Thursday, 29 October 2015

My first Sew Over It Betty Dress - a review...

After another blogging drought, i'm back with a little review about my Sew Over It Betty Dress. If you haven't seen or used this pattern before, i'll give you some information on it first of all. It's a lovely 50's style dress with a boat neck, a v-shaped neckline at the back and a circular skirt. It has been on sale for quite a while now and is much loved in the world of blogging. 

I have had this pattern in my stash since Christmas as I got it as a gift. Because this pattern uses lots of fabric, I have never had enough in my stash to make it. In order to try this pattern out, I decided to make it up with a gathered skirt instead of a circular one as this is the part that eats up fabric. 

I decided to toile the bodice only and had to make some adjustments to the back seam to get it to fit - it needed to be taken in a bit to get a good fit. Other than that, the rest looked pretty good, so I decided to go for it. 

The fabric I chose is a Liberty Tana Lawn that I bought whilst in London on my holidays. I thought it would be a lovely lightweight summer dress (I know we're in late October now, but I did make this back in August! - Hong Kong summer lasts until November). 

The manufacture is easy. Just like any other sleeveless dress with invisible zip. I used a facing to finish the neckline, which was the provided finishing technique. I used my overlocker throughout for finishing seams. 

Now onto my final verdict; I was feeling confident about this make, however the finished product is not quite right. I think my laziness in not doing a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) for my E cup chest is really obvious in this dress. The visual for this means that the bust fits, but the darts do not allow the waist to be take in enough and this results in a loose waistline. I've not yet worn this dress, which is a great disappointment as the fabric is so nice! I think i need to take the bodice and skirt apart and try to take the waist in at the sides and darts in order to make it wearable. 

I have now learnt that I must do FBA's! This is the reason that dresses and blouses don't fit perfectly, so from now on I'm going to have a go at this. Hopefully no more disappointments for me!  

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

My Beautiful Bettine - A review...

After 5 weeks away from home, I have finally returned to sewing. I certainly missed it a lot! During that time I have been collecting fabric, patterns and inspiration to use on my return home. 

The pattern at the top of my list of 'to make's' was the Bettine by Tilly and the Buttons. This pattern was part of a dual release back in July and was in fact part of a special deal with the Fifi boudoir set. I actually didn't take advantage of this offer because the boudoir set is not something I would wear - more of a comfy casual pyjama kinda gal! I did however decide to buy the printed version of the pattern, not my usual PDF. This was because I was in the UK and postage was reasonable. I teamed it with purchasing the Miette skirt, which is a pattern I have been considering for a while. I took the plunge as I would save on postage or printing at a later date.  

The Bettine is a zip-free, casually worn dress that is suitable to be made up in either woven or knitted fabric. It is pulled over the head and it keeps its shape with a simple piece of elastic around the waist. It is described as a great beginner sew. Because i'm not a beginner, I decided to make it as complicated as possible, by including all the details - Front pockets and tabs on the sleeves. 

I decided to make a toile of this pattern. I don't always do this, but I have found recently that my measurements have changed (they're smaller!) and when matching up with the size chart, I fell right in the middle of the size 5 and 6. I decided to draw a line in the middle of the two pattern lines to trace off. After completing the toile of the shape, there were some issues with the fit and shape of the dress. The bodice seemed much longer at the back, which made the front look two small. Because I wear an E cup, I presumed this was the issue and that there was not enough fabric to go over my curves. I had already lengthened the bodice by 2cm due to the fact that I have a long torso. I decided to add a further 2cm, which would allow the fabric to skim my body better. In addition to this, the hip area looked too severe. The natural silhouette of the skirt is that it curves out at the hips before coming back in towards the hem - a tulip skirt. I decided to smooth hip curve by 1cm and flare it out as a whole by 3cm. This allowed a wider base and more fabric to slide over my bottom. 

The fabric I chose was a cotton lawn that I bought from Guthrie and Ghani's website, also while I was in the UK. I saw a dress that Lauren had made from it and fell in love! (You can buy it here) I'm totally into nautical stuff, so this was perfect for me. It's a really lovely weight, slightly heavier than a Liberty Tana Lawn. I figured it would be perfect for this dress. 

