Dienstag, 18. August 2015

More of the same - this time with 100% more polka dots!


After the success of my gingham sundress, I cut out another version in polka dot voile pretty much straight away. This time I paid a bit more attention and did a self-lined bodice and added some pockets at the front waist seam. I also decided to make it a maxi dress this time, mainly based on the fact that I had the right amount of fabric. The amount of fabric I have is generally behind most of my dressmaking decisions. I actually made it about 3 inches too long somehow so it got a bit dirty in the park. It did feel nice and swooshy though.

I wore this on Saturday, when we went for a bit of an adventure. Dafydd had bought an amp from some guy on ebay, who was going to play at the park stage in deepest, darkest East Berlin so we hired a van and went to meet this guy. It was the most German experience ever. They somehow managed to make a gig bureaucratic - you had to queue at one door to get your ticket, then go and join the other queue to get in. Then you had to queue at the Taler stand to exchange your money for plastic chips before you could buy a drink. Then you could queue at the drinks stand. Anyway, we saw the guy's band, loaded the amp into the van and went back to watch a German all-girl ACDC tribute band, which was suitably hilarious. The forest setting made it a bit surrreal but it was fun.

These pictures turned out a bit blurry but if I don't blog about this now, there is a very low likelihood of me ever remembering to take more pictures of this dress again. So, you know, here it is.

Pretty proud of these pockets actually.

I promise I will have a different dress to show you next time!


Montag, 10. August 2015

New dress!


I hope everyone is enjoying this weather. I have been mostly making sure there are several fans around me at any one time and drinking lots of cold white wine because hydration.

I have been working on my kimono bodice over the last few weeks and I was reeeaally happy with it but then it got way too hot to have my shoulders covered so I actually haven't even worn the finished product. I will blog it when it gets cool enough to have fabric on my shoulders. So... October by the looks of it. This little sundress was a quick make because Berlin went from hot to surface-of-the-sun hot and I didn't have anything cool enough to wear.

I haven't really worn strappy sundresses that much because they do tend to... accentuate certain features on me. Maybe it's the princess seams? To be honest, after I drafted my princess bodice and saw the shape of the pieces, it was blindingly obvious why no patterns had been fitting me, no matter how many changes I made. I used the excellent Suzy Furrer's Craftsy course (cannot recommend her classes enough) to alter my princess block into a strapless bodice then just added some 1" wide straps and a dirndl skirt with patch pockets. Aside from the drafting, this whole dress took about 3 hours. It was an excellent little summer project for a heat-related dress emergency.

 It's a bit shorter than I usually go for but it is bloody hot so the knees came out. Also, my iron packed in so the skirt was a bit crumpled - the fabric is a kind of cotton seersucker type of thing that wrinkles really easily. Obviously still wore it though, I have no shame. I wore this for a day of boring but necessary errands, like recycling my many booze bottles and buying a new iron. Don't worry, we went to the beach bar to make up for being grown ups the whole day.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with this draft. It fit pretty well as drafted, I just needed to take the top of the princess seams in to compensate for a hollow chest. The straps could do with coming in a bit at the front though, there is marginal bra strap peekage.

I've already got some black polka dot cotton ready for my next version - I think I'm going to try this bodice with a maxi skirt and in-seam pockets this time.


Freitag, 3. Juli 2015

Guess who's back

After that unannounced little (ahem) blogging break, I’ve decided to give this whole thing another go. I could list excuses but whatever, I’ve been on Instagram so there has been a steady stream of cats/sewing/gin to be getting on with.

Anyway, let’s see what’s been going on.

I bought an overlocker, which has really improved the quality of my makes. I was never one to focus on the pretty insides but now it's easy and fast so I'm making an effort and I am pretty pleased.

I kind of undertook one of those wardrobe plans, which basically entailed me getting rid of a LOT of clothes and realising I have not much left that I actually love to wear. This decision has led to a lot of sewing. And fabric buying.

After taking a pattern drafting course at the local night school then watching all the Craftsy drafting courses, I’ve decided that I’m just too weirdly proportioned to rely on commercial patterns, even indie ones, so I’ve been drafting all my patterns myself and feeling pretty bloody smug in the process. I’ve still bought a couple of indie patterns so I can use their designs but just used them as a base to copy the idea onto my block. I am currently drawing them all onto polka dot Ikea wrapping paper, so my usual air of professionalism is still abound.

And finally, following Andrew WK on Facebook is probably the best decision I’ve made in the last year. Possibly ever. I highly recommend that everyone follow him and benefit from his wisdom.

PARTY TIP: sewing counts as partying.

