Fabric shopping in Birmingham

Last Saturday I went with some of the ladies I met at Sew Brizzle to go fabric shopping in Birmingham. I was sad to have missed the bigger meet up the previous week but in a way it was nice to go in a small group as it gave me the chance to chat with everyone (which I didn’t manage to do the time I went to a big London meet-up).

Here we are outside Guthrie and Ghani. Thanks to Sarah from Like Sew Amazing for the photo – she remembered to take pictures when I didn’t! A very kind man took this picture for us 🙂

From left to right: Karen, Amy, Me, Sarah, Ruth and Jen.

Our first stop was Fancy Silk Store. I felt a little overwhelmed when we first went in as it’s deceptively big – and has an upstairs – and I couldn’t take everything in! I did spot that they had reasonably priced denim and after we’d been around some other shops, we circled back and I bought some stretch and non-stretch denim for Ginger and Morgan wearable toiles.

This is the stretch one – it has a nice flecked weave and looks a little like linen, but is thicker. It was £6.99 per metre and I got 1.4m.

And this is the non-stretch. I did want something a bit lighter for my Morgans, but this will do for a practice. It is a little lighter than the stretch one. It was £7.99 per metre and I got 1.6m.

After this first shop we headed into the rag market, where there are loads of fabric stalls, inside and out. I had made the mistake of not taking out any cash as I thought if I did I wouldn’t buy anything! But I did have enough to get some black and some white cotton twill (I think it was twill and not drill, anyone know the difference?!).

I’m planning a 60s style colour blocked Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress. I bought 2 metres of the black and one of the white, and it came to £12 in total (so £4 per metre). I bought this fairly early on and for some reason it weighs loads, so I got pretty sick of carrying it around by the end of the day – I was glad I waited until the end to get the denim!

After the rag market, we all got on a bus and went to Moseley to visit Guthrie and Ghani. I was not-so-secretly hoping we would go there, and I’m so glad I was with people who knew how to get there! I just followed 🙂 I could easily have spent a small fortune in Guthrie and Ghani – you can tell everything is really good quality. And the shop is so pretty!

I decided to treat myself to a couple of patterns which I wanted – the Ebony Tee and Dress by Closet Case Patterns and the Guise Pants by Papercut Patterns.

They have a really great selection of remnants and I couldn’t help picking up a couple of them. I just loved the pattern on this Robert Kaufman cotton. It’s navy blue, though it looks kind of black in the photo. It seems to be called Storm Drown, and I can’t find it anywhere online so I guess it’s not available. This bolt end was 275cm x 90cm and was £15.50. I’m hoping there will be enough for a Colette Aster blouse.

I also couldn’t resist this gorgeous mustard loopback jersey. The photo doesn’t do the colour justice, nor how soft it is. It’s honestly one of the softest fabrics I’ve ever touched. It was £6.50 and there’s only 155cm x 40cm so I’m not sure what I’ll be able to make, but I had to have it.

The final thing I bought from Guthrie and Ghani was this coral crepe fabric. It has a lovely drape and a slightly mottled texture and I got 1.7m of it at £10.50 per metre. This is one of the more expensive fabrics I’ve bought, but the Anderson Blouse I’m planning to make will still only cost £17.85 which is pretty good for a blouse made of such nice fabric!

The last fabric shop we went to was Barry’s. I would have no idea how to find it on my own, but it’s definitely a hidden treasure!

This is another shop that is very, very full of fabrics and I think you could easily spend 4 hours in there and still not see everything!

I did manage to find one treasure, thanks to Jen (Gingerella). It’s this nice blueish-greyish cotton and I bought 2 metres – I can’t remember how much I paid, though. I think I’ll make a short-sleeved Melilot Shirt for when the weather finally gets warm!

So there we go, that’s my haul for a day’s shopping. Not too bad I think. Have you been fabric shopping in Birmingham? Did we miss anywhere good?

 

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March Makes and April Plans

March turned out to not be that productive a month for me sewing-wise, but I knew that would probably be the case as I was away 3 out of the last 4 weekends, and I do most of my sewing at the weekend. This also meant I didn’t really have anything finished to blog, hence the little break from blogging.

