it all a good press… and that’s it!!

Any questions, do ask.

Now here are a few more photos of my blouse. It’s sooo comfy, I really do love it.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse
Beth x

 

GBBS Asymmetric Skirt

Do you remember that skirt made from a tricky Japanese pattern in the last series of the Great British Sewing Bee?

This one:

Sewing-Bee-Semi-Final-2016

They all look really happy there, don’t they?

Well the pattern is in the new book, ‘From Stitch to Style’. I crazily told my dressmaking class that I will make the skirt. So I did…

gbsb asymmetric skirt

I made it in a scuba type fabric that I picked up in my most local fabric shop for an unbelievable 30p per metre (“because we don’t know what it is”). I used some of it to make a Coco dress, and now there’s this. I have a little more that I can probably use to make something for a child! It’s brilliant because it’s nice and swishy, a knit of course so doesn’t fray which is essential for this project, and it was so cheap that I wouldn’t be upset if I messed it up!

And the skirt wasn’t as difficult to make as you’d think. I survived! There are perhaps a few small things that Patrick and Esme would pick up on, but overall I’m 90% happy with it.

The cutting out was the most time-consuming part. Because you have to cut every piece (of which there are 6) individually, and really carefully because those raw edges are on show – and you must mark the notches carefully too as they have to meet up.

gbsb asymmetric skirt

I cut out the pieces then got busy so left it on the side for two and a half weeks; but if you can’t sew for yourself on Bank Holiday Monday, when can you? So I sewed it up in the afternoon.

Have you made anything out of the new book yet? I found the instructions to be good; in the past the Sewing Bee books haven’t always been too great but I had no issues with this one.

The biggest annoyance is in this photo…

gbsb asymmetric skirt

Yeah, the lines don’t match up across the seam. Quite frankly at that point I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to go back and redo it all. It’ll do. The skirt took some patience, a lot of tacking and careful sewing, so by the end I’d had enough!

To finish the “waistband” you sew grosgrain ribbon to the top of the skirt and flip it to the inside. Ahhh, I rummaged through my ribbons and the widest I had was this bright green! I had exactly the right amount, so that was to be it! As it’s on the inside, you can’t see it. I love how little this skirt cost me! Excuse the poor photo.

gbsb asymmetric skirt

And as the fabric doesn’t fray, I didn’t actually hem it. Which feels weird but I love how there’s no bulk at the bottom.

Finally – essential twirling shot!

gbsb asymmetric skirt

So are you going to make this? Have you already?!

Beth x

 

Jeans Refashion Tutorial: Patchwork Dungarees

My little girl has recently become rather obsessed with Bob the Builder. So, sewing mum that I am, I naturally thought I’d make her some “Bob the Builder” dungarees. AKA denim dungarees, that she can wear as normal dungarees, not just for dress up!
I won’t keep you in suspense; here’s the outcome:

jeans>dungarees refashion

Pretty cool, eh?! I won’t lie: I LOVE them.

I’ve written a quick tutorial for you in case you want to do something similar. The same principal (patchwork denim) can be used for any clothing, too – not just toddler dungarees. Skirts, dresses; adults or kids. The possibilities are endless.

jeans>dungarees refashion

Those of you who have been following me for a while will likely know that I’m keen on refashioning and upcycling. In fact I’m starting 5-week-long refashioning courses in November (alongside my dressmaking). So partly spurred on by that and the need for more examples, I decided to upcycle some old jeans that have been hanging around. Who needs to buy new denim?
So I used these two pairs; one was in fact my mum’s, and one was mine. Both much loved and a little worse for wear.

jeans>dungarees refashionI used all I could of these two pairs, plus a little bit of denim I had in my scrap bag (that would’ve been from another pair of jeans). With the addition of just a couple of buttons (and thread) that of course I already had, this was a really frugal make.

Now on to the tutorial…🙂

refashion jeans to dungarees

Begin by cutting up the jeans; cut along the seams, discarding the bulky seams. Incorporate the back pockets if you like, and save the tops of the jeans for another project!

jeans>dungarees refashion

For these dungarees I used a pattern which I highly recommend: Vintie Overalls by Tadah Patterns. But you can use any pattern you already have, or create your own. You will need to use the pattern piece to help you with the placement of your denim pieces. This pattern has four large pieces (2 x back, 2 x front) and some top yoke pieces. I patched the large pieces.

So lay out a pattern piece, and (ideally using a rotary cutter, ruler and mat) chop up your long legs of denim into squares and rectangles, creating a patchwork. Ensure you overlap each piece by the seam allowance you wish to use. Take your time and thought to try to lay the colours out in a way that’s pleasing to the eye. It’s interesting how many different shades of blue are in a single pair of jeans!

jeans>dungarees refashion

It’s fine to have some fabric sticking off the edges; in fact, that’ll be helpful just in case you need a bit more allowance than you initially think.

Once your pattern piece is entirely covered up, it’s time to sew.

jeans>dungarees refashion

Sorry, I forgot to take photos of the sewing stage! But you will basically sew all the pieces together as if making a patchwork quilt. I sewed then overlocked the seams as I went along.

Once you’ve done all your pieces, you’ll end up with something like this:

jeans>dungarees refashion

Nice!

