Tops, tops Dolores meets Bronte

It’s at times like these, when the weather suddenly changes from lovely autumn to winter that I realise I don’t have enough tops to wear under cardigans or just on their own. I’ve always liked the Jennifer Lauren’s Bronte Top from the moment it came out. I really like her patterns and have also bought the Afternoon Blouse, which I have made and enjoyed but haven’t blogged about it. Next spring now, hehe. I bought the Bronte Top as part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel #6, which was an amazing selection of patterns and I can’t wait to make some more the ones in the parcel.

I made two versions of the top, both purely for trying out the pattern. The first one was made out of an existing top, which was a bigger size and I didn’t particularly like so I didn’t feel too bad about cutting it up. I went a little bit overboard with the buttons but I really like the effect. Also as the existing top wasn’t long enough, I used some leftover fabric for the front shoulders. I’m warning you that I’ve taken the pics myself and the help of the tripod, so in most of them I look as if I was about to have a stroke.

Bronte Top Jennifer Lauren Vintage

 

 

The second Bronte top was made out of the same leftover fabric and one of my boyfriend’s old t-shirts. There’s a bit of pulling on one side but I think it’s probably down to the fact, I needed a smaller size or simply I have done something wrong. No buttons this time :)

Bronte top Jennifer Lauren Vintage

Before the Bronte Top though, I bought So Zo’s  Dolores Batwing Top. It did look like a quick, easy and stylish make, and after seeing some cool versions in the blogosphere, I thought I’d give it a go myself. I really wanted to make the dress but didn’t have enough fabric so I settled for a top first. I used this loud print and as I didn’t have that much I didn’t even center the pattern.

Dolores Batwing Top

Let me tell you about this pattern. It will not disappoint you. The instructions are amazing and the end product, depending on what fabric you use, could be a casual top or one that’s a bit more dressy. It took me about an afternoon to cut and sew two of them and I’m not the fastest sewer in the world.

Dolore Batwing Top

 

For the second version, I used an old black dress that I was going to throw away, a lace top that I wasn’t going to wear as it was too big and I had already cut for another project that would definitely not come to life and the sequins detail from that old dress.

Dolores Batwing top

And because it’s quite hard to see any detail on a black garment, this one not being a good picture in general, here’s some more detail.

Dolores Batwing Top Detail

Dolore Batwing Top Detail

I highly recommend these patterns and I already have plans for more with some proper fabric this time. These are probably the only two patterns that I have made twice straight away. Have you done the same with any patterns that you really liked?

Day of the Dead

Hope you all had a nice Halloween! Before it disappears completely on the way to Christmas, I thought I’d submit my contribution to the celebration.

The day of the dead is a Mexican celebration, as i’m sure a lot of you know,  in memory of the loved ones that died. I joined some friends at the Old Market in Brighton for Copperdollar‘s Back of Beyond. It was a spectacular party, with happenings during the night. If they come your way you should take the opportunity to experience the show. Well, it’s not exactly a show that you watch but one that you participate. It was great to see so many people dressed up as Catrinas and some other creatures. For my outfit, I bought this lovely fabric with skulls from my usual place, Fabric Land in Brighton and during the night I did see the fabric decorating some other costumes one way or another.

Catrina

Back to the corridor of doom

For the bodice I used, by Hand London’s Flora dress, I really like this bodice, it’s so simple and elegant and so easy to put together. I thought it would be perfect for this outfit as I wanted something that would allow me to move freely. There was a lot of dancing involved.  For the bottom, I drafted a half circle skirt on an old sheet and then cut strips of fabric and sewed them on it to create a tiered skirt.

Semi circle skirt

Later I thought that the skirt of the actual pattern would be equally good but I did want my dress to look a bit like the Mexican dresses of the Catrinas. As usual, I did everything last minute and that is very obvious at the back of the dress. The zipper has gone nuts and so has the hem on one side. Since it was Halloween, I wasn’t that upset, haha!

CatrinaFor the flower head piece, I bought some white flowers from pound land and then painted them with fabric colour, nail polish and some acrylic paint. The second one was for a friend.Flower head piece

Head piece with flowersThe make up was a bit of a challenge as I left the buying until Friday. I tried two fancy dress shops in London at lunch time and there were queues of more than 50 people waiting to get in. Who queues to get into a shop? Certainly not me. It was after trying a couple more shops that I realised that perhaps queueing outside those shops might not have been such a bad idea. I ended up using some of my own make-up as by the time I got to Brighton everything was closed and on Saturday, I had to make the dress if I didn’t want to go naked to the party. I think it turned out pretty well, bearing in mind the limited stuff I had. Taking it all off at 2:00a.m wasn’t fun at all.

Day of the Dead Make upI will leave you with some of the other participants in that night of the dead. The quality of the pics isn’t that nice because I took them on my mobile and there wasn’t enough light in there but hopefully you get the idea of how awesome it was. Have a good week everyone.

