Thursday, 11 August 2016

Shirr Madness - Amelia Tea Dress from Love Sewing Magazine

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the puns, I just can't help myself. I'm on a bit of a shirring drive at the moment, after making my Staple Dress I was just working through a bodice muslin for Gertie's Shirtwaist Dress when I decided to drop everything and make this. This is the Simple Sew Amelia Tea Dress from Love Sewing Magazine.

I bought the magazine on a whim too before boarding a long flight, not really that bothered by making any of the patterns (the sample made up in hot pink satin for this dress is truly hideous. I'm sorry but it's true). The free gift of thread snips have come in very handy for this make, keeping all the ends of my shirring rows neat, and actually I am rather tempted to add the gored skirt pattern, also from the magazine, to my growing list of things to make...

I cut the size 14 for this based on the finished garment measurements, which is all the pattern envelope gives you. I think I judged pretty well, although if I was being a perfectionist I probably could have cut a smaller size and done an FBA, and in this size a swayback adjustment would have been good too. As it was, I decided the week before my friend's wedding that I hated all my wedding-appropriate attire and wanted to make something new. A quick and easy, pretty yet modest dress was exactly what was called for.

This fabric was bought at my last Goldhawk Road trip from upstairs at Classic Textiles – I think I bought about 2 m for around £5-6 in total, intending to make this into the Colette Pastille dress which I ended up going all gingham over. I was drawn to the delicate floral pattern but was worried in the wrong dress it might end up looking a bit frumpy. This pairing of pattern and fabric seems very classic, if a bit safe, to me, but it worked!

The main problem I ran into was that the pattern called for 60” wide fabric, and this was 54”. I thought I could wing it, but after completely ignoring the cutting layout and getting stuck in with my front skirt first, I realised it wasn't going to work. There was a reason they called for 60” wide fabric with the flare of that skirt! Anyway, with a bit of headscratching I managed to get the front and back bodice pieces cut out correctly, squeezed the short sleeves (I had initially wanted the longer version, but beggars can't be choosers) on the bias onto a stupid triangle scrap I'd ended up with due to inefficient cutting. They're meant to be cut on the straight grain, but actually the print seems to match up better this way. I did however have to shorten (by about 2”) and narrow the back skirt pieces (making sure to make the same adjustment to the front skirt after the fact), and cut them in opposite directions on the cross-grain to fit them onto what was left! The eagle-eyed among you may be able to see that the paler flowers are facing different ways, but thankfully I think this print was remarkably forgiving given the hash I'd made of it.

While working out what I could and couldn't get out of my fashion fabric, I straightaway put my facing pieces to the side, and in the end had to give up on having a matching shirred waistband portion too. Again, through serendipity, this blue cotton I bought to be the contrast collar and binding on the Baby Dress and Knickers I made recently happened to match the paler flowers, so although it is a much stiffer fabric I think it works pretty well for the midsection. Because of the difference in weight I used it for the facings without the addition of interfacing, as it was beefy enough to do the job on its own. I was a bit worried the fabric wasn't suitable for the waistband as my shirring didn't seem to be gathering up as nicely as it has on previous makes, but thanks to a tip from the magazine a blast of steam from the iron shrunk it down like magic.

I did hit on a couple of further minor snags – one was I didn't have a matching zip in my stash. I nipped out at lunch from work to buy one in the local nice sewing shop – and balked when they asked for £4 for it! I out it back pronto and headed to the market nearby and bought one that was actually closer to the correct length and a better match for my thread for £1.50. However, I did wonder if it was the zip of hubris when I managed to fully mangle it that night. I managed to get it out of alignment when I accidentally caught some of my stitches too close to the teeth and then gave a frustrated yank to try and free it up when it got stuck! I had to unpick and bin it, but the next day I went back to the market and the chap on the stall gave me another one for 50p. So still cheaper than the shop, and the second one was the charm!

