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Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Great British....

The one thing I have really loved about British TV is that they celebrate a lot of home made things.

The Great British Bake Off.

The Great British Interior Design Challenge.

And my new favourite - The Great British Sewing Bee.

Um, yes please!

What I think might be fun, and keep me on my toes, is to start doing some of the challenges alongside them.

Maybe one or two refashions (as I recently cleaned out my closet and kept a few items I could refashion) but more on the garment making.

I think its going to be fun, and it will give me new things to have around for my #memademonday's

I am looking forward to the season to start, and to start the challenges!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

10 Days

Ten actual days have passed since my last blog post.

How can that actually be?!

To be fair - I feel I owe myself a little break, I am a tax adviser you know, and in the UK it is our "busy season".

Granted I am one usually preaching about the office how we don't have one specific "busy season" as what tends to happen is once we get all our tax returns filed for 31 January it turns into "billing season" where we scramble to get our bills out for all those returns we did, then its "STBV season", then "Modified PAYE season", then "P11D" season, then guess what....we're back into ramping up for our next so called "busy season".

Sounds fun doesn't it?

So...what have I done in the last ten days.

Well, I took my new dress on it's first outing.  Wore that beauty to work.  I had to buy new shoes though to wear it (such a shame right....), as I don't have any navy blue, red, silver, or green shoes.  So I grabbed myself a pair of shoes from Accessorize in the Reading train station that were on sale for £13 (bargain!).

ooooo sparkly!

Here I am posing creepily in the toilets at work....but the lighting is bright, and the mirror is well positioned.


creepster!

Anyway.  The dress is a resounding success.  Its comfortable on, even though its fitted.  And there's enough room for me to chow down on lunch without feeling like a complete fatty in a tight dress.

I can honestly say - I will most likely make another Lilou.  Thank you again Tilly for some great patterns!

So after that lovely outing, I was scheduled to have a visit out to Winchester from my dearest buddy.  I wasn't sure if I was going to have time to actually make anything over the weekend, as she was coming for an overnight stay.  SLEEPOVER! I haven't had a sleep over in a good long time.

It was great.

But I was also really wanting to make something.  So I did what any sane person would do.  I looked at all my new fabric, then I laid on it a little.



Lovely.

Buddy was scheduled to arrive Saturday ... sometime.  So in the morning I thought I might trace out a pattern...that was okay right?  Baby steps here.  So I traced out a pattern for some lovely new trousers.  And then I also cut the fabric out.  It was pretty, and I have an addiction okay?!

 you can see the tips of my incredibly awesome unicorn slippers here....
who doesn't want a pair of plaid trousers?! (stretchy material too)


Well, Buddy came over, and we had a really great time.  We ate too much food, binged on some terrible love movies on Netflix, then slept in.


Here we are chilling with our feet up on the blow up mattress set up for Buddy (me with my Tilly made pajama trousers on, comfortable, yes, made for my stumpy legs so they don't drag everywhere, also yes).

Well.

Buddy left Sunday early afternoon.  What's a girl to do with a Sunday other than finish off her Trousers?!

Thankfully my newly mastered skills of trouser sewing (see pajama pants above), and zip inserting (see ALL other Tilly dresses), means that these new Burda Trousers of mine were a breeze.  And bonus, they fit my bum (a couple of girls complimented me on this at work, this means the trousers are a win).

Here's my terrible photo taking...



Some of my friends at work have come to know Monday as the debut day.  The day I come to work in the item (or items) I made over the weekend.  I call it my Me-Made-Monday.  All of this hopefully ramping up to Me-Made-May that I hope to participate in for 2015.

After a particularly trying day on Tuesday, I wipped out Tilly's Coco Pattern, highlighted the smaller size (the last one I made was too big....but makes for an incredibly comfortable weekend lazing around....er...tunic...since I also failed to pre-wash my first Coco dress and it shrunk right up to my bum).  And made one of these for a jaunt into work on Wednesday (today!)





This is possibly the softest fabric i have ever had the pleasure of owning, or wearing.  And I snapped it up from John Lewis on SALE kids!  I think it was only £9 per meter.

Well, this dress went down a storm, and I got complimented by a STRANGER.  That rarely happens.
That is my adventures of the last ten days.

