A striped bag or two…

I’ve been wanting to make a new bag for a few months now. I had an idea of how big I wanted it to be and how long I wanted the handles. However I was procrastinating over this idea for the longest time because I knew I was going to have to draft the pieces myself and I’ve been spoilt with using patterns now (you might recall if you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning that I used to draft all my makes myself) and even though I was still going to be using a very simple shape I was feeling too lazy to do all the measuring out that I used to do when making a bag. also the bags I used to make all had several layers and this was very time consuming. Plus I hadn’t really come across any fabric that I really wanted to make a bag out of recently. Until the striped denim from Merchant and Mills, that I’d made a top out of. I had a feeling it would work really well as a bag.

I cheated with the cutting out and took a bit of a gamble. I didn’t mark anything out at all. I just used my tape measure to guide me, and cut along it. I also folded the fabric so I’d only have to cut out a piece once. This seriously reduced the time it took. And for the most part the pieces were pretty even, so I was quite happy with that. I didn’t line this bag as the denim is fairly robust and sturdy and I also like how the fabric looks on the reverse.

I used some grosgrain strapping that I’d had in my stash for a while, also bought from Merchant and Mills. I like how the straps contrast nicely with the bag fabric.

I’m very happy with my lovely new bag and I was right, the fabric does work really as a bag.

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I think I’ve finally got the dimensions and strap length right for a very useful bag. Its comfortable on the shoulder and holds a lot of stuff.

Here I am wearing it with dress and necklace also made by me. Walked into town on one of the hottest days of the year so far, back in July, and I was very comfortable (within reason ) in dress and carrying bag. Not too heavy, even when full of shopping.

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My Niece loved it too, and so I made her one. Hers is a little different and also a bit better made than mine. Although mine is not badly made, but it had been a while since I last made a bag. So making a second so soon after meant it was all fresh in my mind and therefore I feel I did a better job of it.  I also managed to get some of the selvedge to show, which I had tried to do with mine but it didn’t work.

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Loving that edge seam.

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I added my label to hers too. I never think to add a label when its for me.

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And here’s a modelling pic of my lovely Niece Zoe with her exclusive bag!

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She’s very talented and has her own Etsy shop, Meemalz, where she sells miniature clay animals, and takes custom orders for your very own miniature pet. Follow the link and take a look.

 

 

Apron for my Mum…

So my Mums Birthday was coming up and I had not got a clue what to buy her. After giving it some thought I decided to make her a new apron, she loves her aprons and is always wearing one.

I quite enjoyed deciding on what fabric to get and finding the matching thread and strapping for the ties.  Took me ages to make a decision. I ended up with a gorgeous grey and cream spotty fabric, which works really well as an apron.

I find it a very satisfying thing to make actually. Took me about 4 hours, and this one is even neater than my first one. I’m quite proud of it I have to say. And my Mum was very happy with it too!

Below are the pieces, cut out and ready to put together.

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I zigzagged all the edges first, this fabric was quite good at fraying.

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Very happy with the curves at the sides.

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Inside out.

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Cost me more to make it than it would to buy one, but I feel you can see the quality in the fabric and the finishing, even if I do say so myself!

From disappointment to joy…

I bought some gorgeous 11oz stripey denim from good old Merchant and Mills and silly me I didn’t realise till I got it home that the stripes ran vertically and not horizontally. I don’t know why I was surprised as its happened several times before. Anyway I was slightly disappointed as for some reason I’m really not keen on vertical stripes, and was wondering if I could get away with using the fabric so the stripes would be horizontal, but decided against it as I felt there would be no give in the fabric where I needed it once it was made up.

Oh and just as an aside I had planned to make something different. I was going to make the Merchant and Mills Union dress, I have the pattern. So as I’m lucky enough to live not far from Rye I am able to visit their lovely shop quite often. I tried on 2 of the Union dress samples in a size 10 and 12, and well lets just say it did me no favours. A bit like the Top 64, which I made and hated. So I’m afraid for now I’m sticking with the Trapeze pattern. I did however get to see a toile of their newest pattern offering and let me tell you its gorgeous! And I didn’t end up wasting an awful lot of time making something that I was never going to wear.

On the way home I became a bit concerned about the weight of the fabric too. I’ve already made the Trapeze up in a denim, firstly an 8oz denim and a 5oz dress weight denim. The 8oz is quite sturdy and results in a fairly structural garment whilst the 5oz is a lovely soft denim which drakes a bit better. So I suddenly had a moment of panic about the 11oz, thinking it was going to be too rigid. I managed to allay my fears until the moment I got it out of the washing machine when it felt like very stiff cardboard! It had somehow felt a lot more pliable and softer in the shop. I was a little unhappy with my decision and wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to make a Trapeze with it. Plus I was stuck with 3 metres of the stuff!

