Friday 28 July 2017

More sleeveless shell tops

My Sleeveless Shell Top has been such a hit this summer I promptly made myself two more. Taking on board my own advice from my first version, I made a couple of tiny adjustments to the pattern: I lengthened the front curve to match the back and eliminated the centre back seam. I also used this method to attach the all-in-one facings by machine and it worked like a dream. Now that I know what I'm doing (it only took me five years to work it out...) it actually takes me less time to attach an all-in-one facing than it takes to attach bias tape and you get a lovely clean finish. I'm a complete convert!

First up is a Liberty lawn version in my all time favourite print - Carline (only available in pink at the moment). I had just one metre of fabric, which was lucky as that's all you need for this pattern! I made it during a sewing afternoon over at Tilly's and am amazed I managed to sew it without any mistakes as I was more than a little distracted by the sewing chat. It's such a lovely, colourful top and looks great with all kinds of solid coloured garments: jeans, skinny trousers, red skirts, the lot! 

The second version is made from Swiss Dot cotton*, this time in turquoise.

I used the same kind of fabric for my Malia top and it's a really nice weight for a sleeveless top - it has a lovely drape. I only had a 60cm remnant, (snapped up for £2 from Fabric Godmother last year) and it was just enough to cut out the front and back pieces. I love it when I get to use up smaller pieces from my stash like this! I cut the facing pieces from white silk cotton.

This top will probably get even more wear than the Carline one as it's a solid colour so can be paired up with virtually anything.

Three is probably my limit for this pattern this summer - I dread to think how many I'm going to make next year though! I love this pattern. x

*Every single time I type this fabric name I think of Dot Cotton from Eastenders...

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Dragonfly Fabrics Giveaway Winner

Thank you very much to everybody who entered the Dragonfly Fabrics giveaway last week. I've pressed a few buttons and can now reveal that the winner of 2m of fabric and a pattern of their choice is.....kaytebell, hoorah! Congratulations Kaytebell, an email is on its way to you for further details.

If you've been tempted by any of the lush fabrics on the Dragonfly Fabric website don't forget there's currently 15% off all purchases with my special discount code. Just enter the code sew40 when checking out of the site. The 15% discount is valid until 30th August 2017. You're welcome!

Have a good week. x

Friday 21 July 2017

Pattern Runway Kimono Sleeved Dress

This is the Easy Short Sleeved Kimono Dress from Pattern Runway - a relaxed fit dress with an elastic waist, short kimono sleeves and keyhole opening at the centre back. I hadn't heard of Pattern Runway before I bought this pattern and I think their designs are lovely - contemporary and chic with some great detailing. I actually bought my pattern as a PDF from Craftsy but the company also has a website with a pattern shop here.  

The instructions are well explained with clear diagrams and, where appropriate, industrial sewing methods are used in order to complete the garment quicker e.g. all seams apart from the centre back are pressed flat together and to the back. It's also worth noting that seam allowances for this pattern are 1cm rather than the standard 1.5cm (5/8").

There are no finished measurements provided (apart from the length), so I took a punt and sewed a size M based on the size chart. The fit was pretty much spot on and I only made two small changes to the pattern. The dress is supposed to have a deep (8cms) topstitched hem which I wasn't keen on, so I shortened my skirt piece by 8cms, plus a further 3cms once it was sewn up. The finished length is just above my knee. The other change was to the sleeve openings which were drafted too low for my liking. I raised the underarm seam by 3.5cm, then curved it round to meet up with the side seam. The armholes still have a lot of room but are now more modest, ensuring I don't flash my entire bra every time I lift my arms. 

Construction-wise, the dress was very straight forward and easy to sew. The skirt is just a rectangle with elastic sewn to the waistline seam to cinch it in. This does the job but I'd be tempted to create a waist casing for the elastic next time for a neater finish inside. The neckline and arm openings are both finished with facings but I only used the neckline facing. I find armhole facings a pain to stay in place at the best of times, even more so when working with the world's drapiest fabric. I finished mine with a narrow double hem and they look fine. 

Fabric recommendations are for light to medium weight fabrics that drape - the key word here is drape. I used a very drapey rayon from Fabric Rehab (now sadly closed down) and it was the perfect fabric for the pattern. The biscuit coloured background colour probably isn't the most flattering shade for my skin tone, but who cares when your fabric is printed with sailing boats and polka dots?! 

