Sunday, 14 July 2019

London Open Garden Squares 2019

A few sunny weekends ago I bought a 2-4-1 ticket for the London Open Gardens Squares via Time Out. I whizzed around on my bike so I could visit different gardens across Islington, Kings Cross, Camden and Regents Park. Enjoy these lovely photos of my adventures, it is really surprising how many hidden gems of greenery are in London!

Warren Street Mews, Fitzrovia
Regents Park Square Garden
Kings Cross Skip Garden
Regent's Park Allotment Garden
Victoria Hall Student Accommodation roof terrace, Kings Cross
Coal Drops Yard planting, Kings Cross
Roses in Regents Park
Union Chapel Bee Garden, Islington
Regents Park Square Garden
Regents Canal, Kings Cross
Sculpture at Granary Square, Kings Cross
 Looking back on these photos I was so lucky with the weather and had a splendid time biking across North and Central London.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Sew Over It Alex shirt dress

I made my first SOI Alex shirt dress in 2017 at a workshop in the old Islington store. I learned some new tricks (making my own bias binding) and gained confidence using a more drapey fabric (I made it out of viscose). Fast forward to 2019 and I wanted to use a lovely piece of viscose fabric gifted to me by a lady on a different SOI workshop! The fabric was 80% sewn up into a shift dress which luckily afforded quite decent spans of fabric to be re-used. I cut out all parts of the Alex shirt dress in full sections aside from the belt which I cut in strips from the previous sleeves of its past iteration.

I couldn't decide which buttons to use, so asked a few sewing friends their opinion and the cream buttons were the favourites! I bought them from Ray Stitch in Islington, making this a pretty economical make as they were only 35p each.


Nothing new to report in terms of the construction. I sewed it together over three Social Sewing Wednesday's at the New Craft House at Broadway Market.



Another item completed from my WIP (work in progress) pile! I have worn this so many times since finishing it. It's perfect for this balmy hot summery weather we are having in the UK!

What's on your sewing table right now?

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Fashion Illustration at Cass Art with Francesco Lo Iacono


I attended the last of Francesco's fashion illustration classes at Cass Art, Islington for the summer season. I have previously been to his classes here and here and here. As ever, it was a fantastic class and I invited my sewing and craft buddy Clea along to join in the fun. The striking model was wearing Lili Eva Bartha clothes that were full of bold graphic colours and interesting silhouettes. I used a combination of coloured pencil crayons, watercolours, felt-tips and water, marker pens and inks for the studies ranging from five to fifteen-minute poses.




Clea sketching away!
15-minute study: coloured pencil crayon & marker pen
20-minute study: watercolours, coloured pencil crayon, & marker pen
5-minute study: coloured pencil crayons
20-minute study: felt-tip, water, watercolours coloured pencil crayon & marker pen
10-minute study: coloured pencil crayon
20-minute study: felt-tip, water, watercolours & marker pen
10-minute study: felt-tip, pencil crayon & marker pen
15-minute study: felt-tip, water, watercolours coloured pencil crayon & marker pen
15-minute study: felt-tip, water, watercolours coloured pencil crayon & marker pen
I am looking forward to attending Francesco's classes again in September!

Friday, 28 June 2019

Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Hack

I hatched a plan to make the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress in an A-line skirt and drawstring waist fastening. The plan came together pretty smoothly during a sewing Saturday at the end of May when I had the house to myself. 

I used two metres of gorgeous patterned viscose that I bought from Sew Over It from their original Islington shop. The fabric has a printing flaw in it (a missed line of printing which is white) but it isn't very noticeable. Before I even cut the pattern pieces out I decided to use the reverse side of the fabric as it had a 'chambray' type effect and softened the intense colours a little.


The 'right' side is on the left and the 'wrong' side is on the right.

It was a fairly straight forward and enjoyable sew. I made a Bettine dress in 2015 and in 2017 cropped it into a top because the 'tulip-style' skirt section didn't really suit me. The idea of making the waistband as a drawstring rather than elastic was partly due to the lack of elastic supplies in my stash but mostly because I wanted it to be really comfortable and flexible.
A limited amount of viscose fabric meant I needed to raid the stash for a contrast facing, pocket, cuffs and waistband. The black worked well with the colours of the fabric but the cotton is a little stiff compared to the soft and drapey viscose. I am hoping it will soften in the wash.



I cut the A line to the very edges of the fabric to maximise the A-Line skirt section. I folded it towards the centre to create two centre fold lines.


The waistband drawstring sections were just two strips of black fabric attached to the bodice and skirt on the outside and on the inside I ironed the seam allowance in and pinned all around to create a channel. I topstitched this inner waistband on from the front. I sewed two buttonholes at the front of the waistband so the drawstring would come out of the front of the dress.



If I wanted to add elastic at a future date I created an opening on the inside waistband by hemming the centre back pieces rather than sewing them together. It probably makes more sense to see the photos below.



The final photos of the dress showing the last few steps of construction.







