cluelessleigh

Top 5 of 2015: Reflections

Top 5 of 2015

Time to get thoughtful and maybe a bit introspective with my top 5 reflections on my sewing over the last year.

Okay, let’s go.

1. I love sewing with knit fabric and I love wearing it even more. I am so grateful that Manfriend’s mum gave me her overlocker this year and I started sewing with stretch fabrics. It’s quicker, more comfortable to wear and easier to fit. Love.

2. I rarely give myself enough time. A lot of my sewing seems to have deadlines and as with everything else in life I always bloody procrastinate and then I’m left sewing right up until the last minute. My By Hand London Flora being a case in point. If I’d made it sooner I could have done something about the fit issues.

3. Having a sewing room is great but it does make me feel a bit shut off and unsociable. Of course the manfriend doesn’t especially care, he gets to read comics in peace or watch silly cartoons on Netflix. Though I like cartoons now (I have binge watched a lot of Archer over the Christmas break) so he doesn’t need to wait until I’m elsewhere to watch them. I think in our forever house I would like my sewing room to be downstairs.

4. I hate zips. I hate wearing things with them in and don’t particularly like sewing them. This is probably one of the main reasons I like knits so much. I’m really inflexible and struggle with doing zips up by myself, it’s an exercise in contortion and Manfriend leaves for work before I do. I cope much better with side zips so I think I have to start moving the zip to a side seam when I sew woven dresses with them in.

5. I also hate sleeves. Woven ones anyway. I’ve said before but the whole concept of “easing” is alien to me and I just can’t do non gathered sleeves, puckers all over the place. Practice practice practice I guess.

Top 5 of 2015: Misses

Top 5 of 2015

Hellooo, I’m back again. This time with the more negative side of the look back over the year. It’s time for the misses, the makes that didn’t go to plan or seemed fine but just didn’t get worn. This time they’re not in any particular order.

By Hand London Flora

Spinning in my By Hand London Flora

This won’t won’t come as any surprise if you read my original post about it – I say I hate it in the first sentence. I used too floaty a fabric for a fitted bodice really and didn’t give myself enough time to get the fit right. I was sewing the hem at work in my lunch break the day before the wedding. Last minute Leigh.

Vianne cardigan

the mesh back of the vianne cardigan

It was just a bit too big unfortunately but at least it is getting used (I have it to my mum) and not just sitting in my wardrobe. Its such a shame as I loved the yarn, I may buy some more and knit a different cardigan with it. And try again with vianne in a different colour. Can’t have matching cardigans with my mum, she’d deliberately wear it when I was to wind me up.

Miette cardigan

miette cardigan

And another example of why you should knit a guage swatch before knitting projects… This one is just a bit too tight, mainly on the sleeves so I have thought about undoing them to redo the bind off. I cast off far too tight because I’m a bit of a muppet. Though it was my first knitted garment so I’ll let myself off.

Balletmono

kirsten-kimono-dress-garden

I don’t know if this really is a miss but I haven’t worn it. I still haven’t hemmed it so maybe that’s what’s stopping me. The dodgy neckline pulls bother me too and I’m not a fan of the fabric, there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on that I don’t like about it.

Kirsten Kimono tee

Kirsten Kimono tee

This is another one that I just haven’t really worn. I think I’ve worn it about three times. It’s quite tight on my hips and rides up so I find myself pulling it down a lot when I wear it so that’s probably why I don’t like it. I have lost a bit of weight in the last couple of months though so I should probably try it again and see how it feels now because I do love the feel of the jersey.

So that’s my fails. It’s mostly been fitting issues and not knitting guage swatches before knitting things. And at least I can work on those things.

Top 5 of 2015: Hits

Top 5 of 2015

Hello peeps. It’s that time of year again. I love lists so can’t resist a top 5. My output hasn’t been that high this year as I didn’t really sew for the first 3-4 months of the year so I didn’t have that many finished makes to pick hits and misses from. I’ve just about managed though. So without further ado, in no particular order, my top 5 hits. Actually scrub that, I will put them in order.

5. Coco dress

Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

My most recent make and definitely a goody. It’s just a wearable toile and is by no means perfect but I really like wearing it and will definitely make lots more Coco dresses in 2016.

4. New Look 6217

new-look-6217

I love love love this t’shirt. I love the fabric, I love the neckline and I love the kimono sleeves. I think it probably looks nicer tucked in like this but I mostly wear it with jeans or skinny black trousers.