Now, place the pattern pieces on top, and neatly cut – as you would if that was just regular non-patchy fabric underneath!

jeans>dungarees refashion

There we go; nice and neat.

And then just take the extra bits for the yokes and straps (if you’re making kid’s clothing there’s probably no need to patch these unless you really want to; they’ll be big enough). And sew together the dungarees according to the pattern instructions. Sorry, I’m not going to tell you how to do that – you’ll have to buy the pattern!

jeans>dungarees refashion

If you do make something like this, I’d LOVE to see it. Any questions, do ask in the comments below!

And if not – I hope you enjoyed the post regardless.

Beth x

 

Alice In Wonderland

This is one of my most favourite recent dresses! I made it for a little 1 year old, but my own 3 year old, has since ordered one for herself…
I was asked to make an Alice dress (for an Alice in ONEderland first birthday party). This is what I came up with:

Alice dress

 

I used the Cottage Mama Vintage Georgia dress pattern as a base, then made a few adaptations. I curved the collar’s corners slightly; on the pattern they’re quite sharp.

alice dress

 

I added the broderie trim on the sides of the bib (the pattern calls for piping there), and the hem of the overskirt. Of which I made more like an apron by only cutting the front piece and hemming the sides as well as the hem.

I think a lot of the Alice-likeness comes from the choice of colours; where to put blue, and where to put white, which looks like an apron over the top of a dress.

alice dress

The back features a beautiful big bow, and snap fastenings. Snaps were my second option because I had an issue with the buttonholes… there was too much bulk in the seam to sew the lowest buttonhole; the foot just doesn’t go over it. So I had to panic, unpick the others, and improvise with KAM snaps. But I do really like the look of the pearly white snaps anyway – every cloud, eh?alice dress

The Georgia Vintage dress is a lovely pattern – probably best for intermediate level; some of the instructions aren’t perfectly clear for beginners and there are some techniques you want to get accurate, like the collar. I really dislike unsymmetrical collars!

alice dress

Hope you like it…

Beth x

 

 

Tilly Walnes ‘Love at First Stitch’ Book Review

I own several sewing books and I have to honestly say this one is my favourite. It’s so beautifully presented; from the bright and eye-catching photography, to the fonts and backgrounds used in each section, right to the back cover.

Image credit; tillyandthebuttons.com

Image credit: tillyandthebuttons.com

It comes with full-size pattern sheets with patterns for five of the designs in the book (Tilly explains how to make your own simple pattern for the other two projects). You do need to trace the patterns as they’re printed on double-sided paper; but this is best practice regardless.

I really like Tilly’s down-to-Earth, ‘chatty’ writing style; the language she uses is easy to understand, even for beginner dressmakers. She explains all the jargon that comes with sewing throughout the book, and adds helpful hints and tips along the way.
The book begins with a little background on Tilly, then goes on to explain how to use the book (i.e. how it is laid out), and there’s just one page on sewing equipment you will need. The book then jumps straight into the first project; a simple headscarf. This is unlike many other sewing books, which tend to have a good chunk of pages at the beginning based on techniques. Instead, techniques are incorporated into each project (which makes each chapter). Tilly makes it easy for the reader to distinguish between project instructions and explanations of key techniques by displaying the techniques on a gridded background, and the project steps on a plain yellow. You can easily skip the technique sections if you’re confident with them already; just look for the plain yellow background. Some may find this slightly confusing, but once you use the book a few times you will most likely get the hang of the layout.

Another difference between this book and others is its fun, fashionable edge. In each chapter Tilly has added a ‘Make it Your Own’ section, where she gives ideas of how you can use the basic pattern and customise it to do just that – make it your own. An example of hers is adding a fabric bow belt to the skirts and dress; she shows you how to make this, too.

Image credit: tillyandthebuttons.com

Image credit: tillyandthebuttons.com

‘Make It A Lifestyle’ is the final section in each chapter; these sections give the reader some inspiration and an insight into Tilly’s own lifestyle and personality. Her background in blogging really comes into play here.

Another idea I love of Tilly’s is the way she sizes her patterns. All five patterns in the book are not sized in the traditional 8, 10, 12… format. She has devised her own sizing structure, labelling sizes with numbers 1 to 8. This encourages you to sew your true size rather than the size you think you are on the High Street – which often varies when it comes to dressmaking patterns. Tilly doesn’t go into much detail about altering patterns, but seeing as the book is targeted at the beginner dressmaker, this is understandable.

I think the one aspect of the whole book that really stands out to me is the quality – and sheer amount – of the photographs. There is a very clear, real photo image (not an illustration or diagram as is common in other sewing books) for each step. For a beginner, especially, this is so important. And if the photos weren’t enough, the clarity of the text should be sufficient. The book is written with true passion, which really comes across and pours into the reader.

I have made three out of the seven projects in the book so far (consisting of one pair of Margot pyjamas, one Delphine skirt and four Clémence skirts), and the construction of them all went swimmingly. The one bugbear I have – and I have learnt others have had too – is the chunky, untailored waistbands on the skirts; it doesn’t suit many figures and does need some alterations to be comfortable if you actually have a waist. Annoyingly, everything looks perfect on Tilly!

Overall, this book makes sewing fun. As a 20-something-year-old, I can see myself making all the projects – which is not something I say about every sewing book! It’s a beautifully written and presented book.

Beth x