Sunday, 28 May 2017

A vintage outfit!

A couple of months ago the lovely ladies at SewCrafty asked if I'd do a hack of their shift dress pattern and sent me some gorgeous materials to do it with. However my version did not work at all so I threw it in the corner and sulked for a while.

And then I came to my senses and realised that I wanted to do something with the altitude bird cotton that SewCrafty had sent me so I decided to refashion it into something that I would actually wear. Enter this vintage summer blouse pattern from 1982 (apparently this is the year that I sew the 1980s!).  I hummed and ha-d over what size to make and luckily I had decided on the size 12 because when I got it out of the packet this size had already been cut out. I'm not sure where I bought this pattern from, I'm going to guess it was part of a job lot on eBay but I guess I'm lucky that my size remained in tact.

I'm not really a fan of ruffles but they've been popping up everywhere this summer and I thought the ruffled version of this looked cute without being too OTT so I gave it a go. Although I used some little flower buttons from my stash so I wasn't exactly trying to move too far away from the 'cute' factor!  The ruffles were made from some scraps of a cotton linen blend that I had in my stash.

I want so many versions of this top! I've been searching for a good shirt/top pattern for ages and this might be the one! Although I wish it had a sleeved version as in it's current form, it's only good for summer. However hopefully we've got months of summer left so I can enjoy this for a while.

The shirt was worn on holiday with a new pair of Megan Neilsen Flint shorts.  I seem to have become a little bit obsessed by this pattern.  Personally I think this is a super cute look and is also giving off more 1930s vibes. I made the shorts from a scrap of denim that I had in my stash, that I think my mum donated at one point, and some scraps of stretch cotton.  I also used 2 vintage buttons also from my stash. Basically, these were a great stashbuster!

I used red topstitching on the denim and navy topstitching on the waistband and for the button holes. I have done a lot of topstitching recently and I think it adds a really nice detail but maybe it's time to give it a rest now!  I'm actually wearing these shorts as I type, since the weather in the UK has decided that it's properly summer.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend in the sunshine!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Me-made-may final round up

So having sworn that I was going to document me-made-may on the blog, May rather got the better of me.  I did take photos (mainly) which I put on instagram, so here a little late is my round up!

 Day 11. A rtw leather skirt and my liberty Mathilde blouse. While I love leather skirts, wearing this now scarce rtw item in my wardrobe reminds me why I sew! I fits so badly.
Day 12. Sew Over It Alex shirt and Mia jeans!
Day 13. A new Flint and Flora jumpsuit hack. More details will be coming soon.
Day 14. Mia jeans and plantain t-shirt.
Day 15. Sew over it ultimate wrap dress (unblogged) I like the concept of this but it needs a number of adjustments which I find frustrating when I wear it.  It's starting to become apparent how I have started blogging only a fraction of the things that I make!
Day 16. I forgot to take a picture but I wore my Jade skirt and a sutton blouse
Day 17. Flint/flora jumpsuit again

Day 18. Sew Over It Vintage shirt dress
Day 19. A Jade skirt and 1980s jumper, actually wearing these made me realise that both should go to the charity shop as the skirt is too short and I don't like the fabric of the jumper.
Day 20. Nettie dress (unblogged and unphotographed)
Day 21. I didn't manage to get a photo and I don't remember what I wore
Day 22. Super colourful ultimate trousers and a bronte top.
Day 23.  New Alex shirtdress (blog post to come)
Day 24.  Deer and Doe Belladone to do my doctoral viva!
Day 25. Deer and Doe hacked Belladone top and ultimate trousers
Day 26. Lady skater dress (unblogged) to celebrate passing my doctorate thesis and viva!
Day 27.  Flint trousers and new vintage top (blog post to come)
Day 28.  Alex shirtdress
Day 29. No photo
Day 30. Flint trousers and Angelica top
Day 31.  Worst photo of the month!  Vintage maxi skirt and lace Belcarra top.

Right so that's May wrapped up for another year!  This was definitely the year where I've struggled least to pick something to wear every day.  I love all the basics that I've made and love that I've managed to fill some (but not all) of the gaps.  Having a handmade wardrobe is great and the longer I sew, the more pieces that I think fit with my style and are well constructed and I find this immensely satisfying.  I hope you all had good me-made-mays.  

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Me Made May Days 1-10

I contemplated not blogging about Me-made-May this year as I'm doing daily photos on instagram but then I realised that even if no one else reads these posts as they are repetitive, I love having my previous years documentation of what I've worn each May and the reflections of my style, life and the weather that they represent.  So without further ado, here's what I wore at the beginning of May 2017.

Day 1

My Mia jeans, stripey Dolores top and owl jumper for a walk up Boxhill with my sister and a friend.  A lovely bank holiday start to the month.

