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Fashion, Sewing, Things i've made

What I made – just another Salme Kimono top

September 22, 2015
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I made this top quite a while ago but only recently got round to photographing it. It’s another Salme Kimono top (see my other top here), my second one in fact, and I’m really loving this pattern!

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The fabric is from John Lewis in the sale, I think I bought it last Spring, or maybe even earlier. It’s a sort of drapey crepe, you can find a similar pattern fabric in John Lewis here, but it only seems to be available in cotton (which would also work for this top, it would just have less of a drape). It was really nice to sew with if a little slippery, but it’s by far one of my favourite items i’ve made so far. I wear it all the time, and it’s perfect for dressing up or down too.

For me, the fabric pattern and feel really help it to be quite versatile in that respect – it’s comfortable and laid back enough to wear as I have here – with sandals and jeans – and also if you put some smarter trousers or a skirt on, with some ankle boots. Hence why i’ve worn it so much, I guess!

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I’ll definitely be making myself another one of these tops soon – in fact i’ve already turned this pattern in to a dress I made for myself for our holiday in Sardinia, which you can sort of see below. It’s a minty green colour, with silver thread to make it a bit more interesting around the neckline and hem.

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I’ve got my eye on quite a few of Salme’s patterns, they are so lovely and actually really straightforward to sew. I think this halter top is a definite contender – perfect for a night out, made in some shimmery fabric, and how can I resist the Sofia dress ?! I’m thinking simple black with a colour pop of teal or coral for the cut out bit…

There are loads more thing I’ve made which i’ve not blogged about yet, so watch this space for more posts!

Love Sofia <3

Sewing, Things i've made

I made a coat! For someone else! It’s the Albion coat by Colette Patterns

January 26, 2015

colette albion

Both of those statements are totally true! When I saw the Colette Albion coat pattern, I knew Tony would like it…and so we decided that it should be his birthday present from me. Tony didn’t want a classic duffel coat as he already has one, and also to be honest I was feeling a little daunted at the prospect of making him a coat in the first place, let alone a full on duffel coat out of wool! It took me ages to decide on the fabric, but in the end a trip to Goldhawk Road sorted it, and we settled on a navy blue waxed cotton. We still wanted to line it, though, and as the second style in the pattern didn’t call for a lining, I had to mix and match the two styles a bit as I went along.

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It didn’t take half as long to find the lining. I had seen this amazing ‘mountain’ printed Liberty cotton lawn (actually called ‘Manning’ – shown here in green), and so after a bit of a Google found it on the Shaukat website (they have such a huge range of Liberty prints!). It’s from a couple of seasons ago so I was pretty lucky to have found it at all. The greys and dark blues in the pattern were perfect with the navy waxed cotton, and they’re exactly the colours Tony wears all the time.

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Here is the pattern in more detail – isn’t it gorgeous? And perfect for a guy, too.

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I also interlined the waxed cotton. I did this for two reasons: firstly because I didn’t want the waxiness of the cotton to rub off on to the  lining, and also for additional warmth and bulk. I just bought some curtain interlining from Fabricland and stitched it to the outer. I only did the main body and left the sleeves, because I didn’t want to risk it becoming too bulky especially around the shoulders.

The fabric was all pretty easy to sew – it didn’t move around or anything but it was a struggle sewing something so big and bulky! I had to really manoeuvre it around the machine.

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It also took us almost as long to settle on the details – the toggles and buttons. In the end, simple wooden buttons and toggles looked best. I improvised with the navy blue leather toggle covers, which were actually from some blue elbow patches I bought from John Lewis – they worked perfectly! It was pretty hard sewing all through the leather and the coat, but worth it.

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So, it wasn’t quite ready for his birthday…it was a couple of months late…but he’s pretty happy with it! And I have to say so am I. It wasn’t a particularly difficult pattern, and actually a really nice coat pattern to start off with. What made it hard was mixing the two coats styles – at times that really gave me a few head scratching moments as to how I was going about it! The other thing that made it a bit more difficult was just the bulk, but other than that it’s a really great pattern. I am already considering making myself the duffel version out of some wool I bought myself last year in the John Lewis sale.

