A quick skirt and a quick post!

I’ll start by apologising for the dreadful photos in this very quick post!! It’s the summer holidays and I don’t have a lot of spare time!

This is my greatest dressmaking achievement of late – and it’s not even great.

skater skirt

It’s the Skater Skirt from issue 12 of Love Sewing magazine.

I like it, but I did lose interest when I realised that it’s too big. I made the smallest size, so if I want to make another I’ll have to grade the pattern down. That should be pretty simple seeing as the pieces are very basic shapes.

[FYI in the photo below, the mark on my top is from the camera!!]

skater skirt

The reason why I didn’t take it in before finishing is that it has pockets – yay! – and I couldn’t even be bothered to think about how to take the sides in with pockets there… So I just left it as it is and am calling it a muslin!

skater skirt pockets

It’s dead comfy, so it is wearable and I will wear it – but only around the house!

I got the purple jersey from my local-ish fabric store. They have a very limited supply of dressmaking fabrics – they do stretch to a few plain jerseys and this was one of them. I’m happy with the quality of it and the colour’s nice; this photo shows it a little more accurately as the camera’s flash lightened it in the above pics!

skater skirt

I’m glad I didn’t use an expensive jersey with a pretty print!

Well that’s all I have to say about this very basic skirt… I do recommend the pattern – if it fits you! :)

I must make one of my daughters a skirt or something with the leftovers. One day!

Beth x

P.S. I’ve been dreadful at reading blogs recently so I’m so sorry if I have missed your posts… I’m trying to keep up but you know what it’s like… don’t take it personally! <3

2015 Sewing Goals [6 Month Check]

OK, we’re nearly 7 months through the year but I planned on doing this at the end of June and time flew by…

Those of you who have been with me a while may remember me setting myself some sewing goals at the start of the year. This is quite a popular thing to do in the blogosphere. (I wonder how everyone else is getting on?)

So now I think it’s time I checked over my progress so far this year. There’s nothing like a bit of public declaration to spur me on to completing them all…

Here are the things I proposed to accomplish this year:

Sew something every week. Finish a project and start another. Just keep sewing all year!

Yes, I’m definitely on track with this. In fact I have too many on the go…

Use A LOT of the fabric from my stash before buying new. This means I need to make some small things because I have a lot of fabric about the size of fat quarters but not a lot that’s bigger than 1m. I don’t have a big stash compared to a lot of other bloggers, but I also don’t have a big house!!

Ummm….. I might quietly pass this one. I have acquired some huge mountains these last couple of months!! In fact the postman just delivered me 4 more metres…

Make a quilt. That’ll use some small bits up :)

Whoops, I’ve not started this yet. Only 5 months to go until my deadline. Will I do it?!

Refashion a few items I have hanging around – a (stretchy!) maxi skirt, a sweatshirt, some t-shirts.

I have done a bit of refashioning. I refashioned that sweatshirt, and some jeans into girls’ dungarees. I think that’s all I’ve done! I was going to start refashioning the maxi skirt into kids’ leggings but abandoned it before I even started cutting!

Make my daughter a costume for World Book Day instead of sticking her in a ready-made one (unless her favourite book is genuinely one of which she already owns a costume for!) [Never have I done this!]

Hooray, a bit fat YES! I did this! If you weren’t following me back in March, you have to see this!

Elmer Dressing Up Outfit for World Book Day

Sew with knits. Make a Coco dress and/or top like everyone else in the sewing world!

I made a Coco dress! I’ve made a Plantain top, a wiggle dress and a Morris blazer. I’ve just made a skater skirt in a lovely rich purple jersey that I’ll share with you one day!

Try some embroidery. The little bundle of embroidery skeins that came in my Sewing Santa gift really was the little push I needed to try embroidery. I have embroidered in the past – years ago – but I have never actually embroidered a whole picture. I have done some little cross stitches in the past, actually… you can make really sweet motif etc., can’t you. And I will this year!

I have made some progress with this. I sewed this sweet hoop in lazy daisy stitch months ago but never got round to sharing it!

embroidered two little birds

The link for the free pattern I used is here if you’re interested! I used lazy daisy stitch, French knots, and bog-standard back stitch for it.

embroidered little birds

You may have seen my embroidery on my sister’s apron, too, and my daughter’s dungarees. Oh, and the cute flowers on the skirt I spent ages on only to find I’d messed up the sizing!

