pattern review · sewing

{ DECADES OF STYLE } An unlikely paring…

Hi dears,

This garment was worth coming out of blog hibernation for. Honestly. It took me totally by surprise and Im so pleased with the end result.

Janet from Decades of Style Patterns contacted me to ask if I would be keen on testing their TLC Caftan from their Decades Everyday range. She sent me the line drawing & for a moment I was thinking…Nope. Never. This is not me. Then….I had a little brain wave. When I looked at how the waist cinches in & actually how fitted it can be, I thought { WAIT } there could be something here. I know that V-necks suit my figure. I know that cross-overs & wraps suit my figure. So this seemed like something I should take a shot at.

Decades01

Decades02

Before the pattern even arrived I had already earmarked a fabric for it.  I bought this Vintage Silk Sari from India years ago & I had taken it out of my stash numerous times thinking it would be suitable for a pattern. Alas, it was never used. I could see the sari was well used but incredibly well looked after & loved. I really always wanted to find a pattern that was worthy of this gorgeous cloth and so, when the pattern arrived I just knew that it would do the silk justice.

Deciding on fabric layout was difficult. I wanted to incorporate the gold border detail in the caftan but running down the “wing” side seams just felt like too much. So I used the gold border on the hem & I think it gives just enough detail without being too overwhelming.

Decades03

The Caftan is not lined so the silk is pretty sheer however I do plan to make a plain grey slip { Named Patterns \ Lane Slip, which I think is now OOP } to layer underneath for when I do want to wear it without showing my underthings. Otherwise I still have the option of wearing it as is over my swimsuit etc.

I have a round birthday coming up this month so Im thinking of wearing it then, glam’d up with heels, appropriate hair & makeup. Should be fun. Decades06

Decades04

The Caftan is pullover so there are no zips, no buttons, no clasps. Just straight over the head. The waist inset has ties on the inside that you then tie back to front either side as tight or as loose as you desire. I like mine to be tied pretty tight because it gives the fitted look without it being fitted at all. Bloody Genius! To make things even better, there is an option to add pockets (which I omitted) and 2 lengths to choose from but as us sewists know, we can make things as short or as long as we want or need anyway. Also, the wings on the side which make this a Caftan, can be made in 2 lengths but again, cut those panels as wide or as narrow as you like. It really is up to you.

The pattern comes in 11 sizes and includes bust sizes 32 to 52″. Amazing.

This pattern took me totally by surprise folks. I did not think I would love it as much as I do. Its a clever little design showing off some lovely gathers at the shoulder & waist so I see another of these coming soon. The next wedding we are invited to I will have to make an evening version of this. I can see a beautiful double crepe in a rich jewel colour with beading on the front & back waist inset which would just look amazing. I really love that this pattern is so versatile depending on your choice of fabric.

Thanks Decades for trusting me with this. You were not only a pleasure to work with but you also pushed me beyond what I thought was possible for me to wear & for that I am so grateful. Its made me revisit other patterns I never thought would suit me either so I’ll definitely be taking more chances in the future.

xAnge

review · sewing

{ M7542 } in butterflies…

When this McCalls 7542 landed in my postbox early January, it was instant jubilation. Those sleeves just scream { SEW ME }. I went about cutting & sewing her up within a day or two but my excitement ended abruptly when I tried her on & realised she didn’t fit so well.

I was initially quite excited about this pattern as it boasts various cup sizes A-D. I had not fitted a pattern with optional cup sizes so I figured cutting my cup size would give me a good fit. Was I wrong. The bust darts sat horribly high & the whole bodice just felt too boxy & tight.

I finished her anyway & even wore her a few times but my heart just didnt connect.