And, another confession. I think I put the sleeves on backwards. They kind of work, but the shoulder doesn't quite sit right. When trying to insert them as usual with the double snip matching the marking on the back bodice, none of the other notches would align, and I couldn't work out what was meant to be happening. So, I swapped my sleeves with the usual back markings to the front and all the other marks aligned fine, so I went with it. I don't really know what happened, whether it's a pattern mistake or something that happened in the almighty mess of cutting my pattern pieces, but if I have another go I'll definitely look out for it. However, as my dress form shows- sleeveless might be a nice way to go for future versions.

So, although this was a bit of a hatchet job with a few frustrations on the way (as sewing to a deadline without a careful plan beforehand always seems to lead to), I actually think this dress turned out pretty well and I'm looking forward to having an occasion to wear it again. It got lots of compliments at the wedding I wore it to, kept me cool during a hot day out in the sun, allowed room for eating as much as I wanted and was great for dancing. Even after narrowing the skirt a tad there was still plenty of flare – and even a few near-Marilyn moments when the breeze picked it up!

Have you ever sewn occasion wear to a deadline? Would you do it again?!

Now, on to that shirtdress I've neglected, before the summer leaves us...

NorseOtter xx

Monday, 25 July 2016

Summery 70s-ish Staple Dress

 Hi folks,

Here's something I just whipped up quickly to reacquaint myself with my sewing machine after the holiday away. I have so many ideas in my head about what I want to create next – but none that won't require pattern tracing and potential adjustments, so I really wanted a quick win project to get myself back in the creative flow. These snaps are day two of wear (and I'm a wee bit hungover in these) so not the best photos, but I have to grab my moments! 

This is the AprilRhodes Staple dress. I've made this three times now; the first time for my friend Holly, and then I whipped up the hi-lo hem version formyself as I needed something breezy to wear in the heat last summer. It's a great dress for keeping cool as it only really touches the body at the shirred waist, and it's sooo easy to make. For this version I was inspired by a top that one of my colleague wears that features dropped shoulders and these sweet little fluted short sleeves (sorry for copying you Kirsten!). I figured it would be easy enough to work with the Staple Dress pattern to achieve a similar effect, and it was.  

 I'm pretty pleased with the sleeve addition, and I think it's an easy nod to the trends as well as providing some cool summery coverage. This addition could be easily grafted onto any kimono-style cap sleeve so I'm sure would work with many patterns. I went with the straight hem version of the dress this time, and after being tempted to leave it loose in the middle (my boyfriend was not sold on this look) I brought it in with 6 rows of shirring, each 1/4" apart. 

If you're keen to try this yourself, the steps are as follows (sorry I didn't take any photos along the way, this was very much an experiment that I'm glad worked out):

1. Draft your fluted sleeve by tracing the armhole curve* from the pattern. Draw lines at the sides for as long as you want your sleeve to be, adding 3cm for seam allowance at the top and bottom of the sleeve extension (I went for 14cm + 3cm for these half-sleeves). To achieve a kicky fluted effect I copied the curve of the shoulder seam on both sides to form the overarm fold and underarm seamline. Use a French curve to draw a smooth outer edge.

2. Cut 4 of your new sleeve extensions on the overarm fold, 2 as the sleeve and 2 as the facing. Attach your sleeve to the sleeve facing along the lower edge, using a standard 1.5cm seam allowance.

3. For the order of construction, I attached these after I'd sewn the shoulder seams, but before sewing my side seams (if I did it again I think I would finish my neckline first, as there is a fair bit of fabric manipulation while you're attaching and finishing the sleeves which I think may have stretched out my neckline a little). Right sides together, sew the inner curve of the sleeve extension into your arm opening.

4. Sew the side seams of the dress, sleeves and sleeve facings in one pass and finish seam allowances.

5. Fold the facings back into the inside of the sleeve and press. Press 1.5cm along the remaining raw edge and pin to cover the inside sleeve seam, easing as you go, with all seam allowances caught between the sleeve and sleeve facing. From the outside, stitch in the ditch (if you can! I'm rubbish at this) or, if you're me, 1/8” away from the seam to catch the facing neatly in place.