I did manage to make my toaster sweater, which has already got a lot of wear, so I think there are more of these in my future!

I mostly made the Simplicity 1696 trousers I’ve been planning since October……which is 6 months ago! I’ll hopefully finish them this weekend, then I’ll do a full post about all the fit adjustments I’ve done/will have to do. I’ve got to properly sew the leg seams (they’re just basted), add the waistband lining and hem them. Hopefully!

I also make a present for my niece’s second birthday, but I’ll save that for my full post at some point in the future.

I don’t think that’s too bad considering I was so busy and therefore tired! I’m definitely finding that I am happy to not have evening or weekend plans 95% of the time, and if I have to do stuff more often than that I get knackered!

So now onto my plans for April (which we’re almost a week into!). I’m hopeful of making a few things because I have next week off work and although I will go out and about a bit, I’m hoping to sew at least a bit on most of the days.

The first thing I’m hoping to make is some Carolyn Pyjamas out of this amazing boaty liberty fabric which one of my friends gave me a couple of weeks ago when I was in London. I love it! And the pattern is one of my #2017MakeNine. I’m thinking to add some red piping – although someone on instagram suggested I do white piping, which I think will also look good. Which do you think I should do? There are 3 metres, so I think it will be enough for a pair of pjs, though I may do short sleeves with long trousers if there isn’t enough for long sleeves.

My next must-make is what I hope will be a good Spring garment; a stripey Marianne Dress. This is a pattern I’ve had in my stash for ages, and I don’t know why I’ve not yet gotten around to making it! This is partly why I added it to my #2017MakeNine. I bought this navy scribble striped fabric after seeing it on Rosabella’s youtube channel. I’m sometimes wary of ordering fabric online but because she said it was good quality, I thought it safe to give it a go and it does feel nice. I hope it sews up well! I’m thinking I’ll make the shirt-sleeved version but without the collar and without colour-blocking, though I may change my mind! Any thoughts?

My third hopefully definite make is my denim Moss Skirt. I cut it out a while ago, and having made one already for my sister, I feel sort of confident that I can make it without too many places where I get stuck!

Of course, this is already a pretty ambitious bunch of projects, but I’m hoping to make a start on some jeans finally. Both of Closet Case Patterns’ jeans patterns are also on my #2017MakeNine so I want to tick off one or two this month! I’m going fabric shopping in Birmingham on Saturday this week and one of my main aims is to get some denim for one or both pairs.

If I get time after all of this (which seems really unlikely!) I want to have a go at the Bellatrix Blazer from Papercut Patterns. I bought this last month as I wanted a slightly more fitted jacket pattern than the By Hand London Victoria Blazer which I’ve made 3 times (1,2,3), as I feel more put-together at work in a blazer.

I’m also considering going to the Dressmakers’ Ball, which is on 12th May, so it might be that half of these plans go out of the window in favour of making a gown of some kind! I’m tempted to go just because when do you get the chance to make and wear a gown!? Are you going to the ball? Have you already started your dress?

#2017MakeNine and other plans for the year

After my review of 2016, I thought it would be nice to plan for my year of sewing yet to come. I’m sure you’ve seen Rochelle from Lucky Lucille‘s #MakeNine thing which has been all over blogs and instagram for the last week or so. I think it’s a really good idea to focus your year of sewing, so here are my #2017MakeNine in no particular order (and they’re all patterns I already have in my stash):

1. Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns

ginger-jeans-1I’ve ended up with almost no wearable jeans – I have one pair which are worn on my thigh between my legs which are just about passable but my others either don’t fit any more or have a broken zip. I’ve had this pattern for quite a while and 2017 is definitely going to be the year when I finally make them!

2. Roberts Collection by Marilla Walker.

roberts-collection-2This is another pattern I’ve had for a little while and after we moved, before I set up my sewing space, I spent some time printing and assembling PDF patterns I’d bought and this was one of them. So it is now all ready to go. I think I’m going to make the dungarees and the dungaree dress (so this is a twofer!) so I have some casual weekend clothes that aren’t just jeans (though I do love jeans).