The make itself was really straight forward. There are lots of little details to keep you stimulated, such as the pockets and the sleeve tabs. I decided to alter how I clip into seams thanks to 
Tilly's fabulous colour instructions. Removing a triangle does help with the turning of the fabric and it allows it to sit really flat. Previous to this I cut slits into the fabric only.  

I managed to make the final dress in one afternoon thanks to some super speedy sewing and I wore it today. I love the feel and the fit and it's nice and lightweight, which helps with the humidity we're experiencing at the moment! I styled it with my Tatty Devine lobster necklace and some red Saltwater sandals - Nautical-tastic! 

I love this pattern and know i'll be making another one soon. I've got a few lovely soft viscose fabrics in my stash that have got Bettine written all over them! I also recommend the printed version of Tilly's patterns, they're so nice and definitely worth the money. Now i'll move onto the next garment on the to do list; watch this space! 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

My Pineapple print Sureau review...

What came first? The chicken or the egg? Sorry, I got distracted... Was is the fabric or the pattern? In this dress's case, it's difficult to say. Since making my 1st Sureau, I knew that I liked the shape of the bodice and skirt, but needed to make some minor adjustments to the gaping neckline. I decided to make a second version in Linen, which is unblogged. It solved all the shaping issues and the dress is nice, however the fabric doesn't sell it well - too many creases! 

In comes this little find! I was browsing Etsy for Japanese fabric (I'm continuing my love of this!) and found Miss Matatabi's shop. I fell in love with this Pineapple print cotton lawn. Delivery charges are very reasonable from Japan to Hong Kong, so I leapt in! It arrived within a week and was washed straight away. However, I didn't make my Sureau for several weeks. I spent a while deciding on which pattern to make up. There were a few contenders; namely the Southport (needing a fitting overhaul), a Lilou (maybe too much of a good thing) and finally the Sureau. 

The making process was incredibly quick - the faux buttonstand and simple facing mean that the bodice is super quick. I'm an expert invisible zip sewer, so the underarm one went in 1st time. I hemmed it twice because the first time it was too long. I ended up just cutting the hem off and re-folding it. It's the perfect length now - really great for summer! 

I'm super happy with this version of the Deer and Doe Sureau. It's really cute in shape and fabric and I know it will make a great addition to my summer wardrobe. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Trio of Colette Sorbetto's...

In a previous blog (here) I described a new version of the Colette Sorbetto that I had made for my trip to Singapore. This started a process of me making three new ones (or a trio) ready for my summer holiday. 

The first one is made from a lovely Liberty print Tana Lawn that I bought in Tokyo. I had never worked with Liberty fabric and didn't know how they felt. As soon as I saw them in the flesh and most importantly had a feel, I fell in love! They are so soft and light, absolutely perfect for summery tops. The print I went for is a kind of birdcage/candelabra/floral in blue, red, yellow and green on an off white background. I just loved the busy pattern and the colour combination.

This top features hidden binding around both the neck and armholes. It was the first version that I decided to extend by approximately 4cm to allow it to be more flattering to my figure. 

 The second Sorbetto I decided to make is again from a fabric I bought in Tokyo. This time it is a cotton lawn with panda print! I loved the chubby panda drawings and thought it would make a really cute top - I was right! 

The colour combination is black on off-white, which is something that I don't own. It fits in nicely with my summer wardrobe. With this version I decided to have a visible binding around the neck and a hidden binding around the armholes. 

The final Sorbetto in this trio is made from a checkered cotton off cut from my True Bias Southport Dress (here). I really love the colour combination, but because I'm not 100% in love with the Southport, I needed to make a different garment in this fabric. The Sorbetto seemed like a good choice. The bold colours mean that it looks like a completely different top to the others that I have already made. Plus, these colours will look great with jeans or denim shorts. 

I decided to use the same pre-made bias tape around the neck and armholes as my Southport as it would not be seen. This made the manufacture of this top incredibly quick - I would say from cut to finish, it took me 2 hours (super speedy!). I added two matching blue buttons to the centre pleat to add a feature. It breaks up the checks well. 

The Colette Sorbetto is such a great (FREE) pattern. I have been through a few versions and have tweaked the fit, the shape of the neckline and the length. It is now such a perfect top for both my figure and the summer season, it just made sense to make 3! I hope you agree. If you haven't downloaded it, you need to. You will have just enough time to fill up your summer wardrobe. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

My first Ultimate Trousers...

