Saturday, 28 February 2015

My second blogaversary!

I can't believe that I've just finished my second year of sewing and blogging! I guess that doesn't make me a beginner any more. This year I managed to make a total of 48 pieces of clothing compared to 37 items made last year which is pretty good going! I'm proud of how I've been able to consistently post for 2 years, given my track record with diaries (where entry's are usually made every couple of years when I find them when spring cleaning.) 
 This year was obviously the year of the dresses, which isn't surprising when I've finally managed to draft a bodice block that fits the way it should. I've had great fun with lots of pattern adaptation, and in this coming year I'd like to draft more complicated projects, like outerwear and maybe swimwear. I would like to master a proper long sleeved shirts with cuffs and everything. I'd also like to look at tailoring techniques like welt pockets. 
. This last year has been very much a winner for wearability, compared to the 57% of wearable items I made in my first year of sewing. I think even when projects haven't turned out quite right, this year I kept going until they were wearable, which was a good habit to have, and obviously paid off.
 My most popular post this year was very unexpectedly my Holiday Capsule Wardrobe Planning post on how I was organizing my suitcase for the 3 week trip to Australia. I did have great fun drawing all the little outfits on photoshop. Maybe I should do more posts like these? The second most popular post was my Strapless Maxi dress which I made for the sewalong on Project Sewn. I'm seriously missing it this year.
I did make my first pair of jeans, although arguably they aren't proper jeans because they didn't have a fly front. They aren't particularly comfortable which I'm blaming the lack of stretch on so I'm going to attempt some ginger jeans in the near future.
I've done pretty well for suits this year, which is good considering that I have to wear them 5 days a week. My Victoria blazer with a navy Chardon is getting loads of wear, because I do practical subjects I need to be able to sit cross legged on the floor, which I cant do very well in a pencil skirt!
The standard of the inside of my garments is steadily improving which is great. Very few of my makes have unfinished edges thanks to my overlocker. There had better be room for it at uni!
Anyhow, here's to my third year of sewing! Cheers to everybody who reads about my adventures in sewing. Very little can beat the feeling I get when a new comment appears in my inbox ;)
Lauren xx

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Quilted Lady Skater

This week I finally had a chance to sew up my birthday fabric from the lovely Beth into yet another Lady Skater dress.
The fabric is a quilted knit from Minerva Crafts in a lovely wine/burgundy colour which I'm really loving at the moment. Because of the various layers in the fabric, it did fray so all the seams were overlocked. I could just about get the whole dress out of the metre which is pretty economical.
The dress was originally a top and a skirt because I thought a quilted crop top would work really well over my dresses, but I didn't take the neckline into consideration when I cut out the pieces. The lady skater neckline is below most of my dresses, and it didn't look right when I wore it over them so I just joined the top and skirt together to make the original dress.
It does look however, a little too long in the back. When cutting out what I thought was going to be a top, I lengthened the bodice which seems okay in the front, but there is a  bit of excess in the back. Nothing that a bit of pulling down won't solve, I'm sure!
Overall, it's a really cozy dress and I'm going to get as much wear out of it as I can until it gets too warm! I'm curious to know whether you wear different colours according to the seasons? Is burgundy a colour suitable only for Autumn/Winter because it's a dark shade? Please let me know your thoughts!
Thanks very much to Ed for taking photos and to Beth for the fabric and to you for reading!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Navy Victoria Blazer

It seems that I'm on an indie sewing pattern binge at the moment! Today I'm showing you my version of By Hand London's Victoria blazer. They had a 20% off certain patterns a couple of weeks ago, and I've been eyeing Victoria up for ages so I bit the bullet. I decided that it was time to add another suit to my rotation and I thought that I'd give Victoria a try.
I used a 100% wool fabric that I scored in a charity shop last year. Just under 3 metres for 8.99 was a crazy price and I obviously couldn't leave it there! Unfortunately I only noticed after it was sewn up that there are some teeny holes in parts of it, but they've been patched up the best I can.
The only changes to the pattern I made were to extend the sleeves to full length (because I want to wear it all year round) and to take a wedge out of the back to make it slightly more fitted. I also lined the sleeves as well as the body because that wool is itchy! It was interesting to sew up in comparison to my other blazers. This one doesn't have a facing, which means that the lining sometimes shows.
It ends at exactly the right place which is good. I tacked down the collar ends to keep them in place. The lining was bagged, to keep the insides neat.
I'm pretty happy with it, and I think it looks good with the matching Chardon skirt (yet to blog).
The navy colour seems to go with pretty much anything, so no doubt I'll be wearing it in the spring out of school. I love it with the stripey dress.
Thanks very much for reading and to Ed for taking the photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Cherry Blossom Tree Chardon

