Virva Fingerless Mitts from Laine Magazine

Virva Fingerless Mitts from Laine Magazine
These were made entirely on a whim. I took it into my head to make a small gift for my Nan (who also likes to knit) as a thank you for sending me on some patterns. I'm not sure why, but fingerless mitts were what sprung to mind, so I started looking through my copies of Laine magazine for some inspiration. The Virva mitts appeared and I knew immediately they would be perfect. The description in the pattern said that they were intended to be made as part of a set, with a hat, all from one skein of yarn. This made them all the more appealing because there was the potential to use one of my sizeable leftovers from another project - I just love putting them to good use. Not as much as I loved how quickly these came together though - cast on and finished in under two weeks!

Virva Fingerless Mitts from Laine Magazine
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Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: Work to Weekend eBook - Camille Jumpsuit

Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: Work to Weekend eBook - Camille Jumpsuit

Some of you know the ending to this one already if you read my previous post all about least worn makes, but I felt that this project still deserved a bit of its own time. I made it ages ago but could never get to blogging about it because I haven't worn it out yet! This pattern is one of the 5 core garments in the Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: Work to Weekend eBook and comes with three variations of its own, including a trousers only option. It has a wrap style bodice and does up at the back with a zip. It really sums up the whole work/weekend vibe in the book with the different options and I took the plunge with the tailored sleeve for a work look (the other option being a floaty 'weekend' sleeve). I say take the plunge because the whole jumpsuit thing has really passed me by. It's not something that I lean towards - I think they look great on other people, but I think I'm a little put off by my short stature. However, Lisa looked so glamorous in her versions that I thought I'd give it a go anyway.

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Poet sweater

Poet sweater knitting pattern review


From the moment I saw the Poet sweater in Laine magazine's Instagram feed, I wanted desperately to make it. I loved the delicate lace pattern repeated over the front and back and thought it would be perfect for winter time when you still want to be warm but need to look a little elegant! This is one of the most intensive projects I've taken on so far and took a lot of concentration, but is totally worth it.

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Most worn - Least worn and alterations

I've really been trying to create clothes that I will wear more often this year, and I was inspired by #alteritAugust to have a closer look at what I don't wear from my makes to see if I could move them out of the category of 'least - or even never worn'. (From this challenge I ended up with my Stella Hoodie which I absolutely love so that spurred me on to other projects.) I have, like many dressmakers, had mixed success with projects. Sometimes the fit is completely wrong, or the material I picked doesn't quite match the pattern, or it just plain doesn't suit me. Some of these you may have seen, some you may not, partly because it's much easier to post and share the things that have gone well. However, sometimes I find it helpful to see the things that didn't go so well because there's a lot that can be learned and it's nice to know you aren't the only one! Here's a few of the pieces that I don't wear and what I have done, or plan to do to get them into more use.





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Nurtured Sweater

Time to start thinking about sweater weather! My house is very cold in the winter so this year I'm planning on getting a couple of handmade sweaters knitted up to keep me warm. First up is the Nurtured sweater by Andrea Mowry in Aran weight yarn. It's meant to be cropped but I lengthened it to sit at the hip knowing that I wouldn't wear it otherwise. There is a lot I like about this pattern, but I'm not sure I would make it again....
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Sew Over It Kate Dress from My Capsule Wardrobe Work to Weekend eBook

Do you ever work so hard to complete a project properly that you don't feel like wearing it? That's what's happened with this dress for me. It's weird because I was so desperate to make this, having fallen in love at first sight when the Sew Over It eBook was released, but it hasn't had the wear that it deserves (certainly to justify the effort I made!).
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Most worn - fabric from shows or sales?

Before I get to the actual blog content you should know that you can win a pair of tickets to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in October - skip to the bottom for details and to enter.  



Yes, I do have free tickets to give away to you lovely people, and a code that you can use for a discount. The Knitting and Stitching Show asked if I'd like to offer these and I'm all up for sharing the love - and bargains!. But it got me thinking.... how much do I actually use or wear what I buy at the shows? I go to the autumn and spring shows every year, always coming back with a bag full of buys but this year you know I'm all about paying attention to what I use most and doing more of that. Mainly I've been thinking about patterns, but now I'm wondering about my buying habits too. I hardly ever buy from shops - my stash is almost entirely from online stores and the shows. I also make most of my online purchases when there's some kind of sale on so right now, the question is, do I make most use of what I buy from shows or sales?
(FYI - This isn't an advert. I'm not asked to write this. It's just my thoughts)

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Shell Cottage Socks from The Handmade Sock Society Season 2

