Wednesday, 21 December 2016

What I made at uni: Dancewear!

Hello all! Today I've got to share with you my latest uni project. We had a week to make a leotard or catsuit and I opted to make a leotard out of this fantastic purple metallic foil with raglan sleeves and a turtle neck.
I started by drafting the leotard block from Winnie Aldrich's patterncutting book, then I adapted the sleeves to raglan sleeves with a dart, which was surprisingly easy to do. To transfer the pieces to the fabric I layered up carbon paper on the bottom, then the fabric, then the pattern pieces on top. The markings were then transferred using a tracing wheel.
The first step after cutting out was to cut out a strip of knit interfacing and fusing it to the centre back to stabilise it ready for the invisible zip.
The invisible zip went in really well. I darted off the end of the zip so it would blend because I didn't have a centre back seam. Then it was a case of sewing everything together for the fitting. Everything was tacked with a 'running stitch' which was a wavy straight stitch which allows the fabric to stretch but is easier to remove than overlocking. The fitting went fairly well and the only thing that we changed was make the sleeve more fitted to the arm.
I then transferred the changes to the pattern and then back to the fabric to ensure the changes were even on each side. I turned the sleeve hems over and topstitched them with a twin needle.  Then it was just a matter or overlocking all the tacked seams together before inserting the elastic. We have an industrial overlocker available to us so I used that. My goodness is it a powerful beast.
The elastic measurement was the front leg measurement -1cm and the back leg measurement -1.5cm added together + 3cm for a 1.5cm crossover  on each side.  Then I pinned it evenly along the leg hole, stitched, turned in and topstitched with the same stitch that I used for tacking earlier. I sampled it with a twin needle but the finish wasn't quite as good.
This seam matching up has to be one of my proudest sewing moments.

I think the only fit issue is the wrinkling at the back, which probably would benefit from a sway back adjustment. Next time I'd pinch out the extra room from the pattern piece.
Overall I really enjoyed this project. It was great to learn how to handle knit fabrics properly, e.g. never press them always steam them. Also, if a seam has stretched out it will quite likely go back into shape with some gentle nudging and a good steam. I think that this has been one of my most accurate makes yet. It makes me very happy that all of the seams match up. Now I've just got to find an occasion to wear it to!
Thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Friday, 16 December 2016

Gingham Dress

Hello all! This months Minerva project is all about the gingham. I originally planned for it to be a shirt but made a last minute decision to turn the fabric into a dress instead. I feel like I haven't made a dress in ages! You can read all about the making and see more pics over at the Minerva blog.

Thanks for reading, to Bethan for pictures and to Minerva for providing the supplies for this project!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 4 December 2016

What I'm wearing 04/12/2016

Hello all! Today I have an outfit of the day for you. A couple of people at Sew Brum asked how wearable the denim jumpsuit I made for the refashioners was for everyday life so I wanted to show you an example of how I wear it and what I pair it with. Today there was a definite chill in the air so I layered it under my Liberty sweater. I think the jumpsuit works fab as trousers. At first I wasn't convinced because they are rather straight legged but I do quite like the nonchalance of it. I rolled them down a bit further today because although I like to wear them quite cropped, I wanted to wear tights underneath as an extra layer. So for now they are rolled just to the top of my boots. With a big coat on top it makes for a very cosy outfit. Now I could do with a nice brown felt hat just to finish the look off.
Thanks very much for reading and to Abby for taking the photos on our lovely walk this morning,
Lauren xx

