Sewing

Me-Made May – 1/2 way mark! (Beware: cringe-making photos ahead!)

Here we are, half way through the month and at the half-way point of Me-Made May 2016. I had great intentions to document more regularly – such as each week. However, week one came and went, with me busy with this and that, so now I am doing a 2-week update. As it’s now fourteen days’ worth of the project, I won’t bore you with 14 different photos. (Yawn!) Just a quick update – I have been really pleased with myself this year – it’s gone much better than last year! I have managed every single day wearing something that in some way has come about at the hands of ME!

There have been a couple of days when the me-makes have been accessories or bags, or on one day, an altered garment, but otherwise I have managed pretty much to wear an outfit I have made myself. Me. (Hence the “Me-Made” in the title!) Oh, just remembered – pyjamas too (no way am I showing you shots of me first thing in the morning, though. Nobody deserves that!)

So here is a little montage of some of the outfits! You will have to feel very honoured that I am sharing them with you – I HATE photos of myself, and some of these are totally goofy (blame my photographer!)

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L-R: Stripey Coco dress (awful selfie, as aforementioned photographer had already left for work!), appliqued Delphine skirt, green lined wool skirt with flounce, Dottie Angel frock.

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Ladybird spot Coco dress, wool felt corsage (on a day I wore a store-bought dress!)

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What I call my Minnie Mouse dress! Worm for a friend’s 50th – I love this petticoat! I also made matching earrings (can you see them?) Apologies for coats and schoolbags in the background!

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My Spider-Man dress! My son got new Star Wars curtains for Christmas, so said I could have his old Spider-Man ones! He has now asked for PJs with the other curtain once he saw my dress. Think I need a Wonder Woman one next!!!

So, will try to continue to do the Me-Made thing for the next 2 weeks! (This will include a camping trip – the pjyamas might get another outing!)

 

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Me-Made-May 2016

Last year, I signed up for Me-Made-May. This is hosted by Zoe from So, Zo, What Do You Know?  I tried but it didn’t go so well as I found I didn’t really have an awful lot of stuff I’d made!

So this year I am trying again. More to show myself what I need to make to fill the gaps in my wardrobe! But it’s a bit of fun, so here goes…this is my Me Made May pledge!‘I, Lucy, of luckybearnorfolk (www.luckybearnorfolk.com), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear something I have made, altered or refashioned each day for the duration of May 2016’. 

   

This will include accessories as well as clothes. I will post some photos on at least a weekly basis to show you what I’m wearing! Yesterday I started it off with a Coco dress I made last month. It’s quite a thick jersey but the British spring weather is so changeable that I’m sure I’ll be wearing it more than once in May! I totally forgot, however, to take a photo until husband was out at a gig and son was in bed, so have had to take some pretty poor selfies that only show bits of it. Must do better from now on!

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My Dottie Angel frock

Half term. Family time but also a little bit of time for sewing! Yes, I need to make stock for the Etsy shop and upload it – and for the bricks & mortar shop (Norwich Gift Emporium). But I also wanted to indulge in a bit of me-sewing. I have a few garment patterns now (for “few”, read “far too many but still probably not enough”!) and I have been thinking about what to make next for a while. So I decided on some selfish sewing to boost my me-made wardrobe.

So I got out my collection and had a rummage through. Should I go indie or big-name pattern house? I initially decided to make a quick and simple “Sewing time: 1 hour” A-line skirt (it’s NEVER 1 hour, believe me!) but to my dismay, the lovely piece of fabric I’d had in mind was too small, as the print only runs one way (will have to save it for something else!) So I put that away and instead got out the Dottie Angel frock pattern (Simplicity 1080) that I bought on impulse a few weeks ago. I have many Pinterest pins of this dress and thought it looked really cute and simple to make. I kinda like the quirky Dottie Angel look and thought I’d have a go. A quick, fun sewing project, thought I!

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How mistaken I was! This was probably one of my most-hated of sewing projects to date. I can’t say what went wrong, as it does seem to be quite a simple pattern. I thought I had measured faithfully and I chose the slightly larger size according to one of my measurements (having been stung by another dress earlier in the week being a tad too small – more of that another time!) and yanked a couple of batik prints out of my stash. One of them was surely intended to be a tablecloth! A bit of a mish-mash, but I thought “quirky in the style of Dottie Angel!”

I followed the pattern instructions to the letter but found it not really very pleasurable to make. At all. And because it only comes together at the last two seams, it was impossible to fit as I went along, unlike other dresses I’ve made. So at the end, I was faced with lots of adjustings because it was absolutely enormous and made me look like a sack of potatoes. Meh. It also calls for lots of bias binding to bind the pockets, neckline, armholes, etc. I’m not keen on bound armholes!IMG_0005

