Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Sewing Resolutions: 2016

Hello everyone! 

With 2015 drawing to a close and a brand new year fast approaching, I thought I'd take a moment to note down my sewing resolutions for 2016. 

1. Make a pair of trousers. Specifically, the Ultimate Trousers from Sew Over It. This project should hopefully stretch my sewing abilities and allow me to pick up some new skills along the way.

2. Use satin to create a dress. I've never worked with a slippery fabric like satin before, but I'd love to be able to get to grips with it. Making a pretty party dress seems like a good way to learn! 

3. Use at least three of the decorative stitches on my machine to embellish my garments. This year I got a super fancy, super awesome digital sewing machine that came with a range of decorative stitches. Whilst I've been loving making use of the automatic buttonhole feature, I've not yet used the decorative stitches on anything. In 2016, I'm definitely aiming to put them to good use. 

4. Add embroidery to one of my finished garments. Yes, I am aiming to get to grips with hand-sewing this year! I've always leaned more towards machine sewing than hand stitching, but I love the effect embroidery can add to a garment, so I'm willing to give it a try. 

5. Sew a professional looking bag - pockets, zips, straps. So far in my sewing journey I've made a few simple handbags, but they didn't even have a button to close them. This year I'd like to make a proper, professional looking bag (I'm leaning towards either a tote or a rucksack at the moment) that will allow me to really develop my sewing skills. 

And that's all! Five sewing resolutions to complete throughout 2016 that I hope will help me to continue to grow as a sewist. 

Have you set yourself any sewing resolutions for the new year? Do leave a comment below! 

Have a wonderful new year everyone. 

Much love, 

Beth x

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2015 in Review

Hey everyone!

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and a well earned break. Has anyone found themselves any selfish sewing time?

With 2015 drawing to a close, I thought I'd take some time to reflect on what an amazing year I've had. There are so many people who look on New Years as a way to start again and improve themselves, whilst we should be using the change of date to look back and celebrate all the good times we've already had.

First up, my sewing resolutions for 2015!

1. Create a type of garment from a type of fabric I have never used before - COMPLETE! Yes, this year I have branched out and sewn with not just one new-to-me fabric type, but four! These are sweatshirt knit, chambray, broderie anglaise and cotton lawn.

2. Make two items of clothing which are not dresses - COMPLETE! This is most definitely a completed resolution. This year, I've made twenty-four items of clothing that aren't dresses. These are: 10 tops, 5 skirts, 4 sweatshirts, 2 cardigans, 1 pair of shorts, 1 waistcoat and 1 jumpsuit! Not all the pieces are blogged yet (there are 3 skirts, 3 tops, 1 waistcoat, 1 cardigan and 1 sweatshirt still waiting to be documented) and linking to everything would take all day, but you can check out my Pinterest board if you want to check! I've also knitted two cardigans, but since this is my sewing resolution list I've not included them in the total.

3. Try at least three new sewing techniques - buttonholes, tucks and princess seams - 2/3 COMPLETE. Since getting a new sewing machine with an automatic buttonhole feature earlier this year, I've been putting buttonholes on absolutely everything, including my Holly Jumpsuit Hack. I also got to try out princess seams for the first time when I made my BHL Kim Dress. As for the tucks, I have actually completed the tucks themselves as I started sewing up a Tilly and the Buttons Mathilde Blouse, but as this is currently stuck in the bottom of my sewing box as a UFO, I'm not counting this as a completed resolution. Oops! Someone please remind me to finish off that blouse in 2016.

4. Make at least three garments from vintage patterns - NOT COMPLETED. This was a total fail of a resolution; I didn't even make up one of the vintage garments I was planning on completing. I have no good reason for not being able to tick off this resolution, other than that I just never really got round to it. Much earlier in the year, I ordered an absolutely gorgeous 50's dress and overcoat pattern from Etsy and even went so far as to cut into my fabric, but then completely abandoned the project for other ideas. Hopefully I'll have the patience to go back to this project in the new year and finish it off.

5. Sew with a pattern from an Indie Designer I have never used before - COMPLETE. This is definitely something I can tick off my list. So far this year I've made garments from Muse Patterns (my Jenna Cardi), Seamwork/Colette Patterns (my Astoria sweatshirts), Sew Caroline (a Sugar Pop Top yet to be blogged) and Made By Rae (a Geranium Dress for my god-daughter's christening present), none of which I'd sewn with before. I've also bought patterns from indie designers I haven't used before like Megan Nielsen, Christine Haynes and Kate and Rose, but haven't included them as part of the resolution as I've yet to actually sew with the patterns.

