Yanta Overalls Sewing Society Kit

I finally made the Yanta Overalls. These have been on my radar for ages and being a big fan on dungarees I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to finally get round to sewing them..

I get monthly emails from Guthrie and Ghani in Birmingham advertising their Sewing Society kits and when the Yanta Overalls came up in May that was the prompt I needed to finally sew them.

https://guthrie-ghani.co.uk/shop/category/the-g-g-sewing-society-kits

This is the first time I have sent for one of the Sewing Society kits and it came with everything you need to sew your garment. The Yanta’s came in a choice of 3 colours – Navy, Pacific Blue and Teal – I chose the Pacific Blue which is a lovely mid blue colour on good quality linen.

Included in the kit was 2.6m of linen (they also did a kit for larger sizes that had 3.3m fabric), iron on interfacing, 2 coordinating buttons, 2 reels of gutherman thread, an invisible zip, Prym sewing machine needles, a woven label and of course the pattern printed out on good quality paper. The instructions come through in an email as a pdf and can be downloaded and printed at home and you also get access to a hints and tips video.

The only downside to the kits is that as far as I can tell if you already own the pattern there isn’t an option of buying the kit without the pattern. Other than that it is very well put together and works out cheaper than buying all the elements separately.

The only other pattern I have sewn by Helen’s Closet is the Blackwood Cardigan but I remember the instructions being very well put together and likewise these instructions were very easy to follow. Sizewise my measurements put me at a size 8 bust, 14 waist and 10 hips so because I wasn’t making a muslin (something I rarely do and have mostly got away with😅) I cut the 8 for my bust and graded to the 14 for both waist and hips, it should also be noted that there is a generous 5/8″ seam allowance which allows for some adjustments.

First up in the instructions is making the pockets and there are a lot of them, 5 in all – 2 back and 2 front on the trouser section and then the breast pocket. I particularly liked the design of the breast pocket which once attached is divided into 2 with some stitching along the centre. I sewed the breast and front pockets on but just basted the back pockets into place to that I could check the positioning once I tried then on.

Probably the hardest part of the construction is attaching the straps to the back, there is quite a bulk of fabric to get through the machine so this took some time making sure everything was lined up.

I basted the side seams together to check the fit and they were pretty oversized – picture some clown trousers and this is pretty much what they look like around the hips. I took 2/8″ off the side seams going all the way down to the trouser hem and then tried them on again.

There was still plenty of spare room around the waist so I ended up taking another 1″ off the top of the side seams and ran this 6″ down whilst slowly grading back out to my original seam. Once I had done this I was really happy with the fit.

I actually decided to omit the zip because I can just get them over my hips without it and don’t see the point of adding one just for the sake of it. As nice as the buttons were that came with the kit (they won’t go to waste and will be used for another project) I decided to use some alternative buttons from my stash. I picked these buttons up at a charity shop a couple of years ago and think they work well.

The final touch was my brooch, there is a lady over on Instagram called Corrie @ceramic67 who makes some lovely jewellery and this is one of her latest additions, you can check her our here:

https://corriesfancygoods.bigcartel.com/products

Alterations

If you are anything like me you will have me made items in your wardrobe that don’t get worn. I decided it was time to go through my makes and have a good sort out. I have a wardrobe where I keep my current clothing along with a blanket box were I keep the out of season items.

With the weather warming up here in the UK now seemed like a good time to swap things over and at the same time I looked at the things that I haven’t really worn and decided whether or not I wanted to keep them. I few things were put to the charity pile and I was left with 3 items that I haven’t really worn but did want to try and fit into my wardrobe and these are the items I will talk about now.

First up is the Simplicity K8610 – I post my makes on Instagram and when I posted this light weight jacket it had loads of compliments and to date it is still my most liked post but I just haven’t worn it. I love the fabric it is a really colourful fun print by Lady McElroy but I think my problem with it has always been the sleeves. The sleeves are really wide and whenever I have tried wearing it I realize that they just irritate me and get in the way, I know this is the style that is intended but for me it just didn’t work.