I redid the side seams five times – yes FIVE! – in order to get it down to something passable. I have hacked away about 3cm off each side to try to fit it, which is quite a lot! And I hated the long-ness of it. Yes, length is in right now, the midi is a bit of a fashion thing, but I personally don’t like wearing things that long. So I whipped off about 15cm from the length too, because I prefer things ‘bove the knee. So now it’s a roomy, slouchy kinda house-dress/tunic-thing, with ties that pull it back (which to my tastes are waaaay too long), and it’ll probably look better layered, I guess. I think it’s something you might wear down the allotment. With your wellies and some chunky hand-knitted boot socks. And maybe a more earth-mothery kind of girl might suit it better. But is it really my sort of thing? I am not even really sure I will wear it (I’ll let you know if I do!) I think I’m maybe more of a fitted dress or shift kinda gal! I have put a couple of pictures to show you (front and back views) – which look ok I suppose. But I’m just not totally sold on it at the moment. And it doesn’t fit me as well as the ones fit those lovely models on the pattern pack! #storyofmylife

Do you chaps ever have things that you make and once they’re made, you’re like “Oh. Underwhelming.”? Or have you had any disasters? I am still learning how to “do” clothes, rather than bags, and I suppose this was a good learning tool. I do learn something new every time I make a new garment. Not sure whether to have another go in the smaller size, with fabrics that I love more, to try to get a better fit, or just to forget it! Or to make the shorter tunic version (which is almost what this turned out to be, as I chopped so much off the bottom!) Would love to know if anyone else has made this pattern, and how you got on with it.

***PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE***  Wore it today. Mostly because it was Sunday and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere where anyone could see me, so thought “What the hell!” I wore it with opaque green tights and a slouchy navy cardi, and a chunky ethnic-type ceramic pendant. It’s really comfy, and I think I might actually like it a bit! It is growing on me!  Just not really an enjoyable make. Maybe the second time might be easier, now I know what I’m doing…

 

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Now appearing in a gift emporium near you! (If you live in Norfolk!)

At the end of last post, I said there was soon to be some exciting news! Now I can reveal that as of this week, I will be selling a range of my items at a gorgeous little shop here in Norwich. Yay! So excited!

So this weekend I have been busy making some things. Firstly, some new tote bags with the ubiquitous button detail! (Have I told you how I lurve buttons?!) Also some of my popular little coin purses in some cute fabrics. I am going in today stock up and then we’ll see how it goes! Will post pics as and when I get in there!

Button totes 3 Purses

I also finished the first item on my 2015 To Do list – yippee! It’s a Skater Dress, a Simply Sew pattern that I got free with Love Sewing magazine. It’s advertised as a pattern for an ambitious beginner. Well, I am no expert, but I have made a few dresses now, and the pattern was not the easiest to follow! Very confusing, in fact, and actually if this was your first attempt at making a dress then you’d be stumped, to be honest, and you might give up. What a shame. I found I had to read the thing extremely carefully over and over and it looks like steps have been missed out and some printed in the wrong order! It made me wonder about whether it had been properly tested.

So luckily I used my initiative based on what I’ve learned doing other patterns. The end result is a cute sleeved dress that I chose to make in a dark navy pinstripe wool. I think if I made it again, I would lengthen the bodice by a few inches (I am coming to the conclusion that I am a bit longer in the torso than some people, and might need to learn how to adjust a pattern…boo hoo!) and would also lengthen the skirt by a couple of inches.

That said, I enjoyed wearing it. I did make a bit of a boo-boo with the zip! I bought an invisible one as directed but could only find a longer one. No matter, thought I, I shall just trim it to size. Which I duly did. I stitched in one side of the zip tape,  (unzipped, as directed), then zipped it up, ready to pin in the other tape. I only remembered that it was a cut-down zip at the very moment the pull came off the zip teeth in my right hand with the zip still on the dress. “YOU IDIOT!” quoth I, followed by a chorus of “DAMMIT!”

So I had to improvise, with a regular zip. I decided to make a feature of my cock-up and do it in a contrasting colour (dark red). I like it though. I have already worn it a couple of times. I now think I need to make a shortie bolero type cardi to wear with it, as all mine are a tad long and spoil the shape of the skirt.

My skater dress (minus invisible zip!)
My skater dress (minus invisible zip!)

What have you been up to lately? Any schoolgirl/boy errors in the sewing department?!

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Forgive me, reader, for I have sinned…

…It’s been more than three weeks since my last confession post and I feel I must make amends.

In my day job, term has begun in earnest and it’s been a manic couple of weeks getting to know my new class and getting myself back into the swing of teachery things like planning, marking, etc. But I wanted to share some exciting sewing news…I have bought myself a tailor’s dummy!

Exciting for me – maybe not so for you, but am feeling very pleased with myself, having secured what is (hopefully) a bargain on eBay. I’ve been after one for ages and have missed out on several by just a few quid. So I decided to up my top price this time and yippee! I won! Once she’s here, I’ll post a photo.  She’s a vintage blue Venus dummy. Any suggestions for names?

So, the next thing is…what to make? I have some lovely fabric given to me by my American sister-in-law that is crying out to be made into a sassy wee skirt – I have already made the Delphine skirt by Tilly & the Buttons (must have told you before how much I love her stuff?) and it is a nice shape, so might try it out on different fabric…watch this space!

Delphine number 1 - in denim
Delphine number 1 – in denim

You can see what other people have done with their Delphine on Tilly’s pinterest board.