In total, I've completed in full three of my five resolutions, and nearly completed a fourth. One does remain fully incomplete, but despite this, I'm really pleased with the sewing progress I've made this year.

Favourite Makes of 2015

Colour Blocked Colette Astoria - one of the most professional looking garments I've made as a sewist, super cosy and gets worn all the time.

Broderie Anglaise Belcarra Blouse - This top was a lifesaver this summer, cool to wear and the colour meant it matched all my funky patterned shorts!

BHL Elisalex Skirt Hack - I have four of these in my wardrobe now, all in needlecord. They're super easy to wear and feel really stylish.

Tilly and the Buttons Arielle - This is possibly also my favourite blog picture of the year as well. A really classy looking skirt, I'm so proud of myself over the quality of this make.

By Hand London Kim - Yes, it may have a wonky hem, but look at how pretty that border print is! This is my favourite dress of the year (bar my Christmas Day dress which is yet to be blogged...)

Misses (they help us to learn!)

BHL Holly Jumpsuit - The biggest fail of the year and also some of my most embarrassing blog photos! My Holly was definitely a mistake, it saw absolutely no wear this year and, on reflection, I just got swept along in the online trend. Ah well, it's all a learning curve.

Chambray Pinafore - This make was inspired by a picture I'd seen on Pinterest, but the finished garment just didn't reach my expectations. I did get some lovely comments off readers though, so perhaps it's not as bad as I first thought.

Personal Life

Prior to 2015, the favourite year of my life had been 2012. A lot of wonderful things happened, including finishing high school, passing my GCSEs, starting sixth form, following the route of the Tour de France and getting to see the Olympics. However, I think 2015 was sufficiently amazing to knock 2012 off the top spot. It has been my first full year spent at university, where I have a wonderful set of friends and love living independently. Being the Publicity Officer of my uni's Craft and Sewing Society is also something I take great pride and pleasure in, and this year have set up a blog to document our activities. I also had an amazing, four month long summer which was filled with sunny weather, seeing friends and sewing. There have also been a few changes in my relationships, as I broke up with my boyfriend of three years, but this turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened as it allowed another amazing person who I've grown to love to walk into my life. I also got to go on holiday to the beautiful Isles of Scilly, visit Gardeners World Live, see Wales play rugby at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and had several trips down to London where I saw the Fashion on the Ration exhibition at the Imperial War Museum and got to go shopping on Oxford Street!

All in all, I've had a truly amazing year and I hope 2016 is just as wonderful.

Finally, all there is left to say is a HUGE thank you to all my lovely readers, for continuing to read your way through my rambling thoughts, bearing with me during my long absences and leaving your thoughtful comments. I hope that this year has been kind to you and that 2016 brings everything you're hoping for.

Much love to you all,

Beth x

Sunday, 29 November 2015


Hey guys,

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last posted. I miss both blogging and sewing so much; I haven't been doing much of either recently. My assignments for university have been piling up, there are three essays due in for 10th December totalling 8,000 words. That's a lot of writing...

I've finished a dress, a skirt and a cardigan since I last wrote here, which are all waiting to be photographed. My phone is being a pain at the moment and won't let me take pictures the way I normally do, due to a lack of internal storage. Hopefully I can get it fixed soon so that I can start documenting some finished makes!

Thankfully it's not been all work and no play around here, as I have managed to fit in a trip to London, which was amazing as always. Although I don't think I could ever adjust to city life, I do love the occasional visit; there's so much to see, the bustling crowds and, of course, the shopping! There may have been a trip to Liberty involved, and I also picked up some gorgeous fabric in John Lewis, including the most beautiful purple needlecord, which I hope to make into a Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt.

Last night I also went to see one of my absolute favourite bands, Bellowhead, in concert. I know their name is suggestive of screaming rock music, but they actually produce the most lovely, bouncy folk music, which is far more my style. Check out my favourite song of theirs here. The evening was so much fun, and by complete coincidence I bumped into one of my lecturers and one of my flatmates Lucy there, neither of whom I knew were going too!

I will try to post more regularly, but no guarantees I'm afraid, at least until the first of my assignments have been handed in.