Oh.  I should mention.  I passed my final CTA exam, the results were released today.  Now I can officially say I'm a Chartered Tax Adviser.  Chartered kids, that's crazy.

Although of recent many of my "taxy" friends have said my talents are wasted on tax...and I should be sewing full time.  One day...maybe!

xx
Jenna

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sew what happens when...

See what I did there.  Pun in the title.

I needed to head into C&H Fabrics this weekend to get some lining fabric for a skirt I wanted to make with some REALLY luxurious fabric I found in the bargain bin.  So, off I went to grab some liner.  And I saw all these lovely fabrics on sale for 50% off, thats right....50% off!!  So I bought some fabric.   And a zipper, and some thread (obviously).


Pretty, right?  I decided to be a bit more adventurous on this one, pick a fabric with a print!  Scary ;)

I'm sure you all know which book I chose when deciding on a dress.  Tilly!  I made the final dress from her little book.  The Lilou dress.

So, without adieu, here it is!

 The obligatory look I actually did make it sewing picture (with my beautiful jamberry nails, you're welcome).
 Partway through construction....
 Topless me!  I tell you its really hard taking solo photos with my iphone
 So I moved onto the fancy mirror selfies!
 Front and side...
New location for the mirror.

I wore the dress today (Sunday) while cleaning for a little bit, and I felt like a really glam 50's housewife.  I love this dress.  I need to find a lovely red cardigan to pop on top so I can wear this beauty to work (as its still too cold to wear this thing without a cardigan anywhere outside my house).

And as for the other item I wanted to make.  I got too distracted to take photos during the actual make of it, so I can't glamour you all with pictures of me cutting and sewing (or even lining, I LINED a skirt guys!)  Since I lined it I know it won't get stuck on my tights at work (bonus) cos I love tights, and I love thick tights for work.  I'll take the obligatory mirror selfie so you can see the skirt on, but here it is on my newly cleaned floor.

The fabric was 2 sided/reversable. I can't quite construct anything that is reversable (where do the seams go?!) So I chose the side that was a bit more...out there.  As you can see it has lovely shades of blue, grey, black, and there are little flecks of gold in there too.  I love this skirt, and can't wait to wear it to work tomorrow!!

Enjoy!!

xx
Jenna




Friday, January 9, 2015

There is too much goodness in the world

So, now that I have fully flexed my creative making muscles, I need to start doing a little more planning, and narrow down what I want to make and have in my wardrobe.

I started reading a lot of information on having capsule wardrobes.  This is the idea where you have a smaller amount of clothes, but the clothes you do have are able to mix and match with various things (I always think of Gok when I think capsule wardrobes, where at the end of his TV show he would reveal the wardrobe he's picked out for the individual hanging from the ceiling).  Anyway - I've come to the conclusion that this is ideal.  I need a few key pieces that I really love, and will build my wardrobe around this.

So - what am I going to make.

1. Francoise Dress - Tilly & The Buttons

I really adore the fit of this dress, it is fitted where I want my dresses to fit, and flares where I want my dress to flare!  The length on my first trial run on this dress was also amazing.  I've decided I want to make another!  I've ordered some lovely royal blue material, with some black contrasting.  I am going to play with the yolks and sleeves and hopefully come out with something extra nice.  This is a dress style I can see me having more of.

Super classy toilet selfie


2. Granville Shirt - Sewaholic

I'm sorry - has anyone seen how absolutely beautiful this shirt is?!  It is beyond perfect for my current lifestyle - by lifestyle I mean working in an office job where dressing "business causal" (what is that anyway) is my Monday to Friday scene.  Saturday and Sunday are obviously spent mostly in pajamas, but when I'm not in pj's this is the perfect pattern that can be used in a comfy cozy fabric, like super soft denim, or super soft plaid.  Also - if I make it in plaid - it would be oh-so-Canadian - AND the designer is based in Canada (I paid for this design in CAD) - so..now you know.

http://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/n-arxsrf/jfhrm/products/147/images/816/IMG_6678_crop__35904.1419273443.1280.1280.jpg?c=2
http://www.sewaholicpatterns.com/granville-shirt/
3. Burda Style Seamed Turtleneck Jersey Top

Something about this top draws me to it.  Maybe it's the freezing atmosphere in the office (AC overload), or the shape, or the fact that it will tuck into all my skirts.  Either way or.  It's being added.

