Friday, 25 July 2014

A super-soft Sewaholic Gabriola skirt

Another finished make from a while ago! I finished this in the last week of May and wore it a few times then. It's not perfect - far from it - but I do love a maxi skirt and this one's super soft and comfy, so it's been getting a fair few wears.

It's a Sewaholic Gabriola skirt, released in February this year. I bought the fabric on Goldhawk Road, and I'm pretty certain it's viscose. It's hella slippery, creases a lot, but is super soft and drapey. I loves me a viscose!

Sewing this one up wasn't too easy a job. First of all, the cutting out. Now, those are some looooooong pattern pieces, even if you're a short-arse like me and know you'll be whacking off a good 5 inches at the end. So my fabric slipped and slid everywhere. Thankfully my cutting mat and rotary blade came in handy but the whole process wasn't without stress.

The lovely thing about Sewaholic's patterns, for me, is that they're designed for my pear-ish body shape. Big bottom and hips! So I was pretty confident that as long as I got the waist size correct, the rest would be fine. And it would have been, if my fabric hadn't been so ruddy awkward and stretched itself like crazy. See, some of the skirt panels are cut on the bias and in my stressed-out state I forgot to staystitch them. That kind of thing still isn't second nature to me, so if it doesn't say it in the pattern instructions then I don't do it! Hence my side panels stretching and then not being the same length as the ones I was sewing them to. Gah. My waistband was fine, but I ended up with excess fabric on my hips that ended up being kind of wrinkled. In the end I took the skirt in at those bits and I think it's fixed it a bit but it's still not great. BUT it doesn't stop me wearing it and I think the fabric print is kind of busy enough not to notice it. Can you see it?

So with my next Gabriola I will staystitch to my heart's content, and maybe use a slightly more stable fabric and maybe then all will be good.

I used french seams for the skirt side seams, which is very pleasing. And then overlocked all other seams to finish them. Some have said they're not that keen on the straight (not curved) waistband but it suits me perfectly as I wear most skirts right on my waist, not my hips.

I used a chunky zip exposed zip for the back. I like the way it's so visible but it's clearly too heavy for my light fabric, so there's a bit of wobbling going on there. Again, not too much to bother me!

So all in all, I like Gabriola. The method is great, if a bit long-winded due to the multitude of pieces. The shape is cute, and perfect for summer. I'll make more, just gotta give myself a bit more time to recover from this one!

Jen x

Saturday, 19 July 2014

a ticket to the Cambie club, please

Guys, I've been a bad blogger, I know it. 12 weeks without a finished make post? And it's not like I haven't been sewing! But I just haven't felt like blogging lately, and I'm not sure why. Sorry about that. So I'm just going to give it a big kick up the backside and get on and blog all these finished makes and then hopefully the love will return! So get ready for a bit of an influx, as soon as I can get them all photographed...

First up is my most recent make - a Sewaholic Cambie dress. I made this dress to wear as bridesmaid to my lovely brother and now-sister-in law's wedding, just over two weeks ago now.

Elena and I were bridesmaids and it was an obvious decision to both make our dresses, under the brief from the bride of a 'dark blue and cream' colour scheme. I decided to make Cambie, because I love it's slightly vintage-esque style, and Lena made a beautiful one last year and loves hers (plus there are numerous other beautiful Cambies on the web), so I knew it would be a good choice. I made View B with the full gathered skirt.

These photos were all taken at the wedding, which was at the idyllic Trout Inn at Tadpole Bridge, a darling Cotswolds pub and boutique hotel. It's a lovely location, right on the river, and they had the ceremony outdoors which was wonderful. The staff at the pub were just amazing too, and made the whole day, and everything before and after, run so smoothly.

On to the make details! The fabric is from one of the shops on Goldhawk Road, and I think it's a viscose. It's lovely and drapey, but also nicely heavy so hangs well, and has a lovely silkiness to it. 

