Simplicity Turns 90

It’s amazing to think that Simplicity have been helping sewers to create their own style for years. I feel like a real newbie in comparison as I’ve only been sewing properly for a year! I noticed the Simplicity Summer Challenge too late last year and I hadn’t been sewing long so I was super keen to get involved this year!

Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows that I’m a Dressmaker above all else. I make other garments (avoiding trousers like the plague) but I mainly make dresses SO I assumed I would opt for Dressmaker but I loved the styling of the 8342 pattern so I chose that instead, which is for the Vintage Category. I absolutely love that they included a plus size model on the front of this pattern.

_20170914_203141

I talked about my fabric choices on my vlog and I decided to combine two fabrics for the skirt after many people suddenly they would work well together and I’m really glad I did.

I opted for the larger of the pattern options which is sizes 20 to 28 to give me a bit of wiggle room (literally) but my measurements meant I had to cut a 26 which seemed odd. Anyway, the pattern comes together really nicely, like most of the Simplicity patterns I’ve used. I followed the instructions for an amazing lapped zip! I’ve never done one before and I was really chuffed with it. I usually have to check in to YouTube too but not for this. Hooray!!

_20170914_201809

The fabric was a dream to sew too. The check fabric frayed more easily so it was a bit tricky to gather but I’m glad I preserved with it. The frill goes upwards at the back of the skirt to produce a great feature. I love a wiggle skirt and this one is perfect for me!

_20170914_201650

The pattern calls for 6 buttons but I was going to omit them, then I remembered these black vintage bead type buttons I got from Tin Trunk, a vintage place near me and used them. Vintage style makes need Vintage notions.

_20170914_201912

_20170914_201558

The top was a real worry for me but I wanted to make the whole outfit for Simplicity’s celebration. I was worried it would make me look busty and I’m also don’t like not having sleeves. I bought a plain mustard jersey to pick out the yellow tones in the skirt and with the hope that it would allow the pattern of the skirt to take the emphasis away from my chest!

The instructions for it were really easy again and it makes for a really satisfying sew that has a bit more about it than a plain vest or Tshirt.

Two things I had to alter were to take the straps in by a good 5 inches, or else it would have been ridiculous. I also hand sewed the hole under the knot together with a ladder stitch as otherwise I would have been too uncomfortable.

_20170914_201346

I’m pleased the top fits well around my bust, usually patterns and RTW dresses or tops which have separate pieces for the bust don’t fit me, but this fits perfectly across my chest.

I shouldn’t have worried about the shape because I actually think it’s quite flattering, though I still don’t like showing my arms. I would love to be able to do a sleeve hack and still keep the knot detail.

Anyway, that’s all the construction details. I wore them together as intended and I love it, it makes me feel very feminine and definitely has an immediate Vintage feel. I hope that it’s pretty flattering.

_20170914_201452_20170914_201532_20170914_201729_20170914_202029

The other thing I love about these two garments is that they can be worn separately too. I put my top with a RTW black pencil skirt and cardi.

_20170914_202304

I put my skirt with a RTW wrap grey body but it will go with lots in my wardrobe!

I can’t wait to see how everyone else has interpreted this pattern! I’ll be having a good nosey over on instagram this weekend!

Arabella Skirt

Hi again everyone, 

This is my second make as part of being Rebecca Page Ambassador. We are only asked to make one a month but this Skirt looked too good to miss out on. 

The skirt is the Arabella and it comes with a pattern for the child’s sizes and a pocket template and instructions for the adult sizes. 

This was perfect for me because I like to draft my own skirts anyway so the instructions were perfect and it meant no printing, cutting and sticking. I just brought them up on screen. 

I used this AMAZING crepe from Flamingo Fabrics, who I’m slightly addicted too at the minute. It has tapes on it! It’s so funky and bright and I love it. The skirt asks for a drape so this was ideal. I bought 2 Metres and it was just enough. 

What was great about cutting the pattern pieces is that they were all square so it was a real no waste sew, I literally had a 8 cm square left at the end. Perfect. I didn’t manage to have enough to make the pockets, as the skirt is quite gathered it needs quite a lot of fabric. 

I always worry about cutting rectangles and squares in case it goes wonky but the tapes on the fabric were a God send here as it meant I could follow the line in their design. 

