Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Me Made May 2015

For Me Made May this year, I decided to see how many days I could manage wearing a different handmade item before I had run out. I thought it would also be a great opportunity to take a proper look at my wardrobe and how far my sewing has come since I first started almost 2 years ago.
So this is a round up of the first 14 days and I've managed a different item each day so far! Some of which like my New Look basic top I had pretty much forgotten I owned, and I love the fabric print in that one. What I've realised so far is that all my me made items are mostly tops and dresses with the odd skirt. I have loads on my sewing list for summer, and I've decided now to stick with mostly separates. I've just purchased a new trouser pattern to make up some light cotton trousers for summer, and you can expect to see a few more versions of the named shirt, possibly my favourite pattern yet!
For more details on each item, follow me at emilykatemakes on Instagram.
        Named Shirt Dress .                                                              Folded Mini-skirt
     Sewaholic Robson Coat                                                           New Look 6483 Top
Tilly and the Buttons Delphine Skirt                               Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress
  Tunic from first GBSB book.                                         Tilly and the Buttons Mimi blouse
         Self drafted T-shirt                                                Wrap dress from 2nd GBSB book
Named Shirt with pleat detail.                                          Hacking jacket from 1st GBSB book
Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress                              Button back blouse from GBSB 1st book (Mathilde)
 Emily Kate.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Named Wenona Dress

I've been drooling over various shirt makes on Instagram and Bloglovin for a few months now, but rather than rush out and buy every pattern I loved, I decided to invest in just one that I could use for several different looks.
I just adore the Wenona from Named Clothing, it comes as a shirt/dress pattern already with an option to add a pleat detail. It's a loose fit that's super comfy and looks great cinched in at the waist with a belt. I've been looking for a RTW denim shirt dress since before I started sewing, so I thought this was finally the perfect opportunity to make my own.
The pattern comes on one big sheet that means you have to trace the pieces and add seam allowances before cutting out. It's probably a good thing as I'm usually super lazy and cut out my pattern pieces when I shouldn't but even so...I did resent it a little.
The instructions are pretty clear and easy to follow. It says you should always match up the pattern pieces edge to edge, but I found I had a fair bit of extra length when sewing the sleeve panel to the back so I lined up the edge minus the seam allowances and it worked just fine. I also found the sleeve vent to be really long, so I haven't sorted out the buttons on the cuffs just yet, I think i'll need to add a button or two along the vent also. This was also my first time doing a shirt with a collar and collar stand and the instructions were so helpful I didn't even need to Google like usual! The fabric I used is a mid-weight, soft blue denim from Fabrics Galore.
My favourite thing about this pattern is the point at the back of the collar with the button, and also the sleeve panel, a perfect opportunity for colour blocking.
I've already made another version of the Wenona that will be appearing on the blog soon, and I've already got plans for at least two more in the next month or so.
I've decided this will be my pattern for One Week One Pattern in September!

Emily Kate.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

What's New in the Shop in April....?

Now it's been a couple of months since I last did one of these, I got a bit sidetracked with sewing things for myself as usual! But I have two new skyline pillows to share with you today.. Berlin and Sydney.
I thought t'was about time I did an Aussie city, as I do get a fair few orders from down under, and what a iconic one to do, with the Opera House and harbour bridge.
Berlin is much like Paris and London where the iconic buildings are older palaces and churches rather than skyscrapers, so an intricate one to sew. This pillow cover features the Reichstag building and Brandenburg Gate, among others.
Next in the pipeline I'm planning to do a few more European cities, perhaps Barcelona and Edimburgh. I'm also intending to do a few more U.S cities, as I've already sold quite a few Chicago and San Francisco ones!
In other news, I've just signed up to Me Made May 2015, so expect to see a lot more of me as I try and whip up a few more makes and showcase a few of my outfits....
Emily Kate. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Sewaholic Robson Trench Coat

Its been a little while since my last post, in which I mentioned I was working on quite a big project. So here it is...

I made a coat!!!!

This has definitely been my biggest sewing project to date, but is also probably the item I'm most proud of. It actually wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it might be to begin with. I'd done all of the techniques needed before, it was just the the sheer volume of fabric to cut and seams to sew, bind and topstitch that was a little daunting.
I actually finished it a couple of weeks ago nearly, as its already been worn out several times, had some tea spilt on it, and left the country with me on my trip to Ibiza last week!

The pattern is 'Robson' from Sewaholic Patterns, designed with pear-shaped ladies in mind.
The fabric I used is gabardine from Calico Laine, 35% cotton/65% polyester, in a 'light sage' colour. I decided to go for a polyester blend so it will wrinkle less than pure cotton and also hopefully absorb less water. Also, how could I not use gabardine when I learnt it was invented for trench coats in the info provided by Calico Laine...
"Gabardine Fabric was created in 1879 and was used during the first world war to create officer's trench coats. Many years later, Gabardine is still the first choice of fabric for all-weather protective clothing items such as workwear, overcoats and windbreakers."
The pattern I found nice and straightforward to follow, the pictures was particularly helpful when I wasn't sure. My measurements tie up nicely with Sewaholic sizes so I made a size 10, but graded down to an 8 at the hips as I'm not that much of a pear shape. I did worry it was a bit roomy at first, but I think that's right really for a coat you may want to wear over a few layers.
I found binding the seams tricky at times as I only bought 1/2" bias tape that was quite thin when folded over. At the front/side seams I had to finish the seam allowances separately as there was too much bulk.
There are quite a few dodgy stitching lines on the seam finishes, but on the outside I'm really happy with how neat it is. I finally feel I've got the hand of topstitching, not looking at the needle really works and ensuring your stitch length is suitable.
I also made a little label with my initials free-motion stitched on, and a little hook to hang it up!

