In a very casual way I’ve been taking part in Me Made May, an online challenge to wear hand made clothes during May. As I wear something hand made most days now that’s not too much of a challenge so I thought it would be useful to pay attention to which ‘me made’ clothes I do wear and which I don’t so much.
When I first starting making more clothes a few years ago I was very inspired by the colourful printed dresses I saw online and made by other seamstresses. Perfect for sunny days out and having a lovely time! However I’ve realised that although it’s good to have a few dresses like that in my wardrobe I’m more likely to reach for t-shirts, tops and skirts or jeans, and during winter (which felt like forever this year) warm jumpers and cardigans. So instead of being seduced by pretty prints to make into dresses I’ve paid more attention to making more simple tops, fun tshirts and warm clothing, which are more practical but still make me feel like my outfit is unique.
So here’s a few of the pieces I’ve been wearing during May, as its nearly the end of the month!
A self drafted skirt made from Ponte de Roma. I made this skirt to replace the black circle skirt I made last year. It was made from cheap fabric which has pulled and bobbled and worn very badly. I did wear it a lot though, so I think I got my money’s worth! The new skirt has an elasticated waist and is super comfy and swishy.
My Moon Bag and my Sunday Funday cardi have had quite a lot of use! (Bag pattern from Make E, cardi pattern from Iron Lamb)
I made a tshirt from this lovely swan print jersey from Stoff Stil. Despite measuring several times its come up a bit big. I don’t mind that too much but the neck gapes slightly, which is annoying. Oh well!
I made this Bettine Dress (the 6th one now!) a few months ago but have only got round to wearing it recently now the weather is warmer. It’s made from a medium weight peachskin, from Guthrie and Ghani. I made the skirt long enough to wear without leggings when the weather is even warmer. And a thank you to my four year old who took this photo (do a pose Mummy!!)
This top is a Butterick 6175. I love the shape of the sleeves! The top is size 12 at the shoulder and 10 at the waist but I’m going to make a 14 at the waist next time as the waist is a bit too tight and rides up which irritates me. It’s made from some viscose I’ve had hanging about for ages. The pattern suggests the neck opening to be fastened with a hook and eye but I took this out as it just didn’t lie properly. I put a concealed zip in and now all is well.
I also made the necklace from some wooden beads I bought a while ago. They are painted with acrylic paint and I added some details with a Sharpie marker in gold. I used a crochet chain made from DMC thread and a 1.75mm crochet hook. I’ve seen loads of similar necklaces online and am really happy with how my version has turned out. I might make matching earrings!
Finally, and it’s not craft related at all, here’s a picture of my next door neighbour’s clematis that has crept over the fence. It’s gorgeous, and very welcome in my garden!
It’s been ages since I shared any dressmaking projects I’ve been working on, and now here’s three I want to share all in one go! Cue dodgy photos taken on a timer…
Last year I joined the PDF club set up by Sew Over It. As part of the membership you get to choose a free PDF pattern, and I chose the Heather Dress. One year on and I’ve finally made it!
I bought the fabric for £1.50/m in the summer from the market and cut it out in an attempt to get ahead of myself and make a winter dress early. However I’d not foreseen that I would be very busy making for Christmas craft fairs and not really have free time for dressmaking. I was also slightly put off by the fact that after cutting out the dress seemed quite complicated with three panels for front and back as well as inseam pockets. But I was wrong! The pattern pieces came together beautifully. I was so pleased as a lot of the seams seemed to be curved. One of the many things I like about SOI patterns is the amount of notches to fit the patterns together, there’s loads! It really makes it easy. The pocket was very clever and well explained too, no sewing dramas there. I used a twin needle to finish the hem and neckband, I love the finish it gives.
The fabric I’ve used is a polyester sweatshirt / double knit type fabric. It was really nice to sew with as its nice and sturdy which meant fitting the sleeves was simple and I think I’ve sewn my best neckband ever! I’m impressed with the fit too, not too tight over my square shoulders. Another reason for me to like SOI patterns as they seem to suit my shape.
