Lovely Lucia

This is actually the first thing that I managed to  sew after the arrival of little Toby, but it’s been waiting for the collaboration post on Minerva crafts to go live.  I decided to start off with something simple to ease into sewing in small doses- the Sew Over It Lucia.  This was made with some soft touch jersey from Minerva Crafts, so you can see the full blog post over here.

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I’m glad I chose something with so few pattern pieces.  This has just 3- a front/back, the sleeve and the frill.  Cutting out is my least favorite part of sewing so having just a couple of pieces let me get on with the sewing, rather than spending lots of time on the parts I don’t enjoy so much.  I think the finished top will serve me well into the autumn and winter too.

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It’s also great to be fitting some of my other clothes again! I’ve been wearing this top with my Moss skirt which will also be a good year long combo with tights and boots.

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Coming soon…

No new post today I’m afraid, but I do have a sneaky preview of a collaboration post coming on Tuesday.  This is actually the first bit of sewing that I did after Toby was born, so I’m glad that I chose something really simple.

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I do have some thoughts on sewing in a more limited time frame, so hopefully that will be a blog post on it’s way soon.  I have to say though, it is so lovely to have some time to just be me, rather than ‘mum’.

Breastfeeding Friendly Layering

In the autumn and winter, I usually layer up long sleeved t-shirts, shirts and cardigans, but this year my clothing needs to be feeding friendly.  Currently none of my long sleeved t-shirts really facilitate that, so I’ve needed to come up with a pattern hack solution.  This top is my first attempt at creating a slim fitting layering t-shirt which I can feed in.

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I’ve hacked together the Megan Nielson Amber, with my usual layering top- the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes.  Both of these are tried and true patterns for me, with multiple iterations (For Amber see here and here, Agnes here and here).  I’m using the front bodice piece of the Amber, and the modesty panel, but I’ve raised the centre front on this panel about 5cm to keep me warmer.  Then I’ve attached it to part of the front bodice of the Agnes.

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For the back, I’ve mostly used the Agnes bodice, but tweaked the armscye to fit the Amber sleeve.   The sleeve has been slimmed down a bit too to make it fit under layers more easily.  This is how I’m most likely to we wearing it on an everyday basis- worn with jeans and an Archer Shirt.

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I’m pretty pleased with this as a first try.  I do have another hack in mind to try so hopefully I will be able to show you that one too soon.  Like Matt’s recent Metro tee, this is made with the Girl Charlee solid cotton spandex in Sage Green.

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I’ll be wearing this all winter I’m sure.  I’m really glad to be able to keep warm and cosy in my layers again!

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Sewing for mini

Baby is growing so fast at the moment, so I’ve been whipping up a few things in the next size up. For these I’ve returned to the Brindle and Twig patterns that I’ve had lots of success with before, the Ringer Tee and Cuff Leggings.

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The basic T-Shirt is so speedy to sew. I made a tiny t-shirt to coordinate with Matt’s space Metro Tee.

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And a couple of long sleeve versions using my popper neckline hack. A few months in to dressing a baby and I definitely gravitate to the easiest option when getting him dressed!

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To coordinate I made two pairs of leggings to mix and match. The orange ones look a bit 80’s but I think they are a fun change from the mostly blue trousers we seem to have!

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To finish off I even have a first modelling appearance from Toby. It’s surprising hard to get good photos of a baby modelling clothes.

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Now Toby can match either of his parents- Matt has a t-shirt to match the space print, and the nautical print matches this dress of mine.

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Layering tee for Matt

Last year in my end of year review the Liesl and Co. Metro Tee’s that I made for Matt were one of my most successful makes of the year.  I made him a whole selection of short sleeved shirts (see here and here), but this year he asked for some long sleeved tees so I’ve broken out the pattern again to try the long sleeved version.

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This is such a simple pattern, especially on the overlocker with just 4 pattern pieces.  One thing to watch though is that the seam allowances are just 6mm (perfect for the overlocker), but you do have to be a bit more careful when snipping notches that they are nice and short or you might end up with holes in the seamline.

