Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Ruffle Wrap Skirt

Hello all! Today I have a new skirt to share with you. It's not the quietest of skirts. In fact I'd go as far as to say that it makes quite a statement. I haven't quite decided whether I like the statement it makes or not, so please leave thoughts and opinions in the comments!
First lets talk about the fabric. This is a cotton that I crinkle dyed with flour not one but two whole summers ago. It was originally intended for a coat, but then I came to my senses and realised that there was in fact nothing less suitable to make a coat out of and so it was shelved until another million dollar idea hit. The million dollar idea didn't hit until a few months ago when I read this blog post. I loved the drama of the skirt and decided that I needed my own. A quick peruse of the stash led me to this beauty and I got cutting.
 I used a vintage wrap skirt pattern that I unfortunately can't name because I left it in London (I'm finally home for the summer, yay full fridge!) I cut the skirt with a high low hem and then added a massive gathered rectangle for the ruffle. A pro tip is to hem the gigantic rectangle before you attach it to the skirt. It turns out that the hem had quite a big circumference so the gigantic rectangle wasn't quite as gathered as I would have liked, but you've got to work with what you have.
 The skirt is simply wrapped around the body and tied at the side. I learnt on the walk to uni that there is a reason why there is a button to secure the wrap on the other side, because if it is not secured it will fall down and you will almost flash the world just when walking past the local primary school. I haven't finished the ruffle seam edge yet because I can't quite decide what I think of it. Is it beach appropriate only or can I somehow incorporate it into my summer wardrobe?
Anyway, thanks for reading as always. I hope that you are all having lovely summers/winters wherever you are. Thanks to Paul for the photos and MK for directing. We got some cracking poses in there.
Lauren xx

Friday, 21 July 2017

Black Linen Jumpsuit

Hello all! Sorry for my absence on the blog of late. I do have things to show you, it's just a matter of getting pictures! Please bear with me.mThis months Minerva Make is a linen jumpsuit. In my last term at uni I made a costume for a show that was put on in central London. Whilst the show was on, I was one of the dressers for the production. This mainly involved helping the actors get ready and helping with any costume changes that needed to be done during the show. The dress code for dressers is full blacks, and the week of the show it was boiling hot in London so I needed something to wear that covered most of my skin whilst still keeping me as cool as possible. My answer to this was a linen jumpsuit which I could easily whack a long sleeve t-shirt over the top of if I needed to. You can read all about the making process over at the Minerva blog here.

 Thanks very much for reading, to Minerva Crafts for all the supplies for this project and to Beth for taking the photos,
Lauren xx

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Stripey jumpsuit and cropped blouse

Hello all! This months Minerva Make is a double whammy. A stripy jumpsuit and a white off the shoulder cropped blouse. The original plan was trousers and a white buttondown shirt, but my brain had other plans. You can read the whole story over here.
Thanks very much for reading, to Minerva Crafts for the supplies for this project and to Abby for taking the pictures!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Stripey Eurovision Top

Hello all! This top was born purely because of Eurovision. For the party I was going to we were required to dress as a country and as I already had the perfect outfit for France I thought that it was a no brainer. However, the stripey top I had planned to wear was in the washing basket, with no hope of being washed or dried in time. Luckily I had some spare fabric left over, and just enough time to whip up a new top. This one is decidedly more summery than the last, and I'm in love.
I used the Noelle bra pattern as a vague vague guide for neckline and armholes, and then I just extended the armhole to a point so I basically ended up with a trapezium. I finished the front neckline first and then bound the side edges from the bottom up so that they could extend into straps. The hem is also bound and the ends extends into straps to tie at the back.
I ended up just making some pleats at the front just to get the fit a bit tighter at the waist. Sometimes when worn, there is a bit of gaping at the sides and I wonder how best it would be to fix it. Darts at the side of the bust would ruin the stripes.
It was planned as a halterneck but after a while I decided that life was too short for that amount of weight on the back of my neck so my good friend Amy tied those straps to the waist straps for me.
It makes for the perfect summer top. Elegant, cool to wear, but covers what needs to be covered.
Thanks very much for reading and to Bethan for taking these photos!
Lauren xx

Friday, 19 May 2017

Floral Trousers

 Hello all! This months Minerva Make is a very fun pair of trousers. Slightly clown-like perhaps, but fun nonetheless.
Thanks for reading, to Minerva Crafts for providing the supplies for this project and to Bethan and MK for photo taking!
Lauren xx