Thanks for bearing with me and being so patient :) I hope all your sewing projects are going well, feel free to share below!

-obligatory band t shirt pic-

Peace out guys. 

Beth x

Friday, 6 November 2015

A Stripey Sewaholic Renfrew

Hey guys!

Yes, it's another long-completed garment in the absence of any current sewing projects to share with you, although I'm going home for Reading Week today (sort of the uni equivalent of a half term) and am definitely planning to get some sewing done in the evenings this week after I've worked on my essays during the day. 
So, here it is, a Sewaholic Renfrew...this time not hacked into a dress!
I've made three Renfrew dresses, but never made up the top as patterned, so this was a new one for me. Stripes do not photograph well, so I sincerely apologise for the blurriness here! 

I'm not hugely convinced by the finished result. My fabric was fairly lightweight with not too much stretch, so the fit is a bit strange in places, especially around the neckline and the sleeves. Pulling the neckband tight enough was a bit of a nightmare - I ended up sewing a dart on each side, extending from the neckline into the shoulders. Still, it's definitely wearable, and another handmade top to add to the wardrobe! 

A very unattractive photo of my back for you to enjoy... 
I made up the smallest size as per usual, which was the right choice. The fit, bar the issues being caused by the odd fabric, is just how I like it. I can't stand my clothes to have too much ease, especially knit garments. 

You can get a better look at the neckline here, which in truth is a bit of a mess. If I make another version of this top I would definitely plump for something with a bit of a heavier weight and a bit more stretch to be able to cope with the neckband. At least I've learnt my lesson! 
Thank you for reading everyone, and for bearing with me through the long absences! I've just about finished off a burgundy cord BHL Elisalex Skirt, so stay tuned for that one within the next few days. 
Have a great weekend! 
Beth x

Monday, 26 October 2015

By Hand London: Kim

Hello everyone!

Long time no see...there has been very little sewing going on around these parts, and an awful lot of seminar work. Very boring, I know, but an inevitable consequence of uni life it would seem. Ah well, I have a finished dress to show you today, which I'm only just getting round to sharing despite the fact it was completed nearly two months ago. 

This is the By Hand London Kim, made with a simple gathered skirt (I skipped the tucks that come with the drafted pattern) and the sweetheart neckline option. I love me a sweetheart neckline, reminds me of my beloved Sewaholic Cambies. 

The fabric is a bordered cotton I picked up at Abakhan in Chester. I have a Belcarra Blouse made from the same fabric in a different (white) colourway. It's so pretty, right?! Unfortunately for me, it was slightly off grain, which means the border was tilted and my skirt is a slightly different length all the way round. Do I care? Probably, a bit. But I still wear it!

Arghhh the straps. They do not like to stay on my shoulders! I've had to resort to wearing this dress with a strapless bra, which is usually something I try to avoid like my life depends on it, but for this dress it's probably necessary. The fit is a little big around my bust, there's a bit of gaping if I lean forwards too far, but I don't want to pull it in too much and then not be able to breathe. I'll have a think and see what I can do - any suggestions? 


I may have a few complaints about this dress but it is made in some of the prettiest fabric I've ever owned, so I basically shut up and wear it anyway. I think it goes well with teal tights and my colour blocked Colette Astoria, so that sorts out the gaping bodice issue at least. Sweatshirts for the win! 

Thank you for bearing with me during my long absences...I'm trying to get back into the flow of sewing but it's just not happening at the moment. Sooo many essays, so little time. 

Still, here's hoping everything is well with all of you - and help me live vicariously through all your lovely sewing projects! 

Have a great week everyone. 

Beth x

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Liebster Award

Hello everyone!

I have some very exciting news today... the lovely Mona of Curls & Cakes has nominated me for the Liebster Award!! Thank you so much Mona, it's such an honour to be nominated by such an awesome, stylish and intelligent person (if you've not read Mona's posts on understanding cancer yet, you should check them out - they're easy to understand and contain information we should all be aware of about how cancer works).

From what I've read, the Liebster Award is basically a way for bloggers to share their love for blogging and other bloggers with each other, which I think is a wonderful idea.

I'm supposed to share 11 random facts about myself, so here goes...

