It is so hard to believe it has been 2 years since I started my blog. I feel like I’ve abandoned it slightly recently and I hate that because I know when I read blogs and they suddenly tail off, it makes me sad. Fear not… It’s only temporary as I have been moving and trying to keep up with my masters at the same time. I am more in love with making my own clothes than ever and my machine has been unpacked so keep on watching this space.
As a firm fan of Sew Me Sunshine, I wanted to use their fabric to celebrate and the gorgeous Harriet said she would sponsor my giveaway- amazing! Anyway, I chose this gorgeous Jungle tropics cotton lawn and got started. I quite literally had to get my machine out of it’s box and dust it down.
I’ve been a bit skeptical about the Bettine as I wasn’t sure it would suit my figure. I thought it might not be flattering for a bigger bust but it is just so popular that I was ready to give it a go. I cut the size 8 and added about an inch to the front bodice for ease. As it’s an all in one piece with no darts it’s tricky to do a proper FBA but I just added it to the centre and did the same for the skirt but graded down. Anyway, the all in one bodice made it pretty easy to sew up so it’s pretty good. True to celebratory form, I added all the extras, making the cuffs and little tabs.
The bottoms half is a little different to construct because of the big pockets but as usual Tilly has it covered and they came together wonderfully, with neat finishes all round. Then all there is to do is sew the middle seam and add the elastic. There’s no tricky fastenings and it sewed it up in about an hour an a half. I thought it would be pretty fabric hungry too but it uses less than 2 metres and less still if you leave out or contrast the pockets. I kind of feel that I should have chosen something slightly more challenging for my bloggiversary but I love it.
When I put it on, I still wasn’t convinced about the shape and resorted to be trusty belt but then I went with it and oh my actual goodness, nothing could be comfier and I actually felt pretty nice in it. I wore it to a family gathering and it was perfect for the occasion. I will definitely be making more so any hack suggestions would be appreciated.
I styled it with my brogues and another seamstress Pin. I have them in every colour and the lovely Joy of Pink Coat Club is giving one away to celebrate!
Anyway, no celebration would be complete without a good giveaway so… To be in with the chance to winning 2 metres of Cotton lawn from Sew Me Sunshine, AND a pin of your choice from Pink Coat Club make sure you follow me on here and comment below. For an additional entry, head over to instagram and make sure you’re following me and Sew Me Sunshine and Pink Coat Club and comment over there too. I am so so grateful for these lovely ladies for sponsoring my giveaway.
T&Cs:You will be able to chose 2 metres of Cotton Lawn from Sew Me Sunshine, which will be sent directly from them. You will be able to chose 1 pin from Pink Coat Club, which will be sent directly from them. No private accounts or accounts solely used for giveaways will be entered.
The giveaway entries end Thursday 30th August 2018 at midnight British time. And it will be drawn and announced in my post on Friday 31st August. Good luck everyone!
Congratulations to you Lynsey and I’ll be in contact soon. She wins this lovely bundle: thank you again to Sheona at Sewisfaction for donating the gorgeous fabric.
Thank you so so much to everyone who supported this. I was so overwhelmed with the amount of kind and supportive comments I had. Let’s hope it can be even bigger next year!
Anyway, back to what I do best… The blog.
Today’s make a a very hacked version of the French Navy Orla Dress. It actually looks nothing like an Orla Dress anymore. I find the pattern a really good block to change around so I’ll talk you through what I did.
I used this gorgeous Cotton Lawn that I got in a Fabric Swap at Sew Up North, I’m really pleased that I’ve hardly stashed anything I got from Sew Up North. I’ve been slowly working my way through them. I made a collage of the fabrics and I’ve been updated it with my makes on instagram so you can see the fabrics I have used!
Anyway, the pattern -I extended the bodice to curve round and make a top. I used another pattern to make some darts and treated it as a T-shirt.
I then lowered the back neckline to above my bra strap by putting a bra on my Suzie Dressmaker doll and pinning it when it wanted it to sit. I then used the fabric to make two long straps (so therapeutic!) and pinned them to either side of the back neckline before attaching the bias binding. I think it adds a really cool feature.
Finally, I lengthened the sleeves to three quarter length and attached them. There isn’t a lot of gather in the sleeves of the Orla which I really like. There you have it; I have a casual, comfy top with an added detail which I love.
I will definitely use the Orla to create more personal garments. These may be some of the last pictures from my holiday, which makes me sad but it’s such a beautiful place for them. At least it means not more pictures of me in shorts for you lovely people!
I also wore it for my first ever vlog which has also been really well supported so thanks so much, you can find my channel here.
I find it so hard to believe that it has been a full year since I started my blog! I spent most of that summer reading through others and I sheepishly started my own, thinking it would help me to record my improvements. I didn’t even tell my husband or family because I felt embarrassed. I have been overwhelmed with the response, I remember being so flattered when I had 5 people following me and amazed that someone in New Zealand (yes you Naomi) was reading my words. For statistical purposes I’ve now had a massive 7300 views so Thank You all. Wow!
After being convinced to also join Instagram by my sister, I have found a community beyond anything I could have wished for. I am so so grateful to each and every person who comments and engages with me. This community has given me an outlet beyond what I could have realised. I particularly love being involved in the Sewcialists because Gillian loves the community too and has allowed me to get involved in editing and preparing that venture too! This month is tribute month and I really recommend you check it out.