Friday, 12 May 2017

Floral Kelly Anorak

Hello all! I've been meaning to make another Kelly since I made my penguin shower curtain version. I thought that I'd make a slightly more practical one, but how practical is floral? I'm going to say very.
 The fabric is a heavier weight cotton, I think it's upholstery and it was a lovely birthday gift from my friend Esther a few years ago. It's a bit heavy for a dress I think, but perfect jacket weight.
As it's quite a big project I found it easiest to sew a step at a time to keep motivation going. It took a Sunday afternoon, and an hour or so each evening during the week. Everything went pretty smoothly and I'm really pleased with the zip.
 The insides make me happy because the majority are flat-felled which makes for a very neat finish. The neckline is finished with some bra channelling because that's just what I had on hand. The only raw edge is the armholes which I haven't decided how to finish yet.
 I didn't use any hardware because I didn't think it really went with the floral vibe. Instead I used Velcro to close the cuffs, as I did for my penguin Kelly. I've just seen the new expansion pack which has sleeves with no cuffs. In hindsight that would have worked just as well.
 My only deviation from the instructions was to leave the drawstring on the inside of the coat. I'm really pleased with the quality of the finish of this jacket, and as a result am pretty proud of it. It's had quite a bit of wear over the last couple weeks since I finished it and I look forward to wearing it into the summer.
Thanks very much for reading!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 7 May 2017

More adventures in bra making

Hello all! As you can see, I've made another soft bra. Pretty much the whole of the design of this bra is down to the supplies I had on hand at the time and so it's very basic and minimalist.

I traced the cup from a soft bra that I already had, pinching out some excess where I knew that it gaped a bit. This gave me all of the pattern that I needed to make my bra. I decided to make the cups from the fabric of my old prom dress, which is a blush coloured crepe back satin. It is a woven fabric and the cups of my original bra were made from a jersey knit, but I was convinced that if I cut the pattern on the bias, all would be well.
The first step was to sew the darts, and then I encased the top edge of the cup in foldover elastic, stretching slightly as I went so that the cup wouldn't gape.

The next step was to encase the edge of the other side of the cup, starting at the bottom and working upwards. The foldover elastic then continues as a strap.

Using the existing bra as a reference I measured how much plush back elastic to cut, which acts as the band. The cups were then sewn onto the band and I pinned down the straps, again referencing the existing bra. I only had wide hook and eye clasps so I ended up just trimming them so there was 1 row of hook and eyes instead of 3, and zigzagged the raw edges.  I tried on the bra and ended up unpicking the band right in the centre so I could cross over the cups just a teeny bit more for a better fit.
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I quite like the juxtaposition of the sporty elastic and the luxurious fabric. I think that the cups did stretch out a bit at the top edge which isn't ideal. It is really comfy to wear. I'd like to try this pattern again, perhaps with some black lace for a completely different look.
Thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Whale Print Cleo

Hello all! This is my second Tilly and the Buttons Cleo and my April Minerva Make! I saw this striped whale embroidered seersucker on the Minerva website and thought it would make the perfect whimsical pinafore dress. You can read all about the making process here.
Thank you very much for reading, to Edward for dragging his camera around Nottingham so we could take some pictures and to Minerva Crafts for supplying the materials in this project.
Lauren xx

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Floral Cleo Pinafore

Hello all! So it appears that I have jumped upon the pinafore bandwagon and I'm not even sorry. In regards to trends I love to hate them while they are in fashion, and as they are being pushed out the back door my brain has just started to come around to the idea. However, all of the pinafores I have seen look really quite comfy, and I was intrigued to try a new, less fitted silhouette than I am used to. When deciding on my next few Minerva makes I thought it was time to experiment and I included the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo pattern in one of my kits. This version is a test run.
The pattern took no time to cut out at all with only 5 pieces (excluding pockets). I cut the front and back pieces on the fold, because the seam was a straight line and I didn't want to disrupt the print. This made the sewing process even faster.
 Construction was pretty quick and straightforward. I under-stitched as much of the facing as I could to make the topstitching easier. I left off the pocket, but I might add one later. I'm not sure it needs it with the busy print though. The mini length was pretty short on me so I zigzagged along the raw edge and turned it up 5/8inch and topstitched it into place.
 I didn't make any adjustments to the fit at all. It looked alright to me, but I'm not really sure how a pinafore is supposed to fit. It's definitely not the most flattering view from the side, but I wonder if that is just the bulk of the jumper?

All in all, this Cleo was a very good experiment. I look forward to wearing variations on a crop top with it as the weather gets warmer.
Thanks for reading, to Edward for taking the photos and to Minerva Crafts for the pattern!
Lauren xx

Friday, 17 March 2017

Cropped Clare Jacket Hack

Hello all! Today’s Minerva Make is quite an interesting one, if I do say so myself. When I saw this fur backed suede fabric online I thought it would make a perfect cropped jacket. It would be super cosy and I wouldn’t even need to line it, because the fur is there already! Easy peasy. As with all projects, it ended up being a little more complicated than I first thought, but I worked on this project in short bursts of time over a couple of days which give me time to think the next step through. I started with HeatherLou of Closet Case Patterns’ Clare Coat as this jacket was inspired by her version with an exposed zip. You can read all about the making process at the Minerva Crafts blog here.

Thanks for reading, to Minerva Crafts providing all the supplies used for this make and to MK for taking photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 5 March 2017

4 years of blogging!

