OWOP Guest post – Jane from Handmade Jane!

Hi everyone! As I mentioned in my last post, there are some exciting guest posts to come for OWOP… I’ve really admired Jane’s amazing makes since I first found her blog, and here she tells us a bit about how she makes such great garments: 

Hello! I’m Jane from Handmade Jane and I’m delighted to be a guest blogger for this series of OWOP posts.

Choosing patterns to fit into a handmade wardrobe

We all have special patterns that seem to work for us, but what is it about them that make us want to sew them again and again? The patterns I tend to repeat sew are the ones that fill gaps in my handmade wardrobe. They’re not necessarily the most exciting patterns, but they’re definitely the ones that work the hardest! As we all know, sewing time is precious, so there are three key factors I take into consideration when deciding whether to sew a pattern again: fit, style and how easy it is to sew up.

Fit

Trying to achieve a better fit was one of the reasons I first started sewing my own clothes. If you’re lucky enough to find a pattern that fits perfectly straight from the envelope, great! Hang onto it! Generally though, patterns take a bit of tweaking to fit the way you want. It’s quite an investment of time and effort, but definitely worth it to perfect the fit. And once you’ve managed to nail the fit, the whole process is a lot quicker the next time round!

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My Sewaholic Granville blouses – a pain to fit to my proportions but I couldn’t be happier with the results!

Style

This is the main factor that draws me to a pattern and one or two unusual design features are often all it takes to lure me in. This could be something as simple as a cute collar, a bow at the neck or even a strategically placed dart. Or sometimes the way a pattern is drafted just happens to be a style that flatters my particular shape.

I think learning to choose patterns that suit you and your shape and style is key. For example I love wide legged trousers and have made several pairs over the years, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that they generally look better on somebody a foot taller than me! However well fitting they are, they just make me look even shorter than I already am, so it’s slim legged trousers from now on.

 

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Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers – the slim fitting style is a good match for my shape.

How easy is it to sew?

If sewing a pattern makes you feel like you’ve endured 10 rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson, you’re unlikely to want to put yourself through it again. It isn’t always about the number of pattern pieces or complicated sewing techniques either. Some intermediate patterns are a pleasure to sew because they’re well drafted and come with clear instructions. There are also beginner patterns that put me right off sewing them again if the drafting and instructions are poor.

For the last OWOP challenge in 2014, I chose a pattern that made me happy on all three points. It was vintage Simplicity 4238 and I’ve sewn it up five times and counting! At first glance it seems like a standard button up sleeveless shirt, but when you look more closely you’ll see it includes a whopping 12 darts which gives it the fitted vintage look I love. Yes, the darts are a pain to mark up, but they’re not difficult to sew and provide awesome shaping around the waist. It’s also sleeveless, which means it’s not just confined to summer as it can be worn with a cardigan.

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I’ve made it twice in polka dots, once in gingham, once in a Liberty floral and once in a solid white. This allows for every conceivable pairing of bottom halves! Will I make it again? Probably! I think a couple more solid coloured versions would come in mighty useful!

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I think the biggest challenge for this year’s One Week, One Pattern will be finding a pattern that works as well as this one! Thanks so much Hannah for inviting me to contribute, I can’t wait to participate in September!

Thanks Jane!! I’m excited to see your OWOP garments!

I’ll be posting more about OWOP, including details of the fab prizes, next week 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to… One Week, One Pattern 2016!

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Anyone who has read my last few blog posts might have picked up on my teasers for an upcoming announcement – and here it is! One Week, One Pattern, or OWOP is a group sewing challenge, where the participants wear variations on one pattern every day for a week.

OWOP is about celebrating our Tried ‘n’ True patterns, the ones we’ve made lots of times in different variations, until we could practically make them in our sleep, tweaking the fit until it’s just right. It’s a good chance to think about your own style and what you like to wear! It was started up by Tilly and the Buttons in 2012, and then run by Handmade Jane in 2014. They have both kindly agreed to let me carry it on in 2016! Thanks ladies!