3. Moneta Dress by Colette

moneta-dressI bought this pattern, along with the Mabel skirt, not long after they were released. I have a similar style RTW dress from H & M which I bought ages ago which I really like when I wear it, so I’m hoping to recreate it/ create more versions of it to have comfortable but hopefully smart-looking dresses for work.

4. Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns

morgan-jeansI like a classic skinny jean, but more and more I feel I’m being drawn to boyfriend jeans too. I might start with this pattern as I assume there will be less careful fitting needed, and then move onto the Gingers.

5. Cooper Bag by Colette

cooper-bagI’ve had this pattern for years and I bought all the hardware I need to make it, I just haven’t yet actually made the bag. I currently use a crappy sporty rucksack and I’ve wanted a nice bag for aaages. Part of my problem is I can’t decide on what colours and fabrics to use so if anyone has any suggestions, I’m open!

6. Inari Tee Dress by Named

inari-tee-dressI meant to make one or two of these last Summer as I’ve seen so many great versions online but I didn’t get around to it – always the way, huh?! So this year is the year….

7. Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes

marianne-dressI think this could be another option for smart but comfortable work dresses – and they could also work for weekends depending on the fabric choice. I don’t know why I haven’t got around to making this yet, I’ve had the pattern for quite a while.

8. Carolyn Pyjamas by Closet Case Patterns

carolyn-pajamasHaving made Summer pyjamas in the form of the Grainline Lakeside Pyjamas, I am now in need of nice Winter and Spring/ Autumn Pyjamas so the Carolyns are on my to make list this year. All my current bought pyjamas are a bit past their best so I really need to get onto making some nice new ones. I’ve also never sewn with piping so that will be a fun skill to learn hopefully.

9. Albion Coat by Colette

albion-coatAlthough this pattern is sort of a men’s pattern, it is technically unisex. I bought it before Grainline brought out their Cascade Duffel Coat as it was the only one on the market. This is yet another pattern I’ve had – and been meaning to make – for years. I want to make basically a copy of the lovely bright coats they sell in Sea Salt. I’ll be on the hunt probably for yellow waterproof fabric and a navy and white striped lining.

As I’m sure you’ve picked up on, I’ve had most of these patterns for quite a while! I want to try as much as possible to sew from patterns I already have in my stash as I’ve only sewn about half the patterns I have – and that doesn’t include patterns from books! There are, I’m sure, one or two I will buy but I feel like I pretty much have every kind of pattern I could possibly need. I’m also going to try to be mindful about my fabric buying, so I buy with specific projects in mind.

This year I have also signed up for #ProjectSewMyStyle. Run by Bluebird Fabrics, the idea is to make 12 garments in 12 months and end up with a brilliant capsule wardrobe. Having looked at the schedule of the patterns, there are some months when I’m not going to join in as the patterns are not really my style – and it seems against the ethos of the project being about slow fashion to sew things for the sake of joining in with a project. I am going to try to make the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater 2 in January, though.

PrintThey’re a new-to-me pattern company, and I like the simple lines of this pattern, but it looks like a flattering shape too.

The only other pattern I think I’ll definitely try to make is the Named Yona Wrap Coat which is scheduled for September. There are some Megan Nielsen patterns throughout the year, too, so I might have a go at them, though I don’t want to buy tooooo many new patterns.

yona-wrap-coatMy other main project for the first half of this year is going to be to do Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series to try even more to focus my sewing, so this whole post may be thrown completely out of the window! I’m hoping it will help me be focused in my fabric shopping and how I pick fabrics for specific patterns so I don’t end up with things that don’t fit with other things I’ve made. I want to try to create more of a capsule wardrobe and try to be less of an unfocused magpie!

wardrobe-architectI think I’ll manage to post about this every 2 weeks, so it will take me a few months instead of the 14 (I think) weeks planned. I’m also going to carry on planning my sewing month by month as I’ve found this really helpful since I’ve been doing it the last few months – it means when I do have time to sew, I know what I’m sewing. And I have been sometimes cutting out things during evenings after work so I’m ready to sew when I have a chunk of time at the weekend, instead of spending one weekend day cutting out.

