Stasia Dress

I wanted to make a jersey dress in charcoal grey, to go with my autumn capsule wardrobe. I needed it to be comfortable and warm but smart enough to wear out. I needed it to be loose fitting around my middle and long enough to wear with knee high boots. I thought that the Sew Liberated Stasia dress pattern fitted the bill.

When I see a new pattern I like, I head straight over to Instagram to see who else has made it and to see what type of fabric they used. For this dress, there are lots of makes and wearers with different body shapes, sizes and ages wearing it. I checked that there were some older ladies included as I don’t want to look like I am trying too hard to look younger than I am 🙂

I bought the jersey fabric from Minerva. I get 10% discount off everything for being a craft club member, so its worth it. UK delivery is free for orders over £20 so I bought some other fabric and a pattern too to make it worthwhile. The fabric was £5.98 and took 2 metres making the dress cost about £12. There are no fastenings so no cost there, but I did use some swimsuit elastic that I already had, at the waist to give the seam a bit more stability.

I chose to make a short dress, but the pattern can be used to make a maxi dress and a top. The construction of the dress is very simple. There are only 6 pieces to cut out. I decided to leave out the pockets because I thought they might add a bit of bulk. I can do without pockets in one dress and I can do without more bulk!

It didn’t take long to put together and I am very pleased with the final product. The only thing that slightly annoys me is that the shoulders show my bra strap, so I should fix some lingerie hooks in, which I may do when I get around to it!

In the meantime, I can wear it and wash it and it doesn’t need ironing, so all good!

Capsule Wardrobe – Autumn 2019

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It’s that time again! Time to swap my summer clothes over for a warmer set. This Autumn I have decided to use these colours for my capsule wardrobe:

  • Black
  • Purple
  • Cerise Pink
  • Lilac
  • Dark Grey
  • Lime Green
  • White

i decided on these colours a month or so ago so I could start making items of clothing for Autumn. I have also been through all of my clothes that I store away each season and picked out items which I like and which I want to be part of the capsule. I haven’t had to buy anything extra at all. 

These are the items in my Autumn Capsule 2019

Outerwear

Black lightweight jacket – bought from M&S when I was working 

Purple velvet coat – I have had this maxi coat for several years but have only worn it occasionally. I have now decided to shorten it so that I get more wear from it. 

Black hoodie – bought from Primark about 2 years ago 

Grey hoodie – bought from H&M last year

Tops

Black cotton polo – bought several years ago 

Black long sleeved tee – bought last year 

Black and white checked shirt – I made this last year but it’s too short so I am going to lengthen it a bit with some of the leftover fabric. 

Long floral blouse – I bought this from Joules when I had a bit of money and when I was working but I still like it and it has the right colours for this capsule 

White long sleeved tee – bought last year 

White linen top – bought 2 years ago 

Purple and white top – made this year 

Short black tee – bought from Spanish supermarket this year 

Bright Pink Tee – bought from Spanish supermarket this year

Lime Green Tee – gifted from my sister -in- law

Long cerise pink lightweight cardigan – bough a few years ago

Bottoms

Black leggings- bought this year from M&S

Black trousers – bought 2 years ago from M&S

Purple jeans – bought several years ago – can’t remember where from 

Black jeans – Christmas present 2018 

Dresses

Lilac dress – this is the Cinema dress I made – see blog post – cost £25 (fabric, thread and buttons) plus pattern 

Grey jersey dress – made this last week – cost £15 plus pattern 

Black dress – bought last year from Lidl 

Cerise Pink Joni Dress – made this year – cost £32 – plus pattern

Shoes and Boots 

Black ankle boots – birthday present Feb 2019

Grey lace up shoes – bought 2018 – Clarks 

Black slip ons – bought several years ago but not worn much – Dune 

Black patent slip ons – bought several years ago but not worn much – Clarks – they have them back in the shop now!

Accessories

Pink suede clutch – bought from eBay new last month 

Black Crossover Handbag – bought several years ago 

Lime Green Tote – bought several years ago – Sainsbury’s

Jewellery

I have been through my ‘jewellery’ and found some pieces that will co-ordinate with the colours.

 

Linda’s 60th Birthday Treat

Oh Lovely Linda, you keep my body and mind relaxed!

One of my many gifts to myself is to have a monthly full body massage. I believe that it has helped me to keep well over the years. Driving, a stressful job and using a keyboard all day meant that I was usually tense and my muscles tight and sometimes horribly knotted. Having a massage relieves the tensions and relaxes the muscles but is also a very nice way to while away and hour or so, thinking of nothing in particular.

When we  moved to our current house in 2005, I needed to find a new masseuse. Linda came to the rescue. I discovered her through a local magazine and have been going to her ever since.

Along the way we became good friends – we’ve listened to each others moans and groans and laughed and talked a lot too. We have a rule that we can talk up to the point she is massaging my face and then it’s just the soothing music in the background.

