Tuesday, 12 September 2017

NewLook 6390 - simplicity summer challenge

This year is Simplicity's 90th anniversary! Can you imagine 90 years of producing patterns for people to sew?! And to celebrate they are hosting the simplicity turns 90 summer sewing challenge! 

Basically you had a choice of 5 categories each with its own pattern and simplicity sent it to you for free! I opted for the dressmaker category and the pattern was Newlook 6390.  Its a fairy simple princess seamed dress with a half circle skirt. 


Now the rules say you can do a certain level of 'sprucing' to your pattern! I decided to add a full front button placket so it wold close with buttons rather than a zip at the back. The process was pretty simple , instead of cutting the front bodice, waistband and the skirt on the fold I cut them out in two pieces and then I made and interfaced a button placket. 

And jobs a good'n! I didn't do any complicated maths to figure out seam allowances etc, Instead I just left my back seam open and fitted the dress after the button placket was all made up. [with buttons and button holes!]


 The fit it I took 2inches out of the back centre seam and I'd say the fit is pretty spot on. I also took an inch off the straps because I tend to find that all straps are a bit long on me, I must have small shoulders or something. 

Size wise I measured as a 14 but cut out a 12 because that's typically the size I cut out in simplicity patterns. My measurements are 36, 27, 38 which gives an idea of the sizing. 


The pattern calls for you to use bias binding to finish the neckline and armholes but I wanted a cleaner finish so I lined it from the waistband up. The bottom of the waistband is slip stitched in place.


For the fabric I used a irregular polka dot. The polka dots are white and don't really show up on these pictures. Typically I don't wear dresses this pale but I thought with the buttons at the front it was a nice throwback to Laura Ashley in the 90's. I kind of look like a primary school teacher! Its a very fine cotton lawn that I was given by a lady at the carboot, and it wrinkles like a mother!


The button placket also gives 'ahem' easy access. Which could make it a good hack for breast feeding Mums!


The buttons were recycled from two old vest tops I had. They are quite small and metal which makes them VERY fiddly to do up! I was limited on how many buttons I had so I had to add a few press studs on the inside of the bodice to make sure it doesn't gape. 


The skirt isn't lined so I pinked all of the seams on the inside to give a nice finish!


All in all I think its a pretty cute dress, Its just a shame that I've not had much chance to wear it before winter started setting back in and I;m not sure this is the type of dress I can use in my winter wardrobe.

Much Love

Frankie

x

Sunday, 10 September 2017

I'm A Princess, Of Course I Need A Tutu

I promised myself at the start of this year that I'd make more practical clothes. No more party dress or corset tops instead I decided to make good solid items that I'd get lots of wear out of. 

But whats the fun in that?


So I made a Tutu! Possibly the worlds most impractical item of clothing [unless your a full time ballerina] and to really amp up the wear ability I made it in WHITE! Because we all know whites the easiest colour in the world to wear and doesn't stain or look grubby ever! 


Okay so before I jump into construction two points about the photographs:

1- It needs trimming..... again, I swear this is going to be one of those things that needs leveling every time it comes out of the washer. 

2- Its really really hard to get pictures of a white skirt, against a white wall on a girl who is pasty as well a pasty thing.[I mean I could have fake tanned but it always turns out blotchy and orange] So these pictures are not great but hopefully they give you the general gist.

So right, the idea for a tutu came into my head as soon as my mum brought me this tulle back from my Aunty Shelias house [I think in a previous life it was long net curtains] But in the spirit of practical clothing I put it in my cupboard and tried to think of "practical" [read. Boring] ways of using it. And them one day I had an epiphany. This tulle was never going to be anything other than a tutu so rather than let it waste away in my cupboard I should just MAKE A RUDDY TUTU! 

As it turns out tutus are not exactly a walk in the walk. For example I wanted mine to be a circle skirt tutu not a gathered one. This meant I had to cut donut shapes out of layers of tulle...and you know whats shiftier than Lord Voldemort at a Harry Potter appreciation event? Tulle, It moves, it runs, it floofles! In the end I cut each circle in a single layer by laying the fabric over a template i'd already made. It took about 1 hour just to cut 6 layers of tulle. At which point I had 1. run out of fabric and 2. was painfully aware that the 6 layers of tulle I had already cut was not going to be enough to preserve my dignity [read. I had a high chance of everyone knowing exactly what kind of pants I was wearing. 

