Monday, 15 September 2014

OWOP 2014

So...OWOP 2014 is over. I'm torn between two emotions. Relief. And inspiration. Relief because I can finally wear other things! And inspiration because I've realised the possibilities of the Plantain top.

Let me talk you through it. With pictures.


So I chose the Deer & Doe Plantain tee pattern for OWOP. I mentioned in the previous post that I wanted something that is easy to style because Mon-Fri I work in an office with a smart casual dresscode, but Sat-Sun I loooove my jeans. So it had to go with both jeans and heels. 

Let's take a closer look at the outfits. 

Saturday.

My original Plantain. Blue viscose jersey with sleeves in fine blue silk (old scarf). Paired with jeans for pottering around at home.


Sunday.


Plantain dress (just elongated the pattern using a similar T-shirt dress as a template) in the most fun, colourful print fabric. It's some kind of polyester mix. About £4 per meter from Goldhawk Road, with a quality that matches the price. But with a silk slip under it's fine. Wore it with tan shoes and a tan belt to a winetasting/vineyard tour at Stanlake Park. Recommendation from a friend. Now I'm recommending it to you all! Go, it's amazing!


Monday.

First workday. Blue Plantain again. This time with black straight leg trousers, black pumps and a drapey black cardigan (photographed without because it's in the wash).


Tuesday.

Grey Plantain T-shirt with black lace details. I was going to do a lattice pattern with the lace, but it was such a pain in the a**e sewing onto the very slippery jersey I changed it to diagonal lines. Not sure I like it to be honest. The lace makes it look a bit...ugly.

Anyways. Styled with a black skirt, black patent leather belt and little black high heeled bootie-style shoes.


Wednesday.

The Plantain cardigan. This one I love! See, this one was long coming. The background story is a bit long, so those of you with better stuff to do, keep scrolling.

There is a certain style of jacket that is quite in at the moment. Just slightly longer than waist-length, with no collar or lapels. A bit like the Chanel suit jacket, but shorter. I love this style! But my office is way too warm for them. And the whole taking it off, putting it back on - I don't have the patience for that. So I wanted a cardigan version of one. Basically similar in style but way thinner.

I found the perfect fabric on Goldhawk Road for having a go. A very sturdy brown jersey. I did it with the Plantain. I changed the neckline to be not quite as deep, removed some fabric from the back (will put some darts in too next time) and just cut in the middle in the front to make the opening. Ruffled lots of black lace (same as for the Plantain above - funny story, I accidentally ordered 38 meters! of it) and sewed on each side of the opening. Added a hook and eye for discreet closure. And black jersey sleeves.

Success! Love it! Let's have a closer look:


Wore it with a black top, black trousers and black flats.


Thursday.

Ugh, so wrong. By this point I was tired from a long week with lots of 5 am starts and completely uninspired. Got out of the shower and didn't fancy any of my Plantains. Felt like improving my mood by wearing something colourful. I forgot how short and not formal this was and pulled it on. Left the house and realised only when I was on the train to work. Sartorial fail.


Friday.

Last day! Finally! Also casual Friday. And I was leaving work at 1! So happy. Didn't care what I wore. So I wore the grey lace tee I'm not sure I like. With black jeans and tan shoes.


So that was my OWOP week. I'm glad I did it, but I'm also glad it's over. I still love this pattern, but wearing the same style of something all week is so not my thing. I have a very simple, basic style that involves a base colour scheme of black, grey and navy and the only thing that makes it not completely boring is mixing up the style of things I wear. Remove that and what's left is...boring. So yeah, it was a fun challenge, but I sure am glad it was just a week!

Saying that...guess what I wore on Saturday when I could wear whatever I wanted? A long-sleeved T-shirt.



Saturday, 6 September 2014

OWOP 2014 - My pattern

Whoop whoop, OWOP is finally here! (Read all about it over at Handmade Jane's blog.) I'm superexcited because it is my first one!


Between starting the blog and circa June this year this blog was very much a neglected project. But the more I started reading other sewing blogs the more inspired I got. The sewing blogging/social media community is amazing and really the perfect place to learn, develop skills, feel inspired and challenge yourself.

And OWOP seems like such a fun challenge! It requires a little bit of soul searching (which one is actually my favourite pattern?), opportunities for pattern hacks to get different looks, styling challenges to make that one look last all week, but also a perfect excuse to finally make another of that top/dress/skirt/whatever.

So, which pattern am I going for? Well, because I work in an office I had to go for something that can be styled to look smart. But if I'm going to wear it all week it better be comfortable too! And since this late summer/early autumn weather is most unpredictable, it needs to be a great layering piece.

So I've decided to go with a marvellous and free pattern! The Deer and Doe Plantain T-shirt. The love I have for this pattern is hard to describe. It sews easily and quickly, it is very comfortable, incredibly flattering and so versatile.



I made a blue short sleeved Plantain with silk sleeves earlier this year, and I wear it so often I'm surprised it hasn't fallen apart yet. I've been meaning to make more, but have been distracted by other sewing projects.


