Sunday, 25 January 2015

A Dancing Anna

This was originally the dress that I made for my birthday, but got dumped in favor of the jumpsuit! I finished it off anyway to wear to a burns night dance next Saturday. I have no idea what burns night is or what it involves, so it will be an interesting experience to say the least!
I don't tend to make many indie patterns, because I literally don't fit on their size charts. After months and months of ogling the Anna dress, designed by By Hand London I finally decided that it would be worth adjusting and asked for it for Christmas. It turned out that I quite liked how it around the bust area so in the end I left it as is, just lowering the neckline a tad.
I drafted a circle skirt for the bottom half, because I thought that would be better for dancing using the By Hand London circle skirt app. It turned out pretty short, so I'll lengthen that next time! In terms of the insides, I didn't line it because the lining would make it too hot while dancing (I really thought about this!) and instead made bias binding out of the same fabric for the sleeves and neckline. The seams are overlocked and the hem was overlocked, turned under and slip-stitched. 
The fabric was a bit of a devil to work with, as it's a slippery silky kind of fabric that I inherited. It's interesting that it has a twill weave which you normally find on denim and wool fabrics. I'm so glad that I didn't topstitch the binding down, because it would have looked awful. You can still kinda see where I've slip-stitched the binding down which is a shame. 
I tried my best to stop the centre back seam with the zip from puckering by using strips of calico to stabilise it. That didn't work particulaly well either. Maybe I should interface it next time? It was a tad too windy for photos today! Just as well I wasn't in public!
Anyway, I am pleased with the dress, even with puckering issues and I will have great fun wearing it (with shorts) to burns night. 
Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking photos,
Lauren xx

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Birthday Jumpsuit

For my 18th birthday party (which was yesterday) I decided to round up all of my friends for a Who's Line is it Anyway party. If you're not familiar with the programme, it's a TV show based around 4 actors who play lots of improvisational games.  I found it on the plane to Perth, and just might have woken all of the sleeping passengers up because I was laughing so loud! I thought it would be great fun to re-create the TV show with my friends. And obviously I had to make my own outfit.
This party was going to be pretty active, so I decided that I would be better off wearing a jumpsuit than a dress, and that it would need to be made out of a knit for max comfort and move-ability. Of course, this was decided after I'd started birthday dress no.1, but I'm sure it'll get worn another time! I then ordered 2 metres of viscose jersey from Ebay for around 8 pounds and got cracking.
I started with True Bias's Hudson Pant pattern as a base for the bottom half. I added a fair bit to the top of the front and back pieces to make them high-waisted, then I added 5cm more for a bit of jumpsuit ease. Next time I'd probably take that 5cm out because the crotch on this is preeeetty low. I had to put the pocket under the front pattern piece to get the correct shape for the side seam.
 Then I cut a line straight down the front and back to the knee and across. Then I moved each side out a bit until it equaled the measurement for half of the coordinating bodice piece. The shaded bit is the new bit!
For the bodice I used the gathered bodice pattern that I made for the V&A dress. I made a mock up to check the fit. It does look a tad silly because I didn't have enough fabric to have lower legs but it did the job! From the muslin I ascertained that the back was pretty baggy so I lifted that up a bit. Apart from that it was fine so I went for the real thing!
 When I put the real thing together, it sewed up really quickly! I overlocked everything. The neckline and armholes were neatened by bands. Overall, I'm so pleased with how it turned out. It's a fairly big departure from my usual style, but I feel great wearing it. The fact that it's so comfy is an added plus. It's honestly like wearing pj's!
Thanks to Ed for taking photos, and to you for reading!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sewing Machine PJ's

When we open our stockings on Christmas morning, we get to choose 1 present from under the tree. In the past that meant finding the biggest present. This year it was locate the fabric. I successfully located it AND it has sewing machines and mannequins and tape measures on it!!! I wanted to make something that would get a lot of wear, but I wouldn't feel that comfortable wearing it as a dress so pajama bottoms it was!
I have a couple of pajama patterns in my pattern stash but I chose McCall's 6930 because as it was published in 1994 it just qualifies for my vintage pattern pledge!

