Saturday, 28 April 2012

Party Time...

Here it is; time for the big reveal and more importantly time to talk about boys, get makeovers and eat chocolate. This is a pyjama party right?

I really enjoyed making these PJs. They were so simple but so satisfying and I am super happy with how they've turned out!

I added a couple of embellishments, a bow at the front of the waistband and some shiny ribbon trim at the bottom of each leg. I think it makes them a little bit fancy and you always wear your fancy clothes to a party, am I right?

Bows make everything so pretty.
I was a little concerned I'd cut them out a size too big, especially after I held them up (pre-waistband) next to a pair of my ready to wear PJ's and my pair seriously dwarfed those from Primark! Once the waistband was done they looked a little more my size but I think, now that I'm wearing them, I could have cut out a size smaller and still been very comfy. Speaking of comfort, these jim-jams are so comfy. The fabric is slightly fluffier on one side so I made that the inside and, oh, it's like a big cuddle.

Now, onto component number two of pyjama party participation...what is my bed time reading?

I'm still working my way through 'A Suitable Boy', by Vikram Seth. At times I will admit that it feels like I'm wading through treacle in some parts of this book, but in others it's a breeze and I can't read it fast enough. The review on the front of the book says "make time for will keep you company for the rest of your life"  and I'm pleased I have done just that. I still have 500 or so pages to go but having read over 900 already that doesn't seem so many, I will be sad when it is over but I'm sure I will think of it often in times to come.

Thank you so much to Karen for hosting this brilliant sew-along. Her posts were really clear and easy to follow and filled with her charm and wit. I laughed a lot while sewing along with her. It was so much fun.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Karen's Awesome Pyjama Party

Wahoo, I'm joining my first sewalong. The lovely Karen of Did You Make That is hosting her first sewalong and I am so excited to be joining in.

This morning I was out the door like a shot to buy the pattern (there was a pattern sale on at my local shop so I got it for a mere £2) and some fabric. I knew I wanted some plaid brushed cotton, I already have 3 pairs of PJ bottoms in this fabric and I love them.

Now, as I say, I love these 'jamas but I'm sure you'll agree they're not in very feminine colours, so my other fabric rule was girly colours. Look what my other local fabric shop had in store for me:

The picture doesn't show the pinks and purples in the fabric very well but I promise they are there! There was also an exclusively pink plaid available but I don't think my manly PJ collection is quite ready for that yet! 

Is anyone else joining in? I'm so pleased to have found a sewing community event that I feel my levels of ability can cope with and the deadline of 28th April feels attainable.

In other sewing news: I've been working on some muslins for both the Salme Kimono Top and a Sewaholic Crescent Skirt. The Kimono top is pretty much finished short of fixing an upside down cuff but the skirt is proving pretty taxing, well it is an intermediate pattern. It was going well and I was tearing through Tasia's great sewalong posts but I've hit a snag at the zip insertion, I just can't wrap my head around it at all. I'm going to take a few days away from it and try again with fresh eyes/brain! Although I originally intended to sew this skirt up in grey denim I haven't had any luck finding the right fabric and today in the fabric shop I  saw this beautiful cotton poplin and I just knew it was desperate to become a Crescent Skirt. I kindly bought it home and promised that one day I would fulfill  all it's skirty dreams.

Isn't it lovely? I just love the bird (I think they look most like kingfishers) and bow print and it is grey so I haven't veered too far away from my plan.

What a nice Kingfisher he seems. I shall call him Kenny. 

Alice x

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The 'Spring in my Step' Lonsdale Dress

I MADE A DRESS, like, a whole dress all by myself! Hurray for me! It only took, oh, about a month and a half, but, I did it. 

I am so very proud of this dress. That's not to say that it is anywhere near perfect, there are plenty of things that could do with being fixed, like the waistband, my mortal enemy, is not straight. The bodice fit is a bit off, if I make this pattern again I will probably shorten it. The hem is a bit of a mess, It doesn't hang quite right, I still need to master folding and pinning a curve. However, none of these things bother me too much because this is the first real pattern I've ever sewn and it is definitely wearable. Yay! 

Sarai of Colette Patterns fame wrote a great post about documenting the things you learn with each sewing project, not to mention the finished slip project featured in the post is just too gorgeous for words. I shall take a leaf out of her book. As a beginner I hope this will help me to remember the things I have learnt and show, over time, how much I am learning and improving (I hope!!) So here goes:

Lessons Learnt on the Lonsdale.

1. How to cut out a pattern: seems obvious? Not to me it didn't, I mainly used Tasia's great post on cutting fabric from the Pendrell Sew-Along, it was super helpful. I had no idea what a grain line was, never mind how to utilise it! 

2. Keep the iron on low when working with synthetic fabric: ah, lessons learnt the hard way...melted lining was a low point but at least I learnt something from it!

3. Markings and notches are there for a reason: having sewn the wrong edges of my bodice pieces together I realise how important it is to make notches and pattern markings clear and to take the time to match them up properly.

4. The seam ripper is my friend: fast becoming my best friend. I am a beginner, I will make mistakes, probably quite a few of them. Without my friendly seam ripper I can't fix those mistakes. All hail the seam ripper. 

5. How to sew french seams: I love french seams, I don't have a serger and i don't really like using zig zag stitches for finishing seam allowances, french seams are so lovely and neat and, where appropriate, I will be using them as much as I can.

6. How to hand pick zip: this one is a work in progress, I originally hand picked the zip for this dress but it came out bumpy and rubbish so I ripped it out and tried something else.

7. How to use the zip foot on my machine: the zip insertion in my muslin of this dress was a big ol' mess, because I used the regular foot not the zip foot, I didn't know such a thing existed! Looking in my machine's manual I found the instructions for the zip foot, gave it a go and hey presto a much neater zip. It's not perfect but it's an improvement. 

It's not perfect, but it's mine!
8. How to slip stitch: I slip stitched the inner waist band and the hem (although the hem could do with a bit of a re-work). It's a nifty little stitch that one.

Phew, lots of things learnt there, probably a few more I've already forgotten! 

I think my favourite part of the dress is the pockets, I'm really pleased with how they turned out and I think they're a great design feature.

Love them pockets.

I've named it the 'Spring in my Step' dress because spring has well and truly sprung around these parts and the joy of finishing this dress had made me all bouncy!

Hurray for spring
I hope there are lots of things putting a spring in your step. I'm off to do some spring cleaning!

Alice x