Monday, 11 August 2014

spotlight dress

This jersey fabric came from my last trip to New Zealand from a Spotlight store and it was mega-cheap. And the pattern - Vogue 8663 - was a couple of euro at the Knitting and Stitching Show - it's quite the little bargainlicious number, this. 

It's Very Easy, Very Vogue and it is pretty simple. However, this dress has taken FOR. EVER. Not because it's difficult or anything, just because of a series of unfortunate incidents. 

After I cut it out my sewing machine broke. (It's still broken...) But I actually invested in a new (old) refurbished 30 year old Brother machine - which I now kind of love for it's basic mechanics. Then I didn't have the right thread, then I didn't have the right bias binding, then I didn't have the right zip etc etc. 

But it made it's debut today with a special commendation of being best thing I have made so far from my friend at work. 

I like the pleat details in the neckline. I went on a futile hunt for an orange bias binding before realising that I was never going to get a match but I think the white binding works pretty well. 

It remains to be seen how well this fabric washes but I was very lucky/ flukey that this fit me so well. I would so make this dress again. It also has a version with sleeves which would be nice for winter. 

Pattern: Very Easy, Very Vogue V8663
Fabric: Medium weight jersey from Spotlight, New Zealand
Size: 10 with no alterations

Sunday, 10 August 2014

things i liked in july 2014

...the things that I've been liking lately: 

1. Handmade Jane's takeover of OWOP.This coincides nicely with the fact that a) I've been wanting to see what else I could do with Burda 7051 and b) our Dublin sewing meet-up group have decided to use this pattern for our own sew along 

2. Geometric stamping idea and how-to on Papercut Collective I wonder could I even incorporate this into my OWOP pattern? Now there's a thought... hmmm... 

3. I definitely definitely want to do this! Guthrie and Ghani's guide to making your own espadrilles sell the kits and for Irish readers, I spotted them in Hickeys. 

4. A Handmade Wardrobe made this gorgeous travel set using the Grainline Studio's Portside Travel Set pattern. 

5. I couldn't help but notice a few resemblences in the latest BurdaStyle's to a couple of things I had pinned lately. This gold dress is from Saint Laurent. 

6. Pretty simliar to BurdaStyle's wrap dress.

7. And perhaps this flowing Dior top... 

8. Could be copy-catted from BurdaStyle's long sleeve top

9. Since rhubarb is in season, I made this very simple but completely delicious rhubarb fizz. I recommend! 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

sewing and listening

I know lots of knitters like knitting because it's something you can do in front of the telly. It's portable and you can curl up on the sofa with a ball of wool and a box set. You can bring it along to knitting meetings, sit with pals shooting the breeze, drinking tea and eating jammy dodgers. 

But sewing - not so much. We've had a few lovely sewing meet ups in Dublin. We chat about sewing in a nerdy fashion, we've been fabric shopping and we've chosen a pattern to sew for our next meet up. 

It's great to do this but sewing is so un-portable and hence can be a little solitary. 

I like to listen to radio or podcasts while I'm sewing and I thought I would share some of my favourite things things I have come across. 

I heard a really great edition of This American Life called Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Short Cuts - lovely little pieces that have been put to animation for the BBC. This is The Tale of the Sickly Whale and it's really sweet! 

The Big Picture by Siobhan Mannion is a drama that features a costume designer - perfect for sewing along to!

Radio listening is  also my job because I make radio documentaries - our most popular radio documentary is a really charming story:  Don't Go Far

Do you listen to anything while sewing? Hit me with your recommendations! 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

my new most favouritest dress ever

This is the famous New Look 6000. There's been a lot of love for this dress knocking around the Internet in the past and now I know why!  

I actually made this as a wearable muslin using fabric that I *think* came from Chad. It's part of my somewhere-from-the-African-continent stash anyway. I find it difficult to know what to do with the African fabric because so many of the prints are so big. But as it started coming together I realised I was really liking what was happening with the fabric and also the fit. 

One minor problem with this fabric is that there are quite a few irregularities with it - some pieces of the fabric have completely different colouring to the rest of it! 

These photos were taken after a day of wearing it around town and it's a bit creased. I completely adore the side pleats (hard to see in these pictures I know but trust me, they are there!) I cut the size 12 and didn't actually have to make any adjustments.

The reason I was making a muslin was because the plan was to make this in a black faux leatherette material that I got at our last Sewing Meet-Up which was really good fun. We went to a factory shop called Michael H which is particularly hard to find and when you do it is behind this (locked!) door. 

Inviting huh?! But it's worth persisting to getting to the other side of this door because it is full of completely random fabric but we all came out with something weird and wonderful. 

I'm also looking forward to making versions of New Look 6000 with the collar because that's why I bought the pattern in the first place!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Liebster Love

Right so this is disgracefully late but I got a Liebster Award from Rachael at The Girl Who Makes Things which is just lovely! 

I was nominated last year but I think it's actually a cool way to keep spreading the word about new blogs out there. I know this has got me to go looking about for new and interesting people doing new and interesting things! 

So here goes with my answers to the questions. 

