Scuba Zadie

Here it is! I’m so excited to finally be sharing my Zadie Dress with you! When Fabric Styles said they wanted to work with me, the latest from Tilly and the Buttons was the first on my list of suggestions because it’s perfect for trying different fabrics and swapping and changing them. 

Fabric Styles do some amazing prints; I used their Galaxy Print for my Moneta and I absolutely love it. There’s so many colours and the fabric was a dream to work with so I jumped at the chance of using more of their fabrics.

I chose this gorgeous black floral scuba with a plain black to make the contrast panels, I’ve never worked with scuba before and I wanted to try it as there’s so many vibrant colours and I like a challenge! 

The Zadie calls for jersey or Ponte fabrics but I figured scuba would work too. Thank God I was right! 

I’ve done a YouTube post on the Fabric Style’s channel about working with the fabric and how I found it. So check it out if you’re a scuba newbie like me (or even of you’re not!) Here’s a snippet of me chirruping away! 

In the interest of not being repetitive, I’ve written more about the actual construction here! 

I had a metre and a half of the floral fabric and a metre of the black which is what the pattern calls for and it fit perfectly. Though if you wanted to try the long sleeves, they’re quite big pieces so you would probably need another metre. 

There are some odd shapes going on in this pattern. If I was a real newbie I think it would have really confused me… It takes a bit of thinking about to make sure you’re cutting the right fabrics for the contrast you want. The PDF is a bit of a challenge too! 

I followed the Sewalong on the website. It is really comprehensive and I fully recommend using it if you make one. It makes it so so much easier! I tried to take my time. Even though it looks quite complex, it’s actually quite easy and a joy to sew because it’s so different. It comes together relatively quickly too, which suprised me. I think it’s because the fabric doesn’t fray. 

Coming along nicely

It was all coming along nicely until the neckline. The pattern says it has 10% ease and that you have to stretch it. I would argue that you probably need to make it a bit longer because I REALLY needed to stretch it to make it fit, which worked for Scuba but might look puckered in jerseys. You can see how much of a gap there was in matching up. 

I did mange to match it up though, using a lot of determination. It does make quite a nice neckline. Sadly, because I had to stretch it so much, the join of the neckline band moved and it’s now at the front of my dress, which is not ideal but I couldn’t unpick it all. I don’t think it would’ve taken the stretching again! 

If I was to make it again, I would probably make the neckband a little thinner too but that’s just personal preference. 

Another first for me was the raglan sleeves but they came together super easy too. If you know me, you’ll know I like a sleeve so the cap ones are a little short for my but I would have needed much more fabric for the long ones. Definitely next time! Speaking of next time, I think next time I need to cut it much smaller. I used my measurements and cut the size 8 (18/20) but it was massive. I had to take it in by 2 inches on both sides, which ruined the nice joins on the skirt pieces, which the tutorial says is the most tricky bit. Here’s how it looks before I had to alter it. 

It did once all line up, honest!

I was rather proud of myself but then I had to take it in, the size is so far out. If it was jersey I might have thought it has stretched but there isn’t enough stretch on the scuba to justify how big it was. I haven’t heard of anyone else having problems with it and I’m really not sure how it could be so off the mark. This is what I took off the sides . I then curved it in to my waist a little more too. 

I also had to take it in along the raglan sleeves at the back to take then neckline in. I still feel that it’s a little big but. I didn’t want to take it in too much in case the scuba got to clingy. 

The hem was also hugely long so I took about 4 inches off this; without this I would’ve looked very frumpy. 

So after many changes…  here she is. I wore this to Port Sunlight with my lovely hubby. If you don’t know it, it’s a lovely picturesque village, which was a purpose built village, which aimed to give workers of the Lever Brother’s factory quality houses to live it. It’s so beautiful. 

Pretty pleats 

We went in the Lady Lever Art Gallery too

I’m not sure I would rush to make this one again, it isn’t as flattering as I expected. Though she did grow on me throughout the day as I wore it, what do you think? 

 The scuba I would definitely use again though, I’m thinking of this nice green floral for a skirt for spring. If you want to hear more about the fabric check out YouTube here

Sewing Plans Bujo

I’m sure a lot of people know the feeling of having so many sewing plans running through your head, especially with all the inspiration flying around on this here internet. Without being psychoanalytic I think it’s good for me, it gives a focus outside of the busy world of work. However, sometimes my head feels a bit ‘buzzy’ with all my ideas and that can sometimes mean I get very little done. 

