Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sewing: Colette Sorbetto polka dot top

When I chat to somebody about sewing and they express even a hint of interest in taking it up themselves, I pounce on the opportunity to recruit them to this wonderful, addictive hobby. It's like a tic with me, I can't help it. Admittedly, many people discreetly change the topic.

For those who don't, the conversation usually ends with me all excitedly and bright-eyed promising to send them "a link to the BEST beginner's pattern EVER!"

I am of course talking about the Sorbetto top by Colette patterns.



This pattern is so easy! No closures, no sleeves, no ruffling, no nothing scary and off-putting. Just a set of fantastic illustrated instructions. And the very best part, this top is completely wearable! As in, it looks great! You'll want to wear it! The same cannot be said about a lot of 'beginner's projects.'

Oh, and did I mention it's free?



I made my first Sorbetto from fabric I salvaged from a charity shop skirt. It's a very drapey viscose that hangs beautifully on the body. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of useable fabric in the skirt, so I made no attempt at pattern matching. Because I couldn't get a large enough piece out of the skirt for the back piece, I had to make the back from two pieces, so there's even more pattern mis-match at the back.

I didn't do any measurements and ended up picking the wrong size, so it's quite loose. But it's a happy accident, because now there is plenty of breathing room on a hot summer's day. I also went for a bit of experimentation and cut out a low back. It worked and I love it.



I made this a good year or so ago, and I've been wearing it sooo much. Definitely a wardrobe staple.

If it seems from the photos like I'm in love with these sunglasses - I am! I accidentally dropped and stepped on my favourite pair of sunglasses last weekend and was devastated. Didn't think I'd find a new 'the perfect pair' so soon!

I'm dying to make a (more fitted) silk version, to go with straight leg trousers and high waisted skirts this autumn.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

DIY: How to make a short necklace long

There isn't much to say about this necklace really. I saw a short necklace in a charity shop and loved the little blue nacre discs. So I bought it, but nothing else about that necklace was flattering. It was just too short, it didn't sit nicely around the neck, and the weight of the nacre discs pulled it down, making the shape of it even less flattering.

Those kind of purchases, that you kind of like, but kind of don't, are perfect for a bit of experimental DIY.



I wanted to keep the nacre discs, but without taking them off and putting on other jewellery individually. So I picked up a long, thin chain at another charity shop, and just removed all links on either side of the string of nacre discs. Then used two of those discarded links to attach that string to the long chain, asymmetrically.

It took less than 5 min in the garden on a sunny day and I think you'll agree that it looks rather nice with a plain top.

Steps below.

As always, supplies first.


  • Necklace you want to make longer. It doesn't have to have nacre discs, anything you have that is pretty but wish it was longer.
  • The chain of a long necklace.
  • Pliers. One pair is fine, but I find it useful to hold chain links with one pair and open them with the other.



Step 1: Remove the chain on your original necklace just above the bit you want to keep. Save two chain links for step 2.
Step 2: Lay the bit you are keeping against your long chain anyhow you fancy. I went for an asymmetrical look. Use the saved chain links to join the pretty part of the old necklace with the link chain.

Ta-dah! Done!



Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sewing: Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt

Today's topic is free things. Freebies. Best thing ever. Especially free patterns! Omg, the Colette Sorbetto is probably one of the best patterns ever. And it's free!

With this introductory enthusiasm in mind, imagine my joy when I saw that Deer & Doe have released a free pattern? The Plantain T-shirt. (Admittedly, old news now, but I'm slow to catch on.)

I tried it a couple of months ago and really loved the pattern, really hated my chosen fabrics. But with some wine and music it was a delightful experience, and here is my very own Plantain T-shirt.



I choose two difficult fabrics. My jersey had way more stretch than recommended in the pattern, and I chose to have silk sleeves (old scarf no longer being used. You can give a girl a pattern, but you can't stop her upcycling ways). And we all know that silk is an fancy S.O.B. Try attaching it to slippery jersey and it's nothing short of a miracle that my sleeves look relatively symmetrical.

I only really have two comments on the pattern. The neckline band is too short. I had to reeeally stretch mine to get it all the way around the neckline, which resulted in some not-so-pretty puckering. Going over it with a steam iron made it all look fine anyways, but for the next T-shirt I'll add on a few centimeters to the band. It's easy enough to cut off any excess afterwards.



Sizes are always difficult when using a brand for the first time, whether it is sewing from scratch or buying something in the shop. I found with this pattern that the sizes are on the small side, so do your measuring carefully before picking up the scissors.

There are many opportunity for pattern hacks. How about a Plantain dress? Or using a contrasting fabric for the sleeves or back panel? Or adding patch pockets? I'm really keen on a long-sleeved Plantain dress in thicker sweatshirt jersey towards autumn. In fact, I am considering this pattern for the OWOP 2014 that Handmade Jane is hosting.


Behind the scenes photos. Girl's gotta eat, right?

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Sewing: Lionel Richie tea cosy

Inspiration can really come from the strangest places. Let me tell you. It would be super appropriate to sit down with a cuppa for this blog post. Also, listen to this.


Last time I went back to Sweden my mom gave me a tea set that I took with me back to the UK. Nice heavy stoneware. Better yet, huge tea pot!

If it's one thing I love it's lazy weekend mornings with a pot of tea all to myself. Yesterday I smugly instagrammed a picture of my Saturday morning tea bliss, professing my love for the tea pot.



My very witty friend Jasmin commented that I should DIY the pot to look like this:



I laughed, but also thought "No Sharpie is coming near this tea pot!"

Although...I could do with a cosy!



So I set to work. It just felt right. And I love it when you get some inspiration and happen to have all the material, and more importantly, all the time you need. Semi-recycled fabrics were used for this. The pink was an ugly table cloth from a charity shop. The red gingham from Goldhawk Road, aka my new favourite place in London.

I'd never made a tea cosy before. So I looked for tutorials online and really liked this one.

Very easy, very straightforward, and very satisfying. Thanks Jasmin!

I better start working on the 'Is it brie you're looking for?' tip next. ;)



So...who is coming for tea?