Monday, 28 July 2014

Love at First Stitch the Delphine Skirt

I was really excited when Jane of Handmade Jane announced the One Pattern, One Week (OPOW) challenge. I didn't take part in MMMay this year as I felt I didn't have enough outfits to make a decent pledge. However with OPOW running over only one week and potentially only requiring a couple of garments I am definitely up for taking part.

The first challenge with OPOW is obviously which pattern to choose. I found it really interesting reading Tilly of Tilly and the buttons finding from the last OPOW (check out these graphs!). Last time found that tops in particular the Colette Sorbetto came out as most popular. However I decided that skirts were the way to go for me. I narrowed it down to my TNT Kelly by Megan Nielsen or new to me Delphine from Tilly's Love at First Stitch book. In the end I opted for something new and so after the success of my first one, the Delphine won.

I picked up this mid weight stretch floral denim on Goldhawk Road during my London trip. It has a wonderful ready embroidered selvage along one side. To be honest this was my first purchase on my Goldhawk Rd shopping trip as as the day went on I kinda fell out of love with it. I bought it with many great ideas but after carting it about all day (it was pretty heavy folded up) I was beginning to loath it and wonder why the hell I had bought it. In hindsight it was a good purchase and it is now a very comfy and fun Delphine.

 Mainly due to the fabric choice I ended up having to make a few changes to the pattern. On the whole it is the same pattern but I did lengthen it by around 1.5 inches as I was concerned it might be a bit short for me. As the denim came with a pre-embroidered hem I also too into consideration that the bottom of the skirt could not curve up at the sides as per the original design. Therefore I straightened the hemline so I didn't have to cut into the embroidery. I hope that these alterations have not taken away too much from Tilly's original design. I think for my next Delphines I will be sticking more true to the pattern.

I decided not to line the skirt as frankly it is just too flipping hot just not to think about lining. Plus I don't think it is totally necessary with denim. I finished the waistband with a fuchsia bias binding which has been in my stash for a while now. To stop the seams flapping about I also made sure that everything was neatly top stitched in to place.

My photos were all taken on a fab day out in Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. It has been so sunny lately that a trip to the gardens was a must. Also check out this gorgeous world war 1 commemorative poppy field. I love seeing the wild flowers, too often they are being weeded out of manicured gardens, so it was great seeing them being embraced in such a large flower bed in the middle of the botanics.

Hope you all had a great weekend and stay tuned for more Delphines and other Love at First Stitch garments (including one with a lot of bunnies). Also have you heard that Tilly is having a 20% off sale you can find the discount code in her announcement here

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Sew La Di Da's 1950s Rose Dress

1950's Rose English Tea Dress
Talk about leaving things to the last minute... my friends birthday was on Friday night and in my infinite wisdom I decided, on the way home from work, on Thursday that I was going to make a new dress for the occasion. I don't really know what got in to me but when I got home that evening, I threw all caution to the wind and started chopping into my lovely spotty fabric. After all the pattern said that it was my exact size so why wouldn't it fit me brilliantly (certainly not something I would usually say)! Thankfully the end result was pretty true size and actually fit me pretty well. By the time I went to sleep I had everything sewn up and was ready for the zipper and hem. The next day I sewed the buttons on the bus on the way to the office and then rushed home at the end of the day to put in my zipper and hem before running out again for the party. I know I'm crazy but the end result was a lovely night in my brand new 1950's Rose English Tea dress from Sew La Di Da

Party dress in a hurry
The 1950's Rose is another one of my pattern finds from the Sewing for Pleasure show that I went to back in March.  Sew La Di Da had a stand at the show and had brought along a sample display of each of their vintage inspired dresses. The samples were mainly all in a plain calico type fabric which really let you appreciate the details of the patterns and let your imagination fill in the blanks for the fabric options. 

My new frock
Speaking of fabric... I chose this lovely cotton from a nearby stand at the show. I really wish I had taken a note of the name of the shop as I bought some of my most favorite purchases of the show from it (including the fabric for my Hummingbird Cambie). Anyway, I think the choice of cotton was a good one for the Rose as it holds all of the pleats nice and crisp. The cotton also gives the skirt a little body when you choose to wear it without a petticoat.

Petticoat with or without?
In terms of difficulty, I think that once you get your head round the construction of the first pleat then it is really straight forward from there. I quite enjoyed the method for creating the pleats. It involved a permanent line of stitching to hold the seam at the back of the pleat and a line of temporary stitches at the front of the pleat. This essentially created a series of tubes in the skirt which were closed at the top with two short rows of stitches. With everything held neatly in place it made pressing the pleats a piece of cake and also had the added advantage of reducing the bulk of fabric you are wrestling with until right at the end. This method of creating the pleats means that right before sewing the hem you get the satisfaction of removing all of the long temporary stitches to reveal your beautifully pleated full skirt. 
Full skirted fabulousness!
Also, I have a new respect for the folk out there who manage to capture good "twirly" photos. I tried a couple of times and this was the best I could get. Good fun trying though!

