Monday, 2 February 2015

Sewing my Anna Peplum hack!

I plan on making an Anna Dress for my cousin's wedding in May. I though I'd give the bodice a try first to check the fit and make a peplum top with a self drafted peplum. Ambitious but totally doable! I chose this black rose print fabric on sale from John Lewis and dove  straight in!

My measurements fell directly between a size 12 and 14 so I cut out a 14. Once I tried this the top just looked very baggy but the waist was correct so I traced the 12 top and graded out to a 14 for the waist and recut the fabric to this. This fixed the excess fabric at the top bar that included in the design. I sewed the bodice up apart from the zip and then used a top I already own to draft a peplum to add to the bottom.

And it turned out OK! I french seamed all of the inside and it looks beautiful! I think I still need to cut a slice out of the neckline of the dress as it has some excess fabric there which can look strange. I thought I might have to lower the neckline very slightly but in actually wearing this I realised that I didn't need to, it didn't catch my neck at all.
After I made the peplum I realised that I hadn't allowed enough space in the rear so added these little panels to either side of the centre back seam to make it wearable - I had my first major sewing error in the cutting of these panels when I cut into my already sewn right back peplum piece by accident! Thankfully I had enough material to cut a new piece and the extra panels, but it was pretty gutting!
Next I'm going to try a simplicity pattern that I got free with Sew Magazine which has a few options, dress, top, trousers and jacket. I'm going to start with the top because I love a good peplum and I'm in need of a few more formal work tops and if I find the right material this could work out as one.
And if you were wondering the amazing lip colour is a Lord and Berry Lip Pencil in shade 7805 - Vertige. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Sewing plans for 2015

I've also bought two other sewing books to have a go at:

The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie by Katherine Sheers and Laura Stanford - I don't want to waste my off cut material where there is very little of it so I thought I could use it to make underwear - this book does not cover underwired bras however, I think as an introduction to sewing lingerie it is great - and not intimidating for a beginner who knows their way round a sewing machine. I very much need to start on something which I will succeed at to give me the motivation to carry on!

Famous Frocks The Little Black Dress by Dolin Bliss O'Shea: The exact opposite as above this is a book with 20 dress patterns designed so you can recreate famous dresses worn by celebrities in every decade from the 1920s onwards. This is probably a book I will reserve until I have a little more experience however, I really liked the lines of some of these patterns and enjoyed reading the front of the book. I also would like to make a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding in May so perhaps that will come from this book.

I also picked up a Fashionary notebook from the V&A a while ago (currently on sale!) which I have just started to use - this notebook is brilliant for anyone who wants to draw out their clothes silhouettes and try ideas with colour but isn't confident drawing people silhouettes. Each page has a dotted outline of a woman in pink dots which you can then draw the clothes on top of.
Here are some ideas I put together for the By Hand London Charlotte Skirt pattern and also the Megan dress by Tilly and the Buttons. And I am definitely not an artist - so anyone could use this.

I have a few patterns collected from various places that I am itching to get on with:
The By Hand London patterns I picked up from Anthropologie while they were on sale about a year ago and the other two came from magazines. I don't think the Simplicity pattern is in my style at all so that one might be donated elsewhere. So plenty to start with! I also downloaded the pdf for the Emmeline t-shirt by the Little Tailors but unfortunately when I printed it at my parents' house over Christmas the printer failed to print the first half of the pages so I am now a little stuck until I can get that.

I am really looking forward to expanding my basic skill set this year and starting to make some basics that I will be able to incorporate into my capsule wardrobe for both work and casual wear.

Friday, 2 January 2015

So I started to sew clothes!

Wow I like a title which explains the nature of a post.

Just before December started I decided to make use of the sewing machine bought for me by my Grandma and make some clothes. Some back ground here - we were taught textiles for 3 years in secondary school and I was absolutely terrible at it! At the time I couldn't see the point of learning something non-academic and I had not yet learnt how to persevere with something I wasn't good at straight away. I remember making the most horrendous pair of pyjamas when I was 13 and I haven't tried to make clothes ever since!

However, I find fast fashion repellant and although a lot of fabric has the same ethical issues and fast clothing you do take out a step in the chain and don't spend your money funding people to exploit sewing workers. I also am a slightly odd shape (petite, small waist, large hips) that means that ready-to-wear clothes can be tricky to get in the fit that I would like.  I think I also have quite a defined style in terms of the colours and shapes that I know suit me which should help with choosing patterns.

I started by getting Tilly Walnes's book 'Love at First Stitch' as having flicked through it there are detailed step by step instructions with clear pictures and although you learn by making the garments which come with the book - not all of which fit into my personal style, the techniques are transferrable. So far I have made the Margot pyjama bottoms in a quirky cotton fabric from a shop on Goldhawk road, and the Megan dress and Delphine a-line skirt (with invisible zips) in a textured fabric also from Goldhawk Road. This is midway through construction of the dress:

Although I did make a muslim for the dress the bodice still wasn't quite right but it was good practice! The fabric was £6 per metre and I used just under 2m for this.

I don't have any pictures of the skirt as I got the interfacing all wrong so the waistband stood away from my waist and looked very strange! But I did learn how to do french seams and got the invisible zip to match at the waist.

The pyjamas went really well but then they are not fitted!

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