An Elephant Print Sorbetto

The Elephant Sorbetto

I love this print. Isn't it fun?! I've seen it around, and vividly recall Amy's blog post about her lovely blouse in the yellow colour way, debating whether these are actually elephants or woolly mammoths. Most days I'm pretty sure they're elephants, so I'm calling them elephants.

I bought this fabric on Goldhawk Road a few months ago. I was purely shopping for jersey that day and wasn't supposed to be making an unscheduled purchases, but I couldn't resist this, especially as it was only £3 per metre! I bought one metre, and the top used up roughly half of it. The pattern of course was free, so this is pretty much a £1.50 top. There's something really satisfying about such a bargain. Especially as the week after I bought this fabric I saw the exact same fabric in John Lewis.... it's 100% cotton and in there was £10 per metre. Bargainous win!

I've been meaning to make more Sorbettos for eons. My first one is here, and is great if only a bit too boxy and short. So I made my own lengthen/shorten line and added a good couple of inches to the top, cut a size smaller and raised the shoulder seams 5/8". Then I also needed to take a sweep out of the lower part of the armscye, and to be honest could still do with taking more out. Next time, next time.

I made self bias binding for the neckline and armholes using the genius "continuous bias tape" method (I will never be unamazed by this).  I French seamed all the insides, which makes me happy.

I considered a floaty little sleeve, but it has been such a hot September in London I have been longing for more sleeveless in my life. I'm really pleased with it. It was quick to sew, it's pretty neatly finished and I've already worn it lots.

The little elephants bring me joy. Especially down the front pleat where you have a normal one then a sideways one all the way down (not an accident, friends!).

My elephants and I are very happy!

My First Trousers!

I finally did it - I made trousers! I'm so thrilled. I mean, they're FAR from perfect, and really they're just a wearable toile, but they are, nonetheless, a perfectly passable and functioning pair of trousers. Yippeeeeeeeee! I can't quite believe how quick and straightforward they were to sew, either. I really enjoyed my first foray into trouser making! Who knew it would be fun?!

Colette Clover trousers, worn with New Look 6217 top
My "gateway" trouser pattern of choice was the Colette Clover. I have a pair of rather old but wonderful Uniqlo x Orla Keily cut-off stretch cotton trousers which I've been longing to recreate for a long old time, and the Clover pattern is a similar shape to start from.

I did quite a bit of blog snooping of Clovers, assessing how they seemed to fit on lots of different people, and fit adjustments people had made, and decided I would give them a whirl. I got the pattern in the Colette sale, so that's a bonus!

Since these were a wearable toile, I went for the longer length option with no pockets. I figured I could then shorten them to 3/4 length later, but it would be useful to have the full length pattern too.

I used this lovely tulip print stretch cotton from my stash (leftover from this Flora dress), and actually, when they started turning out pretty well, decided to keep the longer length. Somehow the longer length looked more "right" in this print.

I did do a fair bit of fit adjusting, but naughty me didn't make notes at the time like I usually do!!! The main adjustments though were:

  • slimming the legs down at both inseams and side seams considerably (and I think they're still a bit too baggy, particularly if they were 3/4 length)
  • flattening out the shape of the hip curve as my hips aren't very curvy
  • changing the shape of the crotch curve to fit more closely 

I also think I need to make a few more changes for the next version. Namely:

  • slim down the legs even further
  • perhaps decline to interface the whole waistband.... and instead just interface the seam allowances where the zip is inserted. I feel like one place it's really helpful to have a bit of stretch is a waistband? Maybe I'm wrong here and it would stretch out horribly with no interfacing?
  • make the waistband slightly larger. The current size is fine when standing, but not so comfy when sitting. It only needs a couple of mm adding at each side seam I think

I know there are still more fit issues to fix, but I reckon it's sensible to do the above adjustments first on my next version, then go from there. Most adjustments have a knock-on effect on other areas of a garment, after all.

These pictures were taken on our holiday in Provence. The photos are a bit dim, as the only day I could wear them was our only cloudy day, in the evening. It was too hot the rest of the time!

