Thursday, 29 May 2014

Denim Skirt (Simplicity 2343)

As per my pledge I've made a new denim skirt:

It supplements my very well worn (but poorly sewn) New Look 6035/Simplicity 1717 mash up denim skirt made last year.

It's another heavy denim, this time with a bit of stretch. I'm hoping it's a better shape than A-line to wear with the tunic style tops I've sewn recently as the two together tend to make me look like a giant triangle, but I'm yet to really figure out what looks nice with as I've been doing a lot of decorating. Outfits have been pretty low priority. The top below (Simplicity 1920) was the nearest thing to hand.

don't know where the fabric came from, but as it had writing in felt tip pen on the wrong side it's fair to assume it was one of my early sewing days dubious bargains. At this time of year a lighter denim would have been better, but this is what I had. Still, I will be able to wear it 3 out of 4 seasons. I side stepped the issue of top stitching by not doing any, although I've had some great tips for future topstitching from three different blog-friends which I fully intend to try out. Just not on this skirt.

Pocket linings and waistband facing are made from a sturdy old pillowslip which has a nice pattern on. I've kept the duvet cover too, so don't be surprised if you eventually see a larger piece of clothing with this print!

The pattern is Simplicity 2343. I highly recommend it, it virtually sews itself, is true to size and can be made in a massive variety of fabrics from cottons to synthetic leather (view D), with several style variations. I made view C (without the button and chain thing). This pattern might be OOP now as I've had it for some time. I wish I'd sewn it up sooner. I chose it above my other two pencil skirt patterns because this is a casual skirt and I thought the pockets would be handy for bits and bobs on dog walks. 

I used a metal zipper for strength and made a custom zip shield as advised (thank you!). I didn't have any grosgrain ribbon to hand, so I reinforced the facing fabric with a light interfacing and used that instead.

Zip shield tacked and ready to turn over to sew for lapped zipper insertion.

I have no idea if I did this correctly because I made it up. I think perhaps it should be on the other side?l did it so it looks abit like a fly front zipper. Anyway it works and looks fine, although when the skirt was finished I saw I could have made a small improvement by extending the top piece slightly, making a buttonhole and adding a small flat button inside the top of the skirt. 

As you can see I've extended the zip to the top of the waistband and missed off the hook and eye. I've found I do not like hook and eyes as a finish at all really and have seen quite a bit of rtw finished this way. With a zip this secure I think it will be OK, but there is just space for a small press stud which could go at the top of the zip shield and be hidden completely inside if not. Of course, having decided to miss it off, I reach for it every time I take the skirt off.

I have a real issue with lapped zipper insertions. Even following my trusted Reader's Digest sewing book (with diagrams) I managed to put it in the wrong way the first time! This is pretty much a standard part of lapped zipper insertion for me. Next time I'm just going to do the opposite to what I want and it should work fine.

How's your May going? Are you keeping your pledges?

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

Philippa x

Monday, 26 May 2014

Refashion For My Daughter

I was starting to think I was never going to get another blog post up this month! In keeping with my pledge I've been doing a lot of alterations and repairs. It seemed no sooner than the pile was done, than one or other family member would appear with a garment with a hole, a missing button or a bag with a rip. Maybe I should take some time out to teach them to sew themselves?! Or maybe sewing should go back on the school curriculum for everyone. Surely it's a life skill and extending the life of stuff you would think would be a very practical, cheap and relatively easy way to help ease finances and contribute towards sustainability...

Where was I? Oh yes. I've done all the repairs. Please don't bring anymore! I've also completed my daughter's refashion this month. 

Both my daughters have a lot of imagination when it comes to getting dressed. They seem to come up with new and unexpected combinations daily. The idea for this refashion came from an outfit my daughter saw Ariana Grande wearing, made by Kenley Collins

This was the dress before:

It was bought new but was outgrown - a little girl's dress really, with long side zip and loose fit pulled in at the back with ties, and net petticoat underneath. 

This is how it looks now:

Now I appreciate this looks like I've just cut it in half, but believe me this is not the case! I've reshaped the top (several fittings), added interfacing, buttons and buttonholes, I've re-shaped the waist, made a waistband (hand stitched down inside), I've shortened and re-inserted a lapped zipper (small scream) including slip stitching down the lining, and shortened the skirt and net underskirt and possibly other alterations I've forgotten. In a nutshell, nearly as much work as making a new outfit!

Here is my beautiful youngest daughter modelling her 'new' clothes:

She could teach me a thing or two about confidence in front of the camera for sure!

I loved how this came out and am relieved to say it was worth the effort!

I'm getting on well with the rest of my pledge too, so hope to be back with another blog post soon. How's your May going? Participating in Me-Made-May or not, I hope you're having a great month!

Happy sewing, 'til next time,

Philippa x

Monday, 5 May 2014

This Kind Choice

There are sooo many out there dealing with clothes, fashion and sewing you could spend your whole life just reading them! Personally, I follow a selection of sewing blogs with a few vintage style blogs thrown into the mix (I'm very interested in history, and wearing clothes that are decades old has to be one of the most environmentally friendly ways of dressing there is!), and a couple more on diverse topics that interest me.