Anyway, the construction was really easy and quick, I French seamed everything and made the ties. The only thing I did differently was to hem the bottom of the skirt first. Probably, a bit controversial I know but they were perfectly square and hemming is my least favourite thing. I though it would 1. be easier to sew whilst the fabric wasn’t gathered and 2. save me dreading the job at the end of the Sew!

The skirt is really really full and I was worried it might add bulk to my frame but it’s great. The fabric is really light and flowing, which means it just skims over me. I love the length of it too. I’m glad I didn’t go with a maxi because I know I would get the same wear out of it. 

Next month’s pattern is super exciting! In the meantime, here’s the pictures. I wore it with my refashioned wanted Tee and a navy body. Not sure why I look vaguely annoyed! 

Self-Drafted Circle Skirt

Me Made May has done so much for the way I view my wardrobe. It was immediately clear that if I want to wear Me Made everyday then I am in desperate need of separates. With this in mind I set about to make a black circle skirt for work. I have lots of nice blouses and some that I am starting to make so I wanted something high-waisted, which I felt confident that I would be able to wear with most things.

DSC_1011

I bought some black cotton/viscose from my local market. I get a lot of my fabrics from there. They’re a bargain and often 60 inches wide too. I used trusty Pinterest to get the maths for making a circle skirt. It is so easy to do that I used a reversible bed sheet I had bought to make two more at the same time!

_20170613_095250_20170613_095332

Then you literally attach the waistband (which I chose to make nice and wide so I could wear my waist belts) and insert a zip, whip a seam up the side and it’s done. Oh, wait, no… The Hem. The hem on a circle skirt must be the longest thing in the history of sewing. I thought it would never end! But it did, eventually and hear it is, a perfect work staple for with all my brightly coloured blouses. I will share my bed sheet skirts soon – they’re a lot of fun!

DSC_1009

DSC_1012_20170613_095410_20170613_070414

In other news – I’m off to Sew Up North tomorrow – my super kind husband has treated us to spend the weekend in Leeds and I’m really excited! More on that soon.

Me Made May Week 2

Day Eight:

I wore a self-drafted skirt (to be honest most of my skirts are self-drafted because I find that you can make a skirt however you want it then) I put this together using Vintage fabric from my visit to the Village Tea Rooms and Emporium back in February. I made it to go out for my Mother-in-law’s 60th on a bit of a whim. I love it for how bright it is and you may see this recycled next week with a different top but for now I’ve style it with my favourite RTW black top which I would love to be able to replicate because its getting old and isn’t going to last much longer I feel. Any tips would be appreciated on this one!

Day nine: Today was a bit of a fed up day, in a bid to feel a bit brighter I wore a white RTW blouse which my husband bought me for a job interview and has a lovely fit. The Skirt is one I refashioned last year after making New Look 6020 which was my first ever sewing pattern, bought by my Mum. It wasn’t quite right around my chest and didn’t have sleeves so I unpicked it, drafted a waistband and make it in to a skirt. It’s a bit clingy though, I have fabric and a pattern with the intention of making a slip… maybe I could do with getting round to it!

_20170509_080613

IMG_20170509_074812_053

Day Ten: I wore my Tilly and the Buttons Zadie Dress which is one of my most recent makes. I don’t love this one… I think it’s because I had so many problems with the construction… more on this here. Every time I wear it people say how nice it is and when I look at pictures I’m always pleased with it but there’s something in the back of my head which says it’s not my favourite! does anyone else get that? I made it out of Scuba from Fabric Styles who I did a video for if you haven’t seen it already.

IMG_20170510_070239_796

_20170510_070356

Day Eleven:

I wore my plain Moneta, which is a light purple/grey type of colour. The changes I made with this one was to shorten it slightly (not sure if I regret that) and to do a neckband instead of turning the fabric over. I absolutely love the Moneta pattern, as I’m sure you know… I appear to have a bit of a reputation for them! I have another two on my to-do list; A navy one with a contrast skirt and a stripe one. I just love the pattern and think it lends itself to my shape. It’s easy to do and a good way to practice sewing with stretch. I wasn’t sure if it was smart enough for work but I went with it anyway and was super comfy all day long!!