I’d completely recommend the Heather Dress. It was nice to add a few unusual seam details and I really like how the pockets came together. I think a cozy sweater dress is just what I’ll be needing this week.
I’ve also recently made a new Cleo Dungarees Dress, in grey cord from Minerva Crafts. I think it’s going to be a useful addition to my wardrobe. I made matching covered buttons as I couldn’t find any dungaree clips I liked (I’m fussy), and they are a satisfying little detail.
My final project to share is a top I’ve made with scuba fabric, in a print scuba I’ve been coveting for aaaages. It’s from Fabric Godmother, who have an excellent range of scuba fabric. I bought just one metre of fabric, which is fine as I only wanted to make short sleeves and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. I LOVE the print! The pattern is a free one I found via Pinterest from It’s Always Autumn. (Lots of lovely free dressmaking patterns and tutorials available there!) I’ve made it before for my orange sweatshirt, which is a favourite. Scuba fabric is fun to work with, I found it was best to keep it simple and not force the fabric to do too much, so I left the neckband off and did a straightforward hem instead.
Now my aim is to not to buy any more fabric but to try and use up some more of my stash of fabric, wish me luck!
I’ve been a busy bee over the last few days and seem to have finished a few pieces of handmade clothing, gone through my mending pile and done some crochet! It’s funny, at times it seems like nothing is getting done and then all of a sudden you have loads of finished pieces. I’ve also been finishing off pieces for Sherwood Art Week, more on that next week!
I finished this crochet cowl last week. It’s made from King Cole Panache, an acrylic wool blend single ply yarn. It’s DK weight but has some variations throughout which gives a lovely texture. The pattern is the Triangle Infinity Scarf, which I found via Rosina’s blog, Zeens and Roger . I did 26 starter triangles and 18 rows of triangles. I didn’t expect to wear it for months but it was freezing last week and so it got worn straight away! I expect it will get worn loads in autumn and winter. It’s a very satisfying pattern to work with.
I made this skirt- I’m saying its a statement skirt although I’m not sure what statement I’ll be making! I really like it, and the fabric only cost £3… I know, sooo cheap! It’s from the local market and is a silky polyester type, that was surprisingly well behaved. The pattern is adapted from a Butterick pattern (B6051). It’s the skirt part of a maxi dress, which is designed for stretch fabrics. I cut the largest size out, and fitted it to a curved waistband. I like the shape of the skirt. The pockets are not great, they are a bit droopy and I’ve attached them a little low down but I like the bit of interest that they give. To stop the crazy static cling I’ve got a very posh petticoat on underneath! My grandma gave it to me ages ago; I’ve recently shortened it so I can wear it under more skirts. I think it’s from the early 80s.
It’s very fancy!
In my crochet basket is a corner to corner cushion cover. I’ve been admiring all the lovely C2C crochet creations on Instagram recently and thought it was time I jumped on the bandwagon! I’ve used Stylecraft Special DK and some metallic yarn from B&M Bargains. The colours are the same as my other crochet cushion projects (as part of my living room cushion makeover). I’ve really enjoyed the C2C method, even though I’ve got myself into a right tangle, it seems very quick and the colour changes are quite easy too. I’m nearly finished with the second side now, I’d like it finished by next week! Better get a move on…
I’ve been in a right grump recently, for no particular reason and I can’t seem to shake it off. I could probably blame my husband, kids, the weather, the general election and many other things that sometimes irritate me, but I think it really is just me in a grump. In an attempt to cheer my self up I have tried to make a few bits in between making stuff for Sherwood Art Week, and I sort of think it’s working.
I made a pair of Carrie Trousers from Sew Over It, I really like the style of these trousers, and thought they would be perfect for summer. I used some very cheap viscose polyester linen look stuff from the local market, which I’m glad only cost £1.50/m as these trousers nearly ended up in the bin! They are huge through the leg! I managed to adjust the waistband so they sit a bit lower on my waist which I think looks better, but then I chopped too much off the length of the leg- argh! They are okay though, and I think I can make some adjustments to the pattern for a future pair through the leg.