6. Ta-dah, you have kicky little flute sleeves!

Things I might streamline if I did it again:

1. *I hadn't factored in the shoulder seam allowance would make a smaller armhole when I traced that curve. Next time, I might shave this off, as I had to do a fair bit of easing to get the smooth sleeve insertion I wanted. Or, if I was making this in a floatier fabric, I could go the other way and add more ease here for a more bohemian ruffled effect!

2. Cut the facings slightly smaller along all the edges to make the final folding back and stitching in place smoother, and also to ensure the facings stay inside and out of sight. Depending on fabric, you could always ditch the facing and just do a baby hem to finish the edge of the sleeve.

3. The length of these sleeves hits me right in the crook of the elbow. Next time, I might either shorten them a cm or two, or even take the length off from the shoulder seam so they start a little higher up.

I traced this pattern out as large on top and medium from the waist down and I think if I made it again I'd just go medium all over, as actually it's got plenty of ease and I think there is too much in the back. It doesn't bother me too much though for these quick and easy summer versions, and I appreciate the breeze!

The fabric I made this up in is salvaged from my mother's stash. There are still a couple of metres left I could make another little dress or blouse in! This is I think a polycotton, judging by its texture, which is a teeny bit crisp. Its likely provenance is Peter Jones in the early '80s, as my mum used to work in the haberdashery department there.

So, overall not a bad experiment and definitely an easy dress to chuck on for work or a summery day out. I don't think it's the most stunning thing I've ever sewn, but it does seem to have earned me a few more doors held open for me than normal so that's something I suppose! Is anyone else doing any experimental sewing?

Norseotter xx

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Classic Ginger Jeans

Hi folks,

I've just come back from the most amazing break away in Canada and the US. Bit weird to have watched the developments in the UK from afar (this was the topic of many a conversation as soon as people clocked my English accent) and strange to be back after so much has happened. But anyway, on a lighter note being away was wonderful- I swam in the sea in Vancouver, further up BC's Sunshine Coast, then in LA's Venice Beach and the OC's Newport Beach once we made it down to California. Swimming in the sea is what makes a holiday for me!

I had ambitious plans to have several things completed to take away with me, and although I did manage to pack a majority me-made wardrobe I didn't actually manage to take much that was created especially with me. Still need to get that shirtdress and pyjama set finished this summer! I did however  to finish these jeans, which came in valuable for the Vancouver part of the journey. I finished them the week before we left, and these photos were taken today- so about a month afterwards and not having been washed yet!

These have seen plenty of wear- I actually wore them on the 9 hour flight out, as well as the first few days in Vancouver when the weather was a bit changeable. They also protected me from mozzies the first evening at the cabin we went to on the Sunshine Coast (the evening I didn't wear them I scored upwards of 20 bites!). I had a vision of taking some lovely snaps of these in action out there for this blog post, but somehow when being at the cabin it just didn't seem like the thing to do - we were too busy seal and eagle spotting, diving off the dock, exploring in the boat, BBQ'ing and drinking beer!
These have left an indigo tidemark on the inside of my white raincoat (d'oh) so I was afraid to wash them while I was away. I bought some new denim while I was at Mood in LA (as well as some great banana leaf print chambray!) so I'll wash it with that and a healthy dose of vinegar to try and prevent further dye transfer. Here are my apple-print pockets (left over from cushion-making, always great to match the furnishings right?) which are unlikely to stay a nice crisp white after the wash!

So, these are the Ginger jeans view A (low rise with stovepipe leg) made up in a size 12 with no adjustments. I've made these once before in corduroy, and the fit straight out of the wash is pretty decent (although being non-stretch they do bag out badly during the day). This is Italian denim from eBay, can't remember where, but it was around £8 a metre so seemed a safe bet for a second wearable muslin before I cut into the Cone Mills stuff I've been stashing for too long now! This denim seems to be pretty decent quality and a very classic colour, with a decent heft to the weight. I am a bit underwhelmed by my rivets though, I definitely need to move on to the nicer ones included in the Ginger jeans kit for a more professional look.

