Sunday, 18 March 2018

Tropical Deer and Doe Melilot Shirt

The Deer and Doe Melilot shirt has been on my radar for a while and when I bought the fabric I knew it would a perfect match. The fabric is actually a tablecloth I bought from a 3 for 2 H&M homeware sale last summer. I bought three cotton table cloths resulting in over 6 metres of fabric for £10!

This was a slow and steady make. I made it in small bursts of sewing sessions ranging between 30 minutes to two hours at a time so it is hard to say how long it took in total. The hidden placket and sleeve plackets were the most difficult part of the construction as the minimal instructions left me confused. I had to re-do the hidden placket three times and I know that it is not right as the collar does not sit centrally.

I decided to get my button holes done at DM Buttons in Soho partly due to the fact that last Wednesday I didn't need to be at work until 9am compared to the usual 7.45am which meant I could squeeze in a trip to DM Buttons as soon as they opened at 7.30am. I was the first in the door and the very friendly David sewed my button holes in ten minutes for only £4.00! The finished button holes look very professional and my concerns about sewing through the thicker collar stand was not a concern with DM Buttons amazing machines!

The only thing left to do was stitch on the sage green buttons which I bought from Ray Stitch in Islington.

Now onto a whole bunch of photos of the process of making the Melilot. Be warned!

I cut out three sets of collars to figure out what section of the tropical pattern would work best

Sleeve stand hand-tacked in place ready for turning the right way around and finishing
Finished sleeve stand
Almost finished shirt before sleeve cuffs and button holes
I trimmed down the side seams (I did my usual pattern grading from 8 to 10 on the paper pattern which in hindsight I didn't need to do) as the hips allowance is designed for a curvier lady than me

Considering I have used some fabric from my stash that has been there for over six months I am tagging Kate from @timetosew and @pillar_bear with #makeyourstash!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Simple Sewn Sketchbooks

This week I was helping an A Level Art student prepare her portfolio for a series of Art Degree interviews and we wondered how to present her collection of over 50+ sketches that were on loose papers. To create a sense of order we curated themes (still life, portrait, architecture) and placed them into a pleasing order. I then taught her how to sew the papers together using a sewing machine to create a series of unique hand-made sketchbooks.

Once we got into the flow we also made these lovely A4 and A5 sketchbooks using lots of left-over marbling from a few weeks ago and piles of loose cartridge paper and sugar paper. It's a great way to quickly create something simple, fun and useful.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to creating these very pleasing hand-made sketchbooks.

Simple Sewn Sketchbooks

Sewing Machine
Coloured thread of your choice
Selection of cartridge paper
Marbled paper / Good quality wrapping paper / Wallpaper
Scissors / rotary trimmer

1. Select a range of papers and stack in your order of choice with the 'cover' on the top

2. Fold the cover paper in half (or draw a pencil line to indicate the half-way point)

3. Set the stitch length to the longest stitch and sew along the line using the sewing machine

4. Tie the threads at each end or leave loose depending on personal preference and fold the entire collection of paper at the sewn line. Use a heavy set of books / object to weight the paper (if you have a bone-folder for book-making you can use this to create the beautiful creases needed for a perfect job)

5. Now get sketching or note-taking, doodling, organising, creative writing, dream-diary recording, fashion drawing, clothes designing or gifting to a friend!

Tips & Ideas
  • You will need to experiment with the capacity of your sewing machine to figure out how many sheets of paper it will comfortably sew. Most of the sketchbooks above have 10 - 15 sheets of varying weights of paper.
  • Use a denim / large size needle to sew with (or an old needle as it doesn't need to be super sharp)
  • Fold or cut the paper in different ways to make unusual size sketchbooks
  • Try different threads to contrast or compliment your paper selection
  • The pink and red sketchbook in the above photo was sewn at one side only for a different style of sketchbook
  • You could also use lined paper / tracing / tissue / newspaper / magazine pages

Sunday, 18 February 2018

My Secret Valentine Exchange Gift, #2018SVE

This will be my final instalment for the 2018 Secret Valentine Exchange. I received my present on Friday and was very excited to learn my parcel had travelled over the Atlantic ocean from Chicago.