So here are the details:

What is OWOP?
One Week, One Pattern is a group challenge where participants wear garments from one pattern of their choice, every day for one week.

When will OWOP take place?
Saturday 10th – Friday 16th September 2016

Who can take part?
Anyone! You could be a beginner trying to wear more of that first skirt, or an advanced sewist with a full handmade wardrobe looking for a fun challenge.

Which pattern should I use?
You can use any pattern – Big 4, Indie, from a book, self-drafted or vintage. As long as you’ve sewn it yourself you can use it!

How many versions of a pattern do I need to take part? That’s entirely up to you! You could have one version that you style differently every day for a week – like some cute handmade trousers styled with different tops and accessories OR you could have 7 pairs and change them every day!

Do I need to sew any new garments especially for OWOP? Nope! You can wear the versions you’ve already made! But maybe this is the excuse you need to make it again, perhaps with a different neckline, or hemline, or in that scrummy fabric you’ve been hoarding? OWOP starts in 6 weeks, so you do still have time if you do want to make anything!

How do I sign up?
Leave a comment on this post with the following details:

Pattern company + pattern name + garment type

(e.g. Tilly and the Buttons, Bettine dress; OR Colette, Laurel dress; OR Sew Over It, Ultimate Trousers) If you’re undecided just sign up now and then you can decide later!

Then, from the 10th September, wear your chosen pattern for 7 consecutive days! Take a photo each day to show how you styled them. If you don’t like posing you can put them on a hanger, lay them out or crop yourself out. Then post your photos! You can do this any of the following ways:

  • On Instagram, using #OWOP16
  • On your blog. Please make sure there’s a link to this in your sign-up comment.
  • On Flickr. I’ll be posting details of the Flickr group later closer to the time.
  • Email me your photos. Please leave a note in your sign up comment if you’d like to do this.

I’ll then do a roundup of some of your outfits during the week. Please let me know if you’d rather I didn’t include your photos in my roundup! Otherwise I will assume you are happy for me to use them.

Is there a logo I can add to my blog?
If you’d like to add the logo to your blog, you can download it here.

Anything else?
There will be some exciting guest posts coming up in the next few weeks! I’ve also arranged some really exciting giveaways for each day – make sure you’re signed up here to win! I’ll be posting more details closer to the time!

Any questions? Let me know in the comments below.

MAXI – moneta

Hi guys!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, and I’ve got lots to share! I’ve just been in the USA, Canada and Iceland for the best part of a month – it was such an amazing trip, but sometimes it was fairly tough as I’m still on crutches after my ankle injury. Before my trip, I’d had grand plans of making myself a lovely holiday wardrobe, with lots of mix-and-match pieces, but with limited mobility sewing was not really that much fun. I can now carry bits and pieces as I’m mostly down to one crutch, and can actually stand at the ironing board for long enough to press things so I’ll be sewing again as soon as I’ve finished unpacking all the fabric I bought on my trip (but that’s for another post)… In the meantime, here’s the one dress I managed to make in time:


Continuing on from my two knit Laurels, I decided to go for another jersey project, one that I’ve had planned for a while! I bought this scrummy Liberty jersey in the sale (at Liberty) last year. It was still very pricey at £40 for the cut, but it was the end of the bolt so I got 2.25m for that price (and it’s at least 60” wide!). It’s the viscose jersey which I’ve used before, and it is fantastic quality so I don’t mind paying a little more for it.

I knew when I got it that I would make a maxi-dress, as it’s not often that I have enough fabric for that! I decided on the Colette Moneta, which I made a few years ago to limited success. Previously, I hadn’t had much experience with jersey, so made a few rookie errors in terms of fabric and finishing. Now I’ve had a fair number of jersey projects under my belt, I decided it was time to cut into this pretty fabric!

