Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Look! Hedgehogs!

Hey :) 

Check out my latest make!

This is Simplicity 2685, view D, made out of the most adorable fabric the world has ever seen - hedgehogs! 

This was such an easy bag to put together, once I'd cut out all the squillions of pattern pieces. Everyone I've spoken to has 'ahh'd over the material, and now I've even got a request from my mum! Her birthday is coming up, so I secretly bought an extra metre of material to make one for her as well (shh, don't tell her!) so yes, we will have matching bags. And you say I'm not cool ;) Hopefully she will really like it though, and I think that is what matters most. 

I've been on the look out for a simple but stylish bag pattern for a while now, wanting to put together a few me-made accessories as well as clothing items, and this definitely fits the bill. The design is easy to construct, but the pleats and button add nice touches that don't leave it looking too plain.

Overall, a very satisfying project! What are you making please? 

Beth x

Monday, 28 April 2014

Me-Made-May'14: My Pledge

Hi guys!

This is my first ever Me-Made-May participation and I'm really exited to be involved. If you're still in the dark about what Me-Made months are all about, check out the link over on the right.
Here is my pledge:
"I, Beth of Love at First Stitch, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May'14. I endeavour to wear one item of self stitched clothing every other day for the duration of May 2014."

So there we go! Basically, my pledge is to wear something I've made on alternate days throughout May. I think this will be a good challenge for me, as although I do get wear out of the clothes I make, I'm still heavily reliant on shop bought clothing to fill out my wardrobe, and it will be interesting for me to see the clothing combinations I have to come up with to fulfil this challenge!

Have you signed up for Me-Made-May yet? If not, head on over to So Zo... to leave your pledge. I can't wait to see all of your creations!

Beth x

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Reasons for Sewing

I've always loved the idea of being able to take inspiration for clothes from people we see around us all the time - at college, on the bus, in the park - and then being able to go home and recreate them in a way totally unique to me. And this is what has happened. Since I started sewing six months ago, I've created fifteen whole garments that I wouldn't have otherwise had in my wardrobe, and part of what makes me feel so good about them is that no one else will ever be able to say that they have the same things. The brilliance of home sewing is that even if, by pure chance, you pick the same pattern and even the same fabric as another sewer, the way you think about and construct that garment will differ entirely from the other person, until at the end the creations may look identical but the story behind their production will always be unique. 

This couldn't be more different to what happens to the clothing ranges that we buy directly off the shelves. For every identical item you see hung up on rail after rail, you know that they all have exactly the same sorry story. For many shops, those clothes will have been manufactured under awful working conditions, perhaps even using child labour, and no matter how many times you wash your clothes, that's a mark that will never come clean. What's more is that for all the money that you pay for the clothes you buy, you could walk into college or work the next day and see someone with the exact same outfit. Individuality is a thing of the past - in our times, it's seen as safer to fit in with the crowd, which ultimately is leading to increased crime rates, higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse and people taking up smoking. The problem? This trend of following the crowd has led to a point where people just can't say no. 

Now, I know that for issues like these, a sewing blog seems like a bit of strange place to start. It's not as if a small teenage girl from England is ever going to be able to change the world, however much she might wish it. But one thing I can do? Encourage home sewing! 

I firmly believe that the moment more people choose to style their own clothes rather than choosing from the on trend selection most clothing stores provide, then that's the time they'll start thinking for themselves and realise it is ok to be unique, and it's ok to say no! 

For me, learning to sew was the ability I needed to help fulfil my wish to have a wardrobe that tailored to my exact wishes, just as I'd always pictured. I think that if, like me, you've never really fit in well with your age group, I think you'll understand what I mean when I say that I was born in the wrong generation. This seems personal, but I think I should make it clear that unlike many eighteen year olds, I don't drink, I don't go out partying all hours of the night, I don't pick up strange boys. Instead, I lust after clothing styles from every decade but my own and make plans for the right pattern and fabric to turn these lusts into reality! 

I hope I'm making this sound like fun. If I only ever get one thing out of this sewing blog, it is that I can convince someone, anyone, to give sewing a chance. Being able to create clothes that you then go on to wear everyday is one of life's greatest pleasures, I've found. I take utter joy in sitting down at my machine and when I rise a couple of hours later, having a new garment to integrate into my wardrobe. And you can do this too! 

So go on, what are you waiting for?! Enrol on a sewing class, buy, beg or borrow a machine, and get stitching! I promise you, if you stick at it, it is one of the most worthwhile things you will ever do. 

If we work together, we CAN save the world, one stitch at a time. 

Beth x

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Maxi Skirt

Hi guys!

Here's my latest make, a black maxi skirt made from thick, drapey cotton. It took little more than two hours from start to finish, but I did have some problems with the zip! 

When I went down to my local market to get the material for this make, I didn't bother buying a black zip to match because I was sure I had a suitable one in my stash. Rookie mistake! The only zip I had to use was a white one so, impatient to get on with sewing, I made do. However, when I tried it on, the zip clearly didn't match and I could feel my enthusiasm for the skirt waning. Not wanting to give in, but not wanting to wait until Tuesday to get a new zip (the next time our market is open), I pinched a black zip off a navy polka dot dress I had made a couple of months ago. The dress sizing had always been a little big, as it's a roomy tunic, and I could easily pull it over my head, so I just sewed the seam back up without a zip.

Now that I had the right colour zip, I painstakingly removed the offending white one, replaced it with the black one, and voila! I was finished. 

I luuurve this skirt! I'd seen a picture on Pinterest (below) that really sparked my interest in whipping up (yes, I've been working on my speed sewing!) a maxi skirt. 