4. Burda Style Petite Trousers

There was a brief period last year, where "cropped trousers" were very stylish.  This was excellent for me.  As the typical woman's cropped trousers are my short legs normal length trousers.  Well - now that I'm sewing my own clothes, I can pick what length I want my trousers to be in!

 

5. Tilly & The Buttons Delphine Skirt

This is from the beautiful Love at First Stitch book.  I've made two of these (one in corduroy that is...okay....and another lovely one in spotted cotton that I need to add a lining to).  I've got fabric for another one in my cupboard which I'm looking forward to cutting into.  I will definitely need to line this baby, and will pick some of that up this weekend.

I don't have a picture of one I've made - so you'll have to look at the creation Tilly made herself (granted, mine won't be red)



6. Burda Style Shirt Dress

There is something that I feel to be really lovely and classy about a button down shirt dress.

This is one thing that I am definitely looking forward to making!

7.  Watson Bra and Bikini

To be fair - this isn't something I'll be "mixing and matching" for the entire world to see - but it will allow me to continue to sew and be creative without taking over the space in our 1 bed flat.

Again, not something I've had the opportunity to sit down and make - so enjoy a picture of the product from the seller of the pattern.



So this is my upcoming makes to keep me busy for at least the next month or two.

Being that I work full time Mon-Friday in an office - the weekends are my big chance to sit down and work on a project.

I also plan on starting to knit and crochet more as well (more knitting, as I have been crocheting quite a lot).

I managed to finish my yellow crochet jumper, but I feel it looks a little big...I'll do another post on this separately.  It may be relegated to my "when I get pregnant" pile, as it looks like it would be a good maternity top (if you catch my drift).

xx
Jenna


Monday, January 5, 2015

My date with Tilly

Another Sunday, another date with Tilly and my sewing machine.

I took her beautiful book out of my little sewing cubbyhole, grabbed the fabric I had waiting to make the dress, and started in on the Megan Dress.





The beauty of most of the Tilly items I've made (the exception being the Margot Pajama Pants) - is they are all work suitable when made in the right colour of material.  And since I am there 5 days a week - this is super ideal for me.

So, it was time to get down to work, I laid out the pattern on my lovely floor work surface, pulled out my lovely pink highlighter (to highlight which line I needed to trace) and laid out my tracing paper.  Let me just start by saying tracing paper is a miracle.  I love it.  I need more of it.  Before (for the skirt and pj trousers, I was using standard A4 printer paper to trace through, see you later eyesight).  Now - its a dream.

It also helps that it was daylight when I started the tracing.


Then it was onto laying the pattern pieces onto the fabric, using my fancy tailors carbon and imprint wheel, and then doing my fancy "grown up" cutting with my matt and circular cutter.


Next, onto pinning and sewing.

I really need to get my jamberries onto my fingers, so that I can have prettier nails when I take these sewing and crocheting pictures.  Because let's face it, pretty fingers are the best (and jam's never flake, also ideal, as I am a human that uses her nails like the tools they are).

Things that make me proud of this dress.  I did gathers on the shoulders of the dress.  Hello feminine and pretty.  This involves sewing three lines across the top of the shoulder piece, then sticking a pin in the center, and then basically pulling and scrunching the fabric towards the pin until you get the desired scrunched up bit.  After that, you simply sew over the top to ensure this holds its shape.

The dress also had more darts than I've done before, and I also tried it on as I was going and made a few adjustments.  For example, I needed to slim the dress down by maybe 1.5cm on each side (probably more like 2cm).  Which is a pretty big deal, when the dress also allows for a 1.5cm seam allowance.

I think the next time I make the dress I might elongate the top portion of the dress a teeny tiny bit.  This will allow the waist hem to sit lower, and then I could probably get away with wearing a belt with the dress.  Right now, my skinny belts don't do the dress any favours.

I wore it to work today, and got a few compliments (so it can't be too bad), and it looked lovely under a cardigan (as my office is always about -10 degrees).  Sorry, not sorry I left my scarf on - it was chilly!

So - without denying you the pleasure of the dress any more - here it is (in all its iphone picture glory).  And yes - that is a bathroom selfie - but the light is great, and I can stand a decent length away from the mirror to get an actual picture!


 Let me know what you think!

xx
Jenna