Chic Cocktail Party

I hope lots of you will have heard of the lovely Sally of Charity Shop Chic‘s new and exciting pattern line Capital Chic Patterns. Sally has designed lots of modern garments for work and post-work cocktails. She has become a good friend this past year but had been working in secret on her pattern lines, with me unsuspecting that every time we met up she was wearing/testing a new design!

Sally offered me a free pattern to try (I’ll try my best to be objective in my review here) but sadly I’m just outside of her sizes. But that month’s Threads magazine had an article on grading so I thought I’d give it a go on some of her simpler patterns; I didn’t use the techniques in Threads but instead came up with my own easier method, which you can read about in my tutorial on Capital Chic Bellini Sew-along on Friday!
open collar

I made the Bellini blouse in a cotton lawn with a subtle contrast lace collar. It was the heat of summer and I knew I wanted a cool cotton blouse. I had the lace in my stash and went on a mission to find plain black fabric for the top, and then ran out as the pattern alterations meant my patterns were too wide to fit the fabric!

After enlarging the pattern to my high bust size I did my usual FBA, creating a horizontal bust dart, but looking at the pictures I probably need to ass a smidge more. When trying on the blouse the loose fit style was much too loose for me, so I took in very generous amounts at the side seams. The sleeves were also a bit snug, so I enlarged these a tiny bit and just sewed a rolled hem instead of binding. I’ve never sewn a rolled hem before but the instructions in the pattern were very clear and easy to follow. This made a really comfy shirt, with the perfect mix of smart and casual, but on future versions I’d have more buttons closer together (and not wear I tuck it in).blouse

I also made the Champagne skirt, in a textured digital floral print I picked up from the infamous Man Outside Sainsburys in Walthamstow market earlier in the year. It was my intention to enter it for Oonapalooza but I never got around to blogging it. I spent ages laying out the fabric before cutting it to get the best pattern matching, and I’m pretty pleased with the final result.champagne

I enlarged the pattern using the same tracing methods, including the flounce hem, and all pieces matched up after sewing; I didn’t mark the darts as I graded up, and instead just added them when I tried on the skirt. I fully lined the skirt, including the flounce, and attached them inside out at the hem, and used an exposed lace zipper on the back. I don’t normally wear fitted skirts so I had to think about how I was sitting and walking; this skirt is definitely not work-wear for me, but might be better in a stretch fabric.zipper

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Tribute August: Handmade by Alison Skirt

This month I have been co-hosting Tribute Month on the Sewcialists blog (with Inge) so last week I knew I had to get my tribute posted in time. And then technology didn’t like me editing photos and then didn’t like me uploading them. So this post has been a very long time coming, especially because the inspiration is from January this year!

My inspiration for this make was Handmade By Carolyn. If you read her blog (go and have a look now…) you might be a bit surprised by the connection; we don’t wear the same silhouettes and we definitely don’t wear the same colours, but I still find Carolyn super inspiring. She makes everything she wears (including shoes!!), she spent a year drawing sketches of every handmade outfit she wore, and she sews investment pieces that are well made and well thought out.

The pieces that really caught my eye were her Alabama Chanin skirt and top. 

The overall look is really far away from something I would wear, but I loved the process of creating the fabric; One layer of fabric is stencilled in a pretty design and appliquéd to another under-layer, before the paint is cut-away to reveal the final intricate fabric. SO clever and so, so time-consuming.

