So Over It Erin Skirt Review

So Over It Erin skirt in flowery black needlecord
Photo taken in 2018 not 2008 believe it or not! (My other half is not a photographer)

I made the Sew Over It Erin skirt from the My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break ebook in early 2018, wore it once and then promptly forgot about it. Its not the skirt I thought it would be.

Sewing notes

The skirt is easy to sew, the only daunting part being the buttons. I made some questionable choices when I made it, which has meant its not had the wear I thought it would do.

I chose to make it out of some flowery needlecord I picked up on my first trip to the Goldhawk Road in 2015, points for me for using up my stash, but, its a horrible choice for this skirt as I didn’t line it. The fabric is too thin, and a bit like wearing flimsy cardboard. I don’t know why I didn’t line it, its a stupid thing to skip especially as I only wear skirts with tights and this grabs onto all tights like nobody’s business! Not to mention the pattern, which is hard to match clothes to.

I’m not happy with the fit on this – it fits my hips but is big on the waist which makes the waistband stick up. I can’t tuck tops into it because they also grab at the needlecord and make the skirt move up my body awkwardly.

Sew Over It Erin button up skirt with pockets
It has pockets! And an awkward waistband on me!

I might try to re-work this skirt and unpick the waistband to shorten it and maybe add a lining – at least its more likely to get some wear. I love the pockets too, but they gape (this is not just me, they do on most of the Erin skirts on Instagram & Pinterest) and I’m not keen on adding bulk to my hips.

I won’t make this skirt pattern again, but I would love to make something similar in a plain fabric.

Tilly & The Buttons Delphine Skirt Review

Tilly and The Buttons Delphine skirt worn with a black top
Delphine skirt

This is my second attempt at the Tilly and The Buttons Delphine skirt pattern, from the book ‘Love at First Stitch’. The first attempt has gone missing during a Christmas tidy-up and is a UFO!

I have been craving having a retro style tweed skirt and I was sure the Delphine could match my vision. However the reality isn’t quite what I wanted. I think that’s down to my fabric choice, and how I have lengthened the skirt which has spoilt it.

Back before Christmas 2018 I saw some green tweed fabric in Fabricland Bristol which I fell in love with, and then didn’t buy. It needled at me throughout the Christmas break that it was perfect and I must get it so I went back determined to get some for my dream skirt. Of course, it was all gone. I was then stuck and got into fabric buying trouble as I didn’t want to come away without something, which lead me to buy this very dubious polyester fabric.

Poor fabric choices

The fabric is a woven polyester that frays like a beast, and will not take well to being pressed. Its slippery and scratchy and isn’t very nice to touch! I can’t understand what possessed me to choose it.

Horse print lining fabric and heavily fraying woven polyester
Even the horses on my lining fabric look horrified by the fraying!

Anyway, I was determined to make this into a retro, sixties vibe skirt so set about cutting it out and sewing it up. It soon became clear the fabric would have to be lined, and of course I then had no lining fabric to hand. I’ve used some unusual viscose-type fabric I’ve had in my stash for ages that I bought from eBay and it didn’t match its description so it was going unused. Its got a lot of drape to it, but its very slippery. This didn’t make sewing it up any easier. Saying that, I do like the horse pattern.

Construction

I free-styled adding the skirt lining, choosing to serge together the lining and outer pieces, before sewing them together. I thought I was being clever and making it easier to fit the zip (the latter might be true) but, I think this causes the side seams of the skirt to be too heavy and pull in on themselves. Oh well, sewing is just one long set of things to learn.

Invisible zip sewn into Delphine skirt
I never manage to make invisible zips go right to the top…

The fit

The waistband of the skirt is quite deep and straight. This makes it sit on the top of my hips and stick up with a gap at the top rather than sit next to my waist. This also happened on the other un-finished Delphine, so I wonder if it is my body shape, or if its the depth of the waistband? I did shorten the waistband depth on this version to try to tackle that but it is still there.

I do not like wearing very short skirts, so I lengthened the skirt by an inch or so. I think its too long on me now though. I am tempted to cut that inch off now because the length makes me look quite short, and the stitching along the hem is so visible.

