Hello everyone. I’m currently sat intermittently knitting in front of the telly and thinking about sewing plans.
I’ve been playing around with some beautiful pleated fabric and dabbling with ladder trim insertion. Two projects with no deadline and a real desire to make considered choices before getting started. This means pinterest boards, testing machine settings and doodling designs.
In other news I shared a new video for my Sew North Soiree gown plans. I’m making a minty organza dress using a gorgeous sketchy floral with mint satin underneath. Check out the video here for more.
This leads me nicely onto today’s topic! Often a fabric would be amazing as a fancy party frock and sometimes it’s fun to make a great everyday dress instead. I picked up this cupid/cherub print twill fabric from Ditto fabrics after squealing at the sight of it. I was very torn between this and the mustard colourway and while I think made the wrong decision, it is still a stunning fabric.
Its a medium weight cotton twill which means it has that visible weave pattern and a lovely floaty drape. It shoots a touch redder than it is in real life. Twill is very prone to fraying and snagging plus standard slippery fabric rules apply. I used fine sharp pins and a size 70 needle.
I decided to choose a pattern I’d get a lot of wear from… enter the Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry dress with my previous hacks to remove the buttons. See that version here. It’s the perfect dress if your weight fluctuates as the drawstring means you can cinch the perfect amount. I love that feature!!
At the minute my measurements are 36A:32:45 but know my first version still fits so I cut the straight size 12 and lengthened the skirt by 2″. It shrunk a tiny bit in the wash which makes it fit even better actually. My first version was polyester but the twill is slightly stretchy so a tiny bit of shrinkage counteracted this perfectly.
The drawstring is made in self fabric with the seam allowance rolled inside to make it very round almost like roulueau but not cut on the bias. If I’d had any I would have added cord inside. And instead of using eyelets like last time, I sewed buttonholes for the openings.
Proving it can still be dressed up I’ve worn the dress to a) my work leaving do, b) my dad’s 65th birthday dinner and c) the New Craft House Galentines party. The latter was extra special as my #sewingwife Marie of A Stitching Odyssey and I had a lovely weekend in London together seeing the Mary Quant exhibition, having dinner with our friend Allie and then winning the #sewingwife bingo at the party!
Dressing in the same fabric pushed us over the edge into winning I think. Marie’s dress is the Solina by Named with extra long waist ties. She hasn’t blogged it yet but watch this space. The prize was fabric vouchers for the NCH shop and we both ended up buying the same fabric!
I don’t think I’m done with this pattern yet as it’s a great showcase for prints as well as being endlessly comfy to wear. I have some solid chartreuse/mustard twill that could be good and a couple of viscose florals that would work well. Maybe just one or two more versions then…
I’m writing this late at night as storm Ciara batters my house. The streetlamps are noisily rattling and the rain is pelting against the roof. It’s February everybody!January was pretty quiet on the sewing front as I dealt with training my replacement at work, saying goodbye to everyone and joining a totally different company. And though I found time to make a new Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry dress for my leaving do, I lost my sew-jo a little by the end of the month.
Thankfully it’s just starting to come back and I’ve cut out a pair of Juno pyjamas, found supplies for my eyelet trim dress and started a new embroidery project. I even managed to slap on some make-up and take blog photos! This is my second Indigo dress by Tilly and The Buttons. I made the same view again as you can see but learning from my last version I made a couple of changes. I added back in 1cm to the centre back bodice and 0.5cm to the front.Though this fixed any tightness in my range of arm movement, the dress still has this nasty habit of riding backwards slightly, as if the shoulder and sleeve head isn’t in the right position. Something to tinker with if I make another.This stunning golden yellow fabric features blue outlined white flowers. It’s a viscose cady from Selvedge and Bolts, run by the gorgeous Dibs who I haven’t had chance to meet up with in like 7 or 8 years, crazy! But her online shop is beautifully curated with designer prints and high quality fabrics. This print is sold out but the ochre tencel twill is also a gorgeous gold colour.With fine draping fabric like viscose I appreciate having my cutting table as I can really ensure the grain is straight and the fabric doesn’t shift as I cut. The top of my table is covered in a jigsaw of cutting mats so I can use my rotary blade to work speedily.A sharp new needle was required for snag free sewing and I even managed to find four yellow spools for my overlocker to make the insides pretty! I’ve worn this dress to work a few times and I’m super excited to have a shade of yellow that suits me. I think it suits me better when my hair is out of the way as it gets stuck in the neckline sometimes heheh.Time to get back to the sewing room! But here are three more Indigo versions I love. Tiers and pretty colours from Purple Sewing Cloud, classic chambray from Patsypoo Makes, and last but not least a golden make from What Bec Sews.
Happy New Year everyone!! It’s an brand new decade and I’m both nervous and excited for 2020, a classic cocktail of emotions. With only a few days left in my Love Sewing role, I’m getting ready to say goodbye. There is lots to sort in my sewing room too. There’s new work clothes, pattern testing, fun collaborations and probably another destash sale on the horizon!
Enough on that for now. Let’s talk jumpers (aka ‘sweaters’ or ‘sweatshirts’, for my international friends). I’ve made a few sweatshirts and never blogged them but somehow this one is breaking that spell. It’s a bold colourful print which is keeping me very warm!
The Simple Sew sweatshirt is an oldie but a goodie with raglan sleeves and ribbed cuffs, neck and hem bands. I made view B and originally added the hem band but it felt a little bulky and long in this fabric so took it back off and hemmed the jumper shorter. This is the size 10 graded to a 12 at the hips. The structure of the fabric means I should have graded the sleeve hems out a little more to be able to push them up my arms… oh well.
