All posts by Suzanna

French Navy Forsythe

Another Black Friday grab, the Forsythe from French Navy has been on my radar for a while now.  I have always wanted this pattern, but never felt I had the right fabric for it.  So I re-purposed some Jersey stripe from Girl Charlee that was originally intended for my grunge dress that has failed to materialise into existence.

The main thing I love about french navy is the illustrations – I love a good sketch.  I don’t know if it is because I appreciate it more as someone with a background in art, or that it just looks better in a pattern as apposed to a photograph.  Either way it is perfect and something I would like to do if I too made patterns.

I already have the Orla Dress Free pattern (if you don’t, i recommend you get that here)  but I am yet to use it, despite many plans for it.

So How Did It Sew?

 

Overall, I think this particular Jersey may have not been the best idea and a stiffer fabric would be better.  Although I tried to pattern match, it seems I lost my way around the pocket area and it was a complete fail.  The dress is comfy and I like to wear it, but the pattern and draping feel a bit off to me.  This is purely my choice of fabric, that I had purposely bought for another project.  I have some lovely linen like pieces in my stash that I would love to give this another go with in the future.

The pattern itself is amazing, and I love that the instructions have photographs!  As much as I praised the main illustration, and was surprised this trend didn’t follow throughout, I still loved the neatness and precision of photo instructions.

Please check out the PDF here, you won’t be disappointed and it is a staple sustainable sewer pattern.

Yet Another Kielo: Basic Black Version.

Yes the title says it all, another Kielo make!  Named clothing are my go to pattern company, and my amount of Kielo’s are second to the amount of Inari’s I have (but no where near in number as I am Inari OBSESSED!)

There was a lot of inspiration on the Instagram from a few different Sewers, unfortunately the only one I can remember (and find) is Rumana’s version (aka @thelittlpomergranate) which she wore through different stages of her pregnancy.  No I am not pregnant myself (just fat) but I love the versatility of this garment.  And the fact I have not yet made a Plain black one is beyond me, since I have a black Jersey Inari that I wear to death!

So How did It sew?

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It is always smooth sailing with a Named clothing make, especially one of the classics such as this, Its a quick make, despite the long seams.  I also used the arm hack that is free on their site to make a long sleeve version. (you can get that here if you haven’t already)

As much as I love the dress, for the full on Goth effect that I always seem to gravitate towards, I prefer wearing it open.  So I went back to the sewing table and inserted a tiny hole under each of the ties.  Now when I want to wear it loose, all i do is tuck the ties neatly inside and the can not be seen.  Since making this I have also fiddled around with tying it on the inside or using a belt through the little holes.  All giving amazing new looks to the same garment.

I am pretty sure another Kielo will appear in my wardrobe in the future.  But I now feel I will have to wait for the perfect fabric for any future makes.

Me Made: Oversized Smock Dress

I always like finding out how other sewers work, how they went through the thought process that bought them to a certain garment.

Its a bit of a riddle like what came first, the chicken or the egg?  Was it the pattern or was it the fabric.  Usually with myself, it is the pattern leads to the choice of fabric (although if I was more organised and only bought what I need for patterns I would have a very small fabric stash!)  But this time round, I used a fabric which dictated a pattern to me, I have now made oversized smock dress 2.0.

Way back when I first had this idea with a beautiful grungy coloured tie dye fabric and self drafted a pattern.  I wanted it almost baby doll like and almost too exaggerated.  It worked and I still wear this to death, but it could be baggier! (check that out here)

So into my life via my cheap shop came this beautiful Mauve Fabric.  It was quite heavy, soft to the touch and had an amazing drape.  It also was the most beautiful mauve colour I had ever seen, and for someone who limits her colour palette to black/white/grey&nude, I was in strange territory…

So How Did It Sew?

 

I think I have sussed out what I want from a smock dress.  I think the key for me it the amount of length on the shoulder, from collar to sleeve.  I exaggerated this aspect and it has turned out extremely successful compared to other attempts.  Also keeping it ‘boxy’ and square really gives that oversized feel, with no shape.  I love how the waistband hangs with an arc, and the skirt follows.

The colour looks great on, despite still being quite muted, it IS indeed a colour that has snuck its way into my wardrobe, but a beautiful Autumnal colour at that.!

I can’t wait to wear this layered up over tights and boots this Autumn/winter  the heavier fabric really gives that added warmth to the piece.

I am sure this is not my last oversized smock dress, so watch this space!