Me and my friend in a deforming mirror looking like proper midgets

Me and my friend in a deforming mirror looking tiny, look at those hobbit feet

IMG_5054

The Skeleton Girls

The lit umbrellas after the storm

The lit umbrellas after the storm

Skeletons

 

Calavera Catrina

Lady Catrina did a dance and we all joined

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brigitte Dress Simple Sew Patterns

Brigitte Dress Simple Sew Pattrens

The Brigitte Dress Pattern was a free pattern with the first issue of Love Sewing magazine. I loved the 60s feel of the dress but it took me a while to make. I got the fabric from Fabric Land in Brighton, looking for a different kind of fabric but couldn’t just leave this one in the shop.

Brigitte Dress Simple Sew Patterns

I cut a straight size 8 and then added the blue cotton at the bottom. This is a left over from my second Delphine skirt (not blogged). I made the sleeves longer and added cuffs from the same left over fabric, which happens to be exactly the same colour as my favourite pair of shoes.

Brigitte Dress Simple Sew Patterns Cuffs

I used the Grainline Archer Sew-Along for the cuffs and the sleeve plackets. The mother of pearl buttons are from my stash.

Brigitte Dress Simple Sew Patterns

I didn’t use an invisible zipper as per the pattern instructions, because I didn’t have one. I failed on the insertion part and whatever I tried afterwards wouldn’t resolve that wrinkly problem in the back, but after a few attempts, I gave up as I didn’t want to damage the fabric completely. I also lined the dress (I forgot to take pics) because I would like to wear it with tights and the cotton is a no, no for this purpose. In general, it’s an easy make, the pattern instructions are very clear and I’m definitely trying it again, as it is a very flattering shape. I may skip the cuffs next time though.

Collar handmade

And now to my favourite part of the make, the collar. If you read my previous post, you already know that I’ve been obsessing about this Armani collar, so I saw this as an opportunity to make something similar.

Collar Handmade

It can be worn in couple of different ways,  giving a different air to the dress.

Collar Handmade

I haven’t got anything to add for the pattern, I’m dreaming it in a warmer winter fabric but until then have a good week everyone. I will be flying to Frankfurt tomorrow for a week of work meetings and my suitcase isn’t even half packed, but this dress is in there already. :)

What I did on the train

Battersea Power StationWell I didn’t make anything unfortunately, and didn’t take any pictures of anything I have already made, but hopefully I will get back on track shortly.

I did finish a book which I started reading on the train, carried on, on the plane, the bus, in bed and at the beach. It was only when walking that I stopped in fear of killing myself or even worse, someone else.  The book that just wouldn’t finish was Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch. I loved Donna Tart because of her Secret History, a novel that haunted me ever since I read it. I still remember feeling hypnotized by it walking in some dim-lit corridors of a foreign campus.  I continued with The Little Friend which was a disappointment as I couldn’t even finish it and finally donated to charity when I left London. And then came The Goldfinch, a book frequently described as brilliant, magic, true literature, a masterpiece, long-awaited, praises not easily ignored, especially by someone always on the look for the next captivating story. So I bought it and carried it everywhere, to the extent that it is no longer presentable. An unfortunate outing with a wet towel caused it to double up in size. Throughout the reading process there were times I wanted to put it on the shelf of the unfinished novels, but insisted as I was still searching for that gem that everyone talked about, the quest for the holly grail. Did I find it? Well, no. It’s an exceptionally well crafted novel, with intricate details, with an atmosphere that comes to life in front of your eyes but at no point did I think I was reading the same book all these people called masterpiece. Don’t get me wrong there were parts of it that are truly unique, so beautifully written. However most of it is a bit boring . But that’s only my personal opinion, maybe I’m not equipped to understand these novels. Just for the record though,  I like neither Brad Pitt nor George Clooney, so you get the idea.

Via Heather Lou’s Closet Case files I discovered The Sewing Affair Podcast, if you haven’t discovered it already, I urge you to go there straight away, it’s highly recommended. I listened to all the episodes, one after the other. I found Lauren Dahl extremely inspirational to the point I wanted the stupid train to get home faster, so that I go and work on my billion projects. haha.

Loved, loved this Marimekko dress on Bernie and I. All her garments make me smile but this one is cray happy. And on the note of happy & crazy colours, check out this orange Moneta by Sew Pretty in Pink, so cool. Seeing Marie’s  bicycle simplicity 5489 this morning filled me with joy. Isn’t that back gorgeous?

Collar EA

Probably the 5th magazine I’ve opened in a month featuring this collar

And now confession time! I have been obsessed with this collar, have stalked it on the internet and in magazines. Of course at the price of £200, it’s not an advisable purchase but I intend to make something similar and I promise I will post it.