3. Floral ballet dress

Dixie DIY Ballet dress in blue and purple floral jersey

This is possibly joint second really but I’ll leave it in third place as I don’t 100% love the fabric – it has yellowy bits that refuse to photograph that I don’t really like all that much. I still absolutely love this dress though and it has been in solid rotation since I made it, just with the addition of leggings and a cardigan once it got colder.

2. Green Scout

scout2

This was actually made in 2014 but so close to the end of it that I’m allowing it for this year as that’s when it’s actually been worn. And I’ve worn it a lot, I’ve dressed it up and down, I’ve worn it to work and I’ve worn it out. I think it’s so versatile. It’s such a basic shape but because the fabric is a little bit slinky but not too slinky it works in loads of different ways.

1. Dinosaur ballet dress

dinosaur-dixie-diy-ballet-dress

And the winner is my awesome dinosaur print Dixie DIY ballet dress. I love it so much. I wear it pretty much once a week and love it hard. This is pretty much my perfect pattern so a version in a dinosaur print jersey is the best thing ever. I am such an 8 year old every time I wear it.

So to sum up, I basically love knit dresses and floaty woven t’shirts. I am so glad I started sewing knits this year. Even though there have been misses I do feel like this year I have really figured out what I actually want to wear and I’m sewing the right things. Though I like the look of woven fit and flare dresses they’re not what I wear on a day to day basis. A knit fit and flare however is a totally different story. Hooray for overlockers and more room for cheese!

Christmas Crafting

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas or any other festivity you celebrate. Mine has been wonderful. Christmas day was spent at home with my Manfriend and then my mum and nan came over for Christmas dinner. Boxing day was spent with Manfriend’s family, which was good fun – it included getting cream pied in the the face playing a silly game. And yesterday I barely moved from the sofa all day, which was utter bliss. I’m off work until the 4th January and very much looking forward to some complete laziness, catching up on TV we’ve recorded, reading some books and doing a bit of sewing.

Anyway, I thought I’d do a little recap on how I did with the homemade Christmas presents that I talked about a couple of posts ago.

Crispmas Advent Calendar

This didn’t happen. I cut the fabric out but ran out of time so I individually wrapped the bags again and put them in the box from last year.

crispmas advent calendar
It’s rather more battered this year

Blogger Secret Santa present

This is one of the two extra handmade presents I mentioned adding to my list in my last post. I made a Stowe bag out of a swallow print chambray that I bought on eBay. I forgot to take a photo though. Doy! I changed up the order of construction slightly so that I could use French seams – I stitched the bottom as the last step instead of at the same time as the sides. I still don’t understand the last step fully so I just didn’t do it. I don’t think that’s very clear at all. When I was googling to try to find an explanation I came across a GOMI thread slating the bag and it did make me feel a bit stupid for buying it, when as they said in the thread there are about a bajillion free tutorials online to make a bag like it. It wasn’t something I’d thought to look for though, I just saw the pattern and thought it’d be handy for a knitting bag. You live and you learn I guess.

Mum’s Grainline Scout

I’m going to try to get a modelled photo of this but here are some rubbish quality ones for now. The fabric is a fairly crispy cotton I bought from Calico Laine last year with little metallic gold outlined Christmas trees on. I used French seams throughout and I’m quite pleased with how neat the neckline binding is. I did an appallingly bad job with the sleeves, really really bad. I just don’t get the whole ease things in thing. Only gathered sleeves from now on.

grainline scout tee
Apologies for the pants photos, I will try to get a modelled one

Dinosaur Tail

I think I’ll let the picture do the talking with this one. Adorable.

Dinosaur tail
The tiny Louiesaurus Rex stalks his prey

Dinosaur T’shirt

I used the Oliver + S Field Trip raglan t-shirt pattern and this was a lovely quick sew. It was also a nice PDF to put together. It has a grid, which I really like and it’s quite cleverly laid out to use a minimal amount of paper. That and it being for tiny people so makes it the best PDF pattern I’ve ever had to assemble.

I used some white viscose jersey for the body and leftover dinosaur fabric for the arms and neckband, I cut out a pocket too but decided to leave it off in the end. The viscose is slightly too lightweight really but I couldn’t seem to find any cotton jersey with the right stretch. The only one I did find was expensive and only available to buy by the metre and as I needed less than half a metre it seemed like a waste of money.

