Wednesday, 30 April 2014

My #mmmay14 pledge!

Oh my goodness! It's that time again, and May really has sprung up on me this year, it very much snuck up on me when I wasn't looking! 

I have been reminiscing about last years Me Made May which was my first and I loved it, it really challenged my skills as a dressmaker and I felt really proud at the end of the month when it was all over and I had succeeded in my challenge! Sometimes the most fulfiing challenges are the ones you set for yourself.

If you'd like to read about my MMM from 2013 you can here:

Here are some of my favourite outfits from last year:

However, my style has changed quite a bit from this time last year (although not unrecognisably!) so there will be some quite different outfit posts to look forward to, if you like that sort of thing...!

If you too would like to pledge for #MMM14 then visit So Zo

I, Rosabella ( , sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear handmade each day for the duration of May 2014

I'll be pinning onto the Pinterest board too so look out for outfit posts, happy sewing and good luck with your pledge! X o x o

Sunday, 27 April 2014

I'm so fancy! Clueless inspired fashion- Checked pinafore. Salme 142 pattern review.

Who doesn't love rewatching 90s classics like Clueless and 10 Things I hate about you?

I have, in the past three days, rewatched both of these classic films and have been inpired to create my own version of Cher's classic tartan pinafore from the Clueless film. 

I have been wanting to create my own pinafore for a while and although the tartan gives this a rather catholic schoolgirl vibe I am really happy with the overall 90s look. I used Salme 142 Flared Mini Skirt PDF pattern and it was infact my first experience using a print at home pattern and I was really impressed. The fit is lovely and they have some really great modern shapes to choose from, all at rock bottom prices compared to the commercial pattern companies. Just don't forget to add your seam allowance! 

The 90s trend is unavoidable this season and one cannot enter a high street shop without the nostalgic smell of jelly sandals filling your nostrils. I have been dabbling in some 90s styling (investing in adorable Lacey ankle socks) but have yet to go the whole hog outfit-wise, so this classic pinafore is my first nod to the trend of my childhood years (born in 1990, if you were wondering!). I would like to state that I will never, ever be caught dead in a 90s style belly top. Ever.

I have been pinning pinnys (ha!) for a few months now so here is some pinable inspiration:

Adapting the simple flared mini skirt pattern to become a pinafore was easy peasy. I simply measured myself a pair of rectangles which would form the bodice and two long strips for the shoulder straps. I used my dress form to fit the straps and bodice accurately and overall the fit is pretty good :)

I chose to make the front bodice panel quite narrow with skinny straps like the 'Edith' pinafore seen above.

The tartan fabric is 100% cotton from Fabric Land. It cost 3.60 per meter and I used a total of 2m for this project, with a little left over. Sadly I didn't make the blouse I'm wearing underneath, which is from H&M last summer. It has pretty sheer and lace panels which look cute underneath the pinnys as it (of course) has open sides. 

Straps/another awkward selfie 

That's all for now. If you get the chance to use a Salme pattern (available on then please do, they have some great, unusual, modern designs which look like lots of fun to work with, and are all such a bargain!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing x o x o

New Look 6003 symmetrical peplum skirt pattern review

New Look 6003 peplum skirt pattern adaptation 

I've got pretty into symmetry of late.

 I think the first moment I fell for this look was discovering this skirt on Pinterest. Immediately I decided I want to set about designing and making my own version.

I spent a long time choosing the right fabric for my skirt, laying out and cutting out took well over an hour even though there were not many pieces to the skirt at all. I used view E but changed the peplum to have a curved front edge instead of cutting on the fold. 

I decided to line the peplum to give it a better weight as the fabric I choose is very light weight and flexible. In addition I chose to use iron on interfacing on the peplum to give it further body and weight. I cut a UK size 8 and found the pattern to be true to size. It used a total of 1.5m of fabric which was also 1.5m wide, including lining the peplum which is not included in the original pattern.

I think the main reason cutting this out took so long was my absolute desperation for perfect symmetry from all views of the skirt combined with the pain in the ass skippy fabric. That said, it was all worth the hard work as I wore the skirt to my friends 24th birthday party with a simple black tee and sandals and received  many compliments on my shiny skirt! And what's more it's fun to swoosh around and dance in! 

I adore this pattern, the fit is perfect and it makes up so easily with such a pretty, feminine finish- this one comes highly recommended not least because of New Look patterns being such a bloody bargain! 

This photo shows my attempts to match the pattern on the side seam of the peplum.

Mollie makes freebie button! Frugal for the win!

As this fabric frayed so easily I chose to use a cotton binding on the seams to give the fabric the stability so lacking and also ensure the seams remain tidy over time. 

And lastly, some pics from my lovely pal Tule's 24th! It's such a treat to see her as we grew up together and have been friends for 21 years but she now lives in Cypress where she has a very grown up job as a lawyer. 

This was the moment we shouted surprise!

That's it from me and my party skirt for now! 
Thanks for reading and happy sewing! X x x

Friday, 18 April 2014

Interesting advice for vintage seamstresses

Simplicity 1651- Easter Dress

Simplicity 1651 

I may have found a new favourite pattern! 
This first caught my eye for its lovely back D, open with bars across, as I have been pinning many a backless dress for spring summer! 