I really liked the idea of creating my own fabric, and I especially loved the thought of playing with tone-on-tone designs, but I thought it would be best to stick with what I knew – regular embroidery- to begin with. When I saw the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt I knew that the panels would be great for playing with some subtle designs.

d

Well maybe not so subtle! I was tempted by this amazing pink linen on Goldhawk Road and convinced to buy it by Fiona. If Carolyn has her trusted colour palette she revisits, bright pink is definitely part of my regular summer wardrobe! I measured the panels on my finished blue skirt and then played around with lots of swirls, coils, butterflies, birds and paisley patterns (all from Doodle Stitching CD) to come up with a pattern, which I then traced onto the pre-cut fabric with carbon paper. The embroidery was done with chain stitch, back stitch and some French knots; the first panel was really fun to do, but it was trickier making sure the second panel was symmetrical enough.

c

Once the embroidery was all done, sewing up the skirt was really quick (despite the long seams) since I had previously cut and interfaced all the pieces. I was worried how the linen would survive washing so I pinked and top-stitched down the seams and used my new-to-me overlocker around the hem before turning it up. In hindsight I could have taken the hem up a teeny bit more, as there have been some slight mishaps caused by tripping over my feet while wearing this.

a I couldn’t find a zipper to match the fabric at all so got a clear invisible zipper but it broke just after I inserted it (I’ve had another invisible zipper break recently, where the teeth ripped away from the tape, so maybe it is time I learned to do regular ones nicely). I was desperate to finish the skirt, following an emergency trip to get extra thread while hemming it, so decided to go for a deliberately contrasting lace zipper.

bThis definitely was a quicker option than the Alabama Chanin process Carolyn has used, but it was probably the best way to ease myself into the idea of creating my own bespoke embellished fabric. I should confess that I had originally planned to embroider the back panels but abandoned that idea while midway through the first front piece, so maybe it was best I didn’t start with embellishing an entire garment!

I timed this make for the end of the heatwave and sadly the weather in the UK is VERY autumnal at the moment so this skirt probably needs to go away* until the spring, but it was so much fun and so swishy to wear for a couple of weeks over summer.

*I only wear maxi dresses and skirts in the summer, but I have seen them advertised for autumn/winter. I would love it if someone could explain how one wears a maxi skirt in drizzly, cold weather without it getting super messy, and without the need for wearing heels!

 

#100happydays (part 2)

 

I have definitely got some of my sewing mojo back this half-term, but sadly the weather has been rather gloomy so I have lots of projects waiting to be photographed. If the weather doesn’t improve soon I’ll just have to take less-than-perfect pictures so I can show you pretty dresses.

I’m over half-way through my #100happydays project (this post is rather late coming as I am now on day 66) but it was really nice to look back through the month/term as it was a rather busy time.100 happy days 26-50I am quite surprised there were only 4 days of chicks, but you can see a couple of crafty projects I have been working on/was buying supplies for!

 

Stripy Swishy Gabriola Maxi-skirt

I’m a big fan of Sewaholic patterns and I always get a good fit with minimal (compared to other pattern brands) tweaks, so I was really excited to get the new Gabriola skirt.

gabriola 1

This skirt needs a lot of fabric for its swooshiness (especially on a taller person) so it took me ages to find something I liked and was happy to buy in multiple metres. This first (yes, the second is already under construction) was made with some blue cotton shirting from Stone Fabrics that has a subtle multi-coloured pinstripe (the stripes change from blues and purples to creams throughout the length of the stripe). It was a lovely soft fabric to work with and had a great flowy drape which was perfect for the style.

gabriola 2

Unfortunately the lightweight fabric didn’t drape so well around the waist as it seems you need a heavier fabric for something that needs to be fitted around a tummy! When I tried it on mid-construction with the interfaced waistband it was far from flattering; tight waist and bumpy seam-lines all over my stomach. So I decided to get rid of the waist band and interface all of the yoke pieces, to allow a nicer fit at the top with flowing fabric from the hips.gabriola 5

I was a little annoyed to have to do this as I had carefully French-seamed all the seams and top-stitched them down with careful double rows of stitching and the insides were looking AMAZING. I cut out out new yoke pieces (both top and bottom) and interfaced them, then sewed them to the new waist line as a facing (and top-stitched to the bottom of the yoke so it didn’t flap around). The structure at the top is much more flattering (not that you would know in the picture below).

