Monday, February 17, 2014

Sewing for fun

It has been a while since my last post.  I opened another blog, Blanc et Bleu where you can find my latest post.
I have been spending a lot of time in my sewing room, making bags for the shop, of course, and also making - trying to, at least- clothes for myself.
Making things has always been a source of enjoyment for me. From curtains to quilts, from chair and sofa slipcovers to Halloween costumes for my kids (infancy through high school), and finally bags, I have completed quite a few sewing projects, but never clothes I could actually wear outside the house. Yeah, I have made a few pajama pants that I have worn - gasp- to the mailbox, but  I always walk fast with my head down :)

A few weeks ago, I accidently found and fell in love with  By Hand London patterns. I ordered one, then another, and what the heck, I got all five (the Anna dress, the Georgia dress, the Victoria blazer, the Elisalex dress, and the Charlotte skirt). Those ladies at By Hand London are seriously talented. I adore the booklet of directions they send with each pattern, so much easier to handle than the giant sheet you get with other patterns. In addition, those lovely ladies have "sewalongs" with tons of pictures, super helpful when you have to put in invisible zippers, for example...

My first experience with their pattern was the Polly Top, a super easy - even for me- and free pattern. I used a floral quilting weight fabric for my muslin. The sizing was perfect, as were the directions. For my "real" Polly Top, I am planning to use a scrumptious silk in burnt orange and green, and leftover rayon from my Anna dress (see further down). Both fabric are drapey and they will make a perfect Polly Top.
My second try was the Charlotte skirt. Again, easy to follow directions and perfect sizing. I used some upholstery fabric ( from my dining room chairs). The weight- if not so much the floral pattern- is perfect for a winter skirt.
Since I was not really planning on wearing this skirt, I did not quite finish the waistband- you can still see some pins there.
I used the size US6 with no alterations,  but I did chopped off a good six inches from the bottom. It is now a very comfortable knee length and does not need a back vent.

Emboldened by my success with the two patterns, I made not one but TWO Anna dresses. Yep, two!
The first one is my wearable muslin- or that word :)- made with quilting weight cotton from Grey's Fabrics. I thought I was buying medium weight cotton, as indicated in the description, but I was a little disappointed to find that it is really thin, like my stash of quilting cotton. Oh well, it is still very pretty.
I made the midi length for this dress, and I think it will look really cute with white sandals or flats this summer.

I am very proud of my first try at inserting an invisible zipper and matching seams!
And finally, Anna number 2. I constructed this one with a black and light green rayon I found on Etsy, here. Stephanie has a ton of reasonably priced fabrics, AND she will send you free fabric samples. How nice is that?

The fabric was a little more challenging to handle than the above mentioned cotton, because it is so light and slippery, but I managed :). 
Because I love long dresses for summer, I made this dress full length, but without the slit. I really want to be able to wear it to school and the dress is very comfortable to walk in (and run in- yes I tried) without the slit.
Because of its flowing skirt and fitted bodice, the Anna is very slimming. Another plus in my book!
The hem is not finished yet, as I am waiting to see what shoes I will wear- saw a pair of fabulous Eileen Fischer sandals, sadly with a price tag out in the stratosphere. 
The seams are finished with French seams (he he). I have a lot of practice with those because I use this techinique to finish the inside of my bags.
I may have made the hems a bit on the wide side (see above picture) due to the fact that for the last couple of years I have been sewing heavy duty waxed canvas and now I need to get used to sewing delicate fabrics.
 All in all, I am pleased with the results.
What are you making these days?