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

driftless cardigan

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

Maritime Shorts

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

Moss Skirt

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

Hollyburn

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

V8909

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!

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Fabric Shop Tourism

Oo you beautiful fabric haul!

As I mentioned in my last post, last week I was lucky enough to take a whirlwind trip up to Berlin for work! Berlin is one of my favourite cities in the world. I used to live there for a brief time and I had the time of my life. Going back to Berlin is always a mix of nostalgia for the way things were and excitement to see what has changed. However, this time I had a whole new dimension to explore – the fabric scene!

As Germany’s capital city, Berlin is naturally larger and has more to offer than Frankfurt in terms of shops. In addition to being Germany’s political capital though, it is also it’s creative capital! Over the years some neighbourhoods have become decidedly trendy and whether you are for or against gentrification and hipsters, for fabric lovers and creatives, the growing mass of independent shops can only be an advantage! With this in mind, I did a little google search before my trip and happened upon Frau Tulpe. The shop is conveniently located near Berlin’s ever trendier Rosenthaler Platz, which is not too far from my office. As I knew I only had time to visit one store, after perusing the goodies of the online shop and watching their super cute video tour, I decided this was the store for me!

My incredibly patient friend Melissa let me crash our dinner date with pre-dinner fabric shopping. She was amazing as I oo-ed and aa-ed at all the pretty fabrics and the wonderful creations on show. This has to be my favourite thing about the store – the inspiring little handmade bits and pieces on display which just give you an insatiable itch to sew. I left the store overflowing with ideas and 24 hours after my return from the trip I’d already sewed up these Utsensilio‘s similar to what they have on display in store.



So what did I buy? I’m not sure whether a more suitable question would be, what didn’t I buy?! First up, this adorable pattern from Minkrea. I have to say, I’d never heard of Minkrea before I saw them in this store, but their patterns are gorgeous. They are really high quality, multiple language and very simple with great little adaptable add on features. Baby niece is going to look great in this little number. Just got to sew it up before she gets too big!

I also bought some gorgeous bundles of geometric print fat quarters (featured on my utensilios), a couple of funky and decorative lace zips which I’ve not seen anywhere else yet in Germany, a Moda charm pack (fabric line gooseberry), some cream and mint green spotty heavy weight cotton for a weekend tote bag, and the most gorgeous oriental blue floral cotton. I am still deciding for the cotton whether it will become the funkiest blazer you’ve ever seen or some kind of pleated circle skirt. What do you think? I also got some gorgeous fabric covered buttons, which has sort of inspired me to try to learn to make my own. All in all an epic haul! Even better, as my haul was so epic, they gave me a free fabric carrying bag to tote my haul about in AND a loyalty card. What’s not to love?! Here I am with my swag in store (photo credit to the ever-patient Melissa!).

Swag Happy!

  
How about you? Do you know of any fabric stores in cities that I should add to my fabric tourism list? Are you a fabric tourist too? I’d love to hear about your adventures!

 

A New Quilt

It may have been quiet on the blog recently, but this does not mean I haven’t been sewing! In fact, I have mainly been spending my time on researching a new larger project which I have now set about tackling – a new quilt! I couldn’t help but be inspired by my trip to Quiltmanufaktur a couple of weeks ago and decided to set about a new quilt in a completely different style to what I have done previously. I love to work with pre-cuts, and I particularly love Andrea’s jelly rolls, so I stayed in that direction, but I decided this time to work mainly with white and more muted tones, rather than something super colourful!

I love some of the fabric in these jelly rolls – the prints are absolutely stunning. Some of them have line drawings with a lovely dress making theme, others quotes and writing. It’s one of the things that I love about patchwork is being able to include prints that I really enjoy and the effect of them popping up in little pieces all over the quilt. One of my particular favourites is one of the strips with line drawings of aeroplanes – every now and again a little aeroplane will pop up, but only if you look closely!

In the past I have done some super simple strip piecing, so I thought this time I would like to be a bit more adventurous with my blocks. Most of them have turned out quite well so far – I love the effect! I did have one disaster, which surprisingly I didn’t even notice until the day after. Can you see it?


I’ve realised now where I went wrong … I’d cut my triangles in the wrong direction. After getting the seam ripper out I could salvage half of it at least! The rest I will save for a matching cushion cover made out of all of the left over scraps! Here’s a sneak peek of some of my blocks so far ….