That’s it for today, but maybe I will be back tomorrow with some train adventures, hopefully not the ones that take you home two hours later than the schedule time.

 

 

 

 

 

Made by the grandma, given to the mum worn by the daughter

One of the reasons I sew and like making things is watching my grandma working on this Singer sewing machine, throughout my childhood. When my mum was a teenager she wore handmade by grandma, so did my aunt and my grandma herself. I wish I had scanned some pictures of them wearing the wonderfully handmade clothes, coming out of this machine and the talented hands of my grandma.

Singer

I have never sewn anything on it, both mum and grandma were too scared to let me, not in fear of breaking it but of breaking myself by sewing through my fingers. I’ve sneaked in the basement a couple of times, when I was still in Greece and played with it, one time I did break it and then pretended it wasn’t me. Shame on me!

Singer

The best thing about it, is the pedal, which also makes it hard to use, especially if you like me, lack in the co-ordination department.

Singer

I love these two drawers on each side where grandma always keeps her bobbins and buttons, zippers, things she may need at any time in the creative process. I still go through them, hoping to find some treasure when I visit. Oh, I will never grow up.

singer drawerSinger drawer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When my mum got married in the late 70s this sewing machine was an accessory to the creation of the reception dress. It is a simple white dress but it has always held a certain importance in my mind because it was handmade and it used to hang in the wardrobe of the same room with the Singer for many years after it was worn on that day, until I discovered it.

White dress handmade

And since it fit, it got in my suitcase and travelled with me to the UK. My grandma keeps saying now that I’m like my mum every time I put it on. I need to take a picture wearing it, rather than having it on this awkwardly shaped mannequin.

White dress

white dress

 

The machine doesn’t have any special feet, like for invisible zipper hence this, is a normal one. It doesn’t look perfect or shop bought but I think that’s what makes it special, there’s a certain quality about it.

White Dress

The dress comes with a jacket of the same colour and of the same maker :) I took that with me some years ago and I’ve been wearing it ever since. I just love the fact that it’s not exactly white, it looks a bit as if it’s a grown old white and when in the UK I pray for nice weather so that I can put it on.

White jacket

I’ve worn it everywhere, from evenings out, to business meetings, to trips abroad and sadly that shows. Can you see how the left shoulder looks a bit worn? It came off after leaving a meeting with a bag full of heavy books, so it had to be sewn back on with my own sewing machine and let me tell you, it’s not half as good as that classy lady.

white jacketI find the inside as impressive as the outside, purely because my grandma had no serger or any other means of finishing the garment than her hands. I think the bias tape is handmade as well.

White jacket handmade

white jacket

Sadly the buttons aren’t the original ones, as they started breaking after a couple of washes, but the rest of it, still in one piece 30 years plus later.

white jacket

White jacket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know if the garment is going to last much longer but this beauty is definitely going to. I’ll see to that :) Singer

 

Let them eat cake…

Because it’s their birthday. The Monthly Stitch is one year old. Birthdays for me are an opportunity for a bit of madness and silly. Soo to celebrate, not only did I make cupcakes, not only did I sew some, but I managed  to sort of dress myself into one too, well sort of. (Long post but mostly pictures)

For the cupcakes I used the recipe for the Green Velvet Cupcake. Below are some very helpful (probably not) step by step instructions.

Let them eat cake

Let them eat cake

Let them eat cake

Of course, every celebration requires the appropriate outfit. For this particular one, I finally put my scissors on this hideous, in my opinion garment, that I had to wear as a bridesmaid at a wedding about 3 years ago. Surprisingly it still fitted me.

Let them eat cake

I used the bottom part to create a gathered skirt with an elastic waist band. Very easy to make, although the chiffon was quite slippery.

Let them eat cake gathered skirt and top

The base for the top is no other than the Closet Case Files Nettie, (didn’t I say I was going to make more?) cut on a beige mesh of some sort. For the frosting I used billions of chiffon petals that I spent far too much time cutting and sewing, but it was worth it.

Let them eat Cake Nettie top

The back gapes (is this the right word?) a bit as the base fabric is too thin and the frosting a bit too heavy but still that back, such a great effect! The earrings are handmade and believe it or not they’re paper, a present by the amazing Lefty’s Handcrafts.

Let them eat cake nettie

For the sewn, not edible cupcakes, I used the free pattern from Funky Friends Factory. Lovely to make and they look so cute, admittedly not so professional as lovely Pauline’s.

Felt cupcakes

Now all the work is done, it’s time for the celebrations, eating that is.