gabriola 3

I’ve worn this skirt a lot since making it (these pictures were actually taken last Bank Holiday weekend, but I didn’t like them (despite my awesome hair I did myself) and wanted to get some where I looked less podgy, but then eventually decided last week that I didn’t care that much and people will be more interested in my pattern modification than the size of my tummy) and I’ve found the perfect partner to wear with it on hot summer days. I’m wearing this with my Self Portrait top which is really cool and floaty to wear. It is so much nicer that a t-shirt that as well as cutting out my second Gabriola yesterday I also made another portrait blouse using some yummy voile from Gillian.gabriola 4
If you swap the real shoes (beginning of May was warm but not that warm) for sandals, then I think this will be my go-to outfit for the summer.

Aubergine Corduroy Hummingbird skirt

cord hummingbird 4

This skirt has taken ages to appear on the blog.

The fabric was bought over a year ago at the Peter Jenson sample sale, but because I had so much of it, I wasn’t desperate to sew with it. Then in the summer I got the Cake Hummingbird pattern and thought the cord would make a great skirt. I cut the fabric in the summer but couldn’t find a zip that was anywhere close to the colour. So it sat untouched until the autumn, when I found a brown invisible zip that blended in okay, but by this time I had lots of other projects on the go and was busy moving house. Then in the Christmas holidays I remembered I had a skirt cut and ready to sew, and it was really quick to put together.

A month later and the weather, time and laundry have finally coincided for me to be able to take some decent slightly better photos!

cord hummingbird 3

This is my second Hummingbird skirt (the first is a black twill that is worn all the time, but is too dark to get decent indoor winter photos) and the construction was really straightforward. As with all Cake patterns, it is really easy to get a good fit just by following the steps in the pattern. This time I added the tail flounce which was a little trickier as there was a long bias edge to work with. The flounce is really fun and allows a lot of movement in an otherwise fitted skirt.

cord hummingbird 5

The colour is very aubergine and as much as I love it, I’m finding it tricky to pair with other garments, especially in winter darkness when I’m getting dressed. I wasn’t sure if it would be too much purple to wear with my new cardigan, but when I had some fabric in my bag (to send to Gillian so we could be twins) someone said they looked nice together. What do you think?

cord hummingbird 1

I lined the pockets with leftover hot air balloon fabric for a fun surprise. The skirt isn’t lined which is a bit of a problem when wearing winter tights, so I made a wearable muslin of a half-slip to wear underneath. I made the slip from some old lining fabric but I have some Valentino silk I picked up at a swap ready for the real thing.

cord hummingbird 2

Top 5 of 2013

 

It is time for my Top 5 of 2013 (as organised by the lovely Gillian. I can’t believe this time last year I didn’t know her!). I have to review my Sewlutions tomorrow for the Mistress of the Jar, so I’m going to pack a lot in this post…

Lets start with the misses2013 misses

  • I learned so much making my Couture Jacket and am really pleased with the construction and techniques I used. But I’ve only worn it a couple of times. I’m hoping it is because the typical British spring went from freezing to boiling in a week, so fingers-crossed I enjoy wearing it this spring.
  • My Dotty Dolly Cambie dress remains unblogged 😦 I was so excited making it – polka dots, a Cambie dress, ric-rac…. all the ingredients for a perfect dress. But wearing it didn’t feel perfect. I think I prefer the gathered skirt to the a-line version I did here, and the fabric for my floral Cambie flows better. Again. I will try it again in spring as it was finished just as the heatwave started, and all the lining was a bit too sticky.
  • Inspired by meetings with Charity Shop Chic I got some items to refashion. Have you seen them yet? Nope. Because there was a lot of brain power involved in fitting my pattern pieces onto refashioned parts of garments. I will definitely put these to the top of my to-sew pile as one is fuscia silk and the other is red wool.
  • My red Basic Bella cardigan has been worn frequently these past few months and is a great chunky cardigan for a chilly day. But it is chunky. The cotton blend yarn stretches (not enough research done) and I made it fit my measurements, not incorporating negative/zero ease for a close fit (beginner knitter’s mistake) so overall it is rather baggy and can look a bit sloppy. It is still great to wear, but it has to go in the miss category since it was one of the causes of my bad wrists 😦
  • Finally my first Anna dress. Its not a total disaster, and most of the lovely comments suggested chopping the sleeves off (a job that can wait until it gets a bit warmer!), but I felt disappointed with it after all the Anna love around the blogosphere.

