Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Red Simplicity 1717 (Big Pockets Skirt)

I finally got around to making up this pattern forreal! Long time readers may remember I wanted to make this skirt in May 2013 out of denim, but the fabric quantity I had was so small I couldn't squeeze out the extra front and back seams so I ended up making a compromise here.

The skirt is a much darker red IRL but still bright. Also, I didn't put in a lapped zipper which the pattern suggests as I was mentally making the same skirt as before which has a side lapped zipper. I finished the back, sewed it all the way up, trimmed the seam allowances and then checked the instructions! Always check the instructions! Due to my reduced seam allowances I has to put the zip in the standard way. It looks OK but it isn't a delight. Fortunately I can't see it when I wear it!

The pattern is one of the Simplicity Amazing Fit range. I bought a few of these patterns a couple of years ago in the hope of easily overcoming some fit issues on my upper half. I don't really have any issues fitting below the waist (well not for skirts - I haven't tried fitted trousers yet), I just choose this one because I really love the style.

You can choose slim, average or curvy fit and while I wouldn't describe myself as slim in the slightest, it appears these categories refer primarily to ease over the hips. I didn't want lots of ease so I made the slim version. I added about an inch in length as this view is quite mini.

If I made it again I would probably make the average version, because while I got the fit I wanted over the hips, I forgot I have a backside and the skirt rides up a bit in this area. (Proof below.) Strangely, the skirt fits fine first thing in the morning, leading me to believe my backside grows as the day goes on.Curiouser and curiouser!
It could be to do with my stomach which often swells during the day due to a medical issue, making the whole thing tighter? Anyway, I think the skirt has a bit of a sixties vibe and I love the colour, but the fabric is not good. It's a light to medium weight red twill purchased second hand here. When you are buying thrifted fabric on the internet you rarely get a fabric content, and I think this one has some synthetic in it. 

As you can see despite endless fiddling with the tension and stitch length, it tends to look puckered and weighed down by the pockets. It didn't press well and sticks to the bumps in my figure. I tried putting a slip underneath, but the difference was so tiny I didn't think it worth lining it and potentially wasting more fabric. On the plus side, it's drapey enough not to be a dog cone! 

Tragically I have quite a bit of this fabric! Do you think it would be more suitable for this pattern, view D the jacket, as there are no weighty pockets or fastenings? Or should I just give up on this material and move on?

Thankyou in advance for any advice/comments, and I wish you all

Happy sewing 'til next time,

Philippa x

Sunday, 22 June 2014


Some people don't seem to need aprons, but I definitely do. Over the last few months, here and there between other things, I've sewn four aprons. One is a gift.

Which do you like best?


Fabric is denim from stash, unusable for 'good' clothing because of permanent creases (don't know how they got there) - tough and great for dog bathing/grooming.  Contrast is reverse of denim. No scraps left :)

Rarely has a dog needed attention as much as this little guy :) Don't worry, half an hour after this picture was taken, he had had his nails cut, teeth brushed, a trim and a bath!

"Goodness, getting clean is such hard work!"

2 & 3.

Fabric is an old cream curtain that was my mum's and a small piece of vintage (possibly late '50's/early '60's) cotton/linen (unsure) gingham/floral fabric gifted by my mother-in-law around 14 years ago - great for cooking and housework. The twin is for my mum, I don't make enough for her! Again, no scraps left :)

Action shot.

All from this pattern:

It would be great practice for a beginner, there are a lot of techniques in there, including a bit of hand stitching and learning to make lovely rounded patch pockets by drawing up the corners (I enjoyed this bit).


Fabric is an old curtain (I don't like to use new fabric for aprons). A re-issued 50's pattern - fun to wear to bake! Small amount of fabric left which I have plans for :))

Made from this pattern:

I liked the '40's apron too (view A), but my 'to sew' list is currently too long to contemplate stitching down lots of bias tape and adding embroidery to an apron. I'm definitely keeping the pattern incase I ever get the time, besides I enjoyed every minute of sewing this. It was different to the basic stuff I usually make - feminine, flowery and frilly! It was so fun to give that side of myself a little expression and it was a joy to make, sewn the old fashioned way with pressed open zig zagged seams and thread gathering. No overlocking, no rushing :)...and can I just say, this apron is almost a dress! Lined pocket, lined bib and buttonholes! I will try to restrain myself from wearing it out of the house ;)

The illustration inside made me smile, too. Look at these sassy ladies!

No messing with them in the kitchen :)

don't think I will need another apron for a long time, and this post marks the finish of my list. I'm going to start my Colette Wardrobe Architect sewing in earnest now, with the aim of making a flexible mix and match collection of clothes in the styles and colours I was drawn to over the weeks. New to me patterns will get their own posts, repeats in a different fabrics will be posted in groups. Finally I would like to photograph them all together at the end. 

Happy sewing, 'till next time!

Philippa x

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Me-Made-May 2014 In Review

It turns out if you write one review post at the end of MMM it will be massive. People will sleep. So I've put my conclusions first and listed what I wore second in micro form. The lists are to show I completed my challenge as I only took a few photographs. No need to read the lists!!

Me Made May 2014

The Flickr group was even larger than last year! It was such a treat both to participate and see so many inspiring creations. Thank you Zo for organising it. It's also lovely to feel you're not alone - sewing can be quite a solitary hobby if you don't make an effort to find other like minded souls :)

Things I Achieved

This wasn't the easiest month for me as I had some unexpected developments in my personal life, so MMM took a bit of a back seat. I also had a lot of decorating to do (still ongoing), consequently I spent a lot of time in clothes I reserve for painting. Luckily the trousers I wear for this are me-made and the shirt me-altered, so I could still keep my pledge.

