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

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My 8th Moneta needs no introduction….

Hey hey guys!

One of my favourite dresses on the planet is finally on the blog! Whoop! Its a Moneta dress – number 8! Will there ever be a number 10? How many more can I make? Only time will tell. In the meantime this is a pictures post :-)..

Colette Patterns Moneta Dress
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – awesome stripe matching!
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – Pockets are EVERYTHING!
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – Slightly wonky but who cares?
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – Dancing!
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – “Oh no Mr Mad Hatter, I drank from the bottle that said ‘Drink Me’ and now I can almost touch the ceiling!” Caption by Diane DreamCutSew.com
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress Dont know what to call this pose….
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – “I woke up like this and this is how I yawn” 🙂
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – This is my ” I mean business pose” 🙂

Pictures taken at The StitchRoom Sewcial. Fabric was from Fletchers Fabrics in Leeds Market.

Dress in motion here..

Thanks for stopping by and until next time happy sewing 🙂

Peace and love,

Hila

xox

Sleeveless Peplum Blouse BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114 #burdachallenge2018

BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B

Here is a pattern that I like so much I made several of them in succession! I like the simple look and feel of the pattern. It is something that I have had traced for almost 2 years but never got round to making it. It seems I have made up for that.

Sleeveless Peplum Blouse 07/2015 #114

Sleeveless Peplum Blouse 07/2015 #114

I have the tops in this Youtube video here

So I made it in the John Kaldor Lizzano sateen fabric first. The John Kaldor was something I fell for when my friend Ali (akathimberlina) showed hers on IG and I quickly bought from an online shop. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the shop. Its beautiful vibrant fabric that I used to make a shirtdress the M6696 shirtdress and used leftovers to make some this top.

I managed to sew this out of just under a meter of fabric. The rest was used to make a sash.

BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B

The instructions tell you to insert an elastic on the waist but opted not to do that as I found (much to my surprise) that I like the free boxy look.

Instead of sewing the armhole bias binding in the round, here is what I did:

After finishing the neckline I sewed up the shoulder seams. Then sewed the armhole binding in the flat. Next, I sewed the side seams. I fell like this was far easier and neater than sewing in the round.

 

So when it came time to think about my #makenine2018 I knew that the barkcloth would look amazing in this pattern and I did not hesitate to cut into it. I love it!

BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B

I also had some linen left over from the Hollyburn skirt I made a couple of years ago and it was just enough to make this top too. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures but you can see it on my Youtube channel at the link above.

And then I tried the longer non-peplum version of the top but with a few twists, i.e. adding a knit cuff neckline on a woven like I learnt when I made the Merchant and Mills Tee for my husband. It did quite work out though because I forgot to not stretch out the knit cuffing. I am so used to stretching it slightly when sewing but I needn’t have done it with this one so. It does do a bit of a puddle but never mind. The John Kaldor fabric is so comfy against the skin. I barely had 3/4m left from when I made the Sheath Dress.

Alterations

The line drawing shows that the back has a CB seam which means cutting 2 back pieces. I only did that with the first one. Subsequent ones were cut on the fold. It makes no difference at all because the CB is straight.

Size traced: 38.

Verdict – Definitely, a great top that I have no doubt I will come back to again and again. I had a think about which one is my favourite and………..its…………

Making my first print at The StitchRoom Sewcial, Loughborough University, June 2018. Picture courtesy of Lucy Regan, SewEssential.co.uk

 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time

Happy Sewing!

Hila

XoX

Cowl Neck Top 01/2017 #119 #burdachallenge2018

This was another unplanned make for my #burdachallenge2018. The idea for this developed after meeting the fabric. SO I will start with the fabric. This is a beautiful shiny viscose jersey with the most beautiful drape – it is like a liquid gemstone. I picked it up from Fletchers Fabrics in Leeds while shopping with my friend Eleanor. I bought 1.5m without any idea of what to make with it. It was only when I was shooting my Youtube fabric haul video that I realised what this fabric could become.

The pattern is from the Jan 2017 issue of BurdaStyle. Here is the line drawing:

BurdaStyle 01/2017 #119

And here is the style picture 

The recommended fabric is silk jersey in order to achieve the exaggerated cowl neck. The instructions were easy to follow. The neck is finished in an ingenious way IMO. I handstitched the shoulder yoke facing as I didn’t want to topstitch. The sleeves are set in which is a little tedious to do on jersey fabrics but worth it in the end.

It came together quickly. The little bralet is a gem of a pattern as well. I used rainbow foldover elastic because I like it. The pattern calls for cutting out strips of fashion fabric otherwise. Technically this is the first bra I have sewn :-). I am looking forward to whipping up more of the bralets using scrap fabrics.

