Sunday, 26 January 2014

Bibs, Frumping, Ghosts, Cereal and Frankenstein - The Overdue Return!

Well, well, well. It has been a very long time since I last wrote, and to be honest, the longer it has been, the more pressure and anxiousness I have felt to write again – yet, here I am, laptop resting on my knee, emergency chocolate supply by my side (very important) and little threads clinging desperately on my clothes as evidence of a weekend spent in the company of my sewing machine.

I feel it important to begin with a very brief explanation, the headlines if you will, of why I have been absent from the blogosphere for so long. So: I left my job, moved to London and have started on the most incredible journey in an entry level fashion role – yes, that’s right, I spend long days surrounded by beautiful dresses, stunning fabrics, fancy sewing machines, gorgeous trims and unbelievably talented people! Everyday provides copious amounts of inspiration and encouragement for my own sewing experiments (and the occasional new fabric scraps and sewing patterns - winning).

Oh, and one other thing has changed for me – I also now have a fringe: Hi!
Now, brief catch ups out of the way, I thought I would ease back into things by sharing with you some of the garments I have made recently, after all, if you're reading a sewing blog, you're probably a little more interested in the sewing itself than my career path and hair choices!
This was probably one of the quickest and simplest things that I have made - and who doesn't just love a quick and easy sewing project every now and then?!
I'm not exaggerating, this top was literally made of two squares sewn together, leaving gaps for armholes and cutting a hole for the head (not essential, but please be aware that without this step, you would look like you were wearing a child's fancy dress ghost costume) then finishing the edges with a little hemming and bias binding! I added a little decorative button placket on the back, but this is purely because of my mild to moderately extreme obsession with buttons.
Don't get me wrong, it's far from a perfect make, but I'm really loving casual, easy to wear styles, and this top can be thrown on with a pair of  ripped jeans (as demonstrated) or some smarter chinos or tucked into a pencil skirt - a staple shape that I plan to make again!
The thing I love most about this dress is the fabric (from work) - I love all the shades that work together to create an ombre effect and really summery style (I'm thinking ahead a few months!)
(Please note the left sock which has made it's debut in front of the camera)

I think I might have actually told a lie, the thing I like most about this dress, is finally finding a use for the bluey/purple lace that I have had stowed away in my fabric box for months - I initially planned to make my own version of a dress warn by Scarlett Johansson, but then I remembered, I am not Scarlett Johansson, so the dream was short lived...but alas, it has found an even greater purpose, working alongside this beautiful cloth.
This was yet another simple creation, which could be simplified further by excluding the zip, but I thought that it added another fun element to this cheerful dress.
When I went on my first trip to Goldhawk Road last summer, I acquired this beautiful autumnal fabric, which caught my eye because of the sweet mustard yellow flowers.
Inspired by some of the beautiful equipment style ditsy print blouses I have seen on the high street lately, I thought that this print would look good in a similar style shirt - so that's what I did!
I adapted a shirt pattern that I really liked sewing from before, creating a V-neck and 3/4 length sleeves to create a more casual look to suit the print, and added some cute wooden buttons, et voila! 
I admit, this blouse treads a fine line between vintage/quirky chic and frumpy old lady, but either way, I have in the past been referred to as being 'old before my time', so I figure it's a win - win situation!
Something else that has caught my eye since being in London, is an abundance of pretty pinnies. I think they look so smart and different dressed up with a shirt for work, or dressed down and worn over a loose t shirt for a more casual look. When I got to thinking about it, I realised that the concept was really just a skirt with a bib and long straps - so I thought I'd take a stab at making my own!
I'm not 100% satisfied with this make,  and I'm not embarrassed to share things that haven't worked perfectly with you, because to only show things that have worked as intended, would not only be a dishonest fabrication of my sewing journey, but would also leave me with a pretty empty sewing blog! This aside though, as a concept and starting point, I'm really glad I gave this a go! Plus, I made my own pattern from scratch, which is always fun to experiment with. I will definitely be attempting this again to iron out the glitches, as I think it could become a wardrobe staple.
I like the detail of crossing the straps over at the back to add some interest to the garment - if nothing else, it was an excuse to use some more of my beloved buttons!
Ok, so this skirt has nothing at all to do with breakfast cereal, but unfortunately for me, due to some clever marketing and TV advertising, feminine red clothing will now always make me think of branded morning meals!
Before starting in my new job, I never gave much thought to pleating and how it worked, and had several unsuccessful attempts at pinning, pressing and tacking length after length of fabric to try and create this beautiful effect. I now know though, that you can get professional machines to do this for you! Luckily for me, I didn't have to splash out on this, as this perfectly sized length was being thrown out at work - result! Cue the pleated midi!
This year, I am aiming to embrace the world of refashioning. Believe it or not, I find it so much easier to start with a flat length of fabric and creating a new skirt or top from scratch, than taking an old blouse or unloved dress and transforming them into something new. On this occasion though, a Frankenstein-esque refashion was the first thing that came to mind to make a fun, quirky jumpsuit.
What did this jumpsuit start its life as? I hear you ask. Well, I'm even hesitating over my keyboard right now, wondering whether to reveal it...Oh well, what is there to lose? I did mention earlier about being honest. This jumpsuit was once a pair of pyjamas. Yes. Pyjamas.
I completely fell in love with the print when I stumbled across it in a 'final clearance' sale that I went to when trying desperately not to spend my Christmas money, here is a close up of the print, as I don't think the above photo does it justice.
I tried the PJs on in the fitting room of the shop, tucking the cami into the waistband of the trousers, asking myself 'am I really considering doing this?' and, as you may have guessed, the answer was obviously yes! After all, what is a jumpsuit anyway, if not a onsie that is socially acceptable to wear in public?!
Besides, if anyone says anything, I can claim it's some new London fashion trend...and if that doesn't work I can run home to bed and hide - at least I'd already be dressed for it!

That's all for now - I do have some other new creations to share with you next time - now I'm back on the blogging planet, I plan to stick around - It's good to be back!
Em x




  1. Ahhh, I think I like your square top best, but that jumpsuit is fab. I am feeling inspired by all of your sewing. I'll also admit that I'm currently putting together a dress whose bodice lining has just been cut from an old pair of PJs as I didn't have anything else suitable.

    1. Ah thanks Char! I'm so glad you're feeling inspired - I find sewing to be so satisfying and therapeutic! I'm thrilled to hear it - long live PJ refashions!