To make this alteration I sewed a channel around the sleeve cuffs and inserted some elastic. There was nothing scientific about my method I simply used some elastic that I had in my stash that was about 1cm wide so I made sure the channel was wider than this. For the length I wrapped the elastic around my wrist added some extra length for seam allowance and cut it to this length. This was a really simple alteration and one I should have done ages ago, this jacket has sat in my wardrobe unloved for nearly 2 years! Anyway by ruching the sleeves in with some elastic it feels so much better to wear so hopefully it will be hidden away no more.

Alteration number 2 was my Closet Core Jenny trousers. I made these last year and you can read the post here:

https://wordpress.com/post/jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/1016

These trousers were just too long so again they have been sitting in my wardrobe unworn. Initially I decided to chop off about 4 inches which put the hem just above my ankles and that made them feel so much more wearable. I was in fact wearing them in the garden when I caught my leg on a nail – we are currently in the midst of home improvements and there is a lot of junk in the garden waiting to go in the skip. There was an upturned bath with a nail sticking out which not only scratched my leg but also ripped the trousers. This meant taking another couple of inches off the hem to remove the tear so they are now more culottes length but I am definitely wearing them more in fact they are becoming my go to trousers instead of my jeans now the weather is improving.

Last up was the Mortmain dress, I really wanted to love this dress when I made it but there just felt something off about it whenever I put it on so I haven’t really worn it. Trying it on recently to try and figure out why I wasn’t happy with it I decided that it was something to do with the waistband. I can’t quite put my finger on it, I have seen several samples of this dress online which look great. I think maybe having the stripes split up with the seams was the issue.

This was a more time consuming alteration, I had to remove the concealed zip first before I could get started and then I had I lot of unpicking to do to separate the waistband from the skirt. Firstly I tried narrowing the waistband but I still wasn’t entirely happy and knew I still wouldn’t wear it. I then decided to remove the waistband all together. More unpicking and I also removed all the gathering from the skirt panels, ironed it all out and started again with the gathering, then it was a case of attaching the skirt to the bodice and then reinserting the concealed zip. I feel much better about how it looks now, I had left the dress fairly long anyway so it is still a good length sitting just below my knees. The waist sits a little higher than my natural waistline but this isn’t really an issue for me and if the rain stops and the sun ever decides to shine (the joy of living in the UK) I will definitely be reaching for this dress now rather than consigning it to the bottom of the pile.

Davenport Dress

Does anyone else have an obsession with all things frilled at the moment? Everything I am sewing lately seems to have frills and tiers, luckily it appears to be a tread that is going to be around for a while and it is certainly one I am loving.

My latest make is the Friday Pattern Company Davenport Dress which I fell for as soon as I spotted it and purchased from their site with a discount that they were running for the new release.

This is a loose fitting dress that can be ruched in at the waist with a drawstring so no fitting and darts to worry about.

Boy did I struggle with this make, first up I should say that this was not down to the instructions which are very clear and easy to follow but totally due to my incompetence with a safety pin and a length of straight fabric, so if you would like to hear more about the saga then read on.

The first stage of this make was sewing the drawstring belt which would later go around the waist – a 5 minute job that turned into over 2 hours ( yes you did read that correctly!). After whizzing the length of fabric up on my machine right sides together, it was about 1.5 metres long and I needed to turn it. The instructions suggest using a safety pin to do this and that was my first attempt but I couldn’t even get started, I then turned to the loop turners that I purchased at the end of last year. I have used these a few times now and they usually work well, I have even stated on a previous blog that they are a game changer well not this time!