My pseudo-nephew isn’t 3 until April and I have no idea if he’s big or little for his age so I cut a size 3T size the plan being that he can grow into it if it’s too big.

dinosaur-raglan-tee

Lua Sleep Sack

This is the second handmade item that got added to the list of Christmas crafting. It was seeing Marie of A Stitching Odyssey’s recent lovely version that inspired me to make one for my pseudo-niece (my cousin’s new little girl). I had intended to do a contrast yoke but ordered badly and instead of matching the pinky purply dots in the print, the cotton I’d chosen (with crossed fingers and wishes) was more sludgy coloured so I didn’t bother.

It was a nice quick sew but I did accidentally put the zip in the wrong side and I struggled one of the steps. You leave a bit of a gap along the top edge of where you sew the zip in to make it a bit easier and then the instructions tell you to close it once you’ve put in the zip and sewn the lining to the zip, which I couldn’t make sense of and my sleep sack didn’t seem to match the photo of that step. From the photo it looks like I should have done it before sewing the lining to the zip so if I make another version I’ll do that.

Lua Sleep Sack close up

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Manfriend’s pyjamas

I don’t have any photos of these or the next one because I’m going to ask him to model both of his presents and then I’ll do a full post about them. I took last Monday off work and spent the day sewing his presents and getting my wrapping done, of course I still ended up finishing the wrapping on Christmas Eve but I tried. I am my mother’s daughter as she always used to wrap on Christmas Eve (whilst getting progressively drunker and sillier with the tags – getting a present from Fred Savage made me very happy) until the year we had a power cut and she had to wrap by candlelight.

I used Marvel superhero flannel that I bought from Etsy and a freebie Simplicity PJ pattern that I can’t seem to find to link to, sorry. He really likes them which is a relief as I was worried they were a bit silly as the rest of his PJs are fancy branded ones.

marvel flannel

Manfriend’s Paxson Sweater

The Manfriend loves contrast coloured raglan sleeves and marl so I made his Seamwork Paxson in grey marl for the body and teal for the arms and neckband. I’d wanted to do the sleeves in the same burgundy/maroon knit that Josie the Fabric Godmother used for her version but it had gone out of stock by the time I’d been paid. I’m going to do a full post when I have pictures of him modelling it so for now here is a photo of the overlocker offcuts or #sergerspew as I’ve seen it called on Instagram, which tickles me.IMG_20151221_142611

My Christmas Party outfit

I decided not to make a new outfit this year because if you own a dress covered in hunky, half naked Christmas helpers why the heck wouldn’t you wear it at every chance you get? Plus, last year’s Christmas party was only a small one so not that many people had seen it. I’ve lost a little bit of weight so it doesn’t fit that brilliantly anymore. I did take it in slightly at the upper chest but I think I’ll need to alter it properly if I stay slimmer (I’m a yoyo, so it’s best to be realistic). Alterations seem harder and more scary than just sewing from scratch for some reason though.

Christmas simplicity 1418
Spaaaaarkly shoes

Christmas cakes

I was quite proud of myself as I managed to decorate two cakes in one evening (we’ll ignore the fact that you’re supposed to let the marzipan dry for at least 24 hours, I was cutting it fine and had our food shop to do the night after. They’re both a bit shonky and I don’t have good photos – bit of a theme in this post I’m afraid.

Santa stuck in a chimney is my Nan’s and the ski slope is my mum’s because she prefers royal icing.

christmas-cakes

Hampers

This is the only thing I didn’t manage to get done. It was a conscious decision really as I was starting to get stressed out and panicky and something had to go. I’m still quite impressed with myself for the amount I did get done without having a breakdown – this time last year it was a rare day that didn’t see me crying for no real reason. I’m hoping to still get the mango chutney and chorizo jam made and given as belated gifts.

Well that’s it from me for now, I will be back soon with my Top 5 of 2015 posts and photos of Manfriend’s presents taken with the snazzy new DSLR camera I got for Christmas – that I have NO idea how to use yet and am too scared to take outside.

For now, here’s a photo of my nan’s dog Poppy looking seriously tired of our shit on Christmas day.

IMG_7117

I should Coco

I first mentioned that I was planning to make a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress waaaay back in August last year but have only just got round to it for some reason.

