Sunday, 28 July 2013

Completed Project: Self Drafted Aztec Print Dress

I am excited to have finished this project! Having eyed up lots of Aztec style prints in shop windows for the past few summery months I decided to go on the hunt for some fabric to make my own summery Aztec print dress for my French adventures with BF this holiday. Here is some inspo:

LOVE her :)

 Turns out I only had to wonder down the road to Fabricland to find what I was looking for and one afternoon later- et voila! A super simple, quick and easy dress completed ready for jetting off to France. This dress used just 1.2m of fabric 1.5m wide- so a total bargain dress at only £3.99 per metre- win!

Due to the lovely stretchiness of the jersey this dress is cool in the heat and the bright colours give it a somewhat tropical (?) feel. I have worn in out in the evenings a couple of times too and with my hair down it almost looks glamorous! 
Please ignore the fugly bra strap showing, naturally I wear a strapless bra with this dress when I leave the house, these photos are simply for the purposes of blogging :)

The skirt is a three-quarter circle skirt and so has a nice swing to it, like this:


Hope you like my attempts at the Aztec dress (according to all my trashy magazines, a MUST have for summer, whatever that means...) Have you tried your sewing-hand at one? I would LOVE to see :D
Thanks for reading x

Saturday, 27 July 2013

New Look 6093: Completed project, alterations and pattern review

This is a lovely pattern. Vintage 'style' patterns are always a winner as original vintage patterns can be tricky to work with due to my very un-vintage proportions!
I decided to use this jersey covered in tiny little blue flowers from Fabricland. It cost £3.50 per meter and I bought 1.5m. It reminded me a little of an Orla Kiely print...

The reason I chose a jersey is that it requires no zips, buttons or other various fastenings and as this was a simple project with clear instructions.

As far as alterations are concerned, they were mainly seasonal! I had to take in the centre back seam (as usual) to allow for my curved back. I also decided to leave out the neckline facing to make the bodice less bulky. However, I originally made view A with the sleeves as it was a winter 2012 project made for wearing to work. However, although the fit was perfect and very flattering, I simply did not wear this dress often. I felt the combination of tiny navy and green flowers with a sensible, long sleeved work dress was just too grown up for me. So this summer I decided to take my scissors to the dress, hack off the sleeves and 3 inches off the hemline and transform it into a summery sun dress to be proud of!

Here is the transformation in pictures:

The winter, long sleeved version (too grown up for sure...)

And noowww..... The far better, shorter, sleeveless summer version! The jersey is super light weight and drapey and so perfect for the hot summer we are having this year.

But looks ok with a leather jacket for chilly mornings :)

 I give it 4/5 for its pretty vintage look and flattering fit, but I would not recommend it for pear shaped women as the side panels on the skirt may add extra width to your hips. However if you are fairly straight up and down this dress will creation the illusion of awesome curves.  Have you tried New Look 6093 before? I would love to see how successful your version was! Hope you like and thanks for reading!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Recycling and Refashioning with the Oxfam Sewing Club- Selfless sewing!

So, it turns out charity shops get a load of donations they cannot sell, a massive proportion of what we donate will end up in a recycling centre, so the clever managed at the Kingston branch of charity shop Oxfam decided to start a sewing club for enthusiasts (like me!) who want to help them make a profit from all those unwanted fabrics and garments.

We have had fun making hot pants from old jeans, dip dying tees and I was allowed to choose from a selection of their fabrics and garments to take home and make into something saleable. I hope I have! They will be on sale in the Kingston Oxfam shop within the next two weeks or so, so if you are local why not pop down to see what the other sewers and I have been creating...

First off, an old piece of fabric covered in houses (selected by Clare) and a weird, moo-moo type dress transformed into 60's style shift dresses with Peter Pan collars (sorta my signature so I had to start this way!) 
I instgramed these babies and they were re-gramed by Oxfam :)

 Next, an old scarf turned into a shirred maxi dress for summer hols in the sun (looks teeny tiny but actually is about a size 8-10 due to enormous amount of stretch!

Just look at those straight lines!

Lasly, I made two silk kimonos from an old sari. The silk is divinely airy and cool in the heat and I am more than a little tempted to buy one of these when they go on sale to wear on my holiday to Nice!

French seams, naturally...

And Kimono number 2...

