Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe, Journal, Sew My Style, Sewing

Sewing Activewear

MeMade May MeMadeMay reinforced the fact that I wear Active Wear everyday. I’m brand loyal to Sweaty Betty because they survive wash after wash without going out of shape.  For the quality you, pay a premium price, which means I picked up a Sweaty Betty Pair of reversible leggings in the sale four years ago and they are in rotation. So I thought I would make my own with a top to match .

I searched the high street stores online to find a cut I liked. For me, it was important that the pattern be as high waisted as possible and to be as seam free as possible. I decided to use the Helen’s Closet Avery Leggings, I made view B with the high waist and liked the construction included only inside leg seams to keep the pattern as simple as possible.

The patterns calls for 4 way stretch performance stretch fabric with 70% Stretch. I knew finding the right fabric was key to the success of this project. Helens Closet blog provides a list of suggestions here  . I was directed to Fab Works Mill Italian Matte Lycra, with thanks to Wendy Ward author of Sewing with Knitted Fabrics raved about it on Instagram. I was well and truly influenced but I am glad I trusted an expert opinion because it so buttery soft and washes and wears really well.

To wear with the Avery Leggings, I decided to make the Pneunma Tank from PaperCut Patterns to match. The pattern comes with 2 views (more value for money) with an option to sew in a top to the bra on view B. It was my first time sewing and folding over elastic, that is common in construction of lingerie and swim wear, and I was a a bit nervous of the challenge, but with thanks to my trusty Walking Foot, it went in fine and it gave me the confidence to sew a swimsuit.

I used the same black sports lycra for the bra and lined it in the same fabric, the pattern isn’t lined so to line it, I just constructed the bra twice, joined at the neck seams, right sides together and turned it right way round and top stitched around the bottom edge. For the top element I used some cotton jersey I had left over and to be frank, the top requires a a jersey with a bit more drape, and white is probably not going to stay white for long if it’s washed with other sports wear, but I like wearing white in summer and it’s a great sports top as the air circulates.

I’ll definitely make both the leggings, the sports top again and to make the sports bra as a stand alone item. Sewing active wear gave me confidence to sew with lycra for a Closet Case Sophie Swimsuit. I am drawn to leggings with a great print, but I haven’t been able to find any quality activewear fabric with a design I like. I would love to design my own, but I am concerned that many of the base cloth’s I’ve seen on print on demand are white and opacity of the design can be lost when the fabric is stretched. If you have any recommendation of great, quality, print on demand lycra, i’d love to read your recommendations in the comments.

All for now.

Claire XO

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Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe, Journal, Sew My Style, Sewing

Delphine Jacket by I Am Patterns.

Last weekend, The Fold Line & The English Girl at Home organised the Sewing Weekender Online, I really enjoyed watching the videos and taking part. Rumana from the Little Pomegranate talked about sewing as an act of kindness towards herself during the Covid-19 crisis and this reminded me why I decided to sew. So I wanted to share my hugely impractical, totally frivolous, recent make, the gold furry coat that helped me get my sew jo back during lockdown.

When I saw the release of the I am Patterns Delphine jacket by in 2018 I knew I needed this in my wardrobe, I mean need is probably the wrong word here, but it did got me exciting for sewing something just for the sake of sewing, it wasn’t practical or a tried and tested pattern, or set to be part of a capsule wardrobe, it was simply fun. Sew Me Sunshine stocked the exact fabric used in the samples and on an impulse I snapped it up.

After that, the fabric sat in the bottom of my wardrobe for the best part of 18 months. I’m not sure why, maybe part of me lacked the confidence to pull of a white and gold fur coat or simply my energy was pulled in different directions for 2019. But when lockdown was announced I knew I wanted to use the time to work my way through my current fabric stash, because I really, really, really don’t like fabrics stacked up at home.

The Delphine jacket is a very simple unlined jacket with no zips or fastenings. I did decide to sew on a pair of hook and eyes to close it and there is a free add on PDF for the pattern to line it, but this , never seen anything else like it fabric, didn’t need any extra. So I decided to sew it up, we were headed into spring, it was out of season, totally impractical and I had no where to wear it, but I truly love it for all of those reasons.

I made it just for me, I didn’t care if my husband didn’t like it or anyone thought it was ridiculous, when I wore it, I bought me unadulterated joy and that is exactly why I started sewing for myself. My style in the last year has started to shift, I am making a more conscious choice to be bolder with colour and dress up everyday, because it makes me feel good. I was hugely inspired by Stasia Savasuk on the Love to Sew Podcast and it forced me to question if my capsule wardrobe co-orinating basic makes were reflecting who I am. I want more colourful, fun, makes to wear everyday in my wardrobe. As we go into summer, it’s not quite weather appropriate but I’ll welcome some chill in the air to wear my new favourite jacket that brings me so much joy!

Claire

XO

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Dressmaking

Sew Over It Hackney Shirt

I love the challenge of sewing a shirt, so I decided to do a bit of selfless sewing for my Husband. The Hackney Shirt, from Sew Over It includes flat felled seams, a classic collar and a tower button placket.