After a lots and lots of dress makes, I decided to take a leap into trouser making. It has been a long time since I made trousers (my fashion degree), but have never made a pair for myself. I decided to start with a simple pair and the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers are certainly that! There are 4 different pieces to the pattern:- Front and back legs and front and back facing. 

I decided to make them up in a lovely cotton sateen that has a little bit of stretch in it. The print is a bang on trend floral featuring carnations. Other than that, the only other thing needed is an invisible zip (for the side fastening). 

I was in between sizes, so I blended to a larger size at the hips. The making process was really easy and I had no problems at all. I found the crotch fitted perfectly first time and the top of the trousers sits in a comfortable place, this makes them really wearable! This is my first time using a Sew Over It pattern, so i was super happy that the fit went so well. 

I had a change of heart on how to finish the hem of the trousers. I originally hemmed them using the sewing machine, but the heavy black line made the trousers look cheap. I decided to unpick it and resew it by hand. I'm so much happier with finish. 

These trousers will make a great addition to my summer wardrobe and will match with a lot of the tops that I already own. This is certainly not going to be my last adventure in trouser making, so watch this space!  

Monday, 18 May 2015

New versions of some old favourites - Alder and Lilou!

I've always proclaimed my love for the Grainline Studios Alder Shirt dress. It's a great pattern that needs little tweaking to achieve a nice fit and it is incredibly satisfying to make! All those different stages and lots of lovely top-stitching (Yippee!). I had always planned to make a third one to add to my collection (1 and 2 are here), but I wasn't sure on the fabric choice. I had an idea that I wanted a blue cotton chambray, but Hong Kong wouldn't oblige and I couldn't find what I wanted. 

It wasn't until I saw this broiderie anglais fabric in a shop in Jordan that I knew I'd found my third Alder. The combination of the blue chambray - ish background and the red embroidered circles really stood out in the shop, so I just had to have it. This fabric is far more expensive than most of my HK finds at $90HKD per yard! But the shop worker was in a 'good deal' kind of mood, so actually sold it to me for $70HKD per yard (bargain!). 

I decided whilst in the shop to purchase some matching lightweight cotton to act as a trim - I figured it would be difficult to buttonhole on top of the embroidery. This was an inspired decision and I used it on the inner collar stand, the under collar and the outer button stand as well as the pockets. I chose not to interface my collar or collar stand as it would show through the fabric. This was actually a great idea. On my first wearing as part of Me Made May '15 on Saturday, the collar was soooooo comfortable. The softness makes it more slouchy and adds a level of casualness to the dress.  

The second pattern that I have a well know love for is the Tilly and the Buttons Lilou. It has been through a rigorous testing and fitting process over the last 3 i've made that makes it fit like a glove.

On my recent trip to Tokyo I picked up some beautiful Japanese wave fabric (100% cotton). I wanted something traditional that would remind me of the trip. This fabric was a bargain, although I can't remember the exact price. I realised pretty soon after returning home that I didn't want to use this over a whole dress (too many waves), so I set about finding a complimentary navy cotton. I trawled the fabric shops and markets of Hong Kong with no success. It's a very specific type of blue, so I wasn't surprised. Luckily I had booked a short break to Singapore at Easter, which meant only one thing...SPOTLIGHT! I took my sample and within moments of entering the fabric section, I had found a match - perfect planning! 

I decided to use the plain navy on the top and the waves on the skirt. It does mean that I have some wave left for another make :) The make itself was very simple, however I decided to substitute the normal gathered skirt for a box pleated one - I wanted to show off the waves. Overall, it turned out pretty well, although the navy fabric does show off deodorant marks really easily, but I guess that's something I can't do anything about.  

I'm still a massive fan of both these patterns and see more on the horizon when a fabric takes my fancy. 

Which patterns are you obsessed with?

Sunday, 17 May 2015

My first Deer and Doe Sureau and my first True Bias Southport...

After my blogging drought, I decided to blog a 2 for 1. The first new me make is my Deer and Doe Sureau. I had planned to make one of these a long time ago in a lovely duck print, but I met so many problems with the fabric that I decided to put it on hold. A new opportunity arose is this blue and white seersucker cotton. I bought this very cheaply from the Lanes in Central, Hong Kong for $20HKD a yard, so it was great for a trial fabric. 