I did a bodice muslin straight out of the pack, cutting the bust at a size 4 going down to a size 8 at the waist. That first muslin told me that I needed to shorten the straps a little and the bodice a little too. So I took a little (about 1cm?) length out of the straps at the top, and shortened the bodice by 3cm. I also took a tiny amount out of the centre back to allow for my little bit of sway back. I then did a second muslin and those changes meant it fit like a dream. So on I progressed!

I lined the bodice with some old light white muslin drapes my mum was getting rid of a while ago. They were perfect as they're so light and I didn't want to add too much bulkiness to the bodice, plus I wanted it to be breathable. It did mean I had to topstitch all around the bodice neckline and straps though, to make sure none of the white lining poked out. That was OK though; I think it looks good topstitched. For the skirt lining I used some lovely gunmetal grey silk crepe I stocked up on a while ago at Goldhawk Road. The waistband lining uses the main shell fabric, as per the pattern instructions. Wanna see some insides?

Don't you just love a fully-lined dress?

And the topstitching!

I didn't bother with any pattern-matching. I didn't really see the point - the floral pattern is so whimsical and scattered. If I had bothered, maybe it would have looked quite lovely to have the back bodice line up pattern-wise. But what the hey, I don't see the back much so whatevs!

Am I going to lose sleep over my non-pattern matched back? Erm, nope.

Things I love about the Cambie dress:
  • the straps. I love the gathered effect on the straps, coming from the sweetheart neckline. VERY cute.
  • the gathered skirt. It was so good for dancing! And the skirt lining made it even more floofy.
  • it fits perfectly! Woo. And as I should always remember: a muslin is so worthwhile.

I'm so pleased to now be a fully-fledged member of the Cambie club. Always last to the party, but I make it in the end!

See you soon with more makes.

Jen x

Monday, 9 June 2014

review time: mr nutcase

A couple of weeks ago, a company called Mr Nutcase contacted me and asked if I’d be up for writing a little review of their services and their products. I’d never heard of them before but checked out their website and was pleased to see they specialise in custom mobile phone cases.

Coincidentally, my phone case was on its very last legs and so I jumped at the opportunity to get a new one, and share my thoughts with you all about what Mr Nutcase do. Apologies if you’re only here for the sewing – we’ll be back to that soon enough.

Their website gives you the choice to choose either one of the designs from their collection, or upload your own photo to use. I couldn't think of any photo I’d really like on my phone case (cue Josh crying in the corner) so I decided to go for one from their collection. I had a bit of trouble choosing actually – they have some very cute designs. Some are definitely a bit naff but they do also have some very nice geometric prints, florals and vintage-inspired designs. I decided to go for Rainbow because I like my phone case to have a bit of colour.

The ordering process was easy enough. You can zoom in or out of your image, and move it around to position how you want it. And you can then preview how it’s going to look before you click ‘buy’. The prices are pretty good - the iphone 5 case I got is £14.95 which I reckon is pretty good. 

I placed my order on the Friday and it was sent out really quickly – I received it the following Tuesday. I’m pleased with the quality – the colours are nice and bright and it feels as sturdy as any other cases out there on the market.

And the best part of all of this my lovelies? They’ve given me a 10% discount to share with all of you! Just enter ‘Thanku10’ at the checkout. Discount is valid for six months. Enjoy!

Jen x

**Yo: Mr Nutcase provided me with a complimentary phone case to review but did not pay me for this review. All opinions are my own.**

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Les miettes

Hello everyone!

I've got another double dose of a pattern to show off today! I seem to do this when I try a pattern and it magically fills a space in my wardrobe so perfectly - after the first, I promptly make another. But I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who does that!

Anyway, this time it happened with Tilly's Miette skirt. After about a year of ignoring its charms my mind suddenly did an inexplicable U-turn in early May and it was all I could think about. I had the perfect fabric, too - a gorgeous floral chintz I purchased from Marie of A Stitching Odyssey. She used it for her amazing Elisalex (love love LOVE!), so when she announced she had some for sale in her Etsy shop, I pounced.