I should sit down and embroider something again soon, because it’s nice and relaxing!

And a bit of studying when my hands need a rest: learn more about different fabric types. I learnt everything in school but remember very little of the jargon now. I do find it hard to buy the right fabric for dressmaking.

I think I’m getting more knowledgable about different fabric types. I think it’s partly due to me buying a lot!!

I think that’ll do! Oh, one more – finish a project before starting another one!! Ha, I will try!

Erm, I certainly haven’t achieved this one! But I didn’t think I would. Which sewist actually does?!

***

I don’t think I’ve done too badly.

Must start work on that quilt, though!

And stop buying fabric!

Beth x

S’s Sewing Diaries

Hello! I think it’s about time I updated you on S, my 6-year-old’s, sewing adventures.
She has made two more things on her little yellow sewing machine since I shared her teddy, Mr Buttons, with you.
Firstly, and quite some time ago, she made a string of padded hearts. This is what one of you lovely people recommended she makes!

Padded hearts

This kept her occupied for a good couple of hours. She spent ages choosing fabrics from my scrap bag and cutting hearts out.

She made them by sewing wrong sides together – no fiddly turning right-side-out – leaving a gap, stuffing, then sewing up the gap.

Padded heart

I rather like the shabby chic look of them!

I helped her string them together (I punched a hole in each with a hole punch (LOL) and threaded some twine through!)

padded hearts

She’s really happy with them and they are hung on the back of her dining chair!

padded hearts

Then last week she wanted to make some clothes for her best friend, Teddy. She wanted to make a top or a dress but I managed to persuade her to make a skirt that doesn’t need fastenings.

So she made a simple elasticated skirt – and it’s so darn cute!

Teddy's skirt

Featuring the cute animal fabric for the third time in a row on this blog! It must be almost finished now… I only had about 80cm of it – we’ve done well with it.

teddy's skirt

I helped her with pressing the casing and hem (helped her as in I did all of it…) and she did the sewing.

I think she did really well considering she hasn’t learnt to sew in straight lines yet!! I just had to unpick a bit once as it’s pretty important to keep the line of stitching on the casing straight so that the elastic will fit in!

teddy skirt

She wanted to add a ribbon bow – in pink, because it’s Teddy’s favourite colour. So before inserting the elastic, she sewed a long piece of ribbon starting in the middle, going all around to the middle again. We placed it just under the casing and I think it worked rather well! She used a zigzag stitch because that’s much more fun than a boring straight stitch, isn’t it?

I threaded the elastic for her as she got in a tizz about that, but she did do the majority of it!

teddy skirt

Now she wants to make a top because of course Teddy can’t go topless. Hmm I guess we could make something with Velcro to fasten at the back….

Keep an eye out for the next instalment of S’s Sewing Diaries!!

Beth x

Baby Doll Nappies & Wipes

After all the dressmaking recently I have felt the need to make some smaller, quick projects. I have wanted to make some cloth nappies for my daughters’ dolls for some time now – so I did that last week!
(By the way, if you’re not British… by nappies I mean diapers!!)

Modelled by Baby Annabell, this is nappy number one:

baby doll nappy

Yeah – you don’t get much cuter than this!

It was dead simple to make – literally two pieces of fabric sewn together, pop on some Velcro and Bob’s your uncle!

baby doll nappy

doll nappy

The inspiration came from a guest post on Craftaholics Anonymous. You have to make your own pattern, but it’s not hard.

Of course I had to make one more for when this one is dirty…

doll nappy

I can’t get enough of this cute fabric! (It’s what my Blue Ridge Dress is made of if you can’t put your finger on where you’ve seen it!)

The nappies are lined with a really fluffy fabric. Now, the tutorial recommends you use minky. I am all for recycling, upcycling, repurposing, etc. etc. – so mine are made with an old dressing gown. I think it’s better than expensive minky!

Finally, the tutorial tells you how to make a sweet little wipe case and wipes. It’s a very simple project – great if you’re lazy like me and can’t be bothered to figure out the best sizing!