A couple of weeks ago, I had another interview. My last interview. It quite frankly needed to go well because after getting 2 rejections from other uni's I was running out of options! My interview dress obviously wasn't cutting it so I came up with this outfit instead. I felt happy wearing it and hopefully that came across in the interview. Ironically this was the only place that didn't ask whether I was wearing something that I've made and I made all 3 pieces in this outfit! (Under the pink jumper I'm wearing a white archer)
I asked for the Chardon pattern for my birthday because I've been eyeing it up for some time. I've tried many an improvised pleated skirt in the past, which haven't been so successful so I saved the tears and frustration and just used the pattern instead!
After wearing it that day, I made 2 little pleats at the side seam because it was a bit big at the waist but it's fine now. The fabric was given to me by some friends for my birthday and the print is gorgeous. I managed to squeeze it out of the 1 metre but had to sacrifice any print matching. However, as I can't see the skirt from the back and the front is cut on the fold everything is fine!
The skirt is fastened with an invisible zip at the centre back and the hem was finished with bias binding because I didn't want to sacrifice any of the length. I had to sacrifice a fair bit of the length fitting it on the fabric already. Okay, the pockets. This is the second time I've put inseam pockets into a garment (the first was my pajama bottoms) and I love them! They are just so useful. I must admit, I keep trying to put my hands in the non-existant pockets of my other skirts so I need to put more pockets in skirts, stat!
This outfit must have done the trick, because the interview was successful and I'm going to uni next year to do a degree in costume production! Woo! Thanks to Dad for accompanying (chauffeuring) me and taking pictures in the convenient park next to the uni, and for the post-interview fabric shopping. That was also very good.
Thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Joseph Mini Skirt

Hello all! This very skirt is very much all about the fabric. I found this amazing multicoloured woven cotton fabric for 10 pounds a metre in a local fabric shop which I had no idea existed. I could have bought half of the shop, but settled for this fabric because it was special. 
 It's medium-weight to heavy-weight and I was originally going to make a Chardon with it, but I decided that it was too heavy and the box pleats just wouldn't hang right. I settled for a simple mini skirt which would showcase the amazing weave of the fabric. The stripes are actually vertical, and going in the same direction as the grainline, but I preferred the stripes going horizontally so I cut it on the cross-grain instead. 
 I'm so chuffed with the stripe matching on this project. Can you spot the seam?! I can't!!! And the darts are almost invisible which is fab. The pattern I used was New Look 6335 which I've used a number of times before. I thought I'd got the fit right after a couple of cm's was shaved off each side seam, but I had to take even more out. To be honest, I could have done with taking even more out!
 I used a yellow zip, because I will never make a yellow piece of clothing, and it co-ordinates well with the yellow in the skirt. It was hand-picked for accuracy. I love how many colours are in the skirt because it means that it goes with pretty much everything!
 I wanted to make the skirt really special. Something that will be worn loads and last a long time. I overlocked all of the pieces separately and pressed all of the seams open. I also lined it by attaching it right sides together at the waist seam, understitching and turning it inside the skirt. The lining was then handpicked to the zip from the inside so it should be doubly secure! The hem was bias bound right sides to right sides, turned to the inside and slip-stitched in place.
 I haven't actually blogged the cardigan and the shirt, both of which I made last year so I'll quickly talk about them now. The shirt is a Grainline Archer which I made at the same time as my navy one. It's sleeveless, so was taken in quite a bit at the underarm to stop gaping. For the cardigan I used the basic tee pattern from  Wendy Mullins Sew U Home Stretch and adapted it to get the open front.
We couldn't resist an action shot...
Thanks very much for reading and to Beth for very kindly taking this weeks pictures!
Lauren xx