I’m really very pleased and cheered up by a bag I’ve made using Rico Fashion Jersey. It’s lined with some quilting cotton from my stash, and I bought some handles, also by Rico, to stitch on. I’m so happy with it! The pattern is the Everyday Bag from Modern Crochet by Molla Mills. I’ve not used the type of yarn suggested in the pattern, but I didn’t think it would matter too much if the bag was a little bigger. I like the stitch definition this yarn gives, and it holds its shape well.
I lined it using some quilting cotton from my stash which I must say is a rather good match. Finding a zip was a bit tricky but I’m glad I persevered… I did threaten to have a zip related strop if I didn’t find the right one after I’d been in four shops with no success! Sewing the handles on was tricky but I’m pleased I used them as the finish is much nicer.
I bought all the yarn and the bag handles at Knit Nottingham, which is a lovely independent yarn shop in town and I got some great advice from Eleanor about the yarn. She had made a bag with it and also used the same handles which really looked good. I used four and a half balls of the yarn, and one fat quarter of fabric to line the bag. I’m going to have crochet bags every where, they are rather addictive to make.
I’ve decided to take part in the #sewingforsummer challenge on Instagram. This summer the challenge is to make a shirt dress, and I’m going to attempt the Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges shirt dress. I’ve made a toile for the bodice, and so far it’s not going that well. I think the shoulders of the pattern sleeve just do not fit me. I’m going to compare the pattern pieces of another pattern that does fit and maybe combine the two patterns in some kind of Frankenstein’s monster dress pattern. The shirt dress needs to be made by 21st June, so I have a while yet, and already have my fabric, this beautiful viscose from Stof and Stil.
I’m not ready yet to share too much of the embroidery and crochet work I’ve been doing for Sherwood Art Week. I’ve put a few sneaky peeks on Instagram, all will be revealed soon! I like what I’ve done. I think I do anyway…. Which takes me right back to my grump!
Spring is trying to spring all around us here in England as I write and I’m very happy about this as it means I can wear my spring and summer clothes without getting frozen! I’ve been championing spring clothes for a couple of weeks now and have felt rather chilly!
Here is my fourth Clemence Skirt (from the Love at First Stitch book by Tilly Walnes). I’ve made this using the Fruit Drop print by Cotton and Steel, which I bought from Fabric Fox when they had a sale on. I LOVE this print! It’s quilting cotton which I’ve never actually used for dressmaking before, and it’s actually perfect for this style of skirt as it has a bit of body to give a lovely shape. I’ve got a couple of other pieces of quilting cotton in my stash waiting to become dresses and they might move up the queue rather quickly now!
The waistband is a little loose, I think I stretched it before I sewed it so I might have to take it in a bit. I really like the longer length though, I prefer longer skirts for the summer.
Shoes from Boden a couple of years ago, can’t believe how perfectly they go with this skirt!
Next up is a sort of self drafted sweatshirt, in velvet! I made this a few months ago, but have really struggled to take any decent photos of it. The fabric is a stretch velvet from Fabric Godmother, it’s in a lovely petrol blue colour and is beautifully soft. I used the neckline and sleeve heads from the Moneta Dress pattern by Colette, but altered the bodice shape and sleeve shape so it is a little looser and boxy. I also added a neckband which sticks up ever so slightly, but I don’t mind. I was really careful when I cut it out to make sure all the velvet ‘strokes’ the same way, however this created the unforeseen problem that when I try to put a jacket or coat on over the top the sleeves stick and bunch up in an uncomfortable way to the jacket’s sleeves! So it’s not had as much wear as I thought it would but now it’s warmer weather (yay!) I’ll not be needing a jacket!
I’ve chopped my head off in some photos as I had to edit the photos so much to try and accurately show the velvet colour, and I started to look like I was an alien. You’ll just have to trust me on the colour, it’s nicer than the pictures! I like it with my mustard scarf.
Have a lovely crafty week
Today I’m sharing one of my favourite handmade pieces ever, the Betty Dress by Sew Over It.