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Stripey Lark Tee

Hello all! The lovely Lucy at Sew Essential contacted me to offer me some fabric to try out, and I said yes please! I picked the St Tropez jersey in fuchsia and white stripes for the perfect basic tee. Basic, but a fun and warm tee that will be worn all the time.
I thought the Lark tee by Grainline would be the perfect pattern to pair it with, and it was. This is the second Grainline pattern I've used (the other being the Archer) and the first time I've used one in a paper format. It only took an hour to cut out all the pattern pieces from the tissue, fold them down to my size and cut out the fabric, doing as much stripe matching as possible. I appreciated the fact that there were separate pattern pieces for each neckline option, which makes the lines much clearer to see.
Because I put the effort into matching the stripes when cutting out, sewing it up was fairly simple and again only took about an hour. I'm so pleased with how well the sleeves match.
In terms of fitting issues, there are a few. The top is perfectly wearable, but there are definitely alterations to be made before I make it again. You can see below that there's some bunching at the back of the sleeve. Hopefully that can be sorted out by just pinching out some of the pattern piece.
As you can see, I'm pretty pleased with the stripe matching down the side seam, but there is some excess at the bust, which is to be expected because mine is an inch or so smaller than the smallest size of the pattern. I'm not really sure how I'm going to fix this. I could just bring in the top of the side seam a bit, or I could do a small bust adjustment.
Looking at the back I'm thinking that I perhaps have a bit of a swayback issue, which could be resolved by pinching out all of the excess on the pattern piece. The neckband is alright, but I wish I'd matched the stripe at the back!
I sewed it all up on my overlocker while I was home for the weekend, the hems are bondawebbed up, ready to be sewn in place. My overlocker is having issues at the moment. I spent a fair bit getting it fixed in the summer, and as soon as I got it back it wasn't right again, and so all the stitches on this are pulling apart, which is why there are white outlines on all of the seams. I mean, it's holding together but it's not ideal. Sew Essential have a big sale on at the moment and I'm eyeing up this one and this one. Do you have any recommendations?
Fit issues aside, I am very happy with this top. It's one of those items of clothing that you forget you are wearing, it's just that comfy to wear. Now I just need to find a big chunky cardigan to wear over the top, because it's getting chilly now.
Thanks very much for reading, to Sew Essential for the fabric and pattern and to Edward for taking the pictures!
Lauren xx

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Liberty Jumper

Hello all! When I came across this Liberty loop backed jersey on the Minerva Crafts website I knew at once that it would be coming home with me. It's fantastically soft, and the looped back makes it really warm to wear. It had to become a jumper. You can read all about the making process and have a peek at more of Ieuan's fabulous photos over at the Minerva blog now.
 Thanks for reading, to Ieuan for taking the photos and to Minerva for providing the kit for this make!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Zebra print shorts

Hello all! So this is funky shorts, round 2. You may recognise Harry from this post, and after seeing Ieuan's Leopard print shorts he immediately requested some of his own, in zebra print.
This is what he has to say about them: Zebra print is a strange one, it can be subtle and quirky, or completely outrageous, yet, if you walked into the lobby of The Savoy wearing a Zebra print 3-piece suit, you'd simply outclass the marble pillars and the mahogany counter tops. Better still you would humiliate all of the bankers in their boring navy Givenchy breakfast suits. Admittedly.. This piece isn't a fully clad zebra print 3-piece, it's better. Functional shorts with impressive credentials.
Out of /10
Comfort: 10
Design: They're zebra print... Obviously 10
All in all, these shorts are a classy way to show your athleticism but also passion for retro garms. The pink lining adds the cherry to the already perfect top of the cake.

HH - "I've worn over 2 different pairs of shorts." - 2016

Then, because the shorts are a pair, Ieuan joined in on the photoshoot.
The shorts themselves were actually a bit of a challenge. The fabric is this zebra print stretch satin from Minerva Crafts and I chose to line the shorts in a viscose jersey in hot pink for the softness next to the skin. This was a mistake. Cotton would have been perfectly sufficient. Putting the two fabrics together was a bit of a nightmare.
I tried to combat the stretch in the jersey by cutting the jersey pieces a little smaller so they would stretch to fit the satin pieces. It was a good concept, but I massively overcompensated and trimmed too much off. I managed to fudge it in the end, but it caused a bit of stress when it could have been avoided.
I used a stretch satin bias binding, again from Minerva and it behaved fairly well with top-stitching. There would have been less rippling if it was done by hand but the finish is acceptable.
I managed to get a really good finish when lining them, and to have no exposed seams makes me very happy. Matching headbands were made to complete the look.
A massive thanks to both Harry and Ieuan for being fantastic sports. Asking you both to get up at 10.30am to meander down to the park and strip down to your shorts is a big ask, and was much appreciated.
Thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Monday, 7 November 2016

