Shock, horror, I bought me a new pattern…

Yep, thought it about time I had a go at something different. Think I’ve made enough Trapeze tops for now!

I fell in love with the Imogen top from sew me something, as it had a neckline I liked. However The neckline turned out to be a bit of a challenge.

The pattern says its suitable for beginners, however I beg to differ. I do have sewing experience now, but I feel if I’d tried this as a beginner I would have packed up my sewing machine and just stopped. I feel the instructions could do with being a little more detailed and more pictures wouldn’t go amiss either. So despite the experience I do have I still managed to bugger it up! I was able to rectify it though.

Totally forgot to take pictures of the buggered up version, as I was thinking it was a right off and was feeling very despondent, I really liked the fabric and was unhappy about the waste. And then I checked in my scrap pile and found I had enough scrap left over to give the buggered up bit another go.

Basically I put the collar on upside down, simple mistake to make, I was looking at it like a facing as thats what I’m used to. I unpicked the upside down collar and started again. Of course I had to compensate for some fabric that had already been cut off, but it worked out fine.

I also had a little problem right at the start with the placket not fitting right. There’s a little V like cut out in the neckline and I believe when I cut the fabric out I must’ve somehow made the bottom of the V a bit wider than it should have been (if that makes sense?) And once I’d attached both the plackets they didn’t overlap like they should. I was almost ready to give up at the first hurdle.

And then because I thought I’d ruined it already I thought why not cut it down the middle through the centre of the V and put back together with a small centre seam? Why not indeed! So thats what I did, and it worked. So I carried on. Which partly made me more determined to sort out the upside down collar situation.

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I was able to get a UK size 12  out of 1.5m of fabric.

Below is the placket situation before I sorted it out. As you can see the placket pieces do not in anyway shape or form meet or overlap.

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Ta daa! Here it is, and I love it.

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Despite all my problems with it, I thoroughly enjoyed making this top. I learned several new things, not least how to insert elastic to make the sleeve cuff. It also had a different technique for sleeve insertion.

More pics

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See what I mean about the lovely fabric. Its a cotton denim coloured chambray with little stars on it. It wasn’t expensive, I just really really liked it. And didn’t want it to have been a waste.

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It has a lovely curved hem, and here you can see the elasticated cuffs too.

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In the picture below you can see little more clearly the slight mess of the plackets and that the collar still isn’t quite perfect. I had to zigzag the seam at the base of the placket neck opening as the seam wasn’t quite big enough for me to finish it off properly on the edges, so that looks a bit messy, but I can live with it. Also the placket isn’t sitting quite right, but again I can live with it. I also made the row of stitching that anchors the bottom of the collar to the bodice a little too high from the neck seam. I think it looks Ok and again I can live with it.

The top is perfectly wearable and after giving it a good press the neck sits pretty nicely.

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Anyone care to venture a guess on how many of these I will make? I can tell you now it will be more than one…

 

 

I haven’t forgotten how to sew…

Its just been a while since I’ve blogged about it. I was busy making bags for my little Etsy shop

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but now I’m back to the clothes.

I’ve tweaked my Merchant and Mills Trapeze pattern once again, to make a mini dress/tunic length. And the first thing I made from this new pattern was a dress for my works Christmas party. I made it from the textured black and white ponte roma that I made a top from from in the summer. I had a hunch it would make a good dress for a party. And I think I was right. Very happy with it indeed.

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It was a nice easy make. The fabric is a joy to work with.

Here it is as party dress, I hope I’m not too old at the age of 45 to be wearing a mini dress like this. Don’t worry won’t wear it without tights, that was not a good look!

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It also looks good as casual wear, worn with jeans and Uggs or Birkenstocks.

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I probably prefer it worn casually but then again I prefer casual wear now a days anyway!

Hope you like it, I do.

Xx

 

I have an Etsy shop…

For my bags! Yep I’ve been making lots of bags and am hoping to sell them to lovely people. I realised I’d made the ultimate tote bag and thought other people might love them too. I know thats a pretty big claim, but I know bags and I know I’ve hit on a great size and shape for a fabulous tote bag.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/essjcreative?ref=l2-shopheader-name There’s the link.

Here’s some pics of the bags…

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Red

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Blue

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Black

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I’m calling them the Humbug striped bag, as i think they look like humbugs.

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I really do love mine and my Niece loves hers too.

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Black and white textured…

So its been a while, I’m sorry. I have neglected you my little blog. I’m here now to make amends.

Whilst browsing Fabric godmother a little while ago I came upon this unusual looking fabric

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And promptly ordered 3metres of it. Its a roma jersey jacquard. Its quite textured and feels almost woolly, but its not. And unlike most jersey fabrics it does need to have the edges finished as it has a backing and I think the potential to fray. Besides that it was lovely to work with and I enjoyed making yet another trapeze top with it.

I used just over a metre for this top leaving me enough to hopefully make a dress out of it too. Would have had to use way more than a metre if I’d made a long sleeve version.

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The above picture shows that the sleeve pattern piece is hanging off the end of the fabric.

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Didn’t take long to make and I’m very happy with it. The fabric feels lovely to wear and I think would look good in a sweatshirt type top. I must have a go at making one, one day.

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My Husband seems to quite like it too which is nice.

Most worn so far this year…

Are my jersey makes.

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I really really love the dress, I wear it with jeans and without and have worn it lots!

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So I think I can conclude from this that I’m most comfortable in jersey. I try to look stylish but top of my agenda nowadays is comfort. Gone are the days of wearing clothes that I had to continually adjust and fidget with. Its comfort all the way now and I don’t care. Well I sort of do obviously as I still want to try and look nice.

I’ve also used this bag a lot. I love it!

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I have been looking in my wardrobe and am trying to sort it out and take out the stuff I haven’t worn much and being honest with myself and admitting they don’t really work, such as…

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I should never have shortened the length or the sleeves, it was fine as it was, now I don’t like it anymore and feel uncomfortable in it.

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The fit on this went a little wrong and isn’t as comfortable as it should be, so thats been taken out. As have most of the cotton Mathilde blouses. Gone right off them. I still love the dress versions though.

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I love the fabric on the above top, but it has become tight across the bust I feel and once again is not comfortable. Shame as I really do love the fabric. There a re many more and I won’t bore you with them all.

So I’m learning what suits me and what fabrics I like best and will hopefully start to make better decisions regarding what I’m wearing, but don’t hold your breath.

Have you learned what suits you more since starting to make your own clothes?

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.

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.

 

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)