Coco dress
It goes beautifully with my cow print wellies, as you can see.

I say only just but I finished it at the end of October and took these photos at the beginning of November but haven’t got round to blogging. I just don’t seem to have had the oomph, I filmed an October favourites video that I haven’t finished editing yet either. And I have 326 unread blog posts waiting for me in Feedly. It’s my busiest period at work at the moment so I’m a bit drained by the time I get home.

But anyway, I went for a walk in the local Country Park with my mum and Max at the beginning of November and made a point of wearing the dress to get some photos but it’d been raining a lot so wellies were the only appropriate footwear, leading to the super stylish look I’ve got going on here. (I actually quite like it)

This version is a wearable toile/muslin really because I’m not too keen on the fabric – which you can see a bit closer in this video. It’s okay from a distance but when you get close you can see bits of white through it and it looks terrible stretched. Luckily the dress turned out quite loose fit so that’s not a problem. I was expecting the dress to be a bit tighter – I sewed a size 4 despite being closer to a 5 on the size chart because that’s what I’d traced months ago when I was a bit thinner. Because I’m lazy I decided and didn’t want to trace the 5 I just went with it and used a lightly smaller seam allowance (10mm / 3/8″) on the side seams.

tilly-coco-dress
Leaning on an invisible bar

I measured the sleeves before cutting and I thought they were a bit long for where I like 3/4 length sleeves to sit so I took about 3.5″ off the length but I think they’re a tad too short now so I’ll add an inch or 2 back on for my next version. I also ended up sewing a bigger seam allowance (2 cm) on the sleeves because I like a tighter fit. It’s still not quite right for me so I’ll have to fiddle a bit with my next version.

coco-dress-side
I tried to get Max to stare off into the distance too but he was having none of it.

There are quite a few alterations I want to make to the pattern before my next version, as you can probably tell from the photo above I need to do a swayback adjustment as there’s a big ol’ pool of fabric at my lower back. The neckline is too wide too, if I pinch about an inch out of the front it feels much better. Looking at these photos the shoulders sit off my shoulders a bit but fixing the neckline should solve that. I am going to see what a forward shoulder adjustment does though as I think need to start making them on everything.

dancing-in-coco
He’s unimpressed with my dance moves

Overall I’m really happy with my Coco, even though I need to make a fair few fitting adjustments. It hasn’t stopped me wearing it at all. Ooh, I was really pleased with my stripe matching too. Excuse the terrible quality photo I just rushed to take a photo and it’s too dark for decent photos.

20151129_195305
You can see the white bits I was talking about in this one

In terms of construction, I sewed it all on my sewing machine rather than my overlocker as I knew I wanted to experiment with seam allowances. My machine handled it wonderfully, I really do love my walking foot!

Non-Clueless Versions

There are so many lovely versions of the Coco dress all over the internet but I particularly like:

The details

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Measurements: 38.5″ (high bust 36″) – 31″ – 41.5″ (Height 5’2″)

Size made: 4

Alterations: Sewed the side seams with a 10mm seam allowance instead of 15mm and a 20mm seam allowance on the sleeves tapering in at the armpit

Fabric used: Around a meter of a thick not very stretchy jersey I got from Minerva crafts over a year ago. (I cut it out all on one layer, which helps use less fabric)

Another version? Definitely. I have the fabric for at least two more.

Any changes next time? Yes. I’m going to narrow the neckline, fiddle with the shoulders, sew the proper seam allowance on the side seams, lengthen the sleeves slightly and take them in a bit more and do a stonking big swayback adjustment.

coco-dress-back

Lots of the Coco dresses I like seem to have contrast panels so I’m toying with trying something like that with one of my next versions. I have some royal blue ponte that I think would look great with a lace yoke like Katie’s but lace terrifies me a bit.

Sewing for myself is very much on the backburner at the moment anyway though what with my Christmas sewing list, last minute house decorating (spare room underway, kitchen hopeful but doubtful) and general lack of oomph. I’ve finished one item from my Christmas sewing plans but have added two more. Not sure that’s how you’re supposed to do it…

The C Word

christmas

*whispers* Is it okay to start talking about Christmas now? The Christmas adverts have started so I’m guessing it’s okay. Side note: Everyone else bawled at the John Lewis advert right? It’s in association with Age UK and it’s the first time one of their adverts has made me cry, because it’s about a very real and incredibly sad issue. I don’t live near a John Lewis and probably wouldn’t shop there if I did because I’m cheap but I did donate to Age UK and I’d like to try to do something more practical but I don’t know what. Anyway, you’re not here for me to whitter on about charity, you’re here for the sewing shenanigans.

