Tuesday, 10 September 2013

....a Challenge!

oooooh excited, a challenge that I feel I might be able to take part in!!!
Stephanie at Starcross has organised A Year in Indie Patterns. Brilliant.

What a great idea; to sew any pattern from a chosen indie company each month.
A perfect way to support an independent retailer, possibly discover a  new company, a way to collect  reviews of your makes together in one place.

And best of all, there is no pressure to take part for all 12 months; its do as little or as many makes as you wish.
Yippee, I'm in!

I didn't know of the "Named" company that is the first on the list for the challenge. But love the classy contemporary patterns.
I've decided to go for the easy option and I've ordered the Blair Batwing Shirt, for a few reasons...

Firstly I own shirts that are similar to this so I know I will wear it if I actually manage to make it!
As a Newbie to sewing I wanted to make sure I could actually complete it by the end of September so I can contribute to the reviews.
Finally, my sewing machine is a 40 year old Bernina, so I am unsure how it will deal with stretchy fabrics; so this is an ideal make to test both it and myself.

Off to John Lewis to see if I can find some suitable material!!!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Anna Dress..... a sewing must!

So I've been Cyber-stalking around the sewing blogs for many months, and have been drooling over the myriad of summery dresses that  have been created this year.
Well I completely lost my heart the second I saw the Anna dress from By Hand London.

I first caught sight of this delight when Karen at Did you make that? showed her fab version of this dress. (Love this blog!!!)
I knew immediately that I must make this dress. I had been looking for a summer make that would be easy-wear for those sticky days in London, that could be considered both smart and casual. This pattern easily fulfils that brief and is also GORGEOUS. Not to mention easy to make, yippee.

Anyone considering buying this pattern? Just do it. Now. Right now.

So here it is..... My first ever dress. ( Drum Rollllllllllllllllllllllll)


This dress was so easy to put together, even for a novice like me. Okay I admit, I have been gleaning info from blogs, sewing books and stuff remembered from watching my Mum sew when I was young, but still a pain-free and FUN experience.
The instructions were clear and there were no fiddly moments. I also liked that it suggested the french seams, and the hidden zip. I gladly added the suggested french seams to the skirt, even with the seven panels it didn't take that long. However I confess to putting the zip in the bog-standard way.... I was just itching to finish the dress. As this is an informal version, I don't mind seeing the stitching too much, but I can see if it were a more formal version, that going the extra mile for the invisible look would be worth it.

I made a muslin of the bodice, and I'm pleased I did. I have very broad shoulders and a fairly long body. When I made up the muslin from an old bed sheet, I noticed that I wanted a little more length for the bodice to reach my waist safely, and also that I'd prefer a little more room for my arms so that reaching up high was comfortable.

I tried a couple of experiments with the muslin. (some more useful than others.... lets just say adding inches at above boob level definitely doesn't work!)
I settled on adding 3/8" to the shoulder seams on all the pattern pieces, not forgetting the facings; also adding an inch to the bodice bottom. I also lowered the finishing point of the bodice darts, ( the infamous straight 'Boobies' darts on the front) so they finished 1/2" lower than drawn.

I love it! Really comfortable and practical for sweaty days in town. 
I am already looking for a suitable fabric to make another one for the autumn.... I'm thinking a charcoal blue linen mix or something?

Well that was fast.....

Hmmm, so that went well then. Only two and a half years since I decided to set up a blog to push myself to sew something more than just curtains.
Well in the meantime; I got married, started two new jobs and yes, actually did finish painting the hallway. Super stressful, (not the hallway!) but still not really a good excuse for NOT sewing, especially when I read all the gorgeous and inspiring blogs full of multi-tasking genius'.

Yes I admit it; I may not have been industrious myself, but I certainly have spent many a happy coffee break at work avidly reading blogs.... completely blog-stalking; each page linking me onto yet another informative, funny or just plain classy read. I've been devouring tips and tricks just dreaming of getting stuck in myself. I've  also been collecting; not only beautiful vintage patterns, but also some  pant-wettingly gorgeous indie patterns that are just crying out to be made.

Well finally, I've pulled my finger out and can proudly say I am slowly making time to actually put needle to cloth.
IN another couple of months the show I have worked so hard on will have it's final audience, and although I will be then skint, I will have oodles of time to progress with my vintage pattern projects.

In the meantime, I'll be very contented practicing on a few of the really amazing patterns that are pretty well known on the blog circuit. An Anna Dress from By Hand London, (already completed- I love it!!!!) a Matilda Blouse from Tilly and the Buttons. (Also Love!!!!) and I have one of Tasia's gorgeous creations all the way from Vancouver, Sewaholic's Torfino trousers, which I am yet to try, but am really looking forward to making now the autumn is here.
I love how much love and attention to detail is given with these patterns. The instructions are always precise and easy for beginners like me to follow, and there are often online tutorials to go with them to help if you are attempting some new technique. How great to have such a supportive online community.

I'm going to grab some pictures of my Anna dress to post.... ( I'm sooooo excited I finished a whole dress!) but first I might have to spend five minutes cuddling with these two .