This seems like quite a lot to fit into one year, but I also want to try to make a quilt for the first time this year. I want to do some work on our bedroom, so maybe a quilt for the bed? I need to decide on a colour scheme for the room first though…. The other option is to make a throw for our sofa which currently has one of my pieces of fabric on it because it’s uglier than it looked online when we ordered it! I also want to have a go at weaving a wall-hanging to go above our bed as the walls in our bedroom are quite empty. I’ve also got a chair I want to recover. And I started making a tank top for The Boyfriend over a year ago so I really should finish that!

Phew! I’m glad I’ve got a whole year to do all of this! What are your plans for 2017?

Lace Wedding Outfit

I’ve finally sewn up some of the lace I wrote about in my post about lace. Hurrah! (I was meant to take pictures at the wedding, but totally forgot, sorry! I blame the prosecco….)

Wedding-Outfit-11I made this dress for a wedding I went to last weekend – which was awesome, by the way. I haven’t been to loads of weddings – I’m not someone who has multiple ones every Summer for 5 years in a row (maybe I don’t have many friends!?) – so it was fun to have one to dress up for. There wasn’t an official dress code – which is awesome – but I still wanted the excuse to dress up and make myself something fancy.

You may remember in my lace post I mentioned making a dress for the wedding and I found some photos as inspiration. There was one that stayed with me and became my main inspiration for this dress. I liked the simple top, pleated skirt and sort-of-matching-but-not-really underlining and lace.

Style Inspiration: Navy Lace DressI was planning to also copy the high-low hem, but after a google of what they look like on actual people and after scratching my head about how to do it with the scallop edge of the lace being all around the bottom, I decided to forgo it.

I decided to underline the dress instead of lining it so all the seams would be hidden on the inside and I wouldn’t have to fiddle around with teeny french seams or double stitching or anything like that – I would like to have a go at this, though, and since I have plenty of lace left I can easily make something else that’s lined instead of underlined. I used the left-over fabric from my BHL Georgia dress (this is a bit of a BHL outfit btw) as the underlining. There was exactly enough left – and I had to cut the back bodice sideways to the grain. The 2 skirt pieces are on the selvedge (which cunningly meant I didn’t have to hem them!) and the front bodice is on a scrap folded in towards the middle – I had to cut out the skirt pieces before I could cut it out!

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I agonised for ages about what colour to put underneath my lace. You may remember it looked dull when put over bright colours. I had pretty much decided on cream but then changed my mind and went with navy and I’m soooo glad I did! I cut out the pieces in lace and the cotton sateen (as I think my Georgia was made from) and zig-zagged them together with bright orange thread – so it would be easy to unpick. This was the theory anyway – a lot of the time it got caught in my seams and was a pain to get out, especially in the pleats on the skirt! Definitely use either a tiny or massive seam allowance if you do this!

IMG_0139The bodice is the Emery bodice as I’ve already made it twice (1, 2) and done all the fitting work before and I’m inherently lazy when it comes to fitting! I sewed the side seams with a 1cm instead of 1.5cm seam allowance as I’d done last time when the bodice ended up a bit tight!

I didn’t really think about the pattern placement when I was cutting out the lace – apart from the scallops on the bottom. I probably should have centred the lace pattern on the bodice, I wouldn’t do well on the Great British Sewing Bee! I did manage to remember to sew in one of my labels, though.

Wedding-Outfit-8As well as the bodice, I used the pockets from the Emery. I LOVE pockets!!! It was really useful on the day of the wedding too, as they were big enough to hold my phone so I was always ready to take photos.

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The skirt of this dress was the real challenge. I used the BHL Elisalex skirt as a basis – in terms of length and width at the top of the skirt. I probably could have started from scratch given how much I changed, but it felt too scary! Since the Elisalex already has pleats in, I thought it would be a good starting point. It has box pleats, though, and I wanted knife pleats (I think they’re called knife pleats!). Each box pleat was 8cm on each side, so I could change it easily to be 2 knife pleats also of 8cm each. I initially wanted 3 pleats, though, but couldn’t fit them in nicely – the 3rd one ended up on my hip, which wasn’t the most flattering. I had already added another 8cm into the width of the skirt pieces, though, so I made 2 12cm pleats instead. I’m talking about in each ‘quarter’ so 2 pleats on each side of the front and 2 on each side of the back. I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out! They maybe could have been a little closer to the centre, but they seemed pretty close as it was on the pattern.

