Winter Sewing Plans

Pretty long post today – I apologise! Over the last few weeks I have been swamped with Uni work so, although I have been buying fabric as much as normal (a little too much!), I have not been making at the speed I usually do. This has lead to a build-up of stash fabrics which is very unusual for me as I tend to buy fabrics with a particular project in mind and 90% of the time thats what I end up making. However with this stash building up I have decided to plan properly what I will use these fabrics for so that I can get going once I have some free time over Christmas.

Archer Shirts by Grainline Studio:

archer

 

Obviously I will be making some more Archer shirts this winter! I saw this awesome green check fabric on myfabrics.com for £3.85 a metre, and I bought 1.5 metres for £5.78. This fabric is not available anymore as it was a discontinued item however myfabrics has a huge range of lovely checks. It is cotton however is a medium weight so will be really warm this winter.

My biggest fabric indulgence to date is this Liberty London Wiltshire Tana Lawn that I have been in love with for YEARS. From Liberty themselves it costs £22pm however I bought this from a seller called Argylemike01 on eBay for £10pm. I bought 2 metres as it isn’t sold by the half-metre, however this is still more than half price! This fabric isn’t available from the seller anymore however he has a quick turn-around of various lovely liberty prints instead. This will be my shirt to wear on Christmas day, and I am so excited about making it!

Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio:

linden

 

I love my Linden sweatshirts that I made a few weeks ago and so I am keen to make another couple as they are just so comfy! Inspired by a jumper I saw online (pintrest I think) I wanted to make a grey sweatshirt with lace overlay on the front and back. The lace is from Joann fabrics, and the grey sweatshirt fabric is from richerfabric on Ebay for £5.45pm. I bought a yard and a half of the lace at $15 a yard however I won’t use very much so it will probably be about $6 worth (£3.80). I also have grey ribbing in my stash that cost about £4.30 for half a metre however it goes a long way. The Linden’s simple construction lends itself really well to experimentation and I look forward to seeing the result!

Pattern Testing the Lou Box Top by Sew DIY:

lou

 

I am really excited to be pattern testing the Lou Box Top pattern by Beth of Sew DIY. The top has a lot of options and room for experimentation so I am planning on having fun with my fabric. The pattern is knit and woven friendly so I plan to make one of each, with both of my fabrics coming from eBay. (Neither of these fabrics have arrived yet so I am unsure whether I will use them however I have my fingers crossed!) The dark peacock fabric is from Regency Rags, for £1.99pm. The confetti knit fabric is from stany14, for £3.99pm. I am really excited about sewing up these tops and can’t wait for the fabric to arrive!

Flora Dress:

flora

 

I bought 2 metres of this galaxy peach skin polyester a while ago for £3.49pm from TheTextileCentre but I had no idea what to make from it. My current plan is to make an awesome galaxy By Hand London Flora dress, although perhaps with a longer skirt. Now I need the perfect christmas party to wear it to!

Pattern Plans:

others

 

I recently bought the Pantalon Gilbert pattern by République du Chiffon after being inspired by JoliesBobines version! Definitely think I need some of these in my life, although translating the french pattern may be harder. I may have studied french for six years but I haven’t spoken a word in nearly five!

I’m also completely in love with Clothhabit’s Watson Bra and Bikini pattern! Think this is exactly the push I need to get into sewing my own underwear as I imagine fitting an underwired bra to my shape may be far harder than i’m prepared for! I love the look of the longline version and am already researching fabrics to use!

Fabric Stash:

fabric

 

Ever since sewing my crepe de chine Alder dress I have been completely obsessed by finding more crepe at an affordable price. I picked up this ‘little sweet pea’ crepe de chine at fabric land for about £3.50pm and got 1.5m, enough to make another Alder or a similar dress if I want. However I think it is perhaps more of a spring-style fabric so I might save this for after Christmas.

This star viscose fabric is from Regency Rags on eBay and cost about £2.49pm I think. I bought 3 metres to make a dress I have been drafting myself following my pattern cutting course. I am still fixing some fit issues so probably won’t be starting this for a while but I am looking forward to it!

 

I am so excited about all these future projects! Definitely something to look forward to whilst I finish my dissertation! What are you planning to sew this christmas?

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Student Sewing Series – My Favourite Shops for Affordable Fabric

stusewser

As I have a difficult budget yet a constant need to sew, it can be hard to make as much as I want to. Because of this I have had to research cheap fabrics both from shops and online, and I have also had to balance the need for reasonably-priced fabric against the obvious problems with quality which can occur when fabrics are made to be so cheap.

