Sunday, 31 May 2015

Dixie DIY the Bonnell pattern test

Dixie DIY recently brought out her new dress the Bonnell. In April she asked for volunteers to pattern test the dress before launching it to the public. I was very happy to have been selected to test this lovely dress. If you haven't already seen the Bonnell it is a fitted bodice with cut-out detailing at the sides. It has a lined bodice with a softly gathered skirt with pockets.

This is the second pattern test I have completed (the first was the Dolores Pocket skirt last year) and I really enjoyed the experience. Dixie was a lovely person to work with sending out helpful e-mail suggestions whenever anything new cropped up.

The instructions for the most part were very clear (Dixie has since clarified a few steps) and the PDF was relatively small considering it is a dress. The aesthetics of the PDF were very appealing and had Dixie's trademark colours and clean lines like her blog.

Before embarking on the construction I made a few little sketches to get my creative juices flowing. I hunted in my stash for appropriate fabrics.

Is it bad that I have this many possible options in my fabric stash? Please tell me I'm not alone here!
I wanted it to be a wearable muslim as it has a lovely fully lined bodice with cut-out features that would make it a pretty summer dress.

I love these Liberty print fabrics but I didn't quite have enough for the full gathered skirt of the Dixie Bonnell
Fantastic print on this fabric but it's a slippy rayon / polyester and I felt it might be a bit tricky to work with on this occasion
A lovely colourful cotton with a little bit of lycra. Perfect for the Bonnell!
Onto the construction of the dress. Judging by the sizing information I needed to grade from a 2 bust to a 4 at the waist and hips which I graded straight on the pattern before cutting into my fabric.
When I make my next Bonnell I am going to stick to a straight 2 all over as the waistband is too wide - It was only apparent when I had finished sewing it all together.
Instead of gathers (as per the instructions) I created a few equal pleats around the waistband. I also added about 8cm to the length of the skirt so it would hit my knee, as I think it would be a tad too short for my preference.

Here are a couple of photos of the dress during the construction stage:

Bodice with the lining
Pinned and basted outer waistband
Pinning the lining waistband
The finished dress 
The waistband is a little loose and I think the small lycra content of the fabric makes it drop slightly
Next time I need to move the zip higher to intersect with the finish of the back seams
Slightly wonky waistband application at the back right - Oops!!
Overall I really enjoyed the challenge of sewing a new dress and following the instructions of a new pattern. I am certain this dress will be a very popular addition to any sewers wardrobe and you can always add net / lace / contrast fabrics to the 'cut-out' section if you are a bit shy about revealing any side-flesh!

The changes I will make for my next Bonnell are as follows:
  • Use 100% cotton for more structure
  • Cut the same size throughout so the waistband will be a better fit
  • Improve the insertion of the zip
Thanks to Dixie for giving me the opportunity to test her fab new pattern!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Marilla Walker's Ilsley skirt

I love Marilla's creative approach to clothes-making and her garments are so carefully thought out and versatile. I have been reading Marilla's blog for a while so when she launched her free skirt pattern the Ilsley I was excited to make one.

I had the perfect grey linen in my stash (that had originally been destined for my McCall's 6696 shirtdress) which had the right sort of weight and structure for a skirt of this nature.

Onto the construction of the Ilsley skirt:

The PDF is only about 15 pages long and Marilla has meticulously planned the tessellation so it uses the least amount of paper as possible. Genius!

Next step was the curved hem, then onto the construction of the pockets which are French seamed for a neat finish. Finally sew up the side seams and attach the waistband and there you have a beautifully finished elasticated skirt!

I love it. It is so comfortable.
Depending on the fabric you use it can have a totally different look. I image it would be super-chilled out in a very soft sweatshirt knit or much smarter in a cotton sateen.
Overall it is a lovely skirt and I can see a few more in my wardrobe by the time Me-Made-May 2016 comes around.

The crazy / beautiful 1970's shirt was another purchase from the vintage stall from Camden Passage in Islington last week.
It was £10 because it has a few tears and holes in it. I will need to repair / re-style it so I can wear it without the fear of it disintegrating on me. It is made from a beautiful sheer cotton muslim but has seen better days under the arm and on the button holes. Looks like I have another vintage pledge project to get creative with!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Me-Made-May 2015 Week 4

A great collection of colours this week. As my original pledge was to wear me-mades from Monday to Friday I 'over-achieved' with 6 days this week!

I included last Sunday's Everyday skirt in the round-up as the weather was pretty sunny in London. I stupidly sewed through the end of my thumb whilst finishing this skirt in a rush to wear it hence the rather attractive white plaster on my thumb in many of the photos this week.

