Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Mathilde blouse

I attended a workshop in May to make the 'Tilly and the Buttons' Mathilde blouse at the fabric shop / cafe called Ray Stitch in Islington. I invited my friend Hayley to join me for the weekend to attend the workshop which was held on Saturday and Sunday from 12 - 5pm. Ray Stitch is a lovely little haberdashery that sells some gorgeous fabric and notions along with great tea and coffee (and cakes).

Tilly was a great tutor, helping everybody through the various stages of the Mathilde blouse construction that included; pin-tucking, stay stitching, machine gathers, basting, French seams, and rolled hems. I had to put in the sleeves two times and am not completely happy with the pin tucks at the front because one is slightly out at each side (luckily they are the same ones for symmetry's sake).

It has taken me quite a while (nearly two months) to finish the Mathilde blouse - it just needed the button holes slitting and buttons hand-sewing! Anyway here it is with a slight nautical-esque theme with the blue 'bunting' printed fabric with red stripy buttons.

If I make another Mathilde I will definitely use a plainer fabric because you don't even notice the pin-tuck detailing at the front because of the busy fabric. Nevermind, at least I know for next time.....






Sunday, 28 July 2013

Gap skirt re-make

I love this white Gap skirt with roomy pockets and pin-tucking detail. It only came in one colour so I decided to do a re-make in black cotton.



I didn't use a pattern but used the skirt as a guide. It started life as a long rectangle with curved pocket sections cut away at either side which I finished with some self-made bias binding. The centre of the skirt front at this point was very wide ready for the pin-tucking. Lots of it!!

I repeated the pin-tucking at the back centre of the skirt too. Front and back were then sewn together. I finished the hem with a deep rolled hem and bias bound the top of the skirt after inserting a zip. I realised after making the skirt that I inserted the zip in the 'wrong' side - but hey, I'm not bothered it fits!



Saturday, 27 July 2013

Bustle skirts

About five years ago bustle skirts were being sold in Top Shop made by a company called Lulu and Red for about £90. Now I love fashion as much as the next girl but that little voice in my head was saying "I could make that" crept in and I spent a good ten minutes scrutinising how it had been constructed - does anybody else do that or is it just me?

Well, I made quite a few of these skirts - some of them made their way into my wardrobe and others (an over the top tartan version inspired by Vivienne Westwood) didn't!

The two skirts that I have still got are made in more wearable everyday fabrics and they were quite easy to make involving no pattern. All you need is a rectangle of fabric and a long and strong zip. I customised with buttons and ribbons, but its up to you what to do.

Grey stripe



The placement of the zip is crucial for holding the whole skirt together leaving the remainder of the rectangle of fabric falling in a cascade - hence the bustle.
I left the edges of the fabric raw at the hemline of the skirt - just did some pulled thread work to create a finish that replicates the white selvedges at the back bustle.

Blue stripe

On the second skirt I folded the rectangle so about two thirds of the folded fabric created a second layer of drape at the back. I used a friends overlocker in contrasting red thread to finish the edge of the hemline and folded section of the skirt to match the bright red zip. I finished the orange ribbon detail with some hand stitching in red thread to complete the look. 






Hirst skirt

I have worn this skirt lots of times and I wish that I had made a paper pattern so I could easily make another version. It was drafted from an old skater skirt and I free-styled the construction using some spotty furnishing cotton from Ikea that reminded me of Damian Hirst's spot paintings - hence the Hirst skirt title!


I fashioned a back split and completed the back seam with top stitching to create a stronger seam.

Hirst skirt with side pockets.
I used a baby pink scrap fabric to line the pockets and top stitched to create a piped edge to the pocket. 
Detail of the pocket 'piping' due to the top-stitching on the edge of the pocket.

Top Shop dress re-make


I made the psychedelic orange dress from a piece of fabric that I got from a charity shop in Leeds. In fact I made this dress about three years ago and styled it from one of my favourite Top Shop summer dresses that I wear loads.

The green cotton Top Shop dress fits me really well and I fashioned the second dress with no paper pattern by cutting the sections of fabric by eye / using the original dress as a template. Considering I did not have a pattern I was pretty pleased with the final outcome.

Now despite the construction of the dress going quite well, including a zip and added ric-rac detailing I realise that although I love the fabric - it doesn't look that great on me, its a bit too much and the orange base colour doesn't really compliment my skin tone : (

I think I will send it to the local charity shop!?


Black and white stripy Sorbetto

I followed the link from Emma Jayne's blog at  Clipped Curves for the free pattern from Colette for a lovely top called the Sorbetto. If you google Colette Sorbetto there are hundreds of examples of hand-made versions that have been blogged about / uploaded to the web so I am in good company here.

I downloaded the pattern printed it out, stuck it together and then cut out my size. (I actually cut out the individual sections on the train over a couple of morning commutes).

Now which fabric should I choose to make the Sorbetto top?
I had purchased some fabric from Samuel Taylors, Leeds in June so I had a few options to choose from. I decided to opt for the black and white striped cotton lawn with the leopard print bias binding to finish the outer seams. What would you have selected?

Here is a quick photographic narrative of the construction of the Colette Sorbetto. It took me about four hours to make (not including the paper pattern construction). I used French seams throughout for a neater finish.







I am really happy with the finished garment but if I make another Sorbetto I will need to lower the bust darts considerably because they sit in the wrong place. I will adjust the pattern by lowering the front yoke just below the armhole and add 3 cm to the front panel. This mean that I could leave the dart as it is but it would just sit lower. Overall the top pattern is very short. I free-styled the back of the top by adding a curved lower hem and I added about 2cm to the length.

Maybe on my next top I will play around with a greater colour contrast on the bias binding? What do you think?

Clothkits Trellick Tower skirt


Well this project has been a long time in the making - it has been in my stash pile for nearly four years!

A little bit of history; firstly what is Clothkits? It has had a resurgence since its heyday from the 1970's by Anne Kennedy. It was a mail order company that sold fabric with the sizes printed on it for you to sew it together at home.

It re-launched in 2008 with a new collection of garments and things to sew for the home. I came across Clothkits again at the Harrogate Knit and Stitch show in 2010 and had lovely nostalgic memories of when my mum made clothes for me on her singer sewing machine from Clothkits in the 70's!
When I saw the 'People will always need plates' design collaboration I HAD to buy the kit for the Trellick Tower skirt in magenta.

I decided to make it after discovering it again in my fabric stash last month. Here are the step-by-step photos.


The skirt design is printed on the fabric; you just select your size to cut out the appropriate pieces.
The instructions and notions are included in the kit.

I selected my size and cut out the five sections of the skirt.
The finished skirt! I decided to add bias binding on the bottom because the skirt length would have been too short for my liking, but I think it compliments the bold graphic design quite well.

I really enjoyed making this skirt it only took a couple of hours to make and I would probably make another Clothkits garment again. I have my eye on this skirt next.