By this time my fabric was pretty much falling apart, the fabric I used was a linen blend and it was prone to fraying so rather than proceed any further I decided I needed to sew another drawstring and start again, this time I overlocked the edges to prevent it falling apart. So drawstring number 2 – I tried to turn with my loop turner again but it was having none of it. I then sent a message out on my sewing WhatsApp group and asked for suggestions. The lovely Holly – my locally fabric shop owner and teacher got straight back to me with a couple of suggestions, she also kindly offered to have a go for me if I popped it down to the shop and also suggested that I walk away for a while, get on with the rest of the dress and come back to it later. Wise words but do you ever get a bee in your bonnet about something and not want to give up or be beaten? This was me at this stage so I kept on trying, my final attempt was to use a pair of tweezers and try to pull it through, progress was made but it was going to be a long job.

https://www.sewwithholly.co.uk/

I finally decided to take Holly’s advise and put it to one side and started the rest of the project.

The rest of my project went along smoothly and the instructions were very easy to follow. I love how the bodice is put together. The front neckline has a piece of elastic that runs through a channel that is made with the facing, this gives a lovely gathered neckline and also means you can get it over your head without the need for a zip or button which is a real winning feature from my point of view. There is also gathering along the back bodice where it joins the back yoke.

I also love how the bodice has both front and back yoke pieces and this hides away the shoulder seams. The seam allowance is only 1cm and given the nature of the fabric I used there was no way I was going to be able to add French seams so I overlocked all of the other seams. When I make it again – which I am already planning I will add some extra seam allowance so that I can do French seams because I really think it is worth the time adding the extra finishing details to a dress like this.

The sleeves were easy to put in and the sleeve ruffle is another detail that I really love. The sleeves are loose fitting with an elastic ruffle at the wrist so again no fitting issues.

With the bodice put to one side it was then onto the skirt. The dress features good sized pockets, I never realised how much I love pockets until I started sewing my own clothes now I want them on every garment. These pockets form part of the skirt waistline. When joining the skirt to the bodice you also add the casing for the drawstring (which still awaited my attention!). The skirt pattern pieces are cut out as 4 separate pieces which would mean having a seam at the centre front and back, I didn’t want this so simply removed the necessary seam allowance and cut 2 pieces out on the fold. I am not sure why they have drafted the pattern like this, maybe because some of the larger sizes wouldn’t fit on the fold or it wouldn’t work on narrower fabric but it wasn’t a difficult alteration and my preference is to have as few seams as possible.

Joining the skirt panels to the bodice and the ruffle panels to the skirt wasn’t difficult but it is a little time consuming and not something that should be rushed. There are a lot of gathers and it is important to take the time to make sure they are fairly even along the seams. Everyone probably has their own technique for gathering, I found it easiest to start the gathering at the centre back and work to the centre front on either side of the skirt panels. I also measured the length of the bodice so I had some idea how much I needed to gather in, once I was close to this I then pinned the skirt to the bodice right side together and lined up the side seams before neatening out the gathers. I then repeated this method for the ruffle.

Once the skirt and ruffle were all in place it was back to the dreaded tie belt. I tried for a little while to continue turning my already sewn belt but soon gave in and opted for the easy option, the belt actually runs through the loop channel so only the tie that hangs down at the front of the dress can be seen and by this time I really didn’t care that the stitching on the drawstring would be visible. I cut out yet another drawstring piece and this time folded it in on itself like I was making bias binding it was then a 2 minute job sewing along the outer edges to enclose it! Perhaps it would of been a good idea to suggest this as an alternative method for less slippery fabric – it would certainly of saved my sanity.

The only other snag I had was inserting the drawstring into the casing – yet more problems with safety pins. I managed to get it nearly all the way through but somehow managed to push the drawstring into the pocket I also managed to bend the safety pin so it wouldn’t pull back out. I had to unpick some of the casing to get access, I then pulled the drawstring the rest of the way through before re-sewing the casing.

Anyway despite a couple of set backs which were down to the user and not the instructions I got there in the end and love my dress so much I now want another. I think it looks really nice in the fabric I have used, I wasn’t sure if ivory would be too pale for me because I am fairly light skinned but hubby says it really suits me and putting it on brings a smile to my face. All I need now is a little bit of sunshine and hubby can take me out for cocktails.

