Saturday, 22 April 2017

Whale Print Cleo

Hello all! This is my second Tilly and the Buttons Cleo and my April Minerva Make! I saw this striped whale embroidered seersucker on the Minerva website and thought it would make the perfect whimsical pinafore dress. You can read all about the making process here.
Thank you very much for reading, to Edward for dragging his camera around Nottingham so we could take some pictures and to Minerva Crafts for supplying the materials in this project.
Lauren xx

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Floral Cleo Pinafore

Hello all! So it appears that I have jumped upon the pinafore bandwagon and I'm not even sorry. In regards to trends I love to hate them while they are in fashion, and as they are being pushed out the back door my brain has just started to come around to the idea. However, all of the pinafores I have seen look really quite comfy, and I was intrigued to try a new, less fitted silhouette than I am used to. When deciding on my next few Minerva makes I thought it was time to experiment and I included the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo pattern in one of my kits. This version is a test run.
The pattern took no time to cut out at all with only 5 pieces (excluding pockets). I cut the front and back pieces on the fold, because the seam was a straight line and I didn't want to disrupt the print. This made the sewing process even faster.
 Construction was pretty quick and straightforward. I under-stitched as much of the facing as I could to make the topstitching easier. I left off the pocket, but I might add one later. I'm not sure it needs it with the busy print though. The mini length was pretty short on me so I zigzagged along the raw edge and turned it up 5/8inch and topstitched it into place.
 I didn't make any adjustments to the fit at all. It looked alright to me, but I'm not really sure how a pinafore is supposed to fit. It's definitely not the most flattering view from the side, but I wonder if that is just the bulk of the jumper?

All in all, this Cleo was a very good experiment. I look forward to wearing variations on a crop top with it as the weather gets warmer.
Thanks for reading, to Edward for taking the photos and to Minerva Crafts for the pattern!
Lauren xx

Friday, 17 March 2017

Cropped Clare Jacket Hack

Hello all! Today’s Minerva Make is quite an interesting one, if I do say so myself. When I saw this fur backed suede fabric online I thought it would make a perfect cropped jacket. It would be super cosy and I wouldn’t even need to line it, because the fur is there already! Easy peasy. As with all projects, it ended up being a little more complicated than I first thought, but I worked on this project in short bursts of time over a couple of days which give me time to think the next step through. I started with HeatherLou of Closet Case Patterns’ Clare Coat as this jacket was inspired by her version with an exposed zip. You can read all about the making process at the Minerva Crafts blog here.

Thanks for reading, to Minerva Crafts providing all the supplies used for this make and to MK for taking photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 5 March 2017

4 years of blogging!

Hello all! The anniversary of my blog was at the end of February and I wanted to stand back a bit and have a look at what I have achieved in the last year, and how far I have come in the last four years. My first blog post was an apron made out of a tea towel, and four years later I struggle to think of a garment I haven't made.  In the last year and a bit I have made over 50 pieces of clothing with a success rate of around 63% (which means that over half of those makes still get worn).

This year was all about the dinosaur fabric. I made pajamas for me and boxers, pants, t-shirts and a vest top for various other people.
A personal highlight in the year for me was writing, staging and performing in a musical and I loved making a massive new romantic style shirt for that. It was then that I learnt how much a piece of clothing can make you stand a little taller and your swagger a little more pronounced.
In terms of my most worn makes this year my scuba Noelle dress has been worn practically every single week since I made it. I love it for going out on a Friday night, but I also love layering long sleeved t-shirts under it for daywear.
My black top that I made to go with my elephant dress has been worn constantly since I made it a few weeks ago. I should have predicted this, because it goes with everything and it's super warm and cosy.
My last favourite of the year is my strappy back dress. Again, I can't wait until the weather warms up a bit so I can wear it again. The fabric, colour scheme and the fit of this dress just make me happy.
My most popular blog post of the year, and in fact ever is my Summer Ball Dress, which is incredibly ironic because I really wasn't happy with it at all. In fact, it got completely taken apart and is sitting on my dress form in a completely new guise.
My chambray jumpsuit was a firm favourite for warmer weather in the past year and I can't wait to put it back into rotation when the weather starts to warm up a bit. I was dreaming about a stripy version just the other day. This is one of the makes that I am most proud of this year. It looks like such a simple garment, and essentially it is, but I had problem after problem after problem in the making of this jumpsuit. I could easily have just given up and let it sit in the corner for eternity, but I didn't and now it's one of my favourite makes. Perseverance is key!
The other make that I'm the most proud of is my Kelly Anorak. The fabric was disgusting to work with, and there were some quite complicated techniques in there but I gave it a shot and I did it. Admittedly there was some swearing, but it got finished and I'm so proud of it.
I feel that the blog has really upped its game in terms of photos in the last year. I have worked with some fantastic photographers, including Lucy and my brother Edward and it makes me so happy to see my clothes done justice in photo form. I also want to say thank you to the less enthusiastic photographers who get kidnapped in the middle of their lunch break to take pictures of me posing in front of some kind of shrubbery. My favourite photoshoot is the one of my tutu for sure. Somehow, there's just so much atmosphere in it.
The photos of my Sophie swimsuit also deserve a mention, purely because of the amount of fun I had taking them, and the involvement of the inflatables. I also love my hair in this shoot.
I also love the stripy top and red skirt photos. Very idyllic and painting-like.
What have I learnt this year? I've learnt that there are ups and downs. Successes and failures. Some failures can be made into successes. In a way each failure can be called a success because of what has been learnt from it.
Thank you so much to all of you that read my blog. I really am much obliged, and I hope that you will stick around for another year.
Lauren xx