Pic nabbed from Me-Made-May - excuse the wrinkles!

I don't have much to say about the pattern that Jen didn't say last April (along with the many other bloggers who've made and loved this skirt), so this post will mostly be photos! Suffice to say I love it. It works through all seasons - in May alone I wore it with bare legs, sandals and a strappy top on our rare warm and sunny days, and tights, boots and a jumper on the miserable ones!

My second version, completed 10 days after the first, is a slightly more functional version in denim. Functional, yes, but as MMM showed me, I need more plain-fabric items in my wardrobe to pair with my patterned tops.

I bought this denim from my local fabric shop and deliberately asked for only 120cm (it's 150cm wide). I wanted to see whether a Miette could be made from that small amount, and it totes can! Bear in mind I'm very wee and hacked 8cm off the length of the pattern, and I used a contrasting polka dot (of course!) fabric for my waistband facing and one side of the ties, but still... good to know this pattern is not a major fabric-suck!

Sorry to blind you with my pasty-white legs!

I made a bit of a feature of the centre front seam by topstitching each side with a tan topstitching thread. I used the same thread to stitch the hem, and love the way it looks.

Jamie took these photos for me last Sunday when we had some rare sunshine. We had a lovely lazy day - a lie-in, a nice walk along the river near our flat, and then I spent all afternoon sewing. Oh, and we started watching Orange is the New Black! In case you haven't seen it, it's awesome I'd totally recommend.

Rightio, I have a couple more photos, and then I swear I'll leave you in peace. Til next time lovelies!

Distracted by a passing pug

Elena x

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Me-Made-May '14: The final week, and some reflections

So, Me-Made-May '14 is over! It was the first time we participated, and I think I can safely speak for Jen as well when I say we thoroughly enjoyed it! We'll go into our reflections on the week gone by in a minute, but first, those final few days:

Day 26 - Monday 26th May

Uh-oh, photo fail! This was a rainy bank holiday and I pretty much stayed in my (not me-made) PJs all day, bar half an hour when I wore a repeat of day 8's outfit to pop to Waitrose for some food . So I'm not counting it as a total MMM fail!

Day 27 - Tuesday 27th May

Jen wore spotty Pattern Runway Coffee Date Dress (unblogged). Boots are Clarks.
Jen says: This was a typical day at work but as it was a little chilly out I decided to wear my coffee date dress with boots and tights. This isn't the most comfortable of dresses to wear for a long day at my desk but I'm glad I gave it one wear during MMM.

Day 28 - Wednesday 28th May

Elena wore grey wool Simplicity 2451 (blogged here). Jumper is from Primark and shoes are Clarks.
Oh dear, I need to clean my mirror. Anyway, this skirt often gets pushed aside in favour of my grey Hollyburn and I'm not sure why, as I really like it! My office was FREEZING last week so I paired it with this cosy jumper. The shoes added a little brightness to an otherwise grey day :)

Day 29 - Thursday 29th May

Jen wore adapted Dixie DIY ballet dress again (to be blogged soon). Shoes from Topshop. 
Jen says: A very reliable and comfy one. Nothing more to be said that hasn't already.

Day 30 - Friday 30th May

And another photo fail! Gah. On Friday I wore a repeat of day 10's outfit, my stripy unblogged Darling Ranges, but didn't love it half as much as I did that day. Despite my adjustments improving the fit a bit I'm still not happy with the bodice. So I got home on Friday and promptly threw the dress on my refashion pile - I'll chop off the bodice, add a waistband, and have a nice button-front gathered skirt instead. One day I may also have a good look at the Darling Ranges bodice and try and perfect that fit.

Day 31 - Saturday 31st May

Jen wore her new Gabriola skirt (to be blogged soon). Tee from charity shop (originally Zara), belt from charity shop. 
Jen says: Just finished this make and I love it. Perfect for a summer's day like this one. More in the future blog post about it.