As is my usual way I have decided to make far too many things for gifts and should really get cracking on it – November will fly by, I’m sure. So I thought I’d share a few of my Christmas sewing plans. Mainly in the hopes that writing them down and having them public will make me actually do it.

The Manfriend loves crisps and likes to call Christmas crispmas so last year I made him a Crispmas Advent Calendar. I just bought 24 packets of crisps, individually wrapped them, wrote numbers 1-24 on them (24 was a sharing bag – he reeeally loves crisps) and put them in a box that I wrapped and decorated. But this year I fancy jazzing it up a bit, so I’m planning to make a garland style one with little pouches.

I’m going to actually make my mum the festive Scout that I was planning to make her last Christmas but didn’t get round to. I’m going to give it to her pre-Christmas though so she actually gets a chance to wear it. Her office is really hot and if she wears a Christmas jumper to work she cooks so I thought a t’shirt would be much better for her.

I mentioned my dinosaur loving pseudo nephew at the end of my last post and my plan to make him a t’shirt out of my leftover dinosaur fabric. I’ve just bought the Oliver + S Field Trip raglan t’shirt sewing pattern for it and I’ll probably use the dinosaur fabric for the sleeves.

I also want to make him a dinosaur tail. I’d seen them on Etsy before and was already considering making one and then I saw Liza Jane’s adorable version, which sealed it for me. I have to make one. Mine won’t be fancy and include a hoodie though, it’s just going to be the tail.

As well as his advent calendar the Manfriend will be getting some pyjama bottoms and a Paxson sweater, hopefully in marl if I can find some nice fabric – he loves raglan and marl.

Gosh, this is getting long and daunting and I haven’t even finished!

There’s also my nan’s Christmas cake, which I’ve already made and will just need to decorate closer to the time (after it’s had a bit more booze). I’ve been prowling Pinterest for decoration ideas and I think I’m going to go with Santa stuck in a chimney.

I made mango chutney last year that went down really well with my nan and Manfriend’s mum so I’m planning another batch of that this year. I think we’re going to make a little hamper for his family so there will probably be a few chutney type things being made. Last year I made onion marmalade, beer mustard, arancello and pomegranate vodka for hampers and I might repeat some of those.

And last but not least, there are the things I want to make for me. I’m planning a festive Scout for myself too and my work Christmas party outfit. Last year’s hunky simplicity 1418 is pretty much untoppable so I think I’m going to just go for something a bit more elegant this year. Maybe By Hand London Anna dress in some sort of slinky fabric. Or possibly a jumpsuit.

How about you? Have you made any Christmas sewing plans? Have you started? Or do you have any tips for me to make sure I actually achieve this years plans?

Best dress ever?

Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

Is wearing it like wearing pyjamas?

Yes, it is stretchy and squishy and lovely.

Does it have dinosaurs on?

YES!

dinosaur-dixie-diy-ballet-dress
Such a happy face

So clearly, yes, it is the best dress ever. I could have led with “does it have dinosaurs on?” really because any dress with dinosaurs on kicks the butt of a dress without dinosaurs on. Though, this dress with hunky elves on was pretty awesome and did previously hold the title. It’s just not as comfy though and I can’t wear it all year round. Though I am excitedly looking forward to being able to wear it again soon (ish).

dinosaur print cotton jersey
A close up of the dinosaurs

I was about to say that there’s not a lot to say about the construction of this dress and then I remembered that that would be a giant LIE. My brain trying to block out the trauma perhaps? I massively messed up when I was cutting out (tired) and thought I’d already folded the fabric along the grainline but it was just still folded crosswise from how I’d taken it off the line. So I cut the first skirt piece out that way and then realised what I’d done and had a meltdown.

ballet-dress-dinosaurs

I was really worried I wasn’t going to be able to fit the rest of the pattern pieces on the fabric that I had left but with some creativity I managed it but one of my skirt pieces isn’t as flared as the other, I was using my slashed and spread skirt piece from my balletmono so I had to remove some of the spread bits to get it to fit. Oh gosh, I just realised I haven’t even told you what pattern it is! *facepalm* It is another Dixie DIY Ballet dress.

dinosaur-ballet-dress-catch
My dismal attempt at a leaf throwing photo

I was really worried about the skirt bit that I’d cut wrong making the dress a disaster because I love love love this fabric (you can see me wiggling it about in my video here) and it’s sold out so if this try didn’t work I would never have a dinosaur dress of awesomeness (or ROARsomeness if you will, hahaha – so proud of myself right now). But it seems to be fine, I used it for the back of the skirt because I am quite juicy of booty so it just made sense to me.