Friday, 17 February 2017

Elephant Dress and Black Polo Neck

Hello all! For this months Minerva Make I wanted to use this fantastic elephant print jersey fabric. I then decided to make a black polo neck which would make a great layering piece for winter. You can see more photos and read about the making process here.
Thanks to Minerva Crafts for all of the supplies and to MK for taking photos and to Grace for directing.
Lauren xx

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A bra! Madalynne x Simplicity 8228

Hello all! A bit of a departure from the usual today, but when I saw New Craft House offering bra kits I wanted in. I sent a cheeky link to my Mum and 'lo and behold it turned up in my birthday present pile.
I was a bit smaller than the smallest size so I cut out a trial band to quickly check that all was okay. The fit seemed alright so I went ahead and cut everything out. I only just had enough lace, and definitely not enough to recut anything so just had to pray that I didn't have to. The powermesh was disgusting to cut with shears, and would have been a smoother process with a rotary cutter.

 Luckily the only adjustment I needed to make was to take in the band a bit at the back which was easy to do. I might take the halterneck in a tiny bit at the back for a little more lift and support.
 In the instructions I couldn't see any elastic joining the powermesh to the elastic at the bottom of the bridge, but I thought it would be worth doing, so did that anyway. I didn't add the channelling because I wasn't quite sure what purpose it served and instead pressed the seam allowances up into the cup and whipstitched them into place. I didn't topstitch the seam allowances down in the cups because I was anticipating having to alter them but they seemed alright so I whipstitched those down as well.
All in all, I'm very pleased with my first attempt at a 'real bra'. It was quite a quick sew and a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday evening. Please don't hesitate to give me any tips or advice because I'm very new to this side of clothes-making. In retrospect a darker coloured lace would have worked with my skin tone better, but the pale pink works very well as a neutral.
Thanks very much for reading and to Rachel for taking photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Metallic circle skirt

Hello all! My lovely friend MK gifted me this silver fabric for my birthday last month. It took a bit of umming and arring to decided what I wanted to do with it because it's very delicate. If stretched it ladders instantly.
I decided to go for a gathered circle skirt, which is a fairly simple make, and doesn't require any stretch. I used the circle skirt calculator from By Hand London to see what the biggest radius I could get was, while maintaining the length. Ideally, it would be a bit fuller at the waist and a tad longer but I'm quite happy with the gathers I did get.
The fabric was stabilised at the waistband with waistband interfacing and I put in an invisible zip in right to the top of the waistband. A light grey zip would have ideally been better than the black but it's what I had 'in stock'. After the zip was installed the skirt was somehow too big, so I pinched the room equally out of each side, sewing down the width of the waistband.
Then all that was left to do was the hemming! When I cut out the circle skirt the fabric was a nightmare, I couldn't get 2 layers to sit flat on top of one another at all. In the end I ended up cutting out just the circle for the waist and a centre back seam, then trimming the hem on a single layer after it was left to hang for a few days.
The fabric is very thin, and very static. You can see below the hem of my top forming a ridge. Perhaps a half slip would sort this out, or pairing it with a bodysuit would work fabulously.
The original plan was to add a bodice to the skirt, but everything I draped was just silver overload so I left it as it was. I wanted to wear it out on Friday night but everything I tried on with it just looked wrong! I do quite like it paired with this black polo-neck though for a more casual look. I'm intrigued to see how well the skirt would pair with a sheer white button-down shirt, but I don't own one of those at present so will have to keep a look out for the right fabric. All in all, it's very snazzy and I love it.
 Thanks very much for reading and to Rachel for taking the photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Minerva Makes: Metallic top and scuba leggings