The whole making process was really easy. I actually cut this dress out and sewed it in one session (go me!). The fastening (underarm invisible zip) was a piece of cake to install (i'm a bit of a zip expert) and everything went smoothly. I used a white bias binding around the armholes, which again went in easily. 

I went for a size 44, which fits in most places. I don't like how the neckline is gaping slightly, so this is something to look at in the future. I also didn't pattern match brilliantly on this and the centre panel is totally off, which makes in unwearable in my book, but it has worked as a fantastic toile. I plan to take a 1cm wedge out of the neckline and also to raise the armhole (my bra does sneak out) and lose a little from the shoulder. I have a lovely little indigo linen in my stash that is probably going to be my next Sureau, so watch out for that! 

In my search of a summery, casual addition to my suitcase for my summer holiday, I also decided to test run the True Bias Southport. This is a brand new pattern and there are not too many examples of this in the blogging world. I liked the casual style and the real button stand down the front. I did have a few questions over whether the style would suit me before I made it. 

I chose to use up some red and blue checked cotton that I bought in Sham Shui Po (again for $20HKD a yard). Again, this make was super easy. I enjoyed the process of making the fastening and adding the binding to both the neckline and armholes. The fit is actually quite good around those areas. I've done a pretty good job on the pattern matching here, as the checks do match up across the front. I chose to make my own cord for the drawstring, which was a satisfying job.

Overall, i'm not 100% sold on the style of this dress. I feel that the neckline is cut too low for me and I might feel self conscious wearing it in Hong Kong for sure. It may be able to solve a beachwear problem though because it's so easy to wear. I have planned to make an adjusted version of this dress in my previous post, so i'll see if I get round to that.  

Have you tried any of these patterns? What did you think of them after the first fit?

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Being rubbish at blogging!

So, it has been a while... The frequency of my blogging as taken a nose dive! This unfortunately is not due to a lack of seeing. I'm still working my way through an ever increasing 'to make' list and just haven't gotten around to the photography part. Apologies, I'm rubbish! I have so many lovely makes to blog about, so watch this space. 

I have also been taking part in Me Made May '15, but have been so unorganized in my photography of outfits. My pledge was to wear at least 1 handmade item during the week and at least 1 at the weekend. I've actually been sticking to it. My Alder's make such a lovely work or casual outfit choice, they've seen a lot of wear. I've also worn my rose printed chambray Emery to work. 

I'm also trying to make some of my me-mades more wearable. I have quite a few dresses in particular that just aren't 100% right, so I'm not wearing them. My Emery was part of that group, because the lining at the front was sewn in too tight making the front bodice bag in the middle. It was a really quick fix of unpicking the front lining and resewing it. Other garments that need my attention are my 50's Mortmain (it's too big around the waistband), I made adjustments to my festive one, so this should be quick and easy. Also, my two (yes two! One is unblogged at the moment) Anna dresses that just need a bit of facing attention. This may or may not be a pressing issue. I hope to sort these issues out before the end of May.

My current 'to make' list is as follows:- 

  1. Adapt a trial Colette Moneta that i've made to allow it to be wearable. (It currently has a peach top and stripey bottom that looks terrible together). I need to remove the skirt and attempt either a different style skirt (maybe circular) or a different fabric (plain to avoid dodgy looking stripes). 
  2. Cut out the pattern and fabric for my first pair of Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers. I have already stuck the print out together and washed the fabric, so i'm all ready to start making. I'm going to risk using a nice fabric because they look quite easy to fit if incorrect. (You will love the fabric!)
  3. Make a 2nd True Bias Southport Dress (I know you've not even seen the 1st one). I liked the first one, but there are some changes I would like to make to the pattern in order to make the second one different and suit my figure a bit better. I've chosen some lovely linen fabric, so i'm looking forward to the outcome. 
  4. Something in a stunning little pineapple fabric I found on Etsy(Check it out here - however I bought a black on natural version - Kinda wish I'd bought the vermilion too!). Suggestions of pattern would be gratefully received.

So, all in all, I apologize for my rubbish blogging skills and endeavor to be better and more frequent. This weekend is my aim to photograph some of my unblogged garments.   

