Hey guys! It appears as if this is my first sewing project since the start of April, so welcome back! I put the radio silence down to a couple of things: a lot of busy weekends and the fact I’ve been working on a secret sewing project for a magazine feature. I’m keeping that project under wraps for now but it’s taken up all my sewing time recently! Anyhow, I’m back today with a quick project that I whipped up this weekend: a silk camisole top.
I received the Sew Over It silk cami top kit as a birthday present last year and it’s been on my ‘to make’ list since January. Now that the weather’s beginning to warm up, I’ve been inspired to get it started!
The kit contained the sewing pattern, instructions and a length of silky viscose fabric in this very cute bow print (which actually looks a bit like bones from a distance!). Unfortunately, the cami kit is discontinued now, but some sewing shops still have a few hanging around if you keep your eyes peeled! The PDF pattern for the top is also still available from the Sew Over It website. As for the fabric, any type of viscose would sew up lovely – Minerva Crafts has a great range of affordable ones that I’m tempted by!
There are only four pattern pieces needed to make this camisole so it’s the perfect project for an afternoon. I think it took me about two hours to finish! There are the front and back pieces, plus two for the neck/armhole facings. I read a few other blogs about the Sew Over It cami pattern and some people got a bit confused with the method for sewing on the facing, but I managed it fine and with only one minor unpicking incident required.
Overall I really like this pattern. I thought the neckline might be too low for me but it actually sits about right without making any adjustments! The length is also nice on me – it’s just long enough to cover my bum or to tuck into a skirt. I’m only 5’3 though so I imagine this is normal waist length for most people! What do you think? Have you made the Sew Over It cami before?
PS – I’d just like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who’s following my blog and reading my posts. After publishing this project I noticed that I’ve achieved over 2,000 followers which is incredible, so thank you! 🙂
Hello April! I don’t know where the time is going these days, but it seems as if I haven’t shared a project with you for a whole month and it’s time for another Minerva Blogger Network post already! In my defense, this month I’ve made a lovely chambray shirt dress (New Look 6449) to share with you, and we all know that shirt dresses don’t just sew themselves together overnight… (can you imagine?!). I used this charcoal grey chambray to make my dress, then finished it off with 12 of these silver shell-effect buttons and an Eiffel Tower motif. What do you think?
Hello March! Time for another Minerva Blogger Network post and this month I’ve made the Merchant & Mills Camber dress in a geometric print linen/cotton fabric. This is the first time I’ve ever used a Merchant & Mills pattern and I was really impressed with it! My finished dress is very wearable and it makes a great addition to my everyday wardrobe.
Hello everyone! It’s time for my first Minerva Blogger Network post of the year, and this month I’ve made the Megan Nielsen Sudley dress in a lovely black and white floral viscose. One of my sewing resolutions for 2017 was to be a bit more mindful and intentional with my sewing projects, so I’m aiming to focus on garments that I’ll wear often and/or that match other items I own. With that in mind, click the link below to read more about my make!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a restful and peaceful Christmas break. You may have seen my last post of the year – a round up of everything I made in 2016 – and for my first post of the new year I wanted to hop on the #2017makenine train and show you what I plan to make in the upcoming months. So here we go, and in no particular order:
Top Row, Left-Right
1. MillaMia Elk Cushion – I bought this cushion kit at the Knitting and Stitching show a couple of years ago, and it’s very nearly finished! I’ve completed the fairisle front and now just need to slave away on the plain back until it’s done. 2. Sew Over It Silk Cami – I received this pattern as a gift, along with some silk bow-print material, so I look forward to it being a simple-yet-useful make for summer. 3. Burda 6849 Shirt – I’ve made a chambray shirt with this pattern before, and I have 2m of Liberty print lawn in my stash that is calling out to be used.
Middle Row, Left-Right 4. Merchant and Mills Camber Dress – A birthday gift, my husband bought me this pattern plus some linen-look geometric fabric with which to make it. A simple shape but a dress I’ll hopefully wear often. 5. Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Shirt Dress – I bought this pattern when it came out in 2016 and have a length of aztec, woven chambray that I just hope will be big enough! 6. Megan Nielsen Sudley Dress – my first make of the year for Minerva Crafts, this loose fitted dress will be made in a silky monochrome viscose and should be good for spring.