Day 2

Refashioned Galaxy dress and vintage jumper for a day at work

Day 3

 Vintage jersey dress, belt donated from my mum and RTW cardigan for a day at work and dinner out with friends.

Day 4

I failed to get a photo but I wore my ultimate trousers for a day in uni

Day 5

 Ultimate trousers and embroidered top for another day in uni and dinner with a friend.

Day 6


A Saturday spent fabric shopping makes me look this happy!  I wore a Sutton blouse (unblogged) and my spotty woollen skirt.  This photo was taken approximately 5 mins before I spilt food over me!

Day 7

I wore my new Flint trousers and my vintage coat to go visit an exhibition and the Crossrail garden at Canary wharf.  I have been wearing this coat all week, I'm glad I got a photo with me wearing it.
Day 8

Pleather circle skirt, I love this skirt but the fabric was pretty crappy quality so it's looking fairly battered now. Liberty Mathilde blouse and rtw cardigan. Even with my vintage coat, I was freezing today. Temperatures were distinctly un-spring-like! This may be why I look quite so grumpy in this picture, although I suspect it's more a sign that I needed to go to sleep!
Day 9
African wax print vintage shirt dress. This may be one of my favourite things that I've made. Its got some of my favourite colours and is nice and bright while still being smart enough for work.
Day 10
My Flint trousers with a thrifted top and cardigan. Just warning you now, these trousers are going to feature a lot this month. I'm in love and am already working on 2 other variations! 

Anyway, life got super busy again so sporadic blogging will be resumed. Follow me on instagram for (slightly) more regular updates, I'm @almostahippy. Have a lovely weekend folks.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Rocking the 1930s

As soon as Megan Nielsen released the Flint trousers I bought them. I just loved the style and the details and I had to have them!

I'd never actually made one of Megan's main patterns, although I have made the free Veronica circle skirt a couple of times; here and here. I was interested to see how the pattern came to together and how clear the instructions were on a more complex pattern. I was impressed! The whole thing was a breeze to put together, although really the only complicated bit is the opening.

I made this in some unidentified fabric that was a gift from a friend of my mums. I'm not a 100% sure it's a dress making fabric but so far it seems to be working. I cut a size x at the hips and size x at waist and it fits perfectly.  I so into making trousers at the moment.  For years I gave up on wearing trousers, mainly because I couldn't get ones that fitted.  It's so much fun being able to include trousers in my wardrobe again.
My mum and sister both had the same response to these; that they liked them but that they should be an inch or two shorter.  Actually I think the pattern might be meant to sit at about this height so maybe they have the designers eye!  Update-when I washed these they shrunk upwards so they are now a couple of inches shorter, hows that for the ultimate lazy fix!

I wore these on a trip to Eltham Palace with a friend a couple of weeks ago, it is the most incredible house done in 1930s art deco style.  I completely fell in love with the lobby of the house and have decided that if I ever get married, I want it to be there (although I say this every time I find a beautiful venue).
How awesome is this???
 And these doors!

Anyway we found some opportunities for dressing up and I tried on this gorgeous hat, which made me want to run out and buy one to wear on a daily basis.  This whole visit completely reaffirmed my love for the 1930s and when I got home I had a little search for some 1930s patterns.  I did not find any that I could actually afford but I realised how period appropriate my outfit for the day at Eltham Palace had been!

Anyway I loved the Flint trousers so much I've got plans for several more, including a jumpsuit hack for an event I'm going to next week so watch this space...

Sunday, 23 April 2017


Hi All.  It's been a little while but I've been completing my doctoral thesis and when I needed a break, the last thing that I wanted to do was to stay at my computer writing more words.  Also, trust me, none of you wanted to see pictures of me during this period!  However, I was doing a fair amount of sewing in my breaks, so have a bit of a backlog of stuff to show you.

First up are the Mia jeans from the Sew Over It capsule wardrobe ebook. I bought this as soon as it was released and any of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen that I made the Alex shirt, but found it way too oversized, although I like the concept so I may make another one in a smaller size.  I've just spotted that the petite passions has had the same issues with this shirt and they have been resolved by making a smaller size so I think my plan is made. However, one of the main reasons that I bought the ebook was because I wanted a fairly easy intro to making jeans.

The pattern really didn't disappoint.  While most of the instructions are really clear, Lisa's video for the fly front really aids with this step, although I still didn't get it spot on.  These came together really quickly and easily and I couldn't recommend the pattern enough.  I'm made up with having made my own jeans.  I'm particularly happy since I went shopping this weekend and when trying on trousers had my regular issues with them not even remotely fitting me.  It was so nice to put my properly fitting jeans back on again afterwards.