Tilly and The Buttons Delphine skirt made from brown polyester woven fabric
The hem looks such a mess!

I have pressed and pressed the hem, but it will not sit nicely. I might try to do a blind hem if I take it up.

Inserting the zipper was a pain on this because the fabric kept shifting and gave me some nasty puckers. It has sort of pressed itself into place, but the top of the zipper along the waistband is not perfect at all.

Too long and too puckered!

Pattern matching was attempted but not successful! At least I remembered to sew on the belt loops before putting the waistband on (which is my standard mistake I’ve made with all other skirts!).

I might make the Delphine again, however I think I am going to continue my quest to make the perfect retro A-Line skirt with the New Look 6843 because it has a smaller waistband and darts for better shaping.

Tilly & The Buttons Bibi Skirt Review

Black Tilly and The Buttons Bibi skirt worn with a Levi's jacket
Tilly and The Buttons Bibi skirt

This is the super-simple skirt pattern that is in the Tilly and The Buttons Stretch! book. I made this last year, pretty much as soon as the book came out.

It is a really quick and simple pattern to sew: it only has two pattern pieces! The skirt piece is cut out four times to make the front, back and sides of the skirt, and the waistband is cut out four times – two for the outer waistband one two for the inner one.

I have also made this skirt as the the pinafore option from stretch velvet (!), but not yet photographed it.

The fabric I used for this particular version is some sort of textured stretch crepe that I picked up from Fabricland in Bristol. I chose it because it had shimmery gold in it, however that nearly all washed off when I did my pre wash! There is still a little left, if you look really closely, but with each wash more is lost. That was pretty disappointing.

The skirt is very comfortable to wear and I didn’t make any changes to the fit. The only tweak I did make was to twin needle stitch along the seams of the skirt to make them stronger and look more finished.

Black Bibi skirt worn in the park
Bibi is simple and comfy to wear!

I will definitely make more Bibi skirts as its such an easy and satisfying pattern to make.

Photos taken on a very grey day in January in St George Park, Bristol.

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt Review

Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt in red marl
My new cosy Linden sweatshirt

This is the first item I’ve completed from my 2019 Make Nine! I made this after my first week back at work in January – so I’ve made a good start! I’ve wanted to make a Linden for absolutely months, and I’ve had this red marl sweatshirt fabric waiting for me to put it to use since the heatwave last year (it was a complete bargain from the Nylon Shop in Bristol – £4 per meter! I wish I’d bought more!).

Red Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt
What a huge neck…

The pattern is great, really clear and quick to sew up on a serger. The instructions are clear and not fussy. However, the neck is awful! I don’t understand how its been designed to be so damned huge!

What’s with that neck?!

First off, the neckband was too small for the sweatshirt fabric to stretch to fit the huge neck hole so I had to re-cut it to make it bigger. The sweatshirt jersey doesn’t have much stretch, and I might have cut the neck band replacement a wee bit too big so the huge neck will be partially due to me. Googling ‘Linden neck problem’ tells me I am by far not the only person that has got an issue here.

I’ve seen its possible to re-draw the neckline to make it a more standard size and shape which is well worth a go. I have some Stoff & Stil sweatshirt jersey I could try this with if I am brave enough.

Linden sweatshirt neck band bunching up
The neck is so huge it gets squadged by coats

Learnings

I sewed everything except for the neck top stitching on my Janome serger, which went like a dream up until I got distracted for a second, and did this to one of the underarms:

This is what happens when you loose control of a serger…

I’ve stitched up the hole by hand – its very well hidden where it is so it could have been a lot worse.

Biggest learning? Google [Pattern Name] + Problems before doing any other new pattern!

A special birthday skirt

Rainbow gathered skirt
My rainbow bright birthday skirt!

I turned 35 in September. I had not been feeling great about it. I don’t know where the last five years have gone. 35 sounds old to me, how have I got that old?!

In some sort of age-related freak-out, I became obsessed with the idea of making a circus skirt. Something really bright and fun, that I could wear for my 35th birthday to fend off old-age.