Total £32.39

Ivory Linen Blend £6.60 per metre x 3 £19.8o Gutermann Thread No.111 x 2 @£1.95 £ 3.90 Pattern £ 8.03 Elastic £ .66

Pattern Testing Poppy

I recently helped out with a pattern test for the Poppy Pinafore by Loop Mabel’s Closet. Jayne is the face behind Loopy Mabel; I have been following her for a while on Instagram and also YouTube where she does some great videos. When I heard she was planning to launch her first pattern I was delighted because she has such a nice style and I didn’t hesitate about applying to be part of the testing group.

The Poppy Pinafore is a great layering garment with can be worn over jumpers along with jeans or leggings in the cooler months; it would also be very easy to lengthen into a dress and could be made using a lighter weight fabric for the summer which I think will make an amazing dress. It has the all important pockets and a lovely button placket to add a really nice design feature at the back.

I really enjoy pattern testing; it is something I have done a couple of times now and have always had a great experience. It’s a great way to discover new pattern companies and meet like minded people and new sewing friends and everyone is always so helpful and friendly offering suggestions and good advice.

Now I have to say although this was a pattern test so I should have probably done a toile- life’s too short – I have quite a bit on at the moment with home renovations and sewing has been taking a bit of a back seat due to lack of space for sewing and cutting; also basically I can’t find anything currently and spend half my time searching for the tools for the job!

The fabric I used is a lovely cotton, it looks a bit like a needlecord but the ridges run across the grain rather than down. I picked it up from the Sewisfaction pop-up shop nearly 2 years ago when visiting fabric shops when real life was a thing; oh, how I miss those days; lets hope we can return to a bit of normality this year.

Sizing runs from XS to 2XL which covers bust sizes from 34.5 inches to 49.5 inches. Based on my body measurements of 35/32/39 this put me at S/L/M but because the finished measurements showed plenty of ease around the waist I decided to cut a small on the bust and then grade to a medium for both the waist and hips. Fabric requirements suggested 1.5 metres of fabric at 140cm wide but I actually managed to cut my pieces out of 1.25 metres so it is a great pattern if you are short on fabric. The pattern is drafted for a height of 5’5″, I am 5’3″ so kept the length as per the instructions which is perfect for a pinafore but I intend to make it up again as a summer dress so will add some inches next time.

The instructions are very well written and I had no problem following them; I would class myself as a fairly experienced sewer now but I think a beginner could easily follow the instructions; there aren’t too many pieces: just front and back bodice pieces, front and back skirt pieces, pockets and bias binding which is used on the neckline and armholes.

The bias binding can be cut from your fabric and there is a pattern piece for this but you could also use pre-made bias tape and add a contrast. There are a few techniques when making the pinafore – making a button placket, gathering, darts, and adding bias binding but all are well explained.

This pattern is right up my street; I love easy to wear, casual clothing especially now when I am spending so much time at home. It’s one of those must have items in my wardrobe which can be dressed up or down depending what it is styled with and it will certainly be one of those regularly reached for outfits.

Foray into Bag Making

I have been trying to broaden my horizons lately, in case you hadn’t realised already I spend rather a lot of time sewing and as much as I love making new clothes there is only so much that will fit in my wardrobe! So time to try something new and bag making seemed like a good idea. Now I did make I bag once before a couple of years ago; it was a very basic back pack and although it turned out as per the instructions I have never really used it because it only had a very basic loop fastener to hold the flap closed and this never felt very secure.

I recently picked up the latest copy of Simply Sewing Magazine; I purchased it for the Nina Lee dress pattern that was in there but it also came with 3 other patterns; the Suzie Satchell being one of them. I find it quite frustrating that the patterns are always stacked one behind the other in a plastic bag so it is difficult to know what you are getting but this months edition had a really nice selection.

The Suzie Satchel is a messenger style bag with a zip fastening across the top under a flap which offers the security I wanted. It is also all singing all dancing when it comes to pockets: 2 internal pockets and 2 external pockets all different styles so definitely some new techniques to be learnt.

