Oversized Tote Time


It’s been pretty quiet this year on my blog, but it hasn’t been quiet in my sewing room! The year has gotten away from me somehow – planning a wedding does that to you! Now the wedding is over I’ve had some more time to devote to my sewing room (and my blog) and wanted to share probably my most used make of all time with you … my oversized silver tote! 

I got this amazing silver pleather for the grand price of 9 Euros/m! That’s a bargain if you ask me! I also bought it in gold and navy blue – it’s really good quality and looks very close to the real deal. We have an amazing fabric shop in Frankfurt just called ‘Stoffe’ (fabrics) which is a real treasure trove. They buy remnants from big manufacturers and you can find some pretty good bargains there. The service is really friendly too! 

This bag was a self draft – my old accessorize tote with handy front pockets had died and I was dismayed to find there weren’t many with front pockets on the market. After much hunting I did find one … with a tasty 100 Euro price tag!! I decided surely I could make one cheaper than that – it’s just a tote bag with pockets after all?! 

I mainly use a tote when I want to carry a whole load of stuff – my work notebook, my kindle, my cardigan, an umbrella for the ever changing Frankfurt summer weather so I went for it and made this guy big! It probably turned out a bit bigger than I really needed, but have come to love it’s over-sized proportions. I really enjoyed the challenge of working this out as I went along – this was a rare project where I really took my time as I was so keen for it to work out well! Also I really didn’t want to have to unpick anything and leave nasty puncture marks on my pleather.

I’m glad I did – I’ve used this tote for the whole summer now. It’s been to work, it’s been traveling, it came with me on my honeymoon! There’s nothing it can’t do! And it turns out metallics are a winner – they really do go with everything! 

The inside of this bag is lined with some gorgeous fat quarters that a friend brought back for me from the states. They have a silver geometric print on them which goes so well with the outside of the bag! The pockets are lined with them too! I love it when you dig something out of your stash and it’s the perfect accompaniment for your project!

My only regret with this bag is not adding in a magnetic closure at the top or maybe even being bold enough to add a zipper to the top. I will definitely do that on my next one – I’m already planning a navy blue version for use in the winter! 

I also made this cute little clutch for my friend to use as her bridal clutch from the remnants of the silver pleather. What do you think? 

I’ve always had a bit of a love for buying bags so knowing I can make my own is a real treat! I see my bag collection expanding …. 

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Recent Baby Makes

As I’ve had a bit of a run recently on making baby clothes, my baby fabric stash was in *desperate* need of re-stocking. (Disclaimer: my definition of desperate comparative to others may vary!) I’d received a voucher code from stoffe.de and thought it was a good opportunity to bump up my stash. Stoffe.de are really reliable and very well priced. Some of these jerseys cost nearly twice the price at my local fabric store. Obviously as they buy on mass they are better placed to be able to negotiate on price and where I can I try and support my local store – it’s all about trying to find that balance!

This was my little haul:

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Oooo you lovely fabrics!

I tend to keep a stash of baby fabrics as baby projects are those that I just dip in to when I have an hour or two to spare. They’re there for when I feel like making something or need a kick start to my sewjo. I’ve recently been buying a lot of neutral but cute baby fabrics as I’ve realised that neutrals are a big trend for babies right now, and they are also easy to gift to girls and boys!

My first make out of this stash was these hat and bib sets:

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I love to make these as they are quite speedy and people seem to love them. There’s something about how small and cute the hats are! I line the dribble bibs with C.Pauli’s super soft white nicci velours, made with organic cotton. I could just spend hours stroking it. I can’t think of anything better to wear against soft little baby faces! I also use two snap fasteners (sometimes three) so that these bibs can grow as baby does.

Whilst I’m on the subject of C.Pauli I also used some remnants of one of their beautiful box kits to make these gorgeous hats. In-keeping with the neutrals theme, these proved very popular. I will definitely be making more of these as the fabric is so gorgeous.

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I’ve also had more success recently with combining the soft velours for larger bibs with a jersey top such as the one below. I’ve discovered that as long as the jersey is reasonably stable, you can still get a good finish without anything stretching out of shape. I’ve also discovered the cam snaps made specifically for jersey – these have that bit of extra grip for stretch fabrics and I would definitely recommend them!

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Anyway – that concludes my round up of latest baby makes. All of the makes featured have already found loving homes, but should you wish to order anything, just let me know!

Denim Cleo Kit

 

This one has taken me a while to get to blogging, but time to show you my second attempt at sewing Tilly and the Buttons’ Cleo Dress Kit. This time I ordered the dark denim kit, and I have to say, I am super pleased with the results. The fabric was a lovely quality, although I have to confess not quite the color I expected. From my perspective it is more of a dark navy than black, and I think Tilly has updated her kit description accordingly. It was a pleasure to cut and sew and I think the finished dress will hold up well.