Thanks Tony for being so patient :)

Big love <3

Sofia

Sewing

The Salme Kimono top – a nice, easy first sewing project of the year

January 19, 2015
salme kimono top

Happy new year!

I have to say i’m glad that we’re half way through January…it’s not my favourite month, but hey, is it anyone’s?!

I’ve started the year how I mean to go on: sewing clothes for myself (punctuated by a couple of & Other Stories and Zara sprees…well it was the sales!). This is probably the easiest and quickest sewing project i’ve ever done, and therefore very satisfying. The pattern is the Kimono top by Salme Sewing Patterns, and if you ask me, it’s the perfect top not just for every day wear, but I reckon you could dress it up beautifully as well.

I got the pattern of one of the girls in the Folk House sewing course last term. She sewed it in class and it is so my kind of top – flowy, kind of loose, but pretty and can be made with all sorts of lovely fabrics. I’m literally going thorugh my fabric stash in my head as I type this, imagining just how many kimono tops I could have in my wardrobe…at least one for every day of the week!

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I made it out of a fairly cheap viscose I bought from Abhakan in Chester (if you’re ever visiting Chester, pay this shop a visit!). I am quite into monochrome at the moment, and plus the pattern is quite forgiving if you make a mistake…

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The only thing I would say is that I had some real issues with the sleeves. After a less than successful Google, I found Secret Like of Seams had also had some issues deciphering the pattern instructions, so I pretty much copied what she did. It’s still not quite right, so I’ll have to either try something else with the next one I make, or I was thinking of just bias binding the edges instead, as I found with the method I used they are a bit bulkier than i’d like. I think the neckline would like nice with bias binding too, so the next time I make it (which will be in the next couple of weeks, i’m sure!) i’ll give that a go.

Also I usually HATE doing sleeves – they are the bane of my life when it comes to sewing. So much easing, so little time…but with this pattern the sleeves are sewn as part of the body/back so literally NO EASING at all! Love it.

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Can’t resist a silly photo…

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Watch this space for loads more Kimono tops!!

<3 Sofia x

Sewing, Things i've made

What I made – a forest green silk Elisalex dress

December 10, 2014
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I have been making Tony’s coat, but really wanted to make myself something new for a wedding a couple of weeks ago. So I found myself in Fabricland again, looking at the silk velvet and the silk satin dupion and wandering which one to go for. I really wanted a green dress for ages, so this silk satin dupion (not real silk, but hey!) in the forest green colour was just calling out to me.

This is the third Elisalex i’ve made, and it’s definitely the best one so far, although i’m still making them way too long and having to chop a load off at the end.

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It was a bit chilly outside so I had to wear my coat for some of the photos…but I think it’s good to see how it works with various accessories!

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So, my seam matching isn’t perfect at the front, but they are both the same amount ‘out’ on each side. And actually the seams on the side all match so i’m not too fussed.

I love this pattern, however next time I will give it a go with either a gathered or pleated skirt, and not do the tulip skirt. It is really nice as a tulip, and looks very smart and so lovely with heels too, but I need to move away from the tulip a bit and branch out to do something else with this pattern. Plus, it’s not as practical for everyday wear.

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I lined the bodice (as per the pattern instructions) but didn’t do the skirt – to be honest with this fabric and the tulip skirt, I didn’t really think it necessary. I am really please with how the lining looks, and I slip stitched it all in so it’s nice and neat. I also used a ‘catchstitch’ for the hem which i’ve never done before, and it turned out just fine!

I always find the hem on this skirt really hard to do, probably because of the tulip shape. Does anyone else ever get this?