 I didn’t quite follow the order of the instructions, but instead went my own way:

  • I didn’t use the drafted skirt, but instead did some basic drafting to make it because the fabric is a wide stripe so the skirt as drafted would create “smile lines” in the skirt from the curved waistline.
  • To make the skirt, I worked out the approx. length to be full length on me. Due to the stretch of the fabric, I then reduced it by a few inches so that it wouldn’t extend below my feet. I decided to use the selvedge for the hem, as it wasn’t visibly distorted. I made sure that I had enough fabric left to cut the bodice after cutting the 40” length skirt, and then used the full length (i.e. the 2.25m) of the fabric for the width.
  • I then split this into two – one each for the front and back. I took the skirt pattern piece and used it to create some shaping up towards the waist. This reduces the amount of bulk.
  • I measured the right amount of elastic to fit the bodice, sewed it into a circle, then gathered the skirt to fit.
  • I used clear elastic to stabilise the shoulder seams, neckline and armholes. I wouldn’t normally stabilise the neckline when using a neckband but due to the weight of the maxi dress, I thought it would be a good idea to make it a bit stronger! I drafted the neckband to fit the neckline – I was rather worried about it being too tight, but in the end it is a little too big – as you can see it gapes slightly at the back neckline. I decided that the risk of stretching out the neckline when unpicking it outweighed how much it might annoy me!
  • I used my overlocker for the side seams, shoulder seams and attaching the bodice to the skirt. I then used my Bernina for attaching the elastic, attaching the neckline and finishing the armholes.

The photos are from my day out in Escondido, California with my friend Patience. We had so much fun catching up!

Keep an eye out later this week for an exciting announcement 🙂

MMM and some new dresses

Hey hey everyone!

We’re coming towards the end of Me-Made-May for another year! How has your MMM been going? This month has been less than fun for me – I badly sprained and chipped a bone in my ankle at the end of the first week, and since then have been hobbling around with a splint boot and crutches. (In case you were wondering, I was kickboxing at the time…)

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Some of my MMM outfits for the few times I’ve left the house this month.

Anyway, this has more or less had me stuck at home for the last 3 weeks, so I have been wearing very comfy clothes most of the time! We’re talking less “secret pyjamas”, more just “pyjamas”. I’ve been trying to keep up with MMM as much as possible, but some days I have just worn leggings as comfort and practicality are the most important things for me at the moment.

The me-mades I’ve worn the most this month have been all my jersey makes – my various Mesa dresses, and a pair of PJs I made last year. And my two new knit Laurels!

In previous posts here and here, I’ve told you about removing the darts from the Colette Laurel dress. Partly because I wanted to see what it would be like, but also so I could use it for making jersey dresses with the lovely Laurel shaping, but without needing to worry about the darts. I have a minor obsession with T-Shirt dresses at the moment, and needed to make it happen!

The first version was with this lovely dandelion print knit from Art Gallery Fabrics:

The second was with this stunner, also by Art Gallery Fabrics.

#mmmay16 day 24: @colettepatterns #laureldress in @artgalleryfabrics jersey. I love it 🙂

A post shared by Hannah E (@cinderellissews) on

Changes from the Colette Laurel original Pattern:

  • Rotated out bust darts and back darts
  • Pinched out small darts in the back of the neck
  • Added a knit neckband – 2″ by 24″ in V1 and 23″ in V2
  • Removed an extra 1/2″ from the side seams from bust to waist in V2

The construction was the same in both dresses: I sewed the shoulder seams, set in sleeves and the side seams on my overlocker, and attached the neckband, and hemmed them with a zigzag stitch on my Bernina. The whole process from cutting to hemming took around 2-3 hours for each dress. About all I can cope with sewing-wise at the moment, as I can’t be on my feet at the ironing board for too long! Another few weeks and I should be back to usual though.

These dresses have already been in constant rotation and they are so so comfy but also feel like I am well dressed 🙂 Definitely a winner in my book!

I wanted to take new photos for the blog but obviously am having trouble getting out and about at the moment so the Insta photos will have to suffice! I’ve got a bit of a blogging backlog, so should have some more projects to share soon!

 

Delightful Doris

Hi all!

As you might have noticed if you follow me on Instagram (@cinderellissews), Me-Made-May is now in full swing!

