Monday, 15 September 2014

One Week, One Pattern 2014 - done!

This week I've been taking part in 'One Week One Pattern' an online challenge designed to make you use your sewing patterns more than once! Basically you choose a pattern and wear as many versions as you like for seven days. I chose Deer and Doe's Plantain t-shirt, partly because I had four already when the challenge was announced so it wouldn't involve any panic sewing, and partly because I love the pattern - it's comfy, it's flattering, and it's free. Lovely!

Here is my recap of the week;

Day 1; kicking things off with a soft grey jersey Plantain. I extended the hem by 3 inches and added a little bit to the short sleeves. Would you believe I have three grey coats?! I made this to go underneath them and coordinate with my scarves which also have grey in the print.

Day 2; long sleeved purple jersey, again extended by 3 inches to make a tunic length. This top turned out a little big everywhere and I have no idea why. I was able to fix things round the sleeves and down the sides but unfortunately the neckband was sewn on and I couldn't alter the shoulders so the neckline slips off and shows my bra straps if I'm not careful.
 I wasn't feeling brilliant when this was taken so it's just a quick snap by the wardrobe doors.

Day 3; the 50s Hard Rock Cafe Plantain (that's what the fabric is called). I was super-careful with the placement of the print on this one which is why I'm pointing at the record player in the centre back - it could have been unfortunate if I had ended up with JFKs face on a boob. 0_o

Day 4; this is my favourite Plantain of all. The fabric is called Seashells. I wore this to the fabric shop where I bought it and got complimented by the assistant, she has some of it in her stash too!

Day 5; the mermaid Plantain. I have to confess that I only wore this for a little while. I love the sequins, combined with the colour they make me think of scales on a mermaids tail, but they are so itchy! I totally understand now why RTW garments don't usually have sequins all over, if I made it again I would use a different fabric for the back, sleeves and neckband, and I would line the front. 
Never mind, live and learn. 

Day 6; the black micro sequin disco Plantain. This one is a little less itchy but so glam that I never go anywhere without feeling overdressed wearing it. This was the first Plantain I ever made.

Day 7; a plain black Plantain worn with Anita Ponte pants made from wild print scuba jersey. This is another top made to coordinate with things already in my wardrobe, it's very versatile.

Thoughts on OWOP;

This was my first online sewing challenge and it's been fun. I've really enjoyed sharing my pics on Instagram every day and seeing everybody else's makes. I've found some new and inspiring people to follow and I'm looking forward to seeing their future sewing projects. I've started to hope that Me Made  May will be possible for me next year if I continue building my handmade wardrobe.

BUT (also Instagram related) I have to admit that I've compared my t-shirts with other people's beautiful blouses and dresses and felt that I may have chosen practicality over style while making my Plantains. I realised that I've only made one long sleeved top and it doesn't even have the elbow patches that are a feature of the pattern! What about a lace overlay? Or some kind of colour blocking? Or a wonderful zebra print body with striped sleeves??? My versions have expanded my wardrobe but I don't feel like they have captured the creative aspects of the pattern.

Hmmmm, I guess that means I'm not done with the Plantain just yet.....

Thanks to Jane for organising the challenge and giveaways, it's been an interesting week. I've certainly been thinking about gorgeous style vs boring wearability due to OWOP and anything that generates new ideas is great for me. I hope she will do it again next year :)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Love at first stitch Lilou dress

I have to be honest and say that I hesitated when Love At First Stitch by Tilly Walnes was first released - I mean, I'm not sure if the whole retro/vintage thing is really me. I actually flipped through it in a bookshop, put it back, went away, looked at it on Amazon, put it on my wish list, looked at it half an hour later to see if the price has gone get the picture. 

Anyway, after a few days the combined force of the Mimi blouse and a coupon for £5 off in WHSmith tipped me over the edge.

And what did I make first? Mimi blouse?
No, Lilou bodice with Clemence-style skirt.

I chose the Lilou mostly because I already had two metres of cotton. I bought it to make a blouse then realised that the material would be too stiff, even after washing. I had just enough fabric to cut the bodice then use what was left to cut a skirt. It's not quite as wide as the Clemence skirt in the book, which is why I'm calling it Clemence-style :)

I also had to make a full bust adjustment (first time ever!). It's a little loose in the shoulders and waist, if I make another one I'll probably take larger seams and I probably should have done that with this one (my Mum told me to!) but I didn't want to change the pattern totally on the first try.

Ironically I have ended up wearing it like this;

More vintage than ever :) Waist cinched in with a white pleather belt from eBay and short cardigan RTW from Wallis. 

I received a lot of compliments when I went out so I think the outfit is a winner although the dress isn't quite perfect. Here it is without the cardi, I feel more comfortable with the belt to give the waist some shape but it pushes the shoulders up and you can just see a flash of pink bra strap in the photo;

In conclusion, Tilly's book is lovely and the patterns make it a worthwhile purchase for beginners and experienced sewists alike. I do wonder if I'll have to make alterations in the bust pieces for all the dresses, just because they are drafted for a slimmer body type, but the FBA wasn't too much trouble, so I'm hopeful of wearable results on the other patterns.