So now I am constantly on the look out for good quality stretch cotton, preferably polka dot of any colour. I think that the Clover could become a staple pattern of mine! I'm too late for this year but I can also see me using this pattern to make some lovely jazzy shorts for next summer.

Mostly I'm just proud as punch that I managed to sew a passable pair of trousers that fit and are comfy on my first go. When I was quizzing my friend as to whether the fit was actually good enough, her reply was: "If you were trying these on in a shop and asking me whether you should buy them, I would say 'Absolutely.'" She's right! I'd buy them! So I guess this wearable toile is a complete win.

V8888 Liberty silk camisole and shorts set

Hello sewing friends! It's been a long time since I last posted, or indeed made anything! I had a pretty busy July, where I also got very ill with what I now know was Glandular Fever. In my usual way I tried to plow on, and of course only made myself sicker.  Rest assured I recovered absolutely fine, though not very swiftly!

In July my best friend in the world, S, got married. It was such an incredible, happy day. I cried multiple times, of course. I'm such an emotional person and weddings generally have me weeping from the word go. It's just a beautiful thing to witness two people promising themselves to one another.

I was a bridesmaid, and so along with the other bridesmaid wanted to make some surprises for the Bride-to-Be. She loves handmade, thoughtful gifts so for her Hen Do both of us bridesmaids got her a few silly gifts, a nice "forever" gift and also each made something for her. This is what I made!

This camisole and shorts set were made from Vogue 8888 pattern. I made S, and my sister, the shorter length robe from this pattern as a thank you gift for being my bridesmaids, over a year ago. I have STILL not got around to finishing my matching robe, and therefore I never blogged them, as I was waiting to finish mine. I swear I will finish it and show you what they turned out like! Anyway, I made their robes in this beautiful Liberty print silk, and as usual I bought way too much (that'll teach me to believe the yield on the back of the pattern envelope!), so I thought it would be really nice to make S some summery PJs to match her robe. I know that she loves the robe and wears it lots, so I was pretty sure matching PJs would go down well.

And they did! Happily, she loves them. I guessed her measurements (eek!!!) as I wanted it to be a surprise. She is very petite and I roughly knew her waist measurement, so I wasn't completely stabbing in the dark. Anyway, they fit like a dream, and S loves them, which is the main thing! As a side note, her Hen Do was awesome. S arranged it herself, with a few surprises thrown in by us bridesmaids. It was a lovely, relaxed Sunday with tea, scones, cake, games, and crafting! S got each of her friends at the Hen to make a block for her wedding memory quilt. Such a great idea. Everyone got really into it, even the self-professed non-crafters! S ended up with such beautiful blocks. The quilt is going to look great.

Bust detail
Pretty scalloped-edge lace as underbust trim
I don't really have much to say about construction. I did change up the order of construction slightly, as I was using a lace for the underbust section that had a nice scalloped edge, so I didn't want to enclose it in a seam. I also decided not to overlay the cups in lace. I think in this fabric it looks better without the lace overlay.

Hem on the camisole

I also went for much thinner lace for the trim on the shorts hem. I think it looks a bit odd with the wider lace that the pattern calls for. I wish I had finished top of the shorts before attaching the elastic. Naively perhaps, I assumed the instructions would lead to the raw edge being enclosed when attaching the elastic, but this was not so.

Lace at shorts hem
All in all though, I think this pattern's a corker, and very useful for gifts. I can see me knocking up a few more robes for presents at some point, and maybe a camisole set for myself!

So, I mostly spent the rest of July recovering from the Glandular Fever, and then in August I did a grand total of one week's work before heading off to Provence on the most wonderful holiday. Ah it was the best! I did sew one garment to take with me - so I will show you that soon - but as soon as I got back from Provence it was time to head up to Edinburgh to appear in a play at the Festival. It was my first Fringe and I blinking loved it. It was so great. The cherry on top was that our digs were BEAUTIFUL. We were staying in a lovely house in North Berwick - right on the beach - so every morning before heading into Edinburgh to do the show I'd go for a stroll / run / paddle / stretch on the beach. Oh it was wonderful, and it felt so good to be out of the hustle and bustle, to have some head-space. Isn't it beautiful?