I shortened the bodice slightly (just over a cm) because I thought the weight of the skirt might stretch it a bit like with my balletmono. I also did a small swayback adjustment, which I think worked out quite well. The back looks like a better fit than my last ballet dress.

dinosaur-ballet-dress-back

I constructed it all on my overlocker and hemmed it using a twin needle on my sewing machine. I tried out stabilising the hems with wundaweb / hemming tape and that worked really well so I’ll carry on doing that for future knit hems. I messed up a bit when I was sewing the neckband (had a hole and had to redo a bit) and you might be able to spot a bit of iffiness in some of the photos but that doesn’t override the fact that it’s a dress with dinosaurs on.

Dixie DIY Ballet Dress and raptor hands
I couldn’t make a dress with dinosaurs on and not do Bimble and Pimble’s Amanda style raptor claws. I don’t know what’s happening with my face.

Speaking of the photos, I was trying to do my Better Pictures Project homework of capturing movement. Which is why they’re all out of focus…. Yeah I didn’t do so well. My skin is also glowing white, I didn’t realise I was that pale! I have sort of decided that I’m going to buy myself a DSLR with any money I get for Christmas and my stash of £2 coins that I’ve been collected for the last few years but I’m worried it won’t help that much. If you’re not very good at taking pictures how much will a fancy camera actually help?

Non-clueless versions

There are a bajillion Dixie DIY ballet dresses out there but I particularly like Amy’s horse and geometric versions.

Zoe has made lots of lovely versions but I really like this polka dot version.

But to be perfectly honest, I haven’t seen a version I don’t like!

The details

I want to try to be more helpful and put more practical information in my posts, rather than just waffle that you’d have to wade through to find out things you might actually want to know.

Pattern: Dixie DIY Ballet dress

My current measurements (they fluctuate A LOT): 38.5″ (high bust 36″) – 31″ – 39″ at hip bones, 41.5″ around butt (Height 5’2″)

Size cut: M

Adjustments made: Took about 12mm out of the bodice length and a small swayback adjustment – I eyeballed it but it was probably about 1cm.

Fabric used: 2m of 150cm wide DINOSAUR PRINT cotton jersey (97% cotton, 3% spandex) from myfabrics.

In conclusion, I love this dress and am probably going to make eleventy three Ballet Dresses before I get bored. I might try a gathered skirt variation next.

I’ve got a few scraps of dinosaur fabric leftover that I was hoping to get a t’shirt out of for my pseudo nephew (my favourite cousin’s son) because he loves dinosaurs too but I have no idea where to even start looking for a good pattern. Any suggestions?

September Sewing Favourites

I’d been hoping to have a September Sewing Favourites video for you last week. I filmed it, edited it and uploaded it to YouTube on Thursday evening. Then got an email to tell me it had been removed for breaching The YouTube Community Guidelines and I have a strike against me, which was upsetting to say the least.

I have no idea what I did wrong. It’s just me, sat in my spare bedroom talking about my favourite sewing pattern of September and tools and techniques I’ve enjoyed using and a bonus non-sewing favourite at the end. They didn’t give me any information about what I’ve specifically done wrong – just called it inappropriate – or I’d change it.

I have appealed the decision and hopefully they’ll at least let me know what I’ve done wrong because at the moment I’m too nervous to make any more videos.

But as I can’t show you the video I thought I’d write a post about my favourite sewing things of September instead.

EDIT: They reinstated my video, hurray!

Pattern

My favourite pattern was New Look 6217. I loved how easily it went together and the simple, wearable style of it. I’ve already worn my first version lots and have a bunch more versions planned.

nl6217-close-up

Dixie DIY’s Ballet Dress deserves an honourable mention but it probably should have been my August favourite.

