Grainline Moss- An Everyday Skirt

Yay for clothes that get worn everyday!  This skirt got hemmed then put on immediately and has hardly been taken back off since.  This is the Grainline Studio Moss Skirt, and I made the mini length in size 4 with no pattern changes.  The fabric is a larger scale corduroy from an eBay seller and can be found here.  I bought the zip, jeans buttons and lining cotton locally at Trago.

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I decided to make this skirt for two main reasons: One, it reminds me of a ready to wear skirt that I have had forever and wear all the time, and two, I am hoping to make a pair of jeans this year (having signed up the Closet Case Patterns online jeans making workshop) and wanted to have a first attempt at a front fly zip insertion.

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I feel like it has been a great success in both counts.  My zip went in really well, and the instructions in the pattern and the Grainline tutorial were fantastic.  Each step was explained simply and added up to a new skill mastered.  You would never know that this was my first attempt!

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The little details in the pattern are great too.  You may already have noticed that I like patterns with pockets and the pockets on the Moss Skirt are especially good.  They have a little extra space included to make them perfect for sticking your hands into, and have a clever facing that allows you to use a pretty lining fabric with no chance for it to peek out.

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The only changes that I made to the pattern were fairly minor.  I didn’t cut my fabric very well and ended up without enough to cut the waistband facing so I decided to cut it from my lining instead.  I also changed the construction order of the waistband because I was feeling too lazy to hand stitch down the facing so I switched to the instructions for adding a waistband from Tilly and the Buttons book Love at First Stitch.  This just meant that it was easy to ‘stitch in the ditch’ on my machine instead of pesky hand sewing.

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In a slight quirk, I set my jeans button in using the marks on the pattern without checking that it lined up properly.  This meant that it didn’t sit very well and the waistband was a little loose.  As a quick fix, rather than trying to remove it, I just added another button in the right place. Now you would never know once I am wearing it!

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This skirt is a little shorter than I would usually wear, but I love it’s casual vibes.  I’m sure I will make another at some point and perhaps lengthen it a couple of inches.  The pattern does include a knee length version with a hem band, but I think I prefer the clean look of the skirt as it and will probably just lengthen the pattern piece instead.

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Virginia Leggings

Here is the March installment of Project Sew My Style; some Virginia Leggings by Megan Nielson.  I wasn’t quite sure which size to cut as I have sometimes found in the past that their patterns come up a little small, but I cut a size S  in the petite length, and hoped that my fabric would be stretchy enough to overcome any slight fitting issues!

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The fabric that I used was a remnant from Fabric Godmother, which is now out of stock, but they do appear to have something similar here.  It is a crazy orange snakeskin textured spandex!  It is printed on a white background, and is a tiny bit thinner than I had hoped, but my leggings are going to be the most exciting running-ware in town!

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Having just two pattern pieces, these sewed up extremely quickly, and the instructions were simple to follow.  I should have adjusted my overlocker tension a little or used a more similar thread colour, because you can see the white thread on the seams that are slightly under tension.  I did succeed in getting my hems to match though, using the most exciting two coloured twin-needling I think I have ever done!

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The pattern suggests using 1″ elastic, but I only had 1.5″ and it just fit the channel.  This has resulted in a lovely firm waistband which feels very secure.  If I made these for running again I would widen the waistband some more to match the styling on some of my ready to wear pairs, but for everyday leggings the fit is probably perfect as it is.

As they are not designed as running leggings, I have found them to be a little restrictive around my lower legs when running, but nothing too troubling.  It does try to pull them down a little though! I think perhaps sizing up a little might have solved this problem too.

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Overall, I am really pleased with these! They are so different to the colours and patterns that I usually wear, but I do enjoy a more vibrant print in my workout clothes- if they are exciting to look at I am more likely to put them on!

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Sadly, my fears about the fabric were well founded, while it was stretchy enough, at the seams it is so thin that it has started to tear.  I don’t think that these will last very long, but they have at least shown me that it is possible to make my own, and I am going to be looking for some more suitable fabric sometime soon.  If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know.

Agnes Top

I wear so many long-sleeved or 3/4 sleeved tops under jumpers and dresses in the winter, so this Agnes Top by  Tilly and the Buttons has become a staple for me.  I have 2 different versions, using all the pattern variations, which include elastic and gathering options for the sleeve and neckline.

I love that this pattern is well fitted to my shape.  I have cut a size 3 in two different fabrics, but both have worked well.  One is in the same teal stripe from Girl Charlee as my Molly Top from a couple of weeks ago, another is in a cheap polyester jersey from Trago.  The trago fabric was lovely and simple to work with because there was no need for stripe matching, but I did find that if overstretched the white backing shows through which is a shame.

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With basics there is not really a huge amount to say.  This pattern has fantastically simple instructions and illustrations.  Tilly really does have a way with creating beginner friendly patterns.  If working with jersey fabrics is intimidating to you, she offers an online workshop for this pattern too. I haven’t used it myself, but if it is like her written explanations, I’m sure that it is a great way of learning to use these sometimes scary fabrics!

