Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Some Sleevless Wenona's

Things have been a bit quiet on the blogging front at the moment i'm afraid...due to a pretty big upheaval in the Makes household. We've moved! It had been on the cards for a while, but still nothing quite prepares you for the stress and amount of time it takes to pack up your life and transport it across the country.
This wasn't a 'just-down-the-road' move, no we've upped sticks entirely and moved back to our home county of Somerset. Which I was gleefully told by my mother is now quite a 'trendy' place to live. We wanted a less stressful way of life, and to be able to afford to live in more than a shoebox. Although London has many perks...those aren't some of them.
Anyway, what I have to share with you today is actually a make I did around 9 months ago, so I shall  have to see what I can remember about it! This shirt is probably up there with one of my most worn makes, as it's a firm favourite of both mine and Mr-soon-to-be-Makes.
I bought the Wenona shirt pattern from Named Patterns, as I had been hankering after a shirt dress for years. It fitted the bill and was a very versatile pattern, with a shirt and dress version, and the option to include pleats. It's the first Named pattern I've used, and although I found tracing out the pieces to be a pain, the instructions are precise and straightforward.
My shirt dress was a great success, so I immediately began thinking of other versions I could make. I love sleeveless shirts in the summer as they can easily be dressed up or down so decided to make the next one without sleeves. I decided to include the pleats too, and although it took me rather a long time (and several bits of scrap paper) to work out how they had to be folded, I'm pleased with the result.
The Wenona is quite a loose fitting shirt, even after using a smaller size on the recommendation of another blogger. For my first denim dress, it worked perfectly with a belt to pull it in at the waist. However the white sleeveless version feels rather too baggy and occasionally unflattering as I made no alterations. When it came to my second sleeveless version in a blue and white check, I took in a couple of inches of fabric at the side seams. I also cut some fabric out from around the armholes to give it more of a intended sleeveless shape, rather than just looking like I had just forgotten to stitch them in....!
This version feels much more stylish and flattering, and goes well with skinny jeans, or with a full skirt like the Hollyburn. Mr soon-to-be-Makes even refers to it as my 'Audrey' shirt as he thinks it has quite a 50's feel to it. My favourite things about this pattern have to be the collar point at the back and the little pleat. This certainly won't be my last version....
Emily Kate.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Tips for Sewing with Tulle

Rather excitingly...this post means that my dress has come quite a way since my last progress report and infact, the end is in sight! Now don't worry, I've not sewn one wedding dress and suddenly become a tulle sewing expert extraordinaire. I don't claim to know anything about sewing with tulle really, these are just some things I discovered along the way that really helped me, and even a couple specific to polka dot tulle.
Tulle Sewing tips
Add a piece of tape to the bottom of your presser foot to stop the tulle snagging on the foot. You can also use clear tape to hold pattern pieces together to sew.
Sew slowly and don't back tack at the start or end of a seam as it can easily end up a mess. Leave the threads long and double knot.
Pin tissue paper to the underside of the seam. It makes it much easier to pin as they won't fall straight out, and easier to sew. I thought it may be difficult to pull out afterwards so was very wary about doing this but it was pretty easy, if a little time consuming at times.
When sewing the polka dot tulle I had to think a bit more when it came to the darts. I avoided sewing through the dots where possible, particularly near the tip of the dart, instead sewing just around them. This would obviously be more or less difficult depending on the size of the dots. 
I trimmed all seams, including darts to around 1/8th of an inch so the seam allowance would be barely visible. Where a line of stitching went through a polka dot I cut around the dot and pressed it flat under the seam.  
Happy tulle sewing!
Emily Kate. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

A Simple Flowery T-Shirt

Yes yes, I know I've been sewing again, and its not a wedding dress. Well I started this little number before my holiday last month, using some left over fabric from the awesomeness that was my Vintage Shirt Dress. It's really only an hour or two project at most, but deciding to start it the night before we were flying out wasn't the best idea... Anyway after doing a good bit of work on my wedding dress last week I decided to finish it off.
The pattern I used is sort of the 'Simple T-shirt' from the second Great British Sewing Bee book, Sew Your Own Wardrobe, but I had to make a ton of changes to get a good fit. This is actually the second one of these I've made, I did a muslin in the summer where I made all the changes, then I rustled up one in a gorgeous liberty print that's been cropping up in other blog posts here and there..
 I think I cut out the wrong size really as a lot of issues could have been alleviated by cutting out one size larger, such as adding a considerable amount to the bottom of the pattern pieces. I also often find I have excess fabric above my chest, so I took an inch or so out by converting it to the bottom of the pattern, and then taking in the side seams.
I used bias binding from the fashion fabric to finish off the armholes and neckline, which I find so difficult and fiddly to do. You can definitely tell I've improved at it though as the finish on this t-shirt is much better than the first one I did!
I really love the fit of this top. Its such a simple pattern that you could draft one yourself, as its just two pattern pieces cut on the fold, one for the front one for the back. The lower rounded hem at the back covers any love handles, and I find for a loose fitting top its actually very flattering. It also uses just under a metre of fabric so is perfect for using up leftovers or splashing out on a bit of Liberty.
I seem to have dresses coming out my ears and skirts galore, but can never find a cute casual top to chuck over a pair of jeans or under a winter jumper. Until now anyway... this certainly won't be my last make from this pattern!
Emily Kate.