So I needed an underskirt. I opted to use the lace tablecloth my mum had given me a while ago [Actually the tablecloth was a wedding gift to my mum and dad and she'd kept it for years but it was getting a bit scraggy so she gave it to me, with permission to cut it up!]

As it goes the table cloth may have been to scraggy for a table but it works very nicely under my layers of tulle. and in some lights you can sort of see it. Its a fairly thick lace table cloth as well so it gives the skirt a nice weight compared to the very lightweight tulle I used for the top layers [P.S If your making a tulle skirt like this you want a very fine tulle, not the stiff stuff, you want to one that drapes!]


Closure wise there was not a chance in hell I was going to try and insert a zip into tulle, so instead I over lapped the waistband and It closes with a button and a press stud for security. That means there's a 10cmish split from the waistband to the back seam but you can'y see it because of the overlap.

I used the waistband pattern from the Tilly and the buttons Clemance skirt for the waistband. I know that I can typically pull this waistband a bit tighter so I knew I'd have enough for an overlap.


All in all I really love it and I'm so glad I took the time to make myself something frivolous and fun! Rikki did a full eye-roll when he saw it on the mannequin though "when exactly are you going to wear that?"

Sweetie when am I not going to wear it! And if that fails I can always use it as a petticoat under my dresses! 

 I might wear it on my birthday though, I'm thinking with a white and red striped top and some red shoes maybe it'll look a bit more casual? Maybe even casual enough for the school run? And if not it'll be my blooming birthday so.............

In other news!!! 

- Its my birthday this week! I'm kind of in two minds about it because the older you get the less fun birthdays seem to be? I dunno maybe now I'm a grownup I should be okay with that, but a big part of me still wants ice cream and cake and party hats and all the excitement!

- I started knitting a new jumper! Yet again I'm using the double trouble jumper by wool and the gang and I'm hoping to have it ready to wear this winter.

- I've made a lot of progress with my embroidered tablecloth project, I had a day this week where both the boys were out and realistically I had a day to sew but it just wasn't happening and I was feeling pretty miserable so instead I binge watched "the crown" , ate a pot noodle and did embroidery.

-Lil man settled back into school, apparently his new teacher is kind and beautiful and lovely.......I think someone has a crush!

And that's it really!

Much Love

Frankie

xxx



Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A Tale of Two Ties

Lil man went back to school today. Naturally though we added a bit of excitement by my alarm not going off in the morning [I definitely set one not that Rikki believes me!] Anyway that meant I was woken up by lil man at 8 o'clock. Bearing in mind he has to be at school by 8.45 and neither me or Rikki had slept particularly well, that left us with a bit of a rush on our hands to say the least!!! 

But we made it and now I'm sat without a lil man to annoy me / snuggle me. I've been trying to convince Rikki to watch Moana with me but apparently after six weeks of Disney movies he's not watching anything with a singing, dancing or a happy ending! 


Anyways on to the ties. Me and Lil man made these one afternoon of the summer holidays. The weather was rotten and he was reaching fever pitch so I decided to let him have his first ever proper go on my sewing machine.

Cheifly his job was the lower and lift the presser foot, press the reverse button , take the pins out and guide the fabric. He did really well actually and he listened really carefully to make sure he was doing it properly.


I chose the patterns, Rikkis is made from a pattern from the sew everything book , and Lil mans is drafted to his exact size using freesewing.org. I'd been planning on making them matching ties for a while but I was going to scale down Rikkis tie pattern. Luckily the drafting website saved me a lot of time and effort! 


The fabric I used it a bit thick really but I chose it so it would match my dress. [Wearing matching outfits as a family is way way underrated by the way!]


You can see the difference in scale here. As I said the fabric was a bit thick so it makes quite a big knot, but it did mean I didn't need to use interfacing. The cotton on the inside of the tie tail is just a scrap from my quilting drawer. I didn't follow the instructions on freesewing.org, the website has you sew the end so you can't see the tie lining edge but I was sewing with a small child so I just went for a simpler option. 


I used my labels from the dutch label shop as tie keepers which I think is a really cute feature.


