Sakura Clemence Skirt

clemence skirt

All this work on bodice slopers and muslins left me in need of a quick sewing project! Plus I thought you all deserved some colourful pictures after all the beige muslin 😉 I recently invested in a copy of Tilly’s Love at First Stitch, so I decided to give the Clemence skirt a go. I’ve made self drafted gathered skirts before, but this time I decided I would follow some instructions and make sure I was doing it right!

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This gorgeous cherry blossom fabric was a birthday present from Becca a couple of years ago, which I’ve only just had the guts to cut into (Sakura is Japanese for cherry blossom, hence the name of my Clemence). I love me a Japanese inspired print and the red and black on the turquoise background is a very pretty colour way – I’ve realised recently that I don’t have enough light, summery colours in my wardrobe, so this skirt should help me bring in the summer in style.

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I used red fabric for the pockets for a pop of colour and put in strips of shell fabric to stabilise the opening of the pocket. Worked out very well because I had a metre of fabric, which exactly cut into a waistband, front and back pieces and a little rectangle which I could cut into these strips. Feels so good when you have zero fabric waste! I always feel so guilty about wasting anything, so I have a big box of useless fabric scraps I can’t bear to part with. Might be quite cool to make a patchwork headscarf or something out of them? What do you do with fabric scraps?

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Anyway, I digress! The construction of the skirt is very simple and Tilly’s instructions were very clear as usual. The one problem I had was some twisting of the fabric in the waistband. This was almost certainly because I very naughtily neglected to press the fabric before sewing down the inside of the waistband. This is what happens when I rush to complete a project before bed time! It actually looks fine when I’m wearing it, but I think I’ll unpick it and redo it when I have a spare hour because it’s annoying to have it nearly perfect.

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SakuraClemence7All in all, I know I’m going to get a lot of use out of this skirt. I love the colours and gathered skirts with tops tucked in are a silhouette that I really like (more on that when I finally get back onto my Wardrobe Architect challenges!). I’m looking forward to trying the other Love at First Stitch patterns, especially Mimi and Lilou, but I’m still a bit afraid of the upper body fitting challenges, so I may wait until my sloper’s finished to get stuck into those.

Gathered Cream Mathilde

mathilde blouse

Here she is folks! My version of Tilly’s Mathilde Blouse.  I used some lovely cream cotton from my shopping spree the other week, which has a gorgeous drape to it, just perfect for a blouse. IMG_8854

I’m not so keen on the pin-tucks in the original pattern, so I went with the gathered bodice hack from her website. Construction was pretty simple; the pattern comes with lots of photos for each step and there’s also tutorials on the website if you get stuck, which I did briefly with the button placket at the back. Happily her blog tutorial got me on the right track and I didn’t have any further problems. One thing that was a bit confusing was that the material used on the blog tutorial had no obvious right and wrong side. It was fairly clear what was going on in most cases, but left me scratching my head a couple of times.

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As you can see, the sleeves are on the long side, so I might shorten them if I find the time. I’ll happily wear them as they are, especially because I have tended to just push them up, but they would probably look a bit less weird if they decided whether to be a full sleeve or a three-quarter length.

IMG_8838When I finished the whole thing and put it on for the first time I felt a bit like I was in a tent – I had forgotten that using gathers instead of pin-tucks meant all that extra fabric would be around my hips! I ended up taking in the side seam quite a bit so that I wasn’t swamped in fabric. I feel like it’s still a bit billowy, but I’ll probably wear it mostly tucked into skirts, where that won’t matter so much. I took in the cuffs quite a bit as well. Maybe I actually need to go down a size next time?

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So I used self-fabric interfacing throughout this garment.  I thought it would be nicer to retain the transparency of the material and also give the interfaced parts a nicer texture. Oh, and I ran out of interfacing 😉 Does that make me a terrible person? I was worried it would, but I did a bit of googling and it turns out it’s a vintage technique and definitely not lazy… Anyway, I really like how it looks and feels, I sometimes find interfacing a bit ‘crispy’. Just me? Anyone else tried self-fabric interfacing? Anything it really doesn’t work on that I shouldn’t try?

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And here are the buttons! I didn’t want anything too busy and these buttons are perfect. The gold rims look lovely next to the cream fabric and the black really makes them pop out from the rest of the blouse. I love buttons in pretty much any place on a garment (haven’t tried all over yet, maybe I should give it a go…), but buttoning up the back has to be one of my favourites. The back of your clothes normally don’t get as much love, so it’s fun to spice it up a bit!

IMG_8861 IMG_8862All in all I’m pretty pleased with this blouse. It’s mostly sewn with french seams (instructions included in the pattern), so it looks pretty good from the inside too. Plus it means I can wear trousers for Me-Made-May now! Oh yeah, speaking of MMM, I’m afraid I fell off the photo bandwagon pretty quickly – the boyfriend was away and the photos I attempted to take in the mirror were pretty terrible. I’m still very proudly wearing my me-mades though and to be honest I already showed you nearly all my outfits last week, so I’m probably saving you from me-made boredom. And terrible photos. I’ll do a round-up at some point though and include any outfits that didn’t make it into week 1.

Coral Zig-Zag Moneta and Other Adventures

moneta dress

IMG_8760So this weekend I had a proper sewing session with my good friend Becca. We went to the fabric shop and spent loads of money (if you’re in the Oxford area, you have to check out Masons – they have not one, but THREE shops!), then came back to mine and got out both sewing machines. Becca was the person who first taught me to use a sewing machine but she’s never made clothes before, so the teacher became the student and I helped her make a toile for her first dress.IMG_8736

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The pattern was 1800 by Simplicity and had lots of variations including 3 styles, 3 hip sizes, cup sizes from B to DD AND the usual sizes as well, which was quite scary to wade through! After a small amount of panicking and some guesswork, we cut out a toile in swedish tracing paper – my first experience with this new purchase and I’m suitably impressed, plus I got a discount courtesy of Tilly (thanks Tilly!). IMG_8735

Anyway, despite all the scary variations, the toile was a great fit! It only needed a small bit taking in at the top of the princess seams. Pretty good for a first attempt, don’t you think? I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks. And then borrowing the pattern 😉

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While Becca was sewing away at the toile, I was sewing up my very first Moneta! I’ve never made anything in knit fabric before, so I was very excited to be making this – jersey fabric is just so comfy to wear and this coral pattern is gorgeous. It was also my first try at a Colette pattern (lots of firsts this weekend) and I am now in love with their patterns! They have so many handy tips on their blog, which were invaluable, especially when it came to the clear elastic at the waistband and the hems. 
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Jersey fabric turned out not to be TOO scary to sew with, but I still had a few issues with the neckline stretching out even though I used the IDT system on my sewing machine. I’m hoping a twin needle will reduce this problem next time. The stretchy fabric was obviously a lot more forgiving in the fit department, which was a welcome change, although there was still a little bunching at the back, a common problem I have, so I’ll shorten the back a little next time. IMG_8757
IMG_8764All in all though, I’m super pleased with this dress! It’s a great cheery colour to welcome the summer. Can’t wait to buy more knit fabric so I can make another Moneta and banish the wrinkly necklines for good! I’m planning on making it with the three-quarter length sleeves next time.

One thing I do need to work on is getting better pictures of myself. It’s so hard to get yourself in focus and crop the picture right with a self timer! That will have to be my blog homework.