The relaxed fit makes this a cool and airy dress for summer. Perfect for slinging in a suitcase to take on holiday or for wearing out and about on baking hot days. The pattern is described on the website as 'super easy, super quick to sew and lovely to wear' and I don't think I'd argue with that! Have a good day. x

Monday 17 July 2017

Dragonfly Fabric summer giveaway

The sun is out and the sky is blue in the UK - perfect conditions for summer dressmaking. I love sewing for different seasons and summer sewing definitely allows you to crack open the light, drapey fabrics in your stash. If you don't have quite the perfect fabric for that summer project then don't worry, because I've teamed up with Dragonfly Fabrics to bring you a terrific summer giveaway. One lucky reader will get to choose a pattern and two metres of fabric from the website. Hoorah! Read on for some fabric and pattern inspiration...

My favourites fabrics are the cotton lawns (see below), but don't forget cotton chambrays which are just crying out to be made into shirts or shirtdresses.

Closet Case Files Kalle Shirt & Dress
 Or linens for stylish trousers or shorts. 

Megan Nielsen Flint Pants & Shorts

These are my favourite cotton lawns, suitable for almost any lightweight top or dress pattern.

Floral Print Turquoise

Soft Cotton Lawn - Brushstrokes

 I love both colourways in this two-tone floral print.
St Ives Floral - Yellow

St Ives Floral - Red
Rayon Challis Viscose - ideal for patterns requiring drape. I absolutely love this teal chalked flower print.
Chalk Joyful
I think it would look awesome sewn up as the Named Helga Wrap Playsuit. It's not really my style, I just think it's a lovely combination!

Inspired to start sewing? Good! To enter, just take a look at the Dragonfly Fabrics website and leave a comment on this post telling me what your favourite fabric is. The giveaway is open internationally and closes at midnight GMT on Monday 24th July 2017. Please make sure you leave your email address if it's not linked to your Blogger profile so I can contact you if you're the winner.  

And there's more. readers of my blog can also claim a 15% discount on all purchases from Dragonfly Fabrics. Just enter the code sew40 when checking out of the site. The 15% discount is valid until 30th August 2017. It's also worth signing up to their newsletter for updates on any new fabrics or patterns they're showcasing. There's a sign up link at the bottom of their website.

Massive thanks to Simon and Dorte from Dragonfly Fabrics for offering this awesome and very generous giveaway. Good luck everybody! x

Friday 7 July 2017

La Maison Victor Malia Top

I'm delighted to be part of a world blog tour to help launch the English edition of Dutch sewing magazine La Maison VictorUntil now the magazine has only been available in French or Dutch, so this will come as welcome news to its many fans. Bloggers in the launch countries (UK, US, Canada and Australia) have each been asked to make up a pattern from the magazine and blog about it. Today it's my turn!

I have to say, I fell heavily for the magazine as soon as I received my copy. It has a modern, stylish feel to it and the projects are beautifully photographed and designed. It's packed full of content too, with eight sewing patterns to choose from: three children's patterns, four women's (two dresses, a skirt and a top) and one men's pattern. There's also a knitting pattern for a short summer sweater.

I chose the Malia Top purely because it looked the easiest to sew and I didn't have a great deal of time to spare. It's a simple, sleeveless tank and as I'm currently on a roll with this style I thought it would be good to add another pattern to the mix. 

Patterns are included in a separate pull-out section in the middle of the magazine and need to be traced as there are several pieces on each sheet. There's a handy information box for each pattern which highlights the pattern pieces needed and the sheets they're printed on. I found this really helpful when tracing the pieces. Seam allowances also need to be added, but as I only had two main pattern pieces (the bias strips for the neckline and armholes didn't require them), this didn't take long to do. Instructions are comprehensive and detailed - refreshingly different from Burda instructions which have always made zero sense to me.

For fabric I wanted something light and floaty and this navy Swiss dot cotton in my stash was perfect. I deliberately chose a solid colour as I wanted to accentuate the bust gathers. The fabric is very light and delicate so I used French seams throughout.  

The only shaping on the Malia top are the bust darts which are gathered underneath. This is a really pretty and unusual feature but I'm still undecided about whether I like it or not. The darts also sit a little too high on me which doesn't help! The jury's out...

The sizing wasn't too bad (I made a size 10), although I could probably have given myself a bit more room at the bust. The neckline and armholes are finished with self bias strips, which fit exactly. This doesn't leave any room for error, so next time I'll be adding a couple of centimetres to both these pieces. Other than omitting the hem seam allowance I made no changes to the pattern, so overall it was a very quick and easy top to sew.

I'll definitely be looking out for future editions of La Maison Victor as the patterns are easy to work with and the designs very wearable. The magazine should be available in WH Smiths and major supermarkets from this week or can be ordered online from this site along with fabric kits for each project. 

That's it from me, in the meantime don't forget to check out the other UK participants blogging their projects this week:

5th July Katie at What Katie Sews
6th July Clare-Louise at The Thrifty Stitcher
8th July Laura at The Petite Passions

A copy of La Maison Victor was given to me free of charge to review. All views my own. 


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