I will be back soon with some more garments to share! At the moment I'm finishing off an elephant-print tank top, so I better get that done soon before the weather turns all Autumnal.

Hope you're all well, sewing friends!

Liberty Carline Dress (BHL Anna / Simplicity 1873 hybrid)

Now, I've seen a fair few Liberty Carline print dresses on sewing blogs and, honestly, I have loved every single one. Being a Liberty print though, I had always assumed this fabric would be really expensive and out of my current budget. 

Not so! Minerva had it for £9.99 per metre, and so I used some of my birthday money to buy some. A good decision I think! It's a lovely quality cotton poplin, and the print is so vibrant. I love it.
When deciding what to make, I just could not get the Anna bodice out of my head. I think Roisin's beautiful version has stuck with me. I just think it's the most perfect match of pattern and fabric. So I decided to make an Anna bodice with the pleated skirt from Simplicity 1873. It all lined up pretty well - I just matched the bodice and skirt side seams first and only had to move a couple of the pleats slightly, but nothing too taxing or time consuming. 

A Thing to Shake the Heart dress (By Hand London's Anna bodice with Simplicity 1873 skirt in Liberty Carline poplin)
I only bought 2 metres of this beautiful stuff, so I didn't quite have enough to pattern match and I reeeeeally didn't have enough to make the hem facing I wanted. If Minerva had let me buy half metres I would've bought 2.5 (3 would've been way too much). So anyway I had to cut the hem facings on the cross grain (with one of them a little tiny bit off grain). It didn't seem to make a difference and I'm so glad I got to have my nice 3" hem facing! I just love them. Because the facing is a separate cut piece, it's weighty like a deep double fold hem but with no easing in required. What's not to love? 

My lovely hem facing, understitched to help it hang/sit nicely, and catch stitched in place
From the outside. Nice and neat and invisible!
I had intended to use an invisible zip for this dress, but for some reason I had it in my head that the background of this print is Ivory. It really isn't, it's a very yellowy cream colour, so the Ivory invisible zip I had bought looked ridiculous (yes I know it's just the zip pull on show really, but it still bothered me). Luckily I had an ordinary zip in cream in my stash, so I used that and put in a centred zip. 

I also did some more fit work on the Anna bodice, and I'm so glad I have finally fixed some pretty massive fit issues! When I made my earlier versions, I was much less experienced and, while I got so far with my fit work, I had a lot of neckline gaping that I really didn't know how to sort out at the time. I still wear two of my early Annas (here and here) but the neckline bugs me every time.
Really, what it boiled down to, was that I needed to raise the shoulder seams by a good 5/8". This is a standard adjustment for me, but I guess I didn't know that yet when I made my first version of the Anna back in the day! So once I had raised the shoulders, lengthened the bodice and redrawn the neckline, the back was perfect and at the front I only had a slight gape to contend with. So I split the wedge I needed to pinch out into two wedges along the front neckline, taped them down on my pattern piece and cut a toile. Imagine my delight when it was a goldilocks fit straight away (juuuuust right). 

Side view

I find it a bit comical how white my legs are in these pictures. I mean, I've got no problem with my skin colour, I quite like being pale! But there's pale and then there's almost whiter than the white wall behind me. Also spot the changing shoes! I wore the green flats with it all day but wanted to see which other shoes would go with it. Conclusion: I need some tan flats, preferably T bar. I'm all about the flats at the moment. 

I kept adding and removing the belt in these pictures too, just to be confusing! 

Anyway, I really love this dress. I wore it 
all day on Wednesday and blooming loved it. I felt all serene and swishy in it. And every new dress deserves to be danced around the living room in, right? 

Over and out x

Me Made May Week 5

Well, it went so quickly! Here are the last few days of my Made May outfits. 

