Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Rosy Rockabilly | Self-Drafted

Hi sewers and crafters and interested blog readers! 
At the start of April, I bought some gorgeous skull and roses patterned cotton on a whim as
A. It was something completely different;
And B. It reminded me of my other half and so made me happy (you can all vom now)

So when I sat down to cut it I decided a dress was in order, I knew exactly what I wanted from it but didn't have a pattern to match my desires. I decided to just draw it myself and say to hell with it, and I'm quite happy with the results! 

First of all, it's not 100% self drafted. I took the cami top hack pattern from the new GBSB book and adapted it. 
Once I'd traced out the pattern I then measured the length from my waist to the top of my knee, where I wanted it to stop and marked this from the waistline of the top on the tracing paper. 
With this marked on I then drew out the skirt shape, making it as flared as possible! Once I was happy I cut the fabric and got to work...

It is a simple dress to make, there are a couple of bust darts and there's facing all around the neckline and the back. The straps were sewn in (and taken out many times) at the same time as the interfacing. It curves in at the waist and flares out at the skirt and blows up Marilyn style when it's windy. 

All in all it only took a couple of evenings and didn't make me want to cry. Wiiiin! 

I am so in love with it, and so proud of my first dress that is completely my own design :) 

Let me know what you think and follow if you want to see more creations! 
Til next time sweets, 
Kat xx

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

I Like to Wiggle Wiggle | Eliza M Pattern

Happy .... Tuesday, readers!
I recently took it upon myself after watching a little too much Mad Men to make myself a 1950's inspired wiggle dress. Basically so I could work towards looking like my girl crush...
Is there anyone more perfect?!
Enter my first Eliza M pattern. The one which I used was made specially for 'Love Sewing' magazine and was free with their October issue... The Eva Dress.
It works best with stretchy knit fabrics which I have been looking to experiment with, so this was the perfect time to try it out! I chose a gorgeous plum bengaline fabric with a two way stretch which was a DREAM to work with as it didn't fray or move around too much. As the pattern goes up to a size 20 I didn't have to add any inches either and was chuffed to find that I could have got away with a size 18 in the end.

The pattern itself is fairly easy to follow and well set out with helpful tips on how to manage the fabric and mark darts etc, which would be especially helpful for beginners! Unfortunately it is missing the step where you need to attach the facings, however a quick Google if you're unsure will solve this! It's completed with a 22" zip and a slit up the back. It's my new favourite work dress and one of my colleagues couldn't believe I made it myself!

As I was making this for myself at the same time as the one I made for my friend Katie it took quite a while. I had to tear myself away from it to focus on Katie's and as I was determined to finish it in time for my birthday weekend (I didn't) I made a few mistakes through rushing. But hey, what's a dress of mine without a few mistakes?!

I'd seriously recommend this pattern, no matter what your size. it's pretty clingy but it works (although I do feel more comfortable wearing them with super stomach holding in tights). So any size, it plays well to your curves and has a very womanly feel to it. I can't wait to dress it up with heels and tights with seams up the back for a night out!

I was GOING to post a picture of me in the dress, but as I tend to wear it to work and I leave the house like "a hurricane passing through" (as my mum so lovingly put) I never have time to post a picture of me head to toe in my wiggly creation. Which, in a sense is a blessing as I still don't look like Christina Hendricks :(

Til next time, it won't be so long... promise!

Kat xx

Friday, 8 May 2015

16 Things That Will Inevitably Happen When You Get Addicted To Sewing...

Whether you're a new seamstress inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee or an established sewing veteran who has picked it up once again you will relate to some, or all of these points. If not then sit tight, it is still to come!

1. You become a regular in your local haberdashery/fabric store.
Whether it is John Lewis, HobbyCraft or a local business, you're greeted with a smile, on first name terms, known by tastes, and remembered by projects. It's the first place you go to on payday, and you can ALWAYS justify a new addition, even if it is just a fat quarter...

2. You start cancelling plans in order to sew, and don't even feel guilty about it...
"Oh no I can't tonight... I'm needed"
"Who by?"

3. You find yourself talking about your clothes even more, just to gloat.
Today I asked a male uninterested colleague if he liked my dress, just so I could tell him I made it and feel the praise. You strut around just waiting for someone to comment on your new creation, just so you can say "Oh no... I MADE it" when asked where you got it from.

4. You have had to label your scissors to ensure housemates know THEY'RE NOT FOR PAPER.
The HORROR when someone tries to cut paper with your fabric scissors, as if someone has used your favourite dress as a towel.

5. Your sewing machine (if you have one) has a name, so you can chastise it when it does something bad.

Bertha loves me, and I love her. Except, however, when she carries on sewing when the thread has broken/the bobbin has run out/decides to eat my fabric/generally acts like an erratic lunatic.

6. You have less money than ever before
Handmade doesn't mean cheap. But you can always justify £30 on fabric and £5.99 on a magazine, because it's your love. And so it's ok.

7. You realise ANYTHING is possible with a sewing machine, even if it isn't Pinterest worthy.

8. Your seam ripper is your most used tool, and you hate that.
One day I'll make something right first time. Until then, hello old friend...

9. You feel less inclined to hate people.
Sewing releases endorphins, finishing a project gives you pride, looking forward to sewing at the end of a rubbish day is an amazing thing.

