Sade Blouse

Hi everyone,

This is my first make of the book that everyone is talking about, that is, of course, Breaking the Pattern by Named Clothing! I wanted to leisurely look through it and carefully select a project, however, I got immediately distracted by the first pattern I came to, which was the Sade Blouse. I got the book for Christmas, from my lovely brother and I did some research on the patterns. There are so many amazing versions already and if you are thinking about buying the book, DO IT! You will not be disappointed!

Anyway, The Sade Blouse is designed to have open sleeves and an open back with ties at the hems. It is obviously made for drape fabric and I dug out this gorgeous mandala style print that I got last year from My Fabrics. I carefully traced the pattern, I could tell from researching it that the blouse came quite short so I added 3 cm to the length. I think I would add even more If I made it again. I also completed a full bust allowance change to the front pattern piece, something I am so glad I took the time to do with this pattern. I thought that I might be outsized by the book but the biggest size does it for me as long as I FBA it would seem. 🙂 The pattern pieces are quite large and because they overlap, it uses quite a bit of fabric. I had a metre and a half of wide fabric and JUST fit it on.

It is a satisfying make, in that you prepare all the pattern pieces first, completing 1 cm hems on all the edges of the pattern pieces, then you tack these pieces together and complete the top as normal. It takes quite a bit of concentration not to twist pieces or get confused. I felt like I had lots of bits going on. The sleeves are inserted on the flat and then it is all sewn together with large hems for the sleeves and the hem. The neckline is finished with bias binding, which is a winner for me, as I am not a facing fan.

I finished my sleeves with black ribbon but chose to omit the tie from the bottom hem, as I didn’t think the shape would be flattering. If I make it again I would lengthen it further and would still omit the bottom tie. I have seen some makers use elastic in the sleeve hems and I think that’s a great idea!

I hope you like it and if you have the book – enjoy!

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Buzzing about my Kalle Shirt

Not to sound like a broken record… but life is busy at the minute. I am determined that my blog will continue through all the business as it is my little bit of me. It does mean that I’m getting behind and I’m not able to keep up with the sewing challenges the same as I usually would… so on that note I give you Sew My Style’s March entry… in April!

The Kalle shirt dress is one of the reasons I wanted to try the Sew My Style challenge because I had my eye on the pattern anyway.

I wasn’t sure on the sizing as I have never made a Closet Case Pattern before so I decided to toile it first. I chose a denim look linen which I got from Sew Sew Sew last year. There are so many pieces to cut out for the Kalle, which is one of the reasons I took so long to make it. I thought putting together the PDF was never going to end! Anyway, once I had my million pieces, I chose the pop over placket and tunic length (it’s great that there’s so many variations). I’ll share my toile soon as I’m waiting on some poppers to finish it! My toile was a success so I decided to use the beautiful Kokka Trefle Bee Cotton Gauze I bought last year.

For this I chose the button front and the tunic length but I changed it a little. I’m not a facings lover at all so when I saw that it had facings for the hem (literally never seen anything like those before) I promptly completely ignored them. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get around it but in the end I overlocked the bottom and turn it over once. I find this is a really successful way of hemming curves and it looks really neat. It worked really well on my toile so I repeated it on my second version and even hacked it so I could have a high low hem.

Anyway, here she is, I’m really happy with the fit. The instructions were great! I’m happy with it and the buttons were from my stash; it’s amazing what a perfect match they are. The length is maybe a little short at the front but I love it!

Perfect buttons!

She has not disappointed AND… I think I have FINALLY found my ultimate go-to blouse pattern after I have made soooo many in my search for the one! Did I mention, I love it! See you soon with another!

Simple Sew Pussy-bow Blouse

Well, I think I may have found it – it has taken several  blouse making attempts (here, here and here, to name a few!) and a lot of frustration but I appear to have actually made a blouse which has the perfect fit!

It is the simple Sew Pussy-bow dress and blouse and I’ve had it cut out since before summer. I had a bit of a to-do pile sort out and brought this to the top and I’m so glad that I did!

The pattern is (as the name suggests) really simple. The instructions are minimalist and when I was first learning, I couldn’t really access the Simple Sew patterns for that reason but I find them really easy and convenient to follow now! It has several darts, at the front and the back, which lend for a really nice shape. There’s no pulling across the chest and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all.

After making New Look 6471 recently and having huge problems with the neckline, I found the way that the neckline comes together really clever. You sew it all right sides together and then turn it out on itself through a hole in the back of the neckline which you then hand stitch shut. It makes for a really easy way to do it.

