Sunday, 13 August 2017

My summer wardrobe 2017

It's probably a coincidence that summer arrived and there has been a huge lack of activity on my blog, and on my Instagram profile.

This year, I've struggled to find the time to make anything in the midst of weddings, bank holidays, festivals and beach days this summer. Much like the constant change in weather and the traditional British 'summer', I've also had ups and downs in having the motivation and inspiration to sew.

There have, however, been some really exciting makes over the past few months, and my summer wardrobe has been a pivotal change in my usual style and the shapes and silhouettes I usually go for.

From the classic fit and flare dresses that I'm used to (the Orla dress) to the silky, strappy shift style of the New Look 6499, this is my summer wardrobe:

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Sewing Cleo

The Cleo dunagree dress has probably been one of the most popular independent sewing patterns in the past year; it seems like everyone on Instagram has made one, so much so, Tilly (and the Buttons) claimed there was an international shortage of dunagree buckles!

The pattern has revolutionised dressmaking, by being both a bang-on-trend statement piece, but also a design which is a dream for all creators. The fabric options are vast, and the outfit opportunities for such a versatile dress are endless. It's been so exciting to see everyone's Cleos and I finally jumped on the band wagon.

I had some leftover mid-weight stretch denim in my stash and fortunately, the Cleo only requires around 1m of fabric making it the perfect stash buster, or a super cheap make.

The hammer-on jeans buttons in bronze and the bronze dungaree clips came from eBay, although I have also since picked up a pair of dunagree clips from Fabric Land for a mere 55p.

The process of the Cleo is super easy - it's the first time I've used a Tilly and the Buttons pattern and it didn't disappoint from the raving reviews I've heard before. I have recommended her patterns to newbie dressmakers and can't wait to see what she brings out in her second book (coming soon).

I like how the centre seam is top-stiched to create a really professional finish to the denim, and the edge stitching also creates a good effect. I opted out of having the centre front pocket, or the hip pockets on this dress as I wanted a clean dunagree look without the dress being too busy. I also think the pockets might have made it look a little childish, which considering I'm shorter than some actual human children this wouldn't have been a good look for me!

When I finished the Cleo I wasn't particularly happy with it and ended up taking the side seams in to make it more fitted rather than loose and baggy. I didn't think a dunagree dress would need fitting as such, but I certainly feel more comfortable with having it hug my waist and hips, rather than just hanging off me.

I also used some leftover bias binding on the seams which is something I've not done before. This actually made me feel so much better about the dress even though the seams are hidden.

Much better...

This has been such an easy make and I'm already planning more Cleos for the summer and taking some inspiration from the amazing dressmakers on Instagram - so many Cleos, so little time.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Seamwork Magazine pattern reviews: Adelaide and Astoria

I'd been lusting over the Seamwork Adelaide and Astoria patterns since I discovered independent pattern labels on Instagram; the Adelaide has an effortless, casual look to it, and the Astoria meant venturing into a new world of knitwear.

So, when I decided to sign up for Seamwork magazine, these were the first two on my list of downloads.

If you don't already know, Seamwork magazine is released as a PDF every month to subscribers. The subscription only costs a few pounds (charged in dollars) and includes enough credits for 2 downloads a month. There's a mix of cool patterns which are modern and practical - most aren't my style but they're a great alternative to the patterns you get from mainstream labels.

The magazine itself is beautifully designed, with great photography, interesting articles and fresh takes on fashion.

So how did my first Seamwork makes go?


I downloaded the Adelaide after seeing some great versions across social media. One of my favourites was a white cotton version, without the belt, which looked like it came straight from the 90s. I wasn't sure on what I'd want my own version to look like - denim would be too stiff, poly cotton may not be casual and viscose would be great, but the pattern calls for a sturdy fabric.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Hello 2017

Happy new year and all that jazz! It's 2017, a new year has sprung and it's that time when people make resolutions for the year ahead.

For me, a resolution isn't something I must keep, it's just where my priorities lie at the moment, and when better to work out my current priorities than the start of a new year.

2016's resolutions were a mixed bag of ideas... you can see the full blog post here to see what I had initially planned, but I can tell you now that I didn't stick to it. But that's ok. I didn't really need a dinosaur print dress or a maroon blouse. I failed at making the Ultimate Trousers (it's on this year's list again) and I didn't bother trying fabrics such as damask or wool which were also on my list.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Seamstress Tag

The Seamstress Tag has been going around YouTube and I've loved learning more about my fave sewing ladies and discovering new people to follow!

I definitely do not have a YouTube account because I struggle to keep up with my blog, let alone editing video, so here's my written version of the tag.

  1. Who are you?

    Hellooo, I'm Jenny. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter to find more about me and my makes.
  2. When and why did you start sewing?