  

As you can tell, I need to work a little on my accuracy. Despite using a quarter inch quilt foot, I still can’t seem to get my blocks completely square every time! I am completely in awe of some of the pictures on Instagram of perfect points and aligned seam lines. I’m not going to get too crazy about it though – I think it adds to the charm!

The plan right now is to make 16 blocks and then finish them with white sashing which should be enough for a large lap quilt. I’d like to back it with one of the prints from the jelly rolls and then a scrappy binding made with leftover jelly roll scraps to finish it off. I’m wondering if by the time I have the top finished, I might brave doing some more adventurous quilting than just straight lines. Towards this endeavour, I have finally purchased an open toe freehand quilting foot and am booked on to a “Basics of Free Hand Quilting” course on April 16th. I am very excited! I had a little practice with my new foot and attempted a quilted pot holder. All I can say is – I am glad I am booked on a course! Think I will be needing some help with that one! Wish me luck!

2015 Retrospective and 2016 Sewing Goals

1670_1_wandtattoo_happy_new_year

I may be a little late with the New Year’s greetings, but better late than never ‘ey?! There are a lot of retrospectives at the moment about hits and misses of 2015 on blogs … I too have had my hits and misses of the year – I guiltily confess that I am a more zealous poster of hits than I am of misses!

Despite me thinking that all of my makes when they are finished are my best make yet, there are certainly some that have worked out better than others. For me, hit criteria include anything from having had lots of wear, to being practical, from being beautiful, or to simply bringing me joy. With these criteria in mind, here are my hits:

My Mum’s Quilt: This quilt was a true labour of love, but I love everything about it now it’s finished. I’d learned a lot from my first few quilts and enjoyed having the opportunity to put this in to practice. I love to think of my mum enjoying this quilt and I hope it stays in our family for years to come!

Collette Patterns Moneta: Moneta was the output of my first dressmaking course, so not only is she an incredibly practical garment to wear, but she also holds sentimental value of nights spent at sewing school with Christine. I learnt a lot making this dress, especially about altering a pattern. I’m almost too scared to try and make another, as I don’t think any will be as good as the first!

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress: Everything about making this dress was a joy. The fabric choice was perfect, it was my first time using faux leather, I love wearing it, it’s cosy and warm, chic and comfortable … the list of reasons why this dress is a hit is endless! Ironically though, this pattern also contributes to my misses. I tried to make a second version in black, with a boat neckline rather than the cowl neckline and it was a disaster. The fit was bad, I tried to rush it, the boat neckline flashed my bra straps in a really unflattering way … the list of reasons it was a miss is endless. In the end I didn’t even salvage the fabric I am embarrassed to say!

Espadrilles: I love these because they were something totally new to try! The pattern is a great way to use scraps and I found them so comfortable. They were also a good opportunity to practice hand sewing. I really enjoyed wearing them on holiday in Asia, and shall look forward to wearing them all next spring and summer!

Scrappy Leather Coin Purse: This was a totally spontaneous make and it must be a hit because I’ve used it every day since I made it! I’ve become really attached to it. I never thought of myself as a small purse person before, but somehow it really works for me. It’s simple, soft, classic, and I got to try out sewing leather with my machine while I made it. Awesome!

McCall’s M6992 in florals: This is definitely one of my most worn makes. I love the colours, the fabric and the construction was a joy (apart from that incident with the two left sleeves which we shan’t mention again!). Interestingly though this is a second pattern where I had a miss second time around. I made this pattern in black lace covered jersey with solid black sleeves – exactly the same size, similar fabric, but it just didn’t come together that well. If I’m honest with myself, I think I thought the first one was so great I’d just whip up a second one in no time, and I wasn’t as careful as I could have been. It’s not unwearable, so not a total miss, but certainly not my favourite.

Burda Sweatshirt 6718: I made this sweatshirt for my boyfriend and he wears it a lot, so I think that counts as a hit! I also made a second one for my dad for Christmas, and although I am yet to see evidence of him wearing it, it does fit him and the construction was great. The second one I made was also my first full project with my new serger, so it’s a hit in terms of symbolising Serge and I finally becoming friends.

I also have an as yet unblogged hit … the Brooklyn Skirt from Seamwork. This one has been a total hit for me, from construction, to fit, to practical use! Coming to a blog post soon!

So that was 2015 … what about 2016 I hear you ask?