Saturday, 22 June 2019

Self drafted skirt


During the recent Me-Made-May challenge I had pledged to address the eternal sewists problem of the half-finished item otherwise known as the UFO (unfinished object) or the WIP (work in progress). I have several 'bags' of these incomplete items and wanted to tackle them in May. This is the first of a few completed garments I have been working on.

This self-drafted skirt was started about two years ago with some stash fabric. It is a beautiful heavyweight viscose I treated myself to from Stoff and Stil way back in 2017 when I made the Sew Over It Alex Shirtdress with it.

Calling it 'self-drafted' feels a little over-stated as it is a basic gathered rectangle of fabric with two pockets. I wanted the insides to be pretty so I bound all the seams with self-made bias tape (this is the point where the skirt was abandoned for 2 years). This part of the process took the most time to sew.




The elasticated waistband was originally one large folded over channel for the elastic but when I only found thinner elastic in my stash I decided to sew through the middle and created two channels. I threaded the thinner elastic through both sections and it looks like an intentional 'design feature'.



I really enjoyed finishing off sewing and wearing this skirt. I am glad it has been released from the UFO limbo that it has been residing in for the past two years!


Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Me Made May 2019 Week Four and Five

The last two weeks of May were rather unusual in that I started week four of MMM with a terrible sore throat and headache and had to take two days off work (which is very rare for me) and I got through Wednesday and Thursday feeling 75% better, finishing the week feeling back to my usual self. Needless to say, my Me-Made-May outfits are a mulligatawny of different 'looks'.


Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st May
Dressing Gown: Gather's Buchanan Gown. Made: 2017

Lots of wear of my beloved Buchanan gown was had during the days I was unwell. Along with RTW PJ's. I really should bust out some of my precious Liberty Lawn prints and make some beautiful PJ's shouldn't I?

Wednesday 22nd May
Top: Merchant and Mills Camber Set Top. Made: 2018
Trousers: Gap
Necklace: Astronomers hand necklace, Tatty Devine sample sale 2019
Socks: Gap
Trainers: Nike
Watch: White G Shock

Surely my most worn top of the month! I love this top in black rayon although the french seams at the neckline are fraying (just like my ikat print version) so a little mending is in order!


Thursday 23rd May
Dress: Sew Over It Zoe dress. Made: 2018
Tights: M&S
Trainers: Nike
Necklace: Gold moon Tatty Devine

I really like the relaxed yet 'put-together' vibe of this dress. The bonus was it was made with a length of fabric I got at a fabric swap so it was free!


Friday 24th May
Top: Camber Set Top. Made: 2018
Trousers: Gap
Socks: Gap
Shoes: Paul Smith green loafers
Watch: Olive green G Shock
Necklace: Marimekko

Yipee! The end of the term, although you can see in my stance a look of pure exhaustion! I think the Merchant and Mills Camber Set top is definitely the winner in terms of value for money and most reached-for garment this Me-Made-May!


Saturday 25th May and Sunday 26th May
Top: Gap
Sweatshirt: Grainline Linden. Made: 2017
Shorts: Abercrombie and Fitch
Trainers: Nike
Watch: Olive green G Shock

I spent an amazing day exploring the beautiful setting of Fountains Abbey in Ripon, North Yorkshire with my brother, sister-in-law and two nephews. My Linden kept the chill off as it was sunny but very windy and cool in the shade.



Tuesday 28th May and Wednesday 29th May
Boilersuit: 1980's original 'Faithful' brand decorated with me-made DIY paint splats
Top: Gap t-shirt from the 1990s with matching DIY design features
Shoes: Vans

This very practical retro boilersuit puts me right into the insta-frenzy zone of cool? No?
I teamed the boilersuit with many old RTW t-shirts and spent my week in the loft sorting out cable trays and insulation. Oh, the glamour!


Thursday 30th May
Top: Grainline Scout tee. Made: 2016
Shorts: Peak Performance
Trainers: New Balance

This super soft double gauze fabric was gifted to me by my friend Sophie who lives in Hong Kong. It's a perfect top to wear when the weather is humid or hot. I met Alex from My Creative Experiments at Liberty's to see their Art and Crafts exhibition which has some beautiful pieces from their archives. My favourite thing item was a gorgeous petrol blue / green tile based on William Morris motifs.






Friday 31st May
Dress: By Hand London Flora. Made: 2016
Sweatshirt: Anthropologie sale, 2019
Trainers: Nike

I spent the morning at the Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light exhibition at the National Gallery which was gorgeous. The canvases are so large and fill each room with beautiful imagery and joyful, carefree atmosphere. I would recommend a visit to the show as I genuinely felt like I had taken a mini break in the sun-dappled coast of Spain afterwards!
I rarely wear my Flora dress because it is more of a 'party' outfit due to the high-low hemline. As it was a little overcast I wore it with my new spotty sweatshirt which made it appear more casual. I really enjoyed the 'swing'-iness of the full skirt.

Overall, I didn't wear as many skirts or dresses during Me Made May this year due to the rather damp and cool weather (which seems to be continuing!). I say this every year. I need to make more solid coloured tops AND more trousers as these are my staple 'work-uniform' items. I have some ideas in the pipeline and will update you when I have things to share.