The Tropical that Pushed Through - Annalotte (BHL Pattern Smash)

Friday, 30 January 2015

Hey Guys, 

Back again! And clearly a detour from my 'Demure' year, eh? Well seen as this was started back at the end of last May, so maybe we can give this a free pass??

Pity I ain't going to Viva this year, because this would be perfecT for the Vintage Tropicallyness that Rockabilly can be. The dress is an Anna bodice (with an altered neckline), merged with a Charlotte skirt - my first!

The alteration to the bodice (if some of you have eidetic memories) is the same as the one I did for my sparkly pink sequin dress last June. In fact, this bodice was Muslin #2. Muslin #1 was wider on the shoulder, and kept slipping off. So clearly, that had to be fixed. I may have also adjusted the scoop to be a tad lower.

You may also remember this fabric. It's the piece that never ends. I've made a skirt for my sister and myself already. Granted I bought a 5m length on Goldhawk road (about a million years ago now). I'm coming to the end now, there ain't much left!

And when I sewed it up - HOT DAMN - it fit perfectly.

I decided there and then, that the Muslin must live. I have always loved Roisin's various iterations of the Annalotte frankenpattern so I muslined myself up a Charlotte skirt too. I was a bit worried that it might have been a bit tummy hugging, but actually it was fine.

I did go to the effort of trying to adjust the skirt darts to line up with the bodice ones. I just about got the in the front (luckily there was some decent stretch to get me through the difficult times!) but Dear God I don't know what happened in the back. I thought I had the pieces the right way around, but I can't think of any other explanation!

Thankfully the darts are basically invisible in this print. And this fabric is also awesome for understitching. It was like a perfect example of stitches hugging the facing to the inside. I handpicked a lapped lemon metal zipper in (I know, more lemon zippers). I love handpicking, it's definitely my favourite method now. It may take a little longer but I end up with a much better result. 

Does anyone else love hair flowers? I need to wear more hair flowers. And I wish I could carry my parasol around more often. It makes you feel AWEsome :) Ahhhh Vegas... good times. I also bought these black wedges for the holiday but couldn't decide that they were comfy enough for long periods of time before we left. I held onto them though. Hee hee...

Has anyone noticed the pile of fabric peeking into the frame? That's my special fabric.

My special specials.

The only thing about the dress that I did consider (but not that hard, because I forgot) was the need for a back vent. But I can separate the back seam pretty handy down the line. It'll only take me 5 minutes.

As you can see. Not so much in the climbing over or into things department. I am usually awesome at that. We are having a 'keep the car till it dies' sort of situation. So most days if I'm driving I get out of the passenger side of the car. I swear, I'm out in 2 seconds flat. 

It it does make me feel super wiggly though. I didn't line it either, so it's a no tights zone. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to line. Plus this stretch cotton is pretty substantial.

I think I'm definitely going to make another Charlotte skirt before long. My favourite all time version is Fiona's green wool beauty. Believe me, it's even better in person. And we all know how much I love a pegged skirt. This is the full length by the way, I think with about a 2cm turn up. I stitched the hemline first of all to help me turn it up nice and even and I pressed it in place with some Steam-a-Seam I got for a bargain (if you haven't encountered it, it's like a mini Wundaweb). I haven't sewn it in yet, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out a length before committing.

So there we have it. A seasonally inappropriate dress! 

It isn't quite Jungle January in the animal print sense, but I'm still in a Jungle ;)


Emmie x

Dressing Demure - Ultimate Pencil Skirt from Sew Over It

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Hey Guys!

I know, I'm back again so soon. I hope you don't mind?? I just took these photos this morning and couldn't wait to share!

Today I bring you the new Ultimate Pencil Skirt from the lovely Ladies at Sew Over It (god I'm really turning into their fangirl aren't I?). But seriously - Isn't she a beauty...

In the interest of full disclosure, I made this skirt while pattern-testing for the girls, and the gorgeous wool blend was a gift from the girls in order to fulfill this duty. As far as I was concerned, I had no negative comments with regard to the pattern pieces. Not surprising, seen as they have been sewed up a million times in their classes.

As mentioned, the fabric was a 'Claret Honeycomb' patterned wool blend. It was a joy to work with, it pressed so beautifully. And there's still some left if anyone else is in as much love as I am.

But seriously, can you even see a dart in this? Cause I can't.

I love where it hits me below the knee. I sewed up the size 12, and sewed up the seams with a 1cm seam allowance instead of 1.5cm for fear of it being too small with my winter weight, but thankfully that was sufficient and the skirt is nice and comfortable to wear.

I really like the vent. I haven't sewn any kind of back vent before - to be honest, I don't know why but it was one of those irrational fears (and of course, I never got to a pattern that had one included). Thankfully the pattern instructions made sense and it was nice and easy.

