Category Archives: Calico Laine

Lady in Red Coco Dress

Hello Everyone! Thank you all so much for your lovely comments and congratulations on my engagement. It’s so exciting and I can’t wait to get stuck in to wedding planning. I’m going home for a few days over Easter and I am going shopping to try on wedding dresses with my mum. I’m feeling a little bit apprehensive as I think I have quite strong ideas about what I do and do not like, and I’m a bit worried I won’t find something I love – hence why I’m starting early! Although I have decided not to make my wedding dress – far too stressful – I am planning to make my three Bridesmaids dresses. I have a few pattern ideas already and I spotted the fabric I would like to use when we were shopping for my ring in Birmingham last weekend – I just hope there is enough of it left when we go back next week!

Aaanyways, while I will doubtless be chatting about my wedding around these parts from time to time, I have no plans to turn this into a wedding blog. Normal service does go on, and today I am pleased to be able to reveal my latest Calico Laine Blogger network made – the Coco Dress from TIlly and the Buttons.

coco1I love wearing dresses, largely because you can put one on and immediately feel put together. On top of that they are often super-comfy to wear – especially when made out of jersey. For this reason I was drawn to the Coco dress. I ordered the fabric, a delicious bright red double knit jersey from Calico Laine, about six weeks ago, keen to get started as soon as possible. I pre-washed it and everything, took it up to my sewing room…and there it sat for quite some time. Opps. What can I say, life happened. However, at the weekend I finally picked it up and boy, what a quick and satisfying make this pattern is! I cut out on Sunday and stitched it up last night, and it was all finished in time to wear to work today.

coco2The only alteration I made to this pattern was to lengthen it by two inches. I had read on some other blogs that it comes up a bit short on us tall laydees, and I’m glad I did because this length is perfect. This jersey is so soft and lovely to work with. I was initially unsure about making a plain dress in such a bright colour, but I decided to go for it and I’m glad I did. This is a really cheerful dress and it makes me smile :)

 coco3

One of my favourite things about this dress is the buttons – they are beautiful buttons from Liberty’s gifted to me by one of my bestest friends. I’ve had these buttons for a while and was waiting for the perfect use for them, and this dress is it. They are the perfect way to jazz up an otherwise plain dress and are a pretty good colour match too!

coco4I can see this dress getting a lot of wear. This is one of the few plain coloured garments I have in my wardrobe and it’s just so comfy. J’adore Coco! I can see myself whipping up another Coco or two in the near future, especially with Me Made May 2014 coming up! Last year I managed three days a week in me made clothes and this year I am upping my game and aiming for five days a week. Eeek!

Are you taking part in Me Made May? Are you going to be stocking (stitching?!) up on basics in preparation, and what garments do you think will be your go-to staples?

Kat xx

Starry-eyed Anna Dress

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. Mine has been a relaxing one full of sewing, knitting and baking – I feel rather productive! Unfortunately my hayfever seems to have started even earlier than usual this year – one of the few downsides of moving to the countryside it seems, so I have been extremely sniffly – ah well not a lot I can do. Other than that it’s been a lovely weekend, and to top it off I have a new dress to show you!

For February’s Calico Laine blogger network made, I have finally jumped on the Anna dress bandwagon. This pattern is the brainchild of the By Hand London girls, and there have been many wonderful versions of this pattern popping up all across the blogosphere ever since it’s release last year. Mr KK bought me the pattern for Christmas (there may have been a little prompting) and I’ve been looking forward to making it ever since. For this dress I choose and purple cotton with small white stars on from Calico Laine. This is a much smaller print that I usually tend to work with, but I think the subtlety of the pattern really lets the shape of the Anna dress shine.

Anna3

I did try to take some outdoor pictures of this dress, but the weather is so horrible it just wasn’t working…

Anna1So indoor it is!

I’ve mentioned previously my aim to conquer to FBA, and I was all ready to have a go on this dress, however when I looked at the measurements it turned out not to be needed on this particular dress. I’m not going to pretend to be upset. The construction of this dress was pretty straightforward. Anna’s kimono sleeves are built into the bodice which means no fiddling around inserting sleeves – winner! I decided to do a fully lined bodice rather that the dreaded facings, and for this I used the remains of my Goldhawk Road grey cotton silk, although sadly there was not enough left to line the skirt too so I left this unlined. I am most likely to wear this dress with a slip anyway. I made up the lining insertion as I went along, which resulted in a bit of of botched job – it was only afterwards that I stumbled upon By Hand London’s ANna sewalong post giving step-by-step instructions for inserting a full lining – doh! The pattern calls for an invisible zip, which always makes me nervous, but it actually went in pretty easily. For some reason it’s not quite as invisible as it could be, which may be down to the fact that the zip does not quite match but this is just laziness on my part. It’s still one of my best zip insertions to date!

AnnaBack

Even though I made a muslin, I was worried all the way through this make that it was going to be too small in the bodice. Luckily it has turned out pretty much perfect. I had to be picky I would add a bit more ease to the side seams next time, as there is a bit of pulling, but it isn’t too bad. I slip stitched the hem again – I’m not usually one for hand sewing, but it does give a better result. I also have my overlocker back in action, thanks to the lovely Claire who gifted me some overlocker thread, which means I was able to finish everything nicely, although French seams are still my true love when it comes to finishing. For the skirt I did a mixture of the two, overlocking the raw edges and then turning and stitching. This solves the problem I sometimes get with French seams where threads peak through the seams on the right side of the dress.