Linda has joined the ranks of the over 60’s now so I wanted to give her a special birthday gift. She kindly took me for a spa day and afternoon tea treat for my 60th and I wanted to give her something special for hers.   I asked her if she would like me to make her a handmade piece of clothing. She could, of course, choose the fabric and the pattern and I would make it up.

We trawled through my pattern box to find a pattern that Linda liked. She chose a dress pattern I had used before but wanted a few changes. She wanted the shape altered from an A line to a straight sided shift dress.

So off we went to Milton Keynes to choose the fabric, have lunch and have a nice day together.

After lots of discussion and looking, Linda chose some lovely teal print, cotton fabric. Unfortunately, the John Lewis at Milton Keynes didn’t have enough to make the dress, but store gave me details of the stores which had more fabric. I contacted Reading and they sent me what I needed, freepost!

As I was making changes to the pattern, I thought it best to make a toile first for a practice run. I used some cream curtain fabric, from my fabric stash, for this. After a few changes we were happy with the fit and I so I cut out the dress in the lovely fabric. Once it was cut out I quickly made the dress up and waited for Linda to return from holiday. It fitted in all the right places,  but just needed the sides taken in a little more, the pockets attached and the hem taken up.

I was very happy with the finished article.

I think she likes it too!

 

 

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Minerva Crafts

Recently, I was lucky enough to be chosen to be part of the Minerva Crafts Team. As part of this team, we get to choose some lovely fabric from a selection sent out each month. We then commit to making a garment and a blog post which is then put up on on their website. You also have to commit to completing the garment and the blog within 4 weeks of receiving the fabric. There are many of us in the Team and I think we are from all different backgrounds and have different styles and levels of sewing experience.

The choice of fabrics is a bit overwhelming but in a good way! I decided that my criteria for choosing would depend on the time of the year and any gaps in my capsule wardrobe  for that season. I also wanted to use patterned I had not used before and maybe try out some new fabrics.

For my first project I chose some rayon challis in a teal colour. I made the Buttons Bettine Dress, a casual, easy to wear dress, for summer. This is the one I am wearing above.

I was really pleased with the final product and it went live on the Minerva Blog on 17th June.

For my second project, I chose some micro fleece to make a warm top. I used another Tilly pattern, the Nora top. This one is due to go live in September.

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The Cinema Dress

Don’t you just love it when something turns out just right!

I had admired this dress made up on Instagram but also the pattern photo made me want to make it. It looked so comfortable, stylish and wearable. The pattern is produced by Liesl and Co. I used the paper version and found it easy to use and the directions easy to understand. This relaxed-fit dress pattern features a front and back yoke, V-notch neckline, and back button closure. Both views have easy-to-sew welt pockets and cuffed, three-quarter-length sleeves.

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I bought some lilac chambray from eBay which cost £22.50. I chose lilac because I don’t have anything in this colour and I think it goes nicely with my now grey hair. I thought this could be part of my Autumn Capsule wardrobe if it went to plan.

The fabric was lovely to sew. The instructions were easy to understand. I really enjoyed making it and made sure I took my time.

I originally was going to make the longer length but after reading the measurements I decided that the shorter length at 45 inches would be best.

I wasn’t looking forward to doing the buttonholes as I always panic about the positioning being right, but I practised first and they turned out ok. I bought some lovely wooden buttons from Ebay to finish it off.

I am very happy with the final product and plan to wear it tomorrow!

 

Sewing with Streeeetchy Material

Well, I’m addicted to the overlocker machine, or serger as some people call it. It makes sewing with stretchy material a doddle. I can whip up a tee shirt in a few hours now.

I’ve  made a 2 short sleeved t- shirts, 2 long sleeved t- shirts and almost a dress. Oh and a Barbie skirt with Nell!

 

The threading of the overlocker takes a while but once it’s threaded, it’s not often that you need to re- do it. It sits on top of my sewing table so I don’t need to put it away each time I use it. I now have both machines side by side on the table and can go between the two, when necessary.

I have also learnt to use a twin needle in my sewing machine which is used to finish neck edges and hems. It runs a double edge of top stitching making it look neat and professional. Underneath it does a zig zag stitch so suitable for stretch fabrics.

All the the garments I  have made on the ovelocker so far, have been made with cotton jersey. I have yet to try other types of stretch fabrics but I will have a go. I want to make a sweatshirt/hoodie next.

The sewing patterns I have used are the Lark Tee by Grainline Studios and the Joni Dress and Baseball Tee from the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch Book. The most fiddly bit on the T- Shirts is the neck band. I watched a couple of You Tube videos and have now got the hang of it, but my top-stitching could be improved so I am going to practise before I do anymore.

 

The Joni Dress has a twisted bodice which I thought would be complicated. It was, but I managed to do it and am pleased with the result.

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Sewing the seams using the overlocker is sooo satisfying. Sewing, neatening and trimming in one press of the foot. It’s brilliant!

The Joni Dress is nearly done and I will definately make another for the summer.