Close-ups from when these were freshly made and unworn

These are comfortable to wear, but the waistband has got a bit bent and flips out slightly under the belly after a while (not the most flattering look) so normally I would wear them with a longer untucked top to cover this. I'm quite tempted to try and draft a mid-rise to avoid this as my abdomen isn't my favourite feature so I'm not that comfortable showcasing it. I could probably take a teeny wedge out of the centre back waistband too for my swayback, but it doesn't gape quite as much as previous RTW jeans I've owned. I prefer to wear these rolled at the ankle like this as the full length somehow feels a little bit 'blokey' on me. It doesn't show so much in these photos with my heeled clogs, but with my everyday brogues I almost feel like I should be sporting braces and a flat cap.

I really like how classic these are, and I have to say I actually found the contrast topstitching a bit easier than my first go of black-on-black. Maybe it's having had the practice now, but I also thinking being able to see it properly helped a lot! I also took my black Ginger view Bs away with me (these are pretty much my only pairs of trousers now) and they survived a hike up the Grouse Grind (although I confess I did have to unzip them at a particularly steep bit for ease of movement! Luckily I had a long t-shirt on). I can't wait to make more jeans!

How's your summer sewing going?

NorseOtter xxx

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Chequered Success: Colette Pastille + Simplicity 3257

Hi there!

Here's my summer dress, what was supposed to be a quick palette-cleanser after my latest unselfish sew. However, as my choices for palette-cleansers seem to often do, this ended up taking a lot longer than expected, and wasn't quite the easy win I hoped it would be- hence the 'chequered success', which is also a reference to messy print matching with the gingham.

I don't know about you, but I love sewing books. I've received quite a few over the last couple of years since sewing has become a major part of my lifestyle- I have the benefit/ curse of having a birthday quite close to Christmas which means I tend to receive a stack of them, get inspiration overload in January, but then find it hard to commit to one and get on with things. The Colette Sewing Handbook is one such gift, received about two years ago, and while I have read all the information and found it quite soothing as well as instructive, the patterns are of course five years old now and while lovely they do speak to the reinterpreted vintage style of a few years back which is a bit 'cutesy indie girl' for me now (although if I'd been sewing at that time past me would have loved it!). However, I'm still quite keen to try all the patterns, which have good bones and with style variations of my own can be made to be more 'me'. 

For some reason I'd been thinking about the Pastille dress a lot; I couldn't decide whether I loved it or whether it was really frumpy. I was also quite keen to get on board with the whole 'sewing patterns that teach' philosophy that Colette has. The neckline bow was a definite no, and I was torn on the skirt's horizontal pleats. Not really me, but a new technique to try, and I kind of wanted to do them just as a lesson. I also switched up the lapped zip for an invisible, as now I have the right foot these are much easier to insert and give a cleaner look.

Thanks to a warning from fellow blogger Lynne at Ozzy Blackbeard I decided to make a muslin to check for the dreaded gapy back that this pattern apparently inflicts on a few people. I took a different approach to this pattern than normal- instead of doing an FBA I cheated and graded between a 10 for the bust and 8 at the waist, back to 10 again at the hips. This seemed to work pretty well for the front bodice even if it was a bit fudged. For the back (again graded between 8 and 10, but perhaps I could have left it at 8 all over) I found I had to close and exclude the neckline darts and make the waistline darts longer on the back bodice pieces for a better fit. The skirt pieces on my muslin looked hilariously exaggerated where I'd graded between waist and hips- almost like the Elisalex which wasn't really what I was going for. As I wasn't 100% sold on the horizontal pleats at the bottom of the skirt I had the brainwave of subbing in the skirt from Simplicity 3257, a vintage skirt that was one of the first patterns I ever bought.
Luckily the front pleats of the skirt matched up almost perfectly with the Pastille's bodice darts, although I did decide to use the Pastille's back skirt pieces as 3257 has an interesting back vent construction that involves a large fold of fabric that goes all the way to the waistband that I thought would be too bulky and would interfere with the centre back zip. I also had redraft the Pastille back skirt pieces slightly to match 3257's length and side seams (although I added 1/4” more ease on each seam up to the hip on the 3257 just eyeballing as I cut as my last version is a tiny bit tight). 