Next day though I decided to plough on. I’d had the fabric cut into a 1 metre and a 2 metre piece to save me from trying to wrestle a 3 metre piece of fabric in my living room. I started with the 1 metre piece and made a Trapeze top. And I have to say that although I wasn’t exactly excited about this project the denim was a  joy to work with. It behaved and went where I wanted it to go and did what it was told. The thin stripes were a little bad for the eyes at times though, I have to say.

Now considering I don’t like vertical stripes on clothes and the fabric was a little too thick in my opinion, I ended up quite pleased with it.

This is one of the nicest crispest necklines I have ever produced. And I’ve become rather taken with those stripes, looks a bit like a humbug.

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Back of the neck.

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And because of the vertical stripes, pattern matching wasn’t much of an issue. Which is always a plus in my eyes.

Look at the side seam.

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And the centre back seam looks almost invisible, particularly at he top.

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Now for rest of the pics.

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It does have quite a structured look about it still, but I like it.

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I love that it holds its shape.

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Unfortunately I still haven’t mastered putting in smooth sleeves, there are tucks and puckers, Patrick Grant and Esme would be horrified! But I put up with it.

It was a pleasure to wear and I felt really good in it.

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I am now a convert to the vertical stripes, but not sure if only like them as they are very thin. And from a distance the fabric almost looks plain grey. And now instead of despairing that I have 3 metres of the stuff, I’m looking forward to making another one for sure but maybe a third too. Not sure yet, might end up making a bag. I think the fabric would work really well and look good as a bag.

Tie me up…

I added ties to the black crepe rectangle top I made a while ago, was just playing about to begin with to see if I could add shape to it. And it worked.

Before…

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And after…

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Wore it on a girls night out recently, only I ended up wearing it with flat sandals, didn’t take any pics unfortunately as I didn’t think I looked any good, but on reflection I didn’t look any worse than anyone else there that night. And I was comfortable.

I simply cut out two strips of the fabric the same as the top, and zig zagged all the way round the edge, then sewed them to the side seams. Simple yet effective.

 

Oh flipping heck…

Shortened another dress. This time the grey Trapeze dress. Only not exactly shortened but decided to hem it properly, so it was shortened by about 1.5cm.

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I think it shows the way the hem dips down to the back more clearly. I’m very happy now. Loved it before but wasn’t happy with how frayed it looked even though I’d zig zagged the edge.

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Its only a slight difference, but above is before and below is after.

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Two, in one weekend…

So I made two jersey striped Trapeze tops in one weekend! Yes I did. So am I ready for the Great British Sewing Bee? I don’t think so! How the hell they make anything more complicated than what I made in that weekend is beyond me. I timed myself from start to finish and I made it in one go, so no stopping, on the Sunday, which means from ironing, cutting out the fabric and making it. And it took me 3hrs 15 mins. And thats a simple top that I’ve made many times over. So how the Sewing Bees make the likes of the Chinese style top in the international episode in 3 hours or so completely bogles my mind! Hats off to them I say.

I loved the first striped jersey Trapeze top I made so much I really wanted to make another. However the fabric on that one pills like mad, I’ll still wear it but it does’t look its best now. However the next lot of jersey fabric I bought from The fabricgodmother.co.uk was a little different, I’d already made the stripey Trapeze dress, and I got the feeling it wouldn’t pill as bad, if at all.

So now I have three stripey jersey Trapeze tops and they are lovely and so comfortable to wear. And just wash, hang up, dry and go. Perfect!

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So what you see there is two very similar stripe tops, the one on the right is the first one and although you can’t tell in the picture its very bobbly. The one on the left is the new one and its a much smoother feeling fabric. I’m hope it won’t pill like the first one. Also the stripes are slightly thinner on the one on the left.

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Here I am wearing the one I made on the Sunday. Stripe matching was once again terrible but I don’t care anymore. Almost looks like its supposed to be like that!

So for a very quick and gratifying make I can’t recommend a jersey Trapeze enough.

 

Gigi Trapeze top…

One of my work colleagues was going home to India last year for a visit, and I asked her if it wouldn’t be too much trouble and she had the time, if she could possibly bring me back some fabric? She was unsure as wasn’t sure what I would like or what sort of colours I like. I said I really didn’t mind anything, but can’t do Yellow! So she said she’d see what she could do. I of course said I’d pay her, and I didn’t mind what cost, we discussed what I usually paid for fabric here and she seemed happy she could probably find me something. I was just excited at the possibility of something different, maybe something I wouldn’t pick for myself.