1. I'm a pescetarian, which is someone who eats fish but not meat - so far I'm not dedicated enough to go vegan, but I do what little I can to limit my impact on the lives of other animals

2. I used to have very blonde hair; it only started to darken to the shade it is today in my first year of primary school

3. I was recently made a godmother to a beautiful little girl called Abigail

4. I've visited 11 countries so far - Wales, Scotland, Ireland, USA, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Russia. When I've finished my degree I'd love to go travelling and cross off a few more

5. My absolute favourite TV show in the world is Detectorists (there'll be a few spoilers in that link if you haven't watched it yet!)

6. I never leave the house with unpainted nails

7. I've always been a reader, and when I was little I wanted to be a writer. The inspiration behind my choice of degree - Welsh History - can be found in a single book, Here Be Dragons by Sharon Penman. Please, go and read it. I've never read a novel more beautifully written

8. I have a particular weakness for huge hoop earrings, but it took me five years of having my ears pierced to learn how to take them in and out by myself

9. I've always wanted to be Welsh, just like my great-grandmother. I guess a lot of my choices in life have been influenced by that desire, including my choice of university and which rugby team I support!

10. My favourite animals are narwhals (they are like sea unicorns!)

11. I've been to watch the Tour de France four times, all of which were amazing

Now for my turn to nominate some people...I've chosen these amazing ladies for their beautiful blogs and awesome style - 

1. Fiona of Sewing vs Knitting

2. Kaitlyn of Kaitlyn's Simply Vintage

3. Lauren of Lady Sewalot

4. Kristy from Scientific Sewing

Whether or not you pass on the award is up to you, but thank you so much to all of you for your inspiring blogs, I love reading every single one of them :)

Beth x

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Back to Bangor...and a new blog!

Hello everyone!

It's Fresher's Week here at Bangor University, but luckily I'm living in a returners hall this year, so it's lovely and quiet, filled with third years who are concentrating on their dissertations. I moved back to university on Saturday and have spent my time since then catching up with friends and preparing for the Fresher's Fair, where all the clubs and societies Bangor has to offer come together to attract new members. This year, the Bangor Craft and Sewing Society has gone all out - I spent my Sunday putting together key-rings and cutting out 300 flyers!

As Publicity Officer for the society, my main job is to advertise what we're about and try to draw in new faces. Last year, I made flyers to advertise our main events, set up a Facebook page and ordered society hoodies; this year, however, I want to do more, starting with setting up a society blog!

The blog, 'Sew What?', is in its infancy at the moment, but over the course of this academic year I'm hoping to develop it and include weekly workshop updates, tutorials and posts from guest bloggers. Although the blog is primarily targeted at students, I'm hoping that the content will be relevant and accessible enough to attract readers from outside the Craft and Sewing Society. If you're interested in keeping up with any society news or looking out for the odd crafting tutorial, then head on over there and please do feel free to give us a follow on Bloglovin' or Google+.

I'm only aiming to put up a post or two a week, so you won't be totally spammed - the main purpose of the blog is to allow us to connect with members of the society who don't have the time to attend weekly workshops, and give us a platform through which to easily share information about the society.

I hope you all have a fantastic week and thank you, as always, for taking the time to read,

Beth x

Thursday, 10 September 2015

A Pinafore in Chambray

Hey everyone! How's it going?

I won't lie to you, I'm rather on the fence about my latest project. I saw a photo on Pinterest which I absolutely adored, but as is always the way, it seems, the finished result didn't live up to my expectations. 

Here's my finished garment - a chambray dungaree dress with buttoned straps and a front pocket. 

Here's the original photo that inspired me. It makes my dress seem a bit too stiff and matronly, I think. Perhaps I ought to go back and add more fabric to the gathered skirt? 

The fabric itself is lovely - having discovered chambray fairly recently, I've now got two projects under my belt and am sure there are more to come (I would love to make my own Sewaholic Granville Shirt in chambray, but I know that's pretty advanced stuff!) 

I made a buttonhole on each of the straps so that I could adjust them depending on whether I wanted them to sit straight or crossed. I like both, but I think crossed is probably my favourite, as they feel more secure that way. 

I added the first patch pocket I've ever made onto this pinafore! It's not the neatest execution ever, but I don't think it's bad for a first attempt. Dungarees with big front pockets are one of my favourite things ever. I keep an odd assortment of things in mine, usually a comb, my little tin of Vaseline and some notes jotted down on paper. 

I'm not sure how much wear this pinafore will get, but I'm planning on going back for a big unpicking and restitching session, to make the adjustments I think it needs to make it feel more wearable. I think I should add more fabric to the skirt, to achieve more of a drape, and some buttons at the waist like in the Pinterest photo. Hopefully it will end up as a garment I love to wear! 