No, no I will resist to the temptation

No, no I will resist temptation

oh well, you live once, so delicious

oh well, you live once, so delicious

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Burda Hawaiian Shirt 04/2012 for the Geek in your life

You can’t imagine my surprise when my boyfriend complained in a sad kind of tone to one of my friend’s that I have never sewn anything for him. To be honest, I’m not a big fun of men’s clothes and I didn’t think, he wanted to wear something handmade. He seemed pretty happy with his M&S purchases. Since we were coming to Greece on holidays we thought it appropriate to try a Hawaiian Shirt and Burda 04/2012 seemed easy enough for a first attempt at making a man’s shirt.

Burda Hawaiian shirt

The fabric is a lightweight cotton, bought from this ebay shop. We purchased 2 metres initially but some mistake with the collar, meant that I didn’t have enough for the sleeves, so we purchased an extra metre.

The pattern has a back pleat with an additional band sewn on top of it. I couldn’t understand what I was meant to do, so I skipped that part. I think it looks alright. :)

Hawaiian Shirt

The seams are flat-felled and I admit, I had no clue what that was, so there’s a new technique, I would have probably not learned, if I never made this shirt. It is a very clever way of dealing with the raw seams and it creates such a nice effect on the outside. It may be a bit hard to see because of the busy pattern on the fabric.

HAWAIIAN SHIRT SEAMSFlat felled seams inside

For the first time I also made more than one buttonholes with my sewing machine and I surprisingly enjoyed it. The sewing of the buttons not so much though. I used a lightweight fusible interfacing for the buttonholes and some buttons from my stash that just happened to match hehe.Buttons Hawaiian shirt

buttons

The collar was the most challenging part of the shirt, so much it made me hate it a bit at that point. To start with I didn’t seem to be getting it right, size wise, first time it was too small, second too long, the third was about right, but you will see where I have tortured the fabric a bit. The inside is finished with a flat-felled seam and is top-stitched on the outside.

collar

collar Hawaiian Shirt

As for the geek in my life he’s the man behind most of the photographic on this blog and a big fun of gadgets, like the crazy google glass he wears and the army of drones he wants to build haha! (He keeps killing them though). Do you get asked for handmade garments by your partners or do you just go ahead and sew them anyway?

Full Gear

 

Black & White Stripey Dress

This is another make for the Monthly Stitch challenge, entitled this time monosewn, black& white in other words. I’ve noticed that stripes make the best black & white creations, like here, here and here. I love stripes and have blogged, two stripey garments, here and here. The inspiration for this month’s submission came from Pinterest. I sort of reside there from time to time and when I saw this dress, I knew I had to have it.

Stripey Dress Pinterest

 For my version I used about 3 metres of this cotton sateen fabric that I found on ebay. I like buying fabric from the local shops but sometimes I can’t find what I look for, and this was one of these instances. I can’t say it was of an excellent quality but it was good enough for what I wanted it to do.

Black & White Stripey Dress

The front of the bodice is the BHL Flora dress faux-wrap. Now with this we had a lot of issues, it took about three muslins to make it fit. I don’t know if it’s the pattern or me (I’m literally tiny at the top, so maybe it was me), but I did take quite a bit off the actual wrap in order to get it to an acceptable size that would allow everything to stay covered, if you know what I mean. The back is self-drafted, not exactly as the one in the picture but I did try a few different versions and this was the one that worked the best. Stripey Black & white Dress

The armholes and all the edges of the bodice are finished with facings.

Bodice facing

I particularly liked the play with the horizontal and vertical stripes on the inspiration dress and decided I should try it on mine too. I think it creates a great effect. The skirt is a self-drafted semi-circle skirt.

Stripey Black & White Dress back

For the hem, I placed the stripes at a different angle again and finished it with a bias tape (it’s not black or white though :0) and a split curve, because we love split curved hems.

Black & White Stripey Dress

Not a very nice picture sorry

Not a very nice picture sorry

Hem

 

The bodice has an invisible zipper on the side, and in terms of pattern matching well…

Matching pattern check :)

Matching pattern check :)

 

Matching patterns check :)

Matching patterns check :)

Not so check :(

Not so check :(

Despite making this dress last-minute and posting while on holidays, this is one of my favourite makes, so far, I have worn it as well, and it did receive a lot of compliments :) I love the way it flows when you swirl around and here’s the proof of that. (you may need to click on the below if it doesn’t show)Black & white Stripey Dress gif

 

 

Vote for me if you want

I have entered my latest make the Moneta top with the Mabel skirt to the Indie Fan Girl challenge at the Monthly Stitch. It’s one of my favourite makes so far, s if you would like to vote for me, it would make me veeeeeeryyyyy haaaaaappyyyyy. So if you’d like to cast your vote, or have a look at the other gorgeous entries, click here. 50% of the score comes from voting and 50% from the judges!

Mine is ‘A little bit of Mabel in my life, a little of Moneta by my side’. Thank you! There are some lovely patterns to be won and a girl can never have enough of these.

Mabel skirt & Moneta Colette Patterns