I have found the need to buy cheap fabrics when using a new pattern, as there is nothing worse than wasting expensive fabric on an ill-fitting garment. Also due to being on a student budget, I often try to mix an expensive piece with cheaper extras, for example using a luxury fabric as the shell of a jacket, then using a cheaper lining and zip in order to keep it within my budget.

I am compiling a list of the places I have found that are good for affordable fabric, however if you know of any more (either UK based or International with reasonable shipping prices) then please leave a comment!

Stores:

  • Fabric Land  – Stores in Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Reading, Kingston, Basingstoke, Bristol, Sailsbury and Brighton. Although the website doesn’t show much, the stores are jam-packed with cheap fabrics, most under £6 a metre. They are mostly poly-cottons (usually around £2-3pm) however they also sell chiffons, fleece, swimsuit fabric, crepe de chine and I’ve even bought linen there too. Although the stores are not as pretty as boutique haberdasheries, they are like a treasure trove of affordable fabric and it only takes a little time to find something great.
  • Abakhan – Remnant store in Manchester.
  • Goldhawk Road, London – A bit of a cheat as it’s actually a whole road but there is a lot of choice and a lot of options for affordable fabric!
  • Walthamstow, London – Again a cheat but great shops and a market providing options for cheap fabric.
  • Shaukat, London – Huge range of Liberty fabric at discounted prices (however be careful of  being hit by the VAT charge, which is added on at the checkout as the prices on the website do not include this).

 

Tips for buying fabric online (particularly from eBay)

Descriptions of fabrics can be a bit varied on sites such as eBay, as sellers often add all sorts of words into the titles and descriptions in order to gain more views and for their items to appear in more searches. Because of this it is often difficult to know exactly what you are going to receive. A lot of fabrics have a very clear look, so you can tell from the photographs what type they are, for example chiffon, which can clearly be seen as transparent in the photographs. However there are many which are not listed with close photographs or the photos are ambiguous, allowing a polyester to look like a cotton or a viscose.

Although I generally just order these fabrics as I am incredibly impatient, I do recommend that if you are buying fabric for a particular project, or if it is a little beyond your price range that you request a sample of the fabric before you buy. Most sellers are happy to do this and most offer it free. It is worth it as you get to feel the fabric which is the primary downside of buying online.

Although eBay can be fantastic for cheap fabrics, with loads below £4 a metre, it is worth considering that the fabric is not going to be the quality that you would get for the higher price. You really do get what you pay for in terms of quality with fabric; however if you are on a restricted budget, cheap fabrics can give the look of a high quality garment without the price tag, they may just be a little more difficult to work with.

With these fabrics, as you often won’t know the exact make-up of the fabrics, I ALWAYS suggest pre-washing, as you never know how the fabric might react of whether it might shrink. Theres nothing worse than a beautiful finished garment shrinking in the wash! Katie from Papercut Patterns suggests treating your fabrics in pre-wash as you intend to treat the garment later on, for example if you are going to dry-clean a garment, it needn’t be pre-washed however if you intend to machine wash a garment, the fabric should be pre-washed in the machine at the usual temperature.

Online:

eBay:

I haven’t personally ordered from or shopped in all of these places so I can’t comment on service or quality from each one specifically. Also I am not being compensated for sharing these links, I just think they might be beneficial.

Hope this post is useful! Please let me know if you know of any more!

 

 

Linden Love

It is SO COLD! Our weather here went from t-shirts to hibernation in a week and I was not even a little bit prepared! However this coincided with the release of Grainline Studio’s new Linden Sweatshirt pattern and I am so excited! In fact I was so excited I downloaded, printed and assembled my pattern all on the day of release, and would have made a sweatshirt if I wasn’t waiting on ribbing!

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The Linden pattern is a raglan sleeve, relaxed-fit sweatshirt with a slightly scooped neckline. There’s an option for a cropped version with shorter sleeves or full length with ribbed cuffs and hem. As I wanted something really warm and cosy for the colder weather, I made view A with full length sleeves and bodice, however I have seen some great cropped versions such as Stephanie’s.

