Somehow, we are at the start of May already, and I don’t know how we got here. We’ve gone from dark nights and days, to lighter and brighter ones, and already we are now able to visit people outside again (even with the snow and cold weather that we have had over the Easter bank holiday).
I wanted to get into the habit of writing regular blog posts for everything that I made, but the beauty of gaining more experience and confidence is that I am now finding myself repeating patterns because I love them so much, so it would mean some very repetitive blog posts. As I made quite a few things in February and March, I thought I’d do a quick roundup of the last couple of months to showcase some of the best (and worst) parts of my continued sewing journey in 2021…
After the success of the Blue Bertha cardigan in the gorgeous cable knit, I still had enough of it to make something else, and this time decided to try and get a t-shirt out the remnant. The go to pattern for this make was the Sew Over It Bilberry Tee, and boy did I have to improvise to get all of the pattern pieces out of what was left!
Highlights of this make: It’s a lovely relaxed fit and will make a lovely t-shirt to slip over a strappy top on a cool summers day.
In hindsight, I’d probably change the way that I did the hem. For some reason, I decided to stitch it using a different stitch pattern and really close to the bottom. Although it gives it a lovely lettuce look edge, it means it doesn’t sit flat and looks a bit odd.
As promised, I also had to make another Billie using the Pink cable knit, although this time I opted for some changes. I downsized on the top half and graded out to the hips as normal, and I also chose to go for the 3/4 length sleeves given that the full length ones were so long. Even the shorter sleeves are quite close to full length on my short arms!
There was nothing I’d improve on this one. I’d learnt so much from the mint green version, that everything seemed to make more sense. I even managed to put the neck band on the right way round this time. I now practically live in these 2 dresses!
Belinda is my bargain dressform that I found on Aldi, and I couldn’t not give her a mention. Adjustable in several places, I now have something to work with when I’m trying to work out how pattern pieces will fit together, or to see how the sizing of things will work. She’s proving to be a real asset (and makes photos of my makes look way better than they do on me – I don’t know how she is so photogenic!)
‘All sorts’ of fun
I follow some great sewing related instagram accounts, and one of them Sew Anonymous caught my eye with some cotton fabric printed with Liquorice allsorts. As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to buy some to make something for my Dad who is a big lover of Allsorts (he gets a box every Christmas!) however it was out of stock when I wanted to order it. When I got the notification that they had more, I bought some straight away, and then had to find the right pattern for it.
I opted for the McCalls M6044 mens shirt pattern as it had so many styles, and I could just see this fabric making a gorgeous short sleeved summery shirt for my dad to wear when the weather gets warmer. I was determined this one would be a surprise so involved my mum to help me decide which size to make (luckily we had also bought him some new shirts for Christmas so I could gauge the sizing from the online size chart) and ordered the pattern from Minerva.com – along with some other gorgeous fabrics which I’ll come onto further down.
I am so proud of this shirt. Only a couple of tiny mistakes such as cutting the end of the front band slightly too short (nothing that a bit of sneaky stitching didn’t fix) and some slightly wobbly stitching, and of course I again had problems with bl**dy button holes (see Dressed to Impress for these issues). I really took my time with it and overall it looked brilliant. The fit on him was fantastic too and it was a genuine surprise, as I had told him I was posting something for Mum… which I was…
I couldn’t send something for my dad without also making something for Mum. In my wonderful mixed bag of lucky dip fabrics from Dalston Mill Fabrics, I’d received the lovely black floral stretchy jersey which I’d said to Mum when I got it would make a great top for her. I couldn’t shake this idea, and so I decided to make her something from it.
I already had some great patterns to use, and for this one I opted for the Tilly and the Buttons Tabitha T-shirt from the Make it Simple book. Again as it was a surprise, I roped Dad in this time to help me work out sizing, and I again used some online size charts from sites where I had bought Mum some tops for Christmas (this was all working out really well!).
I traced the pattern and cut the fabric out and I managed to make this up over a couple of evenings, again taking my time with it to make sure it was perfect. I was so pleased with how it turned out that I’d wouldn’t have changed anything about this one either.
I packaged both up and sent them special delivery to make sure they both got there on the Saturday, and had the fun of watching them both open them over a Skype call, both trying to work out who the parcel was really for! I really love to surprise people so these are by far my 2 favourite makes to date.
I’d wanted to have a bash at the Olive pinafore dress from the TATB book, and I had bought some gorgeous needlecord from Textile Express a little while ago. I thought I’d give this one a go now, but there are a couple of things I’m not quite happy with about it.
Firstly, I didn’t have enough of a lightweight cotton fabric for the facings, so I had to grab one from my stash which I don’t think really goes with the main fabric. Luckily you can’t see that, or my AWFUL understitching! From this, I realised I needed to buy myself a different sewing machine foot that would allow me to get more accurate with my edge or understitching attempts.
It was quite an easy make, and my grading/sizing was perfect, but I just don’t think I’m that keen on the pattern and the fabric combination. I think I need to try this one again in a heavier cotton similar to that in the photos in the book. The vision I had for this just wasn’t the reality – and I also quickly realised I really am not a fan of snaps!
Lady in Red
Here i’ll introduce one of my gorgeous scuba purchases from Minerva. Of the 4 that I found, this was my least favourite (although it’s really hard to pick a least favourite from such gorgeous fabrics!), and I thought with this one I’d have a bash at the Emma Dress.
This time round, I altered the pattern to widen the shoulders, which meant changing the front and back bodice pieces, and also the matching facings. I also wanted to go for a short sleeve version, which meant I needed to create my own sleeve band pattern piece to make sure it fitted round the top of my arms, given the original pattern piece is for a 3/4 sleeve.
I LOVE how this turned out. The pleats were slightly off on the skirt but overall it looks absolutely stunning, and even got a repost on Instagram from Janome UK. It’s a winner for the summer if we ever get some gorgeous hot weather to wear it in!
So that concludes my February and March makes. April has already got off to a flying start with a Vogue dress improv, and I’ve cut out my fabric ready to make the Sew Over It Penny Dress too. I have so many things on my makes list for April that this might also end up spilling into May. Check out my next blog which knowing my writing pattern will probably be sometime in the summer!