Saturday, 31 May 2014

Me-Made-May: Week 3 ... THE END!!!

Wow, we did it! 

The end of my first Me-Made-May is finally here, and though at times during this month I've looked at my wardrobe and sighed in frustration, I'm so glad I persevered to the end. 

Day 23: Refashioned Maxi Skirt
Bit of a repeat outfit here, but this skirt has really been a lifesaver this month. 

Day 25: Ditsy Daisy Skirt
This was worn to go shopping in town (...err, what? No, no, I'm sure it wasn't me you saw in New Look.....;) ) I had a great day though and received a few compliments on my Hedgehog Bag! 

Day 27: Sewaholic Cambie Dress
I wore this on a visit to my grandparents house, and received much praise! 

Day 29: Ditsy Daisy Skirt
This was worn on a lazy day round the house, but it's so comfortable. 

Day 31: All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go (but school) Pencil Skirt
I always feel so posh when I wear this skirt! Alas, I don't have anywhere posh to wear it. Today will just be spent revising psychology (yuck) and doing some sewing (yay!) 

So that's it! The end of Me-Made-May! How did you all do? 

There were times during this month when I wanted to just make life easier for myself and dress in something shop bought. As a beginner sewer, some of my older makes have been classed as failures, leaving me with a bit of a limited choice. I'm constantly on the lookout for new sewing projects, but there are definitely some aspects of my handmade wardrobe that need urgent attention. The worst of these is blouses and tops - I don't have any! 

On the 16th June, I empty my locker and leave sixth form for good - scary, but exciting at the same time! It also leaves me with a whole THREE MONTHS summer holiday! And yes, I'm sure I will use about two and a half of those months to sew, so I should have rectified the lack of separates problem by the time I start uni in September! 

What problems did you encounter during Me-Made-May? 

Beth x

Friday, 30 May 2014

Fabric Overload...Help!

Hey guys :)

Over the last few weeks I've been deciding how to spend my lovely winnings after being awarded a voucher for taking part in Tilly's Brigitte Scarf Party. I'm using the fabric to make patterns from Tilly's book, as part of Janet's One Make a Month competition. I've narrowed my choices down to eight different printed fabrics, but need to get this down to five. It is such a hard decision, I need help - this is where you come in! Vote below for your favourites.

 A mustard yellow cotton for making Tilly's Mimi Blouse

  Navy polka dots for Tilly's Megan Dress

  A vintage floral for Tilly's Lilou Dress

  Rainbow seed heads! This would be a Megan Dress too

  These Russian Dolls would make an adorable bag

   I love this pattern, possibly for Tilly's Clemence Skirt

 This one has to be a bag, right? That print!

    DSC_0683 (800x746)     This is for a Clemence Skirt, most definitely

So, it's all down to you, dear readers. Thank you so much for all your help. Happy choosing!

Beth x

(all images sourced from Fabric Rehab)

Monday, 26 May 2014

Sewing Ethically and Sustainably

If, like me, you live in a first world country where fast fashion and consumerism reign, it can be easy to forget the process behind how the ready to wear clothes we see on the high streets are produced. However, no matter how hard you try to ignore the story behind those cheap jeans or cute little top, it doesn't change the fact that they are so low priced for a reason. 

Often, the clothes we see at bargain prices on store rails have been made by underpaid workers in appalling working conditions. Tiny six year olds forced into child labour could be stuck in cramped rooms stitching embroidery onto the top you later find in a department store. 

What is frustrating is that there seems no way to solve these issues. By boycotting shops that use inethical clothing manufacture, we're left with a much smaller range of clothes, which seems unfair when all you're trying to do is ensure the wellbeing of workers, and the tiny six year olds are still at work, we're just shopping elsewhere, so the problem hasn't gone away. Buying clothes you know have a clean history is expensive, but for many it is the only way to guarantee they're not accidentally exploiting third world workers. 

That's where sewing comes in. For the past six months, I've been happy in the knowledge that the only labour that went into the making of my clothes was my own. Of course, with sewing still being a reasonably new hobby, I haven't had an entirely shop free year. I'll be honest and admit to popping out to invest in a couple of new strappy tops as summer approaches, because I haven't had the time to learn how to make these yet, but had a need for them. The promise I've made to myself is that I'll integrate them into my wardrobe and match them with self stitched clothing, so at least they'll get worn and no matter how they were produced, the effort of the manufacturer wasn't wasted. I will wear them. 

Thanks to learning how to sew, I have felt happier in the knowledge that feeling less inclined to shop has led to a decrease in the demand I've placed on clothing companies to provide me with new garments. I clothe myself these days. But the next step for me is a tricky one - how does one guarantee that the fabric you're working with has been ethically sourced?