For someone who is not familiar with bag making I should point out that I struggled with the instructions and would not describe them as being beginner friendly despite the big ‘Learn Bag-Making Skills’ logo on the front cover. I certainly did learn new skills but mostly through guess work and head scratching rather than easy to follow instructions!

First up was the Accordion Pocket which is one of the external pockets that will be attached to the outer front piece. Attaching the lining to the outer fabric to make the basis for the pocket was easy enough but then it was onto talk of mountain and valley lines to make the Accordion shape. Now I know that mountains point up and valleys down but it is all about the orientation; so does the mountain point up towards the outer edge or up to the centre? I finally ended up with the required folds but it was all somewhat of a puzzle. Then when it came to attaching the pocket to the front outer piece I wasn’t sure if I was sewing along mountains or valleys or what I was supposed to be doing – guess work and fingers crossed worked best at this stage.

The back pocket was easy enough to sew because it is very much like sewing a patch pocket to a skirt so I knew what I was doing there and then there are the 2 inside pockets – the internal zip pocket is something I have done once before so again although the instructions are vague I managed that without too much puzzling. Logic kicked in for the elastic pocket; the instructions say you need 1/2 yard so I measured out my elastic to the required length; made my elastic channel and threaded it through; gathered the bottom section of the pocket and got ready to attach the elastic pocket to the back lining piece. Now with the length of elastic I was using the top of the pocket was going to sag forward because the elastic was longer than the pocket so I cut the elastic down to make the pocket sit flush against the back lining piece. Perhaps I am being pernickety but a complete novice could easy get lost.

The flap is supposed to fasten against the front with a hook and loop fastener (basically what I know as Velcro – I had to look that one up) I did do this initally but I really didn’t like how the Velcro looked and thought it made a rather messy finish. I then tried snap fasteners but soon realised that they probably wouldn’t take the strain of being constantly pulled open and I would end up tearing the fabric. I ended up adding buttons and button holes (to hide the holes that the snap fasteners had made) although it probably doesn’t really need anything.

Loop holders are made and attached to the gusset of the bag (these will eventually be used for attaching the long strap). I do really like how they are finished off with some faux leather; I have had a couple of pieces of this in my stash for quite some time; I won it in a raffle at SewBrum a couple of years ago.

Another part that I think could of been better explained to me the novice was how to attach the top zip closure. Once the zip closure is made the zip panel lining is attached to the assembled bag lining and sewn together. This leaves the zip panel outer fabric still loose and it will be sew up when the outer and lining are joined together around the top edge so there are a few layers that need to be lined up when joining the lining to the outer bag.

All this said I am really pleased with how it turned out. I love all the pocket options and it definitely feels secure with the top zip closure and the flap and I will be exploring more bag making in the future. It’s also a great way of using up remnants; all the fabric I used was left over from previous projects so I had no additional expenditure when making this bag.

Papercut Patterns Mirri Jumpsuit

Every so often a pattern comes along that I purchase without hesitation – it happened last year when I saw the Dayo Dress released and knew I wanted to make it straight away and it happened again when Papercut Patterns released their new collection and I spotted the Mirri Jumpsuit.

I am usually late to the party with pattern releases; liking to see makes on Instagram first so that I can get an idea of what it will look like on different body shapes and in different fabrics but this pattern really excited me when I saw it and I knew I just couldn’t wait.

I have become a real fan of jumpsuits over the last couple of years; my love affair started a couple of years ago when I made the Burnside Bibs; I had hesitated for so long over that pattern thinking that jumpsuits wouldn’t really suit me but now it is up there as one of my favourite patterns and I have 3 in my wardrobe (2 which are regularly worn and a short version that requires sunshine).

https://wordpress.com/post/jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/1135

So onto the Mirri Jumpsuit; I much prefer buying paper patterns to PDF partly because I like the whole experience of the physical object – very much like my preference for vinyl records; it’s a very tactile experience and partly because of the whole taping together of pieces of paper although there are now a lot of options to get A0 printing services. After lots of scouring of the internet I only managed to find one shop that had the paper version in stock and that was £23 & then adding postage to that of £3.50 and it was more than I was willing to pay – had I had more patience then I could have got it cheaper – I have since found it online for £17.50 but like I said I wanted it straight away and Papercut Patterns had a special offer on for the new launch so I purchased the PDF pattern for just over £9.

