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.