Have you made any garments you feel unsure about recently and, if so, how do you think you can fix them? 

Beth x

Monday, 7 September 2015

Completed (finally!): My Mustard Mama Vertebrae Cardigan

Hello all! How is everyone doing? 

The biggest news going on with me is that I have finally finished the cardigan I have been knitting since last mustard Mama Vertebrae cardigan. 

Yes, this project has taken me over a year to complete. However, very luckily, I am rather pleased with the finished result! I can see the progress I've made as a knitter since my first attempt at this pattern, and so hopefully my skills will be even more developed by the time I finish my third project (more on that soon!). 

I knit up the smallest size for this pattern, using a 4-ply yarn which took an age to knit. It seemed like for every ten rows I knit, only one row of progress had been made! I think from now on I'll be sticking to double knit...

That being said, the fine yarn has resulted in a really lovely looking cardigan. Obviously my shop bought cotton cardigans are the neatest of all, but you could never replicate that as a home knitter, and this will keep me warm over the winter! 

There's five centimetres of ribbing along the bottom and to finish the edges, which took the longest of all. Ribbing really is the bane of my life. I perservered for longer than my first cardigan though, which resulted in a deeper and more professional looking rib. Even my grandma was impressed, and believe me, if she doesn't like something I've made she tells me so! 

I planned this cardigan with my Mustard Sunflowers dress in mind, which it is photographed with here. I think it does go really well! 

The observant amongst you have probably noticed I'm not wearing my glasses in these photos...I need a new prescription but didn't want to change my frames, so I've surrendered my glasses to the opticians for them to put in new lenses. Hopefully I'll have them back soon (I've been walking round like a moron in my prescription sunglasses - even inside to watch TV!). 

Have you completed any knitting projects recently and, if so, how long did they take you? 

Thank you everyone for reading, 

Beth x

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Hacked Sewaholic Renfrew #3

Hello everyone! 

Today I'm here to share with you my most recently finished make - yes, it's another Sewaholic Renfrew dress! 

Sewing with knits is becoming somewhat of an addiction for me; it's just so satisfyingly quick and easy. The way the sleeves are attached flat with the Renfrew means there's no fiddling with set-in sleeves, and the whole process feels a lot neater. 

I did encounter a bit of a tension problem with the neck band - I didn't pull it taut enough as I was sewing and there was a lot of gaping, but adding two small darts in the back neckline helped enormously. 

The fabric is a cosy ponte de roma that I scored off Ebay about a year ago. It was originally intended for a Tilly and the Buttons Coco top with a funnel neck, but my wardrobe's demand for dresses altered its purpose. There was only a metre, so I really had to squeeze everything on - the neck band had to be cut in two halves (hence the problem with the gaping - I lined up the two seams with the shoulder seams, but as there is much more neck band supposed to attach to the front scoop rather than the high back neckline, I was left with a lot of excess neck band in the back!) 

Neck band issues aside, I am really pleased with the finished dress and can't wait to wear it come autumn and winter! I chose to crop the sleeves so that it can be more of a versatile piece, worn on its own in the warmer days of early autumn, and then with a chunky woollen cardigan when the colder days of winter arrive. 

How are your sewing adventures going? I'd love to see! 

As always, thank you for reading,

Beth x

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Colour Blocked Colette Astoria

Hello all!

Today is the last post in my summer sewing blog series, though in actual fact I've finished yet another project this week, so keep your eye out for that one! 

For this make, I used the Colette Astoria sweatshirt pattern from Seamwork Magazine. I'm not a subscriber, but I keep my eye on which patterns are released each month and if one takes my fancy, I buy it individually. 

The Astoria definitely took my fancy - this is my third, made using a combination of the cosy sweatshirt knits from my previous two, both of which were from Guthrie and Ghani. I cut the main body and hem band from my cream fabric, whilst the sleeves and neck band were cut from the navy. Luckily, the pattern isn't fabric hungry at all, using less than a metre for the whole sweatshirt. 

From start to finish, it didn't take any more than two hours to complete this project - such a satisfying sew! I know this will become a real wardrobe staple once autumn and winter arrive. I didn't encounter any problems, and am now feverishly hunting through the depths of the internet for more delicious sweatshirt knits. If you're looking to sew up the Astoria any time soon, be warned - I think it's addictive! 