Hello all! The anniversary of my blog was at the end of February and I wanted to stand back a bit and have a look at what I have achieved in the last year, and how far I have come in the last four years. My first blog post was an apron made out of a tea towel, and four years later I struggle to think of a garment I haven't made.  In the last year and a bit I have made over 50 pieces of clothing with a success rate of around 63% (which means that over half of those makes still get worn).

This year was all about the dinosaur fabric. I made pajamas for me and boxers, pants, t-shirts and a vest top for various other people.
A personal highlight in the year for me was writing, staging and performing in a musical and I loved making a massive new romantic style shirt for that. It was then that I learnt how much a piece of clothing can make you stand a little taller and your swagger a little more pronounced.
In terms of my most worn makes this year my scuba Noelle dress has been worn practically every single week since I made it. I love it for going out on a Friday night, but I also love layering long sleeved t-shirts under it for daywear.
My black top that I made to go with my elephant dress has been worn constantly since I made it a few weeks ago. I should have predicted this, because it goes with everything and it's super warm and cosy.
My last favourite of the year is my strappy back dress. Again, I can't wait until the weather warms up a bit so I can wear it again. The fabric, colour scheme and the fit of this dress just make me happy.
My most popular blog post of the year, and in fact ever is my Summer Ball Dress, which is incredibly ironic because I really wasn't happy with it at all. In fact, it got completely taken apart and is sitting on my dress form in a completely new guise.
My chambray jumpsuit was a firm favourite for warmer weather in the past year and I can't wait to put it back into rotation when the weather starts to warm up a bit. I was dreaming about a stripy version just the other day. This is one of the makes that I am most proud of this year. It looks like such a simple garment, and essentially it is, but I had problem after problem after problem in the making of this jumpsuit. I could easily have just given up and let it sit in the corner for eternity, but I didn't and now it's one of my favourite makes. Perseverance is key!
The other make that I'm the most proud of is my Kelly Anorak. The fabric was disgusting to work with, and there were some quite complicated techniques in there but I gave it a shot and I did it. Admittedly there was some swearing, but it got finished and I'm so proud of it.
I feel that the blog has really upped its game in terms of photos in the last year. I have worked with some fantastic photographers, including Lucy and my brother Edward and it makes me so happy to see my clothes done justice in photo form. I also want to say thank you to the less enthusiastic photographers who get kidnapped in the middle of their lunch break to take pictures of me posing in front of some kind of shrubbery. My favourite photoshoot is the one of my tutu for sure. Somehow, there's just so much atmosphere in it.
The photos of my Sophie swimsuit also deserve a mention, purely because of the amount of fun I had taking them, and the involvement of the inflatables. I also love my hair in this shoot.
I also love the stripy top and red skirt photos. Very idyllic and painting-like.
What have I learnt this year? I've learnt that there are ups and downs. Successes and failures. Some failures can be made into successes. In a way each failure can be called a success because of what has been learnt from it.
Thank you so much to all of you that read my blog. I really am much obliged, and I hope that you will stick around for another year.
Lauren xx

Friday, 17 February 2017

Elephant Dress and Black Polo Neck

Hello all! For this months Minerva Make I wanted to use this fantastic elephant print jersey fabric. I then decided to make a black polo neck which would make a great layering piece for winter. You can see more photos and read about the making process here.
Thanks to Minerva Crafts for all of the supplies and to MK for taking photos and to Grace for directing.
Lauren xx

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A bra! Madalynne x Simplicity 8228

Hello all! A bit of a departure from the usual today, but when I saw New Craft House offering bra kits I wanted in. I sent a cheeky link to my Mum and 'lo and behold it turned up in my birthday present pile.
I was a bit smaller than the smallest size so I cut out a trial band to quickly check that all was okay. The fit seemed alright so I went ahead and cut everything out. I only just had enough lace, and definitely not enough to recut anything so just had to pray that I didn't have to. The powermesh was disgusting to cut with shears, and would have been a smoother process with a rotary cutter.

 Luckily the only adjustment I needed to make was to take in the band a bit at the back which was easy to do. I might take the halterneck in a tiny bit at the back for a little more lift and support.
 In the instructions I couldn't see any elastic joining the powermesh to the elastic at the bottom of the bridge, but I thought it would be worth doing, so did that anyway. I didn't add the channelling because I wasn't quite sure what purpose it served and instead pressed the seam allowances up into the cup and whipstitched them into place. I didn't topstitch the seam allowances down in the cups because I was anticipating having to alter them but they seemed alright so I whipstitched those down as well.
All in all, I'm very pleased with my first attempt at a 'real bra'. It was quite a quick sew and a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday evening. Please don't hesitate to give me any tips or advice because I'm very new to this side of clothes-making. In retrospect a darker coloured lace would have worked with my skin tone better, but the pale pink works very well as a neutral.
Thanks very much for reading and to Rachel for taking photos!
Lauren xx