So far, so good. It all came together pretty nicely, even if I had to find a way to (somewhat) neatly finish my slit at the back of the skirt on the fly as I realised it would be difficult to walk otherwise. My armhole facings are less than perfect- I've got a slightly weird shaping at the top of the cap sleeve where I must have curved inwards slightly when cutting out on the fold, meaning it isn't a nice straight edge at the top, and there is a little bit of gaping at the side seams under the arms that I would address next time.

My main issue with this dress is that, although the fabric I chose suits the style and gives the dress a flirty and casual air (in a different fabric it could look quite elegant and formal- and I'm tempted to give it a whirl again for sure) I managed to make a hash of cutting and as a result the check matching on this gingham is a total mess. The worst is at the waistline, where it seems that both the bodice and the skirt were cut at a slant, creating a little chequered wedge. The checks are also quite visibly running off the edge of the hem- and I just did the best I could with the back as how the bodice and new skirt back seams were going to match up was total guesswork. At least I kept the vertical stripes consistent for the most part...

It's frustrating as in a different fabric this dress would be a total win- I really like the combination of bodice and skirt and it fits pretty well, and after working through my adjustments would be a pretty quick sew for next time. It's just my lack of accuracy in cutting some of the pieces and, although I feel like I agonised over pattern-matching the gingham when cutting out it somehow seems to have gone awry. I don't know if this fabric is off-grain (which is possible, it was something like £3 a metre and has been sitting in my drawer for a couple of years) or whether there was some slippage in cutting, but it's galling.

I'm chalking this dress up as a 'curate's egg' which is an old phrase I've only recently discovered via my boyfriend, who came across it in his job as a sub editor (here are some bonus snaps of us being the homespun couple - he's wearing the GBSB shirt I made him last year). Apparently it means something that has both good and bad parts; it comes from an old Punch cartoon satirising manners where a curate who has been given a rotten egg by his host is loathe to criticise it and cause offence, so claims there are some parts of it that are still edible. Originally I suppose this phrase would have had a similar meaning as the less elegant 'you can't polish a turd' (i.e. someone desperately trying to make a good show of something patently terrible) but its meaning has morphed over time to take the kindly curate's balanced view as its driving force. So, this dress has good bits- but it also has some undeniably bad bits.

If it's not too cheeky to ask, have any of your projects turned out to be 'curate's eggs' recently?

Norseotter xx

Friday, 13 May 2016

Vlisco Crocs for Angus's Birthday Negroni

Hello there!

Here's my second in a row of unselfish sews. It's Angus's second birthday shirt, and I have to say it was a lot more painless to put together than last time. While there may not be the joy of creating another new look for myself in sewing gifts for Angus up, there is pleasure in making something up that fits its intended body straight out of the envelope! Straight size M, no fussing with darts and FBAs and the like for this fella.

I treated myself to a printed copy of Colette's Negroni shirt, although in reality it's not hugely different from the Great British Sewing Bee one that I made before – and in fact there are even a few design elements that I like better on the GBSB one, like the separate button band. However, it does have an option for long sleeves which may come in handy if I feel inclined to make a Christmas present!

