Friday, 3 March 2017

Spring Sewing Plans & Fabrics

I really wanted to title this post "March Sewing Plans & Fabrics" but I suspect I'd be over committing myself a little! I thought I'd share which patterns I'm planning to make over the next couple of months and the fabrics I've chosen for them. Hopefully writing it all down here will make me a little more accountable to use up these pieces of stash rather than being distracted by the new and shiny. Who am I kidding?

Starting at the top of the heap... 

Juliet's 1st Birthday Dress - Geranium

My little baby is one in just over a week - how did this even happen?? I made the Geranium Dress from Made by Rae back in December for Juliet, it's such a perfect basic little girl's dress, well worth the investment. I find with baby sewing it's the fabric that does the talking and the simplicity of this pattern means that those gorgeous prints can be shown off.

The above fabric is by Lewis and Irene and I picked it up in my local fabric shop recently. I'm planning on using the white base for the bodice and the blue for the skirt. I'm going to sew View A and add the ruffle sleeve, once I've made it up I think I'll pop to the local market and see if I can find some cute trims to add. I'm thinking maybe some tulle underneath and a little ric rac around the bottom, is it even possible to be OTT with a first birthday dress? Of course not!

Spring Carolyn Pajamas - Closet Case Files 

How beautiful is this cotton?! I picked it up on a trip to Harrogate last summer with my Mum. I've already made a pair of Carolyn Pajamas and the pattern is just amazing. For my second pair I'm thinking short sleeves but long legs. I can't wait to wake up on brighter mornings in these!

Floral Tulip Skirt - Sew Over It

I made the majority of this skirt back in September! It's been languishing at the bottom of my sewing basket since then, waiting to be finished. I am a terrible procrastinator when it comes to finishing, especially if it involves hand sewing. All I need to do is slip stitch the waistband down and it's ready to wear, so a quiet evening in front of the TV should sort that one out. The fabric is a gorgeous stretch cotton which again came from my local market last year. Pattern is the lovely Tulip Skirt from Sew Over It.

Pink Heather Dress - Sew Over It

This pattern joined my collection when I joined the Sew Over It PDF club. The fabric is a lightweight sweatshirting from my stash which came from Abkhan in Preston some time ago. I no longer buy from the remnant bins in Abakhan, despite their amazing potential for bargains I've had my fingers burned too many times with poor quality, strange marks and misprints. I know that this is the risk you take but I'd rather invest a little more if I'm putting the effort in to sew a whole piece of clothing.

I'm a little nervous about the fabric choice but I guess I have nothing to lose given that it's from deep stash. I've folded it back a little in the first photo to show you the reverse side, it's loop backed and a very pretty colour so fingers crossed it should work out.

Upcycling - Grandma's Nightie

This last entry is unusual for me. Upcycling is something I have never tried but my Mum passed on this beautiful nightie of my Grandma's recently and suggested that I made it into something for Juliet. I love the baby blue and the scalloped hem would be stunning on a baby dress. I think whilst I have the Geranium pattern out I'll have a fiddle and see what I can come up with.

What are you sewing this spring? Let me know in the comments - I'd love to hear from you!

Hopefully I'll be reporting back soon with some finished sews.

Until next time :-)

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Sewn : Moneta

If you're a sewist and you've opened any of your social media accounts recently, you can't have missed the Moneta Party that's taking place this weekend.

If you haven't heard about it - it's an Instagram party running from February 24th - 26th, organised by Elle from Sew Positivity, Rachel from Rach Against The Sewing Machine and Abigail from Sew Abigail. You can read all about it over on the Colette Patterns blog. Basically, all you need to do is sew your Moneta dress, snap a pic and tag it on instragram with #monetaparty to join in the fun and with the chance of winning some amazing prizes.

Now I don't usually allow myself to get swept away by these sorts of bandwagons but this time I just had to succumb. I've had my eye on the pattern for a little while as I tried on this cute jersey dress in Cath Kidston in December (allbeit with 3/4 sleeves), however for the best part of £50 even in the sale I couldn't bring myself to buy what was essentially a t-shirt with a gathered skirt. I'm sorry Cath, I love you but not that much. I've had major issues with the quality of Cath Kidston clothing in the past so I walked away.