I love everything about this dress – the pattern, the fabric and the fit. I foresee more Anna’s in my future – I am especially looking forward to making the maxi version for summer. I have also seem some great versions which have a gathered shirt, which also suits this pattern.

I’ll leave you with a few out-takes including the one where I decided to do a thumbs up just a little too late…

Anna4…and the one with the photo-bombing cat!

Anna2

Happy Sunday everyone!

Kat xx

Swinging sixties top

Back before Christmas I spotted this wonderful cotton print on CalIco Laine’s Facebook page, and immediately knew that I wanted to use this fabric for my second blogger network make. I love this fabric, the retro print has a sixties vibe and it makes me smile – just the thing to beat the winter blues. Because this is such a busy print, I wanted to pick a simple pattern which allowed the fabric to shine. I had in mind to make a top with a contrast yoke and when I remembered Amy’s lovely top made using New Look 6148, a plan was born.

There are many different pattern variations, but I decided on a simple sleeveless blouse with contrast yoke. This is a nice simple top to make with no fastenings, which is great for those who, like me, avoid zips wherever possible (I was pleased to see from Marie’s recent post that I’m not the only one!). I was a bit concerned that this might make it difficult to take on and off, as my head is rather on the large side (no tittering at the back there!), but I needn’t have worried as the neckline leaves plenty of room. There is a LOT of ease built in to this pattern so I recommend taking a good look at the finished measurements before cutting. I went by the finished bust size, leaving a few inches for maneuver, and I reckon I could have still gone with a size smaller. I graded up a few sizes at the hips which was a good call as any smaller here would have been a problem. I bought two metres of the print fabric and I probably could have got away with at least half a metre less, although I love this fabric so much that I am glad to have some left over.

For the main section of the top there are just three pattern pieces, which means that it comes together pretty quickly, even if like me you decide to French seam everything in sight. I must admit to getting a bit confused by the time I got to the neck binding, as for some reason the binding piece was not large enough to go all the way around the neckline, so at this point I stopped following the pattern and made the rest up as I went along. Thankfully this seems to have worked out! Plan B was to use bias binding from my stash to finish the neck and armholes, but the roll of black that I could have sworn I had was nowhere in sight. Instead I resigned myself to plan C: making my own. Producing handmade bias binding is an easy albeit quite boring exercise but luckily for me there was not too much required on this occasion.

This top is the perfect example of when frosting can also work as cake. It may be a fun and colourful print, but paired with a plain skirt as shown here, or a pair of trousers, this would be absolutely fine to wear to work (in my workplace at least!). Who says you can’t have cake and frosting at the same time??

Although I love this fabric, I think that if (when) I make this top again, I will use material which has more drape such as a cotton lawn, which would make it lighter and more summer appropriate. Also there is a tiny bit of pulling on the side seams around the chest which I realise means that I probably need to do an full bust adjustment. I know, I know, I keep putting it off, but I am determined to conquer the FBA and this will be the year. There we go, I’ve written it down, now i’ve committed! I would love to hear reassuring noises from those who have conquered the FBA, and if anyone has any top tips I would love to hear them. I think it’s the thought of slashing my pattern pieces that scares me the most!

Kat xx

Polka dot Crescent skirt

I’m very pleased and excited to have been invited to join Calico Laine’s blogger network. Every month I will chose the supplies needed to complete a project of my choice from their website, and in return for a discount I will blog about my project. Here is my first Calico Laine post – this is actually my December project, a bit delayed – shameful I know. Can I still blame Christmas?!

WIth such a huge range of fabric I was spoilt for choice, but after a lot of pondering I finally settled on something that I had been planning to make for a long time – a polka dot Crescent skirt. I’ve made no secret of my love for Sewaholic patterns, and the first item of clothing I ever stitched was the Crescent skirt. I love this skirt and version one is still in constant rotation in my wardrobe. I also love polka dots, so combining the two was a no-brainer!

cres1

I chose a polka dot cotton from Calico Laine with large spots and the whole thing is lined with black dress lining. This pattern works well with fabric that has a bit of structure as it emphasises the fullness of the skirt; I imagine it would work equally well in a cotton lawn or similar too for a slightly different, more floaty, look.

I trimmed the bottom of the lining with black lace and I love the effect this has, i feel very girly and dressed up wearing it just knowing the lace is there! I had a stoke of luck here too – I bought 2 metres of this lace and it was the exact amount I needed to go all the way round the bottom of the lining, down to the last millimetre. Phew!

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I don’t have anything extra to add to the construction of this skirt from the last time I made it. All the inside seams are French seamed (I really need to buy some thread for my overlocker!) and I’m pleased with how neat the insides look – however I wasn’t able to take a picture before my camera batteries died, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

As you can probably tell, I am a big fan of this skirt and I’m sure it will get a lot of wear. Especially when I get round to sewing some tops in solid colours…one day. What can I say, I just can’t stay away from the prints!

Some people have commented that they haven’t seen enough pictures of Sally round these parts recently. This is for you:

sally1

This is about the twentieth attempt to get a picture as she kept moving about. For a cat who thrives off attention, she didn’t seem too keen to pose!

Has anyone else been sewing/knitting/crafting this weekend? I love to see (I’m naturally nosy!).

Kat xx