Summer collection

FrontHello there! Yes, you’re not imagining things, ’tis me writing a blog post. I am ashamed to say it’s the first since May! How did, that happen?! My summer consisted of many dress creations, some of which I have blogged about previously, nevertheless, it is no excuse for not sharing.Neckline

So, this blog post will be a little bit different from the norm, it will be a collection of the various makes I have completed in the last few months.

FrontFirst up Newlook 6013 – this little number I originally made for my mum in-law last April.  This time I made it for my daughter. The fabric was from Abakhan Fabrics’ secret sale in March, I can’t even put a price on it as I came out with the roll and lots lots more, for a ridiculous price. Reverese

FrontThe dress is really easy to make, raglan sleeves (my fave), front and back darts and neck facing, job done!

Next little ditty is, Simplicity 1699.  I think I have made every garment on this pattern now. I love patterns with lots going on, they can be used time and time again.  I bought this fabric at a craft fair in Manchester earlier this year, it’s got a lovely soft finish, with a slight stretch too.  The pattern, as you can see, is split into skirt and bodice consisting of princess seams, raglan sleeves and a full skirt.Reverse

Number 3, Newlook 6095.  This fabric came from Abakhan Fabrics’ Mostyn store. I already had the pattern, so had an idea of the type of fabric I wanted for my daughter.  Again, it is knitted fabric (I had a thing about fitted dresses with plenty of stretch this summer!)  Another easy dress to make, I was churning them out at a fast pace, no time for blogging.  This one consisted of breast darts, neck and armhole facings and that is pretty much it – I could make it with my eyes shut.

FrontLast but not least, Simplicity 1665.  This little top is made up completely from linen I have acquired over the last three years – leftovers from various garments I’d made previously (I knew they would come in useful one day).  ReverseThe top, has three sections; the main body, middle strap and yoke.  The sides are sewn, followed by the middle section, the yoke is then attached through the front and back.  A concealed zip is inserted to complete the look and my final make of the summer is finished.

There you go, lots to look at. I have made one or two other garments in-between but as you can see, this season has been all about the dresses.

I have almost completed my current creation, I will make sure that my next blog post isn’t too far away…..

Golden opportunity

FabricToday I will share my story of an opportunity presented to me which I simply couldn’t refuse. One day, a couple of months ago I was approached by one of the owners of my favourite store, Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester (which I frequent on a regular basis). He asked if I would like a VIP golden ticket to a secret sale they were holding in March, I jumped at the chance.  Haberdashery

This involved free breakfast, 10% discount in the main store and a chance to enter the sale an hour before the general public.  I was on a mission, to fill my husband’s car boot with fabric and sewing goodies (I have to say I quite successfully fulfilled my expectations, and some!) Two huge boxes of fabric, a box of buttons and various haberdashery items, all for such a fabulous price I almost fell over in shock when I was told what it was.Front

My first make from my stash is Simplicity 1467, a delightful pattern containing various different items to make (I just love those).  ReverseI decided to do the blouse, quick and easy, just right for the gorgeous weather we have been having recently.  The fabric is crepe de chine which is extremely lightweight. I was quite pleased that it didn’t take me too long to make as the fabric made me quite nervous, it had a tendency to pull and leave little ladders upon itself when my back was turned.

NecklineThe garment consists of one front section, two back sections, yoke, neckline and armhole facings and back fastenings. The fabric was so slight I decided to create french seams at the sides rather than attempting to venture near my overlocker (it has a tendency to chew some fabric and spit it out again). These particular seams are lovely and neat and finish the garment off really well. The back fastening was created with loops (a first for me) which are sewn into the facing at the neckline.  I had a good old rummage through my new button box for a couple of matching buttons.  I suspected I would find something in there that would work perfectly now I have so many, from what I recall it is even bigger than my Grandma’s button tin used to be!

When Chanel met Levi

Front 2This blog post is slightly out of the ordinary as I am writing about two creations I have completed in as many weeks! Both of them were unbelievably easy even with the added variations.  The first little ditty is my second version of the box jacket on Simplicity 1699.  I have made so many items off this pattern already, it’s fabulous.  My original creations can be seen here when I road tested the pattern for Sewing-online last year.   The fabric is a wool blend which was a gift from one of my sewing buddies over at Sewinlove. It has been sat in my stash for quite a while until I decided a few weeks ago it was about time I did something with it – how to squeeze a jacket out of a metre(ish) of fabric.Jacket Back

As a variation I decided to add length to the sleeves and also a few inches in the body. The jacket is part lined, with a centre back seam, darts on the front, cute little darts on the sleeve head and last but by no means least, a TRIM (very chanelesque).