My SVE buddy Celia Perez is a very talented published writer and librarian. Her hand-made gift to me was influenced by reading Richard B Sewall's award winning biography The life of Emily Dickinson. She created some really fun zine-style stickers with Emily's face and fun quotes written underneath.  She asked me to share photos of where Emily ends up when she leaves the house. There is even a hashtag #emilydickinsonleavesthehouse

Other gifts I received were a fab needle-felted heart brooch and a hand-sewn flower badge. As well as some yummy chocolate covered orange and caramel marshmallows and some loose tea leaves! What a fabulous end to the week and a big thanks to Celia for her creativity and to Ute and Sanae for organising another amazing SVE!

Emily D hanging out in East London!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Sew Over It Zoe Dress

With my sewing machine still in limbo (it's broken but I'm not sure whether to get it fixed or to buy a new one) I decided to attend the Zoe Dress workshop at the Sew Over It store in Clapham. I was very happy that the uber-talented tutor Julie was teaching the class (over the years she has helped me make the SOI Tulip skirt, 2014, 1960's Coat, 2015, Francine Jacket, 2015, and Cigarette Pants, 2016).

Image Source
In the spirit of Kate from Time to Sew I am warming up to #makeyourstash which doesn't officially start until March (read about it here). I raided my stash for a suitable fabric which ideally needs some stretch and I found the last metre of a cotton sateen in a colourful geometric print which I bought from Samuel Taylors in Leeds in 2013. If this looks familiar you may recognise it from my By Hand London Victoria Blazer I made last April.

It took some serious fabric Jenga to squeeze the pieces out of one metre of fabric. I had to omit the grown-on pockets and facings and cut them from some scraps of fabric from the Sew Over It fabric bin and some of my own stash.

During the construction I made good use of the overlocker (not having one of my own) so the insides are nice and neat. As for fitting, I graded from an 8 for the bodice and with the help of Julie graded out on the back seams only to 10 to accommodate my hips and bum. The Zoe dress is a semi-fitted shift dress which offers a lovely fit with princess seams as well as French darts and pockets that are hidden in the front panels.

The finished Zoe Dress

Pockets at the perfect height for stashing secret snacks!
What zip?

I made a slight mistake when sewing the neckline as I used a 1.5cm seam allowance instead of the intended 1cm. I like how it turned out though and didn't want to un-pick and re-sew. The hem was overlocked then stitched in place with a 3cm hem. This version is maybe a little short for workwear (certain constraints due to limited fabric) so I will add another 7/8cm to the length of the dress for my next version which will hit at the knee.

Overall I am super happy with the Zoe dress and I can see another one in the not-too-distant future.

Check out the other blogs at Sum of Their Stories

Saturday, 10 February 2018

#2018 Secret Valentine Exchange Reveal

I can reveal that my 2018 Secret Valentine is Kate who is known as @missfoxlove on Instagram. Kate contacted me yesterday that she succumbed to opening her Secret Valentine gift early so I can safely show you the gifts I made without spoiling the surprize!

As you know from my previous SVE post Kate loves red, pink, blue and silver colours and has a thing for foxes, pineapples, flowers and clouds imagery.
I raided my stash fabrics and found a number of cottons that would be perfect to make a zippered pouch or two in bright pink, a Japanese cherry blossom floral and a Cloud 9 'crane' fabric for the lining. (Yes, I am on a zippered pouch roll right now!)

The first pouch was made using the Noodlehead zippered pouch pattern and the second one was free-styled just as a simple pouch without a gusset. I also included some little gifts of some notebooks, rainbow bobbin cases pack (from Tiger) and some Graze nuts, chocolate and cherries wrapped in cloud wrapping paper!
Prepare for lots of photos!

A big shout out to the gorgeous Sanae and Ute who have organised this fantastic crafty sharing of love around the world! I am looking to #2019SVE already!

Check out lots of other cool crafty blogs at #handmademonday organised by Julia of Sum of their Stories.