10. Sewing is basically a diet.
You are constantly moving between the table and the iron, you can't eat a jam donut while making a dress, and since you have to take more photos of yourself head to toe you own more stomach sucking in tights than ever before. (not necessary though, because we're all beautiful no matter what.)

11. Acquiring storage and designing a future sewing room is totally normal.
I currently have 2 wall hangings waiting, furniture decided on, and the dressmaking dummy selected. Now all I need is a room.

12. Hours are spent analysing and visualising patterns.

The fear of wasting beautiful fabric on a substandard pattern is real.

13. You walk around shops thinking "can I make that?" 
You see a dress you love, check the price tag, see the rows and rows of identical pieces, and evacuate to the fabric shop.

14. You can spend hours of joy organising your craft things.
"What if... WHAT IF... I store my seam ripper in the top tray, rather than the bottom... GENIUS!"

15. Time is precious, and time not spent crafting is time wasted.
"What do you MEAN you won't pay me to make stuff?!"

16. You realise you have the greatest hobby in the entire world, and can't imagine life without it.
You're hooked. It's like falling in love; you want to spend every day with it, you want to treat it to things, discuss it constantly, drop it into conversation, show it off, rub it in that you can MAKE things. Even if the rates of production may vary according to the needs of that silly reality thing, you are, and always will be, a sewist.

Are YOU a sewaholic? If not, WHY not? Feel free to leave other signs and suggestions below and follow me if you want to hear more about my life as a self proclaimed sewing addict! 

til next time... Kat xx

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Katie Dress

Hiya lovely people!
Sorry I've been so rubbish with blogging lately, with work and actually finding time to sew I've been sleeping rather than blogging but that is about to change! With effect from today I will be posting a creation every Sunday without fail, and maybe a few extras during the week - stay tuned lovelies!

So, if you read my previous post you'll know that for the past two weeks I have been working on my first made to measure project for my friend Katie. What a challenge it was, but I really enjoyed it, even after all the long nights at the sewing machine and definitely will be doing it again! Though without such a tight deadline next time.

Anyway, Katie had been looking for a 1960's shift dress, a little like those pictured below, and so I got to work with some poorly drawn sketches pretending I knew what I was doing. I still had a long way to go...

Anyway, Katie chose some lovely nautical blue and white striped fabric from Minerva Crafts, however it turned out to be a little thinner and a bit more see through than we anticipated, which was actually a blessing, as it meant I could do all the fittings with the lining. It also meant I could learn how to line something!

So I went to Leeds Kirkgate Market to find some plain white lining material and whilst I was there picked up Simplicity pattern 1197, which I thought would be perfect. However, by the time I got it home I realised that the pattern was completely different, had a front panel which wasn't suitable for the striped pattern of the dress, so in the end I kind of had to wing it!

And so after taking her measurements... it began.

The lining fabric was a dream to work with, and I was particularly proud of how it turned out...

The next day Katie and I met at work and went to some unknown toilets in the building that I work in for the first fitting. Some people tried to visit the loo, don't they know that is my dressing room!

Sadly I was a tad generous with adding inches and the forgot how petite the lovely Katie is and so the dress ending up looking like a lab coat. But no matter, it's always easier to take in than take out. This is how it looked after pinning...

In total 4.5 inches were to come off, the sleeves to be cut down by 8.5 inches and 6 inches off the hem. After this I took the sleeves off, took it in at the side seams, the back, and then down the front to keep it in proportion and take in the shoulders. Everything fit for our next fitting and so I started on the outer fabric.

As it turned out, the fabric was much thinner than I anticipated and frayed very easily. But this is not yet an issue in this story...
I managed to finish it in 10 hours last Wednesday due to taking annual leave. I was shattered but immensely proud of finishing it before the Thursday deadline and showed all my colleagues with pride...

Unfortunately, when adding the lining to the outer it had eaten into my seam allowances and the perfect fit was no more. The bust was still too big and the skirt too narrow. The final deadline was the next day so I made it a mission that night to fix it. After a visit to my favourite Haberdashery and a brainstorming session with the owner I fixed the issues with the use of pleats.
It took 5 hours, and I finished at 1am, and then did some more on my commute the next morning, but it was done. Luckily I took some photos before I crashed out.

So it's far from perfect, the sleeves could do with some work and due to the fragility of the material the seams are frayed to unpicking and picking, but it's done. In a way I feel like it was a blessing in disguise as I think the buttons add a certain something to it. The additional pleat at the back was a good call too as the side seams just couldn't be taken out much more.

I don't think I've done a bad job though for my first piece... I mean, look at this pattern matching...
It's a bit off but come on! For a first timer that's pretty awesome.

At the end of it all, Katie was smiling, she's wearing it over another dress but that makes the fit even better. She can't currently lift her arms all the way over her head as I need to take the sleeves and the armholes a little further out, but it zips and it fits!

And due to me hoping to make a business out of this (one day...!) I even made a little tag...

So there it is, my first made to measure project, the first of many more I hope! Please let me know what you think and any tips or comments you may have and until next time folks!

Don't forget to follow me if you like my stuff, I'm on Bloglovin' too, and share this with any fellow crafty friends!

Til next time, Kat xx