Although for my first attempt I actually made back C, the closed back with a side zip.

This pattern is nice because it's got many choices and variations for the front and back bodice as well as the skirt. I chose a combination of bodice front A, back C and the straight skirt. The only adjustment I made was swapping the gathers at the waist for two small pleats. This is because I used quite a heavy weight cotton and didn't want to add extra bulk around the waistline.

And oh, what a cotton! This is the most beautiful cotton print I could ever imagine. Bought from Fabric Land for the bargain price of £3.99 per meter, this is one of those fabrics I bought on total, I cannot leave the shop without it impulse. 

I think it was the combination of birds, music notation and postage stamps that gave thus such a lovely, vintage inspired, and altogether more expensive than it really is look! Who doesn't love to look like they spent more than a cheeky fiver on their outfit? 

The pattern is fairly true to size. I made a uk 8 with no adjustments and the fit is pretty much perfect. I really like the neckline which is a nice pointed shape. You can't see it much from this full length photo so I took an awkward selfie to show the neckline in more detail.

My only complaint about this pattern is the wildly inaccurate yardage. The envelope back said I needed 2m 40cm. I chose to take a risk and bought 2m. I then used just over 1m to make the dress and had the best part of1m left over. I decided to give this to my mum, who plans on making a summer skirt to match my dress :) 

That's all for now, thanks for reading and happy sewing! 
X o x o

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Designing a SS14 DIY wardrobe

I started working on this post way back at the beginning of March but then, sadly, life took over and unfortunately planning a pretty summer wardrobe full of wit and whimsy really did take a back seat for a while. But now I am on holiday! In fact I am enjoying the luxury of moveable wifi and writing this blog post via my beautiful new iPad on the train from Ely (Suffolk, nice cathedral) to London (big place, lots of nice cathedrals).

I hijacked from my dear mother (with whom I have been staying) a copy of the Vogue ss14 catwalk report which detailed, and I quote, that this spring summer fashion is 'emancipated from narrow style dictates and brimming with diverse ideas... There's nothing to stop you now...let freedom ring!' I mean it really is all lovely but I must say that 1) I quite enjoy reading about the latest crazy 'trends' although 2) those who have read my blog before will know I am not a slave to any style dictates but am I fact more likely to sew on a whim, usually caught wind of via Pinterest, blogger or (my personal favourite) the movies! 

That said the edition of Vogue's catwalk report did make some attempt to group and classify the multitude of crazy prints and styles seen on the ss14 catwalks, and I have been sketching accordingly, so here are some of the key trends (according to Vogue, not me!) this season and how I as a semi-fledgling dressmaker will seek to emulate them.


Trend 1: Glorious Technicolour!
Or to most of us, bright colours!

This is a trend I really enjoy every time the weather warms up, and I really see myself creating something like a loose fitting, flowing dress in a block yellow or orange, or perhaps even a simple shell top to wear with jeans or a body con skirt. I blogged yesterday a beautiful Fuscia pink circle skirt which sort of already ticks the box so to speak for this trend. I was intending on wearing my skirt with striped and lacy white tops, but perhaps there is room for pairing a bright technicoloured skirt with a bright technicoloured blouse as well!

Omgee love her <3

Last summer I made myself an orange jersey maxi dress which was super simple and I loved wearing it thanks to its sunny colour. I haven't got a photo but it looked pretty much exactly like this:

So I guess I can save myself some sewing time and wear my maxi dress from last year! 

The actual pieces Vogue featured were really not to my tastes at all, but it's good to see bright colours on the summertime catwalks. That said, trend two..

Trend 2: Monochrome

I know right! Talk about mixed messages, although according to the good people at Vogue this is indeed the season when anything goes (have they stopped trying?!?) and I am all for monochrome, particularly white in the warmer months. And it must be mentioned that actually much of the British springtime is rather dull and cold and a healthy stash of black opaque tights really is a uniform in certain parts of London, and I am sure for the rest of the uk! 

I recent purchased some beautiful white and black floral fabric on which the black flowers appear to have been scattered onto the white, gradually becoming more and more until at the opposite selvage the fabric is entirely black. I think this striking pattern will not require a fancy pattern in order to look really quite sensational (if I do say so myself...)

This is sort of what the fabric is like:

As in with the flowers fading in and out, not the poofy tulle! It's a soft viscose

Mollie King's dress is lovely and again a similar fabric to the one I have bought

Here is a small clip of the fabric from the Fabric Land website


This dress is the centre is totally stunning and very Italian looking I feel, from Roksanda Ilincic's SS14 collection. So simple and chic, a look I am sure to try emulating, although no with the elegant mini hemline, as on a smaller woman like myself the look tends to be more drowning child than elegant swanlike 6' model. The lovely head scarf also reminds me of Tilly's lovely new Brigitte scarf! (

Stripes are a good way to access the monochrome trend, loving this version from:

Trend 3: Shiny Shiny!