The pattern calls for a side zip insertion, which I’m definitely getting better at (still to master that invisible zip though)

And… that’s it. I chose this fabric especially from my local market and although I’m not much of a pink person, I just thought it was really cheerful and i’m really pleased with it. I’m thinking a nice, simple black version would look really chic for my next attempt at this! It’s a dress too so I might even make that version.

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Sewing the Scene

Just when I was in a post Indie Pattern Month dip, in which I won amazing prizes for my dress and my wanted Tee and Culottes combination, I noticed the #sewingthescene challenge which Jo at The Unfinished Seamstress has organised. I talked about all the challenges in my last vlog post

The idea behind the challenge is that you copy an outfit to be worn every day (not a costume) based on an outfit you have seen in a film or TV programme. There are prizes in three categories.

I have found this ridiculously inspiring. I’ve been scouring the Internet and pinterest (see my film outfit inspiration board here if you’re interested). My original thoughts were from the following:

But in my searching I got over these ideas a little bit and was lusting over the amazing outfits that Louisa wears in Me Before You.

I’m sure lots of people are using this character as inspiration but I couldn’t resist! I decided on this deceptively simple blouse and skirt combination. I’m quite keen to hone my shirt making skills so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Plus, it’s practical, I could easily wear both items separately and without the tights of course! I’m also obviously hoping that I will look like her when I’m done…

 I had a rummage through my pattern stash for something which would fit the bill for the blouse and found Simplicity 6232 which I had used to make my brother a shirt last Christmas  so I had never used the female version. I cut it out and used a white cotton from my stash (this challenge was getting better and better – I hadn’t spent anything at this point!)

I tried really hard to be super precise in my cutting and as I was constructing it, everything came together really easily. I find with some garments, I don’t have to follow the instructions too much now, but I followed this to the letter and it seemed to pay off, I’ve got neat plackets and cuffs anyway (sewing win!)

Trying to stay true to Louisa’s outfit I went against my inner embellisher and kept it plain white, but I couldn’t resist throwing in a contrast yoke! I used this lovely bird print which was in my stash, which reminds me of a China cup.

Anyway, the shirt doesn’t have any buttons showing along the placket and I wasn’t sure how I could replicate this so I got out my trusty popper gadget and I inserted poppers along the inside of the placket before I attached it so that they couldn’t be seen on the outside. Then, once I had finished the shirt I inserted the poppers for the other side.

I’m going to try this blouse again with some funky iron-on embellishments like this shirt I saw somewhere online on a website called Shein…. So cheap I don’t trust it but still a good shirt! 

For the skirt – I looked around to try and source a fabric for the skirt which would lend itself to big deep pleats, like in the picture. I couldn’t find anything which stood out so I reverted to an indigo cotton. I self-drafted a skirt and used lots of fabric to insert big box pleats. The fabric isn’t the same blue as in the picture sadly but I like it.

All that was left to do was dig out my black and yellow tights and I had my Sewing the Scene outfit.

Trying to get yellow tights shot!

Are you planning on joining this challenge? Even if you aren’t, I definitely recommend using film and TV wardrobes for inspiration. There’s  so much out there! Thanks so much to Jo for organising!

Introducing, not one but two… Riviera Ruffle Blouses

I am so so excited and proud to announce that I have been asked to be a brand ambassador for Rebecca Page! Rebecca makes amazing PDF patterns for children and women. Sizing for women goes right from XXS to 5XL and are usually designed with curvy girls in mind, which is a winner in my eyes. The children’s patterns range from newborn to 12 years. She also duplicates many of the patterns to be made for dolls too, so you can match your little ones to their dollies and then to you if you wanted to!

She says:

“In our patterns you’ll find beautifully thought-out designs for you and your littles. Hidden raw edges, easy construction methods, detailed tutorials and superb finishes. You’ll learn, you’ll have fun and you’ll create gorgeous garments. It’s little bits of beautiful magic with stunning details!​” (www.rebeccapage.com/about)

I couldn’t agree more, you will soon learn that the patterns are exactly that and I couldn’t be more pleased to be involved and to be creating her lovely garments.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you the the Riviera Ruffle Blouse – this pattern has just been released TODAY so head on over there because she has an introductory discount on it until 2nd August. 

I signed up to be a brand ambassador and this is the first make that I have done of hers, even though I’d eyed up her patterns for a while. I was really pleased to find the pattern really accessible and the instructions are amazing. I would definitely recommend these patterns for newbies because they take you through everything, they’re super clear and have lots of little tips too. For me, I found that I could almost skip little bits because they were techniques I knew but I also learnt lots too.