I found this poly cotton on eBay and knew it was perfect for the skirt I had envisioned. I think it was about £5 – 6 per meter. Its proper happy fabric!

Rainbow skirt being sewn on Pfaff Ambition Essential sewing machine

I based the skirt pattern on the Clemence I made in 2017, with a few tweaks. Of course it has pockets, but I also wanted it to last, so I sewed bright bias binding to all the inner seams. I installed an invisible zip with no buttons this time too.

Invisible zip on rainbow gathered skirt waistband
Probably my best invisible zip to date
Floral bias binding applied to rainbow skirt seams
I love this bias binding: practical but still pretty
Rainbow gathered skirt
Fresh off the sewing machine, trying it on straight away!

This isn’t the sort of skirt I can wear everyday but it makes me smile every time I see it. Not sure if I will be sewing with polycotton again in a hurry – its not awful, but its got a firmness to it that isn’t as comfy as it could be. I do like how the slight stiffness really makes the skirt puff out though.

Tilly & The Buttons Françoise Dress Review

Tilly and The buttons Francoise dress made from a vintage sheet
Françoise dress fresh out the suitcase in Rhodes!

I have pretty mixed feelings about this sewing pattern. Most of my Tilly & The Buttons sewing projects have been positive, but this one is borderline and I can’t tell if its me or the pattern.

I love the look and style of the pattern. Most of the versions I’ve seen other people make on Instagram/Pinterest I have also liked. There is something I do not like about my version.

I made the dress using a vintage sheet. Its a poly cotton sheet that has some structure to it, and I thought that would suit the style of the dress well. I think it might be a little too stiff though.

The next issue is the fit of the neckline. The facings would not fit along the neckline, so I ended up making bias binding to finish the neck, which never looks as good as a properly faced one. The neckline looks a bit puckered and I can’t get the puckers to press out. I might have traced the facings poorly or made an error cutting them out.

Sewing the Francoise shift dress neckline
Sewing the neckline with bias binding

The hardest problem I am having to diagnose though is that when I sit down, the whole dress tries to rise up off my shoulders! It might be due to the fabric choice, or the slightly off fit from the darts.

I did lengthen the bodice part of the dress because it was too short for me. I might have affected the front darts when I did this, and perhaps that has made it ride up? Who knows.

At the moment I doubt I will sew another one of these. I would love to have one that fits, but I’m not sure what changes I need to make to get there. Sewing is a series of challenges and frustrations!

Seamwork Amber Dress Review

Seamwork Amber dress made out of red, white and pink vintage sheet
Seamwork Amber dress in action on holiday in Rhodes

I love the relaxed vintage style of the Seamwork Amber dress and I knew I had to make one to take on holiday as soon as I saw it. It has a semi fitted top, wide straps (I have to have wide straps) and a tiered midi skirt made of three gathered lengths of fabric.

I made my Amber dress with a beautiful vintage sheet. It has the most wonderful soft drape to it, and a gorgeous white and pink floral design. Its one of my absolute favourites from my vintage sheet collection.

Cat rolling on cut out dress pieces
I had supervision cutting out all the pattern pieces…
Cat sitting next to serger/overlocker
My serger supervisor hard at work…

The skirt part of the dress sews up really quickly and easily – faster than I expected. Its just a series of pieces of fabric that are gathered and joined together.

The same isn’t quite true for the top of the dress. Although it is semi fitted, its very boxy and wide. I had to do a lot of adjustments to make the top fit. The straps are positioned so they constantly fall off. I moved them twice and they are still prone to falling.

The top of the dress gapes because its not shaped. I had to take it in extensively and it still doesn’t fit well. The pattern instructions do warn that its not very fitted, but it doesn’t warn that this means the top wont stay up.

I ran out of time to fix the top issues before going on holiday so it didn’t get fully fixed. I think I might cut the whole top off, and turn the skirt part into a skirt instead because I’m not sure the facings and top will stand being un picked again and re-sewn.

I love the idea of this dress, just not the top part!