Vogue named this trend 'Minecraft' in their edit but the very name for me conjures up images of 6 and 7 year old boys obsessively playing the videogame of that name. So shiny shiny is a better name mentally for me.

I dont know if I will venture to sew with a metallic fabric, this may a trend I choose to buy into when holiday season comes around, I can imagine H&M will have some pretty special trashy metallic pieces to choose from nearer the time. It's a trend I can imagine my mother looking at in a rather disapproving manner. And I can also imagine this is a trend that is extremely easy to get wrong. I feel the best a safest option may be to go down the simple circle skirt route as it is a flattering and inoffensive item of clothing which would catch the light beautifully when twirling, an action in which I am obviously always engaging. Perhaps teamed with a simple white tee this could be a sweet and youthful look. I am always determined that, although I do a practical and grown up job, I do not begin to dress in a practical and/or grow up manner. So far this is has not proven to be difficult for a woman who cooes over flock nylon and sequin hot pants. 


Trend 4: Blurred Lines 

Sheer and lace fabrics are always on my radar, be it spring, summer, autumn or winter, and I adore the Burberry outfit on the far left of this page of Vogue:

That is exactly how sophisticated I would like to be, if I did not work in such close proximity to snotty noses and poster paints. 

That said, I will definitely be working on a lace pencil skirt for ss14 to be teamed with either simple sheer shirts for work or casual little tees or vests for playing in the sun. I'd really like to create some little sheer shell tops for the warm weather to team with lacey skirts or just comfy trousers, perhaps using New Look 6483

New Look Patterns

I also think it is worth mentioning that, although I adored Burberry's stunning and saucy transparent lace pencil skirts, as a woman of the real world displaying my pants for all of south west London to enjoy is not high on my to do list, so I would argue that sticking to sheer tops and lined dresses is really preferable, to be worn with silk camis for work, and without for play.
Some women getting sheers seriously right:

I created a lace dress last summer which I adore, even now, as the lace was just such high quality and it washes so nicely. 

Posing with instruments, none of which are mine! 

So to summarise, this trend for lace and sheers has my name all over it, watch this space for many transparent beauties come the sunshine.

Trend 5: Gingham

This is a trend of which I am fail fond thanks to nostalgic memories of gingham school summer dresses being cracked out by my mother at the first glimpse of sun rays peeping through the April showers. I wore blue but the posh girls school got to wear pink. For this I am still bitter, and would like to make myself a prim little pink gingham sundress, a la Betty Draper

Or maybe I could be badass in a black and white number...

I think the real challenge is to not allow it to get too caught up in the vintage, twee, nostalgia element but to use the checks as adding edge, akin to a checked lumberjack skirt almost, adding a tougher edge to feminine skirts and dresses and a summery, less floaty alternative to a classic summer floral print.
Basically, aim is to look like this:

With as little of this as possible:

That said, I used to love having a scrunchie that matched my dress! 

Trend 6: Florals
Omgee, could it be more me? My wardrobe (as you can see on the 'My handmade wardrobe' tab above) really is bursting at the seams with floral fancies, and it kind of goes without saying that many of these will be busted out again this summer, although I will be selective and attempt to make each look just a tiny bit more grown up, now I am the grand old age of 24. Lolz.

My favourite floral outfit from the catwalks has to be this Mary Katrantzou number (second from the right). I love the combination of a classic floral print with a very modern, heavily structured cut as I feel it contrasts well with the whimsy of the flowers. Of course, patterns for dresses this shape will not be available until nobody wants them anymore, so I will have to adapt! My pattern cutting skills are certainly being challenged of late...

This layered, cropped shape of dress from Asos I think would be the perfect way to modernise the floral trend....

Or a similarly structured style with a peplum skirt:

As would a matching top and shorts combo on the lovely Mollie!

 Will need to get sketching and cutting...

To to modernise florals, structured cuts are near perfect for this season, but I am also taken with the last trend of all I am going to write about, and that is ( I almost cringe to say it) slogan sweaters.

Trend 7: Slogans
I remember my mother once saying that nothing worth saying was ever written across someone's breasts on a tshirt ( I paraphrase, but this really was the jist of her attitude to slogans ) 
This is therefore not the season for her. Slogans of all kinds were literally everywhere and the pretentious Francophile inside me leans towards the ones written in French, although I admit to having to use the translator on my phone when shopping for said sweater in H&M. I ended up choosing L'amore for a bargain £14.99. And I'm not even sorry.

I wore my sweater to a lunch date with my lovely girls I grew up with in Kings Cross and really liked the way the sweatshirt toughens up my pretty Vogue 8882 summer skirt I blogged about last week.
Harrod's Faberge eggs make a delightful backdrop for tourist style photos ;)

Here Christopher Kane shows us how it's done witha divine collection featuring drawings not unlike my children's sketches in science lessons. Jadore! 

Overall, my top three shows were:

Mary Katrantzou 

And Christopher Kane

All three for general creative loveliness which makes me want to embrace the spring with femininity, creativity and toughness in equal measure!

That's it from me for now, thanks for reading and happy sketching, planning and stitching for ss14! 
X o x o