My main learning curve was in creating the ruffles. I’m not usually a ruffle sort of girl but I didn’t feel right trying a ruffle blouse without them so I went with it. They were definitely time consuming and it took me a few goes to get it right. The pattern suggests a couple of ways of doing this. One is to sew a gathering stitch and pull it round on itself whilst pressing them hem. The other is to sew a rolled hem.

I bought a rolled hem foot some time a go and have since completely ignored it so I planned to continue doing so. However, I tried the method for pulling the curve round to a hem and it just looked really messy on the inside and I wasn’t feeling it at all. I think this was more because of the fabric I chose than the method because plenty of other ambassadors were able to do it. So… rolled hem it was. I found this(link) tutorial on rolled hems on YouTube and I was pretty pleased with the way they turned out. there was the odd twist in the fabric but overall it went well.

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I chose to use this gorgeous polyester (I think) fabric which was originally from Sew Over It but I got it in the swap at Sew Up North, so I’m super grateful to the person who donated it. I am even more grateful to the lovely Lou over on Instagram who kindly sent me the scraps of hers after I didn’t have enough to make two of the ruffles. We had been discussing what we might make with our matching fabrics and when I ran out I immediately turned to her and she sent it to me, after she had made a lovely Penny Dress -what a gem!

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What Rebecca says about having easy to follow instructions is so true and every seam is either tucked in or hidden away, it produces a really nice finish. As I said, the ruffles were time consuming, otherwise the garment came together pretty quickly overall. The instructions meant that I learnt lots of little tips and techniques when sewing shirt style garments like this – for example, the section on the back darts was really thorough and useful.

I particularly like the collar on the blouse – I find that I often find collars sit too big around my neck or that I feel a little masculine in them but this is curved, soft and feminine. The darts and shaping in it are lovely too. I put pink poppers on this as I was one, a bit worried about snagging the fabric with buttonholes and two, I was being lazy but I like the clean look of them. 

 I wore this to work with a black pencil skirt. I’m so pleased to have more separates to wear for work. 

So… I also made another out of this Lilac Cherry Blossom Poplin from Sewisfaction. If you haven’t checked Sheona’s online shop out yet – you should, she has some lovely fabrics on offer. I’m eyeing up the bumble bee fabric next. I fully fully recommend this fabric though, it has cut easily and sewn up a treat, it has a very small amount of stretch, which made fitting the collar and the curves of the sleeves that little bit easier. I’ve had lots of compliments about the colour and the quality feels really great. There are different colour ways too.

Again, the construction was really easy. It comes together super quick with out the ruffles and everything has a great finish. I used these pearlised buttons I got in the sale at John Lewis in Leeds with this fabric in mind and I’m so pleased with how well they go.

The couple of criticisms I have with the top, firstly is that I had to cut a 3XL, which gave me a bit of a gulp moment. I’m assuming this is because there is such a range of sizes available but it didn’t make me feel much better at the time. Secondly is that the sleeve is a standard pattern, there’s no grade lines –  I made a 3 XL, as I said, and found the sleeve to be big in it’s style so I imagine smaller sizes would feel a little swamped by the sleeve pieces.

It so happens that I love the look of these sleeves, they are quite a statement. I intended to join the sleevefest  organised by Diane of Dream.Cut.Sew And Helen of Valentine and Stitch with the latest pattern from Simply Sewing Magazine, the Mia set. But I think these sleeves definitely qualify for a year of the sleeve style celebration! I still intend to make the Mia but perhaps not which as much urgency now I have these funky sleeves for #sleevefest2017!

I completed the rest of the blouse pattern without the ruffles for this version but with the aforementioned ruffled cap sleeves, which you bias bind in so it looks really neat. Another trick, I have learnt!

I teamed it with grey trousers for work and I felt really summery and smart. Lots of people commented on how lovely the fabric is and the sleeves were a highlight. 

The pattern also has the option to use a paneled side, which is what I am going to do next time I make this in a maroon style purple with liberty detailing! Can’t wait! There are lots of ways to customise it to make it look different each time, which I love in a pattern. Definitely keep a look out for more patterns of Rebecca’s coming this way, there’s some very exciting patterns on the way! 

*Disclaimer: I received this pattern free of charge, pre-release as part of being a brand ambassador in return for creating it and taking pictures ready for release, the views are truthful and my own. 🙂

Me Made May Week One. 

Day One:

It’s not good to start a challenge like Me Made May on a Bank Holiday Monday… The weather was grey so it was a day in, I don’t have any me made comfies so I was already on a lose before the challenge had even begun. However, I did get to work on my Sew Over It Ella Blouse, which I’m sure you’ll see soon and this Delphine Skirt from Love at First Stitch by Tilly and the and the Buttons, in this brilliant Edwardian Lady Print from The Textiles Centre. 