This tailoring is time consuming, so be prepared for construction to take a little longer, so remember to bring your patience to this project and allow for plenty of time. I used the online class that holds your hands through the whole process. I’m a big fan of online sewing classes, that allow you to go at your own pace, perfect your techniques and most importantly rewind to rewatch any bits you missed again!

This brushed cotton fabric is destined to be a great lumberjack inspired casual shirt. I decided not to pattern match, firstly, so you can spot the perfect placed, perfectly constructed pocket and secondly for ease. This collar requires interfacing and I used heavy weight interfacing [link] to give the collar structure.

I cut the size XS and I took off two inches from either side seam to a slim fit.

A button placket can seem tricky on the onset, but trust in the process and follow the steps. To start with you need to mark on all the fold and stitching lines, so make sure you use a washable fabric pen , it can be tricky on this black fabric to see lines, so you can always use a chalk pen instead. I used the same interfacing for the cuffs for integrity and finished the cuffs off with these small black buttons and the same down the front. 

This project was well received by my husband. He loves brushed cotton and loves the weight of this shirt great for colder weather. As much as I enjoy making for myself there is a sense satisfaction seeing something you’ve made for someone else wear it, repeatedly. I really rate this pattern and the online class includes the Ultimate Shirt for women, so I plan to make a version for myself too. This is a classic pattern to have in your collection.

Thanks to Minverva.com for the fabric that was gifted in exchange for a blog post which will be live on their site in the coming months.

All for now.

Claire XO

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Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe, Journal, Sew My Style, Sewing

Stitch Sister Simple Yellow Midi Skirt

Winter dressing can be gloomy, wooly jumpers, navy, black, polo necks, thermal tights but in the gloomiest months of the year, it’s a time when a bit of colour can bring cheer to get you through to spring. This super quick, secret pyjama skirt did just that.

Thermal base layers are necessary in the North West, pretty much year round, but I wanted to wear fewer days of jeans, jumpers and big boots this winter so I made two of these midi skirts which I have been wearing on repeat with thick tights, jumpers and a jacket and coat.

I followed a YouTube tutorial from the Stitch Sisters, but decided to encase the elastic in fabric rather than expose the elastic. It was that simple. These pleated skirts are very popular at the moment and are so simple to make, but the difficulty is sourcing the pleated fabric. This fabric was from Minerva Crafts and I made a bottle green one with fabric from Stoff and Stil but the fibre composition isn’t great, so i’m keeping my eyes peeled for more pleated fabric in bright colours, because these skirts are really easy to wear under layers, with a great swish, that makes you feel great!

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Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe, Journal, Sew My Style, Sewing

Colourful Holly Dress by Fibre mood .

October, marks my sewing Birthday, as back in 2017 I got my sewing machine and started to sew. Last year with a gift voucher I bought fabric for my much loved Yellow Trench Coat, so this year I picked a colourful viscose I had my eyes on for ages to make a midi length colourful dress, to mark a new year of more colourful, everyday, makes.

Fibremood is a fashion forward, pattern magazine produced every quarter, with around 15 sewing and knitting patterns included. The patterns are overlapped on pattern paper in the middle of the magazine, and as someone who hates dressing patterns, I decided to buy a single PDF as I knew I wanted to make the Holly Dress . I was sold on the sample images with the grey hair and rattan chair, and as well as the dress! It was my first midi length dress and with a high neck, but I thought it would be great to wear everyday in winter with tights and still be relaxed.

The pattern requires you to add seam allowances once you have assembled your pattern, which I did not realise, until after I had cut out all the pieces and started assembling the dress. whoops! I won’t make that mistake again and for a while I did really fall out with the dress as I has to recut the sleeves with my left over fabric and the use a tiny seam allowances for construction. Thankfully there was enough ease in the dress it still fit, but ideally I would have liked the dress to have been a tiny bit longer, but I really loved the sleeves and the gathers around the neckline that I still love it.

The dress bodice of the dress and the skirt come as one piece, I decided to cut it in two and I had planned to insert a channel to make an elastic waist, but I decided I didn’t want to interfere with the print of this fabric and decided I would be wear it with a belt made from the fashion fabric or a belt from my wardrobe. So there is an extra seam but once i’m wearing a belt you can’t really see it.

The hero of this dress is the sleeves which are gathered into a cuff and finished with covered buttons. I wan’t sure if It would feel very ‘me’ but I love it, it does make me feel very Margo from The Good Life, but that’s not a bad thing.

The high neck of this dress makes it better suited for colder months and I have been wearing it with tights, a polo neck underneath and my black leather jacket, but I took these pictures on a sunny day in spring. I styled it without the belt, which is more comfortable, but I much prefer the silhouette with a defined waist.

Although I got off to a wobbly start with this make, in the end we made peace and I look forward to wearing it for all occasions and it has inspired me to make more midi lengths dresses. I have my eyes on another Fibremood Pattern, The Victoria Blouse, which I could easily hack into a gathered midi dress as long as I remember to add the seam allowances!

XO

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