And boy did she deliver. I loved it when I first saw it. The pattern was quite different to anything I might have picked for myself, so I was pleased about that. However it did take me nearly a year to make it into something.

And guess what I made?  Oh yeah you don’t need to its in the title. DOH!

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There we are, a lovely Trapeze top. I’m not sure how much fabric there was, but I think at least 2 meters. One of the reasons it took me a while to turn it into anything was I wanted to make a Trapeze top but didn’t know if I’d have enough, as the fabric was about 115cm wide. Unfortunately I lost the pic of the pattern pieces laid out on the fabric, as there was only just enough, and it was lucky I wanted to make it with short sleeves.

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Took me a while to decide which way up I wanted the pattern to be, but I think really its a no brainer that the red is at the top. At first I could see a sort of abstract flower design in the pattern but rather disturbingly it turned into a red devil wearing a black suit! What do you think? Anyway I love it, and Gigi wouldn’t let me pay for it as she couldn’t remember how much it was! So I’ve named it the Gigi top.

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Not sure if the necklace goes or not?

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Pattern matching didn’t happen as it was too tight a fit to have the luxury and also I’m rubbish at it…

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I love it, the cotton is so so soft, feels like I’m wearing a cloud. It will be perfect for when/if the summer ever gets going.

Alterations…

Good or bad? well I’ve been doing some. Firstly on a pair of jeans that I’ve wanted to do forever, but was worried incase the inner leg seam wouldn’t go through the sewing machine. I think I mentioned this when I last altered a pair of jeans and someone very kindly offered the tip of hitting the seam with a hammer. well I went one better and hit the seam with a mallet, yes I did! And have to say it worked a treat. I don’t have a before pic but trust me the jeans were about 3 miles too long, but now they are perfect.

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And then I went and altered this denim trapeze dress.

Then in denim.

Made it shorter and also shortened the sleeves. and then top stitched the hem, neckline and sleeve hem.

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I’m definitely pleased with the topstitching but not sure about the rest yet. I haven’t worn it since the alteration so watch this space… I might regret it come the winter!

I have worn it now!

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Love it so much more :0)

I love stripes…

Didn’t think I did at one time, always thought of myself as more of a spotty/dotty person, but it seems I’m loving stripes just as much. Maybe this is the difference when you make your own clothes, you can actually make something that suits you.

So without further ado, meet my stripy Trapeze dress in this gorgeous ponte roma jersey from fabricgodmother .co.uk, its quite thick but also drapes beautifully. And best of all it doesn’t crease whilst wearing. And it was lovely 2 day project, could have done it in a day but I didn’t want to rush it, as I sometimes just simply love the making process.

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I had a horrible time trying to match up the stripes at the back and just gave up in the end. It was either have the stripes match down the centre back and have the stripes be wonky on the front or have them mismatched at the back and horizontal and straight at the front.

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Quite bad for the eyes if you stare at it for too long, fortunately its at the back and I can’t see it.

Sides are not too bad, not perfect but a lot better than the back.

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Think it looks quite good across the top too.

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And just look at those stripes going from sleeves to bodice. Not bad eh?

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I really love the way to hangs, and it feels really really good on.

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So there we have it, Trapeze dress No: 5 I think. Oops! I think maybe a few more then I’m done… Or not!

 

 

 

I’ve been tidying…

My sewing room. I got rid of all my scrap fabric that was too small to do anything with and maybe some that wasn’t. But it had gotten ridiculous, I had so much I didn’t know what to do with it. I had big ideas that I’d make a quilt one day with all my leftovers, but have since decided that ain’t gonna happen. And  was running out of places to store it. So it had to go.

I tidied all my fabric into boxes and have made a little rule that if I can’t store it in a box, I can’t buy it! Wonder how long that will last?

View from my sewing chair.

View from my sewing chair. The clothes hanging on the wall are waiting for alterations. Keep putting them off though.

View from the door.

View from the door. The art works on the wall are stuff I did twenty plus years ago when I was doing my Art A level at evening classes. Really enjoyed doing that but then my art room got taken over by junk and I sort of lost the passion for it. And then I discovered SEWING!

 

The big black box and the pink box now house my fabric and some scraps that are big enough they might be useful.

The big black box and the pink box now house my fabric and some scraps that are big enough they might be useful. I painted the blue wooden box many years ago when this was my art room. That now houses stuff I can’t bring myself to get rid of yet…

I love my little room, I really can’t tell you the joy that just sitting in there brings, let alone actually sewing. And I still marvel at the fact that I can sew.