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All in all i’m pretty please with this version, it took my a Sunday afternoon to make it all up, and then an evening after work to finish off, hem and tidy up – probably the quickest sewing project i’ve ever done!

Elisalex

<3 Sofia xx

Sewing, Things i've made, What I wore

What I made: the DIY Couture pleated skirt in black polka dots

November 17, 2014
diy couture pleated skirt

Hello! This last week was a busy one, you may have noticed from the slight lack of posts! However, good news is i’ve finally managed to finish my DIY Couture “How to make a pleated skirt” project (you can buy the book here), which I started a couple of months ago.

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I bought this book a little while ago, as I loved the idea of creating an item of clothing for my self without using a pattern. The book takes you through a step-by-step process that shows you how to measure yourself, what size pieces of fabric to cut and what types of material might be suitable.

I picked up some black polka-dot tulle from the John Lewis sale for £5 a metre a few months ago, and i’ve been meaning to make something out of it since! I ended up buying three metres of the stuff because it was such a good price, so I think i’ll probably make a top out of it too!

diy couture tulle skirtIn progress…

It ended up being a lot more complicated than I expected, simply because I was using two layers of fabric, and the tulle and black crepe I used slipped about quite a bit! I also had to think about keeping the tulle layer separate from the main lining fabric layer, rather than stitching them together (which is what I initially did, and had to go and unpick it all…)

diy couture skirtDon’t you love my unimpressed, just-take-the-photo-please face!

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I also changed the way the waistband was made – in the book they tell you to make two seperate waistbands, and you attached one to the front of the skirt and one to the back. However I found that this just seemed to be extra work and on my sewing teacher’s recommendation I unpicked the two waistbands that i’d already sewn on (yay….) and made one long waistband to attach to both the front and back. Then left one side open for where the zip was going to go. Maybe with different fabrics, or just one layer, the DIY Couture method would have made sense, but it was much easier to construct with just the one.

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The rest of the outfit is:

 Fur coat, from a vintage shop in Chester (borrowed from my sis)
Gold glittery top from Primark
Necklace also from Primark
Black patent Dr Martens (a real winter staple of mine!)

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So, in summary, the things I loved about this pattern:

  • Good step-by-step instructions
  • Clear pictures
  • Easy pattern pieces – essentially two rectangles for the main skirt and a waistband!

Things I would have changed if i’d do it again:

  • My lining fabric is in hindsight a bit too heavy – it’s great as a winter skirt but might be a bit much in summer
  • Definitely use one waistband again rather than two
  • Think about how having two layers would affect the sewing process
  • Measure myself properly! I made myself too big in my measurements, not sure whether I thought I would be eating a load of pies or what…

Has anyone else made this, and if so how did you find it?

<3 Sofia

Sewing, What I wore

What I made: The Camber Set by Merchant and Mills

October 27, 2014
camber set

OK, so first off, the door frame has knotting all over it to prepare it to be painted…haven’t quite got round to that frame just yet! And secondly, my curtains aren’t wonky, I just haven’t sewn them together yet (making clothes is way more fun!).

This was another of the projects I did in my sewing class at the Folk House. The pattern is the Camber Set by Merchant & Mills – there are two options for the pattern, either the t-shirt of the dress which is a longer version of the shirt. I began with the t-shirt as reading online (although there wasn’t much information on the pattern at the time of making it) apparently some people had trouble with the yoke. I was glad I was doing the t-shirt in the class, as I also had a bit of trouble figuring it out!

The fabric I used was a freebie given to me from a friend at work, a simple and easy to sew with poly-cotton.

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As usual I had to alter it to fit my wide shoulders – so I cut a 10, and made it a 12 on the shoulders. I’m glad I did, because the 10 would have been far too snug on them otherwise. I also made the neck a bit wider, as I prefer that shape on me.

The front of the collar is finished with a strip of bias tape, and I really like the contrast between the front and the back of the top. Here are some close up images:

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Ops, should have ironed the back a bit more carefully!