Bottom Row, Left-Right 7. Simplicity 1563 Pyjamas – The second of my Minerva Crafts makes, I plan to make a pair of cosy, brushed cotton pyjama trousers with a matching jersey t-shirt.
8. New Look 6449 Shirt Dress – Another shirt dress and more chambray! And my final upcoming Minerva project, this time in a timeless charcoal chambray that will match with anything.
9. M&S Safari Crochet Kit – A fun Christmas present from my sister, this year I hope to learn how to crochet and make these cute zoo animals.
What are your plans for the new year? Are you making as many shirts/dresses as I am? Let me know in the comments!
As the year comes to a close, I like to take a look back on all the projects that I’ve made over the past 12 months and showcase them in one satisfying visual. In 2016 I accomplished and blogged about 17 completed projects – that’s an average of 1.4 items per month, including 13 dressmaking/sewing projects, 3 craft projects and a knitted bobble hat. I’ve also used a variety of pattern makers: I can see Tilly and the Buttons, By Hand London, McCalls, Simplicity and New Look in the gallery here. And this doesn’t take into account the handful of things that I’ve made and not blogged about, or not quite finished, so perhaps that total is nearer 25 than 17.
So what have I learnt this year?
I now take longer on my projects than I did in 2015. Last year, I completed 27 projects – that’s 11 more than 2016! This is partly because I don’t seem to have as much free time as I used to (hello house improvements), but also because the projects I’m choosing are often that bit more complicated, and so take more time and care to complete.
Blue and red are my colours. I think I knew this already, but seeing it laid out in one handy photo grid definitely confirms my colour palette for future projects! Knowing what does (and doesn’t) suit me makes choosing fabrics and patterns much, much easier.
I love a good Christmas craft. This isn’t news either, but Christmas projects did make up 1/4 of my total for this year…
Knitting takes me forever. I knitted my bobble hat over the course of a weekend because it was made with chunky yarn, and I parked myself in front of the TV for hours, but that Millamia fairisle cushion I wanted to get done by Christmas? Well, let’s just say it’s taking longer than expected.
Moving into 2017, I need to make use of what I already have. I uploaded 94 fabrics from my stash to the Cora app (!!!), and have numerous sewing patterns and books on my shelves that I’ve been wanting to use for ages, as well as various WIPs. 2017 will be the year this happens.
I need to spend more time working on the fit. Every single garment I make has some sort of fitting issue… as time goes on and I make more and more things, the issues have become fewer and less significant, but I still have trouble understanding the shape of my shoulders, back, waist etc. I really need to study this harder!
I also need to sew what makes me happy. No more jumping on bandwagons or sewing to tight deadlines, as this only causes me unnecessary stress or leaves me with piles of to-do’s that I know will never get done. Sewing is my hobby and my escape, and I need to sew for me and not because I ‘have to’.
So how was your 2016? Did you complete more or fewer projects than me? And what are your goals for the new year? I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas period and have enjoyed reading my posts over the past 12 months. I really do appreciate your attention, comments and support – so thank you, and happy new year!
Happy December everyone! It’s time for my latest Minerva Blogger Network project, and this month I’ve made a Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress in red and white Scandi-style Christmas fabric! Perfect for all the upcoming Christmas parties, dinners and gatherings, don’t you think?
Have you heard of the new Sew Now magazine? Issue 1 was released last week from Practical Publishing (the people behind Love Sewing magazine) and I was very kindly sent the first issue to have a read through. I thought I’d share my favourite bits!
Issue 1 comes with a free accessories mini-magazine (containing all sorts of quick projects, from bags to necklaces and the fab Liberty-print shoes photographed below), plus the Simple Sew Zoe dress pattern. I’ve had my eye on this dress pattern for a while so to get it free with the magazine is a bonus!
The projects inside the magazine range from beginner to more advanced, with some projects taking just a few minutes to throw together and others that could take you a whole weekend. I quite like the mix of projects too – bags, shoes, knickers, dresses, tops, placemats, upcyling… I found myself looking forward to turning every page to see what would be next!
(Also, this issue of the magazine gives you a link to order the By Hand London Victoria blazer for free! How great is that?)
My favourite parts of the magazine (that I think set it apart from most other sewing mags) are the pages featured above. I really love how they show you high street clothes, but also give you ideas for which fabric and sewing patterns you could use to recreate these looks for yourself. I thought that was a very novel idea! I also love the ‘hot off the press’ page which gives you an overview of all the new patterns that have been released by indie pattern companies.
