Thursday, 2 August 2018

Fabric Indulgence & The Pattern Swap

I’ve gone a bit crazy buying fabric of my dreams recently. It was my birthday a few weeks ago and with being off on maternity leave (hoping lots of sewing time) and at a size where no clothes fit- I found plenty of excuses. So help me decide what to make.

Of course top of my list as always, was Liberty.  But this time I treated myself to a selection of their finer fabrics- can’t believe I just wrote that as tana lawn is quite fine enough but gosh the silk- I'm in love!!  They were all heavily reduced in the sale, still £20-£30 per metre but I think it’s worth it!!

Firstly I got 2m of this silk for my birthday from my mum. It’s on sale at Croftmill and I adore it. It’s one of my favourite prints,I have a sweatshirt in it- so something in silk will look so different!! I have lining and thread all ready to go. I m thinking between Deer and Doe Myosotis dress or something more like a Kalle shirt.  Do I go simple style/ shirt dress or more frilly?  The Deer and Doe is a new pattern I look forward to trying, whereas the Kalle is a tried and trusted one I've made a few times.

I then bought myself a selection of silk, silk satin and hammered silk in the Liberty sale. One metre of each.  I love them all but the hammered silk (first one below) is I think the nicest fabric I ever owned. What to make???
The top 2 I can combine together to make a dress as they go together very well or make them separately as either tops or skirts? What do you think?
The red I m thinking of a top- but no idea what style
The black will be a skirt- though it looks navy in this picture, curiously!

I then have been lusting after Nani Iro for some time and decided to treat myself.  I had a hard time decididing but chose these two.  The first bright one  has the most vibrant colours and is double gauze.  It will be a summer skirt - probably simple A-line or gather to let the pattern do the talking and the second is almost a sateen finish, undecided whether it will be something to wear or cushions!

I then spotted this fabric in navy. I made a top in the pink version and I totally adore it- beautiful print and quality fabric so couldn’t resist buying the navy. It will become a dress of some sort.  These last 3 are all from Drapers Daughter.

This is my top in the pink colour way.  I just adore it!

Finally, for my birthday my sister in law bought me 2.5m of this gorgeous silk, direct from Shanghai!
Definitely destined to be a dress, but what style?  The colours are super vibrant.

I then acquired 3 new patterns courtesy of the #greatbigpatternswap on Instagram which is such a wonderful idea! I gave away 5 patterns most of which  I got free with magazines and will never use and in return for 3 I am super happy with!  The top one need to wait till cooler weather and certainly the vintage one, needs to wait until my baby belly goes! The top is high up the sewing queue though as it’s perfect breastfeeding atire- I cut it out already in navy jersey.  Thanks to Lynsey, Jo and Pterodactyltrinket who sent me these patterns!

Do let me know any suggestions for patterns for my new fabrics!

Monday, 16 July 2018

La Maison Victor Genova Dress

I've read about the French magazine La Maison Victor so many times and was quite excited to FINALLY track down a copy in the UK.  It launched here 3 or so months ago but with the first 2 editions, I drew a blank on locating a copy.  I got lucky with the 3rd at  WHSmith Westfield London.

So what did I make of the magazine?  I liked it.  Its not really a read, its a pattern magazine- so going forward I would only buy if I wanted the patterns on the inside (handily they show all of them on the back cover so its an easy decision).  The patterns themselves are easier to trace than the Burda ones, with less crammed onto a page and the instructions are very clear, easy to follow and with good visuals.  The photography throughout the magazine is lovely, very pleasing on the eye.

I was happy with the patterns in this edition, there are several I would use.  The first I turned to was the Genova dress.

I expect to be breastfeeding for the forthcoming months so want comfy, easy access clothes.  I chose a lightweight French Terry that I love that I bought recently- probably heavier than the pattern intended, and actually used the button placket from the Aspen Polo Shirt to add access to the dress.

It was a really easy make and already one week post the baby's arrival, I can say  I'll wear  this constantly!

 I will definately use this pattern again, infact, I already have 2 more versions in mind, another in a lightweight jersey for breastfeeding and a silk one thats a bit more fancy & fluid.