Wedding-Outfit-18The other bit of measuring was to make sure the width of the top of the skirt minus the pleats matched the bottom of the bodice pieces – I included the seam allowances in my measurements as it was the same on the bodice and skirt. The Emery and Elisalex were pretty close and I only had to alter it by a cm or two. It was particularly important for me to make sure these matched as I was adding the inseam pockets from the Emery, so I couldn’t alter the side seams of the skirt – and I couldn’t alter them on the bodice either, or I wouldn’t have got it on/ it wouldn’t have held together.

Wedding-Outfit-1You may also have noticed the fact that the skirt is not tulip shaped as in the Elisalex, but more a-line. I made the bottom hem of the skirt 10cm wider than the top of the skirt (which was 24cm wider than the original pattern) and drew a straight line for the side seams, for the back and front pieces. Once I’d taken out the pleats, the difference between the top and bottom became more pronounced. I’m really pleased with how it turned out – I didn’t want it to look like a circle skirt but I wanted it to balance out my shoulders.

Wedding-Outfit-16Although I said I didn’t think about the pattern placement – particularly obviously on the bodice! – the one place I did think about it was on the skirt side seams. I made sure the scallops looked uninterrupted so the seam wouldn’t be quite so obvious on the hem. Also, as you can see, the underlining skirt was 1.5 cm shorter than the lace over skirt, so the scallop looked its best. One of the things I loved about making this dress was than I didn’t have to do any hems! Does anyone else hate doing hems?

Wedding-Outfit-13I took a further 2.5cm off the length, on top of the 2ocm I’d removed previously! I wanted it to sit just on my knees – and because of the scallops I knew it would be a massive pain to take it up, so I measured my ideal length and hoped for the best! It could maybe have been a cm or two shorter, but I think it looks fine.

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When I had the idea for this dress I didn’t really think about the weather. Here in the UK we’ve had a rather cold May and it was really really cold the weeks before the wedding, so I decided to make myself a jacket. Since I already had the BHL Victoria and had made it twice (1, 2), I thought it would be a good option and – hopefully – look nice with the dress. I decided to make the cropped version as I measured the hem would hit the waist of the dress.

Wedding-Outfit-3Mustard yellow and navy is one of my fav colour combos, so I ordered 2m of mustard yellow ponte roma from ebay and hoped there would be enough fabric to self-line it. Spoiler alert! There was.

Wedding-Outfit-2I had originally wanted to make the jacket in coral – and have matching coral shoes –  but I really struggled to find any coral fabric. If you know of anywhere that sells coral, do let me know! The other problem is no-one really agrees on what colour coral is! Sometimes it’s pretty much pink and sometimes it’s orange. I couldn’t find any coral shoes either, so I decided to go for mustard. Couldn’t find any mustard shoes either, though – hence the boring navy, though I’ll probably get more wear from navy court shoes. One other thing I learned – love wearing yellow/ mustard. It looks disgusting as nail varnish!

Wedding-Outfit-6The Victoria Blazer really is quick to sew up! It’s not too tailored, which I like – it gives it a more relaxed feeling. I think if I was in a really tailored blazer with this dress I would have felt my outfit was less young, if that makes sense? I love a tailored jacket, but with like skinny jeans. I thought about leaving off the cuffs and collar, but decided against it as I was worried it would look really weird! It was fun to sew this up in a knit – albeit a knit without a huge amount of stretch. I made sure the stretch went across the body and not up and down – I didn’t want it sagging! Because this is a pattern for wovens, though, I used a straight stitch and sewed it up as though it was a woven. Luckily I have a little left of the fabric, so I’m thinking a Colette Astoria, which I just bought in their sale this weekend!

Wedding-Outfit-17All in all I think this was a successful wedding outfit! And I mastered sewing with lace for the first time! Hurrah! Also, I’ll definitely get lots more wears out of the jacket, so it’s not an entirely ‘special occasion’ outfit.

I’ll leave you with a photo of me and The Boyfriend tearing up the dance floor! Sorry-not-sorry for my slightly manic face.