They did take a lot of pressing but we were both very pleased with how they turned out!!! Plus it was nice to see him getting excited about sewing and letting him do something very grown up like sew on my machine! 

In other news:

I'm looking forward to getting back on schedule with blogging and sewing again.

My friend turned up yesterday with some wool, curtain fabric and buttons that he'd pulled out of his mums loft. I love it when people think of me when they find hidden crafty gems or stuff they are getting rid off. 

I went to see my mums neighbour and we had a really great chat. You might say she's the one who properly got me started on the whole loving to sew thing! But I'll cover that in another post!

Plus in that post you will see one of the biggest projects I've ever done [and on the tightest deadline] and its not ever for me!!!

Much Love 

Frankie 

x



Friday, 1 September 2017

A Softer Coco Dress

Its September!!! Which means it's my birthday this month! Which means I'll be 25..... which is slightly terrifying because 25 is halfway to 50....and 50 is halfway to 100.....and where has my life gone exactly?

Anyway I like to think I'm growing into my age. Some things have definitely changed, I no longer tank a whole bottle of wine just for 'funsies' and last week I got rid of most of my short shorts. In fact I've only got two pairs left and they are for if we go on holiday and I need something to wear to the pool.

 The main thing that's changed is my thoughts on whats comfortable. I mean honestly I have a pair of slippers that you can microwave to keep your toes cosy and guys they are the bomb! If I had a choice between saving Rikki or the slippers in a house fire I think I might choose the slippers! 

 This dress is all about comfort!


Lets ignore the knitted doll in the background shall we? Apparently I hadn't tidied as well as I thought I had! But the dress! Now some of you may be sat their thinking 'Frankie don't you already have this dress?' and well your kind of right! What I actually made was this dress which is a lot more body con and whilst its lovely it really has a two slices of cake limit. 

This dress however is the coco dress so it flares for the waist which means I can probably have four slices of cake before I look preggers! The coco dress is by Tilly and the buttons by the way and is definitely worth a buy! 

I went for the long sleeve version because I'll probably scrunch them up anyway but at least this way I have to option of keeping them long if its cold. Funnily enough I've worn this dress a few times and I have been keeping the sleeves long and just forgoing a cardigan. 


Hey guys meet the less comfortable section of this dress! MY SHOES!!! yep those are a 7inch platform wedges and they are surprisingly comfortable! In fact I wore these to Next to pick up our new rug and I think I walked okay... It would have been better if Rikki and little man had kept pace with me, but they looked fabulous when I was stood still! [In hindsight this is more a sitting shoe than a walking shoe which seems a bit silly considering its a shoe....but still fabulous!] Anyway these are one of my £1 pairs of shoes!

Back to the dress! The jersey fabric is from FCfabricstudio which still have a cracking selection of fabrics are really reasonable prices! [In fact I just lost half an hour adding things to an imaginary basket oops] I only had a small amount of fabric which is why I went for the coco dress originally I wanted to make a wrap dress but there just wasn't enough fabric. 


I sewed the body of the dress on my over locker and just hemmed it by regular machine. Honestly the whole thing including cutting out took me less than a hour. And to say I've not had it off my body since that makes it a good use of an hour! 


So all in all this is a great addition to my wardrobe! although to be completely honest I don;t actually need to be adding to my wardrobe because it is choker block! Literally can't fit anything else in there! I think I may need to do a huge wardrobe cull and ditch anything I don't wear but I have no idea how to start?

Any ideas?

Much Love

Frankie 

x



Monday, 28 August 2017

Caron Cake Scarf

A while ago the crafting community went crazy for Caron cakes. I actually knew this was going to happen. No I'm not clairvoyant, it just so happened that a few weeks before I;d been at the CHSI stitches show and spoken to one of their representatives [whilst he fed me a Caron cake.....not actually fed me, it wasn't like a roman slave thing....he just gave me a cake to eat]  Anyway he used the words "these are going to be huge" and I was like "oh alright Hun, may I have another cake for on the train?" 

And then they launched.

And before you could say knitting needles Hobbycraft had sold out, and on line had sold out [I mean who knew the INTERNET could sell out?] I actually saw a picture of a lady walking out of Hobbycraft with 10 of them! I MEAN TEN!

