Monday, 29 December 2014

Top 5 Misses 2014

When looking through my portfolio I had to scroll pretty far down to find any misses which is great as my sewing seems to be on the whole much more successful this year. That's pretty good for only my second year of sewing.

1. First up in chronological order are my first pair of jeans. They are just too uncomfortable in a denim without any stretch and as a result they haven't been worn much atall. The zip in the back just looks bad, and I wish I had made the effort to put a fly front in instead. The pockets just aren't positioned right either. However, I do have new jeans plans for 2015. I have bought the Ginger jeans pattern and plan to make those up in a stretch denim. Fingers crossed they will be more successful than these!

2. Next up, made all the way back in March was my Stardust dress made for my birthday party. It was too short and the fabric frayed disgustingly. When beating up my birthday pinata the dress sustained several rips and thus became unwearable. It has since been cut up and transferred to paper pattern pieces because it did fit well when it was still in one piece.
3. Third up is my red wool blazer. It was a pretty ambitious make, by far the most complicated thing I've ever made but a couple of elements have put me off it and as a result, it barely gets worn. I didn't make a muslin and it was just too big. I may just be an extremely lazy person but 5 buttons is just too much when putting a coat on and off. It takes too much time to button up.
4. My penultimate "miss" is the dotty woven strips dress that I made for project sewn. Weaving the strips of fabric together was a great experiment that just didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. The bodice was just too heavy for a dress. The woven strips would maybe have been better suited for a coat. As a result of this the dress was cut up and the skirt recycled for something else.
5. My last miss was the floral trousers. I took all the ease out off the back pieces for some stupid reason so these are pretty uncomfortable to wear. Shame, because I feel great when I wear them. 

That's all 5! I think the reason that more of my garments are wearable is that now I pay more attention to fit, I feel better in them, so I wear them more. It makes sense.

Thanks for reading,
Lauren xx

Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas Jumper and Velvet Lady Skater

A christmas dress for me needs to be warm, comfortable and able to take a lot of food whilst also being slightly "special occasion". After a lot of consideration I decided on a stretch velvet lady skater which would be all of the above. The black velvet was left over from a school project last year so essential this dress was free! It's a bit black though, so I decided it needed a Christmas jumper to brighten it up a bit.
The pink sweatshirt I made a couple of months ago fit the bill, but needed making a little more Christmassy. There was a battle between the penguin and the christmas tree but the penguin won.
 And ta-da! It was a great Christmas outfit. I felt festive but was still warm and cosy. This time the lady skater bodice was quite right (in the past it's been too low) and I added some volume to the skirt to give it a bit more oomph. I am wearing 2 petticoats here just to maximize the poof.
I hope you all had a great Christmas! Thanks very much to Dad for taking these photos on our morning walk, and to you for reading!
Lauren xx

Monday, 22 December 2014

Top 5 Hits 2014

This year I found it a lot harder to narrow down my successful makes which is such a good thing because this years makes have been so much more wearable than last years. It's interesting that the 5 I have picked are from May onwards, so that's obviously a point where my sewing took a turn for the better! They are listed from the earliest make to the most recent.

No. 1 is my floral strapless maxi dress which I made for the sewalong of Project Sewn. It's definitely one of my top 5 because I feel so good when I wear it. And it fits. And I love the fabric. I'm planning on wearing it to prom this year.
No. 2 is my lace lady skater because it's the perfect more casual party dress. The knit factor is very good for overeating, and it's a very comfortable dress to wear. This dress has been worn many many times.
No.3 is my navy archer shirt, purely because this was one of my first times making a shirt and figuring out the collar and the button placket and buttonholes worked out pretty well. I have yet to attempt shirt sleeves though. Maybe next year is the year. Those shorts are also amazing, but living in England they haven't had much wear. They did come in really handy in Singapore though.
No. 4 would have to be my blazer with the shawl collar, purely for the sheer amount of time and perseverance that went into it. Last year it would have been chucked into the corner for eternity but this year I managed to retrieve it from the corner fairly quickly and get it done. This was good because I wear it practically every day for school. I should probably started making another suit really.
No. 5 would be my dotty shirt-dress because it really developed my pattern adaptation skills as it was adapted from my bodice block to have a gathered front with a shaped waistband. I then added a V neck and a buttonband. It has been worn loads and I feel good in it. Next year I want to take my pattern drafting skills further and will maybe delve into coats. 
That's it for now folks! Thanks for reading and have a good Christmas if I don't post before!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas Dress 2014

For this years Christmas dress I wanted to use a beautiful purple (I think cotton) velvet that my friends gave to me for my birthday. I had 1.5m which basically directed the design of the dress. I went for a strapless bodice, because it takes barely any fabric, with a half circle skirt which would give the fullness of a gathered skirt without the extra material needed. To make it special I added a little bow feature at the front.
The strapless bodice pattern is the same I used for my floral maxi dress, which made the whole process so much quicker because I knew it fit. I made sure I cut at all of the pieces so the nap was facing the right way. I slip-stitched the seam allowances on the velvet outer bodice down, because I didn't want to risk using an iron. The lining was the leftover rayon from my greek chiton purely because of the colour co-ordination. To make the rayon more stable I underlined it with quite a heavy calico. I then attached boning to the lining to give the bodice more structure.

The skirt is a half circle, with a seam at the centre front and back because that was the only way that if fit on the fabric. Hopefully the seam at the front isn't too noticeable! Ideally I would have made it a full circle for a little more volume, but a petticoat underneath does provide a certain amount of poof. The dress is fastened with an invisible zip down the center back, and the hem was overlocked and turned over once to preserve as much length as possible.
For the bow I used a rectangle of velvet which was sewn into the top seam at the front and back, not not the sides when joining the bodice and the lining. The part that wasn't attached in the seam I can slip my arms into to form little wings. I was going to elasticate the top so they would be level with the neckline but I don't know. I quite like the drapy-ness that's happening. The center was then ruched up to form a bow.

I'm really happy with how this dress turned out. It's miles better (both with the fit and finish) than last years Christmas dress. Now I need to figure out what I've got to do next year to better this one!

Thanks very much for reading and to Ed for taking the pictures!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Bright Floral Dress

In the last few months I've been applying to various universities to do a degree in costume production (the making side of things). Over the next couple of months I have to bring a portfolio to each uni for an interview. Obviously I needed a new dress. I went for perhaps one of the brightest fabrics I own (excepting the orange penguins, but I do want to be taken seriously at interviews) so I'll perhaps be easier to remember as the girl with the bright floral dress. 
I went for a simple fit and flare shape to show the amazing fabric off to it's best advantage. One of the uni's I visited is right next to Goldhawk Road so of course I dragged Dad over there and I bought 1.5 metres of this gorgeous wool blend.
 I used my block for the bodice and a pleated skirt from the simplicity 4070 dress pattern. I cut both the front and back bodice's on the fold so the dress is fastened with an invisible zip at the side seam. I wanted to line the bodice which I usually do because it takes care of the neckline and arm-scythes so nicely but I wasn't sure how to do it without a centre back seam. Luckily a quick google yielded this great tutorial and I had no problems.
 I'm so so happy with the way it fits and the length and everything, and I'm looking forward to wearing it to my interviews! (First one on wednesday, arrghhh!)
Thanks for reading, and to Ed for taking photos!
Lauren xx