 

Ready to Sew: Jamie x2

Ready to Sew are one of my favourite pattern companies, including my recent purchase I have Seven of their patterns, and the Jude I have made a ridiculous amount of times.

My latest purchase was with the release of the Jack cardigan.  Oh what a perfect little cardi it is!  I was so happy with my first make that I dug deep into the stash and made a second, which I also equally love.

So How Did It Sew?

First, lets talk about the pattern.  As having a lot of experience with their patterns, this is no different.  It is a perfect pattern for all levels, and a great beginner (the Jamie itself it classed as Advanced Beginner)  The Layout and Diagrams in the Instructions are close to perfection by sewing standards.  They are so simple and easy.

What I love about Ready to Sew Items is that they are fashionable and timeless.  I make them the most because they just slot into my everyday wardrobe so easily.  And the Jamie is no exception.  It just adds something to my wardrobe, since the arms are slightly puffy at the cuff I get a more Bomber/sports jacket feel to it, other than just a cardigan.

I choose to use an old Scuba with a grey pattern, and a black and white geometric grid pattern.

The Grey Version:

This fabric was from my cheap shop and it is a Jersey scuba.  It is very thick and perfect for a more heavyweight cardigan such as this.  The pattern placement was key with this piece and I even pattern matched the pockets.

The Geometric Version:

This has a slight beige tone to the fabric, and came from an ebay haul I did way back when I didn’t know much about fabrics.  Turns out it is perfect for a Jamie, and has a nice stiffness to it that gives the cardigan some shape.

Overall I think I have finally found a go to Cardigan Pattern.  I would also like to hack it and maybe bring it down over the bum and to the thigh area, but after two in such a short time I will leave that for future me.

 

Denim Shirt Dress: Simplicity 8014

One thing I do love is a shirt dress.  And what I love more than that is a Denim shirt dress.

For a while I struggled to purchase Denim, in the end I was lucky enough to stumble upon some in my cheap shop.  It was more of a chambray but had the diagonal weave shape in the fabric.  I think with Denim it is best bought when you can get a feel for the weight and colour in real life, as apposed to online purchases.

Another good selling point of this fabric is that is was BLACK…

Despite having a pattern stash FULL of shirt dresses (like the kalle, the sahara to name but a few) I felt I needed another, but one that was a bit more dress like.  I love simplicity patterns in the sense that it is a back to basics in patterns after being spoilt by the beautiful and varied world of indie patterns. There is just something about the brown tissue paper and yellowish instructions that I find quite nostalgic.  Simplicity always do good solid basics and this is no exception.

So How did it Sew?

 

Apologies for the pictures, it seems of the five I only took of this dress, all pictures were quite bad and inconsistent.  But you get the idea.

As with all simplicity patterns, the make was straight forwards.  I am one of those weird people that like doing collars,  cuffs, yokes and other fiddly bits, so I was in my element here.  The fit was tighter and more body con than I anticipated, I wish I had now hacked it to have a cute circle skirt or just more of an A line, but I love it all the same.  I love the fabric, despite being from my cheap shop, i have a feeling that it has been sorced from somewhere that uses quality fabrics.  the extra bit of stretch gives a great shape to this garment.

I struggled to find buttons for a while, I was concerned I might have to go for more of the denim hardware with studs and rivets, all extra costs with tools for someone who has not yet ventured into it.  But luckily I came across these basic brass buttons that were perfect and could be sewed on, no extra effort.

I also added a basic belt (not included in the pattern) and belt loops, to give me more options whilst wearing it.  As always I added in a placket to roll up the sleeves. I like having options to get the most wear out of my pieces.  Since making it I have also worn it open and on it’s own as a dress with a brown belt.

Overall I am very pleased with this dress and would like to revisit this item in a lighter material, like a linen,  to see the outcome of that and how it can be worn differenty.  It is also begging for a hack, maybe a wider skirt in a more chambray-esque lighter denim fabric.

 

Made By Me: Nina Lee – Bloomsbury

When I went to the Great British Sewing Bee Live at the Excel (waaaay back last year)  I got to meet some of the pattern creators, and discover some new ones too.

One of these was Nina Lee.  It was so nice meeting the people involved in these patterns,  I think no one can be as passionate about a pattern more than the person who makes it.  Plus both of the ladies at the both (who were lovely btw)  were wearing at least one make and that always helps.