Pattern review Shell Cottage Socks from The Handmade Sock Society Season 2

These socks had a long gap between casting on and getting finished, mainly because I wasn't sure about them at first. However, once I got going with them again I soon changed my mind and I love them now. They were the first pattern released by Helen Steward for The Handmade Sock Society Season 2, which is a club you pay for up front (£18) and then receive 6 patterns over the course of the year. Luckily for me there's no pressure to keep up and be done for each new release! Considering that most of the patterns I have liked so far have been by this designer, I took the leap of faith and signed up from the start. I'm pleased to say that I like all the ones that have been released so far so there will be more coming, but I am not a fast producer!
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Tilly and the Buttons Stella Hoodie

Tilly and the Buttons Stella Hoodie pattern review

 One of my aims this year has been to make clothes that I will wear all the time. I love making dresses more than anything, but I don't have much opportunity to wear them and making every day casual wear is something I've been looking towards to make the most of my hobby. I'm a bit behind everyone else in the sewing community because I only just purchased the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch book, despite it being out for some time and this is the first item I've made from it. It's also the first time I've refashioned a previous make and I'm really glad that this is going to get a lot more wear than the first garment this fabric was made into.

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Find Your Fade Shawl

Find Your Fade Shawl pattern review
I've loved the idea of this shawl ever since I came across it - the Find Your Fade Shawl has had quite a high profile in the knitting community so it's hard to resist. After my Boho Blush Shawl I liked the idea of a large wrap for when evenings took a chill and this looked like it would fit the bill. However, who knew that finding a fade was such a time consuming past time? Luckily, knitting the shawl was a much more enjoyable experience!
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Kwik Sew K4111 - for the office this time

Kwik Sew K4111 pattern reviewI feel like I never have anything to wear to work, and what what I do have is never quite warm enough or cool enough so I've always got my eye out for fabrics that I can use to fill this gap. At the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show I came across just that fabric, then had to wait for a while until inspiration hit, in the form of a previously used pattern that just needed a bit of tweaking. As it happens this dress also survived a major overlocker disaster too!
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Most Worn: Nina Lee Mayfair Dress


Ready for sun!!! Last summer, I wore my Nina Lee Mayfair dress so often in the hot weather - even for work. I find patterns that feature waist ties to be my preferred option in summer because they are just that bit more comfortable than elasticated waists or fitted waistbands, yet still give you some shaping. I had hoped to create an even more work appropriate dress with this monochrome John Kaldor slinky jersey fabric. but as you can see, it turned out a little short for that, but it's just as well as I wear it all the time at home now - I can't wait to take it on holiday!

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Sew your own knitter's project bag: free tutorial



Now that I've been knitting for a while, I've come to realise that I could really do with a proper project bag so that I have everything I need to hand. There are plenty of good quality ones available to buy, but as someone who has been sewing for a while it seemed more appropriate to put these skills to use and make my own one. This bag is designed to be large enough to hold a sweater project and an A4 pattern. It closes with a drawstring and features an internal pocket to hold notions and tools. There's also a snap open yarn guide inside to prevent tangling. It's a simple and enjoyable project that is perfect for using up remnant fabrics leftover from other projects. If you fancy having a go at making your own, here's a free tutorial for you to follow.

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Sew Over It Lottie Dress - Heatwave saviour!


This pattern could already move into my Most Worn pile. Last week during the hot weather that we had I didn't want to wear anything else...so I made a second one! My versions are made in viscose fabrics so are very lightweight and breathable. I find I don't like things too fitted when it's very hot but I do need things drawn in around the waist to suit my frame and the fact that this dress uses waist ties rather than elastic makes it all the more comfortable. I even like the gathering at the top of the dress which gives a small amount of pretty shaping to a fairly simple make. So long as you can manage bias binding and buttonholes, you can whip this up in less than a day.


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DIY pleated skirt

Skirts don't feature heavily in my summer wardrobe - I strongly tend towards dresses (in case you hadn't noticed). However, I was thinking that it would be quite handy to have a skirt that you can pair with a few different tops and vests, given the changeability of the weather here in the UK. On my Pinterest board, quite a few of the looks I've been into featured pleated skirts, so I decided to have a go at making one without a pattern.

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Most worn: Ginger Jeans



Given that my black Ginger Jeans are one of my favourite and most worn items, I gave the pattern a second go for a pair of spring/summer jeans. I'd say the results are mixed on these for a few reasons, and I actually made these last summer but haven't blogged about them because of that. However, I found a way around what I wasn't happy with and now I've ended up wearing them a lot since the spring.
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Most worn: Sew Over It Penny dress



This year I've been trying to revisit patterns that I know I already get a lot of wear out of. The Penny Dress is definitely one of my summer favourites because I love the way it looks and it's lovely and cool to wear on hot days. It's also quite a nice little one to make because the bodice is much simpler than it looks.