Day Two:

Back to work… Wearing my Rosie Dress from Cotton and Chalk by Simply Sewing Magazine. I made this in this beautiful fabric, which is really funky, which I got from my local fabric/sari shop! I’ve never worn it to work and lots of people commented on it so I was left feeling rather pleased with my day. 

Day Three: I wore my Self Drafted Daisy Skirt which I made using this Daisy fabric I got from a shop in Dublin. I wore it with a RTW black top, which is actually a dress and a blazer jacket… The blazer is so flattering and I love it. I should have a go at one but I’m not sure I’m good enough for tailoring like that yet. I got so many compliments though, which left me feeling lovely. I love my yellow buckle detail too! 

Day four: I wore my Sew Over It London gorgeous Anderson Blouse in fabric from Abakhan. I love this bright top, it always cheers me up wearing it! I have plans to make another soon. I wore it with. RTW skirt but I’m currently making a black circle skirt because I’ve already noticed this is needed in my wardrobe. I’ve got a trusty waist belt on too! 

Day five: I wore my Sew Over It Ella Blouse which I blogged too! It took a bit of tweeking this one but I’m happy with it in the end. I wear quite a lot of high waisted skirts so it seemed a perfect fit for my wardrobe! I wore it with a RTW Black Pencil Skirt. 

Day six:

I wore my Colette Sorbetto top today which I made using this gorgeous Liberty Print with bikes on.

 I love this fabric; there’s so much to see in it and it’s super soft. I’m glad I used it on this way. It’s trimmed with vintage bias binding. I’m definitely working on making more day tops like this. I wore it with RTW jeans and a cardi (definitely on the to do list!) and went for a brew with my lovely hubby. 

Day seven: I went for Sunday Lunch at my Mum’s and wore my latest Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress which I made shorter and added small spilts at the side hem to make it more like a tunic. I wore it with RTW black leggings and cardi. It’s short sleeved too so you have a rare arm shot! 

The aim of my pledge was to see gaps in my wardrobe and although I don’t wear trousers often, I do wear them but I’m not skilled enough to make them. Though, neither do I have any blouses I’ve made for with trousers so that’s next on my list. 

More Separates Needed

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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!) 

A challenge I can join in! 

I feel slightly like I have had a curse set upon my sewing…  I saw a new challenge just today by Red of Sewredy called Fail February and I believe I made a comment,  such as ‘this is a great idea,  we all get our unpickers out and we learn from our mistakes’…  I say I believe I said this…  This is WHAT I ACTUALLY SAID.

So true to form… This happened

This is what will be a Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in gorgeous fabric from Abakhan. You will notice the sleeve is not going the right way. This is because I sewed it the wrong way round…. About 3 minutes after making the above comment. So I’m no so smug about learning from mistakes after all, the moral story of a teacher! Though I’ve never made this one and it WILL NOT be a mistake which happens again.

I keep seeing different challenges I’m going to join in with and have several on my sewing pile,  such as a skirt for Designin’ December which Linda of Nice Dress, Thanks I Made It organises and trying to find a 1980s pattern that isn’t horrendous for The Monthly Stitch’s, Through the Decades February challenge,  but it seems Fail February is the one for me!

This picture does indeed show the shoulder and underarm seam…in a line.

So… Here’s to reality and having a high quality unpicker friend! I’ll share more in this blouse when it is complete as my cuffs are to die for!!

Statement Collar Vintage Blouse 

I have been enjoying stitching up some modern patterns recently like My Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress and My Simplicity Christmas Dress but I fancied going back in time to some more vintage makes so I had Vintage Butterick 5601 dated 1969 in my stash. It has a blouse,  jacket,  trousers and skirt within it but I was eyeing up the blouse,  which has a proper statement collar!

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I made no changes or adaptations to the sizing of the pattern, considering it is a vintage, although it is a bit snug at the hip. There are lots of darts,  which I quite enjoyed putting in. The fabric is a thicker,  floral purple chiffon from my local market and was surprisingly easy to handle.

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 I shortened the sleeves as I didn’t want to have the big puffy ones the picture shows. I also used binding instead of facing, which I do as much as I can get away with,  though I have started making friends with facings more recently!

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I love the fact that it is a zip back blouse instead of a button front.

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And I absolutely love the collar, it’s like a pussy bow blouse but really chunky so it looks more like a cravat. It’s fab.

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I haven’t had chance to wear it yet but I’ll post some pictures on instagram @emmaandhermachine and twitter @emmasmachine when I get chance to!

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