Sunday, 29 June 2014

Free free free pattern roundup!

At the end of my last post I was planning to do a quick little roundup of some free sewing patterns that I either had made up myself and liked, or ones that I liked the look of and would consider making in the future. However once I started making my list I realised that it wasn't going to be quick. Crikey there's a lot out there! As I got deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole I realised this list deserved a post all of it's own, so here tis!

I'll be very clear here - I've not made all of these, and some I've only just discovered in preparation for writing this post. I have downloaded many of them though, and had a quick peek at the layout/sizing/instructions (or lack thereof) and done a super quick search on made up versions or feedback so I will comment on what I can. I know this is not an exhaustive list of what's out there, but it is what I've found that I like and what I'd seriously consider making - but please do let me know if you've another favorite that you think is a fab find! 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Finished - l'ensemble gratis

Today it's an outfit built on the generosity of the sewing world out there on the interwebs. There are so many free sewing patterns available now, you could dress yourself top to toe in garments made from patterns that will cost you nothing more than a few sheets of paper, some glue or tape and a bit of time. Todays photos come from a brightish corner of my sewing room. It is so blustery, wet and miserable today that I couldn't bear to be out even for a few minutes to get some outside pics. So apologies for slightly dim shots. 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Finished - A nautical Nettie

I've done something a bit out of the ordinary. I've fallen victim to the influence of the collective sewing hive mind and made myself up a pattern that is brand spanking new! Instead of sitting back for months and letting all the cool kids have some fun, I'm actually ON TREND and am the proud owner of a cute little Nettie bodysuit.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Finished - Salme cropped blazer!

After at least 12 months of ogling, stalking and lurking I've finally made my first Salme Patterns garment - the Cropped Blazer! I love the simple, modern and chic style of this designer, and it was no surprise to learn she's Scandinavian. Her designs have an unfussy yet stylish attention to detail typical of many scandi designers, not just in fashion but in textiles and homeware and furniture design that I just adore.

Full disclosure here. This is a long post..... But there's so little out there on the interwebs regarding this pattern that I wanted to give a thorough review, and to help myself when I make this up again and my memory has faded. So I'll do some pretty finished shots first, and if you're interested you can read on regarding the construction....

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Finished - the repeat offender....

 Lately I've been guilty of repeat offenses with my sewing - not that I'm particularly apologetic about it, but I'm aware it probably doesn't make for very scintillating reading! Looking back the last few months I've made mostly repeats of several basic wardrobe building patterns - Style Arc Elle pants, the Burda dolman tee, the Tessuti Boat Tee, my New Look/Laurel mashup.... I know it's less interesting than reading reviews of new patterns, but my main sewing goal this autumn-winter was to build up my self-made cold-weather wardrobe up with well fitting, warm and wearable clothing. I've got a pretty generous stash going on too, with many pieces of fabric purchased well over 6 months ago (sometimes more) destined for certain types of garments. So I figure the best way to ensure efficient, non-wasteful sewing was to focus on making and remaking those patterns that work well for me. You only need to look at my fairly unexciting MMM 14 posts to see how much wear I get out of these pieces (speaking of MMM I did complete it, but my photo efforts really fizzled out in the end. I'm yawning just thinking about them!).

Anyway, today's outfit is yet another repeat, but I am so happy with the combination. For me it's a perfect winter outfit - warm, chic, comfortable, understated but 100% my style. Last year I found a remnant of a super stretchy very fine black pinwale cord at Rathdowne remnants. Having at least 20% stretch I knew it would probably be ok for a pair of Elle pants but be too stretchy for something like the Colette Clovers (which do best with a 3-5% stretch woven). I've tweaked my Elle pants pattern a few times now and it's about as good as I can get it. I must confess to wearing my ponte version at least once a day (usually in the morning when I get up) and when they're in the wash I'm a bit like a sad small child waiting for their favourite toy to come out of the washing machine.....But back to the corduroy. Most stretch cord tends to have about 5% stretch, so this remnant was a bit unusual. It was about 1.5m - usually I can squeeze a pair of Elle's out of 1m but that crazy lil' thing called nap meant I couldn't invert my pieces. I cut each piece out singly, to ensure perfect grain (I have a pair of fine pinwale RTW cords that have one leg cut off grain and it shits me to tears every time I have to wear them. Which is weekly, to work). Because I was making these 'for good' rather than 'for work' or 'for stretchywear' I wanted them to be a little smarter, so I used this excellent tutorial to give them a snazzy little split hem. The cord was lovely to work with and there was no 'shar pei' issue with this pair! The cording is so fine they almost look velveteen, and has a lush, rich appearance. 

My top is a Renfrew. My first since last winter, when I had a flurry of Renfrew making and then lost interest. I'd been planning this since late last winter, then the weather got too warm and it got bumped. I had an image in my head of how this was going to look, and I couldn't be happier. I used the same deep inky purple wool jersey (in our sad thin winter light it looks more grey in my pics) that I used to make this top, and trimmed it with left over wool from my black wool Renfrew. I absolutely ripped off the neckline idea from the lovely Amy at Sew Well who made a similar Renfrew neckline change a couple of years ago. Similar to Amy, I used the v-neck neckline and neck binding but made the binding triple the width. I then attached the binding with the join at the back, and left about 4cm open at the centre front, at the V. I ummed and aaahed about how to nicely finish the unattached edge, and in the end there wasn't really a nice way to do it. I staystitched along the edge with a straight stitch as I worried that the V-shape would encourage laddering, then zigzagged the raw edges of both the top and the binding. The neck tie is a simple tube that is narrower in the centre to reduce bulk when tied and a little wider on the ends for a cuter bow. 

I actually really like it with and without the tie - I just have to make sure the raw edges of the hole are hidden when I wear it sans tie. This is definitely one of my most favourite makes ever. I'm just thrilled with how it turned out!

 I think a black top with a contrast cream or pale pink neck finish would look gorgeous, or one all in red..... Or stripes with a navy nautical trim.....

I'm very happy with my progress in my rather long list of autumn/winter sewing plans, first posted here. I've ticked off 3 more pairs Elle pants (ponte, brocade and these new cords), 3 long sleeve wool knit tops (pink Mandy Tee, black wool dolman tee and this new Renfrew), my beautiful cherry blossum blouse,  an unblogged ponte pencil skirt, and my recent wool Burdastyle funnel neck jumper. But it is time for some new patterns, and coming up in the next couple of weeks I will be making my first Nettie (striped, of course), trying the Salme Cropped Blazer as part of the Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Challenge, and making a lovely wool version of the Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan. Then it will be time to crack on with the rest of my winter sewing - a couple of more long sleeved tops, some winter dresses and some more cardigans. 

What's on your sewing list with the change of seasons, wherever you are in the world?