FrontMoving swiftly on to my next creation Newlook 6107.  As my jollies are fast approaching (2 weeks, 3 days to go but who’s counting), I have been contemplating my wardrobe. One thing I haven’t had for a number of years is a little denim skirt, I have seen so many on the high street this year and pondered a purchase, that was until I decided to bob into Abakhan fabrics in Manchester and hey presto bring on the denim.Skirt Back

As with my jacket this was also incredibly easy to make, in fact I didn’t even get the instructions out (check me out).

The construction comprises of side seams, concealed zipper, back seam, waistband and hem. The main variation on this make was the flat felled seams; I knew of them of course but had never contemplated them before. I had lots of advice from my twitter friends and decided to take the plunge.  I did them on the outside of the garment to create the look AND sewed them with contrasting thread no less (so all my topstitching is clearly on show for all to see!).

Flat felled seam

Flat felled seam

What can I say? Easy peasy lemon squeezy, I think they both look the part and compliment each other quite well. The biggest difference about these two creations was the absence of my unpicker, I definitely felt there was something missing, I’m sure it will make another appearance on my next creation!

Waistband stitching

Waistband stitching

Tiptoe through the tulips

Front Hi there, I am back ever so soon, this post will be brief as the construction of my tulip skirt was extremely brief, there really isn’t much for me to waffle on about!

I decided to make the skirt out of leftover fabric from my Vogue dress, waste not want not and it made sense, my machines are all geared up with the correct needles and threads.  The pattern was yet another freebie from Sew Magazine (I’m sure you will be getting the impression I don’t buy any patterns). It is Simplicity 2512 inspired by Cynthia Rowley.  It comprises two skirts with different waistbands and front panels.  I chose the full gathered front with side pockets, a high waistband and a belt.

High waistband with tie belt

High waistband with tie belt

The construction started with the pockets (love them) followed swiftly by the side seams.  Then came the most difficult (in my opinion) part of the creation, the entire top of the skirt was gathered. It started out loosely resembling an upside down triangle and the two rows of basting stitch were pulled together to create the wonderful fullness.  Now this little activity took me back to when I made my red Vogue number, oh my, there was some serious gathering going on on that bad boy.  I find the whole gathering thing another heart stopping moment because when that thread snaps mid gather then it’s game over!

Vent and binding along the hemline

Vent and binding along the hemline

The waistband came next, which consisted of two pieces and a binding on the top, very swish.  The first piece was attached to the skirt, then the second followed and the binding was what I can only describe as teased around the top.  The concealed zip was inserted next and the back seam and vent, the base of the skirt also has a binding on it to add a little bit more variation.  There we have it, not a bad effort considering it didn’t really cost me anything and I made it in a matter of days.

Back to business

FrontFollowing my recent creations which have very much steered towards party wear, I decided to make something for the day job once again.  A couple of months ago I won a competition with one of my evening dresses and the prize was a gift voucher from Abakhan Fabrics (joy!).  I headed straight for their Manchester store, with no particular creation in mind. More often than not I go into that shop and rummage through the bargain bins without an idea of what I will eventually make. Any how I came out with a bag full of fabric and only spent 3p (whoop!).

Seam

Matching the stripes

After sifting through my pattern stash I decided to continue the New Year with something easy, a skirt would do nicely (rolls on the floor laughing). One of the fabrics I bought was a fleece backed woolen fabric, perfect for a winter skirt.  The fabric is black with a white check and it immediately caught my eye as something different for me as I do tend to make garments out of plain fabric.

The pattern is burda 7135, which comprises of a suit with two different jackets and a fully lined skirt.  Like I said I decided to sail on the easy side of things and make the skirt (haha).  The construction was very simple, when I started it I thought I would complete it within a couple of hours, that may have been the case if I hadn’t decided to use checked fabric (oh yes indeedy, let’s not forget the fabric I bought).  The front comprises of a centre panel and two side panels, the back is the same including two vents.  Now the one thing that in my opinion made this little project a total nightmare for me was matching the checks.  I made sure when cutting out each piece they lay in exactly the same position, to ensure the fit didn’t lose dimension (I have sewn large checks before and the garment almost ended up on the diagonal trying to match the pattern).