This fabric is a lovely lot from our local Vlisco wholesaler, dangerously positioned next to the supermarket so it's very tempting to casually drop in when doing the weekly shop. This was one of the more expensive designs, and what with having to buy 6 yards at a go ended up costing £50. Not bad for such a beautiful print, but a shame I couldn't buy just the amount I needed as I have plenty spare and it wouldn't really be the done thing to transform into a garment for me!

Last year's shirt was shaped through purely my own design whims plus having the GBSB book already so the pattern to hand. This year Angus had a bit more of a say about what he was after – which was something with a pale background and more of a Hawaiian vibe. We've been watching Vinyl recently and he was quite taken with the shirt Zak wears on their California/Vegas adventure and was after something similar. Angus also has this incredible coffee table book My Free Damn vol 7 which is a collectors' geekout showcasing the wide variety of beautiful Hawaiian shirts that have been produced over the years. I think the Negroni definitely has a similar vintage casual look, but with the slim fit that Angus also likes. 

Unfortunately with all these images in mind neither my usual go-to for nice shirtings Simply Fabrics nor even the wealth of Goldhawk Road could deliver. Happily this Vlisco design really fit and the bill and was picked up while on another errand!

You may notice this isn't made up exactly like the pattern's samples. I made up the short-sleeved version but decided to have just one pocket so as not to break up the print too much, and for this to be a plain patch pocket. It's barely visible here but I think I have shifted the positioning perhaps a little too far into the armpit! Whoops. Anyway, at least it doesn't really show. Because of this I was a bit stumped as to why I had bought seven buttons as called for when I could only find five button placement marks down the shirt front. Eventually I realised this was because the original pockets have buttons too! I decided to alter the button placement a little, copying from another shirt he has so that I was using six, and leaving off the optional one for the button loop as I wasn't sure where to position it, especially as this shirt doesn't seem designed to be worn buttoned all the way up.

All in all, quite a painless make even though I had to take my time over cutting and getting the button placement just right to try and pattern match as best I could! I didn't do a perfect job but it's not bad, although perhaps the lower croc is grinning a little wider than he really should.

Wax prints don't have a very obvious right and wrong side either, so I had to mark up the wrong sides with chalk to prevent confusion. Luckily this does also mean you can have fun reversing prints when the fancy takes you with collars and yokes etc.

With such a large-scale print this shirt could have looked really different if I'd cut from another section of the cloth, I was just trying to get as many croc faces in one view as I could, but I think this has affected the overall balance of colour, as it's definitely darker on the left side where the crocodiles are more concentrated.

I would definitely make this again, and I'd been keen to try the long sleeves next time. Maybe in a few months though, once I've had time to restock on all my personal projects!

Hopefully I'll have a nice sundress to share with you soon, if this lovely weather holds up. Or perhaps a nice shirtdress, now that I've experienced the neatly turned out collar results with the point turner I treated myself to for this pattern!

NorseOtter xxx

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sweet Safari Outfit for a Wee One

Hello there! How is everyone?

I've been working on some unselfish sewing, which means slower than usual progress as I don't have that urge to put the garment on speeding me to its conclusion! Having said that however, this is quite a sweet little set and I have been thinking about bringing some peter pan collars into my life...

Anyway this is the Baby Dress and Knickers from 'Sew Your Own Wardrobe' – the Great British Sewing Bee's second book. It's down as an easy make and is supposed to be pretty quick, but I did run into a couple of snags... as I've come to expect from this book by now. On a side note I saw that the Fold Line were giving away the full batch of Sewing Bee books to celebrate the start of the new series (coming this week, and I can't deny that I'm looking forward to it!) and to be honest after my experiences with this book I was not tempted to enter, and felt that maybe I should share a warning!

As an example, here are the basic instructions to draft a one-size-fits all simple skirt which I thought might be an easy project to start with for a friend that's keen to get into sewing. If you squint closely at the measurements given in Step One's diagram, do you notice how the smaller edge at the top of the wedge has a bigger measurement than the long edge at the bottom? There's no other info anywhere in the instructions to cross-reference what the measurements should be, so it's basically a goner from the start. NOT a good way to kick off when it's supposed to be one of the easiest patterns and aimed at complete beginners. This book could really have benefitted from a proofreader, and judging by the way the patterns I've used so far have been drafted I'm not sure if they've been through a pattern testing process....