Day 23: Sunday 29th May

Lady Luck dress (BHL Anna) - me made 
Pink belt - Apple tree boutique
Black Paloma cardigan - Hell Bunny
Black tights
Heart shoes - Melissa

Today was a lovely, very Sunday-ish Sunday, complete with lazy morning, bits of tidying, a lunchtime walk and then sewing with a cup of tea. It was so nice. 

I didn’t wear these shoes to go walking in, but I did wear them around the house. They were just sitting next to the wardrobe and I just wanted to put them on. They’re very lovely to look at but they crunch my feet up a bit :( I may have to put them on eBay! 

Day 24: Monday 30th May

Paper doll top - (New look 6217) - me made 
Jeans - H&M
Plimsoles - new look
Cardigan - Zara 

Today I was teaching a musical theatre workshop for kids, and they were lovely and rather comical. So I needed a "leaping around appropriate" outfit, and thought it would be a good occasion to debut my new black viscose tee shirt. I've got a feeling this is going to be a very useful garment! 

This jersey cardigan is so old now, but I keep wearing it! One of these days it will fall apart. I've been meaning to copy it for years. Perhaps this year I'll get round to it. 

Day 25: Tuesday 31st May

Flibertygibbet dress (lady skater) - me made

Black leggings - tu
Black ankle boots - office 
Black Belt - topshop 
Mac - collectif 
Mac belt (brown) - apple tree boutique 

Well it chucked it down today, and for once I was dressed for the weather! Even with my shower proof Collectif Mac and an umbrella, my hair got wet though! It was so wild, wet and windy! I was in such a good mood though that I didn't mind. Another day of workshop teaching then hanging out with my best mate, stuffing lavender hearts for her wedding in July. Then later we met our other extremely lovely friend for a catch up. An excellent day! 

I did it! 25 days out of the month wearing Me-Made clothes. Honestly, I’ve loved it. It has pushed me to sew some of the things I’ve had planned for a while, and it has really made me appreciate my lovely clothes. Maybe next year I’ll finally be able to try and wear one me made item every day of May? I just need to sew some more T-shirts, mainly for when I’m teaching dance and drama. Or maybe it’s fine and I’ll just keep wearing RTW on those days, and not sweat the small stuff. I did find it really fun to make those viscose tees though, so perhaps I’ll love whipping up quick jersey T-shirts. 

I hope you’ve all had fun too, if you’ve been taking part in Me Made May. I’ve loved seeing everyone’s updates or posts on Instagram. It’s really inspiring to see how everyone styles their hand made garments.

I’m on a roll at the moment with my sewing productivity, so I should have a few new things to blog soon. Here’s to hand made! 

Little Black Tee (another viscose New Look 6217)

Well, I was so happy with my floral viscose New Look 6217 that I immediately made one in black, too. This black viscose has been maturing in my stash for years, and I was glad to finally cut into it. I've also got a dress planned using the rest of it. It is just so lovely and drapey! So nice to wear. I even really appreciate the colour. It's kind of a blacker-than-black black.

So, not much to say about my little black tee, but here it is: 

Paper Doll top (New Look 6217 in black viscose)

I did a few things slightly differently on this version, namely:

  • lengthened by 1". I love this length, it's perfect, so I'm glad I lengthened it.
  • sewed the sleeve hems at 5/8" as the pattern instructs, rather than the 3/8" I did last time. I think I prefer the slightly shorter sleeves.
  • stuck to the order of construction as directed in the pattern instructions. I wish I hadn't! With my last version I didn't really follow the instructions much, only for the odd thing, but with the black one I wasn't really thinking so I just blindly followed the instructions to the letter. They have you hem the sleeves first, then sew up and finish the side/underarm seam. That's weird to me! There's a lesson there I suppose: I have trusted my instincts that the hem should be left til last. 

I made a rouleau loop for the button hole again, and actually used another of those brass-look buttons from my button tin. Not because I'm boring (honest). I tried lots of different buttons but liked this the best. 

Black is notoriously difficult to photograph well - and I photographed it against our black fire place - so I'm sorry if you can't see it properly! Basics also aren't quite as exciting to blog, are they, but I can tell this is going to be a well used and well loved part of my wardrobe. It could even be dressed up and be more of a blouse. Versatile little thing.