This, believe it or not, was my first time sewing pockets and they are great! This pic features Alan the sock dinosaur who was my second favourite Christmas present because stitching a  dinosaur together is very time consuming (I've been informed that he took 5 hours), and the end result is adorable. Thank you Bethany!
Most things went together smoothly. Everything was overlocked for longevity. I did completely forget that I'd cut out a waistband piece and stitched the elastic straight onto the trousers and turned it and stitched again, which was fine. They are a bit low rise now though, and I don't have as much pocket as I would have with the waistband!
They are quite baggy, but they're pajama bottoms so that's totally fine! It was nice to sew something in quite a short space of time that didn't need fitting or a lining.
Being on my bed, I did feel compelled to take some jumping pics, which although pretty unsuccessful are pretty funny to look at so you can have them anyway!
Yeah, no.
Anyway, thanks for reading and to Ed for taking pictures! Next week I should have a birthday jumpsuit to show you. (I'm 18 on Tuesday) Exciting times!!!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Top 5 Highlights, Reflections and Goals

I'm going to power through my highlights, reflections and goals today!
Top 5 2014 #sewingtop5


1. Passing my driving test! I'm now as free as a bird. (And this bird has now figured out how to put petrol in a car. Finally)
2. Passing my AS Levels so I could get back into my final year of school.
3. I've made some amazing friends this year and have kept up some great friendships.
4. My trip to Australia in the summer was a pretty cool experience. Now I can officially say that I've been rescued by a lifeguard. I actually got to spend time with family as well, which sounds weird but I don't see a lot of them at home. And I got to go fabric shopping with Susan!
5. I was the costume person for the schools production of Oliver which was a lot of fun. I learnt to always carry safety pins on my person. Always.


1. I don't really have any because I think they kind of link in with goals, so I'll go on to those.
Oh wait I have one.
1. When people pay you to make something for them and you give them a quote it'll probably take double the time you thought it would so take that into account.


1. I need to make more tops. This year has been a dresses year. 5 days a week I am required to wear a matching suit. I've made 2 suits and I would like to make some interesting tops to go with them. A third suit would be great as well. I should probably make that sooner rather than later because I won't need it after June. 
2. Experiment more with pattern drafting, adaptation and draping.
3. Instead of thinking "I don't know how to do that so I'll do it a way that I do know how to do instead" find out how to do the thing that I don't know otherwise I'll never learn! 
4. Stop taking shortcuts if it's going to compromise the quality of the garment. You won't believe the difference understitching makes until you try it.
5. I've got some pretty important exams this year and ultimately they need to come first, so I need to stop beating myself up if I don't have a finished garment to post every Sunday. 
6. I'd quite like to do a series of some kind which gives a bit of variety to finished object, finished object, another finished object. I'm not quite sure what it would be though.

That's me finished for now, thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Tartan Francoise

 I've had a longing for a tartan something for a while and when Remnant House announced that postage was free for a few days I pounced on a metre of this beautiful black watch tartan. With only 1 metre of it, it had to become a Francoise.
 The plaid matching was pretty interesting with the front darts, but I tried my best! I cut the front and the back on the fold so at least they were continuous. In hindsight, maybe I should have put the zip in the back instead of the side seam because the back is easier to match. I'm pretty pleased with how the side seam turned out though.
The fit is quite loose, but I think that's okay with this dress. It's not supposed to be tight. The back could fit a tad better though, it's a bit baggy.
The neckline was finished with a facing which I need to stitch down because it flaps everywhere. The armholes are finished with bias tape and the hem was turned over twice and slipstitched during the big fat quiz of the year.
I wore this dress over a black jumper which worked really well for a walk around a national trust property near Stratford with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins. I attempted to get blog photos there but my dress didn't look it's best and you couldn't see the neckline so I retook them. I did get a really cute photo with my cousins though, who wanted to be on the blog!
My outfit that day was centered about being warm so it wasn't the most co-ordinated of outfits but it was certainly striking...
Well, a very happy new year to you all. I hope it's a good one. Thank you very much for reading my blog! I always jump up and down when I receive a new comment.
Thanks to Dad and Ed for taking various photos,
Lauren xx