I love how stylish this coat is, its a great edition to my spring wardrobe. What's more, it looks similar to one being advertised by Burberry at the moment, but cost just a fraction of the price!

Monday, 30 March 2015

My Spring/Summer 2015 Sewing Plans!

I haven't done a post in a couple of weeks as I've not had much to share with you all. You see I'm working on quite a big project at the moment, that will hopefully be finished later this week!
In the meantime I thought I would share my plans for my spring/summer sewing this year. Now although I haven't made a pledge to not buy any clothes this year, I still intend to sew whatever I can. I love the freedom and versatility it gives you, and after a trip to Oxford Street Primark earlier I'm in no hurry to run back into the world of fast fashion!
Although I'm not participating properly in the Wardrobe Architect Challenge, I have been following the posts, and decided to take stock of what's in my own closet. Now I know everyone says 'I have nothing to wear!' but really I have very little to wear at the moment! Or more to the point, I have clothes for the 7 days of actual summer we may get in the UK this year and for winter. What I don't have is things for the endless months of mild weather; shirts, skirts and trousers.
I have only really discovered just how many indie pattern companies there are nowadays in the last few months. So countless hours have been spent pouring over the pattern collections at the likes of Named, Sewaholic and Papercut, and these are a few patterns I've decided to invest in that are simple but stylish and great wardrobe staples.
Elisalex Dress - By Hand London
 Wenona Shirt and Dress - Named Clothing
 Ginger Jeans - Closet Case Files
 Hollyburn Skirt - Sewaholic Patterns
And.... a one-off item pattern that I'm completely in love with! I'm not sure it will ever get made as I don't think I've quite got the figure for it...
Ailakki Cross Front Jumpsuit
Emily Kate.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Wrap Dress from the Great British Sewing Bee Book 2!

This has been on my sewing list since about last summer when I got the Great British Sewing Bee - Sew Your Own Wardrobe book for my birthday. I don't have a wrap dress in my wardrobe and I thought one in a mid-weight jersey would be a good all-season make for British weather.
Its been pretty chilly here the last few days, but with tights, a coat and scarf I'm just warm enough. (so yes in this picture I'm pretty darn cold!) 
I'm also off on holiday in a few weeks time and a wrap dress will be great for a beach cover up.

The fabric I used is a medium weight cotton jersey with not too much stretch so it wasn't too difficult to sew. Its a grey/blue/turquoise fabric with a sort of swirly feather print on it. (Yes, that really is the best description I can do....)
All the seams I sewed with a double stitch as is recommended in the book, sewing along the seam line then 1/4" away with a zigzag stitch. I also used a double needle to sew the hems. I've been a bit scared of doing this in the past but it's actually really straightforward and super easy for finishing knit fabric hems.

I used a navy blue pre-bought bias binding, which I've not done before. I've made my own in the past a couple of times but I'm often a bit slap-dash when cutting it up. So pre-made binding made it a lot easier and its probably the neatest binding I've done. I'm pretty proud of my topstitching too!

I'm happy with the dress and the fit, although I'm not sure i'd make another. I feel I only need one wrap dress.... it definitely fills a gap in my wardrobe though!

What's on your sewing table at the moment? I've got lots of plans for my spring summer wardrobe this year so watch this space!

Not really sure what I'm doing here... thinking pose?
Emily Kate.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Clover Trousers!

I made some trousers! (or pants depending on which side of the pond you hail from) And they even sort of fit, as long as I have no intention of eating... or sitting down.. These have been been on my sewing list for so long, but I've shyed away from making them as I was scared about the fitting process. Confession time.... I have never really done any fitting alterations. I'm pretty lucky in that I'm a fairly standard size, not too pear shaped/too tall/too small, just distinctly average. I've taken out seams before, trying things on as I go, but this is the first garment I've made that the fit really mattered and would be very obvious.

This is my second muslin, the first pair I cut a standard size 10 but they were just a touch too tight around the waist and wouldn't quite do up. I also added about 3 inches to the length as they were much too short.

I used Sarai's fitting cheatsheet, which if you're thinking of making these is an absolute must read. I decided I needed a large waist adjustment, so I added an inch. It's not quite enough and perhaps with another inch these would be perfect. I'm happy with the fit everywhere else, there's not normally many wrinkles across the front at all, I think the way I'm standing is not helping!

The fabric I used is a stretch denim I found on sale for just £2 a metre, so it was perfect for a muslin. I didn't bother with the pockets for the second pair as I found them a bit impractical. I think for my next pair i'll try and add side ones instead, Sally Oh has a great tutorial for that here.

For my next pair I'm going to try a cotton twill in black probably and then when I've perfected the fit go for something more adventurous.

All in all though, for my first ever pair of trousers and my first real fitting challenge, they're not half bad. I do feel quite like Sandy from Grease though...