Despite this I did go ahead with the Baby Dress and Knickers. I had three issues with this pattern, which I'll sum up as quickly as I'm able:

1. The instructions on how to attach and finish the collar are incomplete. Luckily I caught this in time and instead of leaving the short straight edge open as closed it up just after the curved edges and before basting to the neckline. I did this with a 3/8” seam allowance though as with a 5/8” (which I'd done for the rest of the collar) it wouldn't have reached the shoulder seam. I then topstitched the short straight edge to the shoulder seam. If I'd seen that this step was missing earlier I might have basted in the collar before attaching the dress front and back together and caught the raw edge of the collar in the shoulders for a neater finish – or even better, redrafted the collar for it to go all the way to the back closure.


2. The knickers look simple enough – until they ask you to turn up the legs and waist seam 3cm to make the elastic channel. The waist, as a straight line, is fine, but trying to turn up the legs 3cm neatly was a nightmare. I decided to do 2cm instead for the legs and although this still meant a bit of puckering along the seam, once it's gathered with elastic it doesn't show too much. There isn't even a warning about puckering and how to avoid it. Again, a bit of a pain for me and would be extremely offputting for a total beginner. Also, turning the waist 3cm looks like a much deeper waist channel that on the sample they have pictured.

3. There's no guidance on how much elastic to actually use on the knickers! I was making this for a gift, for a baby that's not yet born, so casually measuring the baby's leg circumference wasn't going to be an option. I really think there should have been suggested lengths – people can always adjust to preference if they do have the required baby at their disposal, but having no info given at all leaves you a bit stuck!

Luckily the internet is a wonderful and powerful tool, and there are several charts out there that do give you average baby sizes. In fact, there are also plenty of free patterns and tutorials for baby knickers just like these that give you exact guidance on how much elastic to cut. Although I can't remember which free pattern I gleaned this info from I was kind of kicking myself that I didn't use it as it seemed better drafted so that the finish on the leg elastic channels was a lot neater. Oh well!

Other than these small grievances slowly me down a little this came together quite quickly and I think has turned out well, all things considered. I decided not to add the heart patches as I didn't want to cover up the cute safari print, and I left off the decorative buttons that are supposed to cover the poppers at the back because it seemed like an unnecessary choking hazard (and I was very careful to sew those poppers on super securely!). My bias binding is a fair bit narrower than what's suggested- that's purely because I only have a 12mm bias binding maker and it was my first time using it. It looks fine but in terms of functionality is a little scant at the back, and there is a tiny bit of edge-of-popper showage and a tiny bit of pulling. 

The safari print is from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road (so glad the fabric shops are still open there!) and the contrast blue is quite a nice hefty cotton from Ray Stitch. I have a fair bit left over from both so made a matching bag to put the set in using a basic tutorial from my Overlocker Manual and am kind of tempted to use the rest of the blue cotton to make myself a shirt if I have enough...

I've been admiring the Me Made May pledges popping up. I've still not dipped my toe in yet, May is a bit tricky for me to think about my wardrobe as I'm usually busy making something for my boyfriend whose birthday is this month. I do pretty much wear my me-mades every day too, and finding another angle for MMM without making it too challenging has stumped me a little. To be honest while I love the sense of community these pledges bring – I've taken part in the Vintage Pattern Pledge two years in a row but haven't committed to anything this year either. I think it's because I'm still a relatively new sewist with a lot of things on my to-make list, and adding to that and putting deadlines on it actually makes sewing less fun for me. I'd much rather go at my own pace and make things in a more considered way – but equally with some room for the odd impulse make when inspiration grabs me!

Hope your projects are going well! I'll have another unselfish sew to share soon.

NorseOtter xxx