New Projects: What’s Next?

With February now well under way, I’m attempting to get together some coherent sewing plans for my next few projects. The down side of not planning out a series of makes for the year (along the lines of #makenine on Instagram) is that I do spend a lot of time dithering when I find myself between projects. Since my sewing productivity has increased massively this past month, my lack of planning is becoming even more of an issue. On the other hand, my makes tend to be responsive to whatever I’m feeling at the time so planning out patterns for the year doesn’t really work well. To navigate these two perspectives, I’m trying to develop a planning method that falls somewhere in between by having the next few makes lined up – hopefully sufficient to get me through a month or two. With that, I thought that I would write up a post on my more immediate sewing plans – at the very least it gets my plans out of my brain (where they will inevitably slosh around and eventually disappear into the ether of my other thoughts) and written down in a concrete way!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been spending a lot of time recently working from Tilly and the Button’s Love at First Stitch book.

IMG_6084

I’ve owned this book for ages but had yet to actually make anything from it. Having just finished up the Clemence skirt (photos to come soon!), I’m now working on a version of the Mimi blouse. I’m actually super excited about this make. I’ve never been big into making separates – I always seem to default to dresses because they’re just so pretty! But I’m determined to diversify my me-made wardrobe this year and separates are going to be a big part of that. I fell in love with the 60s style of the Mimi blouse and thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to use the beautiful fabric that I won during #vpjuly last year.

IMG_5127

I was going to hang on and make a dress from this fabric (as per my traditional dress obsession) but I can’t help thinking that it will make a super cute vintage blouse. Plus there will be some extra fabric left over for other things, which is always a bonus!

After I get done with the blouse, I’m thinking of working on another version of the Decades of Style Belle Curve dress. This was one of my earliest makes and remains one of my favourite patterns. It’s just so beautiful! Unfortunately, my early version of the pattern is both much too big for me now and not amazingly made. I definitely applaud myself for managing to make the pattern at all and, given my complete lack of sewing knowledge at the time, am still very happy with what I achieved. But I think the Belle Curve dress is definitely a pattern that will benefit from my much improved sewing abilities.

Pattern

I don’t yet have any fabric for this dress. I think it’s going to be a matter of rooting around at some fabric stores in order to find the perfect material. I think I’m still going to go for something plain (not patterned) and relatively light in colour, since this allows for the darts to show up especially well. I was actually really pleased with the fabric choice on my first version, so I think I’m going to try and use something relatively close to that – because why change what works?

The last project on my current list is the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans. I’ve seen these jeans circulating in the blogosphere for a while and with consistently incredible reviews. I always struggle to find good jeans in stores because they’ll inevitably be baggy on my waist and thighs or too tight on my hips. The idea of making my own jeans is massively appealing and, with my recent Ultimate Trousers success, I’m feeling really motivated to make even more trousers! Not to mention, Closet Case’s jeans patterns are all 30% off for the month of February, as is their online Jean Making course! So I think I’m going to capitalise on that discount and give these jeans a go.

So that’s everything I have planned for the next month or so. If I continue on my current trend, my self-made wardrobe will definitely be growing exponentially through 2018! What do you have lined up for February? Dark, cold winters are definitely optimal sewing time. Maybe this -10 Celsius weather will clear up in St. Louis soon so that I can actually go out wearing some of what I’ve made this year.

 

#mmmay2016

image

It’s Me Made May! I know I’m a little late to the party – blame my trip and last minute packing adventure. Only 10 days left, so don’t forget to dig out your most beautiful handmade pieces and take a snap in them!

In this photo, I’m sporting my Great British Sewing Bee vintage blouse. To read about this make, just hop on the My Makes page!

Vintage Blouse: A Tale of Triumph

Well, after many tears (and a few curse words), I have finally finished the Great British Sewing Bee’s Vintage Blouse.

GBSB Blouse 2

It was my first time working with a chiffon fabric, which presented a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, my amazing new sewing machine has automatic tension adjustment, making the whole process a bit easier!

I actually really love this pattern. The fit wasn’t difficult and the vintage accents are just perfect – the necktie, the large sleeves, and the plackets. All of these brought their own learning curves, as I faced down with a range of new sewing techniques. I am now a master of french seams and less technically-challenged when it comes to continuous bound plackets! Whoop!

Would I whip up this pattern again? I think so, although perhaps with a satin or silk fabric. The instructions that came in the book were great and easy-to-follow. And the final product certainly looks plenty vintage!

GBSB Blouse 1

And now it’s onto the next project! I’m torn between a few options but this evening shall be spent making a decision and getting started.

Thanks for all of the support (particularly placket-related). You are fabulous!!

Laura x

Placket Problems

Two days ago, the world was a simpler place. I was enjoying some calm constructing of the Great British Sewing Bee’s gorgeous vintage blouse. This was until my pattern demanded that I understand the point of a continuous bound placket and how to construct it. I faced three main problems: (1) I had no idea what a continuous bound placket was; (2) I decided to try and figure it out from working through the pattern, rather than actually looking for advice elsewhere; so, (3) I didn’t realise that a placket is a separate piece of fabric, and instead tried to manipulate one out of just my sleeve piece. If this all sounds confusing, you have a taste of my life for two days. I’m sure anyone in the Essex area heard my cries of frustration.

Weeping quietly into my fabric, my wonderful fiancé stood over my shoulder – ‘does this pattern piece say placket?’ he asked, handing me a piece of tissue paper discarded on the floor. And with that, my problem was solved. I finally realised the common sense necessary to Google for a video tutorial and am preparing to tackle my plackets properly this evening.

Oh the adventures of an amateur sewer! I swear 80% of my time is spent trying to decipher patterns and avoid pinning the fabric to my skin. But I feel that it’s worth it for that 20% of actual sewing success! Despite my placket problems, my blouse is coming on a treat. I’m still worried that the floral pattern might be a little outside of my usual style, but with a plain navy skirt, I think it’ll look tres jolie.

GBSB Blouse Sleeve

Look at those shoulder gathers! I’m so proud!

I will keep you posted on the progress of my plackets 🙂

Laura x

No Rules but Vogue’s Rules

Since throwing myself into sewing, I’ve spent a good amount of time rummaging through charity shops trying to hunt out any craft-related goodies. Surprisingly, perhaps the the best place to look for vintage-inspiration is amongst old books and magazines. One particularly successful shopping trip last week left me the proud owner of Vogue’s 1932 Guide to Practical Dressmaking. 

Vogue Guide

This amazing little book has turned out to be an invaluable resource. With detailed descriptions of old-school sewing techniques and some cute illustrations, it’s a brilliant insight into using vintage sewing patterns. With this at my side, I’m actually feeling much braver when it comes to delving into my growing stack of vintage patterns! Particularly since I’m now equipped with the only rules that matter:

Vogue's Rules

One of the most fantastic things about these old sewing guides and vintage magazines are the ads. For me, these provide perhaps the best picture of era-specific styles and beauty secrets. SO much love!

Vogue Ad2

With that, I’m off to continue with my current project. Inspired by the fabulous Lee Made It, I decided to take on a pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee’s most recent publication. I settled on this gorgeous vintage-inspired blouse, ready to use up a wonderful sheer fabric that I bought a while back:

Vintage Blouse

So far, so good. Although I’m finding it impossible to backstitch without the fabric catching and have been securing by hand instead. Any advice on making my machine more cooperative on this?