Alongside the features I’ve picked out here, the magazine this month also has an interview with lingerie-maker Maddie from Madalynne, instructions for how to cross stitch a design onto an old denim shirt, and tips for sewing a leather bag. If only I had time to make everything!
It’s October, it’s a new season and, with it, comes a new collection of sewing patterns from Simplicity! I was emailed by Simplicity a few weeks ago with a link to their new collection of patterns and couldn’t wait to get sorting through them. Which one is your favourite? I picked to make the new 8131 blouse!
The Simplicity 8131 blouse is ‘a V-neck bow blouse pattern allows you the ability to choose different bow styles and sleeves plus round or pointed hem.’ You can also do an off-the-shoulder style if you want to be really on-trend! I chose to make view B which has no sleeves, a rounded hem and a cute little pussy-bow neck tie. Despite all those features I actually think I selected the most simple pattern of the lot, but I wanted to make something that I’d be more likely to wear regularly than the bare-shoulder or long-sleeved variants.
The fabric I used for my blouse is a navy floral viscose that I actually bought on eBay, but there are loads of other lovely navy viscoses available at Minerva Crafts here if you want to take a look! Viscose is a really soft, drapey fabric and suits the bow neck-tie feature on this blouse really well. It feels a little like wearing pyjamas when you’ve got it on which is win/win really! However, viscose can be both quite slippery and stretchy to work with so make sure you cut our your pattern pieces accurately and use lots of pins to avoid producing a slightly wonky garment…
The pattern instructions are what you expect from Simplicity – very easy to follow with clear pictures for each step and I didn’t have any problems. I’d probably recommend this pattern for an intermediate-beginner as there are a fair few techniques needed, such as the rounded hem, gathering on the shoulders and attaching the tie/collar. If you’re new to any of these techniques then the pattern instructions are clear enough to help you out, but it’s always good to know what you’re doing beforehand!
So what do you think? Will you be having a go at any of the new Simplicity patterns this autumn?
Wow, I can’t quite believe that I finished this one! You know when you spot that perfect dress pattern and know instantly it’s one you just have to make? I found the Cynthia Rowley 8086 dress from Simplicity online a few months ago now and I’ve been quietly working at it every weekend since. This dress isn’t for the faint-hearted and will challenge your spatial awareness skills like no other – but it’s so worth it.
The dress is almost like two dresses in one: it has a high neck/low back dress underneath and then a high neck/open back overlay over the top. The skirt is full and pleated, there’s a zipper down the centre back and a button loop at the neck. It also has a bodice lining and an overlay lining. (The fabric is a woven brocade from Minerva Crafts, by the way) Can you see why this project took me forever?
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it though – in fact, I loved that I could do a little bit each weekend and could see it slowly coming together on its coat-hanger. I spend quite a lot of time whipping up projects over the course of a weekend so it was nice to take a bit more time and care when making this dress! However, I did also run into a few problems… the pattern instructions are largely wonderfully written (as is often the case with Simplicity) but I had so much trouble when it came to attaching the overlay to the bodice. The instructions for this part were so unclear and it seemed as if steps had been missed out – which is a nightmare when this dress is already quite complicated. After a bit of Googling I found that other people also had the same issue (see Pattern Review for more!).
I also had trouble with the fit around my back and had to take it in and out a few times before I got it to sit right and not gape. This resulted in my back zip being massively off-centre, by which time it was too late to do anything about it! I think I’ve got away with it though – I wore this dress to my friend’s birthday party last weekend and all I got were lovely compliments. I think us sewists are too hard on ourselves sometimes: no one else ever spots the wonky bits that we berate ourselves for!
Despite the few hiccups, I got there in the end. There was a bit of unpicking and trying again but I don’t mind that so much – how else am I going to learn new things? Trial and error is often your friend when it comes to dressmaking! And I really love my finished dress too. I’ve got a couple of weddings coming up in September so I’ll probably wear it again to one of those – I think this dress will become a nice staple in my party dress wardrobe. What do you think?
I definitely recommend this pattern for the more adventurous intermediate/advanced seamstress. I’m super proud of my finished dress and I’m really pleased with how it turned out, especially because at one point I wasn’t sure it was ever going to work! Has this ever happened to you before? I think my cat Barnaby approves too – he loves being in my blog photos these days, perhaps I should get him to do my modelling in future.