Saturday, 30 April 2016

The Malvarosa

This fabric has been in my stash for a while now and I was beginning to think that it was a mistake. After I bought the Malvorosa pattern by Pauline Alice, I thought that I'd use the fabric so that if it was a total disaster I wouldn't be too sad!

But it turns out I love it!

I love the front pocket detail and the shape of the sleeves which are all part of the no sleeves to insert!

The dress has a relaxed fit which meant that there were no fitting issues to deal with and best of all you just pull it on so there's no need to insert an invisible zip! It's a fantastic dress for a beginner or for a quick sew at the weekend!

The instructions were easy to follow, the only part which wasn't quite right were the instructions for finishing off the insides which would be great if you were zip-zag stitching on a machine but aren't in the correct order for using a serger.
I'm planning on making another but hacking the pattern slightly to create a dipped hem at the back then line the peplum detail with a flash of colour to add a bit of drama.

Happy stitching x

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Swooing for The Merchant and Mills Camber!

I love this dress so much that for the first time ever I made two straight after each other! They are in constant rotation in my wardrobe and I love both of them for their absolute simplicity.

Each dress took only a couple of hours to make and was very simple to construct. There is a gorgeous yoke detail which finishes the inside beautifully.

Fit wise, Merchant and Mills are supposed to be relaxed and baggy. But I find that making the size they recommend is too baggy so I always size down from what they recommend and so far it's worked well for fitting.

The first Camber was made in a brushed cotton from Walthamstow market. The brushed cotton is incredibly cosy, it's like wearing a hug and has got me through a fair few Monday morning blues!

Here is a close up of the fabric
My second Camber is made of Liberty corduroy bought from Goldhawk Road. I've affectionately called this my 'sofa dress'!
It doesn't fall quite a nicely as the brushed cotton dress as the fabric isn't as heavy but I still like how it looks.
I only had a meter of the Liberty fabric which meant I didn't have enough fabric for the inside yoke so instead I used a plain piece of black cotton I had. Because of this I decided to finish the hems with black bias binding to pull it all together.
The Camber is definitely one of my favourite day dress patterns and I can feel a few more coming on! Happy stitching x

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Felicity Hall Peacock Clutch Bag

I enjoy needlepoint projects and have created quite a few 'contemporary' designs over the past few years. This one has by far been my longest, slowest project, taking me about 15 months from start to finish!

It is designed by Felicity Hall which you can buy online or from Liberty. The clutch bag is sold as a kit and comes with a printed canvas, tapestry wool, needle, clutch bag frame and instructions for how to put it together. I think it was working with the printed canvas which made me reluctant to complete it. I kept deliberating over which colour each stitch was. I definitely find it easier to be accurate when counting rather than following a printed canvas.

The final stitch!
Needlepoint projects tend to pull to one side which means that they need blocking. First I moistened the project by spraying it with water. This makes the canvas more malleable so you can begin pulling it into a more regular shape. I then used a staple gun to attach the project to a piece of ply board (all the time using a sewing ruler to check that the angles are all right angles) and left it to dry.
It blocked the canvas four times before I was happy with the angles.
The project comes with instructions for how to turn the canvas into a beautiful clutch bag. I however appeared to have lost them! After a bit of experimentation I figured out how to line the clutch bag so that it could be attached to the frame.

The bag itself is attached with glue which made me nervous as I was scared I would get glue on the bag. I did get some glue on it but luckily I managed to pick it off!

So here she is...

And here is her lining...
I couldn't get the bag to sit accurately enough in the frame at the opening corners so I had to stich it in using some metallic thread. It's not too noticeable is it?
Overall, I'm really pleased with the bag! Any ideas for another needlepoint project?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Named Pattern Loudes

I was really excited to start making the Named Pattern Lourdes as it was my first proper step into outerwear. I made it in a polka dot wool which was bought from Walthamstow market from the man outside Sainsbury's and lined it in a cotton from Backstitch.

Sadly, I made a humongous error before I had even made one stitch. I measured myself using the guidelines on the pattern then decided to completely ignore the sizing and make the size up! I'd like to say that it was my first time making this error, but it's far from it.

To combat the sizing issue I had to take it apart when it was near completion. I heavily increased the size of the inverted pleat at the back and reduced the size of the arms and side seams. All of this resulted in a completely different shape to the jacket than the original design. It's not that I don't like the flared shape but I still can't shake the feeling that it's just not right!

The instructions were comprehensive the whole way through and made the construction straight forward and easier than I anticipated.

The fabric I used was reversible so I used the purple side for the facing which I think adds a nice touch to the inside.

I love the detail on the back of the's so pretty!

My machine couldn't make the button holes as the fabric was too thick. I borrowed my mum's machine for the job which is a slightly better model but it still struggled and they're far from perfect up close. The buttons are a gold/bronze colour and were purchased from John Lewis. I wasn't sure about them when I sewed them on but they're growing on me.

All in all I'm pleased with it but I definitely see it as a wearable toile and I will certainly be making another.

Happy sewing x

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Fabric shopping in Walthamstow

This week is my Easter holiday and I thought it would be nice to kick start it with a bit of fabric shopping at Walthamstow Market. I buy fabric from lots of different places but quite a large amount comes from Walthmstow.

The market is located in North London, there is a tube station about a 5 minute walk from the market itself so it's not too difficult to get to if you're North of London. It really is worth a visit as the market is an absolute treasure trove of fabric which is all priced amazingly! It's rare to pay over £5 a meter with most fabric approximately £2.50 a meter.

Walthamsow market has a large number of stalls and shops which sell a range of fabric. There is a man outside Sainsburys and a lady slightly further down (Maynards Fabrics) who are definitely the highlight of the market. If you choose to visit it's worth coming with an open mind. It's not the place to go if you are looking for something specific but it is particularly good for drapey fabrics and wools. There are also a couple of haberdasheries which are very good value for zips.

This is my haul from the market...

First of all is this rather beautiful sand washed silk which I intend to make a Named pattern Inari tee dress. It's much darker in real life and has a gorgeous drape to it.
I also bought this rather gorgeous cotton lawn with a repeating floral pattern which I think I will use for a top of some sorts.
Next up are a couple of rayon/cotton mixes which I haven't quite decided what to do with yet! Any ideas?
I also bought a couple more drapey fabrics but I'm not too sure what they're made of.
I also picked up a couple of pieces of sweatshirt fabric to make a few more Lindens. I would like to free motion embroider on one if I can manage to get my machine to play along!
Last of all I am absolutely in love with the next fabric which I think I will make into a top with a yoke top and a bottom lined with a grey fabric.
As you can imagine, by stash is now bulging! If you do go to Walthamstow market I hope that you have a fabulous time! Also any suggestions for any of the fabrics I have bought will be welcomely received! Happy sewing x