Category Archives: Made By Me

Everything I have made with my own hands.

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.

 

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.

 

The Gothic Marshmallow

I had this Idea for a Sheer oversized dress/tunic rolling around in my head for the longest of times before i realised I had the perfect pattern in my collection:  Cocowawa’s The Marshmallow Dress

This isn’t the first dress I have made, I made myself a Christmas dress with it one year in a beautiful blue tartan (check that out here)  When it was first released I loved seeing other peoples versions online; i swooned over the peter pan collars, bows and gorgeous fabrics they used.  Overall it helped me confirm my wanting to make this dress, but I also think sometimes it can be distracting to see a patterns full potential, especially in a sheer fabric.

One version I loved above all, was The Petite Cats’s version;  a copycat of the red Valentino dress (see that here)  This was the first time from all the makes I have seen online that really put the potential of this pattern into perspective.  It lifted it from homemade crazy patterned clothing to high end functioning fashion in one pic.  Not to mention that beautiful pussy Bow.  And so (sew?) the seed of inspiration was set.

So How did it Sew:

I decided to go down the sheer basic black for my version, thus creating THE GOTHIC MARSHMALLOW (also my metal band name if I ever have one!)

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This dress, is an easy make, not just because I had made one before, but because I picked the most streamline basic version of this pattern (no collar, no bow, just the dress)

The fabric was a pain in the Booty to cut, but strangely not an issue to sew as it sort of held to itself.  I think it helped that I avoided pinning and just rammed it through the over locker, which has become my style lately.  To be honest I COULD have done a french seam here, but it really doesn’t notice at all, even though the sheer fabric.

The only fiddly bit was the buttons, but that can be said for all buttoned patterns.  What I like about this dress is the freedom to wear it wither way/ back to front.  Depending on what look i want to go for.

I absolutely love this dress, so much so that after my mini photo shot i put it back on and wore it for the rest of the day.

I love the casual Gothic aesthetic this dress has, almost like a comfy vampire.  I love the subtle ruffle detail that gives it an amazing shape.  For someone who wears mainly oversized clothing, these little details are really important and add a lot of variety to your silhouette.

I am tempted to make, like the petite cat, a more dressed up version with a gorgeous Pussy bow.  But for now this plan is shelved and put into the ‘needs the perfect fabric’ pile.

 

I AM Hermes – Stripped 90’s Wonder

One thing I have loved seeing in my fashion travels is open long stripped shirts, worn over matching trouser.  Oversized striped pant suits are amazing, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!   I have no source material on this obsession, but I think its coming from the 90’s Hip hop world of female artists.  I cant find any pictures to support this, so just go with it…

Whilst I was at the Sewing Bee at Excel, I happened upon The I AM booth.  I am a massive fan of them, having made many versions of the Aphrodite and Cassiopee, and i love their packaging and branding.  Having some money to spend, I ended up going for the Hermes.  Just a note, the girls on the stall were amazingly helpful, talked passionately about I AM and were extremely friendly.

I had some stripped fabric from my cheap shop, that had a beautiful feel and drape to it.  It definately spoke shirt fabric to me.

So How did it Sew?

 

As with all  I AM patterns, they are always a pleasure to work with.  I myself am not someone who usually traces their patterns before hand, rather a brash cut and keep sewist.  But I found this to be quite easy, and it was nice to be able to fold up one sheet of paper back into the beautiful gold envelope, as apposed to my usual approach of ramming all the pieces in.

Yes the biggest size has failed to cover my breasts, but wearing it open as a duster is probably how I would wear it anyway.  Being able to shape it at the back with the belt has been an added bonus.

I love this pattern.  Yes, I may have a large collection of shirt patterns, but this one really stands out and will definitely be a remake.

If you want to make one yourself, check out I AM patterns HERE.

 

Made By Me: Sew House 7 – Bridgetown Backless

Thank god for Black Friday sales.  Honestly It has taken a significant chunk out of my future buys list that weekend.  This pattern being one of them that has lingered on their for a while.  I bought this along with both versions of the Toaster jumper.  Both of which I cant wait to make.