I think its a really nice style - Its a really good 'throw on' style for summer, with the 'flutter' sleeves giving just a nice detail.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Maternity Sewing Plans

Phew its been a long time since I did either sewing or blogging...  the reason being, not only have I been crazy busy with work and travelling a lot, I am also pregnant!  And for the first 3 months I was terribly sick... in those months I did nothing but sleeping, working and being sick.  Anyway as I headed into my 4th month, the sickness thankfully ceased and I got back to feeling like me again.

In these past weeks therefore, I m back sewing, creating my perfect baby wardrobe. I say baby wardrobe as learning from my first pregnancy, I don't really believe in 'maternity wear'.  You can wear your regular clothes for at least the first 4 months, there are then 6weeks when you fit in neither normal nor maternity wear particularly well - then maybe 4 months tops when you need full on maternity clothes.  Thats not long, to be buying or creating a whole set of new clothes.  As with my first baby, I plan to breastfeed and that period actually lasts a whole lot longer than the time you need maternity wear and also has very specific clothing requirements.  And finally- no one tells you beforehand that it will be a bloody long time before your usual clothes fit again!!  And I really didn't enjoy 'maternity wear'  post baby with all that extra fabric around the waist, making you feel even bigger than you already are!  

I set myself one golden rule to creating a wardrobe for my second baby...

 Anything I create must be wearable both in pregnancy, during breastfeeding and ideally after that (maybe with a few alterations).

I m not a fan of the maternity look, I found last time the things I wore most were regular  jersey dresses and tops (mainly from Boden or Joules)  with a high waist under the bust or wrap dresses/tops.   There are a few things I think you can't live without - appropriate underwear, maternity tights, a few vests and maternity jeans.  But for dresses and tops, I think 'regular wear' carefully chosen can suit quite fine, with much more longevity.   Here are a few of the (RTW non maternity) dresses I wore lots last time:

And here are the me-made things I've worn non stop for the first 4 months that well accommodate a small bump- basically stretchy dresses, shirts & shirt dresses, tunic style tops and sweatshirts.

On to the sewing plans! Here is what I have on my list, some of which I've started on already...


From top left, clockwise: Tilly & the buttons Rosa, Grainline Archer, Tessuti Alice Top, Vogue V8816, Sewoverit Lilly, Burda 6838.

First up, for early pregnancy (months 3-5) and for breastfeeding and later... shirts.  I 've just finished one new Archer in a gorgeous Liberty and have plans for one more as well as a Tilly & the Buttons Rosa dress in Liberty Needlecord to make after the birth.  I've worn my current one non-stop in the past weeks, but now its reached its limit.  I know I'll wear it all the time for breastfeeding since its got  easy open popper fastening and is super comfy.  I also know V8816 works well as I wore that constantly in my last pregnancy!

Here is the Archer that I just finished in Liberty:
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I made one concession and bought a maternity pattern - the SewOverIt Lilly top, which is specially designed for breastfeeding and actually I think I can wear afterwards too-  Think its a really nice cut and I had 2 contrasting Liberty fabrics which I used to sew it up already!  I put darts in the back and took the side seams in a little as I did find it very baggy, but I do really like the pattern and its an easy sew.


From top left, clockwise:  Tilly & Buttons Joni dress, Newlook 6301,  Buda 6562,  Newlook 6001, Butterick 5454, Cotton & Chalk Lilly.  I just got the new Tilly Stretch book through the post yesterday and I was super happy to see the new Joni dress, its just perfect for maternity wear but will be absolutely fine afterwards too!

I've already cut out the Newlook 6301 and the cotton & chalk dress in Liberty Jersey I found on eBay.  I cut per the patterns but in both cases I've shortened the bodice by a good few inches so it sits above my bump.  I didn't lengthen as I always find dresses too long anyway, so I was good on the length. I have a few days off over next few weeks when I'm hoping to finish the off - The top part of both are done, just need to do a few finishing touches like the hem etc. Here is a sneak peak:
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I've been collecting up some jersey fabrics, so will be tapping into my stash of those over the next weeks....

