Sunday, March 04, 2018

Coffee and Cocktails #dayandnightdresschallenge

I did kind of mention this way back at the beginning of February but I had kind of decided that I just wouldn't get around to it ah well these things happen. Then the weather gave me snow days!!! Yippee! My children are too big to need me to go out and play in the snow so I have had three lovely extra days. Ok so I didn't get to spend all of it sewing but on Friday morning I decided that I would go for it and complete the challenge.

The Belledone dress by Dear and Doe was bought for my birthday last summer and it has been on my things to do list since then. One of the reasons that I hadn't got around to making it was quite simply the bias binding. All of the versions that I had seen, that I loved, had extra binding on the back detail. Well not only do I hate playing with bias binding I just couldn't work out how to add it for this detail so I kind of ended up procrastinating and just ignoring it.

Giving myself such a short deadline I didn't have time to fiddle about so I did two things that I rarely do.

1. I cut the pattern ( I can always get net printer to print me a pristine new one)

2 and this which is worse I cut a size smaller than I would usually make and kept everything crossed (I usually make it too big and then take it in)!

Luckily both of these extravagances paid off although I did have to adjust the zipper seam allowance in order to pull it up my back.

For Coffee I am wearing a Rose and Hubble cotton that I bought back in September from the Pound a yard store in Dewsbury. I had two metres and with a slightly lengthened skirt I had just enough. knew I wanted the bias binding to be a feature and when I saw this hot pink on Saturday In my local Samual Taylors I knew I had found it.

So if you are interested to add bias binding to the back just follow the folding instructions for the back pieces and then add the bias binding over the top. I also decided to add it to the waistband. For the bias binding at the waist I folded the bias binding in half and then sewed that seam with a 1/4 inch seam allowance instead of the usual. 

The dress turned out exactly as I envisaged. My DH said it was too nice for a coffee date and my daughter said it was the nicest thing I have ever made myself. In all honesty, the bias binding isn't perfect ( anything but) I think it is only me that will notice!!

For Cocktails ( or for a dinner date with my husband later this month) I used the scraps leftover from my youngest daughter's prom dress. 

I trimmed it with black bias binding from my stash. This bias binding is synthetic and was much easier to work with but even this wasn't perfect. I realise it probably won't get that much wear as it really isn't that practical. Who cares ! 

I love this dress not only is it really pretty but it makes me think of my children at Prom.

Both dresses were made exactly to the pattern... well except for the extra bias binding and extra skirt length:) It was really nice making two of the same thing at once. I used to do it all the time when the twins were little. It actually doesn't take any more time than making one. I maybe should keep that in mind for my future makes!

Till next time happy stitching!!

Arianwen x

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Sneaking in another Southbank and March Plans

Hello all, I promise not to start every month with pictures of Southbank Sweater dresses but here is another taken at the sculpture park, last week. I fell in the mud less than 10 minutes after it was taken which amused my daughter no end !! I have to say I wasn't as productive as I was hoping during February , it just seemed to speed by .

I haven't quite finished my Ninilchik Swoncho although I only have one more sleeve so hopefully over the weekend I can put that to bed! I managed to finish Rumana which was my #2018sewmystyle feb challenge and as it turned out my #2018makenine project too. My fabric stash, however, seems to be growing at an alarming rate.Whoops! During half-term I managed a trip to Fabworks will Eleanor from nelnanandnora and my youngest. It was our first meet up and was great fun pottering around the fabric shops. Unfortunately, I actually think it is impossible to go into Fabworks and come home empty handed!  

So these are my purchases . The green jersey was just crying out to be a Southbank Sweater Dress and was a bargain as it was in the remnants bin. I think from start to finish it took less than two hours. Immediate gratification!! I love these dresses, they are perfect for dressing up or down and the have the distinct advantage of being really warm. I can see more in my near future!

So Plans for March. First up is the Closet Case Kalle pattern I have been eyeing this up since Lauren Guthrie made her version last year and as I have now discovered via @SewSarahSmith on instagram a button covering service how awesome is that? I can’t wait to use them! I am also planning on sewing up all of my new stash. 

The pink will be a pair of ultimate trousers ( my first pair of trousers gulp!!!) and the stripes will be an Agnes. 

The dark teal I have 2.5 metres and I am thinking maybe the SOI 1940's wrap dress but that idea might change. The camouflage belongs to my daughter so I don't need to worry about that :)

I also have joined up #makeyourstash the idea is you make up something that you have had in your stash for at least 6 months. I have some pretty pale pink Corduroy left over from my Cleo Pinafore so I am hoping that I have enough to make a SOI Erin Skirt. I am hoping to do the pockets etc in this stripey quilting fabric which has been in my stash for at least 8 years

So those are my sewing plans ....