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Coat into BHL Blazer Fabric Inspiration - Lace Emery-2-Thumb 2

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A Belated Me Made May Round Up

How did you find Me Made May this year, if you took part?

This was my second time taking part and I definitely felt the difference in the amount of garments I had to choose from! I didn’t even get a chance to wear everything I have made. I decided to wear me-mades on 5 days of each week, basically at work as I am still working towards having a good casual wardrobe for weekends and I am still yet to try sewing with jersey! Maybe I should sign up to Tilly’s new online class?

Sorry if you follow me on instagram – you’ll have seen these all before, but in case you haven’t…..(sorry for the crappy, blurry selfies – I hate taking selfies!)

Day 1: Tilly and the Buttons Mimi Blouse + Black By Hand London Victoria Blazer.

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Day 4: Refashioned High-Necked top and Refashioned Coat to BHL Victoria Blazer

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Day 5: Grainline Scout Tee with self-drafted collar.

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Day 6: Blue and White Striped Colette Laurel Dress.

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Day 7: Colette Violet Blouse.

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Day 8: Pink Stripey Banksia + Blue Simplicity 2451 Skirt.

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Day 11: Refashioned Shirt Dress.

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Day 12: Refashioned Peter Pan Collar Dress.

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Day 13: Refashioned High-Necked top + Black Simplicity 2451 Skirt.

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Day 14: Refashioned Parrot Shirt.

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Day 15: Flowery Grainline Scout Tee.                             MMM15-Day-15
Day 16: Refashioned Ugly Skirt into Grainline Scout Tee.

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Day 19: GBSB Boyfriend Shirt.

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Day 20: Tilly and the Buttons Francoise Dress.

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Day 22: Pink Spotty Grainline Scout Tee + Black Victoria Blazer

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Day 26: Emery Dress by Christine Haynes.

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Day 27: Refashioned Mustard Corduroy Shorts.

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Day 29: Refashioned Ugly Skirt into Grainline Scout Tee + Bright Yellow Butterick Skirt (worn to a ceilidh!)

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I think I must have forgotten to take pictures on some days because I’m sure I wore my other Banksia top and there don’t seem to be enough pictures, but I definitely wore me-mades on 5 days of each week! I definitely forgot to take a picture on the last day, when I wore my Orla Kiely-esque Laurel and my black Victoria Blazer (again).

The things I learnt from Me Made May were:

1. I hate taking selfies – I took about 20 each time, just to get one I liked! Documenting the month is definitely the least fun part for me!

2. There are still some me-mades that I have never worn/ don’t like wearing, but wear because I made them (my 2 Elisalex Dresses [1 + 2], my Miette cardigan, Gertie Bow Tied Blouse and my first dress, New Look 6000). These tend to be the things I made earlier on in my sewing, so hopefully this means I’m getting more of a handle on my style and what I like wearing and not being seduced by patterns which look great on other people but aren’t really me.

3. I definitely need to make some skinny jeans/ trousers, probably from the Ginger Jeans pattern.

4. I definitely need to conquer knits, so I have more comfortable, casual clothes for weekends and days when I don’t fancy dressing up.

5. It felt like a lot of effort to wear a dress as I cycle to work now. But when I actually put on the dresses, it was fine, so I think I can afford to wear them more often, especially as the weather warms up!

I did enjoy taking part in Me Made May as it does force me to look at what I have in my wardrobe and to not just put on shop-bought skinny trousers and tee shirts. Did you enjoy taking part? What did you learn?

Designer Inspiration: Orla Kiely

Do you ever look to designers for your sewing/ making inspiration? I do a little bit, mainly through Pinterest, which I love. As any of you that like the 60s, as I do, I’m sure you love Orla Kiely. I like her 60s colour palettes and the shapes on her designs. I feel like some of the stuff was everywhere for a while, but I like her clothing designs, so I thought I’d share some here for your sartorial inspiration.

I love the dresses particularly. This bird fabric is soooo cute and I like the plain white sleeves and yoke. I’ve been really drawn to tops and dresses with contrast sleeves and yoke/ neckline, especially with raglan sleeves. I reckon this would be totally re-creatable. Maybe with Colette’s Moneta pattern, which I just so happen to already have in my stash!