Autumn Archer Shirt

Hello all! Today I have something to show you that’s a little bit of a departure from my usual style which I love very very much. I cut out a Grainline Archer shirt in this fabric last year before heading off to uni, after reading that we needed a shirt/smock to wear for dyeing. When mum saw what I was making, and for what purpose she cried for an intervention. I had inherited the fabric from her, you see and the fabric was too lovely to be covered in dye. So the project sat in the pile, with only the button bands and the pockets completed.
When I was choosing which fabrics and patterns to take back to uni this year I had a glance at my UFO pile and there all the pieces were. I had another look at the fabric and decided that I would in fact wear it in day to day life, so picked all the pieces up from the pile and took them with me.
The house that I reside in when I’m at uni is positively arctic at the moment and a warm snuggly shirt was just the thing. I picked up all the pieces where I left off and it took another 5 hours or so to get it finished. I did have some leftover fabric which I’m glad I brought with me because in all of the hustle and bustle I’d lost a collar piece and a cuff piece.
Words just can’t convey how soft this fabric is. I think it’s some kind of brushed cotton. The dark, moody colours are perfect for autumn. It sewed together with no fuss and pressed very easily as well. I’m really pleased with the fit. It’s the perfect amount of loose and oversized.
Back when I intended this shirt to be a smock-of-sorts I lengthened the pattern to make it more of a tunic. I’d hoped to wear it as a dress now, but it’s just that little bit too short. Also, I didn’t widen it at all past the hips, which in hindsight really needed to be done if I wanted to wear it without leggings.
I didn’t cut out a collar stand originally and I decided to just leave the undercollar as it was, for a mandarin type feel (also because I’d lost that particular pattern piece.) It looks alright I think, but ultimately the collar stand is there for a reason.
I ended up fastening the shirt with snaps, simply because I didn’t have any buttons. They were quick enough to sew in while watching a film and I enjoy ripping it off like they do in the movies.
This is actually my 4th Archer, but my first with sleeves. I’ll admit the placket scared me a tad, but actually when I had a look at the sewalong it was the same technique we learnt when making petticoats at uni last year. Simple! My sleeves are rolled up in these pictures because I ran out of time to sew in the cuff snaps because my brother was over for a visit and we nipped out after my first aid course to get some pictures before it got dark.
This is actually the only shirt in my wardrobe now, as I considered myself ‘not a shirt person’. Well, I was wrong, as I frequently am, and it turns out I love shirts. I’m looking for the perfect plaid print next.
Many thanks to you for reading and to Edward for taking photos and buying me chocolate mini bites from Waitrose. Much love.
Lauren xx

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Noelle / Lady Skater mash up

Hello all! I'm going to take you back in time to a Friday just a fortnight past. My uni was hosting an open mic that very evening and I had 'nothing to wear'. I had plenty to wear, but nothing just right. I wanted something kind of edgy but still very me, the fabric needed to be in my stash and I only had a few hours before lift off.
Luckily I had the perfect fabric in the stash. This was one of the fabric pieces I scored at Rosie's Instagram destash. I think the colour scheme is just fantastic. I only had 95cm x 95cm and I wanted a dress, so I had to be a bit creative with the design.
I used Madalynne's free Noelle bra pattern for the bodice portion of the dress. My only alterations to the pattern were to extend the side seams a bit to allow for less stretch in the scuba than the intended fabrics, and lengthened bottom band pieces to make it finish at the waist. I ended up taking all of the excess side room that I added back out again. The length was perfect though.
For the skirt I used the bottom half of the Lady Skater dress which I have used on countless occasions. It's fantastic for having a good amount of volume whilst also not taking up a lot of fabric.
Once I'd figured out how to get all of my pattern pieces onto my fabric it was a rollercoaster ride to the end. Almost. I finished the neckline and the armholes with elastic, which I then turned under and topstitched with a zigzag, just like how I would with a bra.
The clock was ticking and I only had the straps to go. It was there that I hit the snag in the proceedings. Scuba straps do not like being loop-turned. They just would not co-operate. I ended up having to unpick my loop, fold the raw edges around the elastic and topstitch. It was too late in the day for pins and so I regret to say that the width of each strap is drastically different. I went with the optimistic hope that everyone at the open mic would be too drunk to notice/care.
I had just enough time to slather some lipstick on and rush out of the door. Luckily scuba doesn't do hems.
Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking pics when he came down to visit!
Lauren xx

Friday, 21 October 2016

October Minerva make: Red, blue and stripes

Hello all! My latest Minerva make is a double whammy. I've been looking for the perfect navy and white striped knit for yonks and yonks and yonks, and as soon as I saw it on their Instagram I knew it would be included in one of my kits. Then I had to decide what I wanted to pair it with. In the end I decided to go classic red pleated skirt for that timeless silhouette.
You can read all about these makes over at Minerva.

Thanks very much to Minerva Crafts for the kit and to Lucy for taking the photos!
Lauren xx