So far, I’ve been fairly happy with my outfits, nothing too out of the ordinary:

Day 1 (top right): Lady Skater/ Moneta dress
Day 2 (bottom right): Sewaholic Renfrew top
Day 3: Floral Mesa Dress
Day 4 (left): Mesa T-Shirt

Day 5: my gorgeous new Doris Dress!!!

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My original plan for last weekend was to sew this fabric up as a Colette Hawthorn. Interestingly, although I thought it would make a gorgeous hawthorn, I couldn’t envision it properly – you know sometimes that perfect pairing of fabric and pattern just pops into your head? I couldn’t quite see it, and was thinking about maybe adding some little kimono sleeves, or changing the neckline slightly. Then, Sew Over It released the Doris Dress, and I immediately had “the vision” of the finished item – a pairing of this lovely lawn, and the Doris Pattern. I bought the PDF, taped it together and made a toile in one evening – very satisfying progress.

As is to be expected, the pattern went together beautifully. I have now sewn two SOI patterns back-to-back and have been really impressed with the drafting. Everything lines up perfectly, and I’ve never found it easier to get pleats to line up across seamlines. The only slight issue was that I had about an extra 1/2″ ease between the back darts, that I only noticed when it came to stitching the skirt to the bodice. I haven’t checked the pattern to see what happened, but I expect this may well be a cutting error on my part because none of the pattern testers mentioned it. To make it fit, I just gathered the CB section on the bodice and eased it into the corresponding section of the skirt. Because of the looser fit in the back, it’s not hugely obvious.

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The only other change I made was to bring the neckline up by 1/2″. This made the facings a little uneven as I forgot to change them and didn’t realise until they were all on, but a hefty bit of pressing sorted that out!

The fabric is a cotton lawn from Minerva Crafts (they still have the other colourways in stock!). It’s gorgeous and soft, but unfortunately see-through enough to require an extra layer. I decided to underline it (rather than lining) in white cotton lawn, which gives the dress a really luxurious feel. I simply cut out all the pieces in both fabrics then overlocked them together. However, it does add bulk! I decided to finish the hem and armholes with bias binding to make the hem as flat as possible. The underlining means that it doesn’t wrinkle as much, and shouldn’t require excessive ironing.

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Pretty insides!

I’m very pleased with the invisible zip:

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I made the buttonholes on my mum’s Janome, using the cute rounded buttonhole option:

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The rounded buttonholes look a little less bulky than the standard square ones.

I decided in the end to forego the back tie – the dress isn’t quite as loose as I thought it might be. There’s certainly ease, but it seems to just skim, rather than swamp my figure. It’s a perfect day dress! I’m really happy with it!

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Oh and I even added in a label at the back 🙂

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How’s your MMM coming on?

April: Officially WIP month…

Hi all!

I don’t actually have a completed make to show you today (Rude, I know). I have been doing lots of sewing –related activity this month, and have a big stack of almost finished projects to show off. And actually, one finished blouse that I just haven’t managed to get photos of, but will do in due course. Hence all the WIPs (Works in Process).

Instead, I thought I’d just do a little summary of what I’ve been up to!

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Holiday Plans!

Scheming

I have some very, very exciting things coming up in the next few months – lifewise and sewing-wise. In July, I’m heading to the West Coast of the USA to visit some very lovely friends, and obviously hit-up some fabric shops! I’m still finalising details but if anyone is happening to read this in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle or Vancouver and would like to have a sewing meet-up, that would be brilliant!

In September I’ll be hosting a little sewing event that I’ll post more details about later! All I’ll say now is that it will be a really fun week – long project based around making the most of a pattern… Oh, and also – I’ll be heading back to University (for the … third time. Can’t keep me away!)

Drafting

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Removal of Laurel back darts

In my last post, I showed you the first step in creating a dartless Laurel. Last week I finally got round to removing the back darts and running up a toile. I love it, and will be sewing up around a million versions.

Sewing!