For knitting I am planning to cast on Carbeth I have a whole load of Bright Turquoise yarn that has been in stash for years which I think will be perfect doubled up!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rumana -For those days when you want to be a pirate!

For those of you who don't know, I love coats! For other women it is shoes or handbags, but for me it is coats! I bought my first Duster coat from Wallis when I was 16. A beautiful, black wool and cashmere mix floor length wrap. It was beautiful and I loved it! I wore it daily until I was about 22 and I fell in love with bright, orangey red, wool and cashmere mix in the Hobbs window. It was floor length, shawl collared and fastened with a large single button. I bought a medium in case I got fat which turned out to be a good plan as I wore through my first pregnancy and then later with my eldest tucked up inside. This one I wore until I moved to Yorkshire where the world seemed more straight laced and conservative and it languished in my cupboard for a number of years until a lack of space in my wardrobe demanded that I threw it out.

Now don't get me wrong I have had lots of lovely coats from Boden and from Hobbs since then but none of them have been dusters and none as amazing as the first two!

When I saw the Rumana coat on Instagram I literally gasped! The perfect coat!!!

As soon as it was released on Boxing day I bought it. It went straight into my #2018makenine and was the reason I signed up to #2018sewmystyle.

I had imagined a dark coloured coat with a bright lining a bit like this one that I have been drooling over for the last 16 years. 

As I said in my last post I bought the lovely Melton Fabric from Ebay and I was drawn to the beautiful lady McElroy fabrics for the lining but the one that I really liked had been chosen by one of pattern testers. Well let's face it if you are going to make a coat, you want it to be unique so I decided to carry on looking!

Then I had a brainwave!! Parrots!! I love parrots they are smart and colourful and they are linked to pirates and adventure! This gorgeous fabric has been in my stash since just before Christmas , I bought it from the Pound a yard store in Dewsbury and I had thought I might make an Anna dress out of it. My eldest assures me it is Ted Baker, but I honestly don't care it is the perfect finishing touch for my coat.

I made the size 12 measuring off of a coat that I own as I figured that measuring for a coat in my underwear probably wasn't the best way of tackling the sizing. I think I could of probably have graded down a size especially at the bust for something a little more fitted but as they say hindsight is 20/20!

The pattern pieces fit together really well without having to juggle any of the pieces. Which was just as well as I decided on making welt buttonholes and the Colette instructions I followed cut both the front and the facing at the same time. Nerve wracking !

However, the instructions are not really what you would expect from By Hand London. I have a feeling that they were as excited to give us the pattern as the sewing community was to receive it and consequently the written instructions and the diagrams are sparse. After I had sewn the sides together I realised the Pale pink one that Elisalex had made had top stitching on the pockets but as far as I could see there wasn't an mention of this so I unpicked and put them in. I know that they are planning a sew along and I will definitely look at that for the bits that really had me scratching my head.

So my coat. I love it. It is pretty much perfect. I added shoulder pads for a little bit more structure. The sleeves are still a little puffier than I would like, I think probably because of my fabric choice, so I might unpick at some point and shave a bit off the sleeve head.This is only a slight niggle. The whole thing feels really luxurious and wearing it feels elegant.Though the lining is wild and panders to my 16 year old self. 

The footnote to my story is that both of my previous much loved dusters had a hole in the lining where I stuck my foot through it... Each piece of damage was done within the first week. Back then I wasn't really a sewer and the holes were badly stitched. This time, however, I am ready I saved some of the lining as you can't really being a pirate without a Patch!

Till next time happy sewing


Sunday, February 18, 2018

If you give a man a fish....

Evening all,
be prepared for a photo filled post as I am very proud of this project and I was in charge of the camera rather than the sewing machine!

My husband has been, over the years, fairly instrumental in my sewing. Not that he is ecstatic with my fabric stash, or the pins strewn around the dining room, but he did buy my Janome 9000 for me and he critiques what I have made. However he has never wanted me to sew anything for him as he says he has clothes.

However he has said as a throw away comment many times " I would like to learn how to use the sewing machine". I think because he has never jumped up and down about it, his learning has always gone to the back of the queue. Anyway I was kind of stuck for the perfect Christmas present and decided teaching him would be perfect.

He had in mind that maybe he would make a cushion or something really simple. Now at 6'4 clothes that fit are hard to come by so I figured he would get more pleasure out of a beautiful garment, that he had made himself, that fit .

I showed him all of the wonderful Thread Theory Patterns and some of the great projects that people had made.

We decided on the Belvedere Waistcoat, I got it printed by NetPrinter as I hate the sticking and assumed that the cut and paste method might send him running for the hills. Then we went and chose fabric together during the Christmas Holidays from the amazing Fabworks in Dewsbury.

I pointed him towards the right types of fabrics and he chose. I was very surprised by the purple, as although he isn't particularly conservative in his clothing choice he wouldn't usually choose purple or pinks, but I actually think it was the perfect choice!