See you soon!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

My first skirt in ages and it's a Nautical chic Grainline Studios Moss!

So, this weekend I made this little number! After a week of making a complete fail garment (the less said about it the better!), I decided to go for something that has some challenges in the manufacture; namely the fly zip, but should be less challenging in the fit - it has got to be easy to fit a mini skirt! 
I read last week that Jen @ Grainline Studios had revamped her Moss Skirt pattern and released it on PDF, so it was a no-brainer to purchase and download it right away. I hadn't intended to make it this weekend, but the knot print fabric was calling out to me. Vigilant readers out there will remember this from my most recent shopping blog - it was an absolute steal from Sham Shui Po. I actually found this in a cardboard box outside one of the wholesalers on Yu Chau Street and for a princely sum of $25 HKD! Because they come bundled up, I couldn't make out how much fabric I was buying, but I loved the print, so took a risk. The fabric once unrolled was in two long strips. The strips were selvage to selvage and measured approximately 60cm each - plenty for a lovely mini skirt. The fabric itself is cotton twill with a little bit of stretch, so pretty much perfect! 

I decided to make the shorter version of the skirt, which meant less pieces to cut out, however when I was cutting I decided to add on 4cm to the length-just in case I preferred it slightly longer. The fly zip was certainly a challenge. I've not done one of these since my university days, so I certainly needed to read the instructions carefully. I didn't need to look at the photo instructions though, so I was pretty pleased with myself. I used a little metal zip that i've had floating around for a while - it worked out pretty well as you can see. 

I actually chopped off the extra hem that I added as I much preferred this as a short mini skirt. I even managed to do a 3cm hem, which added to the weight at the bottom. The skirt now hangs really well. 

Unfortunately I didn't manage to pattern match the front (not enough fabric), but the craziness of the print means that this wasn't that important. 

Overall, a really satisfying make. I really enjoyed the different processes, such as the pockets and the fly zip and it was awesome to have a garment completed in an afternoon. I think this will be getting some wear this summer and definitely in me-made-may '15! 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Planning my summer makes...

With the summery weather starting in Hong Kong, I've been thinking a lot about the garments I would like to add to my wardrobe. I have already added some summer garments in anticipation of my Bangkok and Singapore holidays. My most recent Lilou (here) will be perfect and both of my Alders were made for this purpose too. In addition to those, I have made a 4th and much improved Sorbetto.

 You can see the neckline of it here and a little view of the fabric (sorry, no time for modelled shots). On my recent trip to Tokyo for a school trip, I decided to sneak to a fabric store in Shinjuku (Called Okadaya and it's amazing!) I picked up this stunning little Liberty print lawn fabric that is actually made in Japan. It was approximately $160 HKD for a metre and a half (what a bargain!) I added more than an inch to the length of the Sorbetto as my previous ones weren't quite long enough to look good with shorts. The making of this top is so simple, although attaching that much binding does get tedious. 

What to make next is the big question. I certainly need some knitted dresses. I've had the Colette Moneta pattern taped together for a while, but never quite settled on a fabric. I'm still on the look out. I've been looking online, but with some steep delivery charges to Hong Kong, I'm a bit reluctant to order. So if anyone knows a good website for knits, I would appreciate the knowledge! 

In addition to my 'kinda' planned Moneta, I hope to add a further Lilou (I also bought fabric for this in Japan) and another Anna dress from the rose print fabric I picked up in Sham Shui Po over Easter. I've also got another Sorbetto planned with my new improved pattern (You're going to love the fabric for this little number!) 

The last addition that I definitely want to make to my wardrobe is some sleeveless shirts. I love making my Alder's so much that I can't wait to make more shirts. However, my desire to only wear skirts/dresses with leggings underneath means that more Alder's does not make for totally comfortable summer attire. I've seen some stunning ones in Gap (super thin cottons) that would be great, so i'm now on the look out for suitable fabric. I've downloaded the Grainline Studios Archer (simple choice) as my pattern, so i'm ready to make! 

Photographs of my makes to follow soon - time for sewing and modelling needed!   

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Shopping trip to Sham Shui Po...

After a barrage of Public Holidays (including today) and some selfish sewing (yet to blog about), I needed to add to my stash. I decided to risk a visit, even though SSP is well known for being closed when you want it most! 