I cut the same size as I did on my last Cleo dress, which still works well for me. The skirt is definitely too big, but very easy to take in on completion, so my strategy is just to sew it off and then chop off a good 3cm on each side seam with the overlocker. It’s no couture technique but it’s been suiting me just fine!

I couldn’t believe it this time that I yet again had trouble with the facing. On my last Cleo, I’d accidentally forgotten that there’d been a printing mistake in the first pattern and had cut the wrong facing. This time I had all the right pieces, I just forgot it in my cutting layout and then didn’t have enough fabric left to cut the front facing. So frustrating! However, such challenges are a good opportunity to exercise creativity and resourcefulness. I decided to rummage through my fat quarter stash and see if I could find something funky that I could use as a facing instead. In the end I found some black fabric with different coloured spots – the final result has actually been really cool and it makes me smile every time I see it! At least I know my dark denim Cleo is definitely one of a kind! Maybe third time is a charm on this facing? Who knows!

Saying that I’m not 100% sure I will make a third Cleo. I seem to love making them more than I actually wear them. For me, they’re definitely not something I could wear to the office, so they are limited to weekend wear. What can I say, sometimes on weekends I just want to pull on my jeans and not bother with tights and finding a co-ordinating t-shirt. I’m thinking that might change in the summer though where the Cleo will be nice to wear out and about on weekends. I’ll let you know!

Leather and Gold Pouch

My lovely friend Kaitlyn recently took a trip home to the USA and when she came home I was lucky enough to be presented with a very cute gift. Kaitlyn had bought me a super cute fat quarter bundle of geometric gold and silver prints and it was love at first sight! The fabric is a reasonably heavy weight cotton and it’s been sort of screen printed with metallic paint.

I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to use my fat quarters for until I unwrapped one from the bundle and had a brain wave. Why not combine the gold with some brown leather from my scrap leather collection? 


For me these two are a match made in heaven! I still can’t quite get over the fact I can buy a bag of scrap leather for 5 euros! You get some quite large pieces in there and I love the fact I find uses for them and they don’t end up thrown away! Also real leather really gives what you make an high quality touch! In my mind this pairing was crying out for a chunky gold and brown zipper – it just had to be done! I lined the bag with one of the silver geometric fat quarter prints, so it’s geometric metallics a-go-go! 

I basically made up making this as I went along. I cut the fabric pieces based on the zipper width and then just tried to work from my leather scrap in terms of good proportions. 

Check out my cute new scissors by the way in the above picture! Had to get them in there! For reference though – my cute new scissors only cut fabric. I find the best thing for cutting leather is a craft knife! 

I stitched the leather pieces to the fabric pieces to make the two sides of the bags. I top stitched the leather to give a professional finish. 

This project came together just fine with a few minor rushing related mishaps, including breaking one of my leather sewing needles by trying to sew over my metallic zipper teeth (idiot!) Apart from the growing pains though I love the finished product! I’m currently using it to house all my make up, and am slightly regretting not making it bigger and using it as a clutch handbag! I’ve still got some fat quarters left in silver … so maybe a combination with black leather … hmmm ….. I’m feeling another project coming on! 

Brooklyn Skirts

Bearing in mind just how much I love the Seamwork Brooklyn Skirt I can’t believe I seem to have omitted to blog about it the first time I made one. Having looked through all of my archives however, I can only conclude that this appears to be the case. I have now made 3 (yes count them, three) of these amazing skirts, and every time I make them, I fall in love with this pattern again.

True to it’s pattern description, the Brooklyn skirt only take a few hours to make. If you have an overlocker it whizzes up even quicker! The only brain boggling piece is the box pleat, but once you have it down first time around it’s a breeze. I would be practically confident to say now that I could make one of these without looking at the instructions, it’s that simple!

My first Brooklyn was made out of a grey wool mix, which is perfect for this skirt. You definitely need something a little heavier that holds the pleats and falls beautifully. My second Brooklyn was made out of some electric black and blue dogtooth wool that had initially been intended for a Tilly Arielle Skirt but I kept putting off using it because it was just too gorgeous. When I read more closely that a Tilly Arielle is best suited to something with a little extra stretch, I kept my beloved dogtooth for later. The perfect opportunity came when I was looking to do some stash-busting sewing due to lack of funds and I realised it would be perfect for a Brooklyn. Serendipity provided and I even had an electric blue 20cm zipper in my zipper jar (God knows what that was initially intended for?!) so I could sew this make entirely from my stash.

