• Dresses

    Lena wrap dress Simple Sew

    Winter… my nemesis! It really feels like we’re galloping through Autumn and Winter is here. To prepare I’ve made a few snuggly clothes to help keep the chill off. I am unbelievably cold all the time and often have my little desk heater on at work. I’m pretty wimpy I know.

    Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

    Today I’m sharing the Lena wrap dress by Simple Sew patterns. It came free with Love Sewing 35 but is also available here. The surplice bodice is lined and fits into a waistband, then there’s a flared skirt with hem band. These are the 3/4 sleeves from the pack but the wrist length would maybe have been better for me.

    The fabric I used for this dress is a lovely double knit of mysterious mix that I got from Charlotte, and that she got from Barry’s of Birmingham. She made a Coco dress by Tilly and The Buttons which is linked here. She donated it to a sewing swap table and I happily took it home! It was a pretty big piece so thank you Charlotte!!

    Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

    This dress is extra cosy because I lined the bodice in self fabric which is a little bulky but warmth wins over bulk. And I made the hem band in self fabric and I don’t mind the seam at all even though it would be more effective in a contrast colour or print.

    Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

    I made the size 10 but should have sized down. Not long before I started the dress I’d been burned by trying to make a size 8 version in low stretch fabric and then over-compensated here. You know how things grow with wear and shrink after a good hot wash in a never-ending circle. On the second wear, the sleeves end up pretty big and I sometimes wear a cami top in case the bodice falls open. Oh well.

    Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

    I used a zigzag stitch and my overlocker for construction and I’m super pleased how it’s holding up inside. The skirt is fabulously twirly for a jersey dress and i feel very smart when I wear it. All in all, a big thumbs up. I should really make another! This one has wonderful memories of this girl band inspired photo shoot we tried at the studio last year. So moody I love it.

    Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

    Here are three lovely versions to check out next: this floral beauty from Giorgia, Harriet looking pretty in pink and Gabby looking lush in velvet!

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Endless camisoles

    I might as well face it I’m addicted to camisole tops. I use the free pattern download from Love Sewing here with instructions inside issue 43. They’re super quick to sew up and they’re amazing scrap busters. I’ve made four in total so far and have plans for several more. I can squeeze one out of half a metre if I use shop bought bias tape.

    I started with a toile made from a Primark bow cotton print sundress I’d long since been able to fit in. Mega cute! I made a straight M but added an inch to the length. I used flat self-fabric straps and used red bias tape inside.

    Then I made my silk parrot version and added flat crossing straps at the back. It was a little short in the body as I forgot to add the extra length but looks lovely with a skirt.

    This fabric is so precious to me, I got it on a fun shopping trip with Katie I have enough left for another top of some description but I can’t bring myself to make a mistake so haven’t chosen a style yet.

    Next up were two viscose versions in quick succession – both with the length added back in! This swallow print version is a lovely viscose I got from Simply Fabrics Brixton at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate. I added rouleaux straps for this version and it’s such a lovely delicate touch. This may be my favourite of the versions.

    Last but not least I used a remnant from Guthrie and Ghani that I picked up at Sew Brum. It’s a subtle print and there was just enough for a camisole so I treated myself! Sadly I used vintage bias binding inside and it hasn’t held up to the wash. The bias has ripped in multiple places so I’m going to have to unpick and re-stitch which is disappointing. Unpicking black on black is the worst!!

    The pattern comes together pretty easily and you may actually spot this was an old Sew Loft pattern. It’s not as nice as the True Bias Ogden Cami which has a lovely facing but if I thought about it properly I’m sure I could draft a facing and change up the construction to make this my dream button loop front cami top. More sewing plans, not enough time!

  • Events and day trips

    Sewbrum 2016

    Hello lovely ladies and gents

    I’m writing this post on my journey home from Birmingham after an epic day in the company of 100 stylish sewists.

    Last night involved lots of curry and champers as we celebrated our engagement with some close friends and like an idiot I stayed up later than expected. My bus was at 7am this morning so I armed myself with a flask of tea, hours of podcasts and huddled into my seat. I wore my red SOI Vintage Shirtdress for the day.

