Sunday, 28 August 2016

Tent Dress

Hello all! I hope your weekends are all going swimmingly. This dress is my too-hot-to-function outfit of the year. Some great memories have been made whilst wearing this dress, such as falling bottom first onto a straw and dung covered floor and visiting a waterfall. All good stuff.
According to Instagram I started this project a whole 60 weeks ago last summer. I cut all the pieces out using the vintage pattern Style 2401 omitting the ruffle, sewed a single seam and then it got thrown to the wayside for some more pressing makes.
I dug it up again at Easter when I was looking for some summer projects to take back to uni and thought it would be great for hot weather, should we have any. I then had one of those argh I have nothing to wear tomorrow moments sometime in May and made a huge amount of progress. Late into the night I decided that enough was enough. I did have something to wear really, and so the dress lay to be completed another day. And then when I was looking for a dress to wear to visit my dear friend Rachel in Derby last month I pounced upon this dress and finally got it finished.
There wasn't much to the sewing really. There are only 4 pattern pieces. I wasn't that impressed with the amount of gathering that goes into the yoke though. It's rather pitiful. The volume of the dress as a whole is fantastic though, I have no quarrel with that!
After trying it on I ended up taking a few cm off the shoulders and the side seams to tighten the armholes up a bit. I bias bound the neckline and armholes, handsewn into place as always. I also cut a bit off the hem to make it a bit more fun than frumpy. I then pinned up the hem various amounts, sewed it once, then decided that it was rather too short so I unpicked that and did a baby machine hem instead. It is a bit dodgy, but not hugely noticeable so I decided to go with it.
The fabric is a beautifully patterned silk that you may remember from one of last years vintage pledge makes, the culotte jumpsuit. This is a really breezy and cool dress to wear, perfect for the occasional really hot days we've had this summer.
Thanks very much for reading and to Ed for interrupting his rocky ramblings to take pictures. As always, much obliged.
Lauren xx

Monday, 22 August 2016

August Minerva Make: Floral strappy back dress and linen top

Hello all! For this months Minerva Make I picked out this gorgeous floral print for a skirt and some pink linen for a co-ordinating top. The plan was to have 2 pieces that would be great to mix and match.
Lauren xx

Sunday, 21 August 2016

City gym shorts and an off the shoulder tee

 Hello all! Today I have another holiday make to share with you. I wanted some comfier shorts for travel and beach days, had a quick google for patterns and this one by Purl Soho came up. I love binding and curved side seams. The extra detail just makes them that bit more special.
The fabric was a cotton remnant from a skirt that my Mum made once upon a time. There wasn't very much of it at all and I've been hoarding it for quite some time, waiting for the perfect project. It's finally got its time to shine. I think the colours in it are fantastic, and it's such a fun print.
The shorts were pretty quick to sew up, even with the binding. I used a pink linen which was a left over from one of my Minerva makes. It was very satisfying to press into place and topstitch and I'm very proud of the results. The waistband is narrower than specified in the pattern, only because I had a narrower width of elastic to hand which works perfectly fine. There isn't an awful lot of ease in the hips, so I'd probably add a bit more next time but the shorts are still perfectly comfortable to wear.
The top was whipped up from another jersey remnant using the raglan tee pattern from sew you home stretch yet again. See it used for completely different looks here and here. I just folded down the neckline on each pattern piece an inch or two to get the off the shoulder look.
All the seams are zigzagged using my sewing machine. I stretched the elastic slightly when sewing it onto the neckline, turned it over and topstitched. All the hems are raw because I liked the length of everything where it was at. I'm really happy with both the pieces in this outfit and I hope there's still enough summer left in the UK to enjoy wearing them!
Thanks very much for reading and to Edward for taking photos,
Lauren xx

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Spotty Noelle bikini top

Hello all! Today I have to show you my version of Madalynne's Noelle bralette in swimsuit form. This seemingly straightforward swimsuit fought me every step of the way but I got there in the end, just like George did with his dragon.
The fabric I bought two summers ago in Sydney with the wonderful Susan. The store we went to had a wonderful selection of swimsuit fabrics and I thought I'd better stock up because the swimsuit fabric selection in the UK is not so good. I used the blue floral for my Closet Case Files Sophie Swimsuit, and this spotty spandex was a remnant perfect for a bikini.
After seeing Madalynne releasing the Noelle bralette as another free pattern I thought it would be perfect for these polka dots. I decided that it would be perfectly doable to cut out and sew the entire thing at 11pm the night before I was due to leave for a bit of a tour around the UK because I wanted to take blog pics on my Welsh friend MK's beach. 
It may not come as a surprise to you that this was not even remotely doable. I managed to cut out both the lining and the outer, and to sew them both together at the bottom with some elastic. It was at this point that I discovered that the bottom was far too loose because I hadn't stretched it far enough. I decided that it was time to call it a night.
I decided to take the pieces with me, along with my fabric scissors and thread, just in case. After all, several of my friends study costume with me and do have sewing machines at home. I got to Amy's and managed to down the armholes with a lot of swearing and snapped thread and skipped stitches. I got to Millies and managed to sew down the neckline, again with a lot of swearing and snapped thread and skipped stitches. It was at this point that I decided that it was not to be, and put it aside to finish it another time.
Not having learnt my lesson, I decided the night before leaving for France that I could finish my swimsuit in time for this trip instead. I only had the straps to do and to take out a chunk at each side seam to sort out the gaping elastic. I did get it finished just in time, although matching bottoms didn't happen. I think that if I had brought a ballpoint needle with me, the whole sewing process would have been much smoother.