Another part of the pattern that I really liked was the way the hem was drafted. The skirt clearly pegs in at the bottom, but the hem allowance kicks out, so that when you turn it up it is the same circumference as the section of the skirt you are hemming it into (as opposed to being too narrow). The only thing is that you may need to decide what length you want your skirt beforehand so that you can adjust the pattern piece to have the intended hem hitting at the right point.

I didn't adjust it, and thankfully I was happy with where it fell! I handstitched the hem watching Sunday morning TV, and the stitched just disappear into it.

I made this to fit in as part of my new 'demure elegance' look for 2015. I had the whole outfit gathered up in my head for these photos and I'm glad it came together the way I had imagined. And I even found matching shoes!

I am kind of enjoying the lack of a waistband too. I wouldn't have initially thought I would have, but the faced high waist is really flattering. 

I definitely have another on the cards. I might even peg it a little more. I love extreme hourglass silhouettes! Which of course the back vent will definitely help with! I kind of forgot to put one in my next make (which will soon be rectified as I won't be able to climb any steps over 4 inches).

At the moment, the pattern is available as part of a kit, with everything you might need included. I can vouch that the Blackwatch tartan wool blend included is really really nice. And of course, who doesn't want to be skirt twins with Lisa :) Of course if you need some more hand holding, they're still running it as a class too.
I really love the way the kit is put together, the packaging is lovely. The only thing I would mention is that the pattern and instructions are loose in the kit box and don't come in a storage sleeve, so you'll need to find something else to put them in.

You can't quite see, but I have a lemon invisible zipper in the back. You can just about see the pull in the photo's of my be-hind. I was sewing this up at Tilly Towers back at the end of November, and I only had a lemon zipper on hand to baste in (to make sure I could get into the skirt). But the girls made me use it for real! I had to do a few runs to get it close enough to be invisible, but I finally succeeded. There will be a new Bernina invisible zip foot under the birthday tree in a few weeks hopefully.

A highlighted Bernina accessory list has been distributed to the necessary parties.

Well there you have it. Nice skirt. Happy Days!

What do you guys think - the pattern you never knew you needed?

Oh, and just as a final little treat for Roisin and Heather B - A Bitchy Resting Face outtake.


Selfless Secret Santa Crafting

Friday, 23 January 2015

Hey Guys!

God it's been quiet round these parts. I have a few things on the go at the moment - a skirt I need to get closer on the invisible zip before I take pics (hazards of contrasting zips), a dress which began life as a muslin that I need to finish handpicking a zip into, a cut out cardigan - and I'm trying to psyche myself up to get started on that coat! 

I have two patterns I'm going back and forth about but I need to get started either way...

But my most recent finished make was a selfless one - another sewing machine pad and organiser!

I don't know if you guys remember my Secret Santa gift for Winnie at the Sewist Christmas party?

Picture from Winnie's Instagram

Well our Sewing Club had a Post-Christmas Lunch where we swapped Secret Santa presents too, and of course the first thing that came to mind in my attempt to stashbust was another Sewing Machine organiser made from some red polka dot home-dec fabric I had to use up :)

Polka Dots!!

It turned out really well actually (especially seen as I cut out most of the pieces without measurements. The only thing I checked was the width I had cut the main pieces before cutting out the pockets). As I mentioned before, I got the general idea from a Cath Kidston book project, but I only saw the picture. I made up the rest as I went along. It's pretty simples though.

It doesn't sit so well on my stupidly round table! I've got my eyes peeled to swap it out for a square or small rectangular one. I hate trying to fit four chairs around a three footed pedestal. Who thought that was a good idea?? And it tips over if you put anything heavy over the edges between feet. Stupid table. But check out my awesome IKEA Raskog! Literally my favourite thing in the house at the moment.

I made a deep pocket layer for rulers and markers and a shallow pocket layer for seam rippers and chalk liners.

I clearly did not attempt any spot matching.

I patched the pockets onto the main pad so the layers ended up pretty thick. Thankfully the machine powered through as I couldn't find my hump-jumper.

I drew the diagonal lines with water soluble marker before I quilted the diagonal lines. I found that the padding squidged up inside the pad in places and left a few bumps. You can see that it shows up in the centre of the back of the sewing pad in the picture below. Thats why I used that side as the back.

I evenly spaced the central pocket stitching and made sure to some back-tacking at the tops of each pocket edge.

And the best thing? The club member who got it was really happy! So glad you liked it Jacq!!

P.S The meal was AH-mazing. I need to go back there for a Sunday roast. I know I'm not a massive meat eater, but look at this.


I had the Mushroom risotto and that was also awesome.

Well, I shall get onto finishing something!