A jumper like this can be totally constructed on your overlocker but there are a few small places it can help to sew… 1) cuff and neckband side seams: to avoid bulk and because you never even see the seam edge. 2) underarm points: If you’re a stickler for a neatly intersecting seam sew the sides up on your machine first to avoid the fabric creeping. 3) Hem: If you skip the hem band like me, you’ll have to hem on a machine, unless you have a coverstitch you lucky thing!!
This loopback palm leaf knit was a gift from wowfabrics.co.uk – look for J173 ABSTRACT FLORAL JUNGLE PRINT. From 2m I have so much leftover it’s crazy! It’s definitely heavier than sweatshirting; a bit closer to scuba and has a lovely fleece backing adhered to it. My overlocker blade hated it so I trimmed all my seams before overlocking them. The ribbing is from Abakhan and I got the co-ordinating teal sweatshirting too. In fact I’ve already made another winter jumper with it!!
I liked the fabric so much I’ve decided to join the Wow Fabrics blogger team and have created three of my own fabric designs to test out the print quality of their custom fabric printing service! A satin, bubbled crepe and cotton jersey. More details on that soon!
I’m so inspired by a few bloggers/Instagrammers who are able to live in almost authentic vintage decor. They embody gorgeous retro style in a way I’ve never managed to achieve in my daily life. But to add a little mid-century charm to my home I made this small winter village wreath inspired by this one on the Martha Stewart website.
The Putz style mini houses take colour inspiration from 50s Americana. The bottle brush trees in teal, gold, silver and white could have been bleached and dyed in the same palette but blend nicely as they were. Glittery details and fristy fake snow make it feel extra festive!
First things first. I bought this 35cm wide fake wreath from eBay, quite the bargain but I should have gone a bit bigger. I flocked it with fake snow by mixing Daz washing powder with a little water so it had a gloopy thick paste-like texture and slopped it over the branches. I popped it in the airing cupboard until the paste set hard and the pink colour crystals had faded away.
The houses were made from cardstock printed at home with this very versatile FREE template from Martha Stewart. I actually had a lot of fun with these by mixing and matching the architectural elements and getting inspired to design my own tweaks to the templates.
I used a scalpel to cut everything out and a pair of scissors for scoring the folds. I mocked a few up first (see above) then I painted each with tester pots of emulsion I had lying around before construction and used pva glue to assemble.
Adding thick pva glue, spread on the roof before sprinkling glitter in place was the messiest part. In a final bit of inspiration I glued baking parchment behind the windows to appear like panes of glass before gluing each building onto its snowy base, made from packing material William Gee had happened to use in a recent parcel sent to me!!
I bought a pack of 46 trees of different sizes and colours and arranged them in pairs, adding some to sit alongside the houses. After testing out the placement of everything I glued everything in place and added a hanging ribbon. A bigger base wreath would have meant a more extravagant finished effect but this suits my hallway nicely. In hindsight these coloured trees might have been cuter? But I love the sparkles of mine and I have plenty more for crafting with next year.
Well hello. It’s been a while since I posted! For those of you who follow me on Instagram you’ll have had an insight into why life is a little crazy right now.
After nearly 5 wonderful years, I will be stepping down as Love Sewing magazine Editor in January. I’ve collaborated and worked with many incredible people, I’ve learnt so much and achieved things I’ll cherish even when I’m a little old lady.
With 13 years in the publishing industry it’s always hard giving up a title you love, but it is time for a fresh start and new challenges… but I’m still going to be here sewing furiously you won’t have to miss me!
Ok!! So it’s December and I’m so happy to be sharing a Christmas make. I love the festive season. There are parties and great food and a sense of excitement in the air. I make so many social plans and then binge watch seasonal movies… soon I’ve run out of any sewing time. I know there are worst problems to have!
It’s funny because we plan and photograph our festive issues of Love Sewing during the summer so I sort of have two Christmases! We’re wrestling trees and baubles around in the hot weather and planning party dresses months before party season. It can drive people a little crazy. But back to my latest dress… you might have seen it already on the Minerva Blogger Network but I thought it deserved a closer look here.
This dress is going to be a great staple this year as it’s that magical combination of toasty and fancy. AND SPARKLY!
It’s the fabric that makes it so wonderful with subtle silver metallic threads and white sequins woven into the jersey. There is a great texture to the fabric too that makes it feel like a sweater knit you’d find in ready to wear clothes. I wish I had more of it for a jumper.
I used a mixture of the Dixie DIY ballet dress bodice with Vogue 9000’s skirt which I cut on the fold and adjusted at the side seams to fit the bodice. The sleeves fit so well, I love the scoop neckline and you can’t beat a swishy skirt. I made a slim waist belt in the same fabric but also like it with my black patent belt. I should have made thread belt loops to help stop the belt sliding down! Still time to add those now it’s done.
The fabric cuts and sews very easy as the sequins aren’t too densely spread over the fabric. I used a rotary cutter and mat then finished everything on an overlocker. The hems are just turned under and zigzag topstitched. I used a universal needle and narrow zigzag for all the construction. Easy peasy!
When using a woven pattern with a knit fabric you might want to size down to compensate for the stretch but I don’t mind the skirt a little loose as it leaves room for dinner.
My finished dress is a little sheer but as you can see with a slip underneath I have perfect coverage. The glittery fabric gave me a good excuse to break out my wedding jewellery again. I feel so sparkly and merry!!
Merry Christmas, happy festive season and a wonderful winter to everyone!