This has become one of my all time favourite Brooklyns – I wear it frequently to work paired with some patent brogues and a long sleeved black T-shirt. I love the fact that it is almost certainly one of a kind and completely individual, and yet not so crazy that I can’t get a tonne of wear out of it.

One of my other favourite things about the Brooklyn pattern is that this one fits me in a size 14 cut straight from the pattern, which is a miracle. It is like this skirt pattern was made for me!

You’re probably getting the picture now – I bloomin’ love a good Brooklyn! Based on the amount of wear the grey and dogtooth versions get, at Christmas I decided I should make a black version. I don’t often sew black items – I don’t know, there’s just something I find totally uninspiring about buying black fabric. However, with the amount of coloured shirts and long sleeve T shirts I have in my wardrobe, I knew this one would be investment. I treated myself to some beautiful wool/cashmere blend which is super soft (and also happened to be on sale – yippee!) Sewing with cashmere gave me the fear a little bit as I just really didn’t want to screw it up and waste it. As it happens I now have a nice little remnant which I am thinking of using to make a teeny cashmere coat or matching but teeny skirt for my niece. We shall see!

Making this Brooklyn was extra special for me as it was my first make in my new craft room (more on that to come!). I have to say, having my amazing cutting table (also known as the Ikea Stenstorp Kitchen Island) was every bit as awesome as I’d hoped.

The sewing gods were smiling when I made this skirt. I had the hands down best zipper placement I have ever done. Check it out:

I love the metallic zipper on this skirt. It’s my little nod to a fun feature while sewing something black!

So here it is, finished Brooklyn number 3.

As you can see, Maud loves to wear a Brooklyn as much as I do!

This skirt has been a really successful make – I wore it to our New Year’s Eve Party with a Denim shirt tucked in, and then today I wore it to work. It ticks a lot of boxes so I am pretty convinced it will become a long term wardrobe staple. I shall wear it until it falls apart! What about you, do you have any recommendations for other wardrobe staples? Or any patterns you return to again and again! Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

Cleo Dungaree Dress

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As soon as I saw Tilly’s Cleo Dungaree Dress, I was sold on it. It’s the sort of item of clothing I would love to buy in RTW stores, but would never fit me on account of my unusual *ahem* proportions. Sewing it myself was a great opportunity to make my little dungaree dress dreams come true!

Normally I’m not a big fan of kits, as I like to choose fabrics myself and I think it adds to the individuality of a make. In this instance though, Tilly has done such an amazing job of sourcing great fabrics, that I swooped and bought an aubergine needlecord kit as soon as it went on sale. It seems to be a good job that I did, as since the day I purchased the kit it seems to be constantly sold out – I believe at the moment there is a waiting list! So I feel extra special to have gotten my paws on a hallowed Tilly aubergine kit.

Anyway, on to the pattern. This pattern does 100% what it says on the tin – it’s a speedy and satisfying make with nothing too tricky. Or at least it wouldn’t have had anything too tricky about it had I remembered the special email Tilly sent out saying there had been a printing mistake with the front facing and to use the email supplementary piece she sent out. As I completely forgot about this until I came to try and get my damned facing to fit, I had no choice but to perform extensive facing surgery (especially as I was out of aubergine needlecord fabric). I was actually quite proud of myself in the end though – I found a creative solution which actually looks relatively normal from the inside. Could definitely have been worse! What is the lesson here? DO NOT FORGET to use Tilly’s supplementary facing when you cut this out the next time!

The other lesson I learnt on this make is to pay more attention to pocket placing markings. I accidentally placed my pockets wwwwaaayyy too far down the skirt and had to take them off and re-attach, which was kind of sad as they were so straight and perfectly top stitched the first time round. You live and learn though right?

I cut my usual size 7 grading to a 4/5 on the hips as I do with most Tilly patterns and this worked perfectly for me. My partner did make some helpful comments about me maybe widening the top part/doing an FBA on the top to give me more boob coverage, but you know what, I’m just going to be happy with what God gave me and leave it as it is. I like it and that’s the main thing!

What I loved most about the Tilly kit is that the dungaree buckles and interfacing and thread are all really high quality. The buckles attach super easily and hold really well. I feel like I’ve made something that will really last which is great! I liked the kit so much that have now purchased a second – the dark denim. I can’t wait to stitch it up and combine it with fun t-shirts – maybe even some of my more fun printed Agnes tops which I’ve made! I would definitely recommend this make – even for beginners absolute beginners! Give it a go! I’m glad I did!