Orla Kiely Bluebird & Blackbird T-Shirt Dress blueI like the simple shape of this one, and the piping/ binding makes it a bit more interesting than it otherwise would be. The print has tiny hearts all over it too, which is sweet.Orla Kiely Busy Bee Print Organza Stripe Dress sky I like plain styles of dress, made with interesting fabric, so I love the below dress (which also comes in blue, but pretty much this whole page would have been blue, so I saved the red version instead!). This is the same hearty fabric as above, but in red (obvs). I reckon Christine Haynes’ Emery Dress could recreate this dress. Orla Kiely Busy Bee Print Side Pleat Dress poppy

This shirt dress style dress is pretty cute too, and the fabric has tiny shoes all over it! I like the collar, and the waist band has gathers on the bodice as well as the skirt, so it would have a cinched in waist even without a belt.

Orla Kiely Resort Collection Ditsy Shoe Pleated Dress slateThis navy dress with the cut-out neckline is really lovely. I like that this one has pockets too!  Orla Kiely Flower Spot Jacquard Heart Cut Out Dress midnightThis blue dress might be my favourite. Plus it comes in yellow! I think the Emery could be a good base for this dress, too. If I sized up, to give it the loose fitting style and didn’t gather/pleat the skirt across the front and added little cuffs to the sleeves, I think I’d have a pretty good version of this.  Orla Kiely Slub Silk Tunic skyThis skirt is the same hearty fabric as in the dresses above, and is it me, or does this look a lot like Tilly’s new pattern, The Arielle Skirt? Orla Kiely Busy Bee Print Skirt sky

This is a pretty basic pencil skirt, and there must be a million pencil skirt patterns, but I really like the fabric. I’m planning a pink pencil skirt myself, though not in this baby pink kind of shade, more of a brighter, obnoxious pink! Orla Kiely Flower Spot Jacquard Skirt coral

This t shirt is right up my alley – contrast sleeves and neck binding. I’m not totally sold on the fabric, but it’s quite sweet. Orla Kiely Daisy Gingham Top pebble

I like this little jumper too, the collar is sweet and it’s pretty much smack in the middle of the colours I wear all the time! I’m never totally sold on short-sleeved jumpers, though. Does anyone else ever think if it’s warm enough to have bare arms, then you’re going to get hot in a jumper? Anyone?Orla Kiely Flower Jacquard Top navy How amazing is this sweatshirt? I don’t think it’s one I would copy as I wouldn’t do it this well, but I like the idea of a kind of plain top with some amazing decoration on. Maybe I’ll have a go at some applique on my clothes. Orla Kiely Resort Collection Sixties Lady Intarsia Sweater grey and navyI’m also a sucker for a good mug. I would have loads of them if I had the space……wait, I do have loads. I would have even more! Also, I’m getting to the age where I want nice kitchen wear and not just the stuff I can afford. Maybe I’ll save up for some Orla Kiely crockery?Orla Kiely Henny Hen mug mustardOrla Kiely 60s Stem Mug blueOrla Kiely Acorn Cup yellowWould you ever copy a designer/ ready to wear garment? I always think I will, but I haven’t yet. Maybe one day, when I’ve sewn ALL the things on my list!

All pictures are from the Orla Kiely website.

Me Made May 2014 Week Three

This week of Me Made May has been pretty good – I managed 6 me made outfits! My pledge was to wear me made things on at least 4 days, so I’m pretty pleased with 6! None of the outfits it especially exciting or different from things you’ve seen in weeks one and two.

Day 15: Parrot shirt refashion
with New Look skinny trousers and a trusty H & M cardi. (and a slightly stoned-looking photo!)

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Day 16: Refashioned high-necked t-shirt
with Primark jeans and H & M cardigan.

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Day 17: Emery Dress 2
with yellow H & M cardigan and mustard yellow tights.
I forgot to take a photo of this outfit, because it was the day of my nephew’s first birthday party so taking a picture of my dress wasn’t top on my list of things to do. It was an identical outfit to how I wore the dress in week one, so you can check it out there 🙂

Day 18: Gertie bow-tied blouse
with really old refashioned denim skirt (made from a pair of jeans).
This is the first time I’ve worn this basically since I finished it – I think this may have proved that this style and fit is not for me, so I think this may be on it’s way out of my wardrobe.