Tools

As I’ve started sewing with knits I’ve actually started using the walking foot I bought yonks ago and it is fab. I tried to alter an H&M vest before I had the walking foot and it went terribly so I really appreciate how smoothly it goes with one. Mine is just a non brand, compatible version I got on Amazon for next to nothing but it seems to work absolutely fine.

Another thing I lumped under the tools category is my, big arse roll of tracing paper as I called it in the video – and the mild swear made me wonder if that’s what earned me to strike but people swear far more than that. But anyway, my big arse roll of tracing paper is fab. I used to use baking/grease proof paper, which worked well but when you make alterations to the pattern the sellotape (cellotape?) doesn’t really want to stick. That’s not a problem with tracing paper. I do cut out using a rotary cutter and pattern weights and I don’t think I’d like using tracing paper with pins but I really like the extra thickness with weights, it gives a nicer edge to align the cutter against. This is the roll I bought, from Amazon as always.

Technique

I have been all about the bias binding this month. On my New Look 6217 as well as binding the neckline I bound the sleeve hems and the actual hem. It was sort of as a way to preserve length and sort of because I just really like the finish it gives. In the video I made a joke in this bit about how if you came too close I’d probably try to bias bind you, which is the only other thing I can think of that got me my strike.

Non-sewing

I am completely addicted to The Spicery and have ordered from them 3 times in September and signed up for a monthly subscription. They sell kits of premeasured freshly ground or whole spices, a shopping list for your fresh ingredients and the method to make fancy dishes and whole meals.

Selection of spice kits from the spicery
One of my many orders, look how nice the branding is

So far the manfriend and I have tried the Vietnamese beef stew, Indonesian Nasi goreng and had a date night in Thailand, which comprised of a coconutty brothy chicken soup to start, king prawn pad Thai for main and sticky mango rice for dessert and it has all been gorgeous. It’s the date night subscription box I’ve signed us up for and we’ve got date night in Bali next but I’ve amassed a bit of a stash with my many orders so there’s also a date night in Trinidad, rogan josh, jerk chicken and many more to come.

Vietnamese beef stew
Vietnamese beef stew

I would highly recommend it to anyone but I think it’d be especially great if you’re dating and want to pass yourself off as a great chef!

So that’s my September favourites, sorry it’s not a video complete with my daft faces, inability to speak correctly and a brief moment where I got distracted by my washing on the line. If YouTube respond to my appeal and they reinstate the video *fingers crossed* or let me know what to take out I’ll update this post with the video and let you know on Twitter.

How about you? Any favourite patterns, tools or techniques this month? I’d love to hear about them or watch a video of them. Though that may lead to me spending even more money than beauty favourites videos do!

New Look 6217 T’Shirt

Aka my new favourite t’shirt. There’s not really a lot to say about it so instead I seem to have a bajillion photos with very little difference between them.

new-look-6217-tshirt

Side note: New hair! It’s way shorter than I’d planned but I like it. Well I like it curly anyway, I took these photos yesterday after having it cut and I’ve since washed it myself and with it straight but not straightened apparently I look like I should be in an Enid Blyton novel going on an adventure.

But back to sewing, New Look 6217 is one of those New Look/Simplicity patterns that come with pretty much a whole outfit. There’s the t’shirt, a kimono, a skirt AND trousers. The t’shirt is super simple with just two pattern pieces and no darts. There is supposed to be a small opening at the back neckline and a button but I left it off as the neckline is super wide so it serves very little actual purpose.

nl6217-back

I’ve been test driving a new (to me) fitting book (review forthcoming once I finish the Emery dress I’m using it to fit) and based on that I took some length out between the shoulder and the bust point. Unfortunately I forgot to add the length back onto the bottom of the armhole so they’re a little snugger than they should be but it’s still okay. I also did the neckline differently to the instructions. It’s supposed to be finished with an exposed bias binding but I turned mine to the inside. Which makes the already wide neckline slightly wider. So for future versions I may bring the neckline in slightly but I actually quite like a wide neckline so I might not.

nl6217-tee

It’s also a teeny bit too short so I’ll lengthen it an inch or two for my next version and I’m pretty sure there will be a load more versions. My green Scout tee is one of my most worn self made garments so I have got more t’shirts on the to be sewn list.

new-look-6217-tee
I like it untucked and tucked in

The fabric is some viscose I had left over from my Sewaholic Gabriola skirt and I think it’s perfect for this pattern but I am planning a version with some slightly crisper fabric too so we’ll see how that looks. I used French seams throughout and I seemed to be in a very bias bind-y kinda mood. As well as the neckline I bound the sleeve hems and actual hem. I toyed with adding cuffs but decided against it, though I do think they’d look good so I might add them to a future version.

nl6217-close-up

Non-clueless versions

I really like it when bloggers put links to other people’s versions of a pattern they’ve made so I thought I’d start doing it too. Such a copycat.