Hits 2013

 

 

I had a lot of trouble choosing my hits as I’ve made so many nice things this year; I feel my sewing has improved and I have a better sense of what suits me now, so there were less disasters.

  • I love my stripy Tiramisu dress and it was a great introduction to Cake Patterns. Steph’s drafting and custom fit instructions are great, and so it was easy to get a fit and finish I was happy with. I wore this loads over the summer – perfect for pulling on with sandals – even though it is still un-hemmed! oops! I made a long sleeve version which was also great, so this pattern will be staying in my collection.
  • My Polka-dot Portrait Blouse was a simple cotton tee but it was perfect over the summer. Loose enough to stay cool, but with enough subtle shaping. I lived in this with my cropped jeans, which was quite a revelation for a stretch t-shirt girl.
  • I made a quilt!! What more do I need to say?! I learned so much, caught the patchwork and quilting bug, and now can stay cozy while lounging on the sofa.
  • My floral Cambie was another great dress that worked for all occasions; school, weddings and lazy weekends. I feel so good in it as there is the right balance between style and comfort, the fabric is soft and scrummy, and I did some good pattern alterations to get the perfect fit (and at a meet-up someone was wearing a Cambie they had altered using my tutorial!)
  • Finally, since it is the only garment in season at the moment, is my Liberty Hawthorn. I wasn’t convinced about the pattern until I saw all the versions popping up on people’s blogs. This is the fourth fabric version of this, after lots of muslin-ing to get the bodice darts to fit once I’d done a big FBA, so I’m proud of all the work that went into making it. Again, I feel really good in it – not showy, but just quietly confident, like a stylish grown-up in it.

Reflections:

  • Do you notice anything about all my hit garments? A Cake pattern, a Gertie pattern, a Sewaholic pattern and a Colette pattern. I didn’t realise until writing this, but all my hits have been from independent pattern designers (my By Hand London blazer was almost in the top 5). This isn’t deliberate but I think it reflects my sewing process. Since blogging and reading other bloggers I have discovered new companies I’d never heard of. And since these companies all blog, I get to see inside the patterns and get more inspiration than is on the pattern envelope. To be honest, I’m not sure what the last Big 4 pattern I used was…
  • Three out of four hit garments are dresses! I feel good when I’m wearing a well fitted dress, and it is less hassle getting dressed in the morning. Yet I feel like dresses are impractical and don’t sew that many. This must change!
  • I like learning and I want to expand my skills. This year I learned some couture skills, I learned to patchwork blocks and how to free-motion quilt, I learnt how to add darts to knitting (yes, bust darts on my knitted cardigan coming soon once it is dried. Blocking takes so long in winter!) and I learnt more about photography and taking better pictures. As we say in school, I have a growth mind-set towards my sewing learning.
  • Sewing is more fun when you can share with people who understand you. I love, love, LOVE my new Sewcialist and Spoolette friends here on the blog, on twitter and instagram and now in real life thanks to lots of meet-ups 🙂 It is so great having people who understand your passion for creating and who can offer advice from experience, but most of the time we meet we don’t talk about sewing; there is almost an unspoken attitude towards life that we all share, despite being totally different and having different other interests, which means we can get on so well.
  • I’m pretty awesome. This isn’t said in an arrogant way, but in a “I have previously had such low self-confidence but I’m actually starting to believe I’m good” sort of way.
  • I need to craft; it is not just a hobby anymore, it is part of my life. When my wrists were bad and I had to rest, I had no idea what to do with myself. I felt twitchy and on edge for weeks as I hadn’t made anything for ages, and this in turn made me feel really low (in combination with the pain and frustration).