* I easily wore at least one me-made for 5 out of 7 days.
* I finished all the pesky alterations and mending. (This took a lot of willpower.)
* I finished the denim skirt I needed.
* I blogged what I'd made.

Things I Didn't Achieve !

* I wasn't very good with documentation. There were two weeks when I didn't get a photo up on Flickr. Documentation might be part of my challenge next year, as I can see the usefulness of it.
* I didn't get my apron finished.


* One reason I have never taken part in a sewalong is because I am a relatively slow sewer and don't like to rush. Setting deadlines for my sewing is not going to happen often (if ever again)!
* I could do with an extra layer for this time of year, like a lightweight short jacket. 
* Non me-made days were jumper and jeans - I intend to give more thought to sewing knitwear (I've already thought about jeans and have a plan).
* I would like more colourful clothes.


Week 1
What I Wore
Thursday 1st -- blue striped Coco top, red purchased scarf, blue cord Simple Modern Sewing skirt (2 me-mades).
Friday 2nd - So Zo knickers, cream purchased jumper, cream, blue, brown and gold infinity scarf, blue cord Simple Modern Sewing skirt (3 me-mades).
Saturday 3rd - navy lace inset Coco top, red purchased scarf, mash-up denim skirt (2 me-mades).
Sunday 4th - ancient beige jumper (reserved for housework), mash-up denim skirt - morning; special sari top, thrifted dark skinny jeans, thrifted cream crocheted look kimoney-thing (for daughter's concert in afternoon); (2 me-mades).
Monday 5th - ancient beige jumper, infinity scarf, mash-up denim skirt (2 me-mades).
Tuesday 6th - blue striped Coco top, mash-up denim skirt (2 me-mades)
Wednesday 7th - blue striped Coco top (again), red purchased scarf, thrifted dark skinny jeans (2 me-mades).
What I Did
Busy week but I somewhat reluctantly and after a good self-talking to started on the alteration/mending pile.
Photos uploaded to Flickr: 0

Week 2
What I Wore
Thursday 8th - cream striped Coco top, infinity scarf, thrifted dark skinny jeans (2 me-mades).
Friday 9th - lace inset Coco top, blue & white former sarong scarf, jeans as before, later hair scarf (very bad hair day) - counting as (2 me-mades) as hair scarf was repurposed rather than sewn.

This was worn for the Blue Friday theme. It was way too much blue even for me!
Saturday 10th - purchased jumper, jeans as before (0 me-mades).
Sunday 11th -purchased jumper, blue & white former sarong scarf, denim mash up skirt (2 me-mades).

Sunday 11th (scarf off).
Monday 12th - repeat of Sunday.
Tuesday 13th - cream striped Coco, jeans as before - morning, shirt with altered collar and me-made  elastic waist trousers for decorating - afternoon (2 me-mades)
Wednesday 14th - cream thrifted short sleeve shirt mended the night before, long corduroy Simple Modern Sewing skirt, later in evening cream striped Coco top (2 me-mades)
What I Did
More alterations/mending. Began my daughter's refashion and cut out and started to sew new denim skirt.
Photos uploaded to Flickr: 2

Week 3
What I Wore
Thursday 15th - cream shirt as before, long skirt as before (1 me-made)
Friday 16th - thrifted shirt with collar removed and re-shaped by me, elastic waist trousers (for decorating) (1 me-made)
I swear when I posted this I didn't realise the Friday theme was 'Too Pretty To Wear Pants'!
Saturday 17th - So Zo knickers, navy thrifted camisole and shrug, blue patterned skirt made from sarong fabric and vintage pattern (2 me-mades)
Sunday 18th - men's shirt to suntop refashion, mash up denim skirt (2 me-mades)
Monday 19th - camisole as Saturday, sarong fabric skirt (1 me-made)
Tuesday 20th - thrifted black T and thrifted blue and black weave linen trousers, blue & white sarong scarf (just about 1 me-made)
Wednesday 21st - tie dye Simplicity 1920 top, mash up denim skirt (2 me-mades)
What I Did
Finished alterations/mending, daughter's refashion and denim skirt! Small celebration. Just apron to go to fulfil my pledge!
Photos uploaded to Flickr: 2

Week 4
What I Wore
Thursday 22nd - blue striped Coco, Simple Modern Sewing skirt (2 me-mades)
Friday 23rd - blue striped Coco, red scarf and jeans as before (1 me-made)
Saturday 24th - purchased jumper, blue & white former sarong scarf, So Zo knickers, jeans as before (2 small me-mades)
Sunday 25th - cream striped Coco, jeans as before (1 me-made)
Monday 26th - decorating altered top and me-made trousers part of the day, cream striped Coco, infinity scarf, Simple Modern Sewing skirt the rest of the day, count as (2 me-mades)
Tuesday 27th - thrifted jumper, me-made infinity scarf, jeans as before (half or maybe 1 me-made)
Wednesday 28th - decorating clothes as before (me-made trousers). Later changed into yesterday's clothes (1 me-made)
What I Did
Photos uploaded to Flickr: 0 - but did manage a blog post.

Week 5
What I Wore
Thursday 29th - decorating clothes, followed by thrifted jumper and jeans (1 me-made)
Friday 30th - blue striped Coco top, Simplicity 2343 denim skirt (2 me-mades)

Saturday 31st -decorating clothes as before, briefly changed into clothes as Friday (3 me-mades)
What I Did
Continued with apron sewing.
Photos uploaded to Flickr: 1

hope you all had a great May, whether you participated in the challenge or not.

Happy sewing, 'til next time,

Philippa x