Goodbye 2015, hello 2016!

Last year I set myself some sewing goals, so this seemed like the time to have another look at them and see whether I achieved them. Here we go!

My goals for 2015 were:

1. Restrict the lists! 
I did way better at this! I didn't write crazy long sewing lists this year. Although, even though I haven't been writing them down, lists do still happen in my head. It's just part of my personality. But I have been trying to be a bit freer, and make what I feel like making, remembering that this sewing thing is for fun, you know, it's not just a big list of things to do! It's about the process, which is one of the reasons I love it. So YES, I have done better with this goal, but I have to say, a good list is sometimes very helpful!

2. Make an awesome wedding dress! 
Big old tick! I am, as you know, over the moon with how well my wedding dress turned out. 

Photograph by Hannah Mia Photography
3. Sew some knits.
Well, I made one, does that count?! I made a Coco top, right at the beginning of this year, which I've never blogged about. It turned out well and I've worn it a lot, it just didn't seem to warrant a post of it's own. I'm actually making a knit garment at the moment. It's a Lady Skater, all cut out just waiting to be sewed up. Hopefully I'll be able to blog that soon! Anyway, here's the Coco top.

Tilly & the Buttons Coco top I made this year but never blogged (and apparently didn't iron either)
4. Make a big quilt for our home.
Ah, nearly!!! It's so nearly done! The quilt top is done, the back (which is patchwork as well) is almost done, the binding is done (I made my own scrappy binding - are you proud?) it just needs to be all put together and quilted! I so wish I could tick this one but technically it's not finished yet. 

Scrappy blocks being made for my quilt
5. Use my stash. 
Yeah, this one was mostly a success, and I think I put in a pretty valiant effort on the stash busting front. I used loads of scraps (see above: scrappy quilt!), but of course I am also constantly making more! DAMN YOU, SCRAPS! Also up until the end of the year when I caved a little bit, I didn't really buy any new patterns and I didn't really buy any new lengths of fabric (maybe a couple...) and I made a big effort to use what I have. There's still more, though!

I decided to set myself some goals for 2016, too, and 5 seems like a good number, so I'm setting 5.

My Sewing Goals for 2016

1. Make my perfect coat. 
It appears that this season my perfect coat isn't in style, as it's nowhere to be found in any of the shops. So I'm excited about making my own at some point in 2016. 

2. Perfect the fit of my TNT dress patterns and make lots of versions of them.
Because I love all of my home-sewn dresses, and one can never have enough lovely dresses in my humble opinion.

3. Make more separates.
I'm thinking, cropped trousers (Clovers perhaps?), shorts for the summer, tee shirts, cardigans. All those things I keep saying that I'm going to make and never do because I get distracted by a dress pattern instead. THOSE. It's time to actually make them this year.

4. Restrict my internet time!
I have got into the habit, without really meaning to, of spending lots of time on the internet looking at ideas and inspiration for sewing projects, when I already have plenty of ideas and inspiration for sewing projects! I think I just get distracted and end up looking at lovely dresses that people have made, which, don't get me wrong, I LOVE, so I'm not going to stop reading sewing blogs (don't be ridiculous) or going on Pinterest (hahaha), but I do need to beware of spending time I could be using to create something myself, looking at other's creations instead. Does that make any sense? I'm thinking that sewing little and often is better for me than using an hour's down time at home to read blogs, not get round to making anything of my own but then blocking out a whole day to sew. Spending a whole day sewing to the exclusion of all else is not really healthy for me, either, so I need to strike a balance! 

Pinterest is great but it's a time sap!
5. Keep using up the stash! 
Use it or lose it, as they say!

I know my pattern stash isn't huge, but there are still lots in there that I've never used! Must rectify!
Well, everyone, thank you for reading my little blog this year. It's been great to get to know some of you over the internet! All the best for 2016! 

Ree xxxx

My Christmas Dress!

This year I have seen so many awesome Christmas dresses on the sewing blogs I follow. As a lover of whimsy, novelty and all things festive, of course I wanted in on the action and started planning my perfect Christmas dress.

I like the idea of making this a tradition: making a new Christmas dress each year to wear on Christmas Day. Of course my planning for this first dress began by making a Christmas Dress board on Pinterest and pinning loads of ideas. I already had the notion that I'd like to pair my Christmas Dress with a red cardigan and tights, so I had already pretty much narrowed it down to a green or pale blue fabric for the dress. These were the six fabrics I fell in love with:

Narrowing it down (clockwise from top left):   Winter Novelty Gingerbread House by Benartex, Makower Festive Trees, Dashwood Christmas Dreams Bauble, Makower Wonderland Skaters, Dashwood Winter Wonderland Mistletoe, Makower Wonderland Baubles.
Although I love all of these fabrics, the mistletoe print by Dashwood Studios was the one I kept coming back to. I know it is very Christmassy, but it's a bit more subtle than the giant baubles, for instance, so I figured it might be a bit more winter-round wearable?!