My attempt at the twirly photo
Finally, I just wanted to add how much I love the way the Sew La Di Da instruction have been written. You get a real feel for the character of the designer. I particularly liked the use of the word frock! 
So to sum it up, I love the, construction sequence, real style paper pattern, neckline, pleats, princess seams and all in one bodice/skirt pattern pieces. I don't really have anything that I dislike but it would be nice to see, some more pattern related information on the pattern envelope and perhaps some colour or slightly clearer photos in the instruction. That said, I really enjoyed making this dress and I look forward to trying more of the Sew La Di Da patterns.


 In other news, I must be on some kind of lucky streak as I have been fortunate enough to have my name drawn by Fiona of Diary of a Chainstitcher in her Capital Chic Patterns competition. So stay tuned for my interpretation of Sally's wonderful White Russian sweatshirt pattern

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Spring Sewing Swap

A couple of months ago I decided to join in with the SpringSewing Swap organised by Kerry from Kestrel Makes. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get to know someone new from the sewing and blogging community as well as a chance for some selfless shopping and a chance to gain an understanding of what sort of image I present from my blog. 

I was partnered up with Rachel from A Study in Stitching. I had a whale of a time snooping through Rachel's blog. She has a wonderful tab all about her Stash Diet Pledge which carefully details all of the patterns that she own and has a photo of all the fabric in her stash. This was a great help when I was trying to suss out what she might like.

Check out all of these lovely goodies that Rachel sent me. As well as snooping through her blog, Rachel and I were also lucky enough to meet at the Minerva Crafts Meet-up. This gave us both a great opportunity to work out each others style and chat about our upcoming project plans. When we were at the meet up Rachel made a very astute observation (I think based on the bundles of fabric in my arms and my meet up dress) that I like small prints and blue. I had to admit that she was totally correct but that it would be nice to have something different in my wardrobe.
So when I opened my parcel and found this small print fabric in red I was delighted. Its still in my happy zone but a lovely change from all that blue. With matching thread to boot!

I have to admit that I spied this pattern in Rachel's pattern stash and I did fall for it somewhat. This is Simplicity 5107, I believe it was printed in the early 60's. It comes with two options: the dress as shown in the middle drawings; and a "jumper" as shown in the two smaller drawings. I'm not entirely sure I would describe this view as a jumper but never the less this is the option that intrigues me the most. 

I really like these buttons. I have been planning on making another Viola Skirt which is more office appropriate since finishing my last one. Luckily there are just enough of these lovely buttons to add to a Viola and give it a bit of interest.
Rachel also gave me a Clover chaco pen style liner, I have had a chance to use one of these before and they are ideal. I find that they don't distort the fabric as much as solid chalk and give a much more precise line. 

6 of spades
To see what I sent to Rachel in return check out Rachel's swap post. Huge thanks again to Rachel for sending me such lovely things and a massive thanks to Kerry for hosting the swap. I have really enjoyed taking part and will be keeping an eye out for swaps in the future. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Minerva Craft Prize Draw

Can you imagine my excitement when these two huge boxes arrived from Minerva Crafts?

As I mentioned in my previous post I was lucky enough to win the Minerva Craft Meet-up Prize Draw. So... what came in the prize package, I hear you say? 

Well, there was a brand new sewing machine from Janome, a Prym storage trolley and a  big Hemline haberdashery bundle worth a grand total of around £600. I am still having a hard time believing that I have won it all. I am super excited about everything in the prize bundle. I don't want to go though everything but here are a few of my favorites.
Janome CXL301
I have heard great things about this Janome CXL301 sewing machine. My mum tells me that it is the same machine that she used at her quilting class. It certainly did a fab job of tackling the intricate piecing and quilting through all those layers.
I might be veggie but I can still love ham and sausage!
When I saw this tailor's sausage and ham from Hemline in the box I nearly did a happy dance (I was in the office so it wasn't really appropriate)! It seems a little sad to be so excited about a couple of saw dust filled blobs but I have heard such rave reviews about these, that been looking at buying/making a pair of these for months now. I'm sure that all the sewists out there understand my excitement. 

Check out this trolley from Prym! It carries everything I would possibly want to travel with and has plenty room left to spare. The prize also included a Hemline sewing machine bag which fits my machine perfectly and it has a great pocket in the front for the foot pedal and power cable. With these two I can sew anywhere now.

Sewing machine bag
I also received all of these wonderful Hemline goodies too. I feel very lucky.
Haberdashery bundle
A massive thank you to Minerva Crafts, Janome, Hemline and Prym for supporting the prize draw. Also, a big thanks to Vicki from Minerva Crafts, who made sure everything was delivered safely and did a fantastic job during the Meet-up!

Finally, if you are interested in seeing more of the purple spotty dress I am wearing, I will be talking about it in an upcoming post. So, remember to follow me so you can read all about it.