Dienstag, 17. Juni 2014

Paris - City of Cheese, Wine and Absinthe


I spent last weekend in Paris, having a very nice chilled out holiday with my friend Claudia who lives back in the UK so most contact is usually through Skype. IRL is so much better :) I won’t put all my photos on here but I did wear me-made most of the time and we all know this is about the sewing.

Guys, it was HOT. I am a delicate Northern flower, so this was cause of much sunburn and hat buying. Naturellement, I whipped up a cool jersey maxi as soon as I saw the weather forecast. It’s a self-drafted pattern, something I have been toying with more since my pattern drafting course. I saw a Modcloth dress on Pinterest (ain’t that always the way) that used the stripes in both directions, which I liked, and this fabric has a good amount of 4-way stretch so it was a good bet. It worked out alright for a rush job and it’ll definitely get worn when the sun comes back to Berlin. The photos were taken in Pere Lachaise cemetery, where we went for a lovely if morbid stroll on the Sunday afternoon and visited Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. My inner goth was very happy there.


I got this watermelon skirt after seeing it on Million Dresses’ Wednesday Wants. See, internet? We don’t need magazines anymore. I accidentally bought the wrong size and didn’t have time before my flight to go and exchange it so I took it in crudely at the sides. That counts as a refashion, right? Or something? Upcycling? No, probably not. Either way, I really like it and it’s just the kind of ridiculousness I would make. I did wear another 2 me-made dresses for evenings out but we were too busy with the food/wine/absinthe to take any pictures.

Eating out with a gluten issue is always a bit of a pain but I remembered enough French from uni to explain everything and everyone was alright about it. THEN we went to Helmut Newcake in Rue Bichat on the Saturday for lunch…and a take-away bag of bread and cakes, ahem. Hands down, THE best gluten-free place I’ve been to, evah. I had a Caesar salad, which may not sound that exciting to normal people but I can’t normally have any dressings and obviously croutons are out. I’m still trying to figure out what their bread is made of, I think there’s coconut, corn and rice in there but I’m pretty sure it’s mostly unicorn tears, hopes and dreams. I found their site before we went and had already announced my intention to have an éclair but then I saw this double layered chocolate éclair nonsense and made it mine. So good that I bullied a girl at the counter into getting one as well. You’re welcome, stranger.

Anywho, that’s quite enough from me and my face. I absolutely loved Paris. For some reason, I thought it was going to be an over-rated let down. I think some people build it up so much that they’re gutted when it’s a little bit dirty around the edges. Maybe it’s because I was comparing it to Berlin or because we avoided the tourist hot spots but I thought it was amazing and I can see why people fall in love with it.

Montag, 2. Juni 2014

May Photo Dump

I know that May is the busiest blogging month for sewers buuuuut I had a pretty busy one so didn’t post once! FOR SHAME. I did however, keep up with my pledge (apart from the week I got sick and was wearing PJs the whole time). I won’t bore you with thousands of photos but here are a few snapshots.
The first week I exceeded my pledge and wore handmade every day, I think. Beginner’s enthusiasm.
Christine Haynes Sassy Librarian Blouse
Christine Haynes Sassy Librarian Blouse

It was my birthday on the 7th so I wore a polka dot dress I made a while ago to go to my favourite Mexican for some margheritas and I found out their nachos are gluten-free so I pretty much ate them like the Cookie Monster. NOM.
Look at my desk lovingly decorated by my team nawwwww. Flowers! They also got me the By Hand London Flora pattern AND a Craftsy course. SCORE.

Grumpy Cat gets me through the day

This maxi is made from the fabric from my first evah post, which is not saying much as this is my third post. So prolific. I love it and I’ll try and do a proper post on it soon because I had a slight mishap with the skirt being too tight at the bottom á la Mortisha Addams. Learn from my mistakes. Also in that second picture, I'm trying to flatten the poofyness caused by wearing my PJ bottoms under the dress coz my legs got cold.

Rosy Maxi Dress
Rosy Maxi Dress

The weekend of the 24th and 25th, I was on a pattern drafting course! I wore handmade each day, as was appropriate. We went through the basics of moulage and dart manipulation and made blocks for a bodice, skirt, trousers and a dress. We used a couple of different methods but I definitely had my preference as one of them dealt with my narrow shoulders better. Doing the technical stuff in German wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be and for the most part it was really easy to follow as the whole process is just quite logical. I met some very lovely ladies and we’re keeping in touch, yay sewing friends!