Last week I took her out while I was sorting out my wardrobe & I figured since I dont wear her, I should just donate it but even though my heart didn’t connect to the fit, it beat to the fabric { SO LOUD } so donating just wasn’t an option. The fabric, btw, I purchased last year from Empire Textiles and its a Mitex Holland Wax Print.M7542_1

I set about unpicking the areas that gave me issues. I started with the side seams to release those bust darts & I moved the darts down (at least an inch & a half) to give my bewbs more room & to co-incide with my real bust apex. Sorted! Next up I released the sleeve seams a little as I found the original seam made the sleeve just a bit too snug. I also stole a little space from the back seam & sewing up the final side seams I managed to steal some space here too.M7542_sleeve

M7542_2All of those changes resulted in a much better fitting top, one that I now just want to wear every single day. Its still boxy & short but summer is coming so woo-ha!

So I learnt two good things while sewing this top :

  1. Make more muslins!!!
  2. My body really has changed so much since having a baby. I lost so much weight post-partum & gained so much again since I stopped nursing that I really do need to admit that my bewbs just aren’t up north & perky no more! 🙂

So, Is there another M7542 in my future ? Why yes, certainly. Its a basic boxy bodice with some lovely sleeve options so why not.

Till soon,

Ange x

sewing

{ BRIDGETOWN } What a babe…

What a babe this Bridgetown Backless Dress from Sew House Seven is.

I must’ve purchased this pattern back when it was first released because I know Ive had it for a while sitting, pining & just waiting to be sewed. The problem was always the fabric! I had something in my stash I thought would be suitable but unfortunately, not nearly enough.

So I waited….

Then this Ikat arrived in my life & I knew almost instantly it would be a Bridgetown dress. What I didnt know is that it would be a maxi version but you know, that just came after draping this rayon challis over me & realising, this Ikat needed to be { MAXI’d } out.bridgetown01

She’s a quick sew. No seriously, she’s really quick…& painless, coming together just perfectly. In hindsight, I should’ve cut the ‘sleeve cuffs’ with the print running in the opposite direction because it would’ve shown off the detail of that sleeve more but honestly, the party is all in the back anyway…bridgetown02

What I really love about this pattern is how it can go from being a super casual over cozzie dress to a beautiful evening dress just by changing the fabric. Its that easy! Any fabric is possible here – stretch knits, velvet, gauzy whispys…take your pick. They all work.bridgetown04bridgetown03

A real gem of a pattern & certainly not my last Bridgetown. Now could Spring/Summer hurry up already…

x

sewing

{ TALVIKKI } Sequinced Xmas…

Folks, I have a sweater crush & its called the Talvikki!talvikki-03

Just before Christmas last year I was spotting these popping up all over the place. I was just enamored over that neck so I ordered some boiled wool & got started.

Its a quick sew with some beautiful darts to shape that neck. Worked perfectly in my wool & sequins (which was perfect for Xmas Day Celebrations). The only change I made was to cut the neck facings out of a soft jersey instead of the wool to avoid any scratching around my neck. Worked a treat! talvikki_neckfacing

While I love the bagginess of this sweater, I do want to make another but perhaps with short sleeves & a bit more fitted, something Ive seen being discussed quite a bit over social media.

Overall, its a great pattern. These Named girls sure do know how to draft pretty pretty patterns. talvikki_02

Oh before I forget, I found my fabric at Alfatex incase you were interested.

Sorry this post is all over the place. Not intentional. Its been on my to-do list since I finished it & Ive had so very little time so do forgive! 🙂 talvikki_neck01talvikki_neck02

Im off to make another of these cozy sweaters, this time in a soft rose pink sweater knit. YUM! xx

sewing

{ CAROLYN PJS } with a shot of neon…

Dear Readers, its been a frikkin lifetime since I last posted anything here….

Gosh, life has been crazy. My little boy is 18 months { WHAAAAT } & since around November has been going 3 mornings a week to a day mother just to give this mommy a little me-time. I needed it so bad! I dont have grandparents or friends etc to help out with taking him a few hours to give us time so Ive kinda just used the few hours on the weekends that hubby would give me but it just wasn’t enough. Putting him a few mornings with a day mommy has allowed me to clean my house, prepare meals & SEW.