The wipes are made with the dressing gown’s hood lining, which is a flannel/brushed cotton kind of fabric. They are fraying a bit, but who cares?!

doll wipes

doll wipes

So this was all cheap to make, with stuff I already had. And they’re going down well with my girls, so all’s good. I do love a cheap, quick and easy project every once in a while.

Beth x

Hello Holli Blue Ridge Dress [Pattern Tester Tour!]

I am so excited to share this dress with you. I tested a brand new pattern, the Blue Ridge Dress, from a brand new company, Hello Holli. And it is an EXCELLENT pattern. You might know that I’m quite pernickety when it comes to patterns; I do criticise them a lot… but this one really is fantastic. I love the dress and I love the pattern. (And I’m not just saying that because Holli is watching me, haha. I am honestly going to make loads of these dresses.)Blue Ridge Dress

The dress has a huge size range – 12 months to 14 years. I made size 2 for my 2 year old in a cute animal print cotton. She calls it her lion dress. I’m not sure why she can only see lions!

blue ridge dress

I had just 80-90cm of it because it was end of roll, but I managed to squeeze on the tunic length. (The pattern comes in two length options – tunic and dress.) The length is perfect. The hem comes with a generous 5cm seam allowance so I could actually take it down when it gets too short but the bodice still fits.

blue ridge dress

Sorry that it looks a bit creased – she had been wearing for some time before our little photoshoot!

It’s good for twirling! :)

blue ridge dress

What’s really great about the pattern is that all seams are enclosed; the bodice is lined and it just all looks so lovely inside as well as outside. I’ve probably mentioned more than once before that I love French seams!

Blue ridge dress

The neck and armholes are bound with bias binding, and there’s an added strip of it at the join of the bodice and skirt, just for decoration – I really like it. Some of the testers skipped that part, but I think it draws attention to the nice curve of the bodice.

blue ridge dress

The bias binding forms a button loop at the back. Sewchet, do you recognise the little bunny button?

blue ridge dress

The only step I didn’t enjoy was attaching the bias binding to the wrong side. Holli instructs you to stitch in the ditch – which gives a very nice finish. If you can do it nicely. I can never catch all the bias binding. So I ended up slipstitching it in the places I’d missed! Next time I will just slipstitch the entire length; with such a small dress it wouldn’t take too long, and it’s something to do sat outside in the sunshine!

But all in all it’s a very sweet dress, wouldn’t you agree? I honestly wouldn’t change anything about it design-wise.

blue ridge dressBeth x

PS. Head over to Holli’s intro post to find a code for 20% off! And she’s also running a giveaway where you could win the pattern (be quick though because it ends tomorrow (Saturday!)

PPS. Interested in the other testers’ versions? Check out the links below…

Paisley Roots | Plucky Momo | KaatjeNaaisels | Life With Zeke | chelsiebrady | Made by Sara | GlaMa Creations | Argyle + Pearls Bless by ToneRebel & Malice | Creative Needle and Threads | Just Add Fabric

Isabella Tank x2 [Fab Free Pattern!]

Have you heard of Spit Up & Stilettos?

Well I heard about them only recently. They sell kids clothing patterns but used to sell women’s; since that didn’t work out they now provide these patterns for FREE. So of course I had to give at least one a go. I have started with this top as it’s what caught my eye first…. and I’ve made two (so far). They’ve got loads of other free patterns; I don’t know which to do next!

Isabella Tank

Image Source: http://www.spitupandstilettos.com

I’m already singing its praises so you can probably guess that I’m happy with the pattern!

Isabella Tank I

For the first one I used a polycotton scarf I picked up at a car boot sale for 50p. The print is not something I’d usually choose or wear but I really like it on this top!

I’ll start with the finished photo, then fill you in on the construction a bit! So here it is:

Isabella Tank

I managed to get the front piece (on the fold), and all facing pieces out of it. Check out the photos; this is where all my practice with jigsaw puzzles came in to effect!

I then used a plain navy blue cotton or polycotton (not sure – I don’t remember where it came from!) for the back, which matches nicely. I juuuuust about managed to squeeze the piece on!

Isabella tank cutting

The pattern’s very good and I had no problems with it. Amazing for a free pattern!

The only changes I made were to take in the side seams a little, and lessen the length of the back slit. You can see a photo of the gaping at the side seams a bit further down as I didn’t adjust the pattern because it’s just as easy to take that bit in every time, haha…. so I took a photo of it with the next version.