Will I make this again? Probably not – because of the fit issues. I would make the skirt part again, and I’d probably make it using another vintage sheet.

Tilly and The Buttons Freya (cowl neck) Review

Tilly and The Buttons Freya dress with cowl neck
Early May bank holiday heatwave

The Freya dress and top pattern is in the Tilly and The Buttons Stretch! book, which I have been gradually working my way through (Frankie Baseball tee Review is here, and a rainbow version here, and now the Bibi skirt Review is here too.)

I chose the cowl neck option, because I don’t have any of these in my wardrobe anymore, and I used to be fond of them.

This is a very simple and quick pattern to sew up. Inserting the sleeves is straight forward, and the overall fit is good. I usually lengthen dresses because I don’t want to flash my pants, but I didn’t with this and regret it. I really couldn’t wear this with bare legs in real day to day life. The only reason I have bare legs in the photos is because it was so hot when I took the pictures!

I used a knitted, wooly fabric with a star print from Fabricland Bristol. I think it was £4.99 a meter. I am disappointed that the star print has lines in it – it really didn’t look like it on the bolt, but when its on thats all I see.

I’m hoping this will get some wear over the winter with leggings.

Tilly and The Buttons Freya cowl neck dress in star print fabric
Wooly dress on a summer’s day!

I’m looking forward to trying this pattern with the mock neck/turtleneck option next – though I think I will use a less toasty fabric to make it more wearable.

Tilly & The Buttons Rainbow Frankie Tee

Tilly and the Buttons Frankie baseball tee with rainbow striped sleeves
Rainbow sleeves!

My second Frankie baseball top from the book Stretch!

This was a super fast make, using white jersey from Fabricland Bristol, and rainbow striped jersey from Stoff & Stil Copenhagen – picked up on my trip there earlier this year. Its the loveliest jersey I have sewn with. So soft yet stable.

I only had 0.5 meters of the stripes, so had to position the sleeves carefully when cutting out. I wanted to squeeze as much as possible out the fabric length, which is why the sleeves are a non-standard length.

I posted this top on Instagram and was very excited when Tilly & The Buttons shared it in their stories feed!

Tilly and the Buttons Frankie baseball tshirt
Such a comfy pattern

This tshirt accidentally went through a wash with some newish jeans… and is no longer crisp white >.<

Tilly & The Buttons Cleo Review

Denim Tilly and The buttons Cleo pinafore dress
This dress took nearly a year to make!

I cut this dress out in September 2017 and didn’t complete it until summer 2018! When I cut it out, and began assembling it, I though how simple and easy it was… I was sure I’d complete it in a weekend… and then the problems began!

My dear sewing machine, the Janome 7025, handled the denim beautifully to begin with. It handled two layers with no problems but when it came to going over other seams, with three, four or maybe five layers it just couldn’t do it. It also protested greatly at using the the thicker top stitching thread.

I unpicked so many stitches and tried re-stitching but it just wouldn’t do it. I was so sad because I was very excited to wear this. The project was packed away until I eventually bought a second hand New Home semi-industrial sewing machine off eBay. This brute of a machine will power through layers of denim and has no issues with top stitching thread!

The only issue with the new (old) machine is it only has one speed which is fast, so stitching the pocket in place had to be done by manually turning the wheel to keep it under control.

Denim top stitching in Cleo pinafore dress
Top stitching the Cleo pocket in place
Topstitching on denim pocket
Slightly wonky stitches

I think this is a good pattern, but my enjoyment sewing it has been impacted by sewing machine woes – I have only worn this once because it brings back so many memories of being frustrated and upset my sewing machine was on its last legs. Sadly the 7025 is currently not working at all, and I have a new machine, the Pfaff Ambition Essential for most sewing. I will get the 7025 fixed soon. I’ve had it over ten years and I can’t imagine not having it forever!

I have started another Cleo using some Cath Kidston canvas fabric, however it creases dreadfully and now its half made, I doubt it will be wearable. I really need to learn to pick fabrics I can easily sew and care for don’t I?!

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