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New Year New Look

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It’s nearly a New Year and it’s time for a bold new look! Having had my blog for over a year now, I thought it was time for a change. I hope my new look and name is reflective of a quieter and more professional sewing space! I still plan to post about new pattern releases and makes, but will also be adding some more information about options for custom orders and designs. As a result my blog will be a multi-purpose space – a diary of stitch creations and inspirations and a showcase of some of my favourite pieces!

Baby Clothing Bonanza

It’s been a quiet few months on the blog front these last few months due to lots of exciting life adventures. I moved to New York City for a month and left the joys of Frankytown and my sewing machine behind, which meant there wasn’t so much news to share. On my return, I was greeted with a lovely surprise of a proposal, so it has all been a bit of a whirlwind. All of this busy-ness hasn’t lead to a decrease in sewing, just a decrease in blogging my projects. I’ve been using the speedier method of posting on Instagram (@amyjune2015). 

As the summer rolls on things are starting to return to relative normality, so I wanted to share my new favorite past time – baby clothes. Ever since making the Spencer Dress I have become a total addict. As I haven’t had much time for sewing, they make great projects for when you have a spare thirty minutes or so. They’ve also helped me in my aim to make friends with my over locker as most of them are made with knits. I’ve been hunting around for some of my favorite patterns which I will link to in this post. The best bit – they are all free! There are so many amazing free baby patterns out there. I’d really encourage you to give them a go! 

So what have I made? 

First up – I ordered 50cm of this really cute giraffe fabric online. I had a voucher from www.stoffe.de and was looking for something to make my free delivery allowance and just thought “ah well giraffes always come in handy”. These giraffes were the beginning of the craze!

First I made some baby leggings using this free pattern. I have to say, the sizing of the pattern is 9 months and at the moment I am not convinced they will be big enough for my niece (who is only 7 months). Maybe I just don’t know anything about how small babies really are so we will see what happens. I’m looking forward to seeing if they fit! The pattern was super easy to follow and sews up very fast. The only thing I didn’t like about the pattern is it doesn’t suggest sewing a casing for the elastic. I don’t like the idea of exposed elastic on soft cute baby tummy so I added in a casing myself. They turned out ok in the end I think!


Next up – what to do with the left over fabric? Baby hats was the answer I was looking for! Little did I know I would be embarking on a truly addictive make. I found this great free pattern for a trio of baby hats. Although I’m too lazy to make the little bear ears so mine always ended up a duo of baby hats, I still think these make a gorgeous gift and they really are so easy. They are such a good place to showcase cute fabrics and they are so tiny and adorable. My first set came out pretty well: 


I then received a message from one of my girl friends that this cute fabric store had a stall at the local street festival and they had crazy reductions on fabric. I whizzed on over on my bike and sure enough they had some great reductions on organic cotton jersey in the cutest of prints. I snapped up 50cm each of four different prints and figured I could use them to continue to fuel my baby clothes making craze. The fabrics are supplied by a German company called C Pauli. Be warned though, at full price these fabrics are on the luxury end of the scale for making baby hats! 

That said, this fabrics are a dream to work with and I think they give the final make a pretty professional finish. I love these baby hats – I’m half tempted to keep them for us one day, but I know they should really go to deserving colleagues!


Finally my newest and favorite make – this adorable babygrow. This is made with more organic cotton from CPauli and I have to say, you can feel the difference when you work with it. It is just so soft and snuggly – hell I want to go to bed in this onesie! I love the print and I enjoyed working with this as it challenged me to learn a new skill. I’ve never done bias binding with a knit fabric before and I have to say a teeny tiny baby grow may not be the place to start. If I made this again I wouldn’t bias bind the neckline, I would just finish the neckline the way you finish a t shirt or any other jersey top with a neckband. It was super fiddly and hard to join the ends of the binding together which meant I ended up with a pucker 😦 this displeased me greatly! Apart from that though I love the final piece – I think it’s so cute and can’t wait to give it to my niece. I also loved having another opportunity to use my new favorite things – cam snaps! Check back for a post soon on how I’m using them on everything! 

Anyway that’s it for now – a bit of a long round up of baby bits and bobs! I can’t believe I love making baby things this much! May I continue to know lots of people who are expecting so I continue to have people to supply with gifts! 

Spring Sewing Pattern Wish List

With Spring springing I have been giving my Spring/Summer wardrobe a little thought. There’s a few patterns that have been in my notebook for a while which I am thinking could be great wardrobe staples this Spring/Summer and I am keen to get my mitts on them. Here’s my round up of the patterns which I want to get in my stash asap!