This is obviously more of a summer pattern.  But I really wanted to see it made, to see if it suited me being plus size.  so I used some basic bulk white I had to make one up as a test run.  What I have ended up with is probably the most perfect little holiday dress ever.  One that, as is, I will definitely wear and definitely make more of.

So How did It Sew?:

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The graphics on the pattern instructions are beautiful, simply laid out and easy to follow.  The actual make was so simple to put together, but still looks great on.  What I love about this pattern is how it has a ready made feel about it.  Something I strive to achieve in my sewing is not looking like I am wearing me made clothing, almost like i am bridging the gap from store bought to me made and proving it is sustainable with fashion.  And this type of good basic pieces to throw on in summer do just that.

Another thing I love the name Sew house 7, to me it sounds like the title of a Quinton Tarantino movie, so I just think its amazing.

I am definitely making more of these for the better weather, I now have a similar black fabric so I can make another good basic for my wardrobe.  I think some sort of lace panel in the back would look amazing too, and maybe give the dress a bit more support in shape.

DIY: My pattern – White Frill Top

One thing I lack in my wardrobe is good solid interchanging Basics:  These are the types of cheap tops that come in many colours that fill the high street shops.  They know you need them, that’s why there are so many!   It is one thing I miss shopping for in my pursuit of the perfect DIY wardrobe.   Plus are they really a waste of money or bad for the environment if I wear them TO DEATH?

But Self made isn’t without its faults,  I am finding with sewing it is more and more about the ‘event’ piece, normally a dress. How many times do I wear a dress just around the house?  Most of my TOP 10 PATTERNS were good basic pieces.  So I set out about making a top myself.

One shape I kept seeing was the button front with a ruffle ‘shirt’ like frill part.  Using the white fabric I have in bulk, I set about making a wearable toille version that I could perfect before using more expensive fabric.

So How Did It Sew?

 

The pattern was an old traced top I had in my collection.  I traced it, added a V neck and some buttons.  I think next time I will not make actual button holes, instead try and add in some loops with domed buttons instead.  Over all this was a simple sew.  The ruffle was a simple add on, the most time was spent on the hems (when is it not…) Even though I made this from my bulk light fabric, i have found it far more wearable than a thicker Jersey.  I have even worn it open over a dress like a cardigan as i like to cover my arms a lot.

Hopefully I can make a few more of these but as always I find it a challenge to branch out into colour.  Maybe a mustard or wine colour, but definitely a black is a must!

 

 

Kalle Shirt Dress – LONG SLEEVES!

When the Kalle was first launched it was probably the most near perfect pattern.  I loved it.  But I longed for a sleeve hack.  The original Kalle sleeve as is, was far too short for me.  I tend to wear them layered under cardigans  I even asked my beautiful Instagram community for help for a hack in desperation – and still no luck.

Then the BEAUTIFUL people from Closet case patterns bought out the long sleeve hack.  And it was EVERYTHING…

Images from Closet Case Website

Now, before we go on, just a little negative here: I have had many patterns that introduce a hack, for example the Keilo and Inari from Named Clothing both had a sleeve and collar hack.  Both of which were completely free.  On the other hand, I was so desperate for a long sleeve hack and was happy to pay for that privileged of not figuring it out my self.  Its just something to consider if you are reading this post before purchasing the Kalle and/or just the sleeve hack.  So its more of a neutral comment that a complaint, but I always like to support independent business, so its all good.

So How did it Sew?

I will leave the details of the Kalle make itself  to my previous post where I covered that, instead I will focus on the Sleeves:

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As you can tell I absolutely love it.  So much so (sew?) that I ended up unpicking a sleeve on a Kalle I was working on and adding the hack to it (black Version)

The fabric I chose for both Black and white shirt, I thought was the same.  It had the same texture embossed into it, but the white was much softer and had a slight stretch, as apposed to the black that was a bit shinier.  I enjoyed sewing with the white more, but both were extremely light and have great movement.

The sleeve was incredibly simple to install.  I like how they approached it with the longer cuff, and how it took up a lot of the sleeve.  It Looks chic and can be worn up or down.  What really makes this is the shape of the existing sleeve (if you have made the kalle it is before you put the cuff on) which gives the overall piece a great shape and much more than the average shirt/shirt dress.