I'm not usually a speedy sewer but I am a deadline motivated person (i.e. last minute suits me just fine) so on Tuesday I printed the pattern and headed for my local fabric shop. Despite buying 2.5m of fabric I managed to squeeze my dress out of just 1.25m, partially helped by omitting the pockets, I don't really need them on a jersey dress.

It only took a couple of evenings work to pull together the dress. I sewed most of it on the overlocker, with the exception of the hems and gathered elastic waist. This was my first time using clear elastic (I got mine here at Guthrie & Ghani, it came really quickly too, thanks guys!) and I'm really pleased with the result, so much lighter than ordinary elastic and it creates a great structure, just like you'd find in a RTW garment. 

I finished the hems with just one row of stitching, (so overlock, turn, press and hem) as I can't use the twin needling function on my machine just now as my spool pin is sadly broken. I did topstitch a second row of stitching around the neckline to give the effect, but how I could love a coverstitcher!

I'm really pleased with my finished dress and will certainly be making more variations. I adore sewing and wearing jersey so this pattern is a perfect wardrobe staple. It could be dressed up for the office or just for a comfy day doing my Mum duties.

You'll find me as JennyStitches over on instagram - hop on over and take a look at all the amazing competition entries!

Until next time :-)

Monday, 20 February 2017

Sewn : Vintie Overalls

I'm quite a selfish seamstress, but recently I have sewn a couple of little pieces for Juliet, after all I'm so grateful to have a little girl again, I'm making the most of her whilst I can!

Juliet is now 11 months old and a speedy little crawler. As much as I adore a sweet little baby dress and tights they tend to hold up her crawl pace, or make her slip and slide on our wooden floors. Also pale coloured tights tend to get quite grubby as she scoots around.

For this reason I decided to make her a pair of little dungarees. I came across this gorgeous fine needle cord on our local market stall a few weeks ago but hesitated as I didn't really need to buy it. The next time I visited I decided to go for it as I often walk away from purchases and regret it later, luckily for me there was 0.8m left and just enough to squeeze this little project out of it. There's a little bit of growing room but they are comfortable enough for her to wear right away. 

The dungarees came together quickly enough but my sewing time has been limited in the last few weeks. Jack has recently celebrated his 5th birthday so we have been busy with visitors, presents and commitments as a result. I've mostly been baking birthday cake in my spare time, or so it feels! I'm hoping to get back to my machine once half term is out of the way and getting going with a few makes for spring. 

Size sewn : 1
Fabric : Needlecord from Barrow market hall (I'm unsure of the manufacturer, sorry!)

Until next time :-)

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Garden : Late Winter

It is freezing. Looking out of the window on a windy and overcast afternoon doesn't grip me with the urge to work in the garden as it does on a warm summers day but I know from experience that the work I put in now will be repaid once the season gets underway.

Once outside (and wrapped up in several, layers, gloves and hot tea in my insulated mug) it's really not so bad. Digging, weeding and numerous trips to the shed keep me warm enough to stay out for an hour. 

I'm a big believer in what I call the "half an hour here and there" approach to gardening. There's no way I could devote a whole day, or even afternoon to working outside, so I try to grab short bursts. This helps me keep on top of things and stay in touch with what's going on outdoors.

It's not all bleak though, those new shoots are forcing themselves up into the cold air, you just have to look for them. I've seen peonies, aquilegia, dicentra, catmint, salvia, alliums and many more starting to make their return. The roses are forming new buds too, ready to be pruned and shaped to come back even stronger this year, I hope.

In the vegetable garden I am busy preparing. Planning which crops to plant, ordering seeds and trays, planting bare root fruit (raspberry canes and blueberries pictured here) and getting the ground ready for spring planting. It's tempting to start sowing seeds but it's too soon, so I'm holding off for the time being and concentrating on getting this years structural changes implemented whilst i can see the bare bones of the garden.

There's lots of planning and looking forwards to do. One of the reasons I love gardening is the ongoing sense of anticipation, waiting for the shoots to pop up, the seeds to germinate, the plans to take shape and the sights and tastes to be enjoyed. At this time of the year its good to have an excuse to get outdoors and take in some fresh air and daylight. It's also nice to come back indoors and get warm by the fire!

Until next time :-)