1) Grainline Studios Driftless Cardigan

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This pattern is a new release from Grainline Studios for 2016. I love the relaxed fit of this cardigan and think it would be great in my wardrobe sewn up in black with deep pockets for work, or a nice bright colour for summer such as coral or turquoise. The only reason I haven’t bought this one yet is I am contemplating whether I can pattern hack my Seamwork Oslo cardigan to do the same job … hmmmm … You can never have too many cardigan patterns right?

2) Grainline Studios Maritime Shorts

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I have been looking for a good shorts pattern for a while now as I live in shorts in the summer! I would love a pattern which I could adapt to make a pair of denim shorts out of and I think this might be the one. I love the pocket detail and the fact that these have a waistband (an essential after my disastrous foray in to the Sew Over It Ultimate Shorts pattern which really didn’t work for me!) I’m slightly concerned these might be beyond my skill level, as I have never done a fly closure before – if I don’t try I will never know though right?!

3) Grainline Studios Moss Skirt

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Another one from Grainline Studios – what can I say, they seem to have my summer bottoms sorted?! I really like the design of this skirt – it has been well blogged and photographed and it seems to work well in all manner of fabrics for winter and summer! I would like to make one in denim for summer and corduroy for winter. All I need to do is get that whole fly closure thing down now right?

4) Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt

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I really love this skirt from Sewaholic! It would be my first pattern purchase from Sewaholic, but I am keen to give them a try! I love both the long and short versions of this skirt – the pockets look like a dream come true! I think this would be a great pattern to have in the stash as it could be made up in a whole host of fabrics and colours – a new look every time!

5) Vogue V8909

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I love a floaty pair of elasticated trousers for the summer and think they can look really chic when paired with the right shoes. The ultimate comfort for work on a warm day or something nice for chilling out in on a summer’s evening – I think these could be a hit! I would just need to find the perfect fabric ….

So there it is – my Spring/Summer pattern wardrobe! Team these with some tanks, Tees and cardigans and I think I have my Spring and Summer sorted! Bring on the warm weather and long light evenings!

Easter Agnes

Today I set about a little sewing project using a couple of things that have been in my craft stash for a while. My lovely friend Kaitlyn kindly gave me a voucher for two Tilly and the Buttons patterns of my choice for birthday last year (she knows me so well)! I was so excited, I took the opportunity to indulge in the Agnes top and the Orla top.  Unfortunately though I had such a busy end to 2015, I didn’t actually get to using them until today! As today is a bank holiday, I finally had the time to make something from my project pile and decided that Agnes was the lady for me. With just 4 pattern pieces, she was exactly what I needed for a simple afternoon of sewing.

I’ve got a selection of suitable jersey fabrics in my stash that would have been great for this pattern. In the end, I narrowed it down to three choices – black jersey, dark grey jersey, or bunny print. Seeing as it is Spring, I decided it had to be bunnies (even though this probably wasn’t the most practical choice)! How could I resist these cute little faces though? I’m ashamed to say that the bunny choice also had something to do with the fact that I couldn’t face rethreading my serger … I just wasn’t up for Serger trouble on a wet bank holiday!

Hello cute bunnies!

I was a bit worried about the fit on this top as it is very close fitting and I always have trouble with fitting up top. I cut a size 8 on the sleeves, neckband and bust, grading to a size 5 on the waist and hips. This actually worked out really well, despite the fact it looked a bit crazy on the pattern pieces. I was a little worried the sleeves would be too big, but I think they are drafted quite small as they came up quite well on me. I could have taken them in a little on the lower arms, but I decided in the end I quite like the comfort of how they were fitting.

I chose the most basic version of the Agnes top- omitting the ruched arms and gathered bust. I don’t think I will ever make the gathered bust version – I’m not sure I need to draw any further attention to that body area! I may however return to the gathered sleeves – I think they look quite fun and might make a plain colour version a bit more interesting.

As I made the most basic version, the construction of this top was an absolute dream. Having a serger meant that it came together super quickly and I love the professional finish on the inside. I didn’t have any issues on the thread tension and all of the pieces fitted together perfectly. A lot of the credit on that front goes to this amazing fabric – it’s a rather expensive cotton jersey made by the same company that made the fabric for my Birdy Bettine. It’s great to work with and so comfortable to wear.

So here she is … my finished Agnes:

Overall I am delighted with this make and will definitely be making more of these. They are a really simple sew and something I wear regularly in my day to day wardrobe. I plan to make up a selection of these in long and short sleeve versions – they are great and comfortable for both work and the weekend! In the past I had always bought these tops as basics from H&M or Zara – I’m happy knowing I can now make these myself and add them to my Me Made Wardrobe!