The pattern sews up really quickly and I did all of the assembly on my overlocker, just using a twin needle for the neckline. I also used my twin needle on the hem and cuffs on my first version however it did stretch the fabric a little as I don’t have a walking foot for my machine yet (next on my list!). I have already made two sweatshirts, with my second one only taking me an hour and 10 minutes from cutting to finish!

photo 1

 

I made my versions from this fabric I bought in Joann Fabrics when I was in the US this summer. It is a reversible knit which is awesome and totally justifies the price, $16.99 a yard, which in UK terms is £10.79. I bought two yards because it was on sale when I bought it, at $11.89 a yard (£7.55) and I loved both sides so I knew I would use it to make two different tops. It is incredibly soft and, although it doesn’t feel heavy, it is really warm and cozy – like wearing a hug! I bought my ribbing from Fabric Land in Brighton. I think it was about £6 a metre however the sweatshirt uses so little that I have loads spare. It is a little coarse compared to the soft knit however it softened up after washing and it is light enough that it doesn’t make the top hang strangely.

photo 2

I managed to get both of these sweatshirts out of 2 yards which is great. I cut a US size 2, although I am usually a size 0 in Grainline Studio patterns, however I was really keen that it wasn’t too tight and a 2 is perfect. It is also great on the sleeves and body which is unusual as I have a long body and long arms!

I completely love this pattern and am really looking forward to making more – if only the UK had more affordable sweatshirt fabric/ribbing! I’m still searching!

 

Garment Details:

Pattern: Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

Materials: Fashion Knits – Black Reversible Fabric fron Joann Fabrics. Black ribbing from Fabric Land.

Sizing/Adjustments: US size 2, no adjustments.

Cost: Both versions: £7.55 fabric each. £1 ribbing each. Stash thread. Overall £8.55 each.

A nod to the 90s – Experimentation with Double Gauze

At the same time that I bought my galaxy fabric for my scout tee, I bought two different checked fabrics, one in reds and blues, the other in white and greens. They are double gauze fabrics which means they are two different thin fabrics joined together with little stitches across the fabric. One side of these fabrics was a large check, the other was gingham. I was really excited to see how the fabrics would work being double-sided and how I could play with this. I bought the red fabric for myself and the green fabric for my mum, as she wanted her first Archer shirt.

photo 1

I made my mum’s first as I was gearing up to head back to Uni after the summer break so had to make it while I still had her to fit it on! She decided that she wanted each side of the front to be a different pattern, and also alternate sleeves. She also wanted a gingham yoke and skirt (from view B) and a check back. The collar was also gingham and the cuffs corresponded to the pattern of the sleeves as when she rolled them up, the insides would be a different print anyway. This is the first time I have used view B on an Archer, as I am a fan of the more simple view A, however it was really fun to experiment.

photo 2

 

The fabric was great to use however it was easy to stretch out of shape and trying to catch both layers can sometimes be a bit tricky. However it looked amazing inside too as it almost looked lined due to the reverse of the fabric. Because it frayed a little, I overlocked the armhole/sleeve head and the sleeve and side seams but otherwise all the seams are enclosed. My mum and I both have broad shoulders, and she wanted the shirt deliberately oversized so I cut about 2 or 3 sizes bigger than her actual size. Otherwise, as I have said before, the pattern was fantastic and she was really pleased with the result! I am glad to say it has had a lot of wear and it definitely inspired me to make my own version!

photo 3

 

For my shirt, I stuck to my usual measurements, size 0, lengthened by 2″ and view A. However I had a gingham button band and collar, yoke and pocket. I felt the fabric was already so loud that it would be to much to have contrast sleeves so I stuck to the bold check for the main body of the shirt. Again I had a slight issue with fabric stretch and it was a bit slippery to sew with but otherwise it is great and, despite being quite thin, having the gap between the fabrics traps air and this makes the shirt really warm, prefect for the cold weather we have finally started having here!

photo 4

 

Garment Details:

Pattern: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Fabric: Green and Red double sided cotton(?) from thetextilecentre on eBay

Sizing/Alterations: Version 1:US16, no changes. Version 2: US0, lengthened by 2″.

Cost: Both versions: £3.49pm x 2m =6.98 each. 40p buttons each. Stash interfacing and thread. £7.38 each.

Alder for Every Season

Okay, I admit it. I am a Grainline Studio addict! What can I say, Jen’s patterns are classic, simple yet with beautifully tailored details and leave so much scope for personal expression! Although I have made no secret of my love for the Scout and the Archer, my favourite beyond all doubt is the Alder Shirtdress! (Actually not quite true as I think the Alder is tied with Jen’s latest pattern, the Linden Sweatshirt. I have already made two and love them – will definitely be blogging soon!)