BurdaStyle 01/2017 #119 Cowl Top
BurdaStyle 01/2017 #119 Cowl Top
BurdaStyle 01/2017 #119 Cowl Top
BurdaStyle 01/2017 #119 Cowl Top – The bralet on its own is a great pattern with a good fit.

BurdaStyle 01/2017 #119 Cowl Top Rainbow foldover elastic
Interior view of the back.
Handstitched inner shoulder yoke facings.
BurdaStyle 01/2017 #119 Cowl Top

I cut my usual Burda 38 but I felt like I could have gone down a size on this which is unusual.

Verdict – a great stylish pattern with the deep cowl. I think I could have done a better job with styling it though. I feel this was designed to be tucked in but in my pictures, I didn’t do that. It does make a difference to how the top looks. Its a lovely top though I doubt I shall be making another one any time soon – I might try it again in size 36.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time

Happy Sewing!

Hila

XoX

A Second pair of Butterick B5895

 

 

These trousers have a long history, of sitting in my UFO box. I cut these out almost 18 months ago and I dont know why they went into the box (you know I know why but allow me my delusion okay).

Anyhow since the uber success that was my Better Late than Never Blazer, I have been very slowly picking out a UFO a month to sew up and see what my creative genius abandoned.

Tangent – I have made the decision to work through my UFO box at a rate of one UFO per month on average. After that there WILL be no more UFO box in my cave. It has been mandated and passed into law. I WILL NO LONGER HAVE A UFO BOX.

Back to the project at hand – I first made this pattern in 2016 (sadly its out of print  now) and loved the trousers which I still wear to this day. These ones were made in a cotton sateen with 3% spandex giving a nice amount of stretch. The fabric is reversible and I did play around with that by using the reverse for the waistband and the hip yokes.

The pattern is supposed to have a center back zip which is an interesting concept on trousers (I didnt realise how accustomed I am to center front or side zips on trousers until I went to the toilet in these trousers – I still automatically reach for my CF). Given these TMI observations – I decided to move the zip to the side seam for this second pair. It worked out beautifully even if I do say so myself.

If you’d like to read further details about the size I cut etc then please <click here>. Pictures.

Butterick B5895

I used the reverse fabric on the hip yoke and the waistband

Butterick B5895 Trousers

Verdict: Yet another UFO conversion success story!!!! I love them 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and until next time Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,

 

Hila

XoX

3 X BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2010 #121A #burdachallenge2018

Ever since I sewed up the turtleneck top from Burdastyle 09/2010 in 2016, I have been planning more variations in my head. You see, this top pattern is so easy to sew up and comfy to wear as it doesnt have a neck seam. Here is the line drawing:

121a_technical_large
Burda 09/2010 #121A

 

blog-pictures-coco-etc-281
Seamless neckline from my first 2016 version

 

To be honest with you I could waffle on but there really isn’t much more to add about this pattern that I haven’t already said here. So here are pictures of the three latest ones which also fulfilled my March #burdachallenge2018 goals.

BurdaStyle 09/2010 #121 – This is a crepe jersey that I picked up from a fabric swap at SewUpNorth
BurdaStyle 09/201 #121 – Fabric is a viscose jersey from Fabworks Mill Shop
BurdaStyle 09/2010 #121 – Quite possibly my favourite made of a viscose jersey that I bought from B&M Fabrics in Leeds Market.

So these have been in heavy rotation especially for layering in the colder months. Its been getting a bit warmer so for now they have been put aside until September. Isn’t it lovely to find a TNT pattern? I now have 5 of these 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and until next time

Happy Sewing!

Hila

XoX

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 – I 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 – there 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

The Great British Sewing Bee From Stitch to Style: The Breton Dress

It gives me great pleasure to share this dress with you. Its from the book, The Great British Sewing Bee From Stitch to Style

The Breton jersey dress attracted me with its wide boat neck line. It also looked simple enough to make and yet it took me nearly 18 months between tracing out the pattern and actually sewing it. Here is the picture from the book:

Sewing the dress was a pleasure as it is instant gratification of the best kind. And to end up with something that makes me feel like a stylish well considered adult, well, that’s just the cherry on the cake! The sewing instructions in the book are really good. Plus the sizing was spot on. This size was selected based on my bust and without any alterations at all this is what it looks like.

Great British Sewing Bee: From Stitch to Style. Jersey Dress
No. I did not stripe match.
I love how the neckline is finished.
I get such a buzz from putting my name on my clothes 🙂
Going for an artistic pose…….(please ignore the holey tights)

If I had to nit pick I’d say that there is a swayback issue on the back but honestly I asked my husband what he thought and he earnestly said that the behind was fine. And that is good enough for me :-).