IMG_20170511_071447_736_20170511_091310

Day Twelve: Today I wore my Cotton and Chalk Katie Dress which I made some time a go. I have a fashion rule (I don’t have many of these) that I only wear black tights in months with an R in them so I have been wearing nude tights… today was the first time I went bare legged, and, of course, it rained! Anyway This dress is in a ponte, which meant I didn’t put a zip in it, it’s super comfy and practical. It was another Cotton and chalk pattern that I really struggled to fit because it has so much ease!

Day Thirteen:

For a chilled Saturday I wore my Cotton and Chalk Sunday Set. I love this pattern, I find all the Cotton and Chalk ones to have lots of ease but this one is perfect! I wear it all the time. I’ve since tried the trouser version of it but I wasn’t so sure. I wore it with a RTW Navy Body. 

Day Fourteen:

I wore my trusty elephant print Moneta  for a casual Sunday. As you know this pattern is one of my favourites and I love how easy it is to throw on! I’ve had a change of scenery this weekend as I’m looking after the lovely Theo for a week for my Sister-in-law. 

I have worn a cardigan with nearly everything I have worn this week and I think I seriously need to have a think about making my own… Maybe my new-found skills in crochet could help me with that…

I also definitely need more blouses and tops and I’m currently working on it! 

Ikea Couture

A few weeks a go I took my niece, Grace out for a coffee* and a girly day out. She wanted to go to Ikea of all places so, of course, being the dedicated Auntie I am we went to Ikea… on a Saturday! Naturally, I headed straight for the fabrics. I’ve never bought any fabric from there (though my Mother-in-Law works there so she has picked me some up before)  – it was great – you just help yourself to the length you want and weigh it! They’re a bargain and have some brilliant designs!

*Please note I don’t actually give my 5 year old niece coffee! we just call it that!

I bought 2 fabrics and decided to focus my attentions on the first one. It was lovely and stiff and I knew it would make for some nice crisp edges so I decided to self-draft a pleated skirt. I cut a simple waistband to my measurements – I didn’t even interface it (I can hear the gasps!) because the fabric is so substantial. Then I cut two long rectangles and measured 2 box pleats in the front and the back and basted. This is similar to my House Skirt I made some time a go but I am a little braver now so did a much chunkier waist-band and much bigger, obvious pleats.

 

I don’t think Suzie has as much as a waist as I do!

I added a metal zip, which I purposefully exposed because I thought it would look really modern and I’m really pleased with the results. I chose to take quite a bit off the hem, which makes it looks really youthful and fun!

I wore this to go to see Lucy Spraggan with my friend, Sam. A gig is not an easy place to take pictures! I teamed it with a red t-shirt but I think it will go with lots of different tops. In fact, I know that it will because I tried loads on before deciding! 

Yellow Needlecord ‘I could make that’ 

Today’s make is one of those makes that I was so proud of that I just wanted to look at it all the time. I don’t really follow designers but I was reading a fashion magazine and saw this Skirt By M.I.H. Jeans. It was a mere £425 but when I looked it up I found it was an even better bargain with 60% off at £170!

Since I have been making improvements to my sewing,  I often find myself thinking ‘I could just make that’ so I thought this time I actually would. I was especially motivated as I had promised Linda of Nice Dress Thanks I Made It an entry to her Designin’ December competition… Well, since December! So I grabbed my supplies and made a start.

The pattern is Simplicity Newlook 6346 which has 2 separate lengths and the options to make the skirt with or without buttons,  I knew it would have the potential to look really modern. I’ve seen a few skirt patterns similar to this but I like simplicity patterns.
The Crafty Pin-Up,  did a great version of it too on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network,  which I checked out before I started and was really inspired by.

The really cute Cloud Fabric is part of the Greatest Adventure collection by Natalie Lymer for Riley Blake Designs.  I wanted to use it as a lining for the pockets. Isn’t it so cute?!
I made the pockets by measuring the front panels of the skirt and drawing rectangles at sizes which would work, both in the yellow needlecord and the cloud fabric. I sewed them right sides together,  flipped them through a gap and top-stitched. I think it is a really cute detail but my one criticism is that you can see the lining at the edges slightly which takes away from the designer look,  though I’m not sure if I’m being overly picky.

