Friday, 28 February 2014

Sewing Bee Book Tunic

I've finally got around to finishing the first pattern from the first Great British Sewing Bee today. Which is perhaps good timing actually as the new series started last week, and there's a new book released soon, already added to my birthday list.

So I have to say I found this pattern really quite a pain to begin with. I bought some silk fabric to use, but it was my first time working with silk and I bought a colour I'm not entirely sure I would wear. I'm not even sure I'd wear silk! The first stumbling block I found with the pattern was the zip. I bought a matching colour rather than a contrasting, but when it came to doing a 'revealed' zip, I couldn't quite work out how to do it.  The book gives helpful instructions on how to a lot of things earlier in the book, but this isn't one of them which was quite frustrating! I tried googling it to no avail, so eventually decided to do a normal zip.

The other MAJOR issue I had was with the all in one facing. After I had sewn the neckline, I just couldn't work out how to do the armholes without ending up with the facing/top all twisted, or impossible to turn inside out. I spent ages looking it up everywhere, in my sewing books, online but I still couldn't work out how it was supposed to work. So if you've managed to work out this technique for enclosing all seams on the inside of the facing, please let me know!

After all that, I decided to just start again. I bought a lovely liberty tana lawn from my local fabric shop, and started again, this time using the easier facing method used in another pattern in the book. This time it was much smoother, and I had the tunic finished in a few hours. I used the mid length, long top line on the pattern.

I loved working with the liberty fabric, it was such an easy soft fabric to work with and a gorgeous print. I only needed a metre of fabric, so with the zip it came to £16.25, which is not bad at all really compared to what you might pay for a similar top in a high street shop. This is also really the first item of clothing that I'm really happy with the finish on the inside too, feeling pretty chuffed with myself :)

Emily Kate.


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Lace Collar Jersey Shift Dress

Not another lace themed post?! I hear you scream. Well sort of. I was doing a spot of window shopping soon after New Year when I saw a dress I really liked, a simple 3/4 sleeve jersey dress with a lace crochet collar. I was debating with my inner, stingyier self whether I could afford it, or really needed it, when I thought I could make this. What's more I even had the perfect light jersey knit in my fabric stash.
Now I thought about doing my own tutorial for this but I just basically used the same one I've used to make other knit shift dresses, from the lovely Merrick at Couple of things I would suggest though, think about the stretch of your fabric when marking the pattern pieces. I used a polyester knit with not much stretch to make a dress a while back, but a very stretchy top to mark out the pattern pieces, resulting in a slightly-tighter-than-intended dress. Especially for Christmas!
shift dress

I also made sure to measure my neckline properly and baste it to test that it would fit over my head, as I've had problems with that before too! I did quite a high neckline so that the collar would look best, and just sewed it on by hand, after I had finished the dress.
The collar I bought from eBay for just a few £'s, from china, I have to say I did feel a little guilty about that, as when I started making my own clothes I was happy to not be supporting the cheap labour clothes trade. Although as you only need 1 metre of fabric which was just £6, this meant the cost for the whole dress was less than £10. Bargain.

I've made several dresses/tops with Peter pan type collars since I started sewing, and this is first one to get a resounding nod and no criticism from my man, so needless to say I'm pretty happy with it!
I love making comfy knit fabric dresses at the moment, they're just perfect for a smart casual work outfit, and for this country where it's only hot enough to be in light summer clothes for one week a year if we're lucky.

Emily Kate
casual knit shift dress

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Lace Decorated Valentines Biscuits

Well, I did tell you I was slightly obsessed with lace at the moment, I just love the intricate patterns. I saw some biscuits with a sort of lace pattern online somewhere ages ago and thought Valentines day would be a perfect time to make some.

Its actually a lot easier than it looks, its just a case of building up a pattern line by line. I used the same simple biscuit recipe I use for my Christmas biscuits.
To ice the biscuits, I used Whitworth royal icing sugar with water to make the icing. I realised if the icing is warm its easier to pour onto the biscuits and spread evenly. Wait until the base icing is completely set and hardened before icing on the lace design.

For the icing on the top, make sure its quite thick, so it won't spread out of the pattern when piped onto the biscuits. I used the disposable plastic icing bags you can buy from most big supermarkets, then you know there's no chance of icing escaping through any unknown holes, and you can choose how thick you want the line to be by cutting the end off.
The best way to do the design is to build it up line by line, I liked the idea I've seen elsewhere of making it look like the pattern is half on the biscuit, half off.

So there we go, wrapped in cellophane and with a ribbon they'd be lovely as a valentine's day gift. I also think they'd make beautiful homemade favours at a wedding... although I'm not sure I'd recommend it for a big one, not exactly quick and easy.

Emily Kate

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Lace pattern Cushion

I'm starting, slowly to get around to starting my new years resolutions. Perhaps they should be February resolutions. I've decided one of them will be the popular 'Make not Buy', as in I won't buy any clothes this year, I'll make them instead. When I told my mum this she pointed out I'll have to buy jeans probably and shoes, but I have enough of those to last me the year anyway probably. So this does mean I have 2 wedding outfits to make, one by the next month!

I've started some new cushions to eventually open a new etsy shop. I've got more plans for city themed ones, but this is a bit of a new experiment.

Lace is my new favourite thing. It's just so pretty. So I had an idea to see if I could free motion embroider a lace sort of pattern onto a cushion. I found a picture of a lace doily I liked online and printed it out as big as I could. I then pinned the fabric on top of the picture and used a water dissolvable (is that a word?!) pen to draw on the design. My fabric is 100% cotton so you can just about see through it, but I did it against a window so the light shines the pattern through. Not easy when we've had approximately one day where it hasn't rained since the start of 2014. And that's probably exaggerating. Perhaps it's time I invested in a light box after all.  

It was really fun to do, as it was quite easy to do most of it in one fluid motion without having to lift the needle and cut lots of little threads.

So stay tuned for the new shop announcement featuring this beauty and others in the coming weeks...

Emily Kate