I try to keep the list pruned quite tightly, as I want to have a life outside the internet! However every now and again a blog comes along that really stands out and I added this one straight to my reading list. If you are sewing your own clothes, you're probably going to be interested in at least one article - from clothing care, to refashions, to more political issues.


P.S. I found this through one of Coletterie's weekend reading posts - if you subscribe to their blog you will often find new and interesting articles/blogs on numerous business, emotional, environmental and sewing related topics in this section. No I am not affiliated to Colette patterns in any way, they have just had a lot on their site to interest me recently.

P.P.S. Don't forget I have a little pattern giveaway running here. Closes Sunday 11th May!

Happy reading!

'Til next time,

Philippa x

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Two Striped Cocos and a Thrifted, Upcycled One

Coco No.1 is a long sleeved, dark blue and cream striped organic cotton.

Coco No.2 is a three-quarter sleeved, cream and chocolate brown striped organic cotton.

I made two small alterations - taking half the seam allowance for a few inches under the arms to allow for my full bust, and a small triangle out of the front split and an even smaller triangle out of the back split. This means my side splits over lap, front over back, to give a neater and straighter outline. Here is the first shirt before I figured out the alteration. I felt it stuck out a bit too much, but for anyone with more hip this would be a gift.

These are easy to do alterations that I will apply to any future Cocos. The look I'm going for is the classic Breton style top - not too fitted through the arms and body and fairly straight. The pattern does indent at the waist just the perfect amount to suggest a waist, while still being fairly true to the iconic original.

I had already bought these fabrics for Breton style tops before Tilly released her pattern intending to use a pattern from my stash, but since Tilly's was drafted specifically for use with firmer jersey it was a better choice (my original pattern called for a lot of stretch). They are made from organic cotton that sews almost like a woven, from an American seller on Etsy. I won't be ordering fabric from America again, as the import taxes cost almost as much as the fabric (which I naively hadn't expected). I will be sticking with European/UK sellers from here on out!

These tops hide a secret, too. The underarms look like this:

I had to piece the sleeves under the armpit as the fabric width shrunk so much upon washing and drying :( These fabrics are no longer for sale so no-one else should have the same problem, and fortunately the piecing affects neither the appearance or wearing comfort as they are completely invisible to everyone else.

Coco No. 3 is a navy blue cotton jersey with lace inset and 'bracelet' length sleeves - chosen purely because that was what the sleeve length worked out to be re-using old sleeves (see below). Ditto hem length which could do with being a little longer.

I made it from an old thrifted cowl neck top which had a back lace inset (the jersey body had started to develop holes), and a thrifted (but new with tag)  polo neck top (very large size). I had to pretty much use the latter as a source of fabric except the sleeves, which I reshaped at the top and set-in after sewing the side seams (different to the pattern method).

2 old tops = one new Coco. Sorry no ironing had happened at this point!

I couldn't use the instructions on Tilly's blog for the lace inset - as this was a refashion I only had a certain amount of materials, but I'm quite happy with how it worked out. After all, the total cost of this top was only £3! Following the unexpectedly expensive striped organic jersey and holiday expenses, it was the right time for a bargain make.  

I'm glad I can tick another Basic off my list and can finally re-purpose the two misshapen thrifted t-shirts that were my only long sleeved tops (one for night time and one for a cleaning rag I think). All my long sleeved t-shirts are now me-made - admittedly I have only three - but it is still a lovely feeling. The blue ones are also part of my Colette Wardrobe Architect project  - they are just what I need for fit, style and versatility.

As you can tell I have embraced this pattern as a TNT. These are in heavy rotation and I think it's very likely I will make more when needed.

Happy sewing!

Til next time,

Philippa x

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Me-Made-May 2014 - My Pledge

I've put a lot thought in to my pledge for Me-Made-May this year. I didn't want to do it just because it was there, so I've thought about the time I have and what's realistic as well as challenging.

My basic pledge is,

'I, Philippa of Gloria & Me, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear 1 self stitched garment 5 days of the week for the duration of May 2014'.


* I will complete any outstanding alterations/repairs/refashions promised to my daughter (blush!) before starting any new projects and in any event before the end of May;

* I will finish the sewing on my list so that I have enough basics before I undertake any new projects (this means sewing an apron and a denim skirt - the long sleeved t- shirts are complete and will be blogged soon), and complete them before the end of May. I know Me-Made-May is primarily about making the most of what you already have, but I think it will give me the extra motivation I need;

* I will blog all completed items before I start any new projects and publish the posts before the end of May.

Also, I'm tailoring my participation in light of last year's experiences.

I will post one photograph per week on the Flickr group, and put one round up post at the end of the month on my blog (unless I find something stunningly original to say). I may put more photos on the Flickr group, but I will not feel bad if I can't achieve this.

Next year I would love to have enough me-made clothes to pledge wearing them seven days a week - we will see! In the meantime, I can't wait to share the ups (and potentially, downs!) of Me-Made-May with you all :) 

Happy Me-Made-May you guys!

Philippa x