I had some confusion over printing the pattern – my fault entirely – the test square measured correctly in inches but not in cms and I couldn’t understand why; it wasn’t until I put a plea out for help on Instagram and someone suggested measuring the cms starting further along my tape measure that I realised that my tape was wrong and not the test square; I felt pretty silly after this especially when I had messaged Papercut to raise the query.

The sticking together of the paper pieces went smoothly and it really isn’t that difficult; we have just had a kitchen refurb and now have an island which was an ideal place to sit and do this. Next up was to work out my sizing before tracing it out. My measurements are 35/32/39 and on the measurement guide I was actually closer to the size 3 bust measurement at 34.6 compared to the size 4 at 37 but decided to go with the size 4 because it should be fairly easy to take the seams in if required. Both the front and back bodice pieces are cut as single pieces with a centre seam rather than on the fold. I graded up to the size 5 for my waist and also took 2 inches off the length of the trousers before cutting – Papercut Patterns use a model height of 5’7″ and I am only 5’3″ so should be able to lose 4″ but I left a little extra length to play with for the hem and also I do like to wear my trousers quite long.

The fabric I used was a viscose/linen blend that I purchased from Felicity Fabrics last year. I purchased 2.5 metres at 135cm wide but realised I wasn’t going to have enough if I wanted to cut the pockets and facings out of the same material. As it happened Felicity Fabrics were selling off a remnant of 70cm for £4.95 so I decided to send off for that although I could have cut the pockets and facings from contrasting fabric had I wished to. The fabric wasn’t that easy to cut out; although it is a good weight the viscose content makes it somewhat slippery and it was difficult to lay it out flat especially at the moment – our large kitchen table is currently out of action so I have to cut out on the floor on my hands and knees (I’m definitely not as young as I used to be!)

I usually like to cut on folded fabric but to get the most pieces out of this fabric I did have to use the cutting layout for the pattern and cut each piece on a single layer which was pretty time consuming. Out of my original pieces of fabric I managed to cut the 2 front and back trouser pieces, the 2 front and back bodice pieces and 4 pocket pieces. The remnant I sent for was used for the front and back facings with some left over.

I used an overlocker to neaten all the edges; the only cones I have are in black and white so I decided to use some regular Gutermann thread in green tones and a rainbow thread that I have had for some time just to give a nicer finish on the inside. This is the first time I have used a Papercut Pattern and the instructions are excellent with really good guidance along with very clear diagrams.

The first stage is all about preparing the facings but because I wanted to get started and was waiting for my extra fabric I skipped right to working on the front bodice; I like how the tie is incorporated into the front bodice piece and you sew the tie section right sides together and turn through so that the seams of the tie and all hidden away inside the fabric. One thing I would say is important is ironing at each stage to get a really crisp finish. Once the 2 front pieces have been sewn and ironed then they can be joined together at the centre seam and the back pieces can be attached at the shoulder seams.

By the time I had finished this stage my remnant had arrived from Felicity Fabrics (super fast service from them) and I was able to get on with the facings. The jumpsuit has 2 options – with or without sleeves. I opted for the sleeveless version so the facings are attached to the bodice at the neckline and around the armhole right sides together and pulled through the bodice to get it all the right way round.