The skirt came together really easily, the facings for the plackets are made using the fabric itself. I changed the waistband slightly to add the flaps for the pockets (I don’t know if there is an official term for it) I added these as I attached the waistband so it would look neat. I was rather impressed with my own forward thinking here!
I then left my buttonless, hemless skirt to hang. I see this in a lot of directions and I have to admit, I usually ignore this step but I’m so glad I did it. The skirt hemmed really easy; I’ve struggled on the curve of skirts before. I added my buttonholes,  which were pretty big in order to fit my big chunky silver buttons and I was done. I am so happy with it,  I think it is really modern and just like the original.

I wore it on my holidays up in Northumberland with a navy body and wrap cardi,  where we were so busy being blown away that we struggled to get a good picture but we got some in the end!

Being blown away!

I don’t usually do prices but in spirit of the Designer challenge:
Yellow Needlecord: 2 and a half metres at £13.50 from The Cheap Shop Tiptree. Though I think 2 metres would have done it.

Silver Buttons: 5 for £1.45 from Ebay.

Riley Blake Fabric: £3.50 for a fat quarter from Hollie’s Haberdashery

Pattern: Simplicity 6346 £5.95 from Simplicity Newlook

So the whole Skirt cost a mere £24.50! Plus I will definitely use this pattern again! Possibly on a denim. Winner!

I’m trying to join in some more challenges like this over this year in my bid to improve,  if you’re interested in more regular updates with this please follow me on instagram!

Positive Body Blogger

 

A few months a go I responded to a Twitter plea for Positive Body Bloggers for Sew Magazine and what do you know, I’ve been featured.  It’s a bookazine called Sew Style: Stitch Your Size and comes with 3 Butterick Patterns so check it out!

front cover sew magazine.png

It’s something I’m so pleased to have been involved in because I’ve always been curvy and it isn’t going to change any time soon. I don’t want to appear like I’m campaigning here because I’m more of a ‘each of their own’ kind of girl but it’s important to me that I have clothes that fit me and I know all too well the pains of having clothes which don’t fit right or that dreaded fitting room situation where everything is too small, or just doesn’t have enough fabric!! Over the years I have learnt what works for me and it’s great that I can apply these rules to sewing. It is one of the main reasons I love dressmaking so much and I hope I can keep getting better and better so I can design clothing to suit me and my shape.

full-article-with-me-on-it-sew-style-2016

article-from-postive-bloggers-2016-me-on-it1

It features more information about how I sew to my body and some pictures of me from this blog post in Ireland, which was my first me-made weekend away in a skirt I absolutely love! I hope it inspires people to learn to sew for their shape and let what works for them, work even more!

So a big Hi to anyone who is taking a look from the magazine! Please give me a follow because I have lots of exciting stuff to share, especially over Christmas!

Self-drafted Daisy Skirt

Please note that when I say ‘self-drafted’, it makes me sound very professional, what I mean is ‘making it up’. Last month I went to Dublin with my Mum and my sister and managed to find a fabric shop, where I bought some silky polyester with daisies. Cute or what?received_10153756753501227

I only bought one metre but it was quite wide, I knew I wanted it for a skirt straight away. I don’t tend to buy skirt patterns as I find it easier to draft a waist band and work with that. I know it’s going to be a good fit if I measure myself (obvious I suppose).  Once I had a waist band, I cut 2 rectangles with the rest of the fabric.

Then I lay them to one side and did some research about how I wanted to shape the fabric, I wasn’t sure that pleats would work with silky fabric, so naturally, I decided to do pleats. After some very complicated maths, which looked like this..

sam_2700I went with 14 pleats of 5 cm every 10 cm. (I worked in centimetres instead of inches so I had a little more to play with.)

I measured them out and then tacked them along the top. I then added my waistband and secured it all in place.

When I tried it for fit I realised that all the sewing on the waistband must have stretched the fabric and it was too big on my waist by about 3 inches instead of the 1 inch I had left to insert my zip… So now I really was making it up!

I was simply going to trim it up and insert my zip but then I thought, why am I allowing myself to have my life controlled by zip insertions? What are my other options?

Well reader, I am here to tell you that we do not have to be ruled by zips… I went through my stash and found a buckle I had bought some time a go for another project and decided I would go with a wrap skirt. I hemmed the edges with a contrast blue ribbon and then inserted a button hole ( I realise the button doesn’t match but it’s on the inside!)