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I only had one cone of green overlocking thread so I left 3 blue cones on, and I think it looks quite nice in the seams.

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I’ve also used blue for the topstitching.  This is such a plain t-shirt, so its nice to be able to play a little with the details.

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Once again, this is sewn up in my favorite Girl Charlee solid cotton spandex, this time in Sage Green.  I managed to cut out two long sleeved t-shirts from 2m (one for matt and one for myself) because it is a full 1.5m wide.  Its not the cheapest jersey, but the quality is just fantastic.

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I’m sure there will be more of these t-shirts to come.  The sleeve length is good, as is the overall fit.  This pattern is a quick and easy sew.  It’s well drafted and all the notches line up beautifully.

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Just perfect for enjoying the Great British countryside.

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Review two, and Autumn/Winter Plans

My sewing has definitely slowed down a bit since having a baby, but I do have some plans for the autumn.  I need some more long sleeved tops, as does Matt so I’ve gone back to my favorite cotton spandex from Girl Charlee in Sage Green and Dusty Masala.

Dusty Marsala Solid Cotton Spandex Knit FabricSage Green Solid Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

With regards to my make 9 plans its going pretty well and I’ve decided on a final couple of things to add as my wildcards.  I’m going to sew the Poppy and Jazz Dandelion Dungarees for Toby (and if I get time a co-ordinating Honeydew Hoodie), and I could do with another wintery Archer shirt for which I have a perfect cream speckled brushed cotton from Fabworks last year.   So my make 9 now looks like this:

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6 made (some several times), 1 in progress, and 2 yet to start.  I feel like that is not too bad.  The Taylor Trench and Archer shirt are pretty involved makes, though I have made the Archer multiple times before.  The dandelion dungarees should be super easy though.  I have some cute Fabworks elephant fabric which might work.

Z2e5If I get time, I could also do with another Oslo cardigan.  The one that I made at the start of the year is in constant rotation, and I’ve been discovering that cardigans are much more convenient to breastfeed in than jumpers, and its getting too cold to be without layers.

 

Perfect Penny

If you saw my previous ‘in progress’ post, you will already know a bit about my planning and design process for this dress. Now I’m ready to show off the finished outfit, all ready for graduation!

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I found the sewing up pretty easy having made my toile. You do have to be aware of the seam allowances though because there are a variety of different ones used in different areas. I’m glad that I added in a seam in the skirt to allow pockets in both side seams. I used the roomy pocket piece from the Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes and they meant that I didn’t need to carry a bag.

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I made the executive decision to have the button plackets the wrong way around. The colours and patterns on the facings just seemed to flow more logically across the front of the bodice than when I put them the right way around.  I was also getting a little short of time when it came to putting in the buttons and buttonholes, and I didn’t really want to rush them so I went with snaps instead. These pretty pearly ones look quite like buttons anyway, and are nice and quick to undo to feed!

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Even though I didn’t have loads of time to put this together, I did take some time over the finishing. I french seamed the bodice seams to keep all the layers of fabric neatly enclosed.  I needed help to level the hem properly too because the waistline seems to be rising up slightly at the front.  I think it could be partly because my bust is a bit bigger than in the past and could do with a bit more room. I had to remove about 2″ at the centre back skirt before it hung level all the way around.

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Wearing this with my underskirt did work perfectly, and I will be able to wear the dress without it too next summer.

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I’m hoping this will be a dress which will get lots of wear, both dressed up for a wedding or two, and for everyday. It’s probably getting too cold for many more outings this year though.

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What circle skirt post could be complete without a bit of twirling.  This skirt did feel great to wear.  I would make another I think, though with my sewing time a bit limited it probably wont make it to the top of my sewing queue for a while.

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Speedy underskirt sewing

Hopefully by the time you are reading this, my penny dress will be finished and have been worn, but I thought I would share with you a quick sew that I put together to wear with it.  I decided not to line the skirt of my penny dress, and it is just about opaque enough to wear as it is, but the weather has turned cooler, and for graduation I will be wearing tights so I didn’t want the cotton skirt sticking to them.  My simple solution (which should also help me to stay warm) was to add a little slip or underskirt which will both add to the opacity and reduce the cling.  This skirt came together in less than one evening.  It helped that I had a couple of little tricks in mind to speed up the process.  It is constructed almost entirely on the overlocker so the seams are sewn and finished at the same time.  In fact the only time I needed to use my sewing machine was to sew the elastic waistband into a circle.