1. If you could keep one sewing pattern for the rest of your life which would it be? 
Oh that's difficult! Actually the top I made recently is so easy and useful that I know I'm going to use it a tonne of times. And I keep daydreaming about how I can customise fabric and interesting things that I could do with this pattern. It's Burda Young 7051. 

2. What is your first sewing memory? 
I love my first sewing memory! I don't know how old but I was but  I know we were pretty young. My mum got my little brother, my two cousins and me to cut up little squares of fabric and sew them together to make our first patchwork square. They were SO wonky but my mum made them into a cushion. I remember how happy I was that we had done it. 

3. Which project are you most proud of? 
I think that would be the dress I made recently. I'm not sure if/ when I'll be wearing it but it is probably the most intricate thing I have made and took so much seam-ripping and re-doing. 

4. Apart from yourself, which person do you sew most for? 
Ahem... well that would be tricky as I'm kind of a selfish sewer!I have made a few things for friends and actually I have really enjoyed giving something that I made myself and would like to do more of it. The problem is that I'm pretty slow at completing projects. I've also compulsively (because it was so cute!) bought a pattern for a child's top and dress from Oliver + S which I'm excited about sewing for my friends' children. 

By the way, they have a nice selection of freebie patterns on their site. 

5. Indie patterns or the Big Four? 
Both! I do really like the idea of supporting all of these emerging pattern makers so I'm working my way through sampling lots of the Indies. My latest purchase that I'm very excited about is from Republique de Chiffon. I've bought the Bernadette jacket - let's see how I get on with those French instructions! 

6. When are you most content? 
Sewing on a Saturday morning with the radio on! Dinner out with my friends or boyfriend...Swimming in the sea... 

7. When are you most frustrated? 
When I'm procrastining!! Thinking about sewing but not doing it. This is true for most of my life!

8. If you could put one thing in Room 101 (your pet hate) what would it be and why? 
Can I put bad manners in Room 101? Why can't people just be nice, eh?! 

9. What would be your last three course meal on earth? 
Well, I'll start off with Peking Duck Pancakes and then a really really juicy slow-cooked pulled pork... 
For pudding, it's a good old fruity creamy pavlova... which I'll eat really slowly ;) 

10. Who is your style inspiration? 
Cliche I know but Kate Moss is just eternally cool. 
In the sewing world, my current girl-crush is Jolies Bobines - just makes me want to make everything she makes because she's so goddam stylish!

11. What are your sewing goals for this year? 
To make more things that really suit my own style, to be more productive and to STOP PROCRASTINATING!!! 

Now for the next bit - my nominees!This is supposed to be people with followers that number less than 500. I've gone with the Bloglovin stats so big apologies if my nominees have more followers than I realise! 

Stitch and Cappuccino
Love Lola
We The Sewing
Sewing Tidbits
A Handmade Wardrobe
Sartorial Sweatshop
Cathy Wu
Creatively Captured
The Stitching Misadventures of Our Heroine

And my questions: 
1. What is your all-time favourite pattern? 
2. What is your day job - is it something creative?  
3. Where do you look for inspiration for what to make? 
4. Where did you learn to sew? 
5. What frustrates you most about sewing? 
6. What do you love most about sewing? 
7. What is the garment you have made that you are most proud of? 
8. Would you like to make a living from sewing or are you happy just having it as a hobby? 
9. What do you like / dislike about blogging? 
10. Which is your favourite blog? 
11. Tell us something surprising about yourself! 

And I think that's it - Thanks Rachael! 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Ahoy there Dubliners - we're going fabric shopping!

The next Dublin Sewing Meet-up is this Saturday and the last couple of times we've met up, Emma has been telling us about Michael H Fabrics, a lesser-known and kind of unusual sounding fabric shop on Dublin's northside. 

So this month's meet-up is going to take a trip to Michael H to see what weird and wonderful things we can find. 

The more the merrier so follow this link to Meet-up and RSVP to Emma! 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

sewing, coffee and cake - next dublin meet up

I'm not the organiser of this, but a couple of people had asked me to let you know when the next Dublin sewing meet up is. 

It's at 2.30 on Saturday 10th May in KC Peaches (yum) on Nassau Street.  You'll need to join up to the Meet-Up site and RSVP there with Emma. Click HERE for the link.  

The last one was really nice - hope to see you there! 

Monday, 28 April 2014

going freehand with chinelo

So I mentioned a little while that I was off to London to do a freehand cutting workshop with Chinelo Bally from the Great British Sewing Bee which was enormous fun indeed.

There were twelve of us and we made a peplum top - freehand, Chinelo style. 

The whole thing was really interesting. We spent a bit of time measuring ourselves - there are lots of measurements that Chinelo uses so it's good to do it under her supervision to get the correct ones. 

We then used some of the measurements to mark the fabric and fold it - there were a couple of times that I wasn't exactly sure how it was going to work - it's actually more intricate than I had expected. 

Chinelo lived in Nigeria until she was eight years old and her aunt taught her to sew pattern-less. She doesn't even use pins! It's a liberating way of sewing for sure, even though I only dipped a toe in the water with this workshop. 