Inspirations:

  • All my sewing and crafting inspiration comes from the sewcialists and spoolettes and all the great blogs I read. If I had to pick my main inspirations, they would be:
    Jo  (Sew Little Time) because I think we sew quite a lot of similar things and are similar height so I can trust her makes will also look good on me.
    Struggle Sews A Straight Seam because her blog makes me smile so much, and she has a great approach to sewing wearable garments.
    Gillian (Crafting A Rainbow) because we are like the same person on different continents; both teach little kiddies, both love bright colours and sewing wearable jersey. And Gillian is always behind a twitter plan!
    Amy (Almond Rock) as she makes such cute tops with great fabric. And she turned her blog into self-hosted (I may need her help soon since I’ve nearly reached my storage limit on wordpress, eek!)
    Roisin (Dolly Clackett) for all her amazing and FUN dresses (and she is such a lovely friend).

Goals:

  • Make more dresses. I feel great in dresses, so I should make more.
  • Wear an entirely me-made outfit at least once. The only RTW items I have to buy at the moment are bras and socks. I have some sock-weight yarn and I’ve signed up to a bra-making course at Morley College (its not for a style I really wear, since that sold out last term, but should teach me the fundamental aspects I hope)
  • Keep improving and learning new techniques, and keep challenging myself in my crafting. (Was that in school speak too much?!)
  • Make more effort to join in online; open-ended sew-alongs, challenges, commenting on blogs and sharing reviews and projects online.
  • Most importantly, I will enjoy my crafting and take my time to savour all the details. I rushed my knitting and learnt the hard way that I need to enjoy crafting in (slight) moderation, otherwise I may not be able to craft at all.

As a thank you for reading all that reflection, here are some pictures of some of my projects that didn’t make the top 5 hits… To see them in more detail, click on the newly organised pages at the top of the blog 🙂

2013

Autumn Sewing Plans

sewing plans

I have a couple of finished garments to show you, but before I show you all my sewing I though I should share my plans for autumn back-to-school sewing. At the beginning of the summer, while bored from my break from sewing (saw the physio this week and the rest has helped) I decided to draw all the things I was planning to make. Last year I made a personalised croquis* using the instructions in the Colette Sewing Handbook and I printed some out to doodle my wardrobe plans. I’m not normally one for planning my sewing, as you’ve probably worked out by now, but I was preparing for a blogging meet-up shopping-trip and had time on my hands.

blazer

  • A By Hand London Victoria Blazer. I have already shown you the blazer I made, which turned out pretty similar to the original idea; plain dark jacket with contrast (spotty) lapels.
  • A dark grey or black Hummingbird skirt. Last autumn/winter I lived in my black cord skirt, so another plain dark skirt is a basic wardrobe necessity.
  • A “plain” t-shirt to go with my patterned skirts. This was the plainest jersey I could buy; I am attracted to fun prints in fabric shops, but there is a space in my me-made wardrobe for plainer tops to wear with the snazzy prints! I’ll use my jersey t-shirt block for this, with self drafted cap-sleeves.

aubergine skirt

  • Last year I bought LOTS of aubergine-coloured corduroy and I haven’t made any clothes with it yet! I love cord skirts in winter, so am going to use it to make a Hummingbird skirt.
  • My wardrobe needs a plain navy top or t-shirt to match with my navy skirts. Still haven’t bought fabric for it yet.

hawthorn

  • I love the new Colette Patterns Hawthorn shirt dress; it is cute without being too vintage or girly looking. In my head I imagined a dark purple fabric with a subtle print, with a plain collar and cuffs. Whether this fabric exists in real life is still under investigation…

blouse

  • I’m pretty sure there will have to be a few adjustments made, plus my first time making sleeve plackets, so I thought I should plan to make a wearable muslin of the Hawthorn blouse; If it is in a busy print it should disguise any mistakes I make.