It was on OhSewPretty‘s blog that I first saw New Look 6217 and it’s her version of the t’shirt and kimono that made me buy it.

How gorgeous is Mags’ Silk and Lace version? Talk about elevating a simple pattern to something special with fancy fabric.

I also love Thimberlina’s versions, especially the border print one. That fabric is sooo pretty and I love the contrast of the binding.

I found Twinkle’s two gorgeous floral and anchor print versions by accident when I was actually looking up Lottie blouses. I really like the look of the button fastening on hers so I might make my next one properly.

Another Fabric Haul Video

And finishing on something completely different. I mentioned at the end of my last post that I was hoping to get in a bit of fabric shopping while I was in London and huzzah, I managed it. So I made another video of me wiggling fabric at you. I also talk about being a wimp and being scared of real life fabric shops. I can’t be the only one. Any of you guys scared of real life fabric shops or is it just me?

Anyway, that’s it from me. I’m going to do some slobbing on the sofa with my Manfriend and maybe watch something trashy. I hope you’ve all had a great weekend.

Kirsten Kimono Dress Hack aka Balletmono

In the spirit of Gillian’s Better Pictures Project the Manfriend and I took advantage of the nice evening on Saturday and went for a walk to try to get some more interesting photos of my latest dress. The result was a bunch of over and under exposed photos – sometimes in the same photo. So that needs some work…

I took a few in the garden once we got home, which typically came out the best of the lot so I can still share my dress. After my successful kirsten kimono tee and floral ballet dress I decided to mash the two patterns together and see what happened. I’m calling the resulting kirsten kimono dress a balletmono.

kirsten-kimono-dress-sosban
This one isn’t in my garden, obviously. This is a fancy restaurant in an old pump house. Absolutely beautiful building.

I wanted to keep the fitted waist and flared skirt look so I traced around the bodice pieces for the kirsten kimono and then overlaid the ballet dress bodice pieces lining up the top of the shoulders and the centre line then traced around that and blended the lines where they met. I also slashed and spread the skirt piece in three places to make it fuller, which I love.

Swooosh
Swooosh

The fabric I used is a cotton jersey from Calico Laine (that might not be the same one, I bought mine towards the end of last year) and I’m not really a fan. It was mega curly at the edges and it seems to crease easily and iron badly – a winning combination.

balletmono-green
Windy

I accidentally cut out a neckband with the ballet dress pattern piece before I remembered that I was meant to draft one and I don’t know if that’s to blame but the neckline is a bit rubbish. It’s not puckered as such but there are loads of little pulls from it, which you can sort of see in the photo above. So I don’t know what’s to blame there as I thought I’d sewn it quite well. Could it be too short or too long?

kirsten-kimono-dress-garden

I was thinking about leaving the hems raw as I quite like that but looking at these photos I think I will hem them. I think I need to fiddle with the fit again before making another kirsten kimono dress there seems to be a bit too much fabric above my bust, especially there at the armpit. The bodice itself is a tiny bit too long too, not sure if that’s due to the weight of the fuller skirt pulling it down or something that happened during my shoddy hack.

kirsten-kimono-dress-sulking
Sulk

You can’t really see the detail of my face in this one but I am pulling a full on bottom lip out sulky face in it because none of the photos were going right. It tickled me when I saw it so I had to include it. I don’t really have much more to say about the dress really. It’s alright. I’m not in love with it but I’ll probably try again with different fabric, a new neckband and a few tweaks to the pattern.

I’m on my way to London for a course at the moment and I’m hoping to get a chance to pay the fabric shops of Goldhawk Road a visit while I’m there. It will be a flying one if I do but fingers crossed. I have a list of things I want (knits, interesting neutral wovens and some chambray) so I’ll be a woman on a mission. Wish me luck!