I like to work with fabric found from a variety of places, mostly Abakan, Ebay and my local market. For me, a beginner dressmaker, this has been sufficient to see me through my first few projects and given me clothes that I love to wear. However, the same familiar feelings are sneaking back. Was this fabric made fairly? Did the workers get paid properly? Were they in proper, regulated working conditions?

At 18 years old and about to head off to uni, it's safe to say I'm not exactly rolling in money. I try to stick to fabric under £10 a metre, but I know a lot of places charge a lot more than that. Is expensive fabric what I need to ensure workers got a fair deal? Branded fabric, like Liberty or Amy Butler? Or is it just all down to chance? I think, as far as sewing goes, I'm still pretty new to this and would love any advice you have for me :) 

Let's help everyone in the manufacture of clothes, whether for retail or home sewing, get a fair deal. 

Beth x

Friday, 23 May 2014

Me-Made-May: Week 2

Hey guys! 

I've finally reached the end of another week of Me-Made-May. Here are my outfits: 

Day 13: Gathered Polka Dot Skirt. I loved this outfit and felt really comfortable in it on one of the hottest days of the year so far. 

Day 15: Strappy Cinema Dress, to meet Tilly at Guthrie and Ghani! I was also wearing my Brigitte Scarf, and felt so pleased to be able to wear an outfit I'd made myself to meet one of my favourite sewing bloggers. 

Day 17: Vintage Inspired Fabric Dress and Brigitte Scarf. I had such a lovely day in this outfit - lunch in town with my mum and one of her friends, and bought some lovely new fabric. 

Day 19: Gathered Polka Dot Skirt. A repeat outfit, I know, but I love this skirt so much - it feels so me. 

Day 21: Sewaholic Cambie. It was my Sixth Form Leavers Assembly today, and I felt smart and summery in this dress, which was perfect for the occasion. 

I hope your Me-Made-May pledges are all going well. 

Beth x

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Prom Dress Pickle

Hello lovely readers :) 

Today I need your help! My sixth form leaver's prom is coming up on June 27th, and I of course would love to make my dress. The trouble is, I don't know what sort of dress to make! I'm floating around a couple of ideas, but would love anymore suggestions for pattern and fabric choice. 

Here are some of my ideas. Don't be alarmed by their apparent casualness - I have to look smart, but its not a floor length ballgown occasion ;) 

The Megan Dress from Tilly's 'Love At First Stitch'. I think this would look great in a dark navy, possibly with polka dots and white ribbon trim. Paired with black tights and these awesome wedges I found on Pinterest, it would look pretty smart, non? 

Next up is the Sewaholic Cambie Dress (View B, purely for the wow factor of that crazily gathered skirt), made of the gorgeous dragonfly fabric I bought on my recent trip to Guthrie and Ghani. I'm not sure what shoes to pair this with - possibly some teal coloured flats if I can get my hands on some and, of course, if this is the dress I actually decide on.

Finally, Tilly's Lilou Dress - I think this would look pretty good in a red floral, especially with a gathered skirt. I also like the idea of making a bow belt like in the picture, but out of a contrast fabric so it really stands out. 

So, that's what I've got so far. Feel free to comment below with your opinion :) If you feel another fabric or pattern choice would be better, that's fine too! 

Thanks so much in advance - I can't wait to get stitching! 

Beth x

Monday, 19 May 2014

Love At First Stitch Competition

Hey there lovely readers :)

If you hop on over to Janet's blog, you'll see that she's hosting a competition in honour of Tilly's book! The aim is to sew one pattern from Tilly's book per month so that by the end of the year you will have had a go at everything. Sounds awesome yes? I'm in!

I've already made two Brigitte scarves, so I have six more projects to complete, as there are seven patterns included in the book. In order to keep on track and make sure I don't rush through too quickly, or fall behind for that matter, I've put together a plan of what I want to be stitching and when.

JUNE: First up is the Megan Dress. I completely adore this pattern and am actually thinking of putting together a navy and white version to wear to my sixth form leavers party.

JULY: Next is the Lilou Dress, which is just my sort of thing. I'm debating whether to scallop the neckline or not, as I've never attempted this before and would love to have a go.

AUGUST: The Clemence Skirt. For those of you who've been following this blog for a while, I'm sure it will be obvious that skirts are a favourite wardrobe staple of mine, and so quick to put together. My version of this pattern is definitely going to include pockets!

SEPTEMBER: I'm heading off to uni this September and before I go I would like to sew up some new pairs of pyjamas to take with me, so the Margot Pyjamas are this month's pattern.