Now all I need is a leopard print scarf and I'm ready to start rocking my new summer look. 

Happy sewing! 

Beth x

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tilly's Bow Belt

Hello again!

I'm sure that if you've discovered my tiny little blog then you will definitely have already found the utter delights of sewer Tilly Walnes' blog, Tilly and the Buttons! 

I've been reading Tilly's blog since she starred in The Great British Sewing Bee last year, and fell in love with the tutorials on there. Last year I made a Picnic Blanket skirt, as pictured below, and now I have finally got round to sewing up a Bow Belt! 

The bow belt was an absolute dream to stitch. It took me little more than an hour from start to finish and used mere scraps of fabric. And here it is!

I love this belt! I've added a couple of different hooks and eyes so that it can be used for both dresses and skirts. 

If you would like to make a bow belt yourself, I'm sure Tilly wouldn't mind me giving you a cheeky point towards her website where it can be found - http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/2010/06/bow-belt-tutorial.html?m=1. 

Happy stitching!

Beth x

Sunday, 20 April 2014

My Signature Style

Hi guys!

Today I thought I would write about the signature style that I've been developing over the last couple of years. Since starting sixth form, I've really found my sense of self and what I feel comfortable wearing, which has become even more pronounced since I began sewing my own clothes. I like to think of my style as individual and playful. My love of dungarees, Peter Pan collars and cardigans also know no bounds ;)

The colours I feel most drawn to when shopping for clothes or fabric are burgundy, navy, blue, black, white, purple, teal and red, so I use these as a guide when I'm designing a new outfit. I enjoy the diversity of my style, as I've been able to make a lot of different outfits that still reflect what I feel I am as a person, without making everything look the same. I also feel confident in my colour choices because I didn't have to sit down and think about what to feature in my palette - I chose what seemed natural according to my clothing preferences, and now that I have a clear guide in my head of what I'm looking for, I find it a lot easier to shop for things I like and know I will be able to get a good use out of.

When I first started shopping for fabric, it also became clear to me that as well as the large range of colours that are available, the amount of prints is even more vast! Scrolling through the pages of some of my favourite sewing websites, I could see boats, ducks, cars, zig zags...the choice was astonishing, and offered so much more possibility than the clothing rails in New Look! From the very off though, I knew what things I liked the most. Polka dots, stripes and floral designs were by far and away my favourite, so I knew that this would be what to look for whenever I found myself surrounded by a bewildering amount of fabric. I don't expect to stick exclusively with these three prints - I've already made a dress with blue leaves on! - but it certainly does help to have an idea of what you like to help choosing what fabric to use for each garment a whole lot simpler.

Finally, all that was left to decide was what I wanted to make! Dresses make up a large percentage of my wardrobe, so it seemed sensible to focus on these when choosing what to sew. I also adore 50's skirts, and have already made three of these using a pattern I designed myself. Now that I have grown into a more confident sewer, however, I know that I want to branch out and try making different things. As mentioned above, I have an addiction to Peter Pan collars, and I've now found the perfect pattern with which to practice with - Lisette 1419 - *drools*

I also put together a mood board to define my personal style:

I think these images really sum up the style I'm trying to capture in the way I dress, and love the fact that although they all seem so eclectic, I actually feel as though I've got a cohesive wardrobe that works well (in my opinion!)

Thanks for reading - please feel free to comment on what your personal style is, I'd love to hear from you!

Beth x

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Ditsy Daisy Skirt

Hi there Blogosphere! 

Today I wanted to share with you my latest make - I've named it the Ditsy Daisy Skirt. 

It is floaty and flowery and purple and all things lovely! 

I really enjoyed making this project. It took just three hours from start to finish and I made the pattern up myself, using basic squares which I then gathered and attached to the waistband (I can do a tutorial of this if anyone's interested?) 

The fabric came from a shop in my local market called Poppy's Fabrics. At £8.80 a metre I thought it was well priced for the quality, which is a firm cotton, perfect for a gathered skirt like this! I snapped up the last metre on the roll and used the whole thing to create the lovely swathes of material hanging down. I do love a good 50's skirt!

When I first bought this material, I thought it might make a good top, but after a couple of days pondering which pattern to use, I realised its true purpose was to become a gorgeous summer skirt. Not that it's without it's faults - don't inspect the wonky hem too closely! (I don't like hemming - the last step between garments being unfinished and ready to wear!)

Now all this skirt needs is one final press and it's ready to be added to my summer wardrobe. 

What are your summer sewing projects please? 

Beth x

Friday, 18 April 2014

Clothes I've Made So Far

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! 
I made my first ever homemade garment in June last year, but it wasn't until December that I made another - and that's when I really fell head over heels in love with making my own clothes (helped along by some absolutely beautiful fabric I discovered in Liberty on a journey down to London!) 
I thought that for my first post, I'd share the clothes I've already made with you. Enjoy! 

Dotty Birds Skirt

Picnic Blanket Skirt (pattern credit goes to Tilly over at tillyandthebuttons.com for this one!) 

Polka Dot 50's Style Skirt

All Dressed up and Nowhere to Go (but school!) Skirt

Dorothy Dress (now all I need are some red shoes and I'll be ready for Oz!)

Spotty Tunic

Floral Pinafore

Leafy 50's Dress for Summer

Gathered Floral 50's Dress

Cath Kidston inspired summer dress

Vintage inspired floral dress (credit for the material has to be given here - an absolutely fabulous shop called Poppy's Fabric at my local market, only £4.50 a metre!)

Cord Top 

Those are my makes up to date! I hope you stick around to enjoy the others I have in store :) 

Thanks and I hope you have a lovely day, wherever you are,

Beth x