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Day 20: Grainline scout tee
with New Look skinny trousers and a falling apart H & M cardigan. I intend to knit a cardi to replace this one as I love the colour, but I’m such a slow knitter, this will probably be string by the time I’m done!Me-Made-May-2014-Day-19
Day 22: My first grainline scout tee and Blue Simplicity 2451 skirt.
It wasn’t really warm enough for bare legs yesterday, but I was clinging to the hope that Summer was here already! Sorry for all the pasty white flesh, though.

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Only a week and a bit to go! I have a couple of things I haven’t worn yet, but only a couple of those are normally in my regular rotation of clothes. Things like my 2 Elisalex dresses never get worn and I don’t wear my bright yellow skirt much because I don’t like how it looks with tights – I guess it’s a Summer skirt, so in England that should give me a couple of weeks’ wear each year!

Emery Dress 2

After deciding I was, after all, in love with my first Emery Dress, I decided to make another one! I made it with some of the fabric I was given for Christmas – and promptly fell in love with!

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I just love the tiny flowers with mustard yellow buds and blue is my all-time favourite colour. It’s been there through my brief dalliances with mustard yellow and pink, like a true friend. The shade of blue I lean to has changed over the years – it used to be an insipid pastel blue, but now I’m into more bold colours, so this is perfect!

I made a couple more changes to the pattern than I did in the first one. The biggest change (probably) was to shave 7cm off each skirt pattern piece, taking off 14cm from each of the front and back skirts. I did this mainly because I didn’t have enough fabric, but I actually like the slightly slimmed down version.

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I also placed the front bodice pattern piece 0.5cm from the fold of my fabric, to add in a little extra room – which I added by adjusting the seam allowances on the first one. I think this worked okay as a lazy fix, but I didn’t really twig that it would lengthen the neckline at the front – a little more than I maybe would have liked. So if I make this again, I’ll re-muslin it to get a proper fit again with some extra ease built in.

Because I initially added the collar to the first version, I didn’t mess with the back neckline as then the collar wouldn’t have fitted, but without that as an issue, I took 1.5cm extra out of each back neck dart – I left them the same length, finishing as the original point. I’m actually really pleased with how the dress fits me across the back – as I’ve mentioned before, I have a narrow back and normally things gape or if they’re looser fitted, they look a bit too loose across the back (and I’m often too lazy to fix the issue). But apart from the darts, I didn’t change anything on the back!

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I used a zip from my stash, which matches the mushroom-y sort of color on the flowers quite well. I didn’t intend the zip to be so visible, but since you can see it, it’s now a design feature!

P1020499-PS-mediumThe only other major change I made was to not add a lining. I didn’t really have anything suitable and as the fabric is quite thin, I thought it would be a nicer Summer dress without the extra layer of fabric. For the necklines, I drafted facings by tracing the bodice pieces and drawing a matching curve to the curve of the neck about 7cm away, to give me enough depth for a seam allowance and to make sure the facing wasn’t so small it wouldn’t lay flat. If you’re going to do the same, remember to fold the back neck dart closed before you trace the back bodice facing, otherwise you’ll have to sew the darts in the facing as well as the bodice piece. I used iron-on interfacing to stiffen the facings and sewed a fancy overlocking-type stitch around the bottom edge to neaten it.

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Did I mention that I love this dress, by the way? And, rather lamely, part of the reason I love it is because I took so much care to make the inside look as nice as the outside. I French seamed every single seam, including the side seams with the in-seam pockets. I’d previously conquered most french seams, including on sleeves using Grainline’s tutorial, but had to google whether it was possible to do it with in-seam pockets as it was hurting my brain trying to think through how it would work. And luckily Deborah Moebes, from Whipstitch (who designed the Travel Matching Game I made) wrote this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew. So now the insides look like this:

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I also sewed the hem by hand, using a catch stitch, which took a little while, but it’s worth the effort – I might be a convert away from machine stitching hems!

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And to finish it off, I sewed in one of my labels which I also got for Christmas.

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This seriously might be one of my favourite things I’ve made so far!

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