I’ll be trying the dress out next, it’s a really versatile yet simple shape, and i’m looking forward to making it in a more ‘substantial’ fabric. The only issue I have with this one is that it’s a bit light, so doesn’t hang as well as i’d like, but it’s still pretty with jeans and a cute cardigan!

<3 Sofia

 

Sewing, Something different

On ‘fast fashion’, or why I didn’t buy that skirt from Whistles yesterday

October 22, 2014

Banksy Sale Ends Today

Banksy’s famous ‘Sale Ends Today’ stencil

Since i’ve learnt to sew I’ve found shopping increasingly difficult. Which is not to say I don’t love going in to Zara or H&M and admiring the lovely clothes…I just can’t bring myself to buy them in the  same ‘mindless’ way I did before. I constantly look at how the labels to see in which part of the world the clothes are made, and take a good look at the construction of the garment and more often than not think ‘hmm…I’m pretty sure I could make that’.

Which brings me to yesterday lunch time in the Whistles concession in House of Fraser. I love Whistle’s clothes, the fabrics they use are lovely and the patterns are equally beautiful. I only allow myself to look when there’s a sale on (too unaffordable otherwise!), which is why I was looking in the clearance section yesterday. There, on the rack, was a beautiful, pale blue midi skirt marked down to £40 from £115 (I do love a ‘bargain’) – just the kind of blue i’m obsessed with at the moment and it was just so pretty. But looking at the label I see ‘made in China’ and become disheartened, and then again at the construction of it and think, actually, it’s just some gathered material with a waist band and a zip, and put the skirt down. On top of that, it’s just plain polyester fabric (a nice polyester, but nothing special!). Hummph.

Zady

The Zady.com mission statement

I was then talking to my friend last night about it, and how I was actually quite disappointed that I had discovered that the skirt was made in China, and did that even mean anything? My view of Whistles is that it’s a premium brand, one that I aspire to having, and discovering that their clothing was made in China made me think that actually it’s probably all made in the same warehouse as the others…their statement in the ‘About Us’ section of their website vaguely addresses this (although doesn’t mention China):

Our values of fairness, integrity and transparency are encompassed in all that we do and are extended to those who touch our products so that they share in our growth and prosperity. We are committed to ensuring that our products are safe for consumers’ use and manufactured under safe, fair, and humane working conditions. We are dedicated to reducing our environmental impact and we strive to make a positive difference within the local and global communities in which we work. We will actively engage with critical stakeholders who want to contribute to our progress in a positive way.

So was I wrong to question them? I don’t know…the power that sewing has given me to make my own clothes, however pain-staking and time-consuming, has given me a renewed view on consumerism and all this ‘fast fashion’ that people talk about. I feel guilty when I buy things from Primark, and a recent coat I bought which has had loads of compliments is a once-in-a-blue-moon purchase really…I feel guilty when I buy things from my favourite high street store, Zara. I work within 3 minutes walking distance of the newest shopping centre in Bristol, which means there is temptation almost every day to go in to the shops, have a browse and end up coming out with something you didn’t really need.

I will admit that there are things i’ll probably never be able to make, such as knitted items, shoes, and although i’ll give it a shot, I can imagine trousers would be pretty hard to make from scratch. But I feel in more control of my wardrobe now, and although I don’t think i’ll ever be able to resist a sequin dress (although you never know!) I feel better for not being enslaved to the high street.

Do any other ‘sewists’ out there feel the same way? Has shopping become a slog for you too? I’d love to know.

<3 Sofia

Sewing, Things i've made

The By Hand London ‘Victoria’ blazer – now in my wardrobe!

October 9, 2014

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I’m quite behind on showing some of my sewing projects, so this will be the first of hopefully quite a few outfit posts that include something handmade by me!