Needless to say the rest of the week was considerably cooler weather wise hence the mega-layering going on.

Day 17
Vest top: Gap
Skirt: Liesl & co Everyday skirt - me-made 2015
Shoes: White Birkenstock

Day 18
Top: Colette Sorbetto - me-made 2015
Top: Gap long sleeved tee
Trousers: Gap
Cardigan: Gap
Necklace: Marimekko
Shoes: Paul Smith black patent Marcello loafers

Day 19
Top: Silk tee David David
Skirt: Sew Over It Tulip skirt - me-made 2014
Leggings: Warehouse
Shoes: Paul Smith black patent Marcello loafers

Day 20
Top: Gap long sleeved tee
Cardigan: Gap
Skirt: Sew Over It Tulip skirt - me-made 2014
Necklace: Tatty Devine 2013 sample sale
Leggings: Warehouse
Shoes: Paul Smith black patent Marcello loafers

Day 21
Top: Grainline Scout Woven tee - me-made 2014
Top: Gap long sleeved tee
Trousers: Gap
Cardigan: Gap
Scarf: Marimekko
Shoes: Paul Smith black patent Marcello loafers

Day 22 - Animal Theme
Top: Top Shop silk dress cut into top after shrinking in the wash - me-modified 2015
Cardigan: Gap
Skirt: Marimekko sale 2014
Necklace: Tatty Devine Parakeet workshop - me-made 2015
Shoes: Paul Smith purple Dante brogues

When I compare this year's MMM with last year I am finding the daily challenge of choosing outfits so much easier because I have more to choose from. I have noticed that I have worn 100% separates so far this month which is interesting especially considering I seem to have lots of dress pattern in my stash that I never get around to making like the BHL Flora, BHL Anna, Deer & Doe Belladone... the list goes on!

I recently read Sophie from Ada Spragg's post 'Love to sew v love to wear' which totally resonated with me after realising how much I lust after dress patterns but in reality (as evidenced so far in MMM) ONLY  wear separates. Maybe it's because I haven't got round to busting out those gorgeous dress patterns and actually made one that is skewing the results?! To be realistic I have only got three me-made dresses to choose from anyway!

How is your Me-Made May coming along?
Have you noticed any similarities / gaps in your me-made wardrobe?
Are you fed up of asking other people to take your daily photo or had enough of selfies?
Or are you still enjoying the challenge?

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Warhol Dolores Pocket skirt

I spotted this awesome skirt at the vintage market in Camden Passage in Islington on my walk home from work last Wednesday. I knew I wouldn't be able to wear it as it was (the waist size was 24") but I knew it could be re-fashioned into something else because the fabric is fantastic. And a bargain for only £12.
It didn't take me long to decide it would be *another* Dolores Pocket skirt. This will be my fourth version of this pattern - you can see my other versions here, here and here!

It started off as a simple gathered skirt with a single button waistband and small zip. I think it is a late 1960's / early 1970's skirt judging by the print (let's be honest here it could be 1980's too!).
It was all hand-sewn and had a metal zip; which leads me to think it could more '60's or '70's rather than '80's!

I un-picked the hand-stitches and ironed out the creases on Thursday early evening and had cut out the Dolores Pocket skirt number four by the end of the night.
I assembled the skirt on Saturday morning without needing to refer to the instructions (did I mention I had made this pattern before?!). Things went together smoothly and here is the finished item:

I have called it the Warhol Dolores Pocket skirt as the bold, colourful flowers remind me of the bright floral prints of Andy Warhol circa 1960.

Have you re-used fabric to create a new garment or up-cycled an existing piece of clothing?
Also, does this count for a Vintage Sewing Pledge because I have used vintage fabric?

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Liesl & Co Everyday skirt

I downloaded and taped together the Liesl & Co Everyday skirt PDF immediately after seeing Katie's version in 2014 and it has been sat in a bag ever since. A combination of Me-Made-May and a recent stash audit motivated me to get this cute skirt finished.

I wish I had finished it earlier because I can see myself making a whole bunch more of them now that it is in its completed state.

I added about 8cm to the finished skirt length as I could see from Katie's version it would probably run a little short for me, other than that modification it was a lovely make. Oh, I used a section of iron-on facing on the pocket lining to stabilise and give it a bit of structure.

I kind of adapted the back section for the elastic with a separate tube because the viscose was a little tricky to work with for this final detail (although, I am sure it would be fine with a more stable fabric). I think the next version should be a lovely chambray or soft cotton. What do you think?