Anyway, not only do I blog my improvements but I get advice, encouragement and support on button decisions (how did I ever decide on buttons before? !) – though I wasn’t even good enough to insert a buttonhole before!
On that note, I cannot believe how much I’ve improved. Take a look at my first blog post. I’ve learnt so so much; inserting zips, shaping, which fabrics to use, how to use patterns properly, FBA (absolutely crucial to my life now). Seriously though, I’m not going to list them all, it’d just be a long list of things I’ve learnt.
I have to mention my husband here too, I can’t believe I didn’t tell him when I started my blog because he has been nothing but supportive and he takes soooo many pictures for me. He is absolutely amazing and will do anything to help me, even when I have mini break downs! I’m very lucky to have him. He is getting really good at taking pictures too so the standard of pictures has definitely improved over the years too. (he has some crazy ideas too- see the nectarine below!)
I wanted to showcase my improvements instead so to do that I’ve returned to my very first dress pattern which my Mum bought me for Christmas 2015 and I tried for the first time in May 2016. The pattern is NewLook 6020, which is now New Look 6393 and it is a princess seam dress with multiple necklines and a clutch bag option.
It is also the subject of the terribly fitted bodice of my first blog. (now in a fabric recycling bin somewhere) My first one was also a nightmare; I used a horrible, strange fabric and the fit was horrendous. It took me forever and I thought I would never have the patience for this but a few magazine patterns and a LOT more patience later, I was hooked, as you know! Be prepared for horribleness.
Anyway, I have since returned to the pattern for my Christmas dress last year but, whilst the fit was better, it frayed and I didn’t even bother to insert a zip.
Fast forward to now and it has returned. I bought this amazing Harry Potter fabric from Frumble and because it is a little costly I bought a red polycotton to go with it and colour block. I wanted to make something which really represented me. I also saw the amazing Elle from Sew Positivity make a Harry Potter dress and I wanted to tribute her for Tribute Month because she is full on amazing, makes fantastic things and isn’t scared to talk about how much sewing has helped her emotionally. I really liked her section in Suzy Magazine Issue 3.
Anyway, back to my Copycat dress. Here’s the amazing fabric.
I further tested myself by making another in this gorgeous Koi Cotton Poplin from Sewisfaction, who has also sponsored my Bloggiversary giveaway!
Here’s some things I have learnt (which I hope I have showcased in my makes)
1. I need a FBA for nearly everything, these princess seam dresses are perfect for this because you can adjust the front pieces easily… (year a go Blogger Emma would have barely understood this sentence!)
2. I have a dislike of facings, I can use them, as you can see in my Koi dress but bias is my way… Hence the lovely yellow contrast I used on my Harry Potter dress.
3. I can adapt patterns- Mr Harry Potter dress: I’ve shortened the length, ignored the side zip, added inches to the back pieces to create placket for a button up back.
Miss Koi Dress: I added sleeves, added pockets and added little tabs for the little belt tie to go in to.
4. I can insert buttons! See said buttons!
I can also insert zips! See said zip! (I’m still to master invisible zips!)
5. I don’t like baring my arms- BUT I can put sleeves in, the best thing about sewing my own clothes for me. I kept the sleeveless style for the Harry Potter dress so that you could see the intended pattern but I used another Simplicity pattern to insert sleeves for the Koi carp one.
All this means I have produced two dresses for me, which are unique, personal and I am proud to wear. I’ve still got so much to learn but I’ll keep going and keep getting support from this fantastic community
Because I have been going for a year and it has been so much more well received than I ever imagined, I’ve decided to start a YouTube channel to go alongside my blog. I’m a reader by nature but I love watching the vlogs and I’m always last on the technology train so I am once again stepping outside my comfort zone. I will be keeping up with my weekly Friday posts on WordPress to share my makes, inspiration and ins and outs of makes (those with insight will realise that this sometimes dips in these being weekly, usually the last week of term!) I plan to use YouTube for fabrics, pattern plans and thoughts, which are always whizzing round my head and I hope you’ll check it out. (please, please check it out- don’t leave me and my Mancunian accent on our own!)
Finally, because it is my bloggiversary and I am so so grateful for this sewing community, I’m hosting a giveaway! The giveaway includes the featured pattern, New Look 6020,which is now New Look 6393.
AND… enough fabric to make said dress, which is 2 metres of a gorgeous Navy Poppy Cotton Poplin from the amazing Sewisfaction. Sheona has kindly donated the fabric for the giveaway, even though she’s super busy setting up her new shop.
You should definitely check her out. I’ve also used her fabric for my Riviera Ruffle and my Velo Culottes. The fabrics are great to work with and it’s so important to support small businesses. They’ll definitely be more to see using Sewisfaction fabrics on here!
One person will win the pattern, 2 metres of the cotton poplin and I’ll also throw in a matching thread and zip.
To enter, please follow me and comment below, additionally, see over on instagram or on YouTube where you can follow me and comment over there for an extra entry!
The giveaway entries end Thursday 31st August 2017 at 5pm, British Time and it will be drawn and announced in my post on Friday 1st September 2017. I’m happy to ship internationally so this is open worldwide.
The amazing Sheona is completely supporting this giveaway but Simplicity New Look are not sponsoring it. I am giving away a pattern I bought because I wanted to!