The waist length hem suits all my handmade dresses and skirts, giving everything a lovely vintage vibe. I'd love one in burgundy...if anyone can link me to a suitable fabric, I'd be forever grateful! 

If you've stuck with me for all seven posts, a huge thank you and congratulations for reaching the finishing line with me. Now tell me, how is your summer sewing going, and have you begun to switch your focus to autumn wear yet? 

Have a fabulous week everyone, 

Beth x

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


Hello all, 

Just a quick one to note that Blogger had a bit of a strop earlier, which resulted in my post about my By Hand London Flora Dress being deleted. I've republished the post now, but any comments left on there also got deleted - for those of you lovely readers who did leave comments, I promise I did read them and had replied to them before they disappeared! 

I'm sorry for the mishap and thank you all for sticking with me :)

Happy sewing! 

Beth x

Floral Flora

Hello all! 

I'm here today with my first version of the By Hand London Flora dress - it's no secret that I love a good BHL pattern! 

The skirt drafted for this pattern is a beautiful thing to behold. With two box pleats in the back and two knife pleats in the front, there is so much fabric tied up in there to create a swirly, twirling loveliness! It seems to hold itself away from my body without the need of a petticoat, achieving in one fell swoop what I've been trying to do with gathering for a year now. 

The fabric is a red cotton floral which I picked up at Abakhan in Chester. As priced, it came to just over £10 for two metres, but in reality I paid less than that as the staff were nice enough to give me a student discount. 

Once sewn up, I thought the waistline looked a little frumpy. I like the look of short bodices and hate if they sit anywhere below my natural waistline. As a consequence, I ended up unpicking the zip and the skirt to chop a few inches off the bodice. One day I'll learn to make a toile... I just don't have the patience! However, once everything was reattached I liked the result a lot better than the original, so the extra work was worthwhile. 

Aside from the waistline issues, I didn't come across any other problems with this dress. Next time I would probably hem a little longer, just to be on the safe side, but the current length is fine as long as I wear tights! 

I have some fabric lined up for my second version of the Flora, it's just the decision to either stick with the square neckline, or go with the faux wrap version instead. Any thoughts? 

Overall, I'm really happy with my new dress and am looking forward to autumn when my handmade dresses see the most use, worn with thick, cosy tights. 

Two more posts to come in my summer sewing documentation! Tomorrow is another BHL pattern, the Elisalex, so check back then! 

Thank you for reading, 

Beth x


Hello everyone! How are you all?  

With September rapidly approaching and my return to university in chilly Wales imminent, my summer sewing has come to an end for the year, and instead I've turned my attention to garments that would be better suited to autumn and winter wear. 

With this in mind, I'd like to share with you a project which I am super excited to wear once autumn finally arrives! It's not just me dreaming of chunky boots and cosy tights right? 

This is a skirt hack of the Elisalex from By Hand London, made in a gorgeous patterned needlecord that I picked up from John Lewis well over a year ago. It is so comfy! 

In my infinite wisdom, I'd used some of this fabric to make a sleeveless, very ill-fitting top as a beginner sewer (what was I thinking?). As I'd only had a metre to begin with, this left very little fabric to cut the skirt from - just over half a metre at the most. To get the pattern pieces to fit, I had to cut the waistband in two parts and shaved off a couple of centimentres from the skirt side seams that go on to make the pronounced tulip shape. Because of this, the skirt isn't quite as full in the hips as drafted, but I am in love with the finished result! 

To create my skirt, I made up the Elisalex skirt pattern pieces as drafted (though I significantly shortened them before cutting from my fabric), then instead of attaching a bodice I simply attached a waistband, which I'd cut to correspond to my measurements plus a seam allowance. Then I inserted a back zip as instructed. 

Ooh, yes, and there are pockets! I borrowed the pocket pattern piece from the Sewaholic Cambie and cut them from a basic black lining fabric, which I also used to fully line the rest of the skirt so it can be easily worn with tights. 

Since sewing my first Elisalex skirt, I've been on a trip down to London where I picked up a metre each of burgundy and navy needlecord, and a metre of floral needlecord from Liberty London! 

Since its purchase I've been getting it out at regular intervals to stare at, but I know exactly what all my new fabric is destined for - more Elisalex skirts! I've realised what a fantastic wardrobe staple they can become, and know I'll be set up for a winter in Wales if I add a couple more to my closet. 