And this weekend, I wore my failed Elisalex dress, which ended up way too short and big in the bodice with a gaping back neckline. The pattern is lovely so it's definitely worth putting some work into the fit, and the fabric on this version is really nice so I blatantly wear it anyway, weird frumpy waistline or no. That's what belts are for, am I right? Anyway, I got the fabric FOR FREESIES from one of my favourite stalls at the fabric market in Neukölln so I didn't mind using it for a wearable toile. We went on an adventure in Rummelsburg because Daf had left his stupid phone at his rehearsal room so I went along to explore somewhere I haven't been before. It was all disused factory buildings and bits of woodland leading onto the river, very nice on such a sunny day. Everything in Berlin is a disused this or a derelict that.

Floral Elisalex
Floral Elisalex

So that was my whole month of May! It makes my life look so much more interesting when I ram a whole month into one post. I'm off to Paris to meet up with my friend on Friday so let's hope I have some fabric to show you upon my return!

Also, if you sat through this post, you get a picture of Lily looking derpy. Derp.

Sonntag, 27. April 2014

Me made May

We're back! We had a whirlwind trip around the UK over Easter and I'm now realising it's getting very close to Me Made May! I really want to take part this year but I'm going to have to get sewing if I'm going to keep it up.

I went to a wedding when I was home and was still tacking the lining on my dress and sewing the cuff on my other half's shirt 5 minutes before heading out the door :/ After that bit of panic sewing, I'll make sure I do something nice and simple to ease myself back in! Here's a sneak peek of the dress but I'll be doing a pattern review on it too coz it was bloody weird to put together.

Sewing a party dress and a man's shirt for the wedding along with going on a hectic tour of Wales, Cumbria and Manchester meant that I missed out on Sew Dolly Clacket! I had some fabric picked out and everything so I'm blatantly just going to make it anyway. Any excuse for a new dress, eh?

Anyway right now I'm working on a variation of the button back blouse from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing in some heart print cotton but I've changed the neckline to a V and I'd like to add a sort of neck tie type thing but I haven't got round to drafting a new facing yet. I also meant to add some length like I did on my last version but forgot... Oops. I'll just have to make a high waisted skirt to go with it, what a shame!

Sonntag, 13. April 2014

Horses and hounds

So after a while of lurking around sewing blogs, I finally started my own! I'm yet to invest in a decent camera so you'll have to excuse the iPhone pics for the moment.

I'm originally from the UK but have been living in Berlin for almost 4 years now, where fabric can be bought for silly cheap. I get most of my supplies from the Neukölln Stoffmarkt fabric market, which I would totally recommend to any sewers visiting Berlin.  A couple of stalls there sell fabric starting from €2 a metre and there's a stall selling really nice Japanese cotton lawn for 4 or 5 per metre.
I went there last Saturday, after enjoying the best gluten-free sandwich I have ever experienced at Aunt Benny's in Friedrichshain. It looked and tasted like normal bread for normal people, so I was pretty chuffed.

We also went to the farmer's market at Boxhagener Platz on the way to the fabric market, where a very nice lady gave me a free onion and winked at me. This kind of thing brightens my days.

Anyway, onto the fabric!

First up, I got this mildly ridiculous horse print cotton. I have absolutely no idea what to make with this, but it made me laugh so I got it. This thinking has landed me with some very odd fabric in the past. I had to talk myself out of buying some turtle print bright pink fabric for the same reason. It's enough to make a summery skirt or maybe it's more suited to a cowgirl shirt?

Some classic nautical stripes in a thin cotton. Again no plans as yet but it was €2 a metre and I love me some stripes so no arguments here.

I think this beauty can safely be declared the catch of the day. It has a weird brushed texture and it's definitely much thicker than quilting cotton but I don't really know what its deal is. I intend to make this bad boy into a quilt and embroider around the frames. 

That cat on the right is giving somebody the side-eye. 

I reckon with the 2 metres of this I bought, I have approximately 101 Dalmatians. Give or take. I do actually have a plan for this! I don't just mindlessly buy novelty prints, I swear.

This rose number has a 90s vibe and feels kind of viscosey/crepey. The one issue with the fabric market is the lack of labeling so you don't really know exactly what you're buying sometimes. It's really drapey and I'm thinking a maxi dress would do it justice. I haven't bought the By Hand Anna pattern yet but I can see this being a cool Anna. I would wear it with doc martens and black nail varnish and listen to Hole.

And what would a fabric haul be without some mystery jersey? The light and dark greys are for T-shirts for the other half, while the stripes and dots are going to be some slouchy tops for me. I like my comfies.

I also got some cosy fleece for the backs of quilts, which I'm trying to keep away from my cats, as well as some plain black and white cottons for linings and facings and whatnot but nobody wants to see that, right?

First blog post: check! Next time let's see if we can't involve some sewing!