Jen's thoughts on her first MMM

It's really helped me realise what I should focus on sewing more of the future. Comfy knits and wardrobe basics are definitely things I need more of and keep coming back to, especially for typical days at work. I also really like an interesting print to make me feel like I'm wearing something that will brighten my day. MMM's been a really valuable lesson and although it's been a little tedious having to take the pics I think it's been worth it.

Elena's thoughts on her first MMM
My most-worn items this month are definitely my cake: plain-coloured skirts and knit dresses - comfy clothing and pieces that can be livened up with a print top and colourful shoes. Must make more ballet dresses and Hollyburn skirts! I've really enjoyed MMM, though I second Jen's thoughts on photo-taking. At least I had her to share the month with - I don't know how some people did daily snaps!

So that's it from us! We've really enjoyed seeing everyone else's MMM posts (so much inspiration!), and will hopefully be back for MMM '15 next year!
Elena x

Monday, 26 May 2014

Me-Made-May '14: Week 4

Well, we're almost at the finishing line, folks. Have you been enjoying Me Made May 2014? I confess I'm starting to struggle - I don't have a huge wardrobes of me-mades yet and so I'm starting to repeat, and it's not as fun as it was at the beginning! Oh well. It's still been a valuable lesson in what I have and what I actually wear.

But let's get on with our Week 4 recap, shall we?

Day 19 - Monday 19th May

Jen wore her Pauline Alice Cami dress (blogged here). Shoes are Accessorize, via charity shop. Belt is charity shop.
This was a day at work. It was pretty sunny so my blindingly white bare legs came out. I like this dress a lot and should wear it more. It always gets compliments.

Day 20 - Tuesday 20th May

Elena wore Dixie DIY ballet dress (again, blogged here). Belt is from charity shop.
Elena says: On Tuesday I woke up feeling more tired than usual and a little sort throat-y, so wanted the most comfort I could possibly have without wearing my PJs - hello again Dixie DIY ballet dress!

Day 21 - Wednesday 21st May

Jen wore her Grainline Scout elephant-print tee again (blogged here). Skirt and belt are charity shop. Sandals are F+F.
Wore this to work and then out to dinner with friends in the evening. Worn this already this month and I'm not surprised - it's a great tee for tucking into skirts or wearing with jeans.

Day 22 - Thursday 22nd May

Elena wore Colette Zinnia skirt (blogged here). Jumper is ASOS.
Elena says: Working from home today, hence the no shoes. This skirt isn't the most comfortable for lounging around, but was good for a day of working from home (with a thrilling trip to the polling station at lunchtime). I'm a bit unsure of the overuse of polka dots in this outfit, but love the look of cropped jumpers with high-waisted skirts, so won't lose any sleep over it!

Day 23 - Friday 23rd May

Oh no! MMM FAIL!!! Had a day off from work so actually spent all day in... my pajamas. And as I haven't made any pajamas this was a MMM fail. Sorry not sorry guys, sometimes you just gotta spend all day in your pajamas.

Day 24 - Saturday 24th May

Elena wore Burda 10/2012 #114A rouched top (unblogged) and Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt (to be blogged soon - promise!). Boots: ASOS.
Elena says: I like this jumper the more I wear it, and people are often surprised to hear it's homemade, which I love. The skirt has quickly become a firm favourite and gets lots of compliments, so I have another Miette (this time in denim) planned for summer. 

Day 25 - Sunday 25th May

Jen wore tribal Darling Ranges dress (blogged here). Sandals again from charity shop.
This was a lovely sunny day and we were going to Josh's brother's for Sunday lunch and a wander round Balham. This dress is a lovely trusty one to add instant brightness to an outfit and I love that I can wear it both with tights and bare legs - it's an all-year-rounder. Yay!

So that's it for the end of Week 4! Tune in next week for the last 6 days' outfits and some thoughts from both of us on Me Made May 2014.