I hit those machines with a force let me tell ya. Those of you that follow me on Instagram will know this but Ive been sewing like such a crazy woman that Ive forgotten to blog any of these makes & share. That ends now!

So I decided to jump onto the Carolyn Pj’s bandwagon. This is my first Closet Case Files pattern & let me say, Im a fan!carolyn_pjs_1

At first I couldn’t find appropriate fabric. Then IKEA happened. Yes friends, I found fabric for my Carolyn Pjs at IKEA. This black & white cotton just screamed pj’s & at first, I was all revved to do black piping (which I still think woulda looked pretty hot) but then I had a brain wave which involved neon & the rest is history.

I purchased my neon piping via Etsy, from On Trend Fabrics. Their service was great & the piping is good quality. I went ahead & purchased neon pink & orange as well because you know…

After measuring myself, I settled on my size & then decided to cut & sew a size bigger. I hate hate hate tight pjs more than alot of things. Also, it was my full intention to make the long pants but once I set that pattern out for cutting, I changed my mind & made the shorts. Im really glad I did. I think I’ll get more use out of the shorts.carolyn_pjs_3

I made no major alterations but I did add in some piping on the edge of the short pockets & used neon yellow snaps instead of buttons. First time installing these kinds of snaps & they went in really really easy. I purchased the snaps via Etsy as well. There are quite a few sellers so take your pick. Carolyn_pjs_5.jpgCarolyn_pjs_2.jpg

Line matching was interestingly annoying! I tried as much as I could, in the places that I thought it would matter the most & then didn’t give a shit where it didn’t work coz quite honestly, they’re pj’s for goodness sake. I did however take the time to utilize the cinched part of the pattern right in the centre of my back & front so it gives a good visual pear shape which I think worked kinda nice, no?

Such a lovely pattern & such a fun sew. There were some tricky parts to the pattern, namely the front facings & where they attach at the collar. Whew. Fuck. I might have popped a sweat at this stage but it worked out in the end! carolyn_pjs_4

There are more Carolyn Pjs in my future, of this I am sure. Id like Kelly green next… x

 

pattern review · sewing

{ PAPERCUT } Flutter blouse…

Its been quite some time since I sewed anything for myself. In my last post I mentioned that I had plans & boy have I put those plans into action. Getting going was the hardest but now that Ive hopped that procrastination hurdle, Im all fired up & ready to keep sewing sewing sewing…

While I was expecting I ordered the Papercut Flutter Blouse & could not wait to give it a go. I was curious about sizing so I waited a few months for my post-baby weight loss to steady itself & then measured myself up & went for a medium which seemed perfect until I wore it for a day & realised I could’ve actually gone for the small…..

Let me start by saying everything about this pattern is just gorgeous. Right from the ordering process, posting – which is free worldwide by the way, delivery, packaging { OH THE PACKAGING…DROOL }, the pattern itself – everything folks, just everything. They can do no wrong in my eyes. And no, Im not affiliated or being paid big bucks to say this. They just impress the crap out of me. If I were indeed pressed to give any strike I would say that I prefer sewing with a 1,5cm seam allowance as opposed to a 1cm however that would be my only micro mini grunt. Papercut_flutter1

I used this 100% viscose crepe purchased from Buttinette while on sale. Its heavy-ish but with a lovely drape. I used a white bias tape for the neckline and doubled over my hems on the sleeves & waist but my next Flutter blouse I plan to use the bias tape exposed on the neckline & edge of sleeves. Yup, already planning another Flutter – this time with the longer sleeve option. I tried to match pattern where possible but since the pattern is so random it was difficult to do everywhere. The birds just make me happy & apparently they make other people happy too because I always seem to get people asking about this blouse whenever I wear it.