OCTOBER: The Mimi Blouse. Ever since seeing Katie's version of this top, I've been dreaming of a mustard coloured one, so hopefully I will have acquired the perfect fabric by the time October rolls round.

NOVEMBER: Last but not least, it's the Delphine Skirt! I want to make this skirt out of a dark coloured denim, with buttons down the front for a more nautical look.

And that brings me to the end of Tilly's Love At First Stitch Patterns! However, I'm sure it won't have escaped your notice that I have a month to spare, so.......

DECEMBER: I am going to brave my fear of knits and get cracking on finally joining the party of Coco lovers, just in time for Christmas!

If you'd like to join the competition and pay homage to Tilly's fabulous patterns, head on over to Janet's blog and get yourself signed up - there are even prizes!

Beth x

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Sewaholic Cambie Dress

Hey guys!

I finished my Sewaholic Cambie Dress today, and I love it so much! 

It's made of a floaty polycotton and is so comfortable! Attaching the lining to the body of the dress was quite tricky, but I got there in the end. 

I've seen this dress on a lot of people, and it just seems to be one of those patterns that works on everybody! 

And look, it's got pockets! 

So, practical? Check. Pretty? Check. Fun to construct? Check. This dress has it all! 

My sewing machine has now had a bit of a fit though and the stitching is coming out with tight, crazily gathered loops. I've tried cleaning out the bobbin case but it hasn't helped - any ideas? 

I hope you're all having a great day and enjoy the lovely weather we're having! (How very British I sound...) 

Beth x

Saturday, 17 May 2014

My Current Project

Hey everyone!

Today I thought I'd share with you what I'm making at the moment. 

I walked down to my local market today and bought three metres of this polycotton for just £6.50, which I thought was a bargain, and I love the print! It just feels so summery. I'm going to use it to make a practice version of the Sewaholic Cambie before cutting into the gorgeous dragonfly fabric I bought at Guthrie and Ghani last week, but if all goes to plan this version should be wearable too. 

The pattern pieces took AGES to cut out! I think two hours in total. I really need to invest in a rotary cutter to speed up the process. 

Here they are. There are so many as the dress is fully lined, so I needed to cut everything out twice! Hopefully I should get some time to make a start on the construction process tomorrow. I'm really excited as I love this fabric and pattern! 

What are you sewing at the moment? 

Beth x 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Tilly's Book Launch Party @ Guthrie and Ghani

Hi guys!!

I am SUPER excited this evening because...a few hours ago I met Tilly and Lauren! 

Getting to Birmingham (where Lauren's shop is) for Tilly's Book Launch Party was a total nightmare and ended up taking about two and a half hours. But it was totally worth it! 

Tilly and the Buttons was the very first sewing blog I ever read, and it was really Tilly's engaging writing style and encouraging posts that got me sewing my own, so it was such a pleasure to meet her! She really is as lovely in real life as she comes across on her blog posts. Both her and Lauren were really helpful in choosing fabrics for my sewing projects and didn't laugh at me even though I must have come across as a bit starstruck! 

This is what I came away with. I've been wanting both the Colette Sencha and Sewaholic Cambie for months, so was thrilled to finally pick them up. The light blue fabric on the left is buttery soft and drapey, perfect for the Sencha, and suggested by Tilly! The fabric to the right for the Cambie is an absolutely gorgeous teal coloured cotton patterned with dragonflies! I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and knew I had to have it! 

I also got recognised by a couple of people which was quite exciting and made me feel like a movie star! (albeit a little socially awkward one - I'm not used to being recognised!) I won Tilly's Brigitte Scarf Party and had my photo on one of her posts, so a few people saw me in the shop and came over to say congratulations! Which was really nice of them - hi, if you're reading! 

Did you go to Tilly's Book Launch Party? If so then I hope you had as much fun as I did! It really has been a brilliant evening, and thank you to both Tilly and Lauren for hosting and being so lovely to me. 

Beth x

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

It's Arrived!!

Hey guys! 

Today I bring you the joyous news that my very own copy of Tilly's 'Love At First Stitch' is finally here! 

And look! It's signed!!

I was so excited when I got back from college and found the parcel containing this and the Coco pattern waiting for me! And I tell you something, this book doesn't disappoint. It is absolutely packed with sewing hints, tips, projects and ideas - of all the dressmaking books to ever be released, it has to be said that Tilly's is the one most in touch with its audience. 

Each page is a work of art in its own right, but together they hum with creativity and really bring alive the utter joy and simple pleasure of making things with your own two hands. 