Next I was onto the trousers; after attaching the pockets to the side seams it was onto joining the leg pieces all together. I have come across a couple of different ways to sew up trouser legs and the Papercut instructions used my preferred method. Firstly the crotch seams are sewn – front legs right sides together are sewn from the waistline to the top of the inside leg and then onto back legs are sewn from the zip notch to the top of the inside leg. Once this is done then the front legs can be placed on top of the back legs right sides together and they can be pinned and sewn up at the side seams and around the pockets and then the inside leg seams can be sewn from hem to hem. I always put an extra row of stitches just around the crotch area for extra strength. It’s then time to join the bodice to the trousers and then onto the finer detail.

The instructions for the zip are the one part that is a little vague and a little knowledge is obviously assumed here. I have sewn a few zips but still need a little bit of hand holding so usually refer back to the instructions on my Experimental Space Rosalee Dress where Andrea gives one of the best methods and explanation in my opinion. This method of inserting the zip takes a little time but I think it is worth it and my zip ended up well concealed. Firstly you sew up the zip seam stopping at the zip notch; the part of the seam where the zip is going is then sewn with a basting stitch and the zip can then be placed over this seam (the right side of the zip should be touching the seam). The zip can then be pinned and basted to the seam only making sure not to catch the front of the dress. Once the zip is tacked into place along the seam then the original basting stitch along the seamline can be removed and the zip opened. It’s then onto the sewing machine to stitch it all in place. I am pretty pleased with how my zip turned out; it’s certainly something I am improving at with practice.

I love jumpsuits and this one is no exception and I imagine I will probably end up with more than one in my wardrobe. I am happy with the fit although I could probably get away with sizing down slightly next time but it is definitely a winner.

Total Cost £42.25

Olive Viscose/Linen @£10 per metre £25.oo Fabric Remnant £ 4.95 Matching Thread x 2 @ £1.65 £ 3.30 Pattern £ 9.00 Button from gifted tin

Another Bloomsbury Blouse Hack

If you have read any of my recent posts then you will know I currently have a bit of an obsession over ruffles and the Bloomsbury Blouse by Nina Lee is up there as my favourite. I recently hacked the blouse into a dress and added an extra wide ruffle which you can read about here:

https://wordpress.com/post/jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/1626

I was so pleased with how it turned out and have worn it several times already; I feel smart but casual wearing it which is very much what my day to day wear is about during these lockdown times (that and secret pyjamas) – we currently have light at the end of the tunnel here in the UK and hopefully if all goes to plan we may be able to start socialising a little in the not too distant future.

The fabric I used this time is some light blue chambray from my local sewing shop – Sew With Holly and it was a bargain at just £7 per metre.

https://www.sewwithholly.co.uk/product-page/cotton-chambray

This time I went with the regular sized ruffle from the pattern but decided I wanted to change the sleeves. I made a dress last summer during lockdown 1 (the Dayo Dress – Sewing Patterns by Masin) and although I love it I haven’t really had much call to wear it – hopefully all that will change soon; this dress has a really nice sleeve detail so I decided to use these.

I traced around the armscye of the Bloomsbury sleeve and then just followed the shape of the Dayo sleeve. The sleeve hems are finished off with shirring elastic which I much prefer to ordinary elastic and it really isn’t as difficult as I imagined it would be. The trick is to hand wind the bobbin with the elastic not pulling it too tightly and then to do a few practice runs until the tension is correct. I didn’t actually need to alter the tension on my machine; I just used my longest straight stitch and it gathered pretty well whilst I was sewing but a little steam from the iron really works the magic.

I am finding a real appreciation for plain fabrics lately. When I first started sewing it was all about the strong bold and fun prints. I am sure I will still find room for a few more of those in the future but I am currently more than happy adding some plains to my wardrobe.

Total Cost £15.95

Blue Chambray £14.00 Gutermann Thread Blue £1.95 Buttons Free in gift bag

Broderie Anglaise Lily Top

I haven’t been doing much sewing lately, we are currently having some home renovations – we have just had a new kitchen fitted (a week of takeaways wasn’t much fun!) and eventually our old conservatory will be altered and knocked through to make a dining/sitting area which will also serve as my new sewing area. In the mean time most of my sewing is packed away and I can’t find anything!