Isabella Tank back

I added a cute red button, which I was very happy to find in my button tin as it matches nicely!

Isabella Tank

 

Isabella Tank II

Now on to version two. The photo’s not very clear but here it is…

Isabella Tank ii

Now that I’d got to grips with the pattern and the fit, I could experiment (a little!)

So this version is made of two fabrics – viscose, and a crochet/lacy man-made type of fabric.

The viscose actually started life as this:

Viscose skirt for Isabella TankA maxi skirt I picked up in Lidl purely to cut up. I cut all pattern pieces out of this, and then the front and back pieces out of the lacy fabric.

Isabella Tank cutting

Then I sewed the front and back pieces together, just roughly, on all sides.

Isabella Tank cutting

This is how big the top was at the sides (I just took it in that much down to the waist, where it was fine). Not a lot – it’s a very simple fit alteration! :)

Isabella Tank

Ta-dah! Now it’s spot on in terms of fit; it’s really comfy.

Isabella Tank

Well, this is my final post for The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month. It’s been fun! (This week’s challenge is ‘One Pattern, Two takes’ if you didn’t know already.)

Now I feel like I’ve done a lot of dressmaking recently so I want to make some other bits and pieces for a bit of variety – I made some baby doll’s nappies yesterday and they are ADORABLE so I will share them soon! But I went on a bit of a fabric shopping spree earlier this week so I won’t desert the dressmaking for long….

Beth x

P.S. If you haven’t already seen, I made it to the finals of last week’s “New to Me” challenge on The Monthly Stitch (hooray!) so I now rely on reader votes to win a prize…. *hint hint* (I will love you forever!!) :P The link’s here… No pressure, I know there are loads of other amazing entries!!

Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle… The Eva Wiggle Dress!

This is the Eliza M Eva “Wiggle” Dress. The pattern came free with issue 6 of Love Sewing magazine last year. In terms of layout etc., the pattern seems similar to the Simple Sew patterns that come free with the magazine, so I’m wondering if there’s some kind of collaboration going on. Still, the name’s different so I would think that Eliza M still counts as “new to me” for my entry on this week’s Indie Pattern Month contest on The Monthly Stitch!

Eva Wiggle Dress

Of course the fabric is blue and white to tie in with my non-intentional blue and white themed month! (There was my blue and white stiped dress, blue and white spotty skirt, and now this. I have already made next week’s ‘One Pattern Two Takes’ garments and one is blue and white!!)

Anyway, back to the dress.

Eva Wiggle Dress

I sewed this up in no time at all. The construction is really straightforward – which is good as the pattern’s instructions are incomplete; they don’t even tell you to sew the facings to the dress; they skip straight to trimming and clipping the seams!

eva dress instructions

With no seams to finish as it’s sewn with knit fabric (I used a ponte roma to be precise) and only four pattern pieces, it was a breeze.

Eva Wiggle Dress

I do really like the finished dress. It almost fits me straight out the envelope; I just had to take in the back seam a bit as it was gaping at the top.

Eva Wiggle Dress

The only change I made to the pattern was to omit the zip, which should be at the centre back. With such a stretchy dress I don’t see the need for a zip! Next time I will cut the back piece on the fold.

Eva Wiggle Dress

The one thing that bothered me with this pattern is the darts. I think the knit fabric is just a bit too bulky to have darts in it. I sewed them in twice and they still bobble a little at the ends. I am putting it down to the ponte roma rather than my sewing because I’m not bad at darts, and if I could just press this fabric it would help!! The fabric doesn’t hold when pressed!

Eva Wiggle Dress

I do really like the waist darts (which are called and drawn as bust darts in the instructions just to confuse you); they give the dress a nice shape.

Eva Wiggle Dress

Oh, I didn’t even attempt to pattern match because it’s impossible with the shape and size of fabric I used. I don’t think it matters anyway; the whole finished look is sketchy (not in a bad way) which I like! I quite like how the back is lighter than the front.

Eva Wiggle Dress

Right, time to go and pick some strawberries; I’d better put on some jeans!

Beth x

P.S. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all these new clothes I’m making… I have limited wardrobe space!!