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1950s Blouse

I finally finished one of my oldest UFOs – a lovely 1950s blouse that I started 2 years ago just before I moved to my current flat. As it’s black, it needs some seriously good lighting to show all the cute details, and I haven’t managed to get that recently.

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Vintage Shirt Dress… nearly done!

I’ve sewn up a Sew Over It Vintage Shirtdress in this scrummy Cloud9 Barkcloth – I’m waiting til I go to my parents’ house this weekend to do the buttonholes on my mum’s lush Janome. It’s otherwise been finished and waiting for the last 2 weeks. I cannot wait for this beauty to be done!

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Doris Dress so far

I posted on IG that I had plans to use this lovely spring-y floral to make a Colette Hawthorn. This dress has been on my list for EVER, but I haven’t yet managed to make it, despite making a record number of toiles (2 – serious commitment in my book). However, this pattern was usurped by the rather stunning Doris Dress that Sew Over It released last week. I gave in to temptation and bought it straight away. I made it up this weekend, and just have to zip and hem it. If I don’t finish it this week, then I have a Bank Holiday next week to do it.

After sewing two SOI pieces back-to-back, I have to give credit to the amazing drafting of Sew Over It patterns. I’ll do a full review of both of these once I manage to get some decent pics!

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Archer popover in progress

Otherwise, I’ve also got an uncompleted Archer Popover that’s been waiting a few weeks for attention.  I’m hoping to finish next weekend, just in time for Me-Made-May! I’ve pledged to wear one me-made item per day. I’ll probably be posting fairly regularly on Instagram (@cinderellissews), and I’ll do a weekly roundup here. Are you taking part?

Laurel with a twist

Hi everyone!

Today I’ve got the first bit of what I think is going to be an ongoing project: hacking the Colette Laurel. Although I didn’t immediately see it as something I would wear a lot, it  seems to have become a pattern that I want to make a million more versions of! This is the third time I’ve made this pattern (see here and here), but the first I’ve really started playing around with it. I’ve got a serious obsession with Kimono sleeves right now, and decided that the Laurel would be the perfect pattern to play around with altering standard sleeves to kimono sleeves, as it’s otherwise so simple!

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Not the best shot of me, but it is the best shot of the blouse…

Here’s what I changed from the main pattern (aside from fitting adjustments):

  • Rotated out bust dart
  • drafted short kimono sleeves
  • scooped out the neck by 1″
  • Shortened the length of the dress to blouse length (this was mainly due to laziness. I didn’t want to print and tape together another pattern if I was just going to change it anyway. I’ve also heard that the blouse fits slightly differently, and I love the fit of the dress, so why bother changing!?)

I used the pattern expansion pack from the Colette blog to draft the kimono sleeves – the details are given for the Oslo cardigan, but work for any pattern. I’d just got down to looking at how all the pattern pieces would work to make the kimono sleeve when I realised that the bust dart would get in the way of the new sleeve – or rather, I couldn’t work out how I would make the dart once I had altered the sleeve. So, I took a deep breath, and removed the bust dart! I used this tutorial, which is brilliant. (pic: the amended pattern piece, and a good view of that kimono sleeve!)

I then sewed the blouse as per the pattern instructions, leaving a little keyhole opening at the back. I do have a pretty button to sew on at the top, but I have put it somewhere “very safe” so can no longer find it.

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Back view – the opening at the neckline is the bit that is gaping a little

This is my first time doing any alterations of this kind and size – and I’m really pleased with the result! As I wasn’t sure if the alterations to the pattern would work, I used leftover fabric from a dress I made last year. The back looks quite loose, but I actually need all that ease for reaching forward. There is some sunlight damage on the back, as I couldn’t cut around it, but I can’t see behind me, can I! 😉

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It also looks nice tucked in 🙂

I’m definitely increasing in confidence with pattern adjustments and hacking – and have some quite ambitious projects ahead building on these skills. I’ve realised that they’re not hugely difficult, but in order to do them properly, I need to take time to really focus, as well as a fair bit of space. I haven’t had much of either recently, but hopefully should be able to do a bit more over the next few weeks. Just in time for some spring sewing!

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