Luckily for me I snapped one up a few weeks later when the drama had died down! This was during Rikki's why don't you spoil yourself and get a hobbycraft order moment...... I'm still not 100% what he's broken. 


I chose the "Funfetti" colourway which is no longer available on the hobbycraft website [insert sad emojis] I'm not sure why I picked that one, apart from I was two glasses of wine down and the title Funfetti just seemed hilarious! I already knew I wanted to knit a new winter scarf and who does want to swath themselves in Funfetti? 


I believe it comes under the title of a colour change wool, well because the colour changes but its not in  your typical fade style. Instead you get set blocks of colour, all of which I think are roughly the same length [its hard to tell when its knitted up because of gauge and stuff] Now because of these solid blocks of colour I decided to alternate my stitches so for example I started knitting in garter stitch and then when the colour changed I switched to moss stitch! I kept going like this until the end, It worked out quite nicely because it gave me a break from the moss stitch which I am really really slow at. Plus it gives the scarf a bit more texture.

I cast on 31 stitches because you need an odd number to create moss stitch and knitted the whole ball of wool. I knitted it up on 7.00mm prym ergonomic knitting needles. The clip ends on the needles came in very handy for this project as they stopped my knitting slipping off and coming undone! In fact they worked so well that this scarf survived camping without dropping a single stitch! 


Isn't moss stitch pretty? Its so underrated!


And here's my personal favourite garter stitch! Fun Fact : I can knit garter stitch without looking at it. this makes it perfect for watching films for "mindless knitting"


The ball of wool cost me £10 which I think might be the most I've ever spent on a 200g ball of wool but I used the lot! Its worth it though to have such a long scarf! Shops never make scarves long enough to wrap around twice or do a loop with. [ Although my Mother has informed me the best way to where a scarf is to cross it over your chest and across your tummy to keep the cold out.] 


It actually turned out pretty cute as my new winter scarf I like all the colours and the length is a definite bonus but the best bit is the content of the wool, Its 20% wool and 80% acrylic which means its soft enough that it won't scratch but that its hard wearing enough to go through the wash a few times! I'm not sure what it is a about winter that makes clothes so grimy but it sure does! 


In fact the only quibble I have is that the end colours of my ball of wool were a bit mottled. Ever other colour had been perfectly even but the last two were very splotchy and well messy looking. I'm not sure if mine was just a bad lot but it did irk me a bit. Especially seen as £10 for a ball of wool isn't exactly cheap. 

Its not enough to stop me buying more Caron cakes though! I'm lusting after "bumbleberry" at the moment! 

In other news!

-The boys are more than pleased with the latest Liverpool result all I can hear every now and again is shouting!

 - We have brought a new rug for the living room and its shedding like a Yeti! I'm genuinely worried wee are going to have no rug left. But Rikki assures me that its just because its new and that it should stop soon. I will have to hoover though which is gutting!!!

- We are still surviving the summer holidays but we seem to have found out groove a bit more this week. So far we've been to see the monkeys, played mini golf with dinosaurs and learnt some sewing skills! 

Much Love

Frankie 

xxx









Saturday, 26 August 2017

Freesewing.org - Review

Sometimes I think the hardest part of sewing is the fitting. Very often people will tell me they tried sewing but that the fit was just so awful that they gave up. We've all been there, after carefully cutting out the right size according to the sizing chart finding both your boobs are falling out can be a bit soul destroying. But imagine if you could have patterns drafted for your size! Wonderful right? Now imagine it was all for FREE! BLOODY WONDERFUL!

Ladies and gentlemen I would like you introduce you to freesewing.org


Okay so here's the details.

The site is completely free [you are free to make a donation though] you just set up an account using your email and a password and your good to go. You can then create models, you enter a whole bunch of measurements lots more than the standard sewing pattern asks for and then you can choose a pattern and start "drafting your own".


Currently there are 12 patterns available but the "drafting" process means you can alter them to fit with your vision. For example you can raise and lower neckline and hems, add ease and just generally foof around. [I'm currently imagining the hoodie above as a dress!]

Now some of the patterns don't have full instructions, some just have a list of bullet points or a link to something similar however I don't think its anything someone with a bit of sewing experience couldn't handle! 