I have actually already made four Alders and am always finding fabric for more. They are the perfect length for wearing in the summer as they are not too short, and also there is enough coverage on top that it balances nicely. However they also look great in this cooler weather, with tights and a cardigan. I wear all four all the time! I decided to do a post about all four together rather than in separate posts as the pattern is so great that I really haven’t had to make many adjustments to it.

The Alder is the dress of my dreams. I don’t like clothing sitting too tight on my body so I fell completely in love with View B of the dress, with the gathered skirt, as it sits away from the body and isn’t clingy. Of the four I have made, all of them have been view B as, to be honest I really don’t like a-line and think it doesn’t suit my shape at all, although I love the sample versions on Jen’s blog.

I usually don’t buy a pattern until I have seen other bloggers’ recommendations however I ended up falling in love with this pattern and bought it on the day of its release, and bought the fabric that afternoon. I have had great success with Grainline Studio patterns and I know that they fit so I wasn’t concerned about investing in the pattern. However, to be honest Jen’s patterns are still some of the most reasonably priced indie patterns out there!

As someone who has had a lot of experience with button bands and armhole binding, this was really easy, however if you are new to sewing, I suggest trying out some of Jen’s other patterns first before attempting the Alder, just to familiarise yourself with her style.

photo 1-3

My first version was made from a polycotton from Fabric Land. It cost about £3.50 per metre and I bought two although only needed 1.5m as it was so wide. I loved the check as it was bold yet subtle enough that people don’t see the check before you, if you get what I mean? My only issue with this version was that the bust darts were a little low but that is often the case with me. Oh and I also tried to french seam the whole dress. I wouldn’t recommend this – not easy! Despite that, this version in particular has been worn the most as the print really works all year around.

alder2

 

My second version was made from a similar polycotton, also from Fabric Land and for a similar price. This was the first version I made with the help of my overlocker so was a lot quicker. I did a small bust adjustment (SBA) and moved the bust dart up by 1″. I also added side-seam pockets as I love to have pockets in my dresses.

alder3

 

My third version was made from a medium weight cotton from Joann Fabrics which I picked up when I was in the US over the summer. It cost about $7 a yard, which in British terms was about £4.40. I bought 3 yards as it was really narrow, however I think I only used about 2.2 yards. I think the fabric was originally quilting cotton, but I felt it was soft enough to wear and was an absolute dream to sew. For this version I made no changes other than the bust darts and pockets.

alder4

 

My fourth and final (for now!) version is my absolute favourite! It is made from a polyester crepe I bought from CheapestFabricsUK on eBay for £3.95 per metre. I loved the print and bought the fabric on a whim as I had never sewn with crepe before, but with the help of my trusty overlocker it was so easy and the texture of the fabric is just beautiful. I have been hunting out cheap crepe ever since! Again I made no changes to this version. It is great of the cold weather we are having because it is surprisingly heavy, however I imagine it will be great for the summer months too. I can’t wait to wear this dress more!

Overall I can’t say enough how much I love the Alder and its versatility means I will be returning to make more soon!

Garment Details:

Pattern: Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress

 

Materials:

Version 1: Green Check Polycotton from Fabric Land

Version 2: Blue and White Star Polycotton from Fabric Land

Version 3: Orange Button Print Cotton from Joann Fabrics

Version 4: Floral Poly Crepe de Chine from Cheapestfabricsuk313 on eBay

 

Sizing/Alterations: cut a straight 0. Moved bust dart up by 1″. Added side seam pockets.

 

Cost: One-off pattern cost of $14 (£8.75)

Version 1: Fabric 1.5mx£3.30 = £4.95. Stash thread and interfacing. 20p buttons. Overall £5.15.

Version 2: Fabric 1.5mx£3.30 = £4.95. Stash thread and interfacing. 20p buttons. Overall £5.15.

Version 3: Fabric 2.20mx£4.40 = £9.68. Stash interfacing. Thread £1.80. 20p buttons. Overall £11.68.

Version 4: Fabric 1.5x£3.95 = £5.93. Stash thread and interfacing. 40p buttons. Overall £6.33.

Going Dotty

photo 1-1

 

This was the first ever item of clothing I had made for anyone else and I loved it! I was so excited to work with a different pattern and shape to those I usually make for myself and had my wonderful Mum as my client so we could easily  make something she really liked. She had ordered this beautiful spotty (and striped?) viscose from eBay and had decided that she liked the shape of the ‘Simple T-shirt’ from the Great British Sewing Bee – Sew Your Own Wardrobe book. The T-shirt is incredibly simple, as it is made from just two pieces, with the sleeves formed as part of the front and back sections rather than set-in separately. It gives an almost batwing-esque look which we both loved. The neck, armholes and hem were all sewn with matching bias-tape, however on viscose this can be incredibly tricky.