Fabric

My last Penny was made from a rayon fabric and I think this works quite well with the pattern because it's light and drapey. It's comfortable to wear as well as taking the elasticated waist well and not adding too much bulk. This time I upgraded my rayon to an Atelier Brunette fabric. This is the Shine night viscose which I got from Lamazi Fabrics - it's usually £19 per metre but I bought mine in their Black Friday sale with an extra 20% off. It's worth the extra cost because the rayon is a very high quality and supersoft. It does crease very easily though.

In the fabric requirements it says you need 3.2 metres for a size 10, but I managed to get mine out of 2m with a lot of careful pattern placement. I would have liked to have added pockets but because I was being stingy with fabric I didn't have enough. (I may go back and add them in a different fabric at a later time if I find one that's a good match).


Pattern

This is my second time making the Penny dress; there's a link to my first post here, with lots of other details. I find the flat collar and elasticated waist makes for a simpler sew, and the sleeves are also really easy to make because they aren't a separate piece. They are all flattering features, as is some gentle 50s style gathering at the shoulders.

I have the original version of the pattern, and I think subsequent releases may have adjusted the length of the torso, but mine hasn't and it is something I need to alter. I added about 2cm to the bodice length which turned out to be a much better fit and is a lot more comfortable. (It's now available as a printed pattern which I much prefer to pdf).

Love it!!!!!

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French Viscose Halterneck Dress

Confession...I actually made this last year and have only just now got around to blogging about it! After I wore it on holiday the weather has been so miserable I didn't even feel like photographing it. This is one of those dresses where you fall in love with a fabric online, and when it's delivered you love it even more. Unfortunately the pattern I used didn't hold up to the same standard of satisfaction. It was a nightmare to make and can be tricky to wear at times too. If I didn't love the fabric so much, it probably wouldn't be worn as often....

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Breaking the Pattern Solina Dress


I have been screenshotting, saving and pinning images of dresses that look pretty much like this for ages. High necks, long sleeves and midi lengths all in glamorous floaty fabrics that come together to make an elegant dress that you can wear out  in all seasons. There certainly is a gap in my wardrobe for something like this. And then along came this book, so I knew what I had to make first out of it!

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Boho Blush Shawl double feature


It's been a bit quiet over here on the blog - there has still been making but not much photography and writing! About this time last year I decided to learn to knit as well as sew, and I've been just as addicted to this as dressmaking. (If you are interested, the knitting label on the right will link you to my very first projects and how I got started with learning this new skill). I gave away my first shawl as a gift for my Nan, and found myself on holiday later in the year desperately wishing I had another (it was hot in the days but cold at night!). So whilst on holiday I spent my time looking at patterns and yarn. It just so happened the Andrea Mowry also had a sale on her patterns, so the Boho Blush shawl became top contender for my return from holiday project. I loved knitting it so much I made a second as another gift, this time for my Mum, which turned out even better!




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Sew Over It Rosie Dress in Liberty lawn

Sew Over It Rosie Dress pattern review


This is a perfect summer dress pattern. It's one I've had in my stash for some time and I'm kicking myself that I haven't made it until now! The Rosie dress has a pleated and gathered skirt with a princess seamed bodice. You can choose from different necklines and straps, or to make the skirt on its own. I made mine in beautiful Liberty lawn and love it!

Fabric

I bought this Liberty cotton lawn from the Sewbox stall at the Knitting and Stitching show. They sell pre-cut packages at a good price - this was 2m for £26 (pretty much half price). I had intended this for another project, but it didn't have enough drape for that. It is perfect for this dress though as you need something with a bit of structure to hold the centre pleat. It's light and feels comfortable in the heat.
I managed to source a navy cotton lawn to line the bodice with - that is actually more difficult than you might think! The only one I could find that wasn't at full Liberty price was this one from FabricUK.

Sew Over It Rosie Dress pattern review


Pattern and Instructions

I bought the printed pattern in one of Sew Over It's sales and kept it for quite some time! I initially bought it because you can insert boning into the bodice which I found interesting. In my version I left off the boning in the end but the instructions are there, with handy illustrations too.
As per all Sew Over It printed patterns you get a package containing an instruction booklet and the pattern pieces printed on tissue paper. I normally sew a size 10 in their patterns, and this was no exception. There are a few different options that you can play with - I cut the sweetheart bodice and wider straps. You can also choose a straight bodice or vintage style 'collar' and narrower straps too. I find their instructions quite straightfoward and didn't have any problems in making. I would say though that I underestimated how long it would take to hand sew that hem....there's a whole lotta skirt there! I wouldn't machine it though as I think the hand stitch is better.