As I said the fit is great, and if you have already seen my guest post for Minerva Crafts you will know that I used this pattern to modify the fit of the Colette Moneta dress too.  I’m sure I will be using this and other Tilly and the Buttons patterns again in the future.

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Making basics with the Molly Top

In the last year I have been working hard to make the things I wear every day, and that means basics.  perhaps not the most exciting sewing, but these Sew Over It Molly Tops  from the My Capsule Wardrobe E-book get so much wear.

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This magenta and grey is my first attempt and it did go together very smoothly.  I decided to use the neckband on the cross-grain, but this was a mistake because there wasn’t enough stretch in that direction.  It ended up hanging away from the body quite a bit at the neckline so I have fudged a fix by turning the neckband down again and stitching it in place.

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This pattern is one of 5 PDF patterns in the e-book. It is a loose-fitting, kimono sleeved top with a dipped hem. The sizing is spot on. It is loose and flowing without ending up oversized.

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I now have two short-sleeved versions, and a long-sleeved top (all striped which did create some extra work matching).  It does help that you don’t need to stripe match at the sleeve seam, because the stripe direction changes.

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All three of my tops are made with jersey from Girl Charlee who really should be your go-to place for jersey.  These are all quite lightweight, so don’t have loads of stretch and do need to be handled a little carefully to stop them from stretching out.  The two short-sleeved tops are 1/2 inch stripe, cotton jersey blends available here in teal and magenta.  There are lots of other colour options too.  The long-sleeve is similar, but unfortunately now out of stock.

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On my long-sleeved version I have found the sleeves a little short and they got stretched out hemming so I have since added a cuff.  Not really sure that it helped, so I may remove the sleeves and keep it as another short-sleeved version.

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I would definitely make more of these.  If you didn’t have stripe matching to deal with they would be such a fast make. The short-sleeved version only has 3 pieces- front, back and neckband.  Not so sure about the sleeved version, perhaps I should try again in a more stable jersey, but at the moment I think I prefer the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top which I will be reviewing here shortly!

Saunio Cardigan, spring jacket

The Saunio Cardigan from Named Clothing  is pattern two from project sew my style, and is one of the patterns that I was less sure about, so didn’t want to invest too much time or money into something I wasn’t sure I would wear. It has turned out ok though, and while it isn’t quite my usual style I an see myself wearing this during spring as a lightweight jacket.

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The size range of each size is quite big. I made up the smallest size and found it a bit bulky so I pinched out 1.5 inches at each side seam and re-sewed them.  I do tend to prefer close fitting to oversized clothing though. An alternative would be to add a belt and belt loops like Jess at Little Miss Lorraine.

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The fabric that I used was from eBay. It does feel pretty synthetic and polyester, but it seemed like a good option for something I wasn’t sure how much I would wear. It is a slightly quilted jersey and it is both warm and stretchy.

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The sewing of this pattern was generally pretty simple. Like the Toaster Sweater it is very quick to put together.  The only point I got a little confused was attaching the facing to the jacket, but the illustrations were good and it is a very clever, neat finish.

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I did have a couple of problems with my fabric. Because it was quilted it was made up of several layers and they did shift and stretch a little when topstitching.  When added to not grading my seams enough at the bottom of the facing I have ended up with quite a bit of bulk here.

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I did a second row of topstitching to try to flatten it down a little which has partially worked, but I think I should have just used my walking foot to avoid the problem completely! I have made the executive decision to have the jacket cross over the wrong way too conceal the bulk!

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The instructions for the Saunio Cardigan don’t include fastenings. My quilted fabric is a little bulky to drape properly at the front, and I like to be able to do up my cardigans, so I have added a couple of snaps and a hook and eye to give me some options for wearing it closed.

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All in all, it is not a pattern that I would have chosen for myself, but I did enjoy using a pattern from a new designer. The instructions from Named Clothing were really good and well thought through, and I think I will enjoy wearing this as the weather begins to warm up instead of a proper coat.

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Back to the beginning- Delphine Skirt

Today I thought I would go back to the beginning of my journey sewing clothes to the first item of clothing I made- a Tilly and the Buttons Delphine Skirt.  I made this skirt about 2 years ago and it is amazing to think of all the things I have learned since then!

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This skirt is so many firsts for me- a first concealed zip, first use of a paper pattern, first following of pattern instructions, and I’m so glad that this is the project I chose to try these things out on!  Tilly gives such clear instructions, and Love at First Stitch is an amazing book for a new dressmaker- it explains why you should do something, not just how.

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So then, back to the pattern.  Delphine is a simple A-line skirt, with a waistband and centre back zip.  I added belt loops though I never use them, and the fabric is a corduroy from Trago.

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This is such a beginner friendly pattern.  There are not too many pattern pieces, and the fit is very forgiving.  Provided your waist fits, the rest should be fine. As you can tell from these pictures, it is a lovely skirt for being active in- not too restrictive!

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I have made another Delphine since and that one I lined, but even that did not really add too much complexity because Tilly has a lovely tutorial on how to do it on her blog too.