I'd love to see everybody else's finished products because some people made dresses and people did varied lengths and neck shapes. 

I had to leave a little early to catch my plane. When I told Chinelo that I was going to get a plane back to Ireland, she looked a tad shocked!!  I did feel like a bit of a lunatic for making the trip all the way over I must admit but I'm really glad that I did. 

I didn't actually get my top finished there, and I'd say a few people didn't but I had it all cut and the sewing started enough to be able to finish it off when I got home. The neck and arms are finished with bias binding. The main thing I need to do is try to make another one quickly before I forget everything! 

It would be amazing to have more time with her to learn more. For example, I think I did still manage to do something wrong with my measurements because my top was a bit big and I needed to adjust it so it's not perfect. But I think a bit of practice doing this would mean that I would have more of an understanding of what is actually happening when a garment is coming together. 

Chinelo is running more workshops but I think they are booking up quickly. You can book them here and also her blog is here

Do you have any experience with pattern-less sewing? I'd love to hear about others adventures in freehand sewing...

Thursday, 10 April 2014

when africa meets japan...

I have material I bought in one of three African countries I was lucky enough to visit in the last few years - Chad, Mozambique and Kenya.

I wish I could remember which was from which country! Anyway, suffice to say, this obi-style belt is using material bought somewhere on the African continent. 

For once in my life, I went to lots of trouble to match up my patterns and I think that looks lovely, except the tie kind of then covers it up. So maybe this would be better in a plain fabric. If I make it with a print again I could put the tie at the back. What do you think? 

I can upload measurements and instructions if anybody is interested! 

In other sewing news, I went along to a sewing Meet Up organised by a lovely lady called Emma on the website. Five of us nerdily nattered over coffee and tasty things in KC Peaches in Dublin - really nice and hopefully we'll be doing it again if anyone is around Dublin parts! 

And then next Saturday I have another very exciting sewing engagment! I am going over to London to take part in a workshop by the amazing Chinelo Bally! 

If you live in the UK or here in Ireland and you are reading this blog you'll probably know who Chinelo is! But for those who live farther away, Chinelo was one of the finalists in the Great British Sewing Bee. Sadly she didn't win, but Heather made a really stunning showpiece dress to bag her the title and led to this kinda brilliant moment.

But Chinelo has consistently been creating stunningly creative garments throughout the whole series and she is a pattern-free sewer. So I'm really looking forward to hearing about going freehand with Chinelo! 

Can't wait to tell you all about it next week! 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

easy street

I whipped this up before I came away. After the trauma of the stitch ripping and the bodice of the last dress I made, I felt like a comfort-make. Vogue V8907 was just the ticket:

Because I had made this before and the pattern was cut out I made it in an evening. I used this wonderful fabric that I have used for a few previous projects that was a present from a friend.

As you can see in all of these pics, I put this belt with it just to give the waist a bit of definition. It actually looks okay without it, but I felt like pulling it in a bit...

This top has a really nice back pointy detail going on, as demonstrated by the old 'looking backwards' shot here: 

By the way, if anyone is considering visiting New Zealand for a holiday, can I just say - Do It! Such a great place, especially Raglan which is where I am now. 

Now if you'll excuse me people, I have a holiday cider to drink. :)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

rosy in the garden

Hello Internet, 

Remember me? It's been a while... You may forgive me for my absence when I present to you: "My New Dress". 

I'd like to thank the Academy, Mom, Dad and... My Stitch Picker. I could not have made this dress without my stitch picker. 

I feel like I made this dress about three times. Because effectively I did. Most seams were done at least twice. One entire bodice even got completely re-done.  The bodice. The bodice, the bodice, the bodice.... 

Thing about trying to get the bodice to fit without exposing obscene amounts of cleavage proved a tad tricky. I was pulling and prodding and forcing it around. I spent a long time fitting it on - a process I find  really challenging. In the end I stopped pulling it about so much and tried to let its own thing - and sometimes that's the best thing to do! 

This pattern is Butterick B5029, nabbed from the bargain bin at the Knitting and Stitching Show the year before last. 

And I love this fabric(From Hickeys, in case Irish readers interested). I think it would also be particularly kick-ass in a Georgia-style wiggly pencil skirt dress. 

Bit of a 'could do better' grade for my gathering and for invisible zipper insertion but it's basically one of the first dresses I've ever made, so,feck it, I'm giving myself a pat on the back. 

I was a bit concerned halfway through that it is a bit of a pretty-pretty dress and I'm still not a 100% where I'm going to wear it to. I need a garden party invitation or something. Or if somebody could oblige me by getting married in a chateau in France, that might do nicely. I believe I could play a game of croquet and drink a glass of Champagne in this dress. Or if I could go to somewhere like the Southern Hemisphere. Hmm... like say New Zealand. Aaaand, as luck would have it, that is exactly where I am!! And it's SUMMER HERE!!  

And, to have finished it and the fact that it basically FITS causes me pretty much indescribable joy. 

I don't think I'll get much chance to wear this in Ireland so I'm going to enjoy wearing it in the sun! 
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