Alterations

I kept the length for a change! I had to take in the bodice side seams a little at the top as they were winging out - there could have been some stretching as I was making because I didn't stay stitch the bodice pieces (that's not in the instructions either though). The waist has a little more ease than I usually wear, but I didn't want it too tight for a summer dress.

Sew Over It Rosie Dress pattern review

This is an intermediate pattern, but I found it really enjoyable to take time over these details, using the tips that I gained from the Couture Techniques Craftsy class I had taken. This is easily a pattern that you could use for a wedding guest dress; it's a perfect summer dress.

Personally, I find the way that the pleats are arranged at the front, along with the gathered back skirt, makes for a very flattering silhouette. The pattern also includes a variation just of this skirt which I am seriously considering in a crepe fabric once I have figured out what I can wear on the top half to match...suggestions welcome!
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Most worn: Colette Moneta hacks





It feels a bit odd putting this pattern into most worn as I've only made it this year but I'm already getting lots of wear out of my first hacked Moneta, and this second modal version is also out a lot lately too! This is one of those times when you buy a fabric just because you love it, and then take ages to decide what to make with it. As it happened I realised I needed a dress that would look elegant enough to wear in a  nice restaurant, but was also appropriate for daytime rather than evening. It might also be the first time that I have used a border print fabric like this so I really wanted to do it justice and make best use of the pattern.

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Most worn: DIY slash neck Breton stripe top

Most worn: DIY slash neck Breton stripe top

I wear this all the time - it's one of my favourite tops ever, not just that I've made. It's more of a happy accident than anything though! This neckline suits me more than most others and the fabric not only matches a lot but is really comfortable to wear. Thanks to YouTube, again, it's so easy to do as well.
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Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

Do you ever buy a fabric just because you love it and then have to think long and hard about what you will actually make with it? This was one of those. I saw this fabric on the Lamazi Fabric Instagram feed and impulse bought 3m, as you do. I must have had a wrap dress somewhere in my mind to have bought this much and eventually decided on the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress. I bought this pattern years ago but have never got around to making it, until now.
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Zweig sweater

Zweig sweater


I know a fair few of you who love to sew have also taken up knitting over the winter, so here's one for you! I've really enjoyed being able to pick up some knitting for a little bit each evening and in December I decided to move on from socks to a sweater. Being me, I steered away from traditional first try choices, such as chunky wool or a simple pattern - they just aren't my style. I was entranced with the beautiful fingering weight jumpers that I had seen on the many YouTube channels and knitting magazines that I've been looking at. Many of them would involve learning lots of new techniques, but it goes back to my basic attitude of, if you have to learn it sometime, you can learn it all on one project and end up with something that you really wanted. Hence, my Zweig...
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Colette Moneta hack

Colette Moneta hack
Finally, I made a Moneta! I feel like everybody else in the sewing community has several of these in their closets and I'm very late to the party, but I am now a Moneta member. Before, I was put off by some of the design features that I knew wouldn't suit me, but by finding the right alterations and fabric to use, I've made something that I already know will be replicated many more times. Normally the Moneta pattern features a scooped front neckline and a gathered waist. This version has a boatneck bodice with a pleated skirt instead.
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Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A Museum

As soon as I heard that the popular exhibition of Dior dresses that had been on display in Paris was coming to London I booked tickets for as soon as I could go. It was a truly inspiring collection that has made me think carefully about my future dressmaking choices (as well as one of my souvenirs - his book of advice for women),

If you are not able to go, here are some of the highlights of the collection (well, for me anyway). I hope you find them just as inspiring.

The most iconic image of Dior's New Look...


....and the current look under  the first female director, Maria Grazia Churi


The collection starts with a tour through Christian Dior's original lines....






Then takes you through a series of themed collections including designs from all directors since Dior himself. However, I am mainly drawn to either Dior or Churi's designs throughout.

Historical themes:




Global inspiration:





Le jardin:
The inspiration behind dress designs and perfumes.
This spectacular gown is from a very recent collection.



The exhibition then takes you through the signature looks of design directors after Christian Dior.
(Apologies that all my photographs were of Maria Grazia Churi! I was attempting to snap anything that really spoke to me.)




The room of toiles made me think about taking time to perfect fit and design before using a quality fabric.



The finale of the exhibition is the gown room which really is the show stopper. The room itself changes from dawn to dusk through the night and back again which shows the gowns off in golden and silver hues.










Well worth a trip, if you can get tickets.
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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm a lifelong foodie, so you'll also find some delicious recipes and places to get that foodie fix.
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