With the sleeve, I feel I will get much more use out of this pattern.  I still need to make the short and the tunic length versions, but having sleeves, for me, opens up more possibilities.

My Top 10 Patterns – Part 1: 10 – 6

Disclaimer:  This is about my sewing experience and favourite patterns,  compiled from about a year and a half of serious sewing.  All patterns on this list have been made by me at least once and are in my pattern collection.  I have a pile of newer patterns to try out, so a follow up in the future will definitely be needed… on that note, if you read this and know a pattern I would like, please feel free to leave a comment.  I love a good recommendations (If it isn’t already in the TO DO pile) 

All patterns have been linked, I have put the PDF link where possible, but do search for a paper pattern if you prefer… its just you might want to download it straight away and sew it.

Please not this post has been divided in two, but please be warned its still a long one. x


Part 1:  10 to 6


I have been thinking of this post for a long time, I always say throughout my blog posts that ‘oh it’s one of my top 10 patterns’

But what is that definitive list?

Believe me it was hard to decided just ten, so here they are:

10.  Pauline Alice – Cami Dress

Left and Middle: From Pauline Alice website. 

Right: My version.Check out the Original post here.

This is a very recent addition to the list, but had to be included as it bought my sewing journey full circle .  What I had attempted to draft myself in the early days, I found about 1.5 yrs later in this pattern.  So far I have only made and worn one, but this definitely needs further exploration, and many colours.


9. Made It Patterns – Drop Dress & Top

Pictures from Made It Patterns Website.

This pattern is a bit of an unsung hero of the wardrobe and deserves a place purely for the mileage from one pattern:  I have made many of these in various colours.  Unfortunately, due to them being mainly for my casual round the house wear they don’t lead as glam a life as some of my other hand made pieces.  That’s not to say they are any less important, in fact they do so much more hard work compared to other pieces.  I love this pattern and would also like to include an honorable mention to their other pattern, the GROOVE, which has so much potential with interchanging pieces… including a hood!

My Drop Dress original post is here. If you are curious, the Groove is here.


8. Wear Lemonade – Luisa

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Images from Wear Lemonade. Link in title.

Of all the Lemonade patterns I have, I have made the Luisa the most.  With the Luisa I have used it as a base, hacked and shaped it into many other items I love and wear today.  The picture I have shown is the one I love the most and is the Luisa in its purist form.  Of all the smock Dresses I have this one is the most flattering on.

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Original Blog post can be seen here.

Bonus points to wear Lemonade for the Video Tutorial (despite me only knowing basic french) which is a great help when making.


7. Ralph Pink – Sahara Shirt

 

Ralph pink has fast become a favourite of mine, I think it is one of those brands where I feel I want to make ALL they have on offer.  Saying that, my absolute favourite is the Sahara:  It completely embodies everything I love to wear in one garment:  smart, casual and oversized.  I have made a black and a white one and have worn them continuously  for about a year.   You can dress them up, add a belt wear them over stuff.  I will be making more of these soon, hopefully branching out into pattern.  I am just waiting now to find the most perfect fabric to reserve for my favourite garment.


6. Colette Patterns – Moneta

Left:  My favourite Moneta that to date I have made.  See the blog post here. Right:  From Colette Patterns Website.

Moneta has placed quite highly on this list, not just because of the sheer amount I have made, but for how much I have also used it as a base for projects in some way.

It is the ultimate base pattern, and without its help in the beginning of my sewing journey, I may not have experimented as much as I had done without it.

Not to mention how amazing it looks on, all the measurements are perfect.  This is the ultimate basic skater that all Sewers should have in their collection.

Also, a bonus shout out to using about 3 different body types on the site to show how well it suits everyBODY there is.  Thanks guys.


 

So that is my 10 – 6… Part 2 will be published in a few days and before 2017 ends, so keep an eye out here, and definitely on my Instagram.  If you want to join in with the countdown, feel free to add your own with the #mytop10patterns, I would love to see what you think.