Here are the close ups:

Saturday, 16 May 2015

A Mathilde Sleeve Surgery and a Colette Laurel top

Back in 2013 I really got back into sewing my own clothes with much more focus after attending Tilly's Mathilde in a weekend workshop at Ray Stitch in Islington.

It was a great workshop and it was fab being taught by Tilly herself!
I made a few mistakes on this make which in hindsight were due to inexperience in sewing clothes to fit my exact measurements. The bust darts are too high, the length of the bodice is a tad too short and the sleeve cuffs are too small.

I adore the silhouette of the Mathilde blouse but whenever I wear it I feel uncomfortable.
A combination of the fabric not having enough drape and the sleeve bands being too tight conspired to poor Mathilde languishing in the wardrobe all the time. Hence the need for some intensive sleeve surgery!

Here is the Mathilde in it's original state earlier today:

The next job was to unpick those French seams!
I had two potential sleeve donor patterns in mind for the re-sleeve.
My favourite Grainline Scout Woven tee or the new-to-me Colette Laurel sleeve.

As you can see from the photos above; on the left the Grainline sleeve has too shallow a head to be a good fit for the Mathilde, whereas the Colette Laurel sleeve has a high head making it a pretty good match. This is the one I used in the end.

Here is the finished Mathilde with new shorter sleeves!

Onto the Colette Laurel top. This little cutie has been cut out and ready to be sewn together since July 2013 when I bought this haul of fabric (which is almost all gone) from Samuel Taylors in Leeds

I am pretty happy with the fit of the Laurel and think I will be making more as it is a relatively simple sew. Although it's hard to tell on the photos below but perhaps on my next version I will reduce the curve from waist to hip because I think I can get an even better fit. What do you think?

Friday, 15 May 2015

Me-Made-May 2015 Week three

The third week of Me-Made-May 2015 and I have really enjoyed wearing some of the newer items in my wardrobe that I have made recently (Day 11 and Day 13).

Day 11
Top: Colette Laurel top - me-made 2015
Trousers: Gap
Scarf: Marimekko
Bangles: Marimekko
Shoes: Paul Smith Tan Marcello loafers
Jacket: Top Shop (2010 sale)

Day 12
Top: Grainline Scout Woven tee - me-made 2014
Trousers: Gap
Shoes: Paul Smith black patent Marcello loafers

Day 13
Top: Gap
Necklace: Marimekko
Shoes: Paul Smith Tan Marcello loafers
Leggings: Warehouse

Day 14
Trousers: Gap
Necklace: Tatty Devine
Shoes: Paul Smith tan Marcello loafers

Day 15
Trousers: Gap
Necklace: Tatty Devine
Shoes: Paul Smith tan Marcello loafers

I have really enjoyed wearing my me-mades this week.
Compared to last year I have many more options to choose from despite auditing some of my me-made garments to the charity shop. The only thing I wasn't 100% comfortable with was my Tilly blouse - a tweak with the sleeves is a must if I am to keep this in my wardrobe.

How are things with your Me-Made-May?

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Me-Made-May 2015 Week two

Here is how week two looked with two new me-made items in the mix.

Day Five
Trousers: Gap
Necklace: Marimekko
Shoes: Paul Smith Tan Marcello loafers

Day Six
Top: Gap
Cardigan: Gap
Necklace: Marimekko
Shoes: Paul Smith Black patent Marcello loafers

Day Seven
Trousers: Gap
Cardigan: Gap
Shoes: Vans

Day Eight
Shirt: Gap
Cardigan: Gap
Shoes: Paul Smith Black patent Marcello loafers

Day Seven
Top: American Apparel
Skirt: Me-made 2015 and yet to be blogged about
Leggings: Warehouse
Shoes: Vans

On Day 5, I was happily surprised at how comfortable my new Simplicity 1364 top was and I think this is probably down to the soft and forgiving Liberty Tana Lawn it is made in. 

My favourite outfit this week was on Day 6. The Dolores Pocket Skirt is a very well constructed pattern with a shaped waistband and pockets (that I made bigger for comfort and extra 'stuff-stashing' possibilities) I also paired it with my favourite Marimekko necklace.

Onto Day 9 with my self-drafted skirt. I purchased this amazing Japanese print fabric for £10 in the sale at Ray Stitch in 2013 and have been dreaming about making a skirt like this for a while. Although I adore the fabric, I am not 100% convinced that this style of gathered skirt onto a straight waistband is that flattering on me. I will give it a few more wears and see if I change my mind. What do you think?

How is your Me-Made-May coming along?