Saturday, 21 October 2017

A new silhouette

Hello all! The fabric for my latest Minerva make has had many incarnations in my head, and you get to see the version that made it all the way to the finish line. I've been working on my princess seam bodice block and combining it with a pencil skirt to make a dress pattern. The original next step was to swing out the skirt pieces to make a full skirt for this dress, but I was curious to try out this new silhouette to me so I left the new dress blocks as they were. You can read all about the making process on the Minerva Crafts blog here.
Thanks very much for reading, to Minerva Crafts for providing the materials for this project and to Grace for taking the pictures!
Lauren xx

Friday, 6 October 2017

Checked Shirt

Hello all!  My third and final year of uni has started in full force ( I'm 3 weeks into making for the first show of the season) but this is one of the things I made to wear on my trip to Amsterdam before summer holidays had finished.
My wardrobe plan for Amsterdam was all about the layers. Jeans, plus a tank top, then a shirt, jumper and coat to be added or taken off when appropriate. This worked really well. The fabric I think is some kind of cotton blend that I bought in Birmingham with Ben last winter. The original plan was to make it into a dress but it's going to be worn a thousand times more as a shirt.
I used the men's shirt pattern that I drafted for uni last year and that I used for the white linen shirt I made a few months ago. This time I made the yoke a little longer and added seam allowance to the collar so it's much more in proportion. The only thing I'd change now is to widen the cuffs a bit.
I paid particular attention to the pattern matching across the centre front, side seams and sleeve seams. Miraculously the collar actually matches the yoke, with no particular planning. The only change I'd make at the cutting out stage would be to centre the check at the pleat on the back piece. It looks a little off here.
I did the proper plackets this time, and I'm slowly getting to grips with the technique. It really helps to have a ready to wear shirt in front of me so I can see what I'm aiming for. The placket could do with being a bit shorter, and so could the sleeve.
My biggest mistake with this shirt was to flatfell the seams on the left hand side of the shirt on the outside and the seams on the right hand side on the inside! At this point in the game it was too late to change it, and probably only people who sew will notice, but I know that I could have had a neater finish had both the sleeve seams been flatfelled on the inside. The hem didn't particularly like being folded over twice and topstitched and I wish that I had bias bound it.
Despite all of this, I love this shirt and will never take it off.
Thanks very much for reading and to Bethan for taking the photos!
Lauren xx

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Ginger Jeans

Hello all, I've found myself wearing jeans more and more lately and so I wanted to expand my very limited collection. I used the Closet Case Files Ginger jeans pattern as a base. I always have my eyes peeled for good denim but I find it in the weight, colour and stretch I want quite hard to find. Luckily Minerva Crafts was there to save the day. I normally prefer lighter denim and I did consider bleaching this one when it arrived, but the darker denim is growing on me. You can read all about the making process here.https://www.minervacrafts.com/blogger-network/post/ginger-jeans-2
Lauren xx

Friday, 8 September 2017

Floral Tank Refashion

Hello all! Today's make is a refashion of a top I made all the way back in 2013. It was supposed to be a 5 minute jobby but turned into a one day saga. The neckline on the old top was too high which meant that it didn't get much wear and I decided that it was time to give it a makeover for my upcoming solo trip to Amsterdam next week (argghh!)  
I originally put the top on my dress form, pinned where I wanted the new neckline and straps to be, but that ended up just being a bit of a disaster. So then I went to my trusty pattern stash and dug up Simplicity 5461 (the dress pattern not the bear pattern) and used the tank pieces as a guide for a new neckline and armholes. After I cut the new neckline and armholes I realised that the neckline was far too low, revealing pretty much everything that shouldn't be revealed. I had 2 options: throwing it into the corner of the room and never speaking to it again, or just sticking back on the bit of the neckline that I had just cut off.
I went with option 2 because without it my Amsterdam capsule wardrobe would be nothing. So, off to the ironing board I went, butted the bit of the neckline that I had just cut off to the top with some interfacing underneath and ironed it into place. Then I was just left with some raw edges to hide. After a rummage around my ribbon drawers I found this vintage lace trim which I think was handworked by one of my Mums friends Mothers. It was a perfect accent to a pretty simple top.
I could have left the trim on just the front of the top, but the shoulders were a bit wide so I used the trim across the shoulders to keep them in place, crossing them at the centre back. The back neckline I kept the same as the original low neckline so you can imagine where that would sit on my front. The side seams were already French seamed and the hem turned up twice which saved me some time. The only finishing I had to do was silk bias binding around the neckline and armholes. It ended up pretty short due to all of the chopping, but it's a perfect length with these jeans. I'm sad that summer is over so I can't wear it as much as it deserves.
Thanks very much for reading and to Ed for the photos!
Lauren xx