I also managed to get to the Victoria and Albert Museum when in London, somewhere I've always wanted to go, and as well seeing a gorgeous exhibit on fashion through the ages, I also found this: 

A tiny, single case on home sewing before 1900, containing a single hand operated sewing machine and other small items like knitting needles, beautiful thimbles and a heart shaped sewing kit. 

I had such a fantastic day out and am really looking forward to getting started on the rest of my winter wardrobe. Before then though, I have my final make of this summer to share with you, so tune in again tomorrow to see my third Colette Astoria sweater! 

Until then, happy sewing :) 

Beth x

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Muse Jenna Cardi

Hello again! 

You're probably getting sick of my relentless summer sewing project updates by now, but I have unashamedly returned to share my first ever sewn cardigan - Jenna from Muse Patterns. 

My finished piece is by no means perfect, but I love it nonetheless! I used a beautiful lilac jersey from Guthrie and Ghani, which although may be a tad bit on the heavy side for this project, was perfect for my first attempt as it wasn't too fiddly and drapey to work with. 

As you can see in the photo above, the hem band doesn't quite line up either side of the button band, but I'm not quite sure why! I suspect I should have a put a button directly in line with the hem band seams, to match them each side of the placket. For my next version I will try to match it up more carefully. 

The pattern has a lot of options - for my version, I chose waist length with three quarter length sleeves and no gathering at the yoke. I like the way it turned out, but with summer sewing coming to an end, I think if I attempt this pattern again within the next few months, I would make a hip length, long sleeved version. 

The buttons I used are so cute! Little shiny blue ones that my mum bought me from Cath Kidston. I've been waiting for well over a year for the perfect project to use them on! Since I upgraded to a machine with an automatic buttonhole feature, I've learned to love buttons, and they've started to make an appearance on many of the garments I sew. 

Jenna also looks nice unbuttoned, which is my usual preference for cardigans (and doesn't draw as much attention to the wonky hem band!). I topstitched the hem band, neck band and button bands in a small zip zag stitch, which I think adds a lovely decorative touch. 

For my first attempt at a project of this nature, I am really pleased at how it turned out. I can definitely see this cardigan working its way into my regular wardrobe rotation, hopefully seeing me through to at least early October before I put it away till the spring. 

Tomorrow I'll be blogging about my By Hand London Flora, so feel free to come and join me again then! 

Thank you for following along, and happy sewing :) 

Beth x

Friday, 14 August 2015

Foxy Holly

Hello everyone! 

Day 3 of my summer sewing documentation here - only four to go! Today I want to share with you my dress hack of the By Hand London Holly. The pattern is drafted as a jumpsuit, but with a few modifications it now has a gathered skirt. 

Arghhhh, the buttons! I may have an automatic button hole feature on my machine now, but I still had to stitch on all twelve buttons by hand. I know some sewers take joy in handstitching, but it's never really been my strong point. However, once finished, it can't be denied what a statement they are! 

To create the skirt, I simply cut a rectangle of fabric, added the button placket and attached it to the bodice - being sure to line up the plackets of the bodice and skirt really carefully! I was debating whether to leave the sleeves off for a truly summer dress, but decided against it in the end. However, I'm now wondering whether to go back and take them off again. What do you think? 

I've made the bodice of the Holly twice now, and it's come up small both times, despite me cutting out the correct size to correspond to my measurements. I'm not sure why this would be, but going back to let out the side seams solved the problem. 

Do you like the fabric I used? I found it at my local market and thought the pattern was just too cute for words! At first glance it looks like the fabric is just covered in foxes and trees, but on closer inspection there are little squirrels, owls and rabbits too! Definitely twee, but I like it. 

With the fitting issues, pattern hack and endless buttons, this was a pretty challenging project, but I enjoyed the way it stretched my skills. I often wonder if I'm making enough progress as a sewer, but just recently I've been trying new techniques that I feel are helping me to improve. Buttonholes are just one of these! I've also been practicing my pleating. 

Once finished, I wasn't 100% if this dress was for me - there's something about the Holly bodice that I don't think quite suits me, but I liked the process of making the dress all the same, and it has seen a couple of days wear this summer. Perhaps by next summer I will have warmed to it a bit more. 

Tune in tomorrow to read about my Muse Patterns Jenna Cardi! 

Until then, happy sewing :) 

Beth x