elisalex

  • I got this turquoise dotty fabric from Paris as a birthday present, and thought it could be a great first go at an Elisalex dress bodice, with a Cambie-style gathered skirt. I have seen so many lovely Elisalexes and variations, that I had to give in and get the pattern too.

tiramisu

  • I love my Tiramisu dresses and really want a long-sleeved cosy one for the winter, in a heavy ponté jersey. Not black, so maybe dark purple/plum or maybe a deep red or pink…

peplum

  • When fabric shopping with Jo from SewLittleTime I bought some pink polka-dot jersey that we thought would be great for a Hummingbird peplum top. I didn’t even own the pattern, but Jo had the measurements written down so I bought some fabric in the hope of owning the pattern.
  • My second self-drafted pair of jeans were a much better fit, but the knees are already starting to fade from so much wear. Time for a new pair of jeans, in a dark almost-black colour.

So those were my plans at the beginning of the summer – stay tuned to see which plans stayed the same and which ones changed! Is anybody else getting excited about autumn sewing (despite it still being summer!)? What are you planning to sew?

 

*The croquis was made by taking an accurate (and unflattering) photo of myself in underwear and then tracing over it, to get an accurate outline of my body. I used an edge-detector tool on the computer to generate my outline and printed it in pale grey. The final image shows what I actually look like, and not what I think I look like, so my sketches of my designs look more realistic.

 

 

Bunny Skirt!

back to blueYou may remember that at the end of June I went through a Navy Blue Period. Well here is the first (yup, I blogged badly out of of sequence) of my blue garments (garment three was worn to a sewing-blogger gathering, but I returned photo-less. I am trying to get some nice pictures of it, I promise!).

bunny 3

As you can clearly see in the close up at the top, this skirt is covered in little bunnies!! I had originally wanted to make a Cambie with this fabric, but Stone Fabrics only had a little piece of it left. Did I still want to order it? Errr, yes, of course!bunny 1

With such a small piece of fabric, the obvious choice was to make a Ginger a-line skirt. I have used the pattern before so I knew it would fit, and the simple style would show off the print. There isn’t much to say about the skirt; I used an invisible zip, lined it in navy and finished with a loop and button on the inside (my new favourite alternative to a hook-and-eye)

bunny 2

As soon as this skirt was completed the weather got really hot, so this skirt got overlooked in favour of floaty maxi-dresses and skirts. The weather cooled down a bit towards the end of July and I wore this skirt to Zoo Lates (zoo fun for grown-ups at London Zoo).
bunny 4

My Bunny Skirt got to meet some real-life bunnies and it even got a close encounter with a snake!snake

The Bunny Skirt even got to meet some Sewing Bloggers a few weeks later at Goldhawk Road (photo from the lovely Roisin at Dolly Clackett.

Printed Picnic Skirt

birthday

Yesterday was my birthday which means a new outfit! The purple t-shirt is my go-to jersey block with self-drafted cap sleeves, which probably deserves a how-to post at some point; it had been cut out last half-term break in a mammoth cutting session, so took under an hour to whip up.circle skirt

More exciting is the skirt! I got the floral denim at the big blogger meet-up (along with Shivani) and thought I really should make use of it before the next shopping trip this weekend. I’ll be honest with you, I wanted an easy make and didn’t want to faff around with fitting in the hot weather so decided to try a circle skirt (after loving the swooshiness of the Tiramisu dresses). To make things even easier, I googled and found an amazing spreadsheet that does all the maths to calculate the radius needed to get a circle to fit.

button

I folded the fabric into quarters (again because this was the easiest option) and used string and a chalk pencil to draw two curved lines at the distances specified by the spreadsheet. Simple. Except once I cut it out I realised I had no seams for a zip! I cut a seam, added an invisible zip, and then folded a long strip to be a waistband. The top of the waistband was finished with a purple dome button, chosen by twitter sewcialists.

The drafting, cutting and sewing (including finishing seams with bias-binding) took under an hour. What took longer, much longer, was the hem. I let the skirt hang for a day and then sewed a million metres (approx) of binding to the hem, stretching it into a curve before sewing (sewing the long edge of the binding to the skirt); then I turned the bias-binding under and hemmed the skirt with no ripples or wobbles. The hem and waistband were both top-stitched in light aqua that matched the leaves in the print.

circle skirt

I love the swishiness of this skirt, but perhaps the denim was too heavy for a full circle skirt; it isn’t quite as sleek at the waist as I would have hoped, but maybe that is because I like my waist lower on skirts than on dresses. Still, it was great for twirling!
sparkleWhat a full-circle skirt is not so great for is picnicking and pedalo-ing on a windy day – there were a few Marilyn moments! oops!

Tomorrow I will have recipes for some of the yummy picnic treats we ate in the park…

 

 

No longer feeling Blue (featuring the 20p Tee)

As I mentioned in my last post, the past few weeks have been hectic and I haven’t had the time or energy for crafting for almost a month. Eeek, that is a long time. I eased myself back into sewing with some projects I had cut and prepped during the May half-term; I spent a whole day just cutting out multiple patterns and working my way through my pile of fabric ear-marked for spring/summer.

back to blue

Can you see a pattern in my makes? Fortunately I was wearing an all white and navy outfit on Friday and got told it really suited me. I had started sewing the bunny fabric ages ago, but in the light of day realised my thread was not navy. It took me a while to get some navy thread, but once I had it threaded then I decided to do all my navy sewing at once. The bunnies deserve a proper photo-shoot, but the weather today was perfect for wearing the middle garment – a spotty portrait blouse.

This is my third Gertie Portrait Blouse (#1 and #2 is unblogged) and the bust darts are almost “perfect” now so this was a quick and easy make that only took a couple of hours this morning (2 episodes of Fraser and some Sunday Brunch).

1

The fabric was snatched up at the epic blogger meet-up and swap but I have no idea who donated it. Thank you, mystery sewcialist! It is pretty sturdy so I am imagining it is pure/high cotton content, and is navy with lots of white spots, so is slightly different from polka-dots! I finished the neckline and sleeves/armholes with some white bias-binding I got at the Peter Jensen sale for £1 (not even 1/5 through it, so I reckon this top cost me 20p! bargain!)

3

I kept the fitting loose on this top as I was feeling the need for a loose and light-weight top in all this heat (yes, I am one of those people who complains that 26ºC is only just bearable!) but the waist pleats/darts give it just enough shaping to feel flattering. I haven’t needed a zip on any of my Portrait blouses so I guess there is room for more shaping, but I felt comfy on my afternoon trip to the park.

2

It appears the quality of self-portraits on my phone is seriously grainy, but it was too hot to bother carrying my big camera around with me. I spent most of my time in the park taking very obvious self-portraits but nobody seemed to notice in tourist-central. The picture above was taken with my phone leaning on a barrier which was a bold move for me – maybe it was easier when wearing shades and a big, floppy hat (I love this hat so much!).

4

Despite the above look on my face (trying to look normal, while taking posed self-portraits) I enjoyed my afternoon in the sun, and it felt so good to get some sewing done. I didn’t realise the impact no crafting had had on my head until I worked out exactly how long ago it was since I’d last done some sewing. When life gets manic I think I need to prioritise craft instead of abandoning it in favour of work.

I am already in love with make #3 (polka dots + rick rack = amazing!) but the invisible zip I attached got caught on something and broke 😦 I must get another one this week as I need to finish the dress for Saturday so the make can meet it’s muse!

p.s. This weekend was definitely Indie Pattern Weekend for me; Colette Patterns, Gertie (does her book count?) and Sewaholic all sewn.

p.p.s. Google Reader dies tonight so make sure you are following me on another reader. I’ve added a Bloglovin’ button to the sidebar as apparently views in Bloglovin will show up in my stats…