New pants: The Hollywood trousers from Liesl & Co.

These are hands-down, no contest, the most professional looking and feeling trousers I’ve ever made. And this is in no small part due to the typically fantastic instructions that Liesl Gibson writes for all her patterns. They’re well-described and illustrated and her methods just seem so well thought-through. Occasionally when I’m making a pattern I feel like the designer has “winged it” a little bit in terms of construction – and I am NO expert. But that is never the case with Liesl. She knows what she’s talking about, which gives me a lot of confidence making her designs.

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Continue reading “New pants: The Hollywood trousers from Liesl & Co.”

New dress: Deer and Doe Magnolia

I just did my most work-intensive, time-crunching but careful sew ever! Patternreview got in touch with me and asked if I’d like to make up one of the new Deer and Doe patterns they will be stocking – either the Magnolia dress or the Opium coat (both out today!). Wow – it was very hard to pick between the two and a coat is definitely more practical, but I still needed a dress for Seattle Frocktails as well, so in the end decided – heck, why not go the whole hog and make the dramatic neckline maxi-version of the Magnolia?

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Continue reading “New dress: Deer and Doe Magnolia”

New dress: Chalk & Notch Fringe dress for #sewmystyle September

I think just about everyone doing #sewmystyle 2018 was looking forward to this one a lot, or at least I’ve been getting that impression. I’ve had this dress on my radar for ages and it was certainly one of the patterns I was most excited about from the start. And with good cause! Let me completely spoil the story here by saying that I really like both the pattern and fabric and can recommend it! Also, in comparison to my last few makes, I feel like I got the fitting on this one spot on!

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This is the Fringe dress from Chalk and Notch – a dress that’s been very popular around the blogosphere. There are two illustrated views, but lots of options: there’s both a dress and blouse for a start. View A has a button up front, elbow sleeve and sleeve tab. View B has a pull over, notched front with a cuff. There are optional pockets, waist ties, a shaped hem and a gathered skirt. Now, normally I would be View A all the way. The V-shaped neck, the tabs – I’d probably have straightened off the hem too. And I may well do in another version, but something unexplained swayed me over to View B on this occasion. I’m not sure why, but I decided to take on the curvy neckline and hem – and I rather enjoyed it!

Continue reading “New dress: Chalk & Notch Fringe dress for #sewmystyle September”

New shoes and a party: Espadrilles from A Happy Stitch and Seattle Frocktails

Back in July, I noticed a few blog posts floating around on making your own shoes and happened to spy a pre-order offer from Melissa of A Happy Stitch for an “espadrilles kit”. Now, I’ve always liked the look of espadrilles, but along with loafers or any shoe with a stiffer upper portion, I have issues with sizing. I have quite a high arch, coupled with not-such-slim feet and therefore the opportunity to have a go at making my own really appealed.

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I duly pre-ordered the kit and when it arrived – oh wow. I’ll admit it: I’m a superficial sucker for packaging – what can I say? I’m a visual kind of gal. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, but I love a thoughtful presentation of things and Melissa has outdone herself. Everything is in one of several hand-printed little bags or fabric swatch cases and there are hand-written notes to say hello too. I loved it and couldn’t wait to dive in. The murderous-looking curvy needle was especially exciting. Continue reading “New shoes and a party: Espadrilles from A Happy Stitch and Seattle Frocktails”

New test: Ali sweatshirt for Sew DIY

Beth from Sew DIY released her Ali sweatshirt today, which I had fun testing back in July with a team of other lovely sewists. It was great seeing the different versions everyone came up with!

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I’ve tested a few different patterns for a few different designers now, and the usual criteria for me is (assuming I get picked to test in the first place): is it something I was thinking about sewing anyway and/or is it something that excites me? The Ali sweatshirt is the sort of garment that does get me excited: I love an oversized sweater, I love a drop shoulder element and I have TONS of knits that were perfect for this project. Continue reading “New test: Ali sweatshirt for Sew DIY”

New dress: V1395 in red double gauze

Bit of a mixed bag, this one. It’s another new shape in a way, but I only just this minute realized, while writing this blog post, that it’s actually very similar in some ways to the Bridgetown dress by Sewhouse 7, which is a very nice dress, but doesn’t suit my shape at all. That is: there are no bust darts and it has a high, elasticated waist with wide one piece sleeves. However this Vogue dress also has a back overlay that wraps and ties at the front, which I figured would give me that extra shaping that I like for my figure. At least that was the plan…

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There are lots of good things about the V1395 dress. I love the colour and the fabric, which is a red double gauze from Cloud 9. It’s lovely to wear and it was actually no problem to sew after I attached the old walking foot – that made all the difference. It also has some really nice features, like the gathered back neckline and the overlay tie.