I’ve always liked this dress pattern, and when I received an invite to a friends wedding to be held in February I thought it was the perfect chance to make it. I bought the ‘sleeve and scoop neck’ pack too, which is a PDF download pattern to add a sleeve, and a scoop or v-neck to to the bodice, which is normally sleeveless and has a boat neck at the front. The print at home pattern was very easy to put together and it’s a great extra option for the dress. I like that Sew Over It patterns also have plenty of notches for matching pattern pieces too, it just makes them a wee bit more accurate to sew up.
Late on last year, I bought the Sew Crafty dressmaking journal. It’s a clever notebook which has space to make detailed notes and drawings of sewing projects, along with fabric swatches and photos (if I ever get round to printing them off). It was rather useful for the Betty dress as I had to make a quite a few adjustments to the bodice, and I used the mannequin outline pages in the journal to more accurately record my measurements. Making your own clothes can sometimes make you feel like you are a weird shape. I had to take out 10cm from the back of the dress, lower the bust darts by 4cm, widen the shoulders and alter the slope of them…. And I still think the neckline gapes a little! The journal was really handy for recording all the alterations which I did while making 2 toiles. I also used a book called Sew Many Dresses which has a very helpful section on adjustments, when you need to make them, and how!
I’m really pleased with how the dress turned out. The fabric is also from Sew Over it, it’s a slightly heavier than normal viscose and I absolutely love it! It has all my favourite colours, beautiful drape and was a real treat to sew with. I bought a fluffy 50s style petticoat to wear underneath for some extra volume which really made the dress feel extra special. I also made a clutch bag using some Cygnet Seriously Chunky yarn, in Barley (from Mrs Snufflebean ). I adapted the purse pattern in Inside Crochet magazine (which is designed by my internet friend Rosina of Zeens and Roger blog). It’s lined with some left over fabric from my dress for extra matchy-matchiness.
This is one of my favourite makes; it was perfect to wear for a wedding and I really loved the swishyness of the skirt. It did use a lot of fabric though as I wanted the skirt to be a little longer than the pattern, and as it is a full circle skirt that meant a lot of fabric indeed. With a little bit of jiggery pokery in the lay plan I managed to save enough fabric to make a top from the fabric too, and as I’m planning to make a plain black circle skirt I’m sure the top will get a lot of wear. I need to get myself invited to another fancy do so I can wear this dress again!
Cleo Dungaree Dress by Tilly and the Buttons
Well it’s been aaaages since I shared a dressmaking project. Last summer I think! I’ve made quite a few items over the last few months, but I’ll share them one by one rather than blast you with lots of pictures of me in one go!
One of my Christmas presents was the Cleo Pinafore/ Dungaree Dress pattern by Tilly and the Buttons. Another Christmas present was some thick black denim, which I chose from Stop and Stil. This wasn’t a coincidence- I had cleverly masterminded this to happen!
So I made a dungaree dress!
When this pattern first came out I wasn’t sure I would suit it. After seeing a lot of the different creations on Pinterest and Instagram I thought I would give it a go and decided a nice neutral black denim would be good. Grey t-shirts and striped t-shirts would look good, and tights or leggings!
The pattern came together very easily, thanks to the lovely clear instructions that are a trademark of all Tilly and the Buttons patterns. I lengthened the skirt by 3″ which is the usual adjustment I make to the skirt part of TATB patterns as I’m quite tall. Turning the straps inside out left me with aching fingers and I think I wouldn’t do it the same way next time! I used bronze coloured buckles from my local haberdashery stall in the market, which were a bargain at £1.50 a pair.
Anyway, here it is and I’m so pleased with how it came out! I’ve worn it loads. (I was a bit irritated by the denim when it was washed as it has distressed itself and I’m not entirely reassured by my five year old son’s statement that it looks like a lightning strike!) It’s also the perfect item of clothing for showing off my small collection of pin badges.
I’m feeling very pleased by stepping slightly- only slightly- out of my dressmaking comfort zone and trying a new style and different fabric, yay me!
‘Mightier’ pen pin badge by RockCakes, Helter SkelterPin badge by Lucky Dip Club