This year I’d love to take it up a notch … there’s a few things that I’ve not ventured towards and I’m thinking now might be the time!

  1. Buttonholes – for someone with a button collection as large as mine (I just LOVE buttons), I really do need to make more garments with buttons and buttonholes. I’ve had a very jersey focused year this year, as I love the comfort and easy care factor, but I think it’s time my buttonhole foot and I really got to know each other. I’ve never even tried one!
  2. Lining – I am yet to line a garment … I’ve always found the concept a little scary. I know however I need to master this if I would ever like to conquer my coat aspirations. I have my eye on making a Brooklyn Skirt in a wool brocade with an exposed zip which would be crying out for a lovely navy blue lining. Let’s see if I brave it!
  3. Serge – I want to spend more time learning how to optimally use my serger. I was lucky to get an amazing overlocker book for Christmas, so I think I’ll be spending a lot of time with that first!
  4. Homeware – as we are moving house this year, I’d love to try making blinds and curtains, which I’ve never done before. I think this could be a really useful skill for the future, and could also save us some money, so definitely worth a go, any tips much appreciated!
  5. Full Bust Adjustment – To be honest it’s amazing I’ve gotten away with not doing one for so long. However I’ve really come to realise that just cutting a bigger size and grading down at the waist and hips doesn’t always cut it in terms of a professional looking fit.

So that seems like plenty for me to be getting on with! I will keep you updated on my progress! Wishing you all a happy and crafty 2016!

Woman_sewing_with_a_Singer_sewing_machine

Contemplating Coats

As I prepare to head off to hot hot climes, I am doing something rather ridiculous and contemplating coat sewing. When I first started sewing, I remember reading  DidYouMakeThat’s chronicles of sewing V8548 and thinking that sewing a coat was an insurmountable task open only to super human sewers such as Karen. However, the more I have gotten in to sewing, the more I am tempted to give this coat thing a go. Here’s a list of reasons why I think sewing a coat would be fun:

  1. I find it incredibly difficult to find coats that aren’t double breasted and where the buttons don’t strain over my top half or alternatively look like a sack. Sewing a coat that fits me would make me feel smug and delighted.
  2. Sewing a coat would appear to give me a great opportunity to use some chunky buttons. I do love a good chunky button.
  3. Sewing a coat would expose me to using new materials – scary can be fun right?!
  4. Sewing a coat is necessary – my current dress coat has seen better days!
  5. Sewing a coat would be a long term project that could see me through the cold dark month of January.
  6. Sewing a coat would hopefully be a timeless and classic addition to my wardrobe.
  7. There seem to be plenty of participants in the V1467 Pea Coat Sew Along – If all these people can do it, why can’t I?!

With those 7 reasons in mind – who wouldn’t want to crack on with a coat?!

Helpfully, the McCall Pattern Company shared this great blog post today, helpfully entitled “If You’ve Never Sewn a Coat Before, Start with One of These Patterns”.  It was like they’d been reading my mind. There’s some great and very wearable coats in this selection. My particular favourites are Butterick B6244, Vogue 9136 and Vogue 9156.

I also really like Butterick 6143, Simplicity 1254and New Look 6325 (not from the McCall’s selection).

As it stands, I think I would be wise to choose an unlined coat as my first attempt, so I think that takes Butterick 6143 off the list for this time round. I’m keeping it in here as an aspirational piece though, it has everything I am looking for in a coat pattern! A full skirt, fitted waist, nice collar, chunky buttons *sigh*. When I’m looking for something to sew next Autumn, I hope by that point I can return to Butterick 6143 and whip up a lining in no time!

Between the rest it is a tough call – I think Butterick 6244 is very on trend in terms of the Coatigan look, although no chunky button usage there! I love the hood on Simplicity 1254, but then I equally love the draped cape look and chunky button of New Look 6325. The stand up collar of V9136 looks very snuggly, and yet V9156 looks very practical for wearing over work outfits. I think I’ve got some tough decisions to make! Any suggestions? What would you pick?

Here’s hoping I can pick up some bargain priced wool or felt in the January sales – nobody else will start coat making at that point in time right?!

With thoughts of coats I shall depart off to sunnier places to wear my Espadrilles! I will miss sewing and the sewing community, but it doesn’t hurt to be offline once in a while! I’ve got stacks of things piling up on my pre-Christmas sewing list, so I’m sure there will be plenty of sewing to be done when I get back! Enjoy the rest of November people!