Continue reading “New dress: V1395 in red double gauze”

Hey June Handmade Halifax Hoodie for #sewmystyle August

I got the date completely wrong for this one again and thought I had another week to make it, when in actual fact the reveal date was last Sunday. If it had been any other pattern I would just have skipped it, but I actually really need a new hoodie, since my beloved grey Nike hoodie bit the dust a couple of months ago.

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There are an absolute ton of different options for the Hey June Handmade Halifax hoodie and you can see all sorts of interesting versions if you do a quick search, from a sweater with interesting design lines, to a cowl neck zippered hoodie. I knew that I wanted a traditional front-zippered, hooded-hoodie and this is View C from the pattern. It’s the most time-intensive, but even this version didn’t take very long at all – half a day at most. Continue reading “Hey June Handmade Halifax Hoodie for #sewmystyle August”

New outfit: Kristin crop top and Heidi shorts from Seamwork

Hello chaps! Thanks for all your lovely comments and feedback on both the Alexandria peg leg trousers and Butterick B6551 dress I made recently. I called the Butterick dress a “semi-fail”, but have managed to wear it plenty since I made it, so it worked out ok in the end! We sewists can be pretty tough on ourselves, but I usually only point out errors in case it helps anyone else avoid making the same dumb mistake, or helps people with a similar body shape to mine decide if they want to make the garment or not. I don’t really beat myself up about it other than thinking “Huh, that’s a shame” – it’s all part of the learning process, right? But it sure is nice when people reassure you! So thanks. 🙂

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Anyway, all this preamble is really because I’m kind of lukewarm on this project too, haha! Let me say up front that I half expected to be lukewarm because of the slightly boxy shape, but I was really interested in the Seamwork Kristin top with its unusual design, and I wanted to try it out from a mechanical point of view. I gather this style was quite popular back in the sixties, and it comprises a wrap-style tank with an interesting three-armhole design. It has “bust darts, a relaxed fit, and a slightly cropped length make for a flattering fit for both misses and curvy sizes” according to Seamwork. What this means is you effectively make a front, a back and then another half-front and half-back and sew them all together. Then you wrap it around yourself and the weight, plus a snap, holds it all in place. Continue reading “New outfit: Kristin crop top and Heidi shorts from Seamwork”

New trousers: Alexandria peg leg pants from Named

The new Design Your Wardrobe has started and I’m planning to take part again and try to come up with a few A/W outfits. In the meantime, I haven’t quite finished my original S/S collection and this is one of the main takeaways from the first time round: I was a little ambitious! 🙂 I came up with ideas for 6 different outfits and I think 3 would probably be a better number, given the way my plans change and other garments crop up over the weeks.

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I’m trying to finish off the last few items for the first collection, give or take a couple of small garments, as most of them are still relevant to be honest. Now that I look back on what I came up with, it’s really more of a spring/autumn wardrobe than a summer one – and that is also a useful revelation! Continue reading “New trousers: Alexandria peg leg pants from Named”

New fail: Butterick B6551 dress

Yes, it’s a bit of a fail, this one, but I have to qualify that by saying it’s not going in the scrap heap quite yet. Let me tell you what happened:

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It got hot. It got hot EVERYWHERE this July and I happened to spot this pattern in Joann Fabrics on a swelteringly breezeless day and thought to myself “Doesn’t that chick on the pattern front look deliciously cool in her light flowing dress… it doesn’t look like a tent on her though (remember this part – it’s important later)… hmm, it’s not my usual style… but yes, I think I’ll give it a try”. I was kind of sold by the red dress fabric if I’m honest, which is of course a very BAD reason to buy a pattern. Also the fact it says “FAST& EASY” right at the top, with little racing car lines to hammer in the point. Continue reading “New fail: Butterick B6551 dress”