SAM_2701.JPG

Then I hand-stitched (as you can tell) this really cool buckle on. – I hate hand-stitching but it’s well worth it for things like this. I love that it picks out the yellow of the daisies but completely contrasts with the navy!

sam_2702

Anyway, next I hemmed it. I was aiming for bias binding edging but I sewed it to the wrong side… but have no fear, being as enterprising as I am, I folded it to the outside and used it as a feature. I think it looks really pretty.

Now, I know I said that I hate to hand-sew but I had a small amount of yellow ribbon which I thought would make a cute label so I hand embroidered my initials on to it whilst the hubby and I watched Ripper Street (I fully recommend it if you haven’t watched it!) And I made myself a cute little label.

SAM_2715.JPG

I wore it with tights and a black top with my trusty wrap cardigan to go for curry with my Mum and sister. I love wearing it already, it feels really feminine. It also went surprisingly well with a few things I tried too. The old clutch leg was a bit breezy whilst I was driving though as it is right on the wrap join!

sam_2713sam_2716

sam_2717
probably best not to as why the statue is headless…

sam_2718

sam_2720
how cool is this chair?!

My Well Travelled Refashion

Pre-blog, I attempted New Look 6020 in this green fabric I picked up in a shop in Wales, purely because I had enough fabric to do it. This is the same pattern I used to make the bodice in this blog. The dress turned out OK (just) but didn’t fit great and even though it travelled to Northumberland and flew all the way to Rhodes with me, I still didn’t wear it.

8c46c639051226053ec6eb3a83f68919
Excuse the bad photo, it did not know it was going to be blogged!

So, I’ve decided to refashion it.

I unpicked and removed the bodice from the skirt and reattached the skirt to a waist band I made using the remaining fabric. I stuck a green invisible zip in the back and it was done!

The skirt was originally made from 6 panels and fit in my self-drafted waistband perfectly, which was a surprise! The panels make it a lovely, A-line shape, which is helped by the floaty fabric. Hopefully I will be able to wear it more like this, though winter is coming (blatant GofT reference there) and I’m not sure how well it will go over tights.

I left the length so I didn’t have to touch the hem, which I had zig-zagged originally. Easy!

82b8c4f727c58bc180cca9cf547d1e5c

 

I wore this with a white blouse for work and received lots of compliments! I think the shape is super flattering. The waistline means I don’t need a belt, it just looks good with one!

sam_2521_kindlephoto-109414040

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

Sewstainability

A journey towards sustainable sewing

jess sews clothes

blogging my homemade wardrobe

Merrymaking Sewing

Adventures in learning to sew

Notes from the Sewing Room

Projects and thoughts from a little dining room in England

Petite Republic

five feet and under

craftandothercrazyplans

Trial and error-the best way to learn

The Zipper Foot

A beginners sewing journey, learning all the time along the way. Hoping to process into more complex patterns as time goes on.

Coastal Crochet

All things crochet inspired by coastal living...

Naomi Sews

All things sewing with Naomi

Adventures in unpicking with sewmyown

Developing my skills as a novice sewist and exploring my Dalek obsession

Redhead Thread

Adventures in sewing

Jolirose

Sharing my love of all things French and my obsessions with sewing and knitting

Sewistella

Sewing, Seaside living

the curious kiwi

Happily immersed in sewing nerdyness…

Sew Pretty in Pink

Andie's sewing & crafting adventures in Toronto, Canada

That's Sew Peachy

A little sewing blog by a little sewer...

Sewcialists

A Sewing Blog for Everyone

Sew in the Garden

When life gives you melons do an FBA.

Sew sleep deprived

Lesley blogging about her sewing projects

Emma and her Machine

Adventures in Sewing

The Renegade Seamstress

Refashions Beyond My Wildest Seams

Flowercat Designs

Sewing. Flowers. Cat.

Sewing instead

I would rather be...

Fox Hollies

Never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine

Charlotte Sjöstrand

mes créations en français et en anglais- My creations in english and french

SewAndrew

here’s what I’m sewing...

Pocket for sweets

Musings on dressmaking

Wendy Ward

designer | writer | teacher | maker

not sew simple

one stitch at a time

swarm of chickadees

a sewing blog with a nonsense title

Zoe Sews

A blog about my sewing adventures

all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

Fa Sew La

My adventures in sewing a handmade wardrobe.

Doctor T Designs

Clothing, Costumes, and Crafts

craftysarahsews

Selfish sewing and creative adventures in Leicester

applebymakes

Stuff that our family has made

%d bloggers like this: