Friday, 18 August 2017

Sew Over It Alex Shirt Dress

I signed up to the Sew Over It Alex Shirt Dress class when there was a 20% off everything promotion a while ago. I opted for the Islington branch as it is much nearer where I live and work. I bought it as an end of term treat after a crazy academic year. I have the skills to make this dress without the need of attending a class but I wanted to use a drapy viscose fabric and I thought it would be nice to have some hand-holding along the way.

Enter the fabric. A fabulous viscose from Stoff and Stil which I bought a while ago after Karen, Foldline, Jane and a whole bunch of other lovely sewing bloggers visited the headquarters and were given a discount code for everybody to use. It is an abstract print with dark charcoal grey, navy, black, white and pink splodges, brushmarks and dashes all over it. I love it. It also has a good weight to it as well.

I began by making a few alterations on the paper pattern straight away. As with all patterns I added 4cm to the sleeve length (even though the style is to roll them up). I also moved the pocket placement up by 2cm because it seemed to sit better on my bust area. The length of the shirt dress is very long even for my 172cm height standards so I left that as it was.

Before I cut out the pattern I pinned the selvedges of the folded fabric all the way down the length to keep it from slipping. This helped enormously when cutting out the shirt back which is on the fold. You could alternatively cut them out flat. I took my time with the construction of the shirt. Pinning then hand basting carefully to avoid any slippage of fabric. I think my efforts paid off as I really like the final dress.

I am really happy with my choice of buttons. I took a trip to Ray Stitch in Islington as I know they have a very good selection of buttons. I wanted something very plain and had chosen completely colourless buttons when at the last minute I spotted these soft pink translucent versions of the same button which I think works SO much better. I used some pink thread from my grandma's stash to continue the pink theme!

The hem was finished with self-made bias tape which took quite a while to make and I will cover that in another blogpost as I took step-by-step photos along the way.

Finally, the finished dress. I styled it with and without a belt and I think I prefer the silhouette in this particular fabric with a belt.
What do you think folks?

I will certainly make another Alex Shirt Dress when I find the right fabric. I don't have any fluid fabrics in my stash at the moment so I will keep an eye out for just the right one over the next few months. I am not in a hurry to buy any new stuff though as I have a whole heap to use before I can allow myself to buy more!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Re-fashioned Bettine Top

This project started life as a Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress that I made in 2016. I didn't really get on with the exaggerated tulip style skirt as it was too wide around the hip area (and being pear shaped seemed to make it worse) so I decided to take it in at each side seam.

I took it in too much and now it was too TIGHT! Unfortunately I had already removed the excess seam allowance so when I wore the dress it used to ride up to what I would consider cheekily short proportions. Evidenced in this photo below (I always had to wear it with leggings to save my blushes). Yes, this dress is supposed to be around knee length!

It sat in my wardrobe unloved until yesterday when I had an idea to re-fashion it into a top. I carefully unpicked the waist seam and removed the elastic waistband. 

At this stage after trying the top on I realised that with an additional couple of cm's removed for the hem I would be left with a VERY short crop top. If it was 20 years ago I would have certainly gone ahead with a cropped style but in my mid 40's you have to consider the mental health of others and avoid flashing a pasty white un-toned belly at people......

Long story short, I created a bias band using the cut-off skirt section to mirror the bias cut cuff of the sleeves. I wore it today on an adventure to Dalston Curve Gardens and I loved it!

Here are some lovely shots of the fabulous Dalston Eastern Curve Gardens just two minutes walk from Dalston Junction train station. A secret oasis of gardening magic and a chilled out and calm atmosphere.

Large scale outdoor cross-stitch tapestry at the back of this planter is awesome!

Disco greenhouse!

The opening hours are from 11am - 10pm and there is a small cafe to buy homemade food and hot drinks. My friend Charlotte and I enjoyed a pot of tea sitting on outside sofas like this awesome one below!


Overall a lovely day! Have you re-fashioned a not-so-great hand-made into something better recently? 

Talking of re-fashioning.... are you going to join in with the Refashioners 2017 this year? 
Portia at the Makery is running the challenge again this year and the theme is 'Suits'. I think I'm going to give this one a miss and concentrate on working through my own stash of patterns, fabrics and half-made clothing!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

CJ Made Five Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

I can't believe it has been five years since I started this blog. I have blogged through the not-so-terrible two's, blasted through years three and four and have found myself celebrating my five year blogiversary this August!

To celebrate I have gathered a crafty collection of items for you to enjoy. All you need to do to be in with a chance to win these goodies is to follow my blog (if you don't already do so) and write a comment about what you would like to make with some of the items.
The competition is open worldwide so make sure you leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win! I will select a winner on Friday 18th August.

 What will you win?

  • Two packets of beautifully patterned Japanese origami paper
  • Seven skeins of Mouline Stranded embroidery thread
  • Three rolls of gingham ribbon from Tiger
  • 16 rolls of assorted patterned washi tape
  • Paperchase New York themed post-it / stickies
  • Packet of 12 pencil crayons from Tiger
  • Cute vintage 1979 'Understanding Dress' sewing book by Margaret Picton
  • Vogue vintage 1960's dress pattern 6510
  • Simplicity K1609 Jiffy shift dress pattern
  • Butterick B6332 lifestyle wardrobe pattern
  • Two mini Bella Solids patchwork packs
  • Assorted Bella Solids patchwork squares 

The illustrations in the book are so lovely!

Good luck!