Thursday, 31 December 2015

My 6 Favourite Makes of 2015

Now we've reached the end of 2015, I thought I would share with you my favourite makes of the last year. And its been a great year!
For me 2015 was the year I felt I really got to grips with sewing, and can now sew a well rounded wardrobe all on my onesie.
2015 was the year I made my first coat, my first shirt, and fell in love with circle skirts and petticoats. It was pretty difficult to keep it at just 6 favourite makes!
I think this narrowly pips the vintage shirt dress to the position of my favourite dress this year. It really made me fall head over heels for circle skirts, and even better the fabric was just £2.20 a metre!
My first ever sewing class resulted in a perfectly fitting pair of trousers, after one big mistake and the discovery that each of my legs is a different size! I've used the adjusted pattern once more already and it's still perfect.
I was a little unsure about this at first, as it is something that won't get too much wear. I cant really wear it to work, or in the winter and I wasn't sure it'd suit me. However I think it looks quite stylish in the end and I got a great response from instagram.
I love this dress. Its summery and classy at the same time. Really wasn't sure about Mr Makes suggestion of red buttons, but I think they really make the dress in the end!
I love the casual look of this denim number and the sheer versatility of the pattern, I've made 2 other versions already.
 I made a coat! 'nuff said.
So whats in the plans for 2016?
A wedding dress. That's pretty much it.
Happy New Year! 
Emily Kate.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

What's New in the Shop for December?

There's been a few new skyline pillows appearing in the shop this year, and hopefully there will be many more in 2016. What I'm planning to do is add a few more UK skylines, and particularly south west UK ones, as 2016 will hopefully be the year that Mr Makes and I move back to the west country. I'd love to start trying to sell them in independent shops and craft fairs too.
For Christmas this year I didn't do quite as many handmade presents as I have in the past, but I had a few family members I knew would love a skyline pillow.
Cardiff, Wales
 Featuring the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff Castle and the Millenium Centre (complete with correct English and Welsh writing!)
Bath, Somerset
Featuring Bath Abbey, Pulteney Bridge and the Roman Baths. This might be by favourite design. Its very detailed though so rather time-consuming!
If you'd like to see a particular city in the shop next year, drop me a line!
Emily Kate.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Men's Christmas Boxers!!

Every Christmas since our first Christmas together a whopping 8 years ago, I've bought my man a pair of Christmas boxer shorts. It started off as a bit of a joke, as I wasn't sure he'd really wear them. But not only does he wear them, he wears them without fail throughout the year. Since he now has 9 pairs, odds are he'll be wearing pants with snowmen or reindeer on even if we're sunning ourselves on holiday in July.
Although I've been sewing for over 3 years now it wasn't until this year, and this post from Winnie at Scruffy Badger that I actually thought about making a pair of boxers for him. By the time I'd decided it was a bit late in the day, but I managed to find Simplicity 2741 and some fabric that was Christmassy but not thick quilting cotton, as much of it tends to be.
The pattern for the boxer shorts is just one pattern piece, cut twice. It has a fake fly front with snap closures, which I hadn't encountered before but the instructions were very clear. I often find the big 4 patterns harder to understand as I'm used to the indie patterns where every little step is laid out in minute detail. However these pattern instructions I found to be very clear, and the pictures too.
The boxers fit well around the waist as I know his waist measurement, but the legs are rather roomy so I think next time (next Christmas!) I will narrow the leg pattern piece.
I also made a pair for my Dad as although I've sewn things for my mum, sister and boyfriend before, I've never made anything for my Dad. He's a bit of an award shape so a shirt would be difficult as a surprise without taking all his measurements, and everyone needs boxer shorts!
Unfortunately the boyfriend was less than keen about modelling this make...and I really don't think anyone wants to see a 58 year old bloke with a chest drain wearing them either....(sorry Dad..)
Emily Kate.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Christmas Party Megan Dress

 My first Megan dress, from Tilly and the Buttons book Love at First Stitch, I made over a year ago. As that was in a thick ponte knit fabric, it seems to have become aligned with autumn\winter in my mind, and I hadn't actually thought about making another until I bought this beautiful black wool with red polka dots from Sew Over It. I thought with a few fitting changes it would make the perfect little warm Christmas party number. Although it's barely dropped below 15 degrees and I wore a summer dress out last week....!

The problem with my first Megan was that it was too roomy all over, particularly around the back neckline and zip seam. I wear it often, but I do feel its stretched over time, and as its made from a knit fabric I don't even have to undo the zip to get it over my head.
To get a closer, more form fitting dress I decided to take out around 1.5 inches down the centre back seam. I also took out excess fabric around the front and back neckline by overlapping the pattern piece and converting the excess into the darts.

I cut out my pattern pieces last Friday evening, and after a few hours sewing on Saturday morning (even with redoing a dodgy invisible zip!) it was ready to go for Christmas drinks that evening. It's just a really straightforward and easy pattern to sew up, and a great wardrobe builder. The only issue is that its one of the only dresses I have where the zip goes right up to the neck, and I cant reach it myself (and i'm pretty bendy!). So if I wear it out late and come home to a fast asleep soon-to-be Mr Makes, I've not got much choice but to sleep in it!

As I'm back at my parents house for a couple of days my mum was in charge of taking photos this time, and our rather needy labradoodle decided to photobomb...!
And as it's difficult to see the cute pattern on this fabric, here's a close-up...

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Winter Betty

I find that winter is a terrible time for my sewing and blogging. The dark chilly evenings and constant drizzle just make me want to curl up on the sofa under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. Factor in the only 7/8 hours of sunshine each day and a grumpy boyfriend with man flu and its incredibly difficult to get any decent photos taken.
I've also been incredibly busy with my shop this year after a quite a quiet September/October, with orders coming out my ears the last few weeks. Finally now the last overseas post in time for Christmas has gone and I have just over a week to make a few presents for my family and maybe even one for myself!
I did manage to whip myself up a winter Betty dress at last, after the enormous success of my first one. My poppy print version is my absolute favourite dress, and I always get compliments when I wear it out. However I did have a couple of minor fitting issues with it. It fit perfectly around the waist and bust, but I often find I get a little excess fabric in the middle of my chest that gapes a bit, and the same at the back.
To sort it out in the new version I took out the excess fabric from the pattern piece by converting it into the waist darts. Despite this I still found myself with excess fabric in the chest after making up the dress, and the waist seemed a little looser. I'm not sure if that is due to the fabric having more ease, my dressmaking shears being quite blunt so cutting out a bit slapdash, or if I just need to take even more fabric out there. Anyway, it's still a pretty good fit, and I just love the style of it.

This version was made in a lovely Melton wool from Sew Over It called Melton mist, which you can find here. Given how much fabric the skirt needs it was pricier fabric than I usually go for, but I loved the colour. It is at the moment rather itchy to wear, but I'm hoping that will ease after a wash or two. Its a great addition to my winter wardrobe, as I usually find myself in jeans and a jumper for most of the colder months!
Do you find it harder to summon the energy to sew in the winter?!
Emily Kate.