Sunday, 31 August 2014

Purple Marbled Playsuit

This playsuit was made in a hurry the night before we left for Australia because the holiday simply would not be the same without it. The first week of the summer holidays I spent doing work experience at a local fabric shop which was quite frankly like being in heaven. I'd take my projects and sew in between customers. As a thank you I had my pick of the remnant basket. I chose this 70cm long piece of marbled cotton and another cotton with little black flowers printed on a red background.
It was a real squeeze to fit it into 70cm but I did it! The pattern was drafted on the fly using my culotte pattern as a base. 5 cm was added to the waist so it would be okay for a playsuit. I got my hip measurement and added a few cm's of ease. 1/4 of this measurement was the width of the culotte waist and the bodice, so I could get it over my hips. The height of the bodice rectangle was from my armpit to waist. I then added elastic to the waist the length of my waist circumference to give it a bit of shape.
It was designed to have a V-neck but it gaped a lot so I stretched elastic over the area to create gathers instead. It ended up being really low cut so to protect my modesty I made a facing which could be safety pinned to the inside of my bra to make sure it stayed in place. It actually works really well! You can see a bit of the facing which popped out in the pic below. Oops! I didn't have enough fabric left for scraps so used a purple ribbon I had in my stash instead. I cut it into 4 with a view to tying each of them up but they ended up too short. I double knotted them too loosely and so now they have to be tucked around my bra strap to stay in place. 
It's funny that these culottes have much more of an A line shape than my knit culotte playsuit because this fabric is stiffer. Next time when I have more fabric to play with I'll slash and spread to make them a bit more voluminous so they have more of a circle skirt kinda drape. I'll also add a bit more ease to my hip measurement because this playsuit takes a fair bit of wriggling to get on and off!

Thanks very much for reading and for Dad and Ed for taking fabby beach pics.
Lauren xx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

2 Piece Lady Skater

This outfit has completely skipped the blog post queue so I can fit it in for Ada Spragg's 2 Piece Setacular; the Australia makes are just going to have to wait! It's been getting colder again in England so the summer dresses I'd planned wouldn't be worn and would be a waste of the precious sewing time I have left before school starts. This jersey knit jumped out at me as something more suitable for Autumn weather because it's so soft and cozy.   
It was originally going to be a Lady Skater dress but then the idea to separate it into a skirt and crop top came to me and I couldn't get rid of it! This 2 piece should be so versatile. To do this I added a hem band to the bodice. This can be folded under for a more cropped look or unfolded if a bit more coverage is needed. I then added a waistband to the skirt, stabilizing the seam with clear elastic.
It was really difficult to sew the waistband on evenly because the edges kept curling. I really need to get hold of some knit interfacing because I think that would solve the job, and give the waistband a bit more oomph. 
I think the skirt looks better with a petticoat underneath to give the skirt a bit more volume. As the knit is quite thin the drape isn't stiff enough to give the A-line shape that I like without a petticoat.
The fabric is the first I've used up from Australia. I went fabric shopping with Susan in Sydney and picked this beauty up for $4 a metre. This combo took up around 1 1/2 metres. I'm thing of making a looser top with the remains of it.
With the jet lag from Australia I've been getting up ridiculously early, around 5 or 6 when holiday days are supposed to be lie in days! I started this outift at 6.30 and was done by 8.30 with a spot of breakfast in the middle. It's amazing how much you can get done in the early hours of the morning. 
Everything was overlocked but neither the sleeves or skirt hems have hems yet so I'll leave as is or do them on the normal machine with a zig zag. 
Ninja chopping my way through the willow tree...
...And I'm through. Phew.
I'm glad I've got the fit cracked of the Lady Skater pattern now. For this one I didn't shorten the waist because it didn't have the skirt to weigh it down.
Ta-da!!!!!! Ever the graceful dancer...
And I'm think that's it. Thanks so much for Emma and Darren's amazing photo skills. You guys know the best poses. 
Thanks for reading!
Lauren xx
(obligatory group photo)

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Lace Lady Skater

Hey everyone! I'm back from our holiday to Australia and have a huge number of makes to show you so I'm going to plough through them a bit this week to make up for the last 3 weeks of radio silence. First up is my favourite of them all: A lace Lady Skater dress. 
Technically this dress is only half Lady Skater because the skirt is a rectangle so I could showcase the scalloped selvedges. The bodice and the sleeves are from the Lady Skater pattern though. The rectangle was the width of the stretched length of elastic which unstretched was my waist measurement. That unfortunately meant that I didn't get as much volume as I wanted. But I do quite like the tulipy-y silhouette on me. Always good to try new things, huh!
I underlined the skirt and the bodice with a navy ponte, but made the ponte skirt shorter so the scallops at the hem would be more visible. To make the lace pattern more visible on the sleeves I omitted underlining it entirely.
I did have issues with what should have been a simple, quick and easy make. The weight of the skirt dragged the bodice down, putting it 2 or 3 inches below my natural waist, which believe me, isn't a good look. As a quick fix I sewed the waist seam again 2 inches further in than the original stitching but then that created the problem of a massive waist! That was then slimmed down and eventually it fit. Next time Lauren just shorten the pattern first. Save yourself so much trouble.
I am really pleased with the fit now though.

The beach where we took these photos was 5 minutes walk away from our little chalet in Port Douglas and was just so beautiful! And it was practically empty because for all the Australians it wasn't beach weather!
Thanks to Dad who took the photos with 3 pairs of shoes and my rucksack in his arms!
It's nice to be back!
Thanks for reading,
Lauren xx

Saturday, 2 August 2014


 Over the past year I've had several attempts at making jeans. I thought that I could get away with using a legging pattern for fabric with 2% Lycra. I couldn't. Not even with fabric with 5% Lycra. With those failures in mind I chose this denim from Remnant House in the medium blue with absolutely no stretch.
 I used Simplicity 9944 because I knew it fit in the waist, hips and the crotch and tapered it in at the legs to make them skinnier. The pockets were added from another pattern in my stash.
Even though I had tapered them in they still felt too baggy as can be seen in the picture below. I also decided that the hem slits had to go. They just weren't working.
With that in mind I slimmed them down even more and got rid of the slits entirely. So much better!
For the pocket lining I used some pink gingham. It's funny how that little pop of colour makes me feel so happy every time I put them on.
The one thing I am disappointed with is the back zip. The first time it looked perfect but the jeans were just too big! So I unpicked it and pinned it and unpinned it and pinned it and I just can't get it to look half decent. I have to do something about it though, because it looks dire.
I'm definitely getting there with the perfect jeans which is fab!
That's all I can think to say about them for now so thanks so much for reading and to Dad for taking the pics!
Lauren xx