Hands down the most important part of using the website is making your you enter your measurements correctly. Each measurement has a "help" feature which tells you what you are actually measuring but I highly recommend getting a friend to help you measure for accuracy. I've already added all the measurements for lil man so if I need to whip him something up they are all there. 

Now in honour of their official launch I asked creator Joost a few questions!

1. Who's behind freesewing.org?

I am :)

My name is Joost De Cock. I live in Antwerp and in my spare time I enjoy making things.
There's a number of people who've been supportive, given feedback, or helped me out (I thanked a bunch of them in my announcement blog post) but at the end of the day, it's a one-man show.

At least for now. I don't want it to be/stay that way which is part of the reason that I started building freesewing.

2. When did you learn how to sew? 

When I was young, my mother would mend my clothes. But she never enjoyed sewing, and so she didn't really care too much about matching thread colours, or avoiding wrinkles and whatnot.
As a growing up teenager, I was mortified every time she would mend my jeans with pink thread or something, so one day I decided I would do it myself.

That's when I learned, but I didn't really make anything. I knew how to fix/repair things and that was enough for me.
As I grew older and moved out of my parents' house, I bought a sewing machine and I did use it to make curtains and bed linens and other simple things, but still no garment sewing.

That  changed about 6 years ago when I was home sick for a couple of weeks with mononucleosis.
I was bored to death, but didn't really have the energy to do much physical activity.
So, somewhat out of the blue, I decided I would try making trousers. I bought a Burda pattern and some fabric and went to work.
The trousers were, in retrospect, a complete disaster, but I really enjoyed the process.
This was sometime in December, so that new year, I made it my new year's resolution to no longer buy clothes. Instead I would make everything myself.

I'm still doing that, and thankfully I've gotten a bit better at it :)

3. How did you come up with the idea fir the site? 

As a 6 foot 6 (198cm) man, sewing patterns are problematic.
First up, there's far fewer choice for men than there is for women, and in addition, I don't exactly fit in the standard sizes.
So much like the clothes you buy in the store, the patterns never worked for me and needed alterations.
Alterations that aren't that obvious to a beginning sewist.

So one day I bought a book on pattern design. Winifred Aldrich's book for menswear.
I got to work with paper and pencil, and almost immediately felt like "This would make a lot more sense on computer".

So I tried building something that would draft the pattern for me.
When I got that to work, I tried to make it so that I could put in different measurements, and the pattern would adapt.
I got a few people to try it and received positive feedback, so I decided to try and build a real website that would offer that service.
That was makemypattern.com version 1. Which I later rewrote completely to version 2, which I then rewrote completely again and that is now freesewing.org.

So while freesewing is new, it's actually the fourth generation of a idea that stretches back about 6 years.


4. Which is your favourite pattern on the site? 

Gosh, that tends to change. As in, whenever I make a new pattern, I try to make it better than all other patterns :)
But from a maker point of view, I really like the Wahid waistcoat pattern because I think waistcoats are a nice look, and it's a pattern that is relatively quick to make yet look super stylish.

5. Are you going to add more patterns? 

Oh for sure. I have 3 on the go at the moment that I hope to add before the end of the year.
I want to sort of 'complete' my menswear offer so that all the basics are covered, but I also plan to branch out into womenswear.

When I started doing this, I did it sort of for myself, and happened to share my work.
But now that I've gotten a bit better at things, I'm looking forward to design for women because it's more challenging.
Those curves take more work :)

6. What's next for freesewing.org

I'm going to keep on adding patterns to the site, so in that regard, it's more of the same.
However, there's a big difference between freesewing.org and makemypattern.com and that is that it's an open source project now.
Which means that people can jump in and help out (please do) or add their own patterns.

But it also means that anyone can take this code and run it themselves.
I think it makes a lot of sense for a pattern business to provide made-to-measure patterns instead of standard-sized patterns.
So if you were starting a pattern business today, you could build it on top of the freesewing code.

In addition, there's a lot of information on pattern design and drafting that is buried in old books that are hard to get or expensive.
I think it would be a valuable sort of archiving effort to translate those time-honoured drafting instructions into code and have them available on the site.
I mean, we shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel every time somebody wants to make a pattern. The basics have been covered and it seems like a good idea to bring them into the modern era this way.