Hello all! My latest project has a little of the party and a little of the practical about it. As a student I find myself 'going out' at the weekends to various pubs, bars and clubs with slightly nicer than normal dress codes. There isn't really anything in my wardrobe that I feel quite fits the bill, and I thought that this metallic fabric would fit the bill perfectly. You can read all about the making process here.
Thanks for reading, to Minerva for the kits for this outfit and to Edward for taking the photos!
Lauren xx

Monday, 23 January 2017

Batwing top patten hack, Sew Style, Essentials bookazine feature

 Hello all! Today I'm excited to share that I was in Sew Style's latest bookazine with a pattern hack. I started off with  Kwik Sew 3720 as a base pattern which is a basic batwing top.
I decided to really go for gold with the hacking and chop the pattern off at the waist, add a circle skirt and raise the batwing sleeves slightly. I'm really pleased with the resulting dress and I really think it demonstrates how versatile you can be with  a basic pattern.
The fabric is from Minerva Crafts and although I didn't think it was very me when it arrived, it's really grown on me. Plus, it's really soft and cosy to wear.
When I chopped the bottom of the bodice off, I failed to take into account the weight of the skirt, so next time I'd shorten it a bit in anticipation of that. I also didn't anticipate the fact that the elastic would stretch out when I sewed it to cinch in the waist, so next time I'd either cut the elastic shorter or make a channel with it to run through, instead of sewing it directly to the fabric.
I really like the length of the sleeves, although they are a tad impractical. At the time I cut the skirt as long as was possible, and I'm undecided on whether to shorten it or not.
Thank you very much for reading, to Sew Style for letting me feature in their bookazine and to Edward for taking photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Lark sweatshirt

Hello all! Today I have another Lark to share with you. You may think that you have seen this fabric before, and you would be correct. Dad went into the local fabric shop just before Christmas and bought me the same fabric that he did for Christmas last year! I made a pair of trousers from last years fabric, but they never got a lot of wear, so I was glad of another chance to do this fabric justice.
I decided to make a Lark, cropped sweatshirt style with cuffs and a bottom band ending at the waist. The fabric is a woven with a weird amount of lengthways stretch, as opposed to the traditional horizontal stretch and perhaps I was a little optimistic that the lengthways stretch would be enough to make the Lark tee.
It turned out alright I think, for the gamble I took. The sleeves are a bit short and a bit tight, and the band around the waist is just a little too short for these jeans. It might be worth just quickly sewing a smaller seam allowance on the sleeve and ripping off the band and adding a slightly longer one.
I do really like this jumper and I think it would be worth doing the alterations to make sure it gets worn. I can see myself wearing a black shirt with it and I love it with black jeans.
Thanks for reading and to Edward for taking photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 8 January 2017


Hello and a very Happy New Year to you all! Research was part of my dancewear module at uni and I couldn't help but want a tutu after seeing all of the gorgeous ones in my studies. I decided that the romantic tutu's are my favourite. They were popular in the romantic era, hence their name and were cut just above the ankle so that the dancers footwork could be admired.
Luckily my friends were having a fancy dress party for their birthday so I could make my ballerina dream a reality! If I was to make a romantic tutu properly it would be attached to a basque but I wanted mine to wear over the leotard I made last year so I simplified the process a lot.
I ordered 2 metres of tulle from eBay hoping that with a long width there would be enough fabric. This was then cut into 3 equal pieces and sewn into 3 tubes with an opening left at the top of each seam so I could get it on. These tubes were then gathered to my waist measurement and sewn onto a bleached calico waistband which is fastened with a giant snap.
I wasn't at all happy with the fit of the leotard so I made a few drastic alterations. The first was to cut a straight line at the neckline, cutting off the straps which always dug into my arms. The neckline was looking a bit baggy so I zigzagged a piece of foldover elastic down the wrong side of the centre front to ruche it a bit, which I think looks great.
I curved the underarm seam down into the back and used foldover elastic for the straps. The result is a lot more comfortable than the original. Don't look at the finishing on the inside though. That leaves a lot to be desired.
I was really quite happy with the overall effect for the party, but there really aren't enough layers of tulle to make a proper impact. One day I'd like to add at least another 3, or maybe scrap the waistband and do it all properly. It is very hard to find  information on making a proper romantic tutu though. All the tutorials are fashion based because it seems that tutus were all the rage a few years back.
It was very fun to wear, I must admit. An outfit such as this really requires a person to float around with shoulders back!
Thanks for reading, to Beth for letting me borrow her dance tights, to MK for the fabulous party and to Edward for letting me drag him to the woods for photos.
Lauren xx