Jen x

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Me-Made-May '14: Week 3


Ah, end of the weekend. And what a weekend it's been! Jen and I attended our first blogger meetup this weekend, the awesome NYlon2014, and had a brilliant time. It turns out that what everyone says is indeed true - sewists really are the nicest people!

But this post isn't about that - this is all about the exciting event that is Me-Made-May. So let's dive right into week 3!

Day 12 - Monday 12th May

Elena wore her Charlotte skirt (blogged here) and unblogged Burda 10/2012 #114A rouched top.
Shoes are Clarks.
A bog-standard work day, after work I met up with Kelly, Claire, and Leire for cocktails in House bar in Oxford. Such a nice treat for a Monday evening! I started the day feeling a little uncomfortable in the skirt - it's unlined, so clings a little to tights, and wearing a pencil skirt isn't an everyday occurrence for me (it's the big hips), but as the day wore on I felt more and more confident in it. I think the yellow shoes helped!
The top is a nice Burda pattern that I'd finished the day before using some very soft jersey purchased on Goldhawk Road. As usual with Burda the instructions were useless so I just made it up as I went along, but I think it goes really nicely with this skirt.

Day 13 - Tuesday 13th May

Jen wore violet blouse (blogged here) and Hollyburn skirt (blogged here).
Boots are Clarks.
Jen says: This was a normal day at work. I like these two separately but don't wear them together too much, I guess because it feels like quite a formal outfit. I like the blouse tucked into things and am pleased I still like wearing it, considering it was only the 2nd item I ever made! The skirt hem has always felt a tiny bit too long so one of these days I'll get round to taking it up.

Day 14 - Wednesday 14th May

Elena wore Sewaholic Hollyburn and floral Scout tee (both unblogged).
Cardi was from a charity shop.
In retrospect this is a bit of a 'blah' outfit, but I felt pretty good in it all day, so maybe I was in that sort of a mood! Both of these items are unblogged as they're quite basic but I have worn them both A LOT (second outing for the Hollyburn this month, and I'm sure it won't be the last), so I will definitely make more. Proper cake pieces!

Day 15 - Thursday 15th May

Jen wore Anna dress 'wearable muslin' (unblogged).
Shoes are Primark (from a charity shop)
Jen says: This is the first Anna I made and even though I did a muslin pre-this, it still had a lot of gaping issues. I added in several darts once it was finished which have helped, but I don't love it. I can see this not being worn much in my future. This was also just a normal working day.

Day 16 - Friday 16th May

Elena wore her Colette Sorbetto (blogged here).
Trousers are Dorothy Perkins, cardi is from a charity shop.
Ha, this was a no-face day! That says a lot. Actually I really like this top. It's made from a charity shop skirt that I dismantled, and having limited fabric means unfortunately I had to make it a bit shorter than desired. It therefore looks rubbish with low-rise jeans but ok with higher-waisted trousers like these.

Day 17 - Saturday 17th May

Jen wore her SewDollyClackett Anna! 
Belt is charity shop, bag is vintage, shoes are accessorize (from charity shop). Name tag is by the lovely Tsoniki at Me Being Crafty.
Jen says: This was worn to the epic NYLon2014 meet-up. A great day and it was nice to wear something so bright and special.

Day 18 - Sunday 18th May

Elena wore her Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt (blog post coming soon!)
Vest top is H&M, sandals are Primark.
Today was spent being busy busy busy with my drama group, Studio Theatre Club. Our new production of Chekhov's Three Sisters is on next week and I'm doing sound and lighting for the run, so today involved setting up the theatre and having our first dress rehearsal. I wore my new Miette skirt, which I'd also worn the day before to NYlon2014 (I love it that much), and it was the perfect mix of comfy and summery.

So, that's week 3 down! To be honest it's a bit of a lifesaver that the weather here in the UK has gotten so nice in the last few days, as that's really broadened our me-made options. Hope everyone else's Me-Made-Mays are going well, and we hope you'll pop back next week to see what week 4 brings!

Elena x

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