Hope to be sewing and blogging a lot more over coming months, I ll try not to leave it so long next time!  Thanks for reading - if you have any other maternity sewing tips- leave me a comment please!!
Messyessymakes x

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Refashioners 2017 #suitsyou

Its Refashioners time again and this year I m part of the blogger line up... eeekkk!  I had a ball last year and am still  amazed I won...  so that set the bar pretty high for what i would come up with this year.

The task this year? Refashion a mens suit.  Luckily my husband has good taste in suits and had a wonderful Burberry number that had a big rip down the leg.  I'd had it in the cupboard for quite some time, so the theme this year was spot on!  I absolutely love the fabric, the details and as I deconstructed, wow I was in awe of whoever made this.  True craftsmanship.
The thing that impressed me the most was the shear number of layers, textures and details in creating the shape and support around the collar and sleeve.  Look at this - the sleeve head had no less than 7 layers of different fabrics.  Needless to say I kept as much of the tailoring intact as I could or reused it.  I kept the shoulder tailoring largely intact.  I couldn't do the same for the sleeve head as it was totally the wrong shape, but I unpicked and re-used several of these layers to add shape to my jacket.

Deconstruction time... as always, it takes way longer than you think when you want to do it well and preserve the pieces intact.  At this stage I hadn't fully decided what pattern to make. I wanted to assess what I had to work with first.  Even though the jacket was huge relative to my size, strangely it was awkward to work with to create a new jacket in a different style...     Messy as always

So lets talk style. My intention was to create a new jacket in a much more relaxed, casual shape.  Here is my inspiration:

I wanted a very simple pattern to use as a very basic structure that I would then free style from.  I chose the Ollie Bomber jacket- I've made it before for my son so I know its super easy and I felt I could hack from that.   I started with the lining.  The lining of the original jacket is something really special with so many lovely details I wanted to keep.  So  I carefully positioned my lining making best use of the original, keeping pockets & all.  I especially love the fact the sleeve lining is stripy!

I made up the lining to check fit.

Fit was pretty ok so I went ahead cutting the rest...  😞 I dug out the trousers which had been in my picnic hamper of scraps for at least 6 months.... the moths had got to them before I did - I held them up to the window so you could see- the whole trousers were covered in  moth holes  AARRRRHGGGHHH.   Wish I'd kept them with the jacket in the wardrobe. So plan B.  I didn't have enough fabric just using the jacket.  So I found a different pair of contrasting trousers, also worn through on one knee.
I used the contrast trousers for sides in the back jacket, the waist, cuffs and neck tie.   I had to do some adjustments around the neck and spent time pinning the waist till I got the  slight 'bomber' shape I was looking for:
Then I simply sewed it all together, fitting along the way.  As you see here (inside of the jacket front), I left alot of  the tailoring in place.
Instead of the usual bomber neck line and zip, I added in a long neck tie, made from the trouser legs and snap fasteners.

Here are some of my favorite details:

I loved the buttons on the original cuff, so I left them, pleated either side for shape and added a cuff band.  I used Prym snaps for the fasteners.  I really love them (they are from Minerva) and  are quite unusual with the pattern on them.  They are a dream to install with the Prym vario pliers.  One other detail is that at the bottom of the necktie I left in the tape that was on the inside turn-up of the leg!  I needed all the length I could get so I used the full leg + hem allowance to create the tie.

The Pockets can actually work two ways.  I think I like the effect above the best, but I can also untuck the flaps and it then looks like this.  Which do you thinks looks better?  I was also tempted to put snaps on the pocket- but resisted.
The neck can be worn either neatly tied in a bow, or can be left open/loosely tied.

Which do you prefer? I can't resist a bow...
So another years Refashioners complete and again I loved it- both years  I have found I learn so much and its so nice to push myself to make something I wouldn't have thought of otherwise.  I'm so excited to see what everyone else has made!!

To stay up to date with the Refashioners 2017, see all the other inspiring refashions  AND find out how you could win an amazing prize (and trust me its AMAZING!)   go to