Having a little snooze while I show the side view

Yesterday I also got round to doing some mending, including a real bargain I got a while ago. This lovely silk £61 Mimi Holliday bra was already on sale at TK Maxx, but with a broken strap. I managed to talk them down on the price because of this (I may have even used the phrase: "well, it's broken. Who else is going to buy it?" Which I still maintain is valid and true). So I got it for the princely sum of £3. It took all of 5 minutes to sew back together, and once again I'm really grateful that I can sew! Do you find that being able to sew helps you get great bargains? 

Before: the broken strap and the bargain price tag

After: mended! Not the neatest but hey, it's on the inside anyway.

Right, I'm off. I've just cut into my lovely Liberty carline, and I can't wait to sew it up. Perhaps I'll do it while I watch the Sewing Bee. To be honest that sounds like a perfect Monday night to me. 


Me Made May Week 4

Day 18: Sunday 22nd May

Stern and tragical dress (S2444) - me made
Headscarf (bluegingerdoll's free pattern) - me made
Pink belt - vintage
Black Paloma cardigan - hell bunny 
Nude ballet pumps - office 

Headscarf completely necessary due to messy hair. My day off! What better outfit for a day's sewing than a tape measure dress? 

Day 19: Monday 23rd May

Ophelia top (New Look K6217) - me made
Jeans - H&M
Black vest top - H&M
Cardigan - Calvin Klein via TK Maxx
Nude ballet pumps - office 
Sunglasses - cheap Monday 

I made this top yesterday afternoon and couldn't wait to wear it! It didn't disappoint - it is lovely! so light and drapey and easy to wear but still looks like I've made an effort. Plus it's so cool and breathable! It gave me joy. How wonderful that something so simple as a new me made t shirt can make me so happy and make my day better for wearing it! 

Day 20: Wednesday 25th May

Jinx jacket - me made
T shirt - attacked by me with a sharpie 
Optional Lightbulb headpiece - me made
Grey cardigan - Calvin Klein via TK Maxx
Jeans - H&M
Pumps - TK Maxx 

May seems to have been the month for fancy dress! Today is my friend Kirsty's birthday do - and she decided she wants to walk the monopoly board! I was well up for it but also couldn't figure out how it would work! It's a long way!! So I wanted a fancy dress outfit that would be comfy to walk all day in. This was the best I could come up with! I was a bit disappointed in myself that I hadn't prepped earlier, when I found out you can buy Monopoly money print fabric! I could have made a money dress!! Ah well, I wasn't organised enough for that. So I plumped for the electric company square. It was a lot of fun but so exhausting! We walked 26km!

The Fitbit don't lie

Day 21: Thursday 26th May

Poet's corner dress (BHL Anna) - me made
Belt - vintage
Black leggings - tu
Black Paloma cardigan - hell bunny
Nude ballet pumps - office 

Achy legs day! Teaching/admin/errands day today, and this outfit again because I like it and it's easy to wear. I just needed comfort and practicality today! 

Day 22: Saturday 28th May

Magpie feather dress (Flora / Emery hybrid) - me made
Navy tights - Dorothy Perkins
Pink shoes - oasis
Green Paloma cardigan - hell bunny 
Green tweed handbag - vintage, from oxfam. The label says JR handbags.

This was just such a lovely day! A rare Saturday off for me, which meant I could do parkrun first thing, which, while painful and hard, was really fun and I felt great afterwards. Then Liam and I went to Hampton Court Palace for the day, which was just glorious. The sun came out, we looked around the whole palace and gardens, tackled the maze, had a picnic on the lawn and generally had a grand old time. 

Onto the outfit! This dress is my current favourite. There's simply nothing wrong with it and as usual I really enjoyed wearing it. Plus this bag is such a beauty! I picked it up in a charity shop years ago for about £3! A steal! 

Only one more instalment of Me Made May outfit posts to go! Right now I'm enjoying a lovely lazy Sunday, and I'm planning to cut into some absolutely beautiful fabric today. Happy Ree. x