    Just after getting off the megabus I managed to bump into Abi on the way to the Edwardian Tearooms and we arrived to a scene of a room stacked with sewists drinking tea and gossiping. I met some new faces which is half the reason for attending and then forcibly dragged a group around the market and Barry’s – including a selfie pitstop at my favourite sign.

    There was lots of banter with Kate and RachelCharlotteNina and Gabby. I finally got to meet Fiona. And yes I cuddled a pug and larked around with Elle, Abi, Vicki and Rhiannon. There was a flying catch up with Lauren and baby Sophia wearing the Liberty cord dress Lauren blogged recently. Plus I manage to shout hello and wave at lots of lovely people like ClaireRachelHelen and many more. Not forgetting that I have about 20 new blogs to follow!

    I was actually very reserved with what I brought home. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my major geek out at the release of Gertie’s new Butterick 6380 in America. Well it’s finally here in the UK and was part of the sale on at Fancy Silk Store (for all Butterick patterns – new and old). I also bought some graphic black and white viscose from a stall outside on the rag market for just £1 a metre!

    Other things that made it into my handbag for the journey home were a copy of New Look 6434, a flyer for the Dressmaker’s Ball 2017, two hilarious vintage wedding dress patterns (thanks Kate!) which may actually have some potential, a flask filled with cider and a copy of the stylist fashion special magazine.

    All in all a pretty cracking day! Will I see you there next year??

  • Jackets and coats

    Emerald or Teal?

    So this is the story of my new jacket.
    We’ve had a bit of a rocky time getting to completion but we made it out the other side.

    It’s sort of my vintage pledge garment because my original pledge to sew a vintage shelf bust pattern was demolished when I sewed the modern Gertie dress.

    almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

    Meet Style 2563, a vintage jacket and skirt suit pattern dated at 1969. The cover art is misleading – three women on the envelope, but no variations in the pattern pieces, just additional cutting layouts for plaid fabric.

    almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

    I picked this up at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year as there is a regular stall holder with giant plastic tubs full of vintage patterns and I usually spend half an hour combing through it hoping for buried treasure in my size. A quick muslin confirmed it was a pretty good fit and only needed a few tweaks!

    almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

    The outer fabric is a textured wool from Barry’s Fabrics. I picked it up at SewBrum with the cheeky discount that had been arranged for us — thanks Charlotte! There was a fault running parallel to the selvedge about 30 cm along so I was actually given a further discount. Making this something like £9 a metre.

    almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

    The lining fabric was an eBay find! The seller had called it “stilletoes” print by mistake so it’s good I stumbled onto it. Such pretty colours! It’s a lovely satin that probably isn’t silk (even though she calls it that) but feels as nice either way.

    almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

    almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

    Aaah those buttons. These were the most expensive part of the jacket. Can you believe there were £3 each!? But since the other supplies were a steal, and wool covered buttons were ruled out, I wanted buttons I’d love and would LAST.

    almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

    So here’s my two pence about this jacket.

    • It’s too short. I lengthened it a lot and it’s still just a bit too short. Very frustrating. I get that it’s supposed to be worn with a dress or skirt but at its actual length your belly button would show.
    • The princess seams on this jacket are a bit crap looking. If you’re going to draft a princess seamed back and a two piece sleeve, the princess seam should curve to the armscye not the shoulder and connect to the sleeve seam.
    • There isn’t any allowance for the roll of the collar so the outer seam doesn’t roll under nicely. I did what I could with it but this is the best I could manage.
    • Why no pockets? Shouldn’t every good jacket have pockets? I really should have added some so it’s partially my fault. Some cute welt pockets would have been nice, possibly even with a little pocket flap, right?

    almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket Chewie agrees – WHERE’S THE POCKET!?

    almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

    So there we go! A new jacket with a few problems but still pretty cute. I’ll definitely get a lot of wear out of it.

    The only thing I can’t decide on is what colour this jacket is. I even got some paint sample cards from B&Q and it sort of falls in between their Teal and Emerald. Help me out here, what colour do you think it is?