We also had some issues with the fit. The finished garment is deliberately oversized, however it still is not long enough, despite adding an extra 1″ to the hem, and the neckline was so so large that I had to make straps to stop it falling off the shoulders. (I have since made another where I took the neckline in on the pattern by 2″ each side and it is now wearable without the need for extra straps.)

There really isn’t much to say with such a simple garment, except that we were both happy with the result and the top has had a lot of wear over the summer!

Garment Details:

Pattern: Simple T-shirt from Great British Sewing Bee – Sew Your Own Wardrobe. 

Materials: 2m spotty viscose from The Textile Centre

Sizing/Alterations: Cut a UK 18 (I think) and added 1″ to each side seam and 1″ to hem and arm length. Still could do with extra 2″ hem length.

Cost: Fabric – £2.49 pm x 2 = £4.98. Stash pattern and thread.

Kiss Me Quick – Scout Peplum Hack

I have made no secret of my love of the Grainline Studio Scout Tee (see here and here!) and I want to show you how it can be the perfect base for adaptions and pattern hacks. I have a top I bought a few years ago from H&M which is my ultimate ‘go-to’ top; however, it was getting a bit embarrassing looking at photos from nights out and seeing that I was often wearing the same top! It is loose fitting around the waist (yay for going out for a huge dinner!), has little sleeves, a relatively high scoop neck (if thats even a thing?) and a button and loop at the back of the neck with a back seam. The top also has a peplum- my favourite! I have been struggling to replicate this top for months as I keep finding peplum patterns but they never have the right waist/peplum for me so I hadn’t managed it- until now!

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I have a few birthday dinners coming up, so thought I should try again to see whether I could make a new top. I had seen images of people attempting a Scout peplum hack online, yet there wasn’t a tutorial anywhere and I didn’t want to make a traditional circle-skirt style peplum as the waist of the scout would be difficult to fit it to. Instead I cut the scout normally except for finishing at the waist. I then measured the length of the peplum on the original top (about 9″+ s/a) and cut two rectangles of fabric for the peplum this deep. To determine length I measured the width of the shirt front and cut the rectangle about 150% of this, except I probably added about 4″ extra as I was being very generous. This was probably a bit much but I really like the flounce it gives and the weight of the fabric keeps it hanging nicely.

I also changed the order of the scout assembly. I cut the back as two pieces with added seam allowance. Then I neatened the top 4″ for the opening by folding over twice, and stitched the rest of the seam shut.  I stitched the shoulders, inserted the neck binding and added loop and button, set in the sleeves flat then stitched the side seams. Then I assembled the peplum-tube and matched side seams with the scout. I gathered the peplum and stitched in place. My original top has a slightly dipped hem at the back however I didn’t use this for the new top.

Fit-wise it is great! The neckline is pretty close to the original and the peplum is not too much. The only problem I had was that I cut the waist of the shirt about 1″ too low, so it is more of a drop-waist however that is great for me! The top probably could have done with some bust darts, to add a little shaping, and to be honest you could probably fit a 6 month baby bump under all the excess fabric, however I love the shape and it swings and drapes beautifully!

I had bought this fabric months ago, with initial plans of making it into a sleeveless Archer Shirt for my holiday, however despite the listing on eBay saying viscose, it was clearly a polyester crepe when it arrived (typical eBay!) so I was a little scared of working with it. (This is my only problem with eBay however, and the company in particular are absolutely fantastic with their range of fabrics and prices but I do suggest asking for samples if you want to order more expensive fabrics or for a particular project when it comes to all eBay sellers!) Since then it has been stashed in my fabric bag without any plans. However it was absolutely beautiful to work with, I would even go as far to say that it was one of my favourite ever fabrics to work with; And it was only £1.99 a metre which was all I needed for this top! AMAZING!

I will definitely be making another peplum top very soon as it is so fun, and my fear of poly crepe has disappeared!

 

Garment Details:

Pattern: Grainline Studio Scout Tee 

Materials: 1m lips fabric from Regency Rags on eBay

Sizing/Alterations: Cut size 0 scout. Made armholes slightly bigger.

Cost: 1m Fabric – £1.99. Stash pattern, thread and button for back.