A huge thanks to Joost for taking the time to answer my questions! I can't wait to see where his project goes and I look forward to a future of free sewing patterns! 


So far I've printed off the Trayvon tie pattern in a size suitable for little man [so much easier than trying to size down a pattern] and he helped to sew it up this morning! Its our first time sewing together so we made a tie for him and used a pattern I already had to make Rikki a matching one [Spoiler alert : I liked the free sewing pattern better!] [Double spoiler alert : we made both the ties from the same fabric as a dress I have, so we're basically the von traps] 

So yes! Sign up for free sewing and let me know what you think!

Much Love 

Frankie 

 P.S I wasn't asked to write a review about the website I just thought you guys would want to read about free patterns!!!!!!!!!!!!




Thursday, 24 August 2017

Days By the Sea Dress - Simplicity K1418

Today is Rikki's birthday and like an absolute trooper he's still gone into work. Apparently he didn't have enough holidays to take my birthday and his off and he decided mine was more important...... AWWWWWWW! But seriously though he's not that bothered about his birthday really? In fact seen as he gets up at half four in the morning we actually did his presents last night so today he just has his cake to look forward too. He's weird but he'd rather no fuss than lots of fuss. [Me? I like a fuss! which is why I'll be starting my birthday countdown in September!!] 


But you didn't come here to listen to me talk about birthdays did ya? This is another of those dresses that has been made for quite a while . In fact this dress has already been "out" for the day when we went to Barmouth. And yes I wore my "days by the sea" dress by the sea! The irony was not lost! The fabric itself is by the Craft Cotton Company [this is the same collection I used for my days by the sea quilt] Its a really lovely quality cotton so if your searching for some fun nautical prints check them out! 


I really really took my time pattern matching those stripes!! They match along the back and side seams but for some reason they go a bit funny around the box pleats? I'm not sure why but its not the sort of thing that's going to bother me! They don't look too bad in these photos but its definitely something I'd notice. 


The pattern was simplicity K1418 which I used for my gingham dress, only this time I went for the strappy version not the off the shoulder version!

The fit of the bodice is pretty bang on. I did have to take 2cm out of the center back seam and shorten the straps but other than that its pretty good. I think it could do with being shortened at the waist by about an inch though because when I wore it all day at the beach I noticed it was tucking itself up and not sitting right. 

I do love this neckline though its so lovely and flattering. BUT it hates all of my bras! It's such a pain in the bum! Why do all the pretty necklines require certain bras? Why can't I just wear it with any old bra? and why oh why does it have to be a strapless one?


The skirts a good compromise between being an a line [which I don't like] and being a fully gathered poofy skirt [which I love!!!] Its enough to feel girly but it doesn't get in the way. 

Length wise its on the longer side. Typically I like my dresses short but with having to put lil man in and out of the car and bend down and well just all the other crap I do day to day the short dresses were not practical and I was spending a good amount of time flashing my knickers!


Here you can see the print a bit more clearly. That row row with the blue anchors was what made pattern matching so hard! I couldn't just match the background colour I had to match the anchors too.


The facing's work really nicely on this dress. I always like using facings for cotton dresses because they press so nicely.


All in all I love the dress. I always forget how much I love a novelty print dress until I'm actually wearing one! The pattern needs a few more tweaks before its perfect and I think the back zip could do with a big press but other than that I think this has turned out really well!

In other news!

I had a great Charity shop haul today! Basically our local charity shop is having its yearly sale where they try and clear as much stock as possible. Anyway that had brand new in the box shoes for £2.00 each! I went along with the intention of buying two pairs but when I got to the till they lady offered me a 3rd pair and said she'd do it for half price. Now I only had four quid on me which I told her and she said "No I'll do the lot for half price... So three quid, the boxes are taking up loads of room we want them gone..." I dammed near bit her entire arm off! Three brand new pairs of shoes for £3!!!!!! I can see why they were struggling to sell them though, they are 7/8inch platform wedge shoe boots, which I'm not sure appeals to most people!!! 

They are pretty comfy though!

Much Love

Frankie 


disclaimer - whilst the craft cotton company sent me this fabric for free all thoughts and opinions are my own.