Thursday, 18 June 2015

Little Black Lilou Dress

I made my first Lilou dress from Tilly and the Buttons book Love at First Stitch last summer, after receiving the book for my birthday. It was my first ever lined garment, and is one of the best fitting dresses I own (RTW or otherwise!) and yet somehow never made it to it's own blog post.
So I decided it was about time I made another. I actually don't have many summery dresses at all so now the sun is out its about time I cracked on with the summer sewing!
As soon as I saw the 'make it your own' section for the Lilou dress, instructions for doing a scallop neckline, I knew I had to make one at some point. I decided a solid colour would show off the scallops best, and every girl needs a little black summery dress. The fabric is black poplin and I used a black cotton lawn for the bodice lining.

I forgot the pattern needed a 60" width fabric (sheer fluke I bought the right width for the first one!) so I decided to do a gathered skirt. I also chose to line the skirt as well. The poplin was easy to see through in direct sunlight, and I didn't fancy flashing my knickers to half of London....
As it was a last minute decision I had to use the left over poplin, and gather it separately to the top layer as it wasn't wide enough. When it came to attaching the zip to the lining and finishing the seam, I made it up as I went along and it looks pretty darn good. A testament to my sewing progress!
The back looks a bit wrinkled in the above photo but I think that's just the skirt rucking up a little and my bad posture... it does fit very well. (honest!)
I made one fitting adjustment from my last Lilou, taking some of the length out of the shoulder strap as it was a bit loose. This resulted in a lovely sitting neckline and shoulders, but unfortunately I didn't think about the armscye which is now a little too snug.
Despite that one tiny annoyance, everything else about this dress I absolutely love. It's cute but the colour stops it being too cutesy and means it will go with anything! Its also got to be the neatest item I've made when looked at inside out. Not a single raw seam to be seen! (now that's easier to write than say....)
Emily Kate

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt

In my quest to fill my wardrobe with everyday staple items, that can transgress seasons and are appropriate for work, I recently invested in a couple of new patterns, the Named Wenona shirt, and Sewaholic's Hollyburn skirt. Ive already blogged about my first version of the Wenona here, and I've made two more sleeveless versions which I'll blog about another day.  

So this is my first Hollyburn, but hopefully not my last. I picked view B for this version as I liked the button tab detail and the mid length, not too dowdy or too short for work. (bearing in mind I work with children...!) This is the first pattern I've used in a while that is printed on traditional pattern paper, rather than standard paper or needed to be traced, and I'd forgotten just how flimsy it is. Really I should have traced it, but as this only needs your waist measurement and I was bang on the size 10 I decided to be naughty and just cut it straight out.
The fabric I used is a mid weight shirting cotton I picked up at Fabrics Galore in a medium/royal blue colour with some white woven in. The buttons I used are white with a tiny Aztec style print on them in grey.

I found the instructions really straightforward to follow and as this is labelled as a beginner pattern I'm pretty chuffed about that, as perhaps it's okay to label myself as intermediate now. The pocket instructions were great, including the understitching. If I had sewn this for my very first project as a beginner I would certainly have understood understitching so much more than I did at the time. I managed to sew the whole thing up in just one afternoon/evening session, having cut out the pattern the night before. It could have been just a couple of hours but I decided to hand slip-stitch the hem and the waistband facing down. That took considerably longer, but was good hand-sewing practice and the hem is very nearly invisible.
I really like the style of this skirt especially worn with a sleeveless shirt tucked in. It is quite 40's/50's in style, an era of fashion I really love, in part due to my recent discovery of Mad Men! The fabric was a good choice, its cool in summer but should also work in colder weather over tights. When I make another I may take a couple of inches off as I like my skirts to sit just above the knee, rather than below as this one does. However it does mean this version is just about suitable to cycle in (I have a low framed bike so no knickers are flashed!)
I already have a second version of this planned for this summer, using a bit of colour blocking inspired by a RTW skirt I saw somewhere recently.

Emily Kate.


Friday, 5 June 2015

Me Made May....Part 2

It's been a while since my last post I'm afraid... but never fear, it doesn't mean I'm not sewing, just that all this photo taking rather tired me out!
As I said in my last post, this Me Made May I made it my mission to see how may days I could go wearing a different handmade item before I had run out. I made it to 25 different items, although there are a few in my closet that I didn't wear. One summer dress I completely forgot about, and although May has been reasonably nice it was unlikely my rather short shorts were going to be able to put in an appearance.
 I also have one or two items that I just don't think are very 'me' and border on me looking frumpy, so decided not to wear them just for the sake of it. After all, the point was to learn about my wardrobe and what items I actually wear. So hey, if it was February I could have done a different item each day (although Me Made February doesn't have quite the same ring)
I learnt quite a bit about my wardrobe, and my style. I really need many more separates, and things that are suitable for work. I also realised that my staple black and grey cardis that I chuck on most days can be quite a downer on an outfit. Not so stylish. So on that note on my sewing table at the moment is the new Grainline Morris blazer pattern, and a staple Burda 7062 trouser pattern I'm hoping can be the first trouser pattern I really master.
I have loads of sewing plans over the next couple of months to really flesh out my summer wardrobe ( the autumn? Ha!) but I've decided to really think about my pattern choices. I find I can get super excited about a pattern but then realise later that it's not really very me, or wouldn't suit my body shape. I definitely feel that my personal style has changed as I head into my later twenties, a few less twee mini dresses around..
All this photo taking everyday has also really helped me to love my new bob haircut, that I wasn't 100% sure about before!
So here are my last 11 handmade items, not in date order...
       Self drafted dress                                                       GBSB boyfriend shirt

GBSB tunic with scalloped edge                                  Salme playsuit pattern

 Tilly and the Buttons Clemence skirt                                   GBSB Tunic
     Self-drafted t-shirt                                                      Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt
   Self drafted vintage dress                                      Named Wenona shirt without sleeves

      GBSB tote bag pattern 
Emily Kate. 

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!