Above is my fabric haul. I'm pretty please with the variety I managed to gather in less than an hour. The floral on the left is soft and flowing fabric. (Maybe great for a Lilou or even a Sureau) I'm yet to test it, but it could be viscose or it could be a cotton/silk mix. The middle fabric, with the uber cool lasso/know design is a cotton sateen (maybe a skirt is a good garment for this) The checked fabric on the right is a straight cotton and will make a nice alternative fabric for the summer. It's certainly a lighter plaid than ones commonly seen in Winter. I'm considering whether a summer top or dress would be best. 

With all fabrics coming in under $20 per yard, It was all a total bargain!

Below is my button selection. I always visit the same shop on Yu Chau Street (sorry, I never notice the name!). I plumped for some more wooden buttons; my stash was diminished by my recent Alder's. Also, some super shiny (in a good way), plastic buttons in red and blue. 

I'm now ready for my next making journeys. Hopefully i'll get some time in the new school term. I certainly have garments in mind that I would like to add to my wardrobe - watch this space...

What fabrics have you gathered recently?

Friday, 3 April 2015

Two Alders for the price of one...

After a few busy weeks at work, which included a 9 day school trip to Japan; I have finally found time to blog! I've managed to do some selfish sewing during this time and these are the outcomes! 

After making my husband a shirt for Christmas day, i've been looking for another opportunity to make a shirt. The process and and the amount of different steps makes them really enjoyable to make. I started to shop around for a pattern I liked way back in February. I eventually settled on the Grainline Studios Alder. This shirtdress is much blogged about, so I sought lots of advice and opinions before setting off on my Alder journey. 

whilst doing my frequent browsing on fabric websites, I stumbled upon these beauties from I loved the japanese origami pattern of the fabric above and the birds below really stood out. Both are lovely and summery prints on a lightweight quilting cotton, so I just had to order them! 

Tracing the pattern off and sticking together the 51 pages of this pattern were very long processes and meant that the manufacturing of my Alder's was very drawn out and done in many different sessions. I've only ever made one Grainline Studios pattern before, which was the Linden sweatshirt, so I had to check sizes carefully. I pretty much fit into the measurements provided, so I just cut a straight '12'. 

The sewing of my first Alder (the origami one) was very satisfying and mostly done in one session. I left the buttonholes, armholes and hem for another occasion. I stuck to all the details of the pattern and was pleased with the outcome. I made some small fitting adjustments to the waist as it was quite baggy, but other than that the fit is pretty good. The loose style means that it's going to be lovely to wear in the sticky Hong Kong summer. 

No sooner had I finished my first Alder, I knew I wanted to make a second. I just love doing all the different stages and I absolutely love doing topstitching (strange maybe?!) I made some changes to the pattern, including the shape of the collar stand (more rounded to allow for larger buttons) and the collar (rounded shape instead of the original points). I took approximately 2cm off the waist seam in order to match up with the fitting that I did on the original. 

As you can see, the birds really are stunning! The exaggerated grain of the fabric is also a nice addition. 

As with the original, this Alder went together like a dream. I'm so pleased that I decided to make this pattern up, because it's awesome! The outcomes will certainly be a staple of my summer wardrobe and will probably be in my suitcase for my upcoming trip to Singapore. 

I wonder how long I need to wait before making a third one? 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A third Lilou dress...

After the success of my second Lilou, I always knew that I wanted to make a third one. The opportunity arose when I received my prize haul from The Village Haberdashery. I chose to buy 3 metres of this lovely tomato coloured, hand printed cotton by Alison Glass and on its arrival, it is a lovely lightweight fabric that I knew would make a perfect summer dress. 

In the lead up to my holiday in Bangkok, I wanted to make some summer dresses to wear, so I set about making my third Lilou. I made lots of alterations to the size and shape in my previous version, so I just went ahead and made it. 

For those of you that haven't made this pattern, it's really simple! - Thank you Tilly! It has a lined bodice, which gives a lovely finish. It has an invisible zip fastening down the centre back, which went in really easily. As you can see, I went for a gathered skirt instead of the pleated one in the pattern. I just love a gathered skirt, I can't help it! 