One thing I love about these types of shows is something that crosses over with the fashion world.  Little booths of clothing concessions.  That little stand had a lovely boutique feel to it, and a great rack of pre-mades for me to coo over.   I couldn’t justify buying the Kew Dress pattern that day (I already had invested in a lot of dress patterns) so instead I opted for the Bloomsbury, as it was a blouse, and I was not disappointed.  I think I was also swayed with the sheer amount I had seen on Instagram too at the time.

So How did it Sew?

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I chose a light white cotton with holes in it.   I have used this previously on an Alder shirtdress make.  But when you buy 6 metres, you need to get imaginiative with the different patterns to use and what projects wont look the same.

The pattern itself is beautiful.  I love the chintzy feel of the brand, expressed through its illustrations and colours.

The pattern itself is awesome, I love the lay out and the instructions were a pleasure to work with.

The actual make itself was amazing.  Being plus size I was worried that it wouldn’t fit, since the fabric was woven and unforgiving.  But it fits beautifully, and I would say very true to size.

If you are thinking of tackling  this pattern yourself I would recommend to make a toille first as the wider collar/ruffle may not suit all fabrics.  Its definitely better for softer fabrics as the stiffer ones tend to stick out, unless of course that is what you want,  But be warned.

The make was simple; the ruching was probably the most time consuming element of the whole thing.  But keeping that in mind, it was a surprisingly quick make.

On my version I opted for adding a ribbon to the collar,  I was going for a Victorian- esque vibe and I really love that little embellishment, and it hides the button well.

I wish I had to make a Victorian costume as it would have been perfect.  But don’t let me talking costumes fool you.  I feel like this, at present is really on trend.  Especially heading for Autumn.  The frill like collar and longer chest ruching has been seen throughout my shopping endeavours of late.

I have even seen some gorgeous band tees bought to life with a chiffon ruffle across the chest , which I love as a concept, I think that this with a contrast chiffon ruffle on a bold pattern would look amazing and is definitely a note in my future makes

As for my Version I will probably wear this with some form of pinafore in the future and look to make a hacked version from lace into an oversized bat wing Dress ( For someone who moans about having too many dress patterns and not enough tops I really shouldn’t hack into a dress, but there is space in my life for a dramatic gothic lace dress and this would be perfect)

I am looking at getting both the Mayfair dress AND the Kew Dress in the future and incorporating them into my wardrobe.  Check out Nina Lee Here.

 

Pattern: DP Studios – Le 604

I think that the DP Studios is one of those sewing pattern companies that just get me.  I often feel slightly on the fringes of the sewing community.  I tend to shy away from the endless tea dress patterns made up in gaudy floral prints, instead I opt for a muted palette and style that boarders fashion design as apposed to quaint homely dressmaker.  Just a note, there is nothing wrong with this type of sewing, it just is at times I am treading a very lonely path in my seining adventure and finding it harder to find patterns and fabrics that may not appeal to the masses.

FInding DP studios bridges that gap – Its home sewer meets high fashion and high design.  Its modern and timeless rolled into one and I feel so inspired by their pieces that it just makes me want to make them all so they can sit together in my very own beautiful capsule wardrobe.

So How did it Sew?

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There was no hand holding with this one guys!   Some seams caused a bit of a headache.  You are given one page of instructions and that is it.  They have very good diagrams though, I think as someone who works more visually I loved the more graphic approach to instructions.

The box itself is amazing, No fiddly pattern envelope that you are trying to squeeze the paper back into, this has depth!  Its amazing how such a little detail can cause so much convenience.  Why aren’t all patterns like this, we shouldn’t have to struggle.

I chose to make this in a very fiddly, but beautiful, leopard print fabric.  I had been lusting after long tunic/ dress shirts in leopard print, but sheer was all i could find, apparently i am very fussy with animal print sizes and densities.  In hindsight it may have not been the best choice, but after fiddling around with all the bust seems and using a guide stitch, all the trouble was worth it for the result.

As well as the epaulettes on the shoulder, the shit also comes with a detachable collar embellishment.  Its cute, and really gives this design another dimension.  I did eventually leave the points on the collar off.  In fact, I snipped them off and it looked fine.  They just kept sticking in me and not staying where i want them.  But that is the beauty of sewing, it can be suggested rather that carried out.

I am definitely making this again.  Now i have done one, i feel like the next will be smooth sailing, although I really enjoyed having a project where I was trying something new, this made me pace out the work and not speed through like I normally do.  I definitely think I will make it longer next time.

Check out Le 604 Here.