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Eek I’ve bought an Overlocker

I’ve been reading all about overlocker or serger machines. They used them on the Sewing Bee and they are referred to a lot when sewing with stretch fabrics. Buying one had been on my wish list for a while but I was waiting for the right moment. It came when someone on the Sewing Bee Facebook page said that they were on Amazon, as Deal of the Day. I did a quick bit of research and decided to go for it as it had £50 off.

I ordered it on Monday and it arrived on Wednesday. My first impression was – it’s a scary piece of kit. All that thread and all that threading through lots of loops and things!

Well, I’ve watched the DVD and a couple of You Tube videos today and I’ve managed to set it up and have a practice go. So 😛 to you Mark. He was expecting me to cry for help. Being the stubborn old woman I am, I managed to do it without his help. Hooray – I’m not brain dead after all. I was expecting the set up to take all day and be quite frustrated but I was pleasantly surprised.

So now I have to try it out on a sewing project. I decided to thread it with black thread so I need to find something dark coiloured to sew 🤪. I have a lot of the cranberry jersey left that I made the Lark Tee out of so I am going to try a long sleeved version I think.

I am also going to make the Joni Dress featured in the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch Book

I bought  some lovely floral cotton jersey from Guthrie and Ghani and I am going to make the Joni Dress out of that. And that means I will have to re – thread it with white thread 🥴

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The Lander Shorts

I’m late to the party but I’ve made a pair of Lander Shorts. The pattern is made by True Bias, a pattern maker I have only just discovered. I have seen and heard loads of mentions for this pattern so I thought I would give it a go. I wasn’t sure if it was suitable for an older person – me – but I looked at the makes on Instagram and there’re were some other mature ladies wearing them so decided I would join the party. The pattern appealed to me as it had Some neat details like a button fly and belt loops. I have never made either of those before.

After reading a few sewing blogs and some comments on Instagram, I decided I would try using a ‘toile’ before I started.  In all my years of sewing I have never done this. Basically, it’s making a practice garment out of cheap fabric so that you get the fit right before using your expensive fabric. As I had forked out for some rather nice linen from Guthrie and Ghani  I decided this would be a good idea. I used an old cream coloured cotton curtain lining for the toile. I made up a size 16 after measuring all my bits. When I made the basic toile (without the pockets but with the button fly – to practice)  it gaped a bit a the back of the waist so I knew I should increase the waist dart sizes on the final garment and that should do it.  The rest of it fitted ok.

So I cautiously cut out my fabric – as usual I had far too much! As the linen has stripes I was careful to make sure that they ran the right way. They are very thin strips so I didn’t need to worry about lining up the stripes to match, on this occasion.

I told myself, I would not hurry so that I would not make too many mistakes. My new sewing machine had a variable speed switch so I keep it at slow to slow me down 🤪

The instructions are in a small booklet, with pictures, and they are very clear and understandable. They are much better than the traditional patterns and paper instructions which need folding and flipping repeatedly to find where you are.

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After watching the Sewing Bee and Lauren from Guthrie and Ghani’s You Tube videos I have updated my sewing kit a bit.

I have bought a pair of rotary scissors, some glass pins and a metal measuring gauge. I also want some of those weights the Sewing Bee sewists use, instead of pins and have tried out the concept with some magnetic board holders. The pretty weights are quite expensive and you need quite a few, so they will have to wait a while.

I hate doing buttonholes (not quite as much as I hate putting zips in) as I get a bit flustered as to the exact positioning of them. It’s easier with my new machine but it still worries me. It’s not easy unpicking one when it’s wrong! I managed in the end, though and they are not perfect but they are okay and functional.

I lined the pockets with a scrap of material I had leftover from making Nells jumpsuit. I loved doing the belt loops, it makes the whole thing look so professional.

I staggered the making over a few days so I wouldn’t rush it and as usual pressed as I went along. It makes the whole process much easier.

I finally finished them yesterday and I’m really pleased with them and very proud of myself. It’s made me confident to have a go at the trousers now. They are high waisted and a comfortable fit. I can now see what all the chatter was about. I would have added a picture of me wearing them but as it was -1 this morning it will have to wait.

 

Spanish Sewing Project No 4 – Japanese Style Apron

This is the 5th apron I have made with this pattern. I bought the pattern at a craft fair in Leicester a couple of years ago. I had been looking for a Japanese style apron pattern for a while and so I spent a hard earned tenner on it. The lady who made it had one she had made on, which I admired. She said she had made it from an Ikea curtain. (Saved!) I duly went and bought a pair of the grey curtains in Ikea and made 2 aprons. They were made from grey linen but the material frayed quite a lot after washing, so not ideal as they get quite a lot of laundering.

The pattern is very easy to put together and there are only 3 pattern pieces. I can whip one up in a morning now.

The next one I made was using some denim material I bought from the Knitting and Stitching Show in October. I made one soon after and saved the rest of the fabric to make another whilst here in Spain.

The aprons are very good, because they cover a lot of you of you and look stylish, as well as keeping your clothes clean, whilst cooking.

The denim one was more of a success and looks pretty smart I think. I have reinforced the pocket edges more this time, as they came undone on the original ones. I also took more time to neaten the edges before I made the apron up. They wash much better.

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