The denim that I used was this one from Sew Crafty and it was perfect for the job.  In fact since this version is perfectly wearable but far from perfect, I'm going to order some more to make a better version.  They have it in jade and pink too which are tempting, maybe I need jeans in all the colours! I love the red topstitching on this version and I think I'll repeat on a future version.  The topstitching was no where near as difficult as I thought it would be but it's not totally straight everywhere and I had this irritating mismatch where all the legs seams meet.

I made a size 14, grading to a 12 at the waist and essentially it fit me perfectly with very few adjustments.  I had to let it out slightly at the calves (clearly my running and heel wearing has built up some hefty calf muscles) but the generous seam allowances make this really easy to do.  I should have lengthened these jeans as they've come up too short, while they're fine worn with boots, I'm going to get chilly ankles if I wear them with shoes and I have very strong feelings that no part of me should ever be chilly.  I'm trying to decide if they are just a smidge too high waisted and there's some excess fabric which I think would be removed if I cut out cm or 2 from the length between crotch and waist.  Feel free to chip in with your thoughts.  I'm going to wear them a bit more to decide before the next version.

Anyway, it's good to be back chatting about sewing again. See you soon! 

Monday, 3 April 2017

Jazzy embroidery

I bought this top in a charity shop on a trip to Bristol a last year. It fitted well, had a decent proportion of wool and cashmere in it (important for perpetually freezing people like me) and was only about £3.
However, when I got it home I found it just a bit boring so I decided to update the look a little.  Lots of people who's skills I really admire like Elisalex and Sally having been posting great makes that they have embroidered (although weirdly when I went to look for photos of their makes, I couldn't find any, so actually maybe it's just my imagination conjuring them up) so I thought I would give it a go too. Ta da...

I went about this in my usual gung-ho manner and basically launched in!  I decided that I wanted a peacock design so went online and printed off some line drawings and basically just pinned them onto the top and started stitching through the top and paper.
I forgot to take a picture of the main design pinned to the front but this is essentially what I did with the main design too.

There are loads of embroidered garments around at the moment and ok, they will have been machine embroidered but there is no way these things should be being sold at the prices that they are, EMBROIDERY TAKES FOREVER!!!!  I had been stitching for weeks, with more time off than on, but still, a long time and this was the point at which I found myself:
Luckily I thought that the design was starting to look awesome, otherwise this would have been a seriously upsetting point; lots still to embroider or a lot of unpicking to do!
To achieve the gorgeous peacock effect, I  just used a selection of all the blues and greens and I knew that I wanted to include some gold thread to give the peacock a bit of that vibrant sparkle which makes them so attractive.  I'm really pleased with the effect but man, that gold thread was a serious pain to work with!  It shredded and split so easily, even when I kept the lengths that I was working with quite short.

Anyway I hope you're all enjoying your bank holidays (if you're in a part of the world where you're lucky enough to have the day off) and have a great week to all.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Sometimes you just need to geek out

I was so honoured to be asked to be part of the SewCrafty design team and when browsing their selection of fabrics a few of them jumped out at me.  It was so hard to select what I wanted to make first.  In the end my first order looked like this:

The dark fabric is for a slightly more complicated make that will feature soon but when I spotted the sewing machine fabric and tape measure ribbon, I knew that they had to be paired in some way.  Although I love bright colours and patterns, novelty clothing is a step too far even for me so this pairing was made into a pair of pyjama bottoms.

I'm a little bit obsessed with the Ultimate pyjama pattern from Sew Over It.  I made about 5 pairs before Christmas (mainly as gifts) and decided to bust it out again for this fabric.  As I've made so many of these, I know that I can squeeze them into a meter and a half, so this was the amount that I ordered.  However, clearly I haven't made these in a metre and a half of directional fabric as I struggle to fit these on and in the end just had to ignore the grainline, but realistically they are pyjamas, who is going to know (apart from you guys) or care!
I love the combo of this fabric and ribbon (although it was surprisingly difficult to photograph) but I'm very aware that this is probably the geekiest thing that I've ever made!  I'm struggling to care though and these pyjamas have been in heavy rotation since I finished them.  I whipped up a Sewaholic Renfrew, minus the hem band, as a coordinating top.  The fabric for the top has been in my stash for ages and I now have no idea where it came from.

For Christmas I made some of these pj bottoms, with matching eye masks and lingerie bags for my sister and some friends.  They were really pleased with them and if I say so myself, they were pretty cute sets.  A little inspiration for you, if you're looking for some lovely and speedy gift ideas.  They can be luxurious in a silk or satin or fun in a printed cotton like these pjs.  When I've made eye masks, I've used this pattern and tutorial from Tilly and the buttons.
Thanks so much to Sew Crafty for the fabric and I can't wait to show off my next make.  See you soon.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Making vintage

I've loved taking part in the vintage pattern pledge the last couple of years and last year I was particularly prolific with my vintage makes. I made 6 patterns from the 1970s, 1 from the 1960s and 1 from the 1980s.