Emmie x

Hello 2015. Now what am I going to do with you?

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Hi Guys,

I'm back again. I'm going to do a flying review of the past year before I move onto some aspirations for this coming one.

2015... when did that happen - 2005 is only just starting to fade! Ironically 2005 was when I got my first sewing machine (but more on that another time...)

I don't think the production level was particularly high this year but most of it produced pretty decent results. It looks like I made 20 items for me, and a few handmade gifts for Christmas and Birthdays. To be honest it's about the same as last year! But a but more fanCY (sorry, the song is on in the background. I can't help it, I love it).

SO... the winners of 2014 are quite unexpected (in terms of my feelings when I finished them); but I think that's how the cookie crumbles for a lot of us. What I do know is that I am definitely more in tune with my personal style, and what fabrics and cuts work for me and my lifestyle.

So lets look over some of the winners (in no particular order). Let's go Top 5, try something new :-P

Sew Over It : Betty dress

I adore this dress, I adore this fabric. If it wasn't gut-wrenchingly expensive I would have bought every colourway. I'm glad I added the extra 3 inches to the length, as that length of skirt makes me happy. A lovely dress in remembrance of a lovely day :)

Papercut Patterns : Rigel Bomber

This jacket has been worn constantly since it came off my machine. Like, constantly. I'm so glad I went for all black, it goes with absolutely everything. I hope to make a snugglier one for the next version, maybe lined with flannel or some-such goodness. 

Papercut Patterns : Coppelia Cardigan

I already have one of these babys cut out and ready to go. I was just trying to decide whether to service my overlocker and attempt to try actually use the overlocker to sew a garment up from scratch. This one was sewn up on my machine. I sort of didn't even finish the insides. SHHHHH! But now that I've reminded myself that I have some bits ready to go straight on the machine I may just do that. I love this cardigan. I really do. I need about 10. Maybe 11.

Sew Over It : Ultimate Wrap Dress

This was a surprise winner. Not because I didn't like the pattern, because I did! (or why would I have bought it!). But for some reason I was a bit worried that it was a bit short for me. However, as I mentioned, I normally wear it with boots and tights, and it has gotten a hell of a lot of wear. The next one will be Houndstooth - mark my words. Actually I think I will pre-wash it tomorrow. Plan!

Sequinned Party Dress!

Last, but by no means least (not by a long shot!) - The Sequinned Party Dress. The dress to end all dresses for me. If I ever get married I don't know what I'll do. I got to wear it again at the Sewist Christmas Party - Yay! When else can you sparkle, but at Christmas and New Year? (and I sort of don't do New Year so much)

Now, no one wants to dwell on crap things, so I'll skim over the misses.

A bit shorter than I'm used to and the fabric is quite stiff. Should have cut the circle longer by seaming two halves. Tried to do the easy way out by cutting in a complete circle. Never worn :(

Worn once in Vegas and then never again. Uh-Oh.

Denim too thick and stiff in the crotch. Also wrinkly crotch. Stiff, wrinkly crotch.

Lets see what visitors I get from that sentence.

Poor lighting - but as nice as it is, this top goes with nothing! The colours are just not in my wardrobe. And I need to handstitch down the facing as I seem to have trimmed it down short for some unknown reason and it keeps rolling out all weird.

Nice, but sticks to tights like a bugger - of course. Wrinkles like a bugger out of the wash - I don't iron, and the skirt for some reason puts my silhouette off balance in my eyes. Too slim or something on the bottom.

Well, let's forget about that business.


Next year I want to make an all out tailored jacket or coat. Preferably both! I've picked up some beautiful coating fabrics lately. I seem to be obsessed with them. I think I should have gone into men's tailoring. If you want to see my inspiration Pinterest board, take a look here.

I want to sew up more vintage patterns, and I want to focus on more of a 60s wiggle silhouette this year

I want to attempt more bag-making. My mother is dragging around the one I made her last Christmas and it looks atrocious. And I'm not overstating here. I clearly knew nothing about bag-making.

I want to keep sewing more day-wear. Especially vintage inspired day-wear. What really slays me is the gorgeous ladies who can keep up the look on a day in-day out basis. 
I make the effort at the weekend (the changing as soon as I get into work thing sort of kills it midweek), but considering a collective of day wear separates would definitely facilitate me keeping up appearances. Gotta look sassy, and party dresses ain't always practical. Must start a pinboard for that now too :) I'm thinking lots of midi skirts, some comfortable pencil skirts, maybe some Bonnie's.... Preeeety.

I finally need to make a denim shirtdress. It's an absolute must.

I'm going to stashbust as much as possible, and socialise with you guys as much as possible (as ever!)