After all of that drama I was able to wear my new swimsuit to the cutest little waterfall that we found near to where we are staying and got some cracking photos. Alls well that ends well! 
Thanks for reading, to Amy and Millie for letting me use their machines in my time of need and to Ed for taking photos!
Lauren xx





Sunday, 7 August 2016

Jersey Named Inari Tee

Hello from France! Today I have quite a simple make to share with you. This is the top version of the Named Inari tee dress pattern.  

 I made it up in a really comfy khaki cotton jersey knit for part of my holiday wardrobe. The cutting out and sewing processes were both quite speedy and the top only took an hour or two from start to finish. I didn't make any adjustments to the fit which always speeds the process along.
The hem has just the right amount of swing in it to make it perfect for warmer weather, allowing a gentle breeze through. I think a fitted bottom helps keep it flattering. In retrospect, I'm not quite sure about the fit of the armhole and sleeve. Next time I'd like to superimpose an armhole from a different pattern and see how that works out.
 I used a fusible tape to stabilize the hem before sewing it down. I usually zigzag everything on knits but this time, I top-stitched the hem with a straight stitch, which I think looks a tad more professional. Next time I would probably add another row of stitching to give the coverstitch effect.

 I really do like the silhouette of this top and I've already made another one, with another on the to do list. It's a winner!
 Thanks very much for reading, and to Edward for taking photos,
Lauren xx

Sunday, 31 July 2016

White halterneck tank

Hello all! Today I have a very simple white tank to share with you. This is one of the instances where a garment I make is directly inspired by clothes on the high street. There are lots of these cropped halterneck tanks floating around, but I knew I could make one from scraps of jersey I already owned and one that fit better to boot.

I used the same raglan tee pattern from 'Sew U Home Stretch' that I used for my Frieda Kahlo blouse which just goes to show how versatile a pattern can be. This time I just omitted the sleeves, keeping the cropped length.

It took no time at all to put together. The only alterations I made were to take the side seams in a couple of inches either side for a closer fit, although I could have tapered it in a bit more at the waist.
The front and back neckline are joined together by foldover elastic which was perfect for this purpose. Using foldover elastic in the past has been touch and go for me, but in this instance it worked well.
This top is a fantastic staple for my summer wardrobe because it goes with everything, and as a result I think it will get a lot of wear.

There are already a lot of memories attached to this top as shortly after this pictures were taken I got buried in a sand hole. In fact the very same top is still covered in sand sitting in a bag waiting for me to dust it off a bit. I really should get on that.

Thanks for reading and to Paul Salmon for the majority of photos and to Amy K for the last two,
Lauren xx

Monday, 25 July 2016

Sewing dare 2016: Frieda Kahlo inspired top

Hello all! I've just come home from a week of gallivanting around England, visiting uni friends at various destinations. This photos were taken on a gorgeous beach in Wales.
I signed up to Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow's sewing dares again this year, as there's nothing like a challenge to give you a bit of sewing inspiration. Last year I made a quilt which is one of my most used things ever.
This year my challenge was to make something inspired by an artist. I took this to mean something worn by an artist and as Frieda Kahlo's style is fantastic I thought I'd take a leaf out of her book. After having a bit of a Frieda browse on Pinterest I chose to make an off the shoulder top inspired by this picture.  I love love love the off the shoulder trend that's happening at the moment. I said I wasn't done when I made my jumpsuit and I'm still not done after making this top.
I started off with the raglan tee pattern from 'Sew U Home Stretch' which is made for knits, but was a good base. I folded down the neckline on the front, back and sleeve pieces to make it off the shoulder and I added a great deal of width to all 3 pieces, so the top would be nice and full. I added more width to the front than the back so I'd have a bit more coverage.

The fabric I used I think is a georgette, which is a bit heavier than chiffon. It was a caftan that I inherited from my Grandma. I had originally cut a Zeena dress out with it but never sewed it together. When I looked for fabric for my top it was perfect so I cut the front and back out of the skirt pieces and the sleeves out of scraps. 
The fabric is a bit sheer but is decent enough with nipple covers to hide the important bits. I looked at white and clear elastic to thread through the channels at the sleeves, neckline and hem and in the end went for the clear elastic because the white could be seen through the fabric. Clear elastic is invisible through the channels but it isn't the best. I think a navy elastic would be stronger and have better give than the clear elastic I used.
The insides are all finished with french seams because my overlocker was broken but also because it makes me happy to look at. I love this top a lot and it wouldn't have existed without Gillian's sewing dares so thank you Gillian and thank you to Regan Louise for coming up with a fab dare for me.
Thanks for reading, to Paul for being my photographer this holiday and to MK for her fab beach.
Lauren xx