But now finally, a good excuse! I like to do things last minute (working hard on those grey hairs!), so I made a Plantain dress on Thursday night, another Plantain T-shirt last night and I'm just about to cut a Plantain cardigan. I'm still in my dressing gown, so once the cardigan is made up the difficult part starts: which one to wear?

Right, let's do this!



Thursday, 4 September 2014

Sewing: Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

Happy Thursday y'all! Don't you just love Thursdays? Tomorrow it's Friday and then....WEEKEND!

But I didn't want to talk about Thursdays. I wanted to talk about a Sunday. Last Sunday. The last day of August. On this spectacularly sunny day my lovely friend Nicola and I decided to head over to Kew Gardens and frolick in the sunshine.

It was amazing! The manicured gardens were beautiful, a display of perfection and explosion after explosion of colour. And the landscaped ones were lush to walk around in with a cup of Earl Grey in one hand and iPhone in the other excitedly taking photos of everything.

Also, what a perfect setting for some blog photos?! Nicola kindly played the blog photographer for the afternoon. Unfortunately I didn't bring the camera so the below are iPhone photos.


So let's talk about the actual skirt.

One of the best things about sewing is having a quick and inexpensive resolution to that situation when you are on the hunt for a garment, you know exactly what you want it to look like and...it's nowhere to be found. Well, luckily you can just make it!

I wanted an elegant high-waisted, flared skirt with pockets (I swear, once you start wearing skirts and dresses with pockets, you don't want to go back) that would be suitable for work. I found lots of skirts that tick the high-waisted and flared boxes, but not the other three.

So I started browsing my favourite patternmakers' websites. And found the solution in Deer and Doe's Chardon.


It came together in one day, and was very simple. Yet for some reason wasn't a particularly enjoyable sewing experience for me. I think I got overambitious and tried to do a pattern hack, which didn't really work and took ages to fix. I also worked impatiently, without taking a break. Bad, bad idea. What made me think that ripping up incorrectly sewn tiny stitches while tired and hungry is part of relaxing afternoon?


I only really have two comments on this pattern. Sizes are on the small side - do your measurements carefully before taking to the scissors. And the belt loops are on the short side. Perfect for thin belts, but if you want something chunkier it won't work. Considering this pattern piece is just a rectangle it is the easiest thing in the world to make them slightly longer.

In terms of the pattern - it's beautiful! Printed on proper hard paper, with simple but straightforward instructions. The pattern comes with both English and French instruction, which, I'm not going to lie, makes you feel well and truly chic.

This 'detail' is not part of the pattern. It is my attempt to fix my pattern-hack-attempt-failure in a somewhat aesthetic way.

Not much to say about the fabric. Simple, easy to work with navy poplin from Minerva Crafts.

I have another Chardon in progress at the moment. Also navy tones, but with a rose print. This is such a wearable pattern that I forsee many many Chardon skirts being introduced into my wardrobe over the next couple of months. I'm tempted to make it up in a wool-mix tartan for winter!


And now....a little bit of Kew.

How pretty is that?! Hold on, there's more! Ah Kew, I fell a little bit in love.


Oh, and let's not forget Nicola's and my favourite part:

The gin garden! Cheers to this Thursday guys! Have a great day! xx


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Sewing: Sew Over It Betty dress

If the theme of the previous post was the contrast combination of hurry and laziness, this post is about the contrast combination of delightful sewing experience and disaster.

Let me present to you my Sew Over It Betty dress:


Last month we went to Josh's sister's wedding (a work of perfection, I have two new crafting idols) and the dress code on the invitation said "summer dresses." [Feels so strange talking about summer dresses when it is so autumnal outside!] I have a wardrobe full of dresses, but I guess I wanted an excuse to buy a new pattern, because none of them felt like they ticked the 'summer dress' box.

I had a little browse online and I saw the Sew Over It Betty pattern. It looked like perfection...so I ordered it! And the first thing I have to say about it is what an amazingly fast delivery! I ordered on a Friday morning and had the pattern by the next Saturday midday.



I made a bodice muslin the same weekend I got the pattern to try the fit and to test how long it would take me to sew it (i.e. how late could I start it). Did my measurements and size 10 fit like a glove. The bodice sewed in a few h. And that's with a few breaks to Skype home, have some food, and scratch my head over how to turn the facing inside out to finish the shoulders.

Oh yes, this was confusing. Really confusing. But this guide is SUPERhelpful! Once I got it, it was easy. So I'd say...factor in some time to figure this bit out. So far a delightful sewing experience.



I picked up 4 meters of gorgeous floral cotton, quite heavy, almost like a quilting cotton from Goldhawk Road. Because the colour is so light I was worried about see-through issues, so I bought loads of buttery soft Indian cotton and underlined the whole dress.

This is when the disaster happened. I didn't have time to pre-wash my cottons, so I just hoped for the best. Well, after the first wash the underlining shrunk! But not the shell fabric. Imagine.... The underlining was pulling at the shape in the strangest way.

I spent a day doing some reconstructive surgery sewing and largely fixed the problem. Lesson learned. Pre-wash fabrics!

Ah well, now it is fine and oh so perfect for twirling.