• My Hackalong Make with Simplicity/McCalls and The Eve Appeal

  • Hi everyone! Long time no speak. I’ve been a little caught up for the last few months… dealing with a combination of moving house AND morning sickness! Yep, all good news to be expecting – and baby Walker no 2 is due in June. Exciting times! But safe to say that I definitely wouldn’t recommend moving house when struggling with morning sickness!

    So I haven’t exactly had the luxury of time to be able to sew lately. Though, I have been having fun setting up my new sewing room in the new house (full photos to come soon in another blog post!). But just now been able to start dabbling in a bit of sewing in snippets of time here and there. So feels great to be showing you a new make!

    This is a dress I have made as part of the ‘Hackalong’ run by Simplicity/McCalls, which is supporting the fantastic charity, The Eve Appeal. I’m so grateful to have been included in the blogger line-up for this! I’ve been admiring other bloggers makes for months.

    The pattern I chose was the Simplicity 8658 top. I spent such a long time working out a style that would work around a little baby bump. And I figured that this would be large enough to work well. I didn’t want anything too fitted!

    And the fabric I choose was this gorgeous John Kaldor crepe from Minerva (full disclosure – fabric was gifted to me in order to take part in this project). It was an absolute dream to work with – very well behaved, and so super drapey!

    Anyway, back to the hack along! These are the alterations I made to the pattern, in order to magic a top into maternity dress:

    -Lengthened to dress length

    -Sizing graded out from the waist down

    -Shirring added to high waist (above bump)

    I’m so pleased with the result! AND I need to tell you that this was my first ever attempt at shirring. I was terrified of it all going wrong and ruining the whole project! But all was fine – after tonnes of practice on fabric scraps beforehand. I did have to change my bobbin tension so it was a little tighter – which gave lovely ruffles in the shirring. I did 5 lines of shirring over 2 inches (a line every half inch).

    I hope you like what I’ve done with this pattern – it was a little bit scary at points, but so pleased I braved it!

    If you want to follow along with the hack along, head on over to the Sew Direct website here –https://www.sewdirect.com/hack-along/

    And you can find out more about the charity, The Eve Appeal here.

    Thanks for reading!

    Jen x

  • By Hand London Jenna Dress in the Prettiest Double Gauze

  • Well, I’ve been up to a little bit of sewing! It’s been so tough to find time to myself to sew lately – a combination of the admin of about to move house, and a toddler who has been fighting sleep. Not ideal!

    Anyway, I’ve managed to steal lots of snippets of time here and there to sew this. And I’m so pleased to A) Finally finish it, and; B) Show it to you all!

    This is a By Hand London Jenna Dress. As soon as this pattern dropped, I immediately added to the sewing list. It was one of those which I fell in love with, and attached to instantly. But it’s taken a while for me to get round to finding the perfect fabric, and actually having some much needed time to myself to sew!

    And then…. I came across this stunning double gauze fabric at my local haberdashery, Backstitch. And WOW. Just WOW. I love the splashes of colour… the arty Jackson Pollock-ness of this… and the neon pink is just stunning.

    I married this fabric up with the Jenna pattern because I felt as though it was a little bit of a clash of girly cutesy dress with the sort of girly grungey/graffiti kind of look. Anyway, that’s where my brain went in case you’re interested 😉

    The Jenna pattern was just as you would expect from By Hand London. Beautifully straightforward – literally no issues with this at all. It was an absolute joy to sew.

    I tweaked the back neckline to bring it in a little, as it was quite gapey on me. And I think if/when I make another Jenna I will try to just take a little out of the front neckline too. It’s not a big deal, but I think I could tweak that a tiny bit and have the perfect fit. I didn’t bother toile’ing this – time was scarce and excitement was high (sure you’ve been there and bought the t-shirt!).

    The double gauze fabric was a little on the sheer side so I decided to fully line the whole dress with a white cotton lawn – which adds to the lovely soft feel when wearing this. I picked up the lawn at Cotton Reel Studio‘s closing down sale, and have to say it is so lovely. Buttery softness at its best.