He was very precise and meticulous about every aspect of the make, it was interesting to see how unlike me he doesn't just accept the instructions but strives to know what will happen to his fabric before he has stitched anything.

I have to say that the instructions in the pattern were very good and the sew a long online definitely helped with the knowing!
Obviously until you have made a welt pocket you really cant understand, but the look of amazement he turned the cloth on the ironing board and saw pockets was just incredible.

He is also the only sewer I have ever met who doesn't swear when un-picking buttonholes! We followed the pattern to letter except we moved the "gap" at the bottom to the back of the lining as he doesn't like hand sewing and the closing could then be done on the machine.

His attention to detail has paid off and he has created a pretty amazing first piece of clothing. He has plans for more makes so I really hope he continues even if it does mean I have to share my machine.

So what do you think? Are you impressed? Any suggestions of what he should make next or plans for his wardrobe?

Till next time

Happy stitching


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines here's to my new love.

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

I hope you have the day that you want. Personally, I am very happy as I have a new love, a new skill!

There are amazing freehand embroidery artists on Instagram,you cannot help but be inspired by their work. Probably the one that I love the most is @amandastinton I am smitten with her bees.

I only had one resolution this year and that was to try my hand at a little freehand embroidery myself. I wasn't sure if I would like it, I wasn't sure I would want to do lots of it but I did want to try it at some point.

At the end of January I signed up to take part in #2018sve a secret valentine exchange. The idea was somebody made something for you and you made something for somebody else. Each participant filled in a questionnaire and that information was passed on. I was going to make for a nice lady called Melanie who lived in Norfolk. I didn't get much from her answers but her Instagram kind of gave me the idea that she might like hares and I started looking at hare quilt designs. However the more I thought about it the more I became convinced it would be a good time to try out some free hand embroidery. I had plenty of time - if it was a mess I could still make something else.

I am really, really glad that I had a go. I absolutely loved making him it was so therapeutic. I wouldn't say that I did it exactly as I was supposed to ( that is the joys of self taught) and I had a stressful half an hour unpicking the paper pattern from my stitching. When it was complete I was so proud of my first piece, although I do think he looks a bit like a grumpy rabbit from water-ship down, he is made completely from scraps which is always a bonus and my family have commissioned one for our house as they didn't want me to let him go. Anyway I sent him out into the world and he is loved so all in all a very satisfying Valentine make!

Did you join in #2018sve? what did you make?

Till next time Happy stitching

Arianwen x

Thursday, February 01, 2018

The Southbank Dress and Plans for February.

There has been a lot of Jersey in January and I have managed to get one more little project in before the serious sewing of February begins.

Fabricate had their first birthday a couple of weeks back and some friends and I an impromptu visit. I had said I didn't need anything, I also said I wasn't buying anything. Hmmm............

They had a really good deal on, If you spent £25 you would get a free pattern. There was so much choice I was very overwelmed and I did nearly manage to walk away empty handed. Then I spotted this beautiful sweatshirt material and the Southbank sweater pattern and that was the end of my resolve! They then had a lucky dip which I won a tin of sewing machine needles, so really the whole lot was a bargain. Honest!

Now the last time I had a jumper dress like this, I was eleven. My mum bought it from C&A it was grey and pink had a logo across the front and I loved it and wore it to death! So I was pretty excited when I saw this pattern and the versions that keep popping up on instagram.

The pattern said 1.6m fabric requirements, I bought 1.5 and got it easily out that, but had none to spare. I whipped it up on the overlocker on Saturday morning so it was a very satisfying make. The pattern is very straight forward and easy to follow, although I did have a bit of a panic when I saw how small the neck band was ( I wasn't sure it was going to fit over my big head). I originally added the pockets, but I took them off as they added too much bulk in this fabric. If I make it again, which I think I will and I was adding pockets,I would move them up as for me they were a little low down.

It is cosy and warm, bright and cheerful and just perfect for grey days.

Well I have to say I am pretty pleased with how creative I managed to be in January. Like most people who create, how much time I get at it definitely has an affect on how I feel in myself.

As I want it to be fun,I just have three main plans for February. The biggest being Rumana. I bought this beautiful melton wool from Ebay and I have to say the photo doesn't really do it justice. It is really fine and soft and the colour is just beautiful!

The second is the Ninilchik Swoncho I am planning on using odd balls of Drops Nepal and a couple of other bits that I have in stash. I have a feeling I might need to buy a couple but hopefully not too many.

I am also going to try and take part in an other instagram challenge #dayandnightdresschallenge it is going from the 22-28 and I would like to make Belledone by Dear and Doe patterns. Though with Rumana I am not sure if that is a bit optimistic!

Till next time, happy stitching

Arianwen x

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