The very lively Sarah of Your Sew in Style suggested I got involved in a bit of bullet journalling, or bujo (a great name for it!) so I did… As I have so many sewing plans recently and not much in the way of finished items, I thought I would share with you. The ladies at The Fold Line have also written about it recently if you want to check it out. 

I bought this big blank book which I thought was very apt and purposely chose blank pages so I wasn’t restricted. I also opened a brand new Papermate Inkjoy Quarto which I use for work all the time to organise myself so I knew it would work here… I’m not sponsored or anything, I just really like the pens!! 

I’m by no means super neat or perfect but i didn’t want to restrict myself by trying to be super neat. It was more important to me that I could just throw my ideas on a page. 

I faced a blank page and just went for it, I nearly immediately felt better and less buzzy. It contains plans, patterns, to do lists, specific ideas and anything I want it to. I also include practical things like sizes, where the pattern and fabric is from and anything I need to get. I haven’t got a particular order really, I just know to start at the front.

It’s a great way to plan and it’s Crafty and gives my itchy fingers something to do in front of the TV (because I can’t spend all my time at my sewing machine!) I have lots of stickers and fun bits too! Imagine me very much like an excited child! 

I use a ruler to section it off and catagorise things together the way my head does!!

I’ve also been including little swatches of fabric which helps me see what I’m working on and inspires me. 

I started to write down any alterations I would make if made a pattern again but I’m also a big fan of being able to cross out or tick what I’m doing to I’ve started writing my alterations in another notepad.

Sorry for the stationary overload but this one is special because after seeing my sewing plan nightmares on instagram Sarah had a notebook sent to me (I told you she was lovely!) It was a big surprise and I’d already got myself in to gear and got one so I’ve been using this baby for my alterations so they are organised and don’t get lost. 

This, complete with my newly renovated sewing room (Easter holidays are the best) has made me feel super organised and ready to tackle it all!! 

More Separates Needed

Image result for BUTTERICK B5997

In my bid to make more separates I came across stash Butterick 5997, which was free with which was free with Sew My Style which, I featured in!!

The blouse I a loose fitting top with no closures and comes in sizes 8-16 and and though I usually take an 18-20 depending on the pattern I thought it would be OK as it has such a loose style. I was wrong. 

I chose to do view A. I had got this brilliant and unusual fabric from Rosie from DIY Couture in a destash on Instagram and literally cut it up straight away as I was immediately inspired. I had to really consider the pattern placement for this unusual fabric and I think I managed it quite well. 

The pattern came together really easily and my facing and neckline were super neat.  I think this really cemented to me that I’m improving at my facings and the trickier details. Though you will notice that I completely avoided the pintucks!

The collar came together an absolute treat and for someone who is clumsy and in no way good at anything fiddly, I am surprising myself at how much I am beginning to enjoy the preparation of tasks like this. There was a bit of hand sewing involved too, which is something else I am improving on, albeit reluctantly!

The sleeves are made using a little tab and by creating rather large cuffs, I think these were supposed to be folded on the outside but I couldn’t work out how to do it without the inside of the fabric being on show and looking rubbish. It has turned out more like a really big seam allowance with a cuff! 

I left it to hang for quite some time, I told myself it would then be easier to hem but in truth I was worried I would mess the hem up. I decided to do it by hand in the end and I think this was a good decision, it gave my much more control over the curved hemline. 

I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that I matched up the patterns within this blouse so easily. It is bang on, in the middle and I’m so pleased. I really think this shows how my understanding of the process of sewing is improving. 

You will notice I am not modelling this. It turned out to be too small. So… It is tradition when I make something that is too small for me that it is donated to my Mum or my Sister. In this case my Mum as the blouse is very well suited to her. In fact, it will probably look better in her than me. I usually don’t mind too much when this happens as it’s all experience and they are always happy to have garments I have made. I am definitely going to make this again because I still need more separates, especially as I keep giving them away! I want one for myself as it is such a relaxed style but obviously I will grade it up and do a FBA next time. Wish me luck! (I don’t want all my clothes to end up donated!) 