The challenge isn't running this year and I thought about making my own pledge anyway, however, apart from 'make vintage patterns because you love them', I couldn't think of a specific pledge.  So this vague, 'make vintage' mission statement is going to be my pledge for this year.

 A few weeks ago I pulled this selection of patterns from my stash as some of the patterns I'd like to have a go at this year.  However, I'm clearly fickle and almost as soon as I'd put the selection together, I remembered this pattern and decided to have a go at it, instead of one of this carefully curated collection!
This pattern is from 1989, so despite not being as old as I am it still counts as vintage-I'm not sure I can cope with this concept if I think about it for too long, so moving swiftly on...  Despite being Vintage, this style of top feels pretty on trend as its one that I see everywhere at the moment.

It's a pretty simple design and construction was so easy.  Although, basically its constructed like a woven, including no instructions for a knit interfacing.  While the pattern is meant for stable knits, I do find this a bit confusing, particularly as the pattern is really not that old.

Apparently I'm incapable of standing like a normal person, my flatmate yelled at me to stop my feet being at crazy angles and there isn't a single photo where my shoulders are level.  Damn! That's my career as a model down the tube then.

I used a ponte that I'd bought from classic textiles on Goldhawk road, and while they have some lovely fabrics, this was not one of them.  Once I finished making it, I ironed it and actually managed to melt a bit of it and while I love the polka dots, the fabric doesn't have the cosy feel I'd like from a sweater. While it's fitting a gap in my wardrobe at the moment, this may end up being a wearable muslin.
The sleeves feel pretty big and I'm trying to decide whether to trim them down a bit.  I feel a bit like I could fly with the way that they are at the moment but a) I'm lazy and b) I've had lots of complements on the top as it is.  Anyway, I'm off to ponder that and make a start on my next project.  Have a good week everyone.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Francine jacket and class

So today I have what I think is a pretty epic make but has been a seriously long time in the finishing! Back, last summer, I signed up to take the Sew Over It, Francine jacket class and it's taken me until now to finally finish up the jacket and blog about it!  Plus you get some bonus pictures from my recent trip to Paris.
 Classic tourist shot!

I've taken a couple of classes at Sew Over It, both with Julie as the teacher and while they're not cheap,  definitely think they're worth it.  The fitting advice that Julie provides is invaluable and I love that they have toiles of all the makes so you can get an idea of fit and size, without having to make up your own toile, which I'm always too lazy to do.

I made my jacket from this cream wool which came from my mum's stash and is actually older than I am.  Before the class, I went shopping for a suitable fabric on Goldhawk road and from a red herringbone.  As I have zero will power, I also bought a bunch of other fabrics at the same time.  When I got home, I was a good sewist and stuck my purchases in the washing machine to prewash.  About half way through the cycle, I realised that I'd put the wool in with the other fabrics-mega oops!  The fabric had shrunk in size and was completely unusable for the jacket.  Luckily my mum could come to my rescue (and actually I like this wool better than the original).  The lining is made from a really gorgeous mint silk that I got from simply fabrics in Brixton. I'm really kicking myself that I didn't buy more. I would love a top made from this, although since I'm still in my (eternal) search for a top pattern that I like/works for me, I wouldn't actually have been able to make it up yet. It was a slippery bugger though, and since I'd love to have some more silk items in my wardrobe, I should brush up on my silk techniques because it really does deserve skill and attention.

While the class was great, it was pretty intense and knackering learning all the new tailoring techniques.  Plus there is a lot of hand sewing/tacking involved in making a jacket which is really not my favourite thing to do when making clothes (although weirdly I like it at other times). It was also held over 3 of the warmest weeks in London and none of us in the class wanted to be trying on our jackets during the classes as we were already melting.  August is obviously the logical time to be making a wool jacket!
One of the reasons, I took quite so long to finish this jacket was that Julie told us about the amazing service provided by DM buttons in Soho and I wanted to go and have my buttonholes professionally done.  As they are only open 7-3 on weekdays, and I work 9-5 in a totally different area of London, this was tricky to achieve.  However, I finally made it and was able to finish off the jacket with these vintage black and gold buttons from my stash.

I'm really pleased that I finally got round to finishing the jacket and can now wear it for the rest of our miserable winter.  It kept me nice and toasty for a wander around Paris and little trip to Marche St Pierre.  My long suffering sister took blog photos and then entertained herself by taking pictures of me touching all the fabric!

Personally I think I was fairly restrained, I came away with these 4 fabrics; a couple of gorgeous jerseys, a giraffe quilting cotton for a baby quilt that I'm making and a length of silk to try some of these careful silk techniques that I was talking about.

Anyway, I'm off to dream about what to make with them, while simultaneously trying to write my thesis!  Have a lovely week all!