ReverseOn with the sewing. If I made the skirt once and unpicked it I made it a million times (slight exaggeration, but it certainly felt like a million times!) As soon as Mrs Perfectionist made her appearance, I didn’t stand a chance and my critical eye had a field day.  I decided enough was enough and carried on regardless, inserting the side zip and creating the lining, which was attached to the top.   I did the usual hand stitching on the inside, securing the lining to the vents and stitched the hem in place and there it is job done.  I only hope I make friends with it one day, for now all I can see are the imperfections.  I am determined to beat my battle with checked fabric at some point in the future, for now though the remainder of this fabric will stay hidden away in my sewing room.

Finally, I will draw your attention away from those checks and mention the lovely little scarf I am modelling.  This was a gift for me made by my Mother in-law, oh yes ladies and gentlemen another crafty person in the family, there is no stopping us!

All boxed off

Front This little number is another garment from the Simplicity pattern 1699 which I received from sewing-online.  I have already made the peplum blouse and trousers which can been seen on a previous post here.  I love this pattern because it has so many gorgeous garments  on it.

The decision to make the jacket came after I purchased the fabric on an impromptu visit to Abakhan fabrics in Manchester.  I love to have a good rummage through their bargain bins and often come away with fabric that, at the time, has no real purpose.Neckline  I particularly like the crochet effect and think it works really well on the jacket (I can’t say what it actually is as I haven’t got the foggiest idea – it looks good though).

Anyway, the jacket is lined on the body with the mid-length sleeves having no lining.  The construction I could have almost done with my eyes shut it was that straightforward, it started with the back centre seam, followed swiftly by the shoulder and side seams for both fabric and lining.  I then attached the lining to the jacket through the front, neck edge and hem, it was turned the correct way around through the armhole.  Finally the sleeves, these have a couple of little pleats on the sleeve head, which gives some fullness at the top.  The pattern suggested adding a trim around the front and neck edge and also in a pocket position on the front but, because the fabric is a little out of the ordinary to begin with I didn’t need to add anything more.Sleeve

Another garment all boxed off, I have coupled it with a dress made last year, the first thing I made after starting sewing again, you can see the post for the dress here. Now I must stress it was the first blog post I did, therefore it is extremely brief as I didn’t have the guts to waffle on the world-wide web that I have now (it was only a matter of time before the real me presented itself), you will also notice that at the time I didn’t have the confidence to put my head on photos………Jaclet(grins) so much has changed in such a short space of time!  With each day that passes on my sewing journey I grow evermore grateful for the opportunities that it gives me and also all the wonderful people I have come to know, on top of the pure joy that comes with each and every (well almost every) creation;  I wonder what will happen next……….?

Revival of the peplum

Full I just adore the peplum dresses and tops that are in fashion once again. It all started in the 19th century and was at the height of fashion in the 1940s and again many times over the years that have followed.  I am so pleased to experience these divine garments now they have made another comeback this century, even more pleased to be able to make my own (I wouldn’t have been able to say that a couple of years ago). There are so many lovely patterns available this season, I chose Simplicity 1699 from sewing-online, it comes complete with jacket, a dress, blouse and trousers.Peplum

As I mentioned in my previous post I felt the need to make something simple this time but just as exciting all the same, I find myself getting giddy at each stage of the process these days, irrelevant of what I am making. On this occasion I decided to make the blouse and trousers, the fabrics are a heavy weight chemise with a cotton collar on the blouse and dark cream medium weight linen for the trousers from Abakhan Fabrics store in Manchester.  I have to say light colours only come out with me in the summer and even then they can make me feel nervous.

CollarThe construction of the blouse began with the princess seams and back darts followed by the raglan sleeves, (I was practically doing cartwheels when I put the sleeves in they were so easy, I almost unpicked them just so I could put them in a second time!) I then attached the collar, I went in my own direction next rather than following the pattern by attaching the peplum skirt.  I then inserted the concealed zip before adding the neckline;  I inserted the zip  first because I find it gives a neater finish at the top where it closes.  Last but not least the hem and voila another job done and dusted.  A lovely little summer top that can, in my opinion be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.  The one thing I would mention is the sizing is quite small.Full 3

Moving on to the trousers, these particular ones are extremely easy to make.  The construction was, in its entirety, as follows: inside leg seams, crotch, side seams and zip (I inserted a concealed zip instead of a side one) and some twill tape on the waist.  Again I chose a slight variation to the pattern and decided to put a facing on the waist, (made from the same cotton as the collar), which was much more comfortable.  Now these were quite the opposite to the blouse and were rather large, so needed some adjustment.

TopThere we have it, a couple of lovely garments for summer, for a fraction of the price I would pay on the high street.  I have also decided to make the jacket, (there is so much on this pattern I can’t help myself) the material is all ready and waiting but I will blog that another time.