Heirloom Quilt 

Today’s post is a real labour of love. I decided about a month a go that I would make a quilt for my Mother-in-law’s 60th birthday. I thought that it would be a great idea to give an heirloom as part of a milestone birthday like that. Let me tell you, there is a reason that I stick to dressmaking. Phew, this one was tough! It was a little beyond my (and my sewing machine’s)  talents and much more time consuming than I realised but it’s done  and I hope I’m not shaming the Quilting world! 

I started off with some templates from Art of Quilting Magazine.  I started to get this when I thought that Quilting was going to be my thing and then realised it wasn’t so I don’t have the full collection but I have quite a few of them. So I took the 2 folders of patterns I did have and got to work cutting and creating. I worked through, cutting 2 or 3 of each block. I used 2 packs of fat quarters in pinks and greens and a couple of spare cotton pieces, including this Liberty Tana Lawn in Green called Oriental Floral Green. I also wanted to point out this one I bought called Utopia Dreamlandia Illuminated which is just brilliant! It took a whole weekend but I felt prepared. 

I then dutifully sewed them all together, using as much chain stitch as I could, but this confused me sometimes and I ended up with a few back to front pieces. Anyone who usually follows me will know that precise isn’t always my strong suit so some blocks aren’t perfect but as my husband continued to remind me, I was just being critical because it’s me who was making it. 

The Quilting magazine kind of haunts me as I don’t have to full set, it’s quite nice and has lots of articles on the history and mini projects but I couldn’t justify paying for it when I wasn’t enjoying it as much as dressmaking. It tells you all about the names of the blocks though, which I love; let me point out a few favourites of mine. 

Sail Boat
Road to Oklahoma

I pressed, snipped and created the posts in a contrast grey. I then placed it out BIG on the living room floor to decide on placement. I labelled it up and sewed them all together in lines, there was a few wonky moments but all in all it looked good. 

Now the tricky bit; the backing! I pressed and laid everything out, I used every safety pin I had to secure everything. I took it to my machine and it was soooo difficult! It was really heavy to deal with, it was sometimes catching and folding at the back, it was too big to go through my machine. I started to unpick some parts and do them again before realising I would literally do this forever. My machine handled it beautifully and I am quite literally proud of it, but it isn’t really big enough for all that quilt so my arms were aching so much from pushing all the quilt up and through!!  I had a MAJOR tantrum, where I dragged said quilt infront of my husband and sank to the floor saying it wasn’t going to get done and she would have to have another present. He immediately started Googling gifts (rude) and mentioned something about a Yankee candle and this brought me out of my paddy somewhat and I returned with new determination. 

In the end I just went with it, it did bunch up a little in places at the back but once it was all done, it seemed to look OK. I just stuck to working round the squares and it worked out fine. I then did the binding. I machine sewed it to the front and then to avoid anything else going wrong I decided to handstitch it together… The day before. It began as a rather relaxing process and finished as a manic race to the finish. Last thing that night on went the label and Phew, she was done. 

It’s a little wonky, not quite perfect and I’m not even trying to compare it to all the amazing Quilts I see on instagram but I still think it’s lovely and I’m rather proud to give it to her as a gift made with lots of love (and swearing) She was absolutely made up! I was so glad to give her something that was so heartfelt and that I had worked so hard on, and, of course, no one pointed out any wonky bits! She’s great to me and we’ll worth it. 

We tried to take some pictures of the full quilt in the garden and ended up not really being tall enough!! I hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend x

A Selfish Craft Swap 

I’m writing a blog post with a bit of a twist today. If you’ve seen the pictures, you’ll soon realise that this isn’t fabric or dressmaking (though I couldn’t resist running up a quick skirt!) but an amazing item which I have no talent to make at all! 

It came about when Charlotte of Chasjos asked if anyone would like to do an exchange and swap something she had made, in this case this beautiful handmade wooden mermaid pendant,  for something others can make. I signed up straight away, I love schemes like this and it’s one of the unexpected perks I have found within the crafting /sewing / blogging community. 

Because I have so much on at the minute,  I promised I would make Charlotte something in a month or so and get involved but she was happy to send me the pendant anyway (which is very trusting and kind). 

She makes all sorts of wooden, hand painted pendants like this. She also made this AMAZING one for her sister-in-law, which I’m sure she wouldn’t mind me sharing. 

I don’t follow many blogs which aren’t sewing related but Charlotte’s really caught my eye because the pendants she makes are so beautiful and because she writes in both French and English,  which I think is an amazing skill in itself.