    Oh and how did I get this far without mentioning the ties on the sleeves?! They’re so cute. And very easy to sew. These were maybe the main feature which sold the dress to me. I love the girly style they give the dress. The only thing I found was that I wasn’t sure whether or not to double knot them. A single knot looked better, but it didn’t last long before it fell apart. Or maybe I should just stitch them together…. I don’t know…!

    One other small thing I decided to do to this dress – I used a lightweight interfacing and fused it to all of the bodice pattern pieces. I decided this would help with holding the structure, as otherwise the double gauze being a nice loose weave, would have potential for sagging out of shape.

    I also dug out my hand sewing skills for finishing the little details – like the lining along the zipper, and the hem. I feel like when I spend the time to hand stitch a hem, I appreciate the dress so much more! I don’t always do this… in fact I mostly whizz my hems through the overlocker, and then topstitch on the machine… but now and then I feel like a dress is truly worthy of having that time spent on this final detail 🙂

    Anyway, hope you’re into this dress! I’d love to know what you think. Feel free to drop me a comment – or head on over to my Instagram to give me your thoughts!

    Jen x

    Pattern: By Hand London Jenna Dress

    Fabric (shell): Double gauze from Backstitch 

    Fabric (lining): Plain white cotton lawn from Cotton Reel Studio closing down sale

    Size made: 10

    Alterations made: Adjusted back neckline to remove gape (narrow shoulders adjustment)

  • Celebrating Summer with a Vogue V9311 Maxi Dress

  • Well here I am again, swishing my way around summer in a me-made maxi dress! And this one has been a long time coming… I actually made this last summer but it’s taken a whole year for me to get around to blogging it. This is a true reflection of the amount of free time I get as a full-time working mum LOL!

    Rarely do I ever really make many of ‘the big 4’ patterns. I guess I’m just an indie patterns kinda gal at heart. I just couldn’t resist the style of this one though – with its 70s hippy vibes. And the pattern? A Vogue V9311.

    It was a pretty easy/straightforward pattern to sew – not too many tricky areas. I decided part-way through that I would leave the sleeves off. I think at the time it was a bit of a heatwave going on, so the thought of sleeves made me feel a bit sweaty! I was just trying the dress on before the sleeves part of the instructions and just thought it looked great without. Also there was a little bit of me that felt like it may have been too much pattern if I’d have added them.

    The fabric I used was a polyester – not 100% sure on the type, but at a guess, it was maybe like a georgette. It was a little sheer, with this gorgeous floral print on a lilac background. So pretty! I bought this from Sew Essential and it was a total bargain. I think it was around £5 per metre!

    I used a lining fabric to fully line the whole dress, just because the outer shell fabric was just that little bit too sheer to get away with. Unfortunately though, the combination of the slippery lining and shell fabric means that they sort of shift around as their own entities… so I feel as though I need to wiggle and shift it around as I’m wearing it. Which is a little annoying.

    Although, I am super pleased with the hem and slit finishes as I spent hours blind slip stitching all of this by hand. It did take a long time, but it was a really therapeutic process. Sometimes I lack the patience for hand stitching, but more and more I’m finding a real sense of ‘zen’ from doing this… so I intend on biting the bullet and doing this more. After all, the finished look is so much nicer than a rushed machined topstitch – especially on a lightweight fabric like this.

    Another part of this make which I gave my all to was French seaming the entire dress. Again, such a rewarding process! As a result of this, I wrote a tutorial blog post especially for the lovely people at Brother Sewing UK – so head on over to their blog to see all of the steps and photos in detail – http://brothersewinguk.blogspot.com/2019/07/getting-to-grips-with-french-seams-with.html.

    Anyway, it sure does feel good to have this dress up on the blog! It’s been a long time coming 🙂

    Pattern: Vogue V9311

    Fabric: Sew Essential

    Size made: 12

    Alterations made: Finished without sleeves