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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November Make(s) and December Plans

Since I’ve been doing these planning posts, the months seem to be disappearing very quickly! I think this means I have to be more modest in my plans…….as demonstrated by the fact that I made only one thing in the whole of November. Oh. Dear.

It was a pretty good thing though – I made my By Hand London Alix Dress for a party I went to 2 weekends ago for my sister. It’s made from some viscose from Abakhan – the photo below doesn’t do the colour justice.

By Hand London Alix Dress

I will take some proper photos of me wearing and do a full blog post on it – I really loved making it and wearing it. I don’t think there’ll be too many occasions in my life where I can wear a maxi dress but I really like the top version of the pattern, so I think I’ll be using this pattern again.

So now after one dress……onto my December plans!

I will try to make the free Jersey Dress pattern from Peppermint magazine, designed by In The Folds. After I finished my dress, I was away for the weekend and then last weekend The Boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law came to visit so I didn’t end up with much sewing time for the rest of the months – that’s my excuse anyway 😉

peppermint-jersey-dress

I still haven’t even finished assembling the pattern for this, let alone cut it out. I think it will be quite quick to come together once it’s all prepared – I find jersey is quite quick to sew because you don’t have to neaten the seams 😀

Realistically there are only about 3 weekends left until Christmas (eek! How did that happen!?) the main things I want to get done this month are 4 skirts for my sister. She has now got her prosthetic leg and is learning to walk with it, though it is hard work. They say it takes something like 80% more energy to walk with a prosthetic leg than if you have 2 legs! She has asked me to make her some skirts to wear as most of her clothes were skinny trousers and her thigh is still quite swollen and it will take a long time for it to completely settle down into its permanent shape.

She has asked for 2 Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirts (hopefully they will be better fitting than mine!), one in navy blue drill……

navy-drill-delphine…and one in red corduroy

red-corduroy-delphineShe bought some really lovely grey quilty jersey fabric to become a Colette Mabel – I may have to get some for myself and make a matching skirt. Or maybe a Talvikki Sweater like Heather Lou’s?

grey-quilty-mabelThe 4th skirt will be a Grainline Moss, which I bought the PDF of during their Thanksgiving sale – I’m going to try to print it off and assemble it this weekend. Then I can make myself some versions too!

denim-moss-skirtThe denim has a little stretch in it but it also a bit thick-feeling so I may have to line this one so it’s comfortable to wear.
 

You-may-also-like-coral

Pink Pencil skirt thumbnail 2 sewdots-delphine-skirt Mustard Corduroy Skirt Refashion Thumb 2

Tilly and the Buttons Mimi Blouse

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Tilly and the Buttons‘ book Love At First Stitch for free from a publisher at my old job. I also was lucky enough to go to the launch at Drink, Make, Do waaaay back in May I think. I like quite a lot of the patterns in the book, as I mentioned in my review, and I decided quite a while ago that the first pattern I would be the Mimi Blouse.

Love-At-First-Stitch-7I did make my blouse quite soon after getting the book, but have only just got around to writing up the make!

Mimi-Blouse-1I made the size 1 and accidentally traced the wrong size of the yoke, so couldn’t get the pattern to go together and tried for ages to work out why it didn’t work, until I finally figured out I’d cut out the wrong size! Duh! Rookie error.

The fabric is yet another ‘remnant’ that I got some Rolls and Rems in Holloway Road. I’m not sure what the fabric is, but it’s got a quite nice drape but is quite thin. It also marks super easily, and any pin marks seemed to be pretty permanent, so I made sure all my pins were inside the seam allowance. I love, love, love this fabric – it reminds me of Orla Kiely, who I love! Also, this was quite a big length, so this is not the last time you’ll see this on my blog!

Mimi-Blouse-3I made one or two little changes. One was to use calico instead of interfacing, as I didn’t have any interfacing in my stash. I thought this would be fine – and it may have been if i had already pre-washed the calico, which I didn’t bother to do as I generally use the calico for muslins or other makes which aren’t going to be washed. As soon as I washed the blouse, the calico shrunk and make the front of the blouse a bit puckered and wrinkled, which is a shame. But I’ve learned my lesson – I won’t substitute interfacing again in the future! You can see in the below photo the front doesn’t sit flat and the collar is a bit odd. I might try to unpick some of the seams and take out the calico. Any tips on how to do this without having to completely unpick and re-make the blouse?

Mimi-Blouse-4The buttons were in my stash and came off my parrot shirt refashion. I think they go a lot better here than they did on the shirt!

The other change I made involved the sleeves. As I mentioned with my stripey Colette Laurel dress, I seem to have bigger arms that the rest of me would dictate in sewing pattern sizing. I made the size 1 sleeves, with the pleats and cuffs/facing…….and couldn’t get them on. So I traced off the size 2 and made the sleeves again…….and still couldn’t get them on! Not sure what is up with my arms – maybe they are really freakishly fat?! I don’t care if that is the case, it’s just mildly irritating to have to redraft sleeves. I decided to leave it as the size 2 and leave off the pleat and cuff/facing, so I just have plain sleeves, which I hemmed with a small hem.

Mimi-Blouse-5I also took 4cm off the length and then did a hem of 2cm folded up twice. I’m not really sure why I took it up so much – it did end up quite short. If I make this again, I would just do a normal hem and leave it with a bit more length.

I do still like this pattern and the fabric, in spite of all the errors on my part and changing the sleeves, I really like the collar and the gathers on the shoulders – there are some unique design elements, which make this pattern interesting.

Mimi-Blouse-2

Book: Love At First Stitch

Love-At-First-Stitch-1 I’m sure if you follow any sewing blogs, you will have heard about the release this week of Love At First Stitch by Tilly Walnes from Tilly and the Buttons. I was lucky enough to get an early (and free!) copy from the publisher – there are some perks to my job! As I’m sure everyone else has said, this is a really lovely book – both beautifully produced and filled with brilliant tips and some lovely patterns.

Love-At-First-Stitch-2The book takes you from total beginner, making a scarf, via pajama bottoms, skirts, a blouse through to a pretty party dress, teaching you all the techniques you need as you progress through the book. There are little sections between the instructions to teach things like putting in a zip, and help fitting patterns to your measurements:

Love-At-First-Stitch-3

If you already know how to sew, then this book is still for you as the patterns are lovely and have a 60s-style vibe, which fits in with things I like to make and wear.

I especially love the Mimi Blouse (and have already cut one out – just need to find time to sew it together!):

Love-At-First-Stitch-6

The other brilliant thing that Tilly has done is to show you how to customise/ alter the patterns to your own taste/ style, like this Mimi variation with contrast collar and piping:

Love-At-First-Stitch-7

I also love the Megan Dress:

Love-At-First-Stitch-5and the Lilou Dress is definitely on my list of patterns to make.

Love-At-First-Stitch-8

And I love, love, love, the variation with a scalloped neckline:

Love-At-First-Stitch-9

To celebrate the online launch of the book, I made the Brigitte Scarf, which is the first pattern in the book. I made it double-sided, with some stripey fabric I have earmarked for a laurel dress. I cut the pattern 9cm x 60cm, compared to the original size of 15cm x 65cm. I shortened it because my paper was 30cm long and I changed the width because the pattern should be folded in half lengthways (then turned around the right way), but because mine was 2 different pieces for each side, I halved the width and added another 1.5cm seam allowance.

The stripes go lengthways:

Brigitte Scarf 1

And they go across the scarf:

Brigitte Scarf 2