This is the Victoria Blazer by By Hand London. They are one of, if not my favourite pattern making company – i’ve made two of their dresses and now this blazer. As soon as I saw the blazer I knew I had to make it – it’s the perfect shape and just my style. Because it was summer at the time, I made it using a beigey-cream linen that I bought from Fabricland Bristol for about £3 per metre, and lined it with a beautiful peacock feather pattern Liberty Tana Lawn. Because I had spent so little on the main fabric I thought it only right to splash out a little on the lining!

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I had what you might call a bit of a mare with the sleeves. The pattern doesn’t actually call for lining in the sleeves, but I decided to put it in anyway as the lining pattern was just so lovely. However, I should have set my sleeve linings in before I attached them to the lining bodice, as I then had to do some fiddly sewing to actually get them in, and I also had to unpick them from the cuffs about 4 times before I got it right as the lining and sleeve were different lengths…

Anyway, after a lot of swearing I got it done, and ended up quite happy with the result!

The linen is obviously quite hard to keep looking nice and ironed, but that’s just how linen is.

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It’s a lovely, light summery blazer that i’ve already used loads, and the colours match pretty much everything I wear!

Sofia <3

Crafts, Sewing

Midweek sewing inspiration

September 24, 2014

I’ve just started at the Folk House dressmaking course for the second time this year, and as the summer has been very quiet on the sewing front i’ve been looking forward to getting back in to it in the Autumn again. Although, the common mantra my friend and I have is “so much to sew, so little time!”. I really need to be selective with my sewing projects, and look at making things which won’t take too much time to make up.

Another reason i’m looking for these ‘quick wins’ is that I am going to be making Tony a duffle coat for his 30th birthday (more on that in the future!!) and as it’s almost certainly going to be one of the hardest things i’ve ever attempted to sew, some nice easy projects for myself will go a long way in keeping me sane.

Salme kimono top

I came across this lovely Kimono top by Salme patterns in the sewing class on Monday, and I think it will quickly become one of those patterns, like the Sorbetto, that I make multiple times. I have some lovely Liberty print silk which I think will be perfect for this.

Papercut Clover dress

This Clover dress is in a similar vein to the Kimono top, but has that lovely v-shaped detail on the front. Bonus is that it comes as a t-shirt as well…I haven’t used Papercut patterns before, so probably a good one to test out.

Vogue misses coat

I am IN LOVE with this coat. The fact that it says ‘VERY EASY’ on the pattern is also appealing…i’ve even spotted some fairly inexpensive double-sided wool in Fabricland that I could make a wearable toile out of.

Hmmm…what to do!!?

<3

Sewing

Sewing Inspiration – deciding on a new pattern

April 15, 2014

It’s time to get sewing again!

In just under 2 weeks time my friend and I will be starting a dressmaking course in the Folk House, and we have yet to decide what it is we’ll be making! I’ve been scouring the internet for inspiration, but so far haven’t yet decided on the type of thing I want to make…should I go for a dress, that i’m hoping i’ll loads, or maybe a more complicated item like a jacket that will help me brush up on my skills?

papercut patterns

I love this simple skirt by Papercut Patterns, but I wonder whether it’s too simple for the 9 week course? Might be nice to do in a more challenging fabric, like silk or rayon. It’s not available on the Papercut site, but is available through Sewbox in the UK.

by hand london

Second pattern I might try is one I already own, this beautiful ‘Georgia’ dress by the ever amazing By Hand London girls. This pattern also requires a fabric with a bit of stretch which again would be something new to try.

by hand london

I reaaaally really want to make this blazer by By Hand London as well, but I can’t find it in stock anywhere :( It would test my lining skills (or rather, I would learn how to do lining!!) and also french seams, which i’ve never done before. I wonder if I can find it in Bristol anywhere?

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I also wondered about using a vintage pattern and altering it to make it more modern, like this Butterick pattern I found on Etsy.

And what about this gem from Etsy? Although I am quite scared of having to use a 25% knit…I may have to work up to this one!

cali faye

Time to make some decisions!

Big love,

Sofia