Anyone know where I can get tights like these? ;) 

I love this idea of turning the Brigitte Scarf into a neck scarf - it has definitely made it on to the top of my To-Sew list! 

This version of the Megan Dress is completely gorgeous, and one I am definitely considering making for my end of year prom! 

This book has it all. Complete beginner to confident dressmaker in 200 pages - what else could you possibly want?! 

Happy stitching! 

Beth x

(P.S. I'll be at Lauren's shop Guthrie and Ghani tomorrow for Tilly's book launch - are you?) 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Me-Made-May: Week 1

Hi guys! 

Here are the clothes I wore on Days 3-11 of Me-Made-May (every other day, as per my pledge):

Day 3: Refashioned Maxi Skirt. I wore this to my grandparents house and was given so many compliments! Everyone seems to admire the fact I wear homemade clothes, which provides me with a lot of motivation to keep going even when things are going wrong (like misbehaving zips!) 

Day 5: Strappy Cinema Dress. I wore this for the first time out to see The Other Woman at the cinema with my boyfriend - such a good day I named the dress after it! 

Day 7: Refashioned Maxi Skirt. I feel so nice in this outfit, especially at college. 

Day 9: Ditsy Daisy Skirt. Oh dear, wet hair photo! This was perfect for school with my much treasured Accessorize sandals.

Day 11: Refashioned Maxi Skirt... Yes, I know I have worn this MANY times since its creation, but I love it SO MUCH. I'll try not to wear it many more times this month though, but I'm not promising anything! 

I feel like I should probably come clean with you all and admit that I'm finding Me-Made-May more difficult that I imagined it would be. A lot of outfits that I made a few months ago when I'd first started sewing have a few fit issues that need rectifying, but with not a lot of time to spare I've not had time to sort them out, so my wardrobe is currently quite limited. It's also not that warm here at the moment, and since a lot of my makes have been summery in anticipation of the sun making an appearance, I haven't felt able to wear a few of my garments yet. 

I have got a lot of revision out of the way this morning though, so I plan on altering a few of the dresses that are gaping a bit, so you should hopefully see a bit more variation in my outfits in the next installment of my Me-Mades. 

How are you finding Me-Made-May? 

Beth x

Saturday, 10 May 2014

I Really Would Rather Be Sewing

Hey guys :) 

Just taking a ten minute time out from A level revision. *sigh*. Despite the dreariness of it though, revising has made me think about how truly grateful I am to have found such a worthwhile hobby. Sewing. 

Over the last couple of months as exams have been growing steadily nearer, I've realised just how important sewing has become in my life, not just as a way to fill my wardrobe with clothes that are unique to me, but also as a way to funnel constructive energy that is being wasted at school as I put all my effort into creating revision cards that will just be put aside after I've finished my exams, never to be seen again. 

Not only this, but I have also found sewing to be a great stress reliever. Worrying about whether I'm going to pass or fail has become an almost constant concern for me, especially with regard to Psychology, the bane of my existance! Despite this though, I always have that option to put aside the textbooks for an hour or two and instead use that time to make something wonderful, and that in future I know will have far greater personal value to me than those educational certificates I, and everyone else my age, is working so hard to achieve. 

With summer fast approaching, and the blissful thought of three whole months off before I head off to uni, my mind has naturally turned to sewing projects. So I have begun to make a list of all the gorgeous patterns I shall be purchasing and stitching come June. Want a peek? 

*drools unattractively* 
Seriously though. Have you ever seen a vintage dress this good? I didn't think so. 

Ditto for this one. They just don't make clothes this good anymore do they? 

I'll be trying to expand my collection of tops this summer, when I have more time on my hands to get stuck into patterns that I'm not as familiar with. We're only 10 days into May and I can already tell that this is an area in which my wardrobe is severely lacking on the Me-Made front! 

Ahh. I do love a good pinafore. The one in the middle will do perfectly. 

And finally.....

Yes!! I shall be having a good bash at everything in Tilly's 'Love At First Stitch!' Have you ever seen such a great collection of beautifully designed patterns? No, neither have I. Mmm. First on the list is the gorgeous Megan Dress, and then, anything goes! 

What is on your summer sewing list please? 

Beth x

Thursday, 8 May 2014

#LoveAtFirstStitch Party!

Hey guys!

Happy #LoveAtFirstStitch day! It's been so great to see you all wearing your versions of Tilly's Brigitte Scarf. Here are my contributions: 

I love how versatile this pattern can be. Now I have a headband and a bow, I can't wait to whip up more for bag accessories and to match my outfits!

How do you wear your Brigitte Scarf?

Beth x