Am also really happy to have purchased two new craft books, which arrived in the post today. Chloe Tells You How…to Sew by Chloe Owens, and Stuart Hillard’s Sew Fabulous. My bedtime reading for tonight!

On the making front, I have dipped my toe in the water this weekend with some new coin purses. A friend wanted one and I had a depleted stock following the success of the craft sale in August, so have whipped up a few in some cute fabrics. Am thinking of keeping the spool print one myself, for putting notions in when I go to craft club.

Some wee coin purses
Some tiny coin purses – enough for a credit card and your pocket money

So, anyway, that’s it for now. Be back soon…!

Oh, I almost forgot to introduce the newest addition to the family…this is Rocket and he is nearly 5 months old! Named after Rocket Racoon from Guardians of the Galaxy!

Say hello to Rocket!
Say hello to Rocket!
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Sixties dress – The Simplicity “Jiffy”

Free pattern from Sew Magazine
Free pattern from Sew Magazine

A few months ago, I was pinning things on Pinterest. I came across this pattern in a search for “Sixties Dress”. Lovely, isn’t it? So anyway, I kept meaning to buy it to give it a go. But then a few months ago, I spotted it as the free gift on the cover of Sew Magazine! Haven’t bought that mag for ages (as I’d become a Mollie Makes fan). Really glad I did – it got me back into the magazine big style! It also seemed to match perfectly to the fabric I’d bought in my favourite little vintage shop here in Norwich – Junk and Gems. I think I bought this fabric for £12 for over 2 metres, which is a bargain as I love it so much.

So, anyway, this was the next item in my ‘things to make for me’ list. The pattern is from Simplicity – Ref number K1609 – and is called the “Jiffy”.  It was a pretty quick and straightforward pattern even for a novice dressmaker like myself and I’d recommend it to newbie sewers looking for a simple sixties style dress. I chose the view with the bow – it’s the blue dress on the cover – and set to work. Since making this dress, I have started to keep notes in my scrapbook about each project I make – partly to share with you, dear reader, and partly for when I make it again. And I will – it is a really cute dress and I am going to enjoy wearing it.

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My sixties-stylee “Jiffy” dress, made indeed in a jiffy! I highly recommend this pattern – it’s lovely, doncha think?

Here it is: I’m quite pleased with myself! My notes in my scrapbook say next time, I would choose a fabric with a smaller print – although this is gorgeous, the way the pattern has you cut the front means that the print didn’t quite match up. A bit annoying, but a learning curve. I suppose had I followed traditional sewing advice and made a toile, I would have realised this, but I am not the most patient of people and actually for £12, I had nothing to lose really!

I’d love to know what you think of it! Maybe once I lose the few pounds gained from a summer with a 4 year old eating fish & chips and ice cream at the seaside, I will post a photo of me actually wearing it. I really fancy another one – perhaps in a block colour with a cute little collar like the green one on the pattern envelope!

Has anyone else tried the Jiffy pattern? Would love to see your photos!

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Now some things for me…

I do love making bags. Love it. But this summer (as well as keeping the bag-making going), I decided to give myself a new challenge and make some things for me to wear. Yup – actual clothes!

I have made a couple of simple A-line skirts before, and a pair of pj bottoms (I do love my pjs and think you can never have enough!) but what I love about bags is, they don’t have to FIT anyone. So you don’t need to be uber-precise with cutting, etc. So, I thought I would step outside my comfort zone and give it a go.

The first thing I did was purchase a pattern from Tilly & The Buttons: the Coco dress. I love Tilly’s blog and have been following her since she was on the Great British Sewing Bee back in 2013. Her blog posts are fun and helpful, full of good advice, but the best thing is that she explains everything really well for the novice dressmaker. If you want to try your hand at making clothes, you should get her book: Love At First Stitch. A lovely collection of patterns with great, detailed step-by-step instructions.

Anyway, I ordered the Coco dress from her shop and chose some fabric and it was actually really simple. Her instructions are so good and clear and there are plenty of photos to show you what yours should look like! I have never worked with jersey fabric before so was a bit nervous but it turned out well and I’m really pleased with it. I have worn it loads, and it’s had lots of positive comments. It’s a slip-on dress with no fitted elements and it’s really comfy. I’d like to try my hand at matching stripes next to make one in Breton stripes, a la Tilly!

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The Coco Pattern. You can buy it from Tilly’s shop.
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I fell in love with this quirky fabric. Chocolate & orange – one of my favourite combinations!
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The finished dress. I love it.

I then got the bug and decided the next thing should be a fitted dress! Having never ever made a dress before the Coco, this was a bold move on my part, to jump to something with shaping, darts and facings. It  was scary! Luckily I had bought a gorgeous piece of fabric, then I discovered the perfect pattern and decided to dive right on in…you can see the results in my next post!

Oh, but before I go, some exciting news to share. I have had one of my cosmetic pouches featured in an Etsy treasury this week – go have a look!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/treasury/NTY5NzEzMHwyNzI0MTAwMjc5/autumn-sunburst 

Have any of you tried Tilly’s patterns?