Anyway, the Mimi blouse will be my next project from the book.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

A change is as good as a rest

It's been six months since my last post here, so I've certainly had a rest, although I'm not sure anyone would notice seeing as I'm not a regular blogger anyway. The funny thing is that I haven't been resting from sewing - there have been fancy dress costumes (a Sith Lord and Neo and Morpheus from the Matrix!), Roman blinds, upholstered headboards, Plantains, Anna's, a Renfrew, bits and bobs from Tilly's book, plus assorted dolls clothes - but none of it has made it here.

I've been trying to work out why and I've realised that if a blog has an identity then mine is schizophrenic. There are two themes here; sewing for people and sewing for dolls, half the traffic my blog gets comes from Sewing Pattern Review and half from Flickr where my doll pictures get more favourites than the people ones. (That could just be cos the people ones are of me though! :P)

I don't want to start another blog and split the subjects up so I've decided to add a couple of tabs at the top so my visitors can choose what they'd like to see. You never know, I may get another hobby and add a third tab! ;)

Also, I've changed the name of the blog from 'BusyLizzyBee' to Sew*Jemmilly.
There are a lot of LizzyBees out there and a lot of them seem busy. Jemmilly is the name I used to sell my dolls clothes when I first started out, so I'm returning to my roots and hoping to create something that's a bit more 'me', whether I'm sewing for plastic people or real ones.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Colette Zinnia - finally photographed!

I finished sewing this skirt back in mid-October, I can't believe it's taken me so long to get it photographed! I have tried - I wore this skirt sightseeing in Oxford, thinking that the dreaming spires would make a great backdrop but it rained all day and I ended up soaked in Wetherspoons eating chips. Not so glamorous :( 

Finally I decided that the back garden would do and here I am on Saturday morning modelling Version 1 of Colette's Zinnia pattern. 

No real changes to the pattern except that to get a good shape on the pocket I ended up stitching a 1cm line around the edge and then using that line to press the seam allowances under evenly.

Also, I totally ignored the instructions for the waistband and pinned the skirt to the flat waistband between the seam allowances, stitched it, THEN folded the waistband, stitched the short ends, folded it back to the right side and caught down the inner edge by hand.

In a way the delay in writing about this pattern is a good thing, because when I say that I love this skirt I can say that I love wearing it too. It's not my normal style, but there is something about the swishy fullness that feels so gorgeous - even in winter with tights or leggings underneath. 
I will definitely make the other versions too :)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

New Look 6181 - summer sewing!

I have to admit that I would never have looked twice at this pattern if it hadn't been included for free with  Sew Home magazine
It seems to be an unloved design with the rest of the world too - no-one has reviewed it on Pattern Review, I can't find any other bloggers with photos of the finished garment - it seems to have sunk without trace.

Which is a shame because it turned out well for me! I've been wearing it since the middle of August when I got desperate for something cool to wear. I've worn it casual, like in the photos, and smart with posh shoes and jewelry. It's a really versatile dress. 

I added a thin fabric belt round the waist to mirror the thin ties on the back neck. I also threaded silver beads onto the tie ends to give a bit of interest and weight. I love the bias drape of the back cowl neckline!

This pattern is definitely worth a second look. One little bit of advice; the pattern allows a lot of ease above your body measurements so its worth looking at the finished measurements on the pattern and asking yourself how loose you want the dress to be. Otherwise it's a straightforward pattern and I thoroughly recommend it.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Colette Sorbetto

If you can sew then you've probably already made one, and if you can't sew then you probably could make one - Sorbetto top from Colette patterns. It's a free pattern, download it now!

This top cost under £5 to make, which is a total bargain because it turned out so cute! I used 'Brighton Bows' poly cotton fabric, and pre-made green bias tape, both from Fabricland. Then I bought some green bow earrings from eBay to match the print, you can just about see them in the picture. (I'm pulling that face because my husband was messing around! Sadly the door in the background isn't our house, we were visiting the Vyne (National Trust) and I decided it would be a good photo opportunity for my top.)

I did make a muslin to check the size, which I would recommend. It's not a close-fitting design - you can see where the fabric is blowing round my hips in the breeze - but I had to take it in a little under the arms to make sure that the armholes wouldn't gape and display my bra to the world. Not a good look when you are nearly 37.  ^_^

Anyway, I love it and I may even make another! And on the strength of this pattern I bought the Colette Sewing Handbook which I will hopefully post about soon :)

Friday, 12 October 2012

Naughty knitter?

I'm being naughty now. I'm supposed to be packing to go to the Isle of Wight for the weekend, but instead I'm adding knitting patterns to Ravelry and eating cake. Tut tut!

These are some outfits for my 12" Bethany that I finished last year.

Both knitting patterns by Becky Colvin at Sew-Cool Separates.