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This skirt is a basic 1/4 circle skirt.  I sized it large enough so that the waist would pull up past my hips which meant that I wouldn’t need any form of zip or closure.  I used the classic ‘pencil on a string’ trick to draw it onto my fabric, meaning no pattern to draft or trace out, and with a bit of basic maths a skirt is born!  (If you want to skip the maths, the By Hand London circle skirt calculator is great. Just make sure that you enter you hip measurement rather than your waist if you want to do it without a closure.)

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I also tried out a new finishing trick for hemming.  My Janome 6234XL can do a 2 two thread overlock which is great for adding a lace trim and tidying up the seamline.  It was the first time I had actually used it for a project (the only other time was at an get to ‘know your overlocker’ class at the Exeter Sewing Machine Company which I would highly recommend).  I was slightly surprised that my notes were sufficient to remind me what to do and how to get set up, but it turned out to be a very speedy way to achieve a hem (and we all know how huge a circle skirt hem can be!), which has the added bonus of being very attractive and decorative.

The waistband is just wide waistband elastic sewn into a circle, and then stretched to the same dimensions as the waist while it was sewn on.  I did it straight on the overlocker again which seems far quicker than using the sewing machine.  I think the whole thing probably took around an hour from cutting out to finishing, though it was done in a few small doses around baby feeds and dinner.  Definitely one of my speediest conceived and executed projects!

Wonderful Watson

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had made my own bra before, the Cloth Habit Watson Bra. I think I made this bra about 18 months ago, and have always intended to make another but not yet got around to it.  Sewing lingerie does seem to be another of those slightly intimidating projects, a bit like sewing my first trousers or jeans, bit I have to say that this was a great pattern as a first attempt.

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The Watson bra is a soft cup bra without underwires, so about as basic as it can get.  What made it so great as a first project though was the great step by step sew along.  The instructions in the pattern are good, but I really valued the photographs in the sew along to reassure me that I was doing it right.  Both the pattern instructions and the sew along also tell you exactly what stitch settings to use when sewing different parts of the bra, which I really valued as a first time lingerie maker.

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Its not always easy to find all the pieces required in lingerie patterns- most require meshes and various different elastics and it can feel a bit intimidating.  I decided to take the guesswork out of it by ordering a kit from TailorMadeShoppe on etsy.  They don’t have the same one any more, but they do have lots of kits for soft cup bras like the Watson in all sorts of different fabrics.

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The Watson pattern also includes a bikini style underwear pattern, with similarly great instructions and pictures.  My success with these pants definitely gave me the confidence to make up my big batch of Acacia Undies.

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I do have fabric and findings to make another few soft cup bras, though I think I would need to work out again what size to go with as my body has definitely changed post baby.  My little bra modification to add nursing clips would work while making my own bra though too so maybe I will have to find some time to give it another go.  I did find it very satisfying completing each small step before so it might be a good project to do in my more limited sewing time.

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Bra Modification

This is another quick and practical project. I have made my own lingerie before (such as an unblogged Watson Bra and these Acacia Undies), but I didn’t really have the time or inclination this time around! Instead I bought this bra recently, though to be useful for everyday it needs to be nursing friendly so I decided to make the modifications myself.

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You can buy kits like this one to convert your bra, but I decided to just buy the clips and elastic that I needed separately.  First job is to measure the width of the current strap elastic to buy the right clip size, and unpick the elastic from the top of the cup.

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Once it’s been taken apart, the clips can be put into position and sewn up.

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Next job is to attach elastic from the strap clip to the bottom of the cup.  This stops you from losing your strap back over your shoulder when it is unclipped.

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In all, a pretty useful little modification.  It always feels good to do some sewing that will really get lots of use.  Now I really must get on with that graduation dress!