Not much else to say about this top besides that its up there as one of the most satisfying sews ever for me. It was quick, easy & just what I needed to get my sewjo kickstarted. I should also just apologize up front for the crappy pic above. Im having to chose my bridges carefully these days & unfortunately time doesn’t allow for pretty photoshopped, light corrected, cropped & crazy pics. Soon hopefully…..SOON. 🙂

Take care all x

chit-chat · interiors · sewing

{ SEWING IN 2016 } Plans…

Ive been out of sewing action for a few months but here is me telling you that my will to sew is back!

Baby has been all-consuming, therefore its been tough to find the time to sew…or do anything really but bubs is getting bigger. He doesnt need my 100% attention any longer & finally he’s linking those sleep cycles in the day better so he’s sleeping longer which gives me more time to do me stuff. Some people asked me why I dont sew in the evenings & here’s the thing : I dont like sewing in the evenings very much. I prefer natural daylight as opposed to artificial light. Also, the room I used to hang my laundry & do my ironing is now the baby room so all that laundry ended up in my sewing room! We finally decided our bathroom was big enough to take the laundry, it just needed planning so we’ve installed the wardrobes we always wanted, installed the hanging rail for laundry & all that laundry crap has moved out.

In the months that I haven’t been sewing Ive been taking advantage of fabric & pattern sales so I have a lot of good materials stocked up just waiting for some action. Cant wait.

One of the first things I need to do is re-measure myself because our bodies change shape after having a kid. I somehow managed to lose all my pregnancy weight gain 6 weeks post birth & went on to lose a further 12kgs. Im not sure how, it just melted off to be honest. I dont say that braggingly either. I guess Ive just been lucky or the combination of high summer, nursing, sweating & walking just really paid off. While it may be good for my self esteem, it has presented problems with my wardrobe in the sense that a lot of my me-mades from pre-baby no longer fit… so I need to assess these & figure out which ones I love enough to alter & which to donate.

The next thing I need to do is decide on what I want to make. I know Im not even bothering with winter garb (not that I do much winter sewing anyway) so summer sewing it is. Ive had a piece of fabric earmarked for another Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 (see the first one I made). I also purchased the Papercut Flutter pattern last year so I’ll be making one of those as well as the Named Patterns Delphi Dress which I adore. Perfect for summer.

Apart from those new projects, Ive got a never-ending list of alterations I need to do to my denim shorts, some new jeans to hem (coz dammit they always too long) as well as some sewing for my sweet little boy.

Writing all this seems like Ive already bitten off more than I can chew..{ YIKES } but I guess if I dont start I’ll never know.

OHHHHHH & while I was taking that sewing pause, I purchased a new overlocker. I’ll have to tell you all about that soon. { WINK WINK }.

Ok lovelies. Till soon xx

 

sewing

{ MATERNITY } Dressing the bump…

Having recently gone through a pregnancy, I thought Id share with those of you interested in the clothes I found comfortable, practical & wearable especially during the last trimester when everything is a challenge.

To start off, I found maternity wear in the stores rather uncomfortable. I tried on quite a bit of it along the way just to see what looked good & to be honest, I never bought a single thing besides a pair of black jeans (which I wore constantly until spring hit) & a pair of blue jeans which I hardly wore at all. My sister however gifted me 2 pairs of maternity shorts she used a few  years back & I loved those. I could wear them postpartum too which was great. The rest I made and or wore regular clothes. That being said, I think I was fortunate to have my final months over spring/early summer so I could wear dresses & skirts which flared nicely over the bump.

For me right up until the end I was able to wear mostly regular clothes on my top half. I found t-shirts, knit/jersey tops really practical. The lower half I dressed in the aforementioned black jeans or the Megan Neilsen Ruched Maternity Skirt (now called the Erin Maternity Skirt). I made this in black & wore it alot. Easy to make & super comfortable. Also easy to dress up or just be casual in. I also made the Megan Neilsen Alissa Maternity top without the long ties, ie. just to tuck into the skirt but ended up making it too big so only wore it once.