Most of us know what the happy post feeling is like, but this one was super exciting. It was in a gorgeous package and made my day. She included a little note too and I love details like this. 

I would never be able to make anything like this and you see handmade wooden items likes this selling for lots of Etsy, which is what makes a craft swap like this so brilliant. I have something that is genuinely unique and I haven’t bought it! 

I’m making Charlotte a Moneta dress in return (surprise surprise) as she really liked my previous Moneta makes. Plus it’s a pattern with a bit of stretch so it’s a bit easier to fit from France! I will send it to her as soon as I’m done… Here’s the current progress to show my dedication to the project. 

Back to the pendant, which I wore to my Mother-in-law’s 60th birthday meal. I wanted to show it in all it’s glory so apologies for the posey pictures but look at it! Isn’t my little mermaid lovely?! 

It’s so detailed and well thought out, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I think it’s fabulous and I love it! I am so grateful to Charlotte and so pleased I said I would join in. I love this crafting community! 

As for the skirt…. I knew I wanted to wear a black top so of you follow me on instagram you will know that I decided I wanted a skirt that day. So I took this gorgeous vintage fabric I bought on my visit to the Village Tea Room and Emporium in Northumberland and just went with it… I love school holidays! 

I cut it in half, curved the edges in to a skirt shape. Sewed it as a square (ish) and threaded elastic through the waistband (just a double fold at the top of the fabric!). I stitched the elastic in place so nearly all the gather was at the back and added to small pleats down the front. I then sewed bias to the bottom, which is the straightest and neatest I’ve ever done! I was really pleased with it and glad I made the decision to go for it. 

My mother-in-law, in the meantime,  was made up with her Quilt. More on that on Friday. 

Hi, I’m Emma and I’m addicted to the Moneta 

It’s an absolute addiction this Moneta situation and I fear it is getting out of hand. I have abandoned all other patterns and replaced my sewing with Monetas! Why wouldn’t I when they are this cool!  I love it so much that I have been making them for other people to share the joy… Not before I’ve  rustled another up for myself though! 

This is mine, in this lovely purple/grey jersey from The Textile Centre.  I stuck with version 3; no arms on show here! It whizzes together in no time. Though, it would’ve been even quicker if I didn’t mess the neckline up. It stretched out as I sewed and ended up looking a bit of a mess. I tried to unpick it but I was making holes, so I cut along the stitch line and added a neckline, which I’m getting quite good at since I did one for this dress. Any tips on not stretching it out though? Also, does anyone else find the Moneta neckline can be a little too wide? Not to insult my new fave dress pattern!!. 

I’m not very good at making garments in just one colour so I’m glad I have. I also used the scraps for this to put together this little t-shirt for my niece, it’s a Jasmine Top, which is a free pattern you can get from Petit Boo on Craftsy. It doesn’t have separate sleeves so it comes together really quickly. Though it’s a bit wonky in places, I’m still get used to jersey and this is super stretchy. 

I embroidered a row of little flowers too, just to add detail. It’s so cute! 

Anyway, on to dress two. I promised my friend Sam that I would make her a dress for her 30th birthday. She asked for blue and after seeing my pictures, asked me to lower the neckline. She’s the birthday girl so that’s what I did. It’s made using this really cool jersey scuba (much stretchier than normal scuba) that I also got the The Textile Centre. It has these dimples on it which makes it look a bit different. I think it’s really cool. 

This one came together really easily as the scuba is so stable and I’m getting to be a bit of a pro at them now! I left the pockets out too as I though it would be too bulky. I decided to use the scraps to make another for me but only had enough to make the top half.. Which I shall save until I have jersey to match it! More on that when I get round to it. 

Thirdly… I am making a final version for the lovely Charlotte from ChasJos as we are doing a craft swap, more pictures soon and details of what we’re up to. This is my progress so far… 

I’m quite excited about this swap so I’ll be creating a special blog post all about it! I’ve had my swap item and it’s amazing so watch out for my blog post next week! 

Just as an addition, I’m going to join Me Made May this year so here is my pledge… Hem hem… 

 ‘I, Emma of @emmaandhermachine  sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear a me made garment each day for the duration of May 2017 in hope of identifying the gaps in my me made work wardrobe, in particular.’

I feel this is a much needed step to encourage me to make more practical garments and not those which hang in the wardrobe waiting for wedding invites!! Sign Up Here to make your pledge! 

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