Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Liberty Summer Concert Tee for Selfish Sewing Week

This week is selfish sewing week. A week of sewing led by blogger Imaginegnats on Kollabora in which you sew projects for yourself instead of your children. When S saw the T-shirt I made myself she said “But…I wanted that material for my dress!”; I didn’t realise she had secret plans for my stash...I needed to get some selfish sewing in and quickly!

Having recently been pregnant and having had a baby only 8 weeks ago I haven’t really felt like sewing for myself. My body shape has been changing so quickly it felt like a waste of time. I remember after having my first baby I invested in new clothes in the first few weeks after having her (somehow maternity clothes didn’t feel right to wear) and within a couple of months my new wardrobe was huge on me. So this time I’ve hung onto the maternity wear and held off of sewing for me. But it is selfish sewing week so I decided to give it a go and I’m glad I did.

With a rapidly changing body shape and a need for easy access (for feeding), plus a need for a garment that washes well (for baby sick) and needs little/no ironing (for sanity) it seemed like a jersey garment was the best option. I recently bought a load of jersey from C and H fabrics in Winchester including some Liberty print jersey so I set to work. A few months ago I also bought the Perfect Pattern parcel #1 so I used the Summer Concert Tee pattern from Dixie DIY. This bundle is no longer available but keep your eyes peeled as Parcel #3 goes on sale at the end of May. 

I have always steered clear of knit fabrics but recently I took the craftsy course led my Meg Mcelwee from Sew Liberated, it really boosted my knowledge and even though things went wrong at least I had an idea why!

I LOVE the Summer Concert Tee pattern and will definitely make another;  it’s really flattering and perfect for feeding baby in. I would not normally wear something this patterned but I bought this Liberty print from a remnant bin and I really enjoying wearing the finished piece. 

Because I made the Tee from a remnant I only had 1 metre and had to be a bit creative when cutting out, going against the grain for some panels, but it’s a very drapey jersey so it works reasonably well (Can you tell?). The drape of the fabric caused me problems with sewing, it didn’t like a zigzag stitch at all and kept getting chewed up, even with the foot pressure on it’s lowest setting and with a walking foot. In the end I found a triple stretch stitch worked a lot better, but that was after battling with it for ages. Originally I had a sagging neckline too (caused by not stretching the neck piece enough along the front), I didn’t think the fabric would survive unpicking and re-sewing so I turned it in and hand stitched it on the inside, it’s a bodge but it works! 

The best news is that it passed the key test…a humungous baby sick and subsequent wash! I think it’s my new favourite tee.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Love at first bounce...The Ash Jumpsuit

Who’s in love? Well, after being lucky enough to take part in the pre-launch test of the new Ash Jumpsuit pattern from Willow andCo, S and I are both pretty smitten with this creation. I made it a few weeks ago but am only allowed to release the details today…and it’s a sneaky peak prior to the collection launch on 22nd April. That’s the exciting, hush-hush world of the pattern test for you,  all cloak and no dagger! At last the media blackout is lifted and I can spill the beans...

It’s so fun to take part in a pattern test – you build a community with your co-testers. Sometimes (infact most of the time) sewing can be a solitary affair but there’s something really cool about knowing that you’re sewing the same thing as a bunch of other people all around the world, and being able to talk to them about what you’re making makes it really a different experience.

And this garment is SOOOO cool! Check it out! A jump suit…but not a Wonder Years jumpsuit (not that I wouldn’t LOVE a 70's retro jumpsuit too), no, the Ash is a modern and fun take on the all-in-one. 

The pattern comes with a separate trousers and top variant too, but I love the style of the one piece. S light ups when she’s wearing it, it makes fun happen! She calls it her ‘Princess Jasmine’, mainly down to our fabric choice and the billowing trouser shape I think.

 This fabric I used is a vintage sari and is totally immense. I’ve had it for so long; it was hanging up around my window at University and has been the backdrop for the 3 kings at my class’s nativity at school. I think my Granddad brought it back from India and it is the most beautiful fabric I have ever seen. I was terrified to cut into it, which is why I’ve had it for so long, but I’m so glad I did because I’ve made something that makes my heart jump when I see how beautiful my little girl is in it.
Looking at the versions from other blogging testers I can see how versatile this pattern is, it has a completely different look in different fabrics and I will definitely be making more versions in the future.

Celina from Petit a Petit and Family (check out her uber-inspirational blog) designed the Ash which forms  part of the Wanderlust Glamping collection from Willow and Co pattern collective; a collective of talented blogging designers from around the world who’ve linked up for this totally awesome project.

Have a look at the collection. Doesn’t it all look great? You could have a whole summer wardrobe right there...very tempting.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Kids Clothes Week - Refashioned Waistcoat and Tweedy Tailored Shorts

Yes, that's a car, not a camera!
Here are my first offerings for Kids Clothes Week - Let's start with the shorts. I love them!

I used Figgy’s Banyan pattern (again!) using the shorts pattern as the basis for these. I made a few changes though; I wanted a simplified tailored look so I took out the pockets and zip fly and redrafted the waistband so that it was higher and could feature the mother-of-pearl buttons (I saved those from an old cardigan). Using a bit of mint green thread to sew on the buttons adds a pop of colour.

I fully lined the shorts as tweed can be a little rough and used the Figgy’s adjustable waistband method which helps them stay up on S who has no bottom whatsoever! 

I love this herringbone tweed – I made a dress from it for myself a few years ago and used a small remnant to whip up these shorts. They would work well with tights in the cold too but we went for a summery look today as the sun is out and we want it to stay out!

These also fit in with another blog event happening at the moment - Calling All Kids on the excellent Alida Makes blog which is challenging people to make clothes for kids that challenge gender stereotypes...surely nothing crosses the gender divide more than purple tweed?!

Next, I made the little waistcoat out of one of my old tops that was stained and ready to be thrown out. I love the colour of the jersey though so I decided to refashion it into a cute little waistcoat.


 I popped it on S inside out and went to work with some pins; I took in the sides and reworked the shoulder details, removing the lapel and making it smaller, then I popped some darts in the back and cut a curved high-low hem around the bottom to make the most of the drapey jersey. I have to admit making a curved hem on the slip jersey was tricky, but nothing a funky bit of orange trim doesn’t cover up!