I think this pattern now draws with the Mortmain as my most made pattern! Which patterns are you obsessed with? It's now time to find some different patterns maybe...

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

My first By Hand Anna dress...

After the success of my Emery dress, I have followed this up with my first By Hand Anna dress. This pattern is another popular one, that I have seen blogs about frequently. I would also say that this pattern is one of the most hacked patterns. I decided to make my own hacked version. I knew that I liked the shape of the top, but was unsure about the skirt style. The Anna dress comes with a panelled skirt that can be mid-length or full length with a split. I made the decision to cut the bodice out and sew it together to check the fit and then choose the skirt style afterwards. 

The top needed no fitting from the original as it fit perfectly! It's a lovely shape around the waist and the open ended darts give a soft finish on the bust. The neckline is a nice shape on me also, it sits high enough to allow me to wear necklaces with it.

I then made the decision to cut three rectangles to make the skirt. I used the full width of the fabric for the front and then cut it in half to make the back. I sewed it together before using two gathering rows to get it to fit the bodice. The fabric is a lovely spotty lightweight cotton that I bought from Moon Yue Piece Goods in Sham Shui Po. It fell into the gathers really well!   

I really love this pattern and am very pleased with my hack. It's certainly a dress that i'm going to make again. I think using different fabrics for the bodice and skirt would be a lovely look. Maybe a nice chambray for one and a stripe for the other... 

Watch this space for more Anna's, because this certainly isn't going to be the last one! 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

My first Christine Haynes Emery dress...

Apologies for the short break from blogging. This was due to work (lots to do at the moment), the flu and a Lunar New Year holiday to Bangkok. During this time, I have been sewing, but just not getting chance to take photos. In the next couple of days I will update you on my most recent makes. 

The first one I would like to introduce you to is my Emery dress. It's probably one of the most tweeted/blogged about patterns that I had not yet tried. I got the pattern as part of my Christmas gift from my Grandma-in-law and had been waiting for the perfect fabric to make it up in. 

On a recent visit to Sham Shui Po fabric market, I managed to pick up this stunning little number. A lightweight cotton chambray with a red/pink rose print. I had to buy 6 yards as it was a cut length. But for only $120HKD, it was a complete bargain! 

The actual process of making this dress was fairly straight forward. I had to make some minor adjustments on the back shoulder darts as it was gaping at the neck. I made each one 1cm larger, which solved the problem perfectly. 

It had been a while since I added pockets to the seam of a skirt, so I had to follow the instructions quite closely. Even doing this I made a slight mistake. I actually set the pockets down about 4cm from the waist, which in the past I had done on all side seam pockets. These ones are in fact supposed to be attached to the waist seam. The finished result does not have any ill effects from this and they're actually at the perfect height for me. I think raising them would not make them as comfortable.

Overall, i'm really pleased with the outcome. This dress shape and style will be perfect for both work and play. I think that I need to make one with a contrast collar and maybe a softer fabric in the not too distant future. I'm so happy that the Emery worked out as well for me as it has done for so many people! 

What do you think of the 'oh so popular' Emery dress pattern?

Saturday, 24 January 2015

My Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top!

Whilst planning my Sureau (something i'm not rushing), I decided that I needed to quench my sewing thirst with a quick project. I chose to make the Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top. I have seen it being made quite a lot on the blogs that I read and thought it would be nice addition to my wardrobe. Because my prize haul of fabric has been staring at me, I opted to use one of them. I decided to use the paint printed viscose I bought from The Village Haberdashery. Not only has this fabric got nice drape, it's opaque. This makes it great for a spring top (no layering required!). 

The pattern is only made up of 5 pieces as the front and back pieces are exactly the same. There is a front and back yoke as well as  the sleeve and sleeve facing. I hadn't used a sleeve facing before, but the finish looks nice and it allows the sleeve to sit really flat. There is a deep hem also, which provides weight to the whole top. My only issue with the making process was the lack of notches - this caused a problem when gathering the front, back and sleeves to attach to the yokes. I stuck with it and ended up with even gathers. 

I had one issue with my completed top, the front yoke was gaping. After fiddling with it whilst wearing it, I decided to make a small fold at the centre front. I used two buttons to secure the fold and add a little bit of a styling detail. I'm really pleased with the finished product. The buttons are really cute and totally solve the gaping.