SWAP2017 Pt 6: By Hand London Anna Dress in Frida Kahlo

Last year I was working full steam on a SWAP2017 wardrobe. You can read some of the previous SWAP2017 posts here <link here>.

This is the fifth garment that I made for the SWAP2017 capsule – an endeavour which started in 2016! I did finish this in time for the April 2017 deadline but for some reason its taken its time to get to the blog.

The capsule plan was to have one statement-y dress.

My SWAP2017 “Vision Board”

There was a limit on how many patterns you could use – the max was 8 patterns for 11 garments. I used the Anna dress because it could be easily modified.

The trick was to find a fabric that I loved but that could go with all the other pieces. After much searching, I eventually landed on the Frida y Catarina fabric in a blue background on EBay. To say I fell for this fabric is an understatement. I freaking love this fabric and consequently the dress.

I have made the Anna dress three times before. I have not made it using a medium weight quilting cotton like this Alexander Henry fabric. Ruth’s Core Couture tutorial was a godsend. She shows with well-detailed instruction and rationale how to prevent neckline gaping that can be an issue with wide V necklines. You can check out the tutorial here – a must-read for anyone who has ever been exasperated with a neckline that won’t lay flat.

Stay tape in the neckline of the BHL Anna Dress

The results more than speak for themselves. I have since used that same approach on many more projects with great results.

 

When we went to the US last year for my FIL’s 70th birthday celebrations I took it along. Its one of what I like to call “The Magnificent 3” dresses. Whenever I wear any of those 3, I get a lot of compliments. I will probably write up a post about them and why I think they get so many compliments – advance spoiler – it is not about the dress per se. Anyway, I digress pictures.

BHL Anna Dress on location in Central Park, New York – hence the walking sandals ūüôā
BHL Anna Dress

The fabric is a border print and I was not keen to cut into the print. I cut the bodice on the cross grain so that the Frida print was only at the hem. The skirt pieces are rectangles with darts added. The darts matched up with the bodice darts. That created the A line shape of the skirt. I contemplated adding pockets but decided that the design lines were more important. My problem is that I do actually use my pockets heavily and there are some styles that look and feel odd to me when the pocket is in use.

The hem is exactly at the selvedge edge. I wanted the maximum length I could get. It used 3 meters of fabric with very little scraps. The benefit of quilting cottons like the Alexander Henry ones is that they do wash and keep the colours well. I imagine that in time, with more washes, the fabric will get softer. The thought brings a smile to my face as I hope to be wearing this dress for decades.

Picture was taken in May this year – with my frohawk and post SticthRoom Sewcial so my eyebrows were neat ūüôā
I love the vibrant orange flowers on the fabric.  BHL Anna Dress
Power pose….LIKE A BOSS!!! BHL Anna Dress
BHL Anna Dress

Last week on Saturday I went to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit in London – I believe that’s what prompted me to finally write about this dress on the blog. I am still processing my thoughts on the experience and will be writing a post about it soon.

Back to the SWAP2017 – I still have more of the garments to write about and those posts should be ready…..soonish :-).

In the meantime, I do have a video on my YouTube channel if you’d like to see this dress in motion.

Thanks for stopping by this corner of the interwebs.

Peace and love,

Hila

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SWAP2017 Pt 5: Ansterick Holsten Sweater and an Experiment in pre washing yarn

Last year I was working full steam on a SWAP2017 wardrobe. You can read some of the previous SWAP2017 posts here <link here>:

For one of my uppers РI opted for a  knitted item. The inspiration was based on a Bella Freud 1970 Jumper . This jumper retails at £300.

The pattern I used was the Holsten jumper by Anstrick. 

Once I had selected the pattern the next challenge was finding the bright red yarn colour. Someone on Ravelry recommended Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton DK yarn. The yarn has a lovely lustre to it and it had a lipstick red shade that looked promising. I ordered several balls of different reds from various brands but this was the one that nailed it. Luckily they also had the black and white of the same yarn.

The next challenge was how to prevent bleeding. From the many posts that I read where people had knitted with red and white or black and white Рthere was a bleeding issue when the garment was washed. After ruminating on the issue for a while I thought that maybe I could try pre-washing the yarn before knitting to reduce any bleeding potential in the same way we prewash fabric for sewing.

Luckily the yarn comes in skeins. My first attempt was a bit of a travesty because I didnt do anything to prevent the yarn from tangling. On my second attempt, I loosely tied the skein at 4 different points so that I could easily reconstitute the skein.

The prewashing process involved filling the sink with hot water and soaking for about an hour, gently wringing the water out and repeating until the water ran clear. For the red this took approximately 4 soakings, the black took 6 soakings to run clear. I also did the white twice because I needed it to have a similar texture to the black and red.

After drying out the skeins I then had to wind them into yarn balls. There were a lot of online tutorials to help. I used a kitchen roll tube and spent several hours balling up the skein. It was tedious but I think it was worth it in the end. 

Dryng the prewashed yarn

Pre washed and un washed side by side
Prewashed on left. Has a ‘fuller’ look and feel. Unwashed on right.

 

I swatched with 3.75, then 3,5 but it was 3,25 that got the correct stitch gauge. I should have done some mods since the pattern calls for fingering 4 ply but my yarn was DK. However, I still do not understand these things so I went on ahead with the proviso that I would be trying it along the way to see what I need to change. On the whole this worked, I think I managed to get away with it :-).

This pattern knits up quite quick since it all stokinette stitch. It was also a great opportunity for me improve my Portuguese knitting skills. I think the fit is quite good. Yarn feels comfy against my skin.

The prewashing seems to have worked. When I washed this there was no bleeding.

And here I am wearing it last year.

The pattern instructions were very clear and well written. I learnt some new techniques like the saddle stitch for the raglan sleeve. It may not be the best but I had a great time knitting this. I’d have liked to do add in a HILA motif on the white section but my skills are not yet there. I am still very happy with this jumper.

Finally, I used just under 5 skeins of red and less than 1 skein each of black and white. The total cost of the yarn was £50.48. Not bad considering the inspiration retails at £300. Win!

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internets. Until next time, happy knitting!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by this corner of the interwebs.

Peace and love,

Hila

SWAP2017 Pt 4: Sewaholic Hollyburn & Granville Shirt

Hi guys!

Last year I was working full steam on a SWAP2017 wardrobe. You can read some of the previous SWAP2017 posts here <link here>:

For my lower, I had the Hollyburn skirt which was to be made in an orange bright orange fabric.

I bought the fabric from Fabworks. It’s a cotton twill weave which also has a geometric¬†pattern. It has spandex it with some (about 3% stretch on the cross grain).

Instead of a facing, I used Petersham ribbon on the waistband. Pink satin bias binding on outside

Sewaholic Granville modified –

The fabric is linen dyed a navy blue using Dylon washing machine dye. This was one of the few successful results from my experiments with dyeing fabric.

The embroidery is from Kate N Rose patterns which I had bought over 3 years ago but hadnt ever bothered with it. It’s called Faraway Garden. When Kate was helping me with inspiration pictures I remembered that I had it somewhere in my digital files. Unfortunately marking dark fabric was challenging. Chalk faded away easily and my Frixion pens were not very easily visible. Patience is not one of my strong virtues and eventually, I reached a point which I just wasn’t¬†bothered. But that’s¬†ok – I realised that I am not yet at the beautiful intricate embroidery stage. That’s¬†okay.

I eliminated the center front button placket. The front is sewn together¬†with a flap for snaps of some sort (am yet¬†to do this). I made it sleeveless by raising the armscye by 1/2″ and narrowing the shoulder by 3/4″. This makes it have a closer fit around the armhole. I bias bound the armholes using same linen fabric.

The idea was to have further embroidery on the front and back but seriously, it’s not my thing. I should have got appliques and in future, this is what I will do. As far as embroidery goes – I need to walk before I can run :-).

I am very happy with these 2 garments, more so because they are 2 of my most beloved patterns that I have made more than a dozen of collectively. Pictures….be warned the orange is really bright :-). Pictures were taken in May 2017.

Sewaholic Patterns Hollyburn Skirt and Granville Shirt

Guess the song from the dance pose ūüôā

 

Thanks for stopping by this corner of the interwebs.

Peace and love,

Hila

Retro Vibes Coco Dress – Tilly and the Buttons

Coco dress 4.0

This past winter I caught¬†a bit of the Coco bug. It’s an easy super quick make – I totally blame SewChet for her beautiful¬†stag print Coco <link here> which reminded me of the versatility of this pattern :-).

I have had this quilted ponte for a long while now (bought from Jacks Fabrics in Leeds Market) and its one I had set aside on the¬†“sew or donate within 1 month” pile. Luckily it got sewn. The thing with this fabric is that it’s a workhorse – I have made my girls sweater dresses <link here> and they got washed loads over the 15 months my girls wore them. Despite all the laundering the fabric didn’t¬†bobble or pil¬†horribly so I knew that this will be a good workhorse dress.

To add to the sixties vibe I was getting off the fabric I interfaced the collar band so it would stand tall and proud in a contrasting black ponte.

I have much love for this dress and its been worn loads this past winter.

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Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress

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Verdict: I likey – a lot. Comfy, warm and makes me feel stylish ūüôā Just like my other Coco dress too.

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the interwebs. Until next time – happy sewing all!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

Coco Dress 3.0 – Tilly and the Buttons

Hello chums,

I hope you are all enjoying December and all the festivities that come with this time of the year. Today I decided to start this post with a throwback to my second Coco top blogged in August 2014.

 

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Couture Coco

 

For some reason I didnt get round to making another Coco because I went off it. Basically this top above is one of the garments that got given away when I cleared out my wardrobe sometime ago. It just didn’t fit me well and felt baggy.

Retrospectively I now understand that there were 2 things at play here:

  1. Poor bra selection. I was still breastfeeding in 2014 and wearing bras that I had bought when my oldest was breastfeeding. They were eight years old, quite saggy with poor support (at the time I didnt think so though). My bust measurement was off because of this.
  2. Once I stopped breastfeeding my extra bust inches were all lost and I was back to my modest B cup. This meant that the top looked and felt even baggier.

Cut to more than 2 years later and I now wear better fitting bras (thanks to M&S free bra fitting service) – I tried out the Coco again. At SewUpNorth I met Pam who was wearing her striped Coco top with a funnel neck. I was quite taken by her top and the seed was planted.

Sewing it up was so incredibly quick and everything went together well. I had to cut it 2 sizes down from the 2014 version. The blister ponte is a lovely silvery grey with black embossed leaves. It has a nice texture and is very comfortable.

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Tilly and The Buttons Coco Dress

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Back view
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Funnel neck detail
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Sleeve cuffs.

I was pleased to find that I loved the fit of the dress when I tried it on. Perfect winter wear with tights and boots. I will be joining Tialys and making loads more Cocos!

I think if I ever had to recommend an easy beginner friendly pattern this would be it. I even did a Youtube vlog on it just after I finished it (at bottom).

Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

 

 

 

 

Simplicity 2451 Skirt

Hello,

Following on from my previous post on the bat sleeve dress РI used the scrap fabric to make a short skirt. The fabric is a nice medium weight ponte bought from B&M Fabrics. I was tempted to use one of my self drafted knit skirts but there was a little bit more fabric to play with so I decided to try Simplicity 2451 which I bought on sale ages ago.2451

I made view D and went 2 sizes down since I was using a knit fabric. Zip was ignored altogether. An elastic waist finish makes it easy to pull on and off. It’s a very quick make. I think its meant to sit something like 3″ below the natural waist but by using an elastic its a lot more comfy for me when it sits¬†on my natural waist.

Pictures…..I paired it with a Renfrew top that I had recently finished (post to come soon)

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Simplicity 2451 Skirt View D
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Simplicity 2451 Back View
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Side view

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I’ve grown to love this fabric!
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Pocket detail (Done is better than perfect m’kay)
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Elasticated waistband

I love the pockets on this skirt – they are nice and deep. It’s a lovely addition to my ever-growing handmade collection of garments! And also quite a good little stashbuster using up less than 1m of fabric. The other thing that endears this pattern to me is that it has so many variations and that means you will seeing more Simplicity 2451 skirts :-)….most likely in ponte.

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, Happy Sewing all!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

When Alder met Nani Iro.

Hello all!

Its FriYAY! I love Friday so much – its my joint favourite day with Monday :-). I am here to share an Alder shirtdress that ought to have been finished a couple of months ago at least. Alas, it has been a UFO sitting in a carrier back waiting for button holes—oh the shame of it!¬†Anyhow better late than never eh?

This Nani Iro ‘Poncho’ fabric has been in my stash for a really long time (like since the stash began :-)). Being rather precious about it, ¬†of course it was going to made into a TNT pattern like the Alder shirt dress which I have made in blue cotton lawn here and in John Kaldor lawn here . Though I would have loved a bum ruffle – insufficient fabric meant I went for the minimalism of the View A. To add some sizzle I opted to use a scrap of Cotton and Steel in lilac on the under collar. I decided against sewing the full collar because double gauze ¬†is so soft – it doesn’t do crisp corners very well.

Can I just take a paragraph to wax lyrical about how breathtakingly lush this fabric feels against my skin – I feel like I am wearing nothing on at all which is nice yet strange. I digress…pictures…

Nani Iro Alder Continue reading