Fabric close-up. Mistletoe, from Dashwood Studios Winter Wonderland collection
I did a bit of price comparison, and in the end bought it from The Fabric Fox. I had never ordered from them before, but they were the cheapest UK supplier I could find. I have to say the service was top notch, and the delivery fast, so I would happily recommend them.

Anyway, here's the dress!

Head to Mistletoe dress (B4443 in Dashwood Studio's Mistletoe fabric)
That is the one and only picture I got of my dress on the day itself - bad blogger! So the rest are shots I took of it this afternoon to better show the dress off.

I loved wearing the dress on Christmas Day. I felt very elf-like. Shout out to Cassie for the stripey-tights inspiration! I'm so sad that I had to throw out those green shoes before the end of the day. So sad. They are at least 12 years old, and the inners had just completely disintegrated. They were beyond saving so sadly they had to go. Boo!

I ended up cutting the dress out up North while visiting our family, and sewing it up on Christmas Eve at home. Since I'd left it so late I decided to make a TNT pattern that I knew would be pretty simple. I went for yet another B4443 because I love how comfy the bodice is (hooray for princess seams), and a skirt with no pleats or gathers seemed like it would save time. I knew I'd wear this dress with a cardigan, so I decided to make it sleeveless, and went with the V neck this time.

I fully lined it with cotton lawn, although in retrospect it might not have been necessary to line the skirt. No pattern matching because of the very busy novelty print, machine sewn hem for speed, white invisible zip because apparently a green one is very hard to find. At least at the very last minute!

Not sure what that fitting issue is with the pulling from the shoulders?!
It's weird. I love love love the silhouette of my Rock Around the Clock dress on me, which is the same V neck as this but with little sleeves. AND I love the boat neck version I made which is sleeveless. But I DON'T love this shape: V neck and sleeveless. It doesn't make sense but it's undeniable, it doesn't really suit me. Oh well, as I said I will always wear this dress with a cardigan anyway, so it makes no difference really. And now I know. Knowledge is power and all that.

Much better with a cardigan!
Well, that's the blog all caught up with my recent makes! My scrappy quilt is still on the go, and I have a few more projects in the pipeline which I'm quite excited about. Even more exciting is the fact that I hadn't realised today is a Bank Holiday! Now that I've discovered it is, I can spend the day sewing! It would be TOO MUCH of a shame to spend a Bank Holiday doing my tax return, right?

Until next time! x

Christmas Gift Sewing: Pretty Printed Girl's Skirts

Hello! I hope you all had a lovely Christmastime! Mine was really, really great. The week before Christmas Liam and I went up North to spend time with both our families, which was lovely. We even got both families together for the first time since the wedding for a bit of a knees up at my lovely Sister-in-Law's house. It was fab. There was party food, drinks were flowing, and the little ones put a "show" on for us. Special times!

We came back down to London for our own little quiet Christmas here, and it was glorious. We ate more than seemed possible, watched films, played games, ate some more and then for good measure ate a bit more. On Boxing Day we went for a long walk and a bit of a look round the shops, followed by the BEST turkey leftovers curry I have ever tasted (thanks Liam!).

So that was my Christmas, and it was wonderful. I hope yours was too, whatever you were doing!

On to the sewing...

As always I left Christmas gift sewing quite late, but thankfully got it all done in time!

Here's what I sewed. Four gathered print skirts for some of our nieces. They turned out so well!

They're all gathered rectangles, lined, with a flat front waistband and an elasticated back waistband. Super simple but very pretty! They're all different sizes, unfortunately for me, and I didn't have the kids there to measure them myself. Their mums measured them and then I just did a bit of maths before cutting out.

Not much more to say about these, so prepare for picture overload!

I may have bought a few metres extra of this fabric...

I got lucky with a remnant piece for this one.

Poppy print for Poppy. She's the littlest one so her skirt didn't need much fabric. I managed to score this Liberty remnant on eBay for £10

Cotton lining 
Elasticated back waistband
I made luggage tag labels with care instructions on the back, to make the gift even more special. Here's Lula's skirt all ready to be wrapped up! Bad lighting courtesy of an English December.
I chose the fabrics based on their favourite colours and their styles. Plus I had a request for a matching Cabbage Patch doll dress from one the little ones! Of course that was way harder than the skirts. There may have been a lot of swearing whilst I was sewing that bias binding to the arm holes, along with the proclamation that "I don't care what happens, I am NEVER making a doll dress again!!!!"

Luckily I had a piece of velcro in my sewing box!

For the doll dress I was working from a table of measurements I found online, which was helpful but did leave me wondering if I'd done all my calculations correctly and if it would fit. I'm reliably informed that it fits like a glove (well, a dress)! Hooray!

Most importantly, the girls love their skirts, they all fit and a few of them even got worn on Christmas Day. It was well worth the effort!

I even found time after all that to make myself a Christmas dress! I only got one photo of it on Christmas Day itself, so as soon as I have photographed it properly I will have that to share with you too.

Until next time! xxx