Fabric was from Jacks Fabrics in Leeds market, bought last year so I am quite pleased at how quickly this fabric was turned around :-).

Overall there are many things that pleased me about this project.

The book only cost £9.99 on Amazon with free P&P. Its great value given the number of patterns that come with the book (27 I think). There are a few more patterns I want to make from there. I did make the Japanese top already.

 

I have already traced out this skirt which was the reason that I bought the book. sewing-bee-book-a-skirtAfter seeing Beth’s version I was very inspired to make it.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Sewing!

Peave and love,

Hila

XXX

Vogue V1486 Pt. 3 Skirt in Bright Floral Scuba

This is a skirt that I have made 2 times already (bright floral here) and (cobalt scuba here). I always said that I wasnt done with this pattern and it still feels accurate even after this 3rd make.

Perhaps its how easy it is to make the skirt that attracts me so. Or it might be the shape of it – not quite a plain A line skirt, it has the drama of the side box pleats on the lower skirt section. left out the back zip and cut the back piece on a fold. Scuba has great stretch and recovery.

 

Size wise I traced a 10 based on the finished garment measurements (I am normally a 12 on Vogue patterns). I did this because the scuba has some stretch in it. The fabric was an impulse online purchase from FC Fabric Studio . One of those posts you see on IG and click away and before you know it, you are receiving a lovely package of fabric. And it really is lovely, just look at it. Continue reading

Burda 05/2016 Bat Sleeve Dress #115B

This is another dress I made specially for a holiday to the seaside. Its from the May 2016 issue of BurdaStyle Magazine. The style is called a bat sleeve dress. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I was intrigued by this pattern enough to make it.The pictures didn’t really do anything for me but it was the line drawing that grabbed me:

115-052016-m_large
BurdaStyle 05/2016 #115B

 

I have made it in ponte before here.The instructions were quite good – though this is very simply constructed dress made up of 2 pieces (front and back) and a neckband. You just have to finish the arm flaps before draping them over each other and securing with the neck-band.

I used a viscose jersey – very drapey and perfect for my purposes. I wanted something akin to a beach cover-up. Easy to to pop on and off. It did the job admirably! Here it is in action.

I definitely see more capelet dresses in the future. Its so quick and fast to sew up too.

Thanks for stopping by and until next time-

Happy Sewing!

Hila

XoX

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 🙂

 

Thanks for stopping by this corner of the interwebs.

Peace and love,

Hila

Love Sewing Issue 44 Reader Review M6886

I made another M6886 as a reader review article for Love Sewing magazine (Issue 44). They invited me to their studio for a proper photoshoot with a make up artist and everything! Even got my nails done :-). It was quite an experience – one that I will cherish. Here is the review……

McCall’s M6886 Pattern Review for Love Sewing Magazine

You can never go wrong with a classic silhouette like McCall’s M6886. Designed to be a close fitting pullover dress, it has three neckline variations and four sleeve lengths. I love the scoop neckline on View D. The simplicity of sewing this dress is at odds with how well presented and chic I feel in it – surely something so quick to sew shouldn’t be so elegant?  Yet it is and that is the beauty of this pattern – I can see why it’s incredibly popular in the sewing community with over 160 reviews on PatternReview.

Well written instructions mean that even a new beginner can tackle this. The instructions are also written for sewing machines so even if you don’t have an overlocker you are covered. I cut a size 8 which fits me well – I took in a half inch at my narrowest waist point as I wanted a snugger fit there.

Let’s talk fabric – this lush wool ponte from Minerva Crafts is the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow as it were. I was torn between the brown and pink colourway but settled on the popping pink of course! Unusually, this beautiful ponte roma stripe is made from 100 percent wool fibres. It has a luxurious feel and was an absolute dream to sew. The stripes measure approx 7mm wide so I easily got away with minimal stripe matching (I can honestly say that stripe matching is not my forteJ.). It also helps that it’s reversible which means cutting out can be economical. The fabric is comfortable to wear, isn’t scratchy and the wool makes for a cosy warm dress – perfect for fall/winter. Love!

This dress has got so much layering potential for winter too – I plan on keeping it cosy by layering it over a black turtleneck with tights and knee length boots! Sweet!!!

If you are looking for a practical, easy to sew and figure flattering pattern then look no further than McCall’s M6886. I have more plans to add to the three that are already taking pride of place in my closet!

And pictures…….

I don’t think I did too bad in a studio 🙂

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

 

Peace and love,

Hila