Friday, 1 September 2017

Summer ball dress 2017

 Hello all! I've finally managed to get some pictures of my Summer Ball dress so let me tell you its story. I'll paint a picture for you: It's the end of the university year. Money has trickled out of the bank account until mere drops remain. There is no budget for fabric. There is no budget for alcohol. In these sad times one must make do and mend. I had two options. Option 1 was to make some kind of dress with the floral scuba I made my bikini from. Option 2 was to whack a bodice onto my gathered silver circle skirt, made a few months ago. I decided that now was the time to go big and have some fun.
I was told in no uncertain terms that top-to-toe silver would be too much, and turn me into the tin man from Wizard of Oz. In fact, this turned out to be quite a popular opinion. But, I had a vision and I was determined to see it through.
 In terms of construction for the midriff panel I used the pattern piece from Wearing History's Dahlia top pattern and I started off with 2 long triangles for the bust covering pieces. I first slipstitched the bottom of the midriff panel to the bottom of the existing skirt waistband. Then I put on the skirt, pinned the tops of the 2 triangles together to form a halterneck and tucked the ends of the 2 triangles into the skirt. My dear friend Bethan then plonked in the safety pins to determine the neckline, sidelines and attaching the bust bits to the midriff panel. Next I detached the bust bits, made the adjustments, lined them with some black chiffon I had lying around and sewed them onto the midriff panel.
Since the skirt was already finished, the bodice part really didn't take very long, although I would have really struggled with the fit without Bethan's help (Thank you Bethan!) It's certainly not a quiet piece of clothing, but then I'm not a very quiet person so perhaps we match each other quite well. The full skirt in particular was very good for the pimms induced dancing.
Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking pictures!
Lauren xx

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Floral scuba Sophie bikini

Hello all! Today I'm going to share this years Sophie bikini with you. You can see last years here and this year I even managed to replace the pint sized paddling pool with the real deal! My friend thought I was braving the 7 hour Megabus to Wales for her but it was actually for those sweet sweet seaside pics.
This year I actually managed to acquire some foam (for the princely sum of £12.50 for half a metre) which was very painful to hand over the money for at the till seeing as I only needed 10cm worth. Let's say it's an investment for my next 10 years of bra/swimwear making. I also bought proper rubber elastic for the first time. Of course I failed to purchase enough, so had to make do with clear elastic for the rest. I only remembered about swimsuit clasps when I got home, so I stole this one from last years bikini.
 The pattern for the bikini bottoms was my standard pants pattern which was originally copied from one of my existing pairs of pants. Now I attempted to account for the fact that I was making these in scuba by adding 1cm to the waistline WHICH WAS NOT ENOUGH. Hence the added panel at the top. According to my Mother they look a bit tight, and as per, she is right. Probably should have sized up all over. They aren't circulation-cutting-off-tight though so perfectly wearable.
 In terms of the bikini top I had a few issues. Mostly because I'm an idiot and used the pattern pieces I had when testing the pattern before they were altered for the final version. I made a couple of  test versions of different cup sizes in the foam to double check sizes before committing to the fabric. I had SO much fun butting the edges of the foam together and zigzagging. Talking of fabric, I used scuba because it's what I had. I couldn't find any existing Sophie's made from scuba but it has been used by various people for underwear so I decided that was enough to go ahead. I ended up going up 3 cup sizes mainly because the foam lessens the stretch (I think?), pinched a bit of the gaping at the top cup out, recut and took some width out of the bridge to get what you see before you today.
Said Welsh friend received a very up close and person video call to help me assess all aspects of fit. (Cheers MK.) Although it took a bit of trial and error to get it just right I'm pretty happy with what I've ended up with. It survived an (admittedly short) session of snorkelling, and what more can you ask of a swimsuit? The bridge doesn't lay flat but I'm not sure if that's because I didn't put wires in or if my boobs aren't big enough or if the fit is just wrong? Or maybe all 3. Anyway, it's the nicest bikini I've ever owned.
Thanks very much for reading and to MK and Paul for the photos,
Lauren xx

Friday, 18 August 2017

Classic white shirt

Hello all! For this months Minerva project I wanted to make a classic. Something that would stand the test of time. Something that would go with every piece of clothing I own. Cue the white linen shirt.
Thanks very much to Minerva Crafts for providing the supplies for this make and to Dad for being a gem and stopping off at a stately home on the way home from uni for pictures.
Lauren xx

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