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It was just so lovely to be out in the springlike sunshine to take these pictures!

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So, if you have been reading, please let me know what sorts of posts you would like to see in the future.  I have some more recent makes that I am planning to finish up and photograph soon, and also have a few thoughts on non-finished garment posts that I might share.  There are also lots of things in my wardrobe already that could be written up.  What would you like to see?  Pretty spring dresses? Some of my early makes (some more successful than others). Comment below, and I will look forward to seeing what you think.

Ultimate Wrap Dress

I have two ultimate wrap dresses to share today.  I was given this pattern for my birthday in September by my lovely sister-in-law.  I had to make it up right away!

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My first version was made with a lovely purple double knit from my stash.  It came from Calico Laine– one of the most friendly and helpful stores I have used.  It has a nice weight and drape and is just perfect for this type of project.

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The pattern is described as an advanced beginner pattern, and if you have ever sewn with a knit fabric before you should have no problems.  The construction is really simple and well explained.  The whole dress came together very quickly.  The only tricky parts are turning the ties and top stitching the very long hem/facing!  The ties are very long, perhaps because they are the same length whichever size you make and I made a size 8.  If you were a bit bigger, the extra length might be needed.

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Having had success with the first attempt, I decided to make another in a more special fabric.  This dress is made from a stretch cotton bought at the Exeter Sewing Machine Company.  I couldn’t find it on their website, but in store they have a fantastic basement of fabric- a sewists treasure trove!

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Because this version is a woven, rather than a knit, I did need to finish all the seams to stop them unravelling.  Enter the new birthday overlocker!  I was too scared to just overlock the seams, and some of them needed pressing open anyway to allow for the ties, so I just overlocked the seam allowance instead after sewing on my machine.

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I also decided to square off the corners on the bottom of the wrap sections.  I just thought it might be simpler to keep all my seams neat that way.

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Having found the ties too long previously I guessed a little at what would be a better length this time.  They are a tiny bit short to tie on the side, but tie at the back just fine.  The little bit of stretch in this cotton still helps it to conform to the body and is pretty comfortable.  I usually wear a cami underneath because the cross-over neckline is a little bit low without.

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Both of these dresses are lovely with tights and a cardigan.  I might have to think about making a lighter, short sleeved one for the spring and summer.

Toasty Toaster Sweater

Well here it is- my first contribution to the Sew My Style Project- the toaster sweater no.1.  Now I know that officially I was supposed to make version 2 (and I’m sure I will at some point), but work and college have been a little crazy this month, and I wanted yo be able to whip this up on the overlocker as fast as possible!

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Fabric-wise, both of these come from Fabric Godmother.  The patterned sleeve fabric was a remnant that I thought should be big enough for some colour-blocking.  They do have cut lengths back in stock now too.  The body, neck band and cuffs are this Ponte also from Fabric Godmother.

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In terms of the pattern, I wanted to keep things a simple as possible.  I wasn’t really sure about the high neck band and also didn’t plan my cutting out all that well so it ended up a little shorter.  I really like it though!  When up, the neck is super cosy, and I can also roll it down and wear it with a shirt.

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The fabrics were both lovely to work with.  The trickiest part was working out how to best use my 40cm remnant of the patterned jersey.  To make the most use of it I had to have the stretch running the wrong way on the sleeve, but it doesn’t seem to have affected the pattern much.  The sleeves are loose enough to be comfy and the stretch is the right way around on the cuffs anyway!

This was such a quick make.  Maybe 2 hours including cutting out.  I would love to make an even snugglier version with something a bit thicker.  I think next time I will lengthen the body about 2 inches too.  It’s not too short, just a little shorter than I usually would choose and I keep trying to pull it down.  Had lots of compliments when I wore it out today though.  I might also try switching the high neck for a neck band and having it more like a crew neck sweater.

Two Heather Dresses

 

This pattern was released a little before Christmas and it was perfect timing to create some cozy winter wardrobe staples.  Heather is a princess seamed jersey dress and is just super comfortable and as a bonus has great roomy pockets!

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My first Heather dress was actually my Christmas morning dress.  Christmas is certainly a day in which jersey dresses win- you can eat as much as you like!

Both of the dress fabrics came from fabricland.  I did manage to squeeze both of these dresses out of just 1.2m of fabric.  I slightly misread my fabric buying notes, but fortunately it worked out OK!  The red floral dress is this and the purple can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a couple of fiddly stages in the instructions to attach the pockets, but the instructions are good if you follow them accurately and carefully.  My purple dress ended up with cuffed sleeves and contrast pocket linings in order to get it out of my measly 1.2m!

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Cute contrast pockets!

Like several other bloggers, I did remove about 3 inches from the length and about 4 inches from the hip, graded to nothing at the waist.  I don’t have the most enormous hips, but that does seem to be quite a bit to take in (1″ from front and back at each side seam).  It now fits beautifully and is everything you could want from a winter dress- comfortable, stylish and pockets.  I can definitely see more of these dresses in my life!  I have couple of Ponte’s from eBay just crying out to become Heather dresses sometime in the future.