Another item I made was Butterick 5796 top (view A) with the twisty detail and loved that paired with said jeans or ruched skirt. The detail on the top was super fiddly but once I got it right it went together really well. Would i make it again….probably not. B5796IMG_4028

I purchased a few other maternity patterns that I wanted to try but never got around to it. If Im ever lucky enough to be pregnant again I might try them otherwise I’ll gift those patterns to someone somewhere along the line.

So, what did I wear besides these pieces I made ? Well, I purchased maxi dresses in knit fabrics (boobtube style) for the summer which I wore endlessly especially right in the end. They were super comfie & gave bump the space it needed with no squeezing of the waist etc. Id highly recommend these types of dresses. I jazzed them up with a cardigan or kimono over if I needed…or as per below with a gold belt.19

I also wore alot of non-maternity pieces that Ive made but were roomy enough to accommodate bump…

Vogue 1027 which is the DKNY dress that I made back in 2013. Especially in the warmer months, this really was a go-to getup for bump & I. The fabric is a stretch & therefore fitted well, comfortably & saw me right to the very end. In fact, I wore this dress to the hospital & home again 3 days later. V1027

NL6150 in the floral. Real handy maternity tee. Its definitely all to do with the fabric I used for this because the protea one I made in cotton jersey did not fit over the bump after about 6 months.

I had made this Maria Denmark Kimono Tee (which is a free pattern if you sign up for the newsletter) in the beginning of my pregnancy & I wore it all the way through to the end. Love this Tee I have no words. Its super easy to sew together & so incredibly comfie. You’ll notice I used black & coral quite a bit over the pieces – wasn’t planned, just worked out that way 🙂Kimono Tee

McCalls 6751 made in a polycotton black with pink polka came in handy. Its slightly short in the front but paired with my black maternity shorts or ruched skirt, was a winner.

For special occasions, the V2091 DKNY black number proved stretchy enough to cover the bump for a function at 7 months but I doubt it would have stretched much more to accommodate anything much later.  Unfortunately the V2091 is OOP.

NL6254 I blogged about during my pregnancy so you can read about that top here if you missed it.

All in all, I dont think one has to spend a fortune on maternity specific items. Be sensible about what you purchase if you do & if you make anything, be sure to make wrap dresses that can be worn again or basics like the ruched skirt that can go with absolutely anything. That would be my advice.

So to all of you expecting, Congratulations & good luck with dressing your bump. Any questions, do shout.

xxAnge

 

review · sewing

{ SIMPLICITY } Star Sewist Blogger Challenge

On a total whim, I decided to take part in the Simplicity Star Sewist Challenge because lets face it, who wouldn’t like to win a years supply of patterns amiright ?!? So I chose to go with the dressmaking pattern, New Look 6145, because I like dresses & I knew dressing my baby bump would be easier adjusting this pattern to maternity rather than the other two patterns on offer. NL615_side3 Out came a beautiful piece of navy linen which I accented with some navy & white Shweshwe fabric I purchased while on holiday at home in January. The two pair really well I think. I sized up in general to allow for my pregnancy measurements as well as a little extra for ease. At first I was just going to use the shweshwe for the sleeves & inner facing but then decided rather than make my side seam godet inserts in linen, to make these in shweshwe too. I wasnt entirely sold on the contrast so I cut one of each, basted them both in & decided almost instantly on going with the shweshwe contrast as soon as I saw the dress semi-fitted. In all honesty, the inserts dont work 100% because I didnt trim off the angle required on the side seams. I left them as they should be because I really want to remove the shweshwe panels once Im able to wear the dress post-pregnancy. The inserts really just give me the added space for the baby bump & ass. NL6145_side Overall, it was an easy sew & I { ADORE } the pleated sleeves…but then again, Im gaga over pleated anything! NL6145_front Thank you to Simplicity for offering the challenge & for the free pattern. I’ll certainly be making more of these shift dresses in the future. Also, good luck to all the sewcialists that have entered the competition. Cant wait to see who wins.