Ok, it's time for dinner, and my Brain is starting to go slightly doolally so I'm gonna leave you guys to ponder your own futures!



Where have I been? Quite a few places really...

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Hey Guys,

I've really been a bit AWOL of late. Not even much sewing going on about these parts. As I mentioned before, November-December involves a lot of present sourcing and packing and celebrating. I did manage, however to do a decent but of socialising in the past few months!

I've been very lucky to have met such wonderful human beings through both sewing and this blog. I can't believe how much my life has changed in the last couple of years and it's all down to you guys!

I have a little low-down on what I've been up to - warning, there's a lot of pictures coming up. I'm hoping they don't go too bonkers in RSS. I forgot my blog doesn't like to show two photo's side by side!

Firstly, in November, I helped warm up Lisa Comfort's new Sew Over It shop in Islington, with some of my other favourite people. I adore the colour of the shop! And I really hope they didn't fix the number 6 on the door, I love the jaunty angle :)

What a haven to sew in! I was making a Christmas table runner for my Mother (which she loved, by the way). I clearly picked the machine in front of the cake on purpose...

I wasn't entirely happy with the end result of the binding, but I knew I couldn't face redoing it! I had already redone a couple of corners multiple times. I also borrowed a couple of photo's from Karen (she managed to get me in action through the window!). There may be a borrowing theme through this post.

Then of course there was Paris!! Which was definitely a major highlight.
I spent a few weeks every Summer in France from about the age of 11, but never in Paris, so it was definitely somewhere I was itching to get to. Lets forget the fact that I've lived here for 5 years now, and this was the first time I made the effort! Now I've been though, I now know the ease of travelling by Eurostar. I wish I could go everywhere by train from now on.

This was our first morning, where we got Paninni's from our local Boulangerie. They may have been salmon and cheese rather than ham and cheese. Who cares, they were tasty!

My Lemon coat made sure I was easy to spot in all places! (many pictures here borrowed from the Flickr group - most from Charlotte!)

Although the ever-awesome Carmen was pretty easy to spot too! She was an amazing tour guide, and had made us gorgeous totes, filled with lots of goodies she had sourced. And they all had our names embroidered on the corner and accessed us a 20% discount in one of the coupon shops.

"BON POUR MORAL" (Both Sewing and Rehanon!)

Tilly getting back into her Paris groove!

Me, examinging all the lovely treasures in Saijou (with a little bit of BRF going on there!)

A miniature scale of the shop

Clare and Tania in the full scale shop!

The ever-gracious Joost, who helped me with my bags after my overspend :)

About as close as I got to being a tourist :)

Carmen took us to Pink Flamingo by the Sacre Coeur, which had the most amazing and interesting Pizza's I ever had!

On day two we went to Anna Ka Bazaar (the lovely makers of Atelier Brunette fabrics) who kindly hosted us in her shop while we perused the pretties. I bought some gold and silver blingy bias binding. Who knows whats going to happen with that!

I also got to see the famous creepy mannequins.

And we definitely didn't lock Tilly in a storage locker. No Siree Bob

The Sunday after we got back from Paris, I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon giving Lauren a sewing send-off :) I'm so glad I got to spend so much time with all these girls. They just make me happy! Glad I got a shot of them all engrossed in their tasks :)

And Last but by no means least, the Sewists Christmas Party!! The most awesome evening, hosted by Elisalex of BHL.My only regret about that night was that I hadn't organised to take the following day off of work! Especially as my train was massively delayed and I didn't get home until after 2am, having left the party at 11.30pm!

Spirits were so high, it was just such an amazing evening, I can't even describe how uplifting it is to spend time with these people. And I finally got to meet some elusive people like Melissa Fehr and Ralph Pink!

And here is my beautiful 40's handbag, lovingly made by Janene of Ooobop. It's so amazing and even has her label inside! Head over here to see more about it :)

And my gift was to Winnie of Scruffybadgertime, a Sewing machine pad and organiser. It has lots of little pockets for you to store your most used bits and pieces so they don't end up lost and strewn across the table (or is that just me?) I really didn't want to give this present up, and I'm so honored that it's in use. I was based off of a project in one of the Cath Kidston books that Lisa pointed out to me in November, but I made it up myself as I went along. 

Of course, I didn't take any measurements, write anything down or even take photo's, so I hope Winnie doesn't mind if I swipe a photo from her Instagram :) The fabric was a lovely home dec frabric from Dunelm Mill - I also used it to make my sister a memory board and a make-up bag. Both of which she needs to photograph for me, as I also forgot to photograph those. 

God I really signed off being a blogger these last few months, eh?

Anyway, I'll get back to you at the weekend with my 2015 plans, I just really needed to get this out of the way - and get my fingers back into this blog!


Emmie x
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs