MCBN December: Grainline Studio Archer Button Up Shirt

It amazes me that I have had Grainline Studio’s Archer shirt pattern printed, taped and cut for over 2 years! I faltered at the step of pairing it with a fabric. Still better late than never. I finally used it for my December MCBN make. When I opened the package with the fabric, it immediately clicked for me that the twill weave cotton would be an Archer. I am mildly irritated with myself for taking so long to make this pattern but that’s something I want to tackle in 2019.

In the meantime…..

Here is the link that will take you to the post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network. Enjoy!

Grainline Studio Archer Shirt (It was a cold day!)

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

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Kids Sewing – Silver Lame Pillowcase

It did not take toooo long. The shop that we bought was pretty new so not much people went there. The cutting was not super hard, It was just that I couldn’t get it to be in line with the the case. I made the mistake of cutting the joint that connected the two squares but was easy. Luckily, there were not a single thing like an omega sign  like these ones:⊗ ‰ ℵ ω ψ χ φ υ, e.g.

                                                                                 O – The Pillowcase Maker

This isn’t kids sewing as in I sewed something for the kids. This is kids sewing as in the child creates the item with my assistance where adult supervision is necessary – in this case; the overlocker.

My second son came with me to Fabrics for All on Sunday (I needed more of the red birds Christmas fabric) and the stretch silver lame fabric caught his eye. He said he liked the smooth surface and that he’d make a pillowcase out of it. I stopped myself from inserting my opinion about his vision (it was hard – a new habit for me). 

As soon as we got home he started on the project. He got his favourite pillowcase, laid it over the folded fabric and cut around it. I forgot to tell him about seam allowances but since the fabric is stretch it was fine.

We bought a half meter for the pillowcase. The fabric cost £6/m

He then went on to the overlocker. He has used it several times before but never with jersey fabric. It was quite a learning curve for him and by the end, he had figured out how to keep the seam straight. Some of the seams are wobbly and wavy but the half of the last seam he did is perfect!

Its a simple pillowcase but does the job!
It very good at reflecting light too :-).

Though silver lame is not what I would use for a pillowcase myself, I can see why he liked it. Needless to say, he loves his DIY pillowcase and the other 3 younger kids want their own silver pillows! I am so proud of him because he wanted to sew it straight away and he did. 

 

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

 

Christmas 2018 Sewing Plans

I have been making the most of the autumn sun, getting organised for winter and stocking up for Christmas. I love December for all its excitement and sparkle. Its the month that always goes by at a dizzying rate; school productions, Scout troop/colony parties, Christmas pantos, tree trimming, the twins’ birthday, daily mince pie baking….the list goes on.

This year I have added two new things that, depending on how well it all goes, could join the pantheon of our Christmas traditions. The Santa Dash and Christmas sewing.

Santa Dash

Apparently, there is a run through town centres done in a Santa costume! It is for all ages, abilities and pets are welcome. The organisers raise money for St Gemma’s Hospice. Instead of unilaterally signing up the family for the event, I sought consensus. The first thing the kids asked was “Do we get chocolate at the end of the dash?”. To which I answered “Yes. Absolutely.”. And that was that. My husband, on the other hand, was less keen (he is very suspicious of me now – on account of all the hints I throw around about how running/yoga/gym/swimming are SO good for wellness). But the kids swayed him. So we will be doing the Santa Dash in December! I am hoping we all have a great time and can make it an annual fixture. Wish me luck. x

Christmas Sewing

For years I have considered Christmas sewing but for once I started considering it in time to actually do a little bit of it. Like most of my sewing life  – it was a random idea that started it all. For some reason, I woke up with a vision of a vintage style skirt in Christmas fabric with a border. Something like this..

 

Christmas Theme Skirt 

The very same day I stopped by Fabrics for All to have look and et voila I found a cotton poplin border print tablecloth that fit the bill.

Christmas Fabric – Fabric For All

I couldn’t be happier with this fabric – its bright and just the right weight. I plan on making a dirndl that doesn’t require a pattern. I will be adding pockets at the side seam using a pocket pattern piece from a McCalls M7242 that I have made before (I realised that I need to make another one of these dresses).

As most trips to the fabric store happen for me – I picked up other bits and bobs of fabric. My eye was caught by the red birdies on a navy background. The fabric is a brushed cotton twill that is so soft to the touch. I just knew that I had to make matching pyjamas for the whole family! At only £5/m it is a great bargain. I have traced out New Look 6170 for the younger 4 kids trousers. For the 3 adult sizes, I used a different pattern.

Brushed cotton from Fabrics for all – lighting is so dull. The red is much brighter irl.

Pocket piece that I will use for the skirt.

I drafted the simple pyjama pants pattern for my oldest son using Winifred Aldrich’s book.

All five pants cut out – ready for sewing.

I am also going to give making Christmas theme pillowcases a go – I have been inspired by Tialys’ adventures in home furnishings so I am starting small (and simple).

All the pattern pieces are cut out. I want to have everything ready for next week Saturday when we decorate the house for Christmas.

It’s not much by way of Christmas sewing – but it is a start and I am excited! So I am curious, when would you recommend to start planning for Christmas sewing and when to start the actual sewing itself? Any insight is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace and love,

Hila

I made a video the day after buying the Christmas fabric and was so excited I made a video about the plans.

Kids Sewing – Skater Dress

Earlier in the year I made some Skater dresses for my twins which they loved. Unfortunately, the pink and white dots did not survive very long. The material was not the best. I had made a promise to make a replacement.

Luckily for me, the fabric was already available that she had selected herself when I took them with me to Fabworks. You see, they have developed their own unique tastes and I can no longer get away with picking what I believe will be “cute” for them. I have learnt the painful lesson of lovingly sewing a garment that had a luke warm reception from one and outright rejection from the other. They are very involved in the process now – much less heartbreak on my part. 

On their side – they absolutely love the garments sewn with their input. SO much so that getting them to change out of the garments is a challenge. 

Cotton jersey from Fabworks Mill Shop.
The dress has been washed several times and the fabric has held up exceptionally well for the £4/m price range.
Always nice when I manage to get the neckband flat like this.
Replacement Skater Dress in purple jersey fabric. Leggings are pattern from Ottobre Kids Design.

I don’t know why its taken me so long to realise that of course, they love the things they are involved in more. Its the same with food – my kids will eat anything they have had a hand in making or growing at the allotment. In the past, I have indulged them when they happened to be with me while I was fabric shopping or when I made birthday dresses. But now I see an opportunity to do an activity together – wherein I help them to create the visions they have in their heads. I will try to be open to what may otherwise seem like odd combos to me and I am excited to see where that will take us. Should be fun!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Peace and love,

Hila

Kitchy Coo Skater Dress

The girls’ skater dress is described as funky yet functional knit dress has a fitted bodice, high neckline and a curved flared skirt. With a generous cut, the dress is designed to be worn for up to two years per size, here the skirt hits at the knee in the first year and just above the knee in year two. There are options for a sleeveless, short sleeve and long sleeve version, with bodice pieces drafted specifically for either sleeved for sleeveless.

Its only available as a PDF on the Kitchy Coo website. The size range is from 18months to 8 years. I traced the size that corresponds to 4 years age (4T) and the fit was spot on. The instructions are easy to follow and well supported with pictures. Just like the Lady Skater dress its also easy to sew up.

 

MCBN November: Mens Smart Trousers Burda 6873

The thing I was most scared of sewing was smart work trousers for my husband. I have sewn him T shirts, jeans, hoodie tops, shorts, shirts, a coat; but trousers for work? That felt like out of my league. As the year has progressed I have been trying to push myself out of my comfort zones. I had to try it before the year was out. And here I am – feeling like I can finally call myself an advanced seamstress because not only have a made him trousers for work – they are the best fitting pair of trousers he has owned. Ever! Thats my November Minerva project. I am calling it my levelling up project (any World of Warcraft players here?) :-).

Here is the link that will take you to the post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

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 🙂

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 🙂

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

Kids Sewing – Ottobre Kids Design Magazine

Rocking bunnies! I loved this sweatshirt jersey the moment I laid eyes on it in B&M Fabrics, Leeds Market.

Obviously, it was going to be an Ottobre design make. If are familiar with the magazine, you’ll know that they use really quirky print fabrics and this fit the bill.

The pattern is a simple hooded vest top from the Summer 2015 issue.  I bought a half meter at £14/m which was enough for this top.

Ottobre 3/2015 #20 Sleeveless Hooded Top

It’s a unisex design that has quickly passed from my son in the picture to his younger sister (the perils of sewing for kids is that they grow so fast!)

Unfortunately, the sweater fabric doesn’t have a lot of stretch hence its short residence with the original owner. For fabric like this next time, I will make an oversized jumper like this one here which is still being worn by said son even though it was made in December 2016.

Ottobre 3/2015 

Those cheeky bunnies!

Ottobre Kids Design 3/2015 Hooded Top

Even tried coverstitching the hem.

The cover for your head known as a hood or hoody lining is a cotton jersey that had fortuitously been hanging around waiting for a project. Glad to see it used up!

A quick easy project that gets my thumbs up. Could be easily turned into a dress by simply lengthening it. Ottobre Kids design sizes are always spot on and the instructions excellent. It is my first port of call when I am making sewing plans for the kids.

Thanks for stopping by this little corner of the interwebs.

Until next time – Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,

Hila

Organising my BurdaStyle Traced Patterns Digitally

A couple of months ago I got into a very strong organisation mode. I organised everything I possibly could. Eventually, I got to my sewing cave and it went through a massive reorganisation of fabric, patterns, books, etc. One of the things that I have to deal with is my traced out BurdaStyle magazine patterns.

I have accumulated quite a collection of my baking parchment traced patterns. The physical organisation was the easiest bit but I needed a way to know what I have and I needed a system that was accessible to me whenever I wanted.

Enter Pinterest. I realised that I could actually leverage Pinterest to work for me rather than spend the countless hours scrolling through impossibly perfect looking rooms and cakes and food. ( I had banned myself from Pinterest as it sets such an impossible level of perfection that meant I feared trying anything on there.)

Anyway I digress, I could rant on about Pinterest but it is an easy to access site. Plus, it is free to use.

I went through every single traced pattern I had and added it to a board. I have a board that has ALL the BurdaStyle magazine patterns that I have ever traced. I made sure to pin the line drawings as that is my primary way of deciding whether I like a pattern or not.

I also decided that I needed to have each year group as well. Then I needed each category of Tops, Kids, Dresses, Skirts, Activewear, Jackets/coats and Trousers.

Here is what I pictured happening…

Scenario 1

Hila woke with an overwhelming urge to sew up a skirt from her BurdaStyle magazines. Though she was feeling revitalised and energetic, she most definitely did not have the desire to trace out a new pattern. What can she do? Go check the BurdaStyle board to see what is already traced out of course! Scroll through and voila she is bound to find something.

Scenario 2.

Hila has set herself a challenge to sew one item each month from the 2015 magazines collection just to spice things up and avoid doing the same old same old while also appreciating the older magazines in her collection. First thing is to check what patterns are already traced out that she may like on her Pinterest boards of course! Go to the 2015 section of the BurdaStyle Magazine Traced patterns board and voila!

Scenario 3.

Hila is on a camping trip. Its raining and humid. While stuck in a tent feeling bored she decides to fantasize about what she is going to do in her sewing cave when she gets home. How to help the fantasy? Log onto Pinterest of course! And browse the patterns that have been traced out to figure out which will be the first one to get made as soon as she gets home!

…..Ad nauseam

That was my rationale for my categories of boards.

Once I had input all my BurdaStyle patterns into Pinterest, I now have a routine for adding any new traced pattern immediately to its relevant boards. It’s a quick addition to the routine that saves me oodles of mental space that would otherwise be allocated to trying to remember if I traced this or that out.

So far I am pretty pleased with this system – it is working and fit for purpose.

There is one more step I need to take before I can say that I have completed my organisation – I need to photocopy each page of the “All the styles at a glance” line drawings and keep in a folder. For bedtime reading :-).

I will write up a separate post to share how I organise and store the physical traced patterns.

How do you organise your sewing magazine traced patterns? I’d love to know down in the comments below. In the meantime if you’d like to have a gander in my Pinterest boards and see which patterns I have traced you can do so  here:

 

 

 

Thank or stopping by,

Until next time Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,

Hila

#burdachallenge2018

Mens Hooded T-Shirt For Him, Drafted by Me

Honey, can I wear this sharks top?” He called out from the top of the stairs.

Sure you can babe. You don’t need to ask my permission, its in your closet” came my mildly annoyed reply as I hurried to get the laundry going seeing as 3 of the kids had wet their beds.

OK its just that it hasn’t been photographed yet for the blog has it?” with genuine confusion and concern in his voice and on his face as he comes round the door while pulling the top over his head.

I stop loading the machine to look at him and suddenly realise that he was right. I used to be manic in my determination to catalog every single thing I made. When I started the blog that was the purpose – to have an evidence journal of my creative outputs as part of managing depression. An easy to access record.

I relaxed my posture, “its all good now, I don’t have to do a photoshoot”. It is at this juncture that it occurs to me that I have matured in my hobby/craft/passion. Although strictly speaking there are 2 separate things here: sewing and blogging. I am aware that there are many (many) more people who sew and don’t blog about it.

I love blogging and I love sewing.

Maturity is when your identity solidifies a little bit and your energy levels reach a steady level point – nicely located halfway between having no sewjo and being panicked there is no time to possibly sew everything I want to sew.

Maturity means I now curate my fabric collection rather than add to my stash.

It means I mindfully add to my sewing pattern collection not just for me but for possible future generations.

Maturity means my husband is now allowed to wear a new off the sewing machine garment without waiting for photoshoots to be done first! That’s growth people!

But just for the fun of it – here is the hooded T-shirt I made him. Pictures taken on my phone :-). The pattern is self-drafted. This was the first go and it has a few adjustments to be made. He loves the upper half but would like it to be a narrower at the hem – something about it letting in too much of a draft. The next iteration will have cuff bands and a hem band.

The fabric was from Laura whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in person several times. She is just so lovely and please do go check out her small online business she started where she curates the fabric she sells (also reasonably priced). Her online shop is called The Fabric Magpie .

If you have been blogging for a while now do you find that your reason for blogging has changed? Or is it still the same? 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time,

Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

 

Kids Sewing – An Obvious piece of advice…also The Louisa Coat by Compagnie M Pattern Review

One thing I have noticed about sewing for my kids is that unlike sewing my own projects – there is no time to “marinate” the project once it has been traced out. Because kids, much like bean sprouts, grow at astonishing rates. Even when I think I’ve got the measure of the rate of growth a spurt happens and trousers are looking decidedly Michael Jackson circa 80s.

I know it was a style thing but every time I see this I think he needs the next size up.

This was a rookie error on my part. Eighteen months ago I bought the fabric from The Shuttle in Shipley. It was on sale at a great bargain price. The pattern is the Louise Coat by Compagnie M. This pattern is a mammoth of a pattern. First of all, it has a gazillion pages that I taped up (I believe it was at this point that I reconsidered my relationship with PDFs – and it was closer to 55 pages but still…) And then because it’s a kids pattern I couldn’t cut out the pattern – I had to trace it off since I might need to make them the coat again. It has a lot of pattern pieces to trace too since it fully lined.

The size range is very impressive for the price from age 1year to 12 years. It boasts a lot of features too:

  • 2 back options : basic & special split back (beautiful in combination with the hood option)
  • 2 closure options : zipper or buttons
  • 2 collar and hood options : Standard Elton collar, Tulip Elton collar, Hood (with or without piping)
  • Extra options : cuffs and a flower detail

By the time I got to cutting out the lining I was tired of the project and began to seethe at the idea that I would go through all this effort (It was going to have piping too) for them to only wear the coats for 1 or 2 winters at most? (Its not their fault I know but still….) Anyway, things happened and I didn’t sew for a while. It sat in the UFO box which I am working through slowly. So when I got to this bag I realised that they probably had grown out of it since I had traced the size 4y before they turned 4 but now they will be 5 this December.

The lining was those thick padded quilty looking fabrics but alas when I basted the coat it was very clear that lining it would mean they could not wear them. So I made lemonade out of the lemons. I decided to fish the coats without the lining and call the lining a sunk cost.

The quilty looking padded fabric that was meant to line the coats.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I wanted to just chuck the entire project bag in the bin and put it down as experience to NEVER wait on sewing a kids project BUT…..BUT…… 2 things happened that trapped me into finishing them –

  1. The door to my cave is not kept locked and it has come to my attention that sometimes the kids wander in there and have a gander. The twins did just that when I had the pattern pieces out to which they put 2 and 2 together seeing the sizes and came downstairs with ebullient smiles proclaiming what a wonderful mother I was to make them sparkly pink dresses. What are you going to do? I tried to give myself an out by saying that they might not fit because I cut them out a long time ago. Now, this is where I learnt that my kids pay attention when I am doing things. ” Thats ok, you can get us to try it for size mummy. You’re the BEST mummy in the whole world to make us sparkly dresses” and my fate was sealed.
  2. The other thing is that I just adore them so much and of course I had to find a way to make it work!

I used the barest of seam allowance to get as much room as possible and even then its tight of they wear a jumper underneath. I finished one hem with bias binding and the other was just a normal hem. I used their favourite buttons which were the largest buttonholes I have ever sewn. I bought these wooden buttons back when I started sewing in 2013 ish so its good to use them up after they have spent years being toys.

Ok so my obvious advice to myself to remember is that much like a fire drill when I decide to sew for the kids there is no choice it has to be done quick! No marinating the project- get it done! The reasoning for a fast completion here is compelling – they will grow out of the size you are marinating!

Nearly forgot to mention that despite this self-inflicted issue – it really is a lovely pattern that has well thought out and presented instructions. Excellent value given all the different views you get and the large age range of the pattern. I’d like to give this another go but maybe in another year :-). Once I got going with and decided that it had to be done it actually didn’t take that long to make – 2 sittings of about 2 hours each.

What’s your advice for sewing for kids? Have you made rookies errors like this too? Let me know I am not alone please 🙂

Thanks for stopping by,

Peace and love,

Hila

PS They were delighted with their coats that it was worth it and in the end, I felt silly for resenting the time it would take to sew them up. Even if they only wear them a few times – the joy on their faces is more than enough to make it worthwhile.

Louisa Coat Pattern by Compagnie M

Pocket lining

Faux piping. I just pressed it so a bit of the lining showed. Much easier to do than actual piping.

 

MCBN September: Adventure Sewing–Loungewear Edition

I have been feeling like I am in a rut of late. Though I love sewing, it’s been feeling a bit episodic. I felt a longing to shake things up and realised that I was seeking adventure in my sewing life. Enter adventure sewing.  Here is an excerpt from  my September post

I came across the term “sensation seeking” the other day. Sensation seeking is a trait we all have and includes the search for complex and new experiences; this month’s project is a perfect example of my sensation seeking trait. I have decided to call this “adventure sewing”. Let me start from the beginning….

Here is the link that will take you to the post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Peace and love,

Hila