Hope you like my recycled creations, feels very exciting to have my things sold for such a good cause! Please check out Oxfam Kingston, lovely people and awesome handmade clothes to boot!
If you are interested in joining the sewing club just pop into the shop and pick up a leaflet (we meet on Thursdays)
Thanks for reading x

A cry for help with my mini Amy Butler and Denyse Schmidt fabric haul!

The end if the academic year is at last upon us and it turns out talking to my kids about my passion for sewing all year was not in vain, they were really listening! As a generous thank you gift on the last day the parents clubbed together to get me some John Lewis vouchers to fund my hobby/addiction and today I began spending them in their sale, on these beautiful printed cottons.

A note from a pupil: He is right, I do like 'soeing' things like bit and bobs!

The quality is extraordinary and what's more I love talking to the lovely ladies who work in there.
The spots, blue cameo print and orange paisley are all Amy Butler and the cream floral is Denyse Schmidt, all produced by Westminster Fibres so high quality cottons and prints in rich colours which last forever!
But the problem is that, as I usually work in cheap fabrics where the stakes if I make a mistake are low, I can now not decide what to do with them (so afraid I am of making a mistake!) So please, help! Message me with any good ideas you have for these charming prints.
Thanks for reading, hope to hear some good ideas soon! X

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Tutorial: How to make a shirtdress from men's shirts- refashion

Totes inspired by men's shirt refashion ideas on Pinterest, I just could not resist a trip to the Primani men's department and nabbed myself a pair of pink shirts in their sale for a bargain 4 quid each. Here is what I created:

Read on to discover how, but before the tutorial here is some inspo, Pinterest style:









But now on to the tutorial!
I kind of made it up as I went along and I defo recommend trying the dress on several times during your refashion to ensure the proportions, such as the armholes and length of the hem, are all appropriate to your frame. Choose a pair of shirts with a chest measurement more similar to your own to cut down on alterations. You will also need some narrow elastic, thread and of course a trusty sewing machine.

1. One shirt will form the bodice and one the skirt. We will do the bodice first so throw the other out the way for now.
2. Cut the sleeves off the shirt and finish arm holes as you choose, I overlooked and then did a narrow single hem. Try the shirt on before finishing edges to ensure you have cut the arm holes large enough.

3. Measure from your neck to tummy button and cut the bottom of the shirt off at this measurement.
4. Now pick up your other shirt, reserved earlier for the making of the skirt, cut the top of this shirt off just below the arm holes.

5. Pretty sides facing, pin the bodice and skirt together, matching the side seams and essentially matching the button plackets!!
6. Sew bodice to skirt using two straight lines of stitching, creating a casing for your elastic.

7. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and run through the dress to the other side. This should gather the skirt and bodice giving a blowsy, loose look while retaining a defined waistline. Secure with stitches at either end if the elastic.

8. Hem your dress to the required length and hey presto! You have a new smart shirt dress to wear to work!
If you give this tutorial a go please let me know as I would love to see the results if your hard work (following my somewhat lacklustre instructions...) Thanks for reading! X

Sunday, 14 July 2013

New Look 6216 Shorts and Simplicity 1693 Blouse- Pattern adaptations

Scorchio! We are in the moist grip of a heat wave here in London, temperatures hitting 32 degrees yesterday. This morning I woke up and decided to distract from my hangover by whipping up some shorts using New Look 6216. 

I chose this pattern because I love the pockets and they add a cute, casual vibe to the shorts. I adapted the trouser pattern by simply shortening the legs. I wanted them to have a pretty 'petal' hem and so cut the outside seam into a curve, like this:

They have an elasticated waist which I have found has two benefits. One, I don't have to insert a zip (woohoo) and two, they are more comfortable in the intense London heat as they sit just below the tummy button and don't squeeze anywhere, with a loose airy fit. I used a soft poly blend in light blue, perfect as it does not crease too easily. 

I adapted Simplicity 1693 for the blouse by adding some triangle cut outs to the front just above the bust line, and two 'bean' shaped cut outs to the back. 
This was actually meant to be an experiment in cheap white cotton but I ended up loving it so much I kept it and have worn it many times to gigs and casually round town since. 

Close up of the back cut outs.

I very much enjoyed wearing this outfit today and experimenting with the basic patterns I already have in my collection, both a money saver and an exercise in creativity.
Hope you like and thanks for reading, give these patterns a try, highly recommended basics.