This will probably be my last sew for myself until after baby arrives. Im finding the bump so hard to gauge on size since Im in the final weeks & this Noodle is growing like crazy. Ive also hit the exhausted & rather uncomfortable stage so sitting for hours in front of my sewing machine is proving a little challenging. Ive gained 10kgs until now & Im feeling every.single.gram I tell ya. Ive had a relatively uneventful pregnancy to be honest with very few issues but these final few weeks things have definitely amped up. Dont get me wrong, Im loving being preggy & I couldn’t be more grateful for what is about to change our lives forever but this third trimester is tough on your body & your mind. Anyway, hope you’ve enjoyed my little me-made. Till soon. Ange x

interiors · sewing

{ DECOR } Sunshine roman blinds…

One would think being in the interior industry, self-made decor would come naturally to me.

Yip, ONE. WOULD. THINK!

The opposite is true for me in fact. I previously loathed doing my own home decor sewing. Curtains, blinds, cushions, the lot…. { LOATHE IT }. It most probably has much to do with the fact that Ive always had professional curtain workshops make my clients curtains, bedspreads, blinds etc & it may have become a luxury to have the same workshops whip up things for me in the past too. Decor sewing always reminded me too much of work & I prefer sewing garments anyway.

Since moving to Austria, I have found it incredibly difficult to find such workshops in & ’round my ‘hood. They probably exist in the big cities but since I live in the sticks, it really has forced me to make things myself.

I really needed to get some window dressings for the baby room so I decided to do simple roman blinds complicated with the need to line these with a good block out lining because the morning sun streams in through the one window & the other window is flooded with an annoying 10,000,000 watt halogen flood light from a neighbour that Im pretty convinced is signaling aliens “Land Here”! Cant have either!!

As you know, we are not aware of whether we’re expecting a boy or girl so we needed to go with something kinda neutral. Yellow is neutral. Non?

I had purchased this happy Ikea fabric a year or two ago just coz I loved it & had cushions planned in but never got to it. Unfortunately 2m was only sufficient for one window so off I darted to Ikea to pick up a further 2m. Thank goodness Ikea still had & might I add, still at the same price! I love the ‘watercolour-type’ effect of the yellow especially. stockholm-meterware-gelb__0175068_PE328506_S4

Since I had never made roman blinds before, I went into this project…well…blind. I hit YouTube for a tut & came across this Debbie Shore video. She explains things so well, I actually felt like I had the confidence to give it a go.  Here are the results : roman_blinds_1

roman_blinds_2

We have aluminium venetian blinds integrated to the windows already which when closed give good results but the blinds just add something extra to the room & the blockout does its job extremely well. No more halogen flood lights, thanks neighbours! Instead of installing cleats to the wall to wind the cords, I use the integrated venetian blind fixings because I hardly ever lift the venetians so there was no point in adding extra cleats for the romans. By the way, WTF is up with blinds being named after the Italians???

My experience with decor in general is vast even though I haven’t actually made things myself. Working with professionals in the industry though, I have learned a thing or 10 about the do’s and don’ts so I’ll share some essential tips.

Always use the best quality supplies you can afford. Don’t be tempted to use cheap alternatives because especially with blinds & curtains, the sun does damage & cheap supplies will just fall apart in no time.  Good quality lining is paramount.

Check your measurements again…..& again before cutting anything!!

Work systematically – it really does help to keep things clear especially when you’re dealing with various sized windows. Lengths & widths can vary ever so slightly so deal with one window before moving onto another.

Make worksheets. Simple diagrams with measurements will help. { PROMISE }.

Take your time.

Ive also included a list with links to the various places I purchased my supplies if your’e interested. Im supplying these links because Im thoughtful, not because Im affiliated in any way. Clear!

Supplies :

{ Fabric } : Ikea Stockholm

{ Lining } : Black out “Natur”

{ Blind fittings } : Toggles, tapes, cords etc

{ Batons } : Husband supplied

{ Rods } : Bauhaus

We’re almost finished with setting up the baby room so I’ll be sure to update pics as soon as its all done.

Hope you’re all well

x Ange