I am still keeping up with the sewing community by browsing Instagram and a couple of weeks ago I won a lovely little bundle of goodies from one of my favourite shops.

Felicity Fabrics have been running a weekly competition under the hashtag #fridayfun and each week a lucky winner receives a mystery box. I was fortunate to win a couple of weeks ago and received a wonderful box of goodies: 1 metre of white Broderie Anglaise, a matching thread, some lovely buttons and a tube of hand cream which is something I keep on my bedside table and use daily.

I haven’t sewn with Broderie Anglaise before and if I am perfectly honest it probably wouldn’t of been a fabric that I would of chosen for myself but this turned out to be a good thing because I love what I have made. The fabric is a lightweight cotton so in that respect is fairly stable of sew with but the holes do add to the challenge.

I needed to use a pattern that I had already got cut out, tracing and cutting out new patterns isn’t really something I can face in our current chaos. I first made the Experimental Space Lily Top last year when I pattern tested for it. This is a great choice because it only needs 1 metre of fabric and there are only 4 pattern pieces so I was able to find a spot on the living room floor for my cutting board and cut it out there.

Although the fabric itself isn’t see-through all the holes that make up the flower pattern could of left me feeling a little exposed so I decided to line the front and back bodice with some lightweight cotton voile that I had in my stash. To do this I just tack the lining to the main fabric and treated it as one piece.

The top has bust darts and then the neckline is finished off with bias binding, I cut out the bias binding from the Broderie Anglaise, I’m not sure that this was one of my better ideas, trying to fold a narrow strip of fabric with holes in around a raw edge proved a little tricky but with a lot of patience I got there in the end and I think it looks good but perhaps a simple piece of white cotton would of been an easier option.

The selvedge edge of the fabric was a plain cotton (no cut out design) and originally I did cut a strip of this to use for the ruffle but at the last minute I changed my mind and decided to cut out a strip with the holes instead, I am glad I did and think this adds to the overall look. I love how the ruffle goes around the neck and onto the shoulders and think it gives a simple top that little bit of interest and of course I had to add a label and this one seams appropriate because ‘Yes’ I have finally got round to some more sewing after several weeks away which is a long time for me.

I really love how this top turned out and am so glad that this fabric was chosen for me because as I said earlier it wouldn’t of been something that I would of thought to buy myself. I know I will get plenty of wear out of it especially now the weather is starting to improve here in the UK and spring is on its way.

Decorating not Sewing (A new kitchen)

We are currently having some home improvements done but this unfortunately means I am struggling to find time or space for sewing.

I have always used our kitchen table for sewing with my material, machines and haberdashery stored in various rooms but we have decided to have a new kitchen and convert the conservatory into the dining/sitting area which will be open plan into the kitchen. This was our previous kitchen just before removal:

We have removed the back door and have added a longer window above the sink; this caused some confusion for our cat who has always been able to come and go at will through the cat-flap that was cut into the door; she will eventually get a new cat-flap in the wall of the extension but at the moment she is very unwilling to leave the house at all so that should be fun trying to tempt her back outside into the fresh air; her current favourite place of residence in on my side of the bed out of the way of all the upheaval. The garden will eventually be accessed via some bi-folding doors which will be at the front of the extension – this was our old conservatory which never had much use because it was always too cold in winter and too warm in summer. The conservatory is down now and we are having more brickwork added to support a tiled roof with some Velux windows to keep the light. We have managed to hold onto some of the old frames and glass from the conservatory and these will be used along the one side of the extension.

The patio doors that can be seen in the last photo above will eventually be removed to give one open plan room.

The new kitchen was fitted last week and it is quite a transformation and I am so pleased with the colour scheme we decided on; we just need a new window shelf put in which should be done next week and a bit of skirting board but we are nearly there for that part of the house.

Our garden that we spent so much time working on last year is looking pretty much like a building site now but hopefully we will have it back to normal in a few weeks and we should be able to enjoy the garden view from our new sitting area.