    I've sewn as long as I can remember, making clothes for my dolls with old pairs of socks and tights. My mum has always been into stitching so she taught me how to use a needle and thread. It wasn't until I was in my teens that I really wanted to make my own clothes because I didn't find anything I liked in the shops. And... the rest is history really!
  3. What is your favourite or proudest make?

    My Simplicity Blogger Challenge dress from last year pushed me into understanding the shapes of patterns and how I can use my creativity to create something quite different to the style of dress laid out for me. I also got to use an old skirt of my Grandma's as the main fabric, so that in itself is something I'm super proud of.

  4. What is your most disasterous make?

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Fabric haul and sewing plans

This is a super exciting post for me as it's my first fabric haul post. I've never been one to buy in bulk, rather I buy fabric for a specific project, make said project and then move onto the next one.

However, since telling myself not to buy any more fabric before Kirstie's Handmade Fair in September, I only went and bought myself a load of fabric. A sneaky trip to Abakhan in Manchester was mainly to blame.

As summer is drawing to an end (I say that, I've been sunbathing on the beach here in Brighton), I'm starting to think about wardrobe staples for the autumn. Frankly, I'm also really excited to whack on a pair of black tights, ankle boots, and wear a jacket for once. (Too soon? Sorry).

So what have I been buying and what's coming to a wardrobe near me soon?

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Summer makes 2016

Oh hello! Sorry I haven't blogged in months. I'll be honest, I've been outside and enjoying the sunshine in my home of Brighton, sea swimming, sun bathing and street partying.

I've been dressmaking, but perhaps not as much as I normally do. It's been nice to step away from the sewing machine and look at the world with a wider view and not spend my spare time staring at stitch after stitch.

From the things I have made, I've had some successes, some minor successes and a giant fail.

Here are my recent makes:

This dress was originally a McCalls 7080 but I removed the pleat and the fastening on the back. It's a simple slip on over the head dress made from a cotton I found at Ditto fabrics. I love the fit of this dress but the cotton is slightly too stiff to allow for any drape in the skirt. I wear casual clothing for work, but if I had to dress up a bit more, this would make the perfect outfit for a smart office.

I think this was also the first time I did an all in one neck and armhole facing - it looks so technical but it is so easy!

The prettiest pjs 

The pyjamas were inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee after they made luxury sleepwear. I bought the Burda 7627 pattern which includes pyjamas, a nightgown and a dressing gown. The
pattern is for use on silky, soft and drapery fabrics but I ignored that and found this amazingly pretty cotton at Fabric Land. It's the sort of fabric I'd love to wear every day, but as the turquoise isn't really my colour, I though I'd use it for night wear where I can just wear it indoors.

It's such an easy pattern to make, with simple straps that come from the armscye, and an elasticated waist on the bottoms. I did make a pair of the bottoms but shortened them too much in the wrong place so had to make another pair - luckily I bought enough fabric! The straps on the bodice were too short which is unusual for me, so I made a new pair of straps to create new straps that tied at the shoulders. I also put the lace trim on the wrong way, but I was just too excited about the prettiness to read the pattern properly.

Viscose smock dress

This dress is another version of the McCalls 7080. Originally I bought the fabric to make a shift dress, but a follower on Instagram told me just how floaty this Fabric Land viscose is, so I changed my mind and decided on the 7080. Again, I took out the pleat between the bodice and skirt, and wanted to raise the waistline so the dress was more of a smock style. 

I had to unpick this dress about four or five times - despite making it three times before! I got frustrated, the fabric kept getting caught whilst attaching the skirt to the bodice, and it just wouldn't sit right. I took a few days off and finally got there in the end, just don't look too closely as the waistline is slightly off under one boob. Shusshhhh.

With the leftover fabric, I rustled up a simple Tilly and the Buttons eye mask as a gift for my friend who is off travelling. It's such a quick and easy make I'll definitely make one for myself when I've got a spare moment.

Finally, I got this tie dye jersey from Minerva Crafts in the hope of making another Moneta. The jersey arrived and felt super tacky and thicker than I thought.The fabric had some sort of sheen that made it very slippery and it just felt all wrong. I don't normally have issues with getting fabric online and I am disappointed with this fabric, particularly as Minerva are a reputable fabric seller! 

Despite this, I cut out the pieces and started sewing. The bodice was hideous, I tried making a neckband but it didn't sit right. I already decided I didn't like the fabric, so I didn't like the dress and I hadn't even finished it. The skirt hadn't been cut out yet so I thought I'd turn it into a simple tube skirt. Again, I just got too frustrated and retired this make to my fabric scraps bin (it'll go on Gumtree for someone else to enjoy) after just an hour.

And that's it, I'm trying to get through my stash before the Handmade Fair next month but I've also got a trip to Abakhan next week so I will just buy more fabric - oops. 

My next makes should consist of a couple of New Look dresses that were magazine freebies, and I've just subscribed to Seamwork as I'm desperate to make an Astoria! See you all soon :)