Megan

My next sewing adventure was with the Megan dress from Love at First Stitch. I am essentially just working my way through this book and I hope that by the end I will have the confidence to try out patterns from other designers.

I’ve been waiting a little bit to write this post. Firstly, because the finished Megan dress was worn to a wedding recently and I didn’t want anyone to know that I had made it myself as I was hoping someone would compliment my outfit and allow me my first ‘Thanks! I made it myself!’ moment. I am please to say that I was not disappointed. Secondly, because immediately after the wedding I started a new job in a new city and, frankly, I am exhausted!

The Megan dress from Tilly Walnes wonderful book, Love at First Stitch

The Megan dress from Tilly Walnes’ wonderful book, Love at First Stitch

I am, on the whole, happy with my make. I really enjoyed making this dress and as it came together I felt better and better about it. I was so pleased with how I had matched the darts on the skirt and bodice pieces and I really liked the fit. I am still not brave enough to start combining pattern sizes so I just went with one size and was worried that I might come to regret that decision but I haven’t. Perhaps I am still too used to ‘off the peg’ standardised clothes that never quite fit me right?! I like the fact that it looks quite fitted and structured but has a fair bit of ease still.

It isn’t a perfect fit, as the neckline gapes quite a bit, but for a novice I think it is a pretty good fit! I have ordered The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting and I’m hoping it will help me figure out how to identify and fix my fitting issues. We shall see!

Work in progress

Work in progress

I was absolutely in love with this dress and every time I tried it on to check the fit I was more and more thrilled. And then I added the sleeves…

Sleeve with gathering stitches

Sleeve with gathering stitches

I am glad I added them because I have learnt a new skill and will, I hope, be less daunted when I tackle any later projects that have sleeves, but I do not like these sleeves. I was very taken with the dress when it was still sleeveless but, for me, the slightly puffed up nature of these sleeves make me feel broad and bulky. I don’t think they suit me and they aren’t really my style. It was frustrating as I had worked so hard to make the sleeves only to discover that they didn’t look very appealing on me. I may remove them and try to convert the dress to a sleeveless one at a later date.

The finished dress!

The finished dress!

Apologies for the navy and polka dot bra that is clearly visible in the above picture. I couldn’t wait to try it on and didn’t think about my underwear! The below picture was taken at the wedding.

I will definitely make this dress again as I love the shape and if I add pockets (I love practical clothes and wish more came with pockets – adding pockets to anything possible is part of my sewing mission!) I think it could become a work staple. The Miette skirt really proved itself today at my new job – as the newbie it was really handy to be able to carry my notebook and a pencil in those giant front pockets! I think I will be making more of both in the near future but I want to try out all the other patterns in Love at First Stitch first – building up the skills!

I’m excited that I think I will have enough room in my new digs to bring my sewing machine and carry on the adventure.

Megan Wedding Guest

Miette

After I finished my second pair of Margot jammies my order for the Miette skirt pattern by Tilly and the Buttons arrived along with the indigo cotton I wanted to use to make it. Needless to say, I was excited! The sewing odyssey continues!

My concern about the pattern was the tie front on the wraparound skirt. My body proportions mean my waist is not that much narrower than my torso (and not because they are both tiny, alas!) and I was worried that if the waist of the skirt adds bulk I’m not going to feel confident wearing the skirt. I found these pattern hacks on these blogs: Chainstitcher and Lladybird. These skirts are gorgeous! I thought that a few buttons would resolve my concerns so I decided to incorporate them. I’ve tackled buttons on envelope cushion covers before so I felt (fairly!) confident.

Previous projects with buttons - cushion cover and kindle case

Previous projects with buttons – cushion cover and kindle case*

I also had some left over fabric from the Margot trousers so I decided to have a go at giving the skirt a lining. The indigo cotton is a little thin so I was worried it might be see-through in the sunshine and I am a crazy person who likes to dive right in and make things harder for myself so hey, why not?!

On the whole, I am massively happy with the results! Hurrah!

Miette wrap-around skirt by Tilly and the Buttons

Miette wrap-around skirt by Tilly and the Buttons

The edges of the waistband, where I deviated from the pattern by not adding the waist ties, are not the neatest. I realised afterwards how I ought to have finished them for a neater finish. I should have taken the time to think about it and figure out the best solution but I was too excited to finish it so I just did any old thing to fix it in place. Lesson learned!

Miette wraparound skirt with button fastening and lining

Miette wraparound skirt with button fastening and lining

Another lesson was to make sure I really roll the seams to the inside if I’m going to line a pocket like this in a different fabric. I ended up with occasional white lines where the lining peaks out. I still love it though!

Miette pockets

Miette pockets

* Kindle case made from my own hand woven fabric from a weaving experience day, by the way.

Tilly

So, the sewing odyssey begins!

The Guardian article that inspired me to finally dust off (quite literally, I assure you) my languishing sewing machine led me to Tilly and the Buttons. A fantastic blog which has a wealth of guidance for the novice. I had no idea how I would take to sewing and Tilly took all the worry out of it. I spent hours each day reading all her tips for learning to sew and ordered the Miette pattern and some dark blue cotton and, ultimately, I bought her book, Love at First Stitch.

Love_At_First_Stitch_cover_medium

The book teaches you to sew by taking you through a series of increasingly complex (but all beginner!) makes. You can start with a simple Bardot style headband and work your way up to a lined dress.

I read the instructions for the headscarf but I didn’t want to make it. I want to learn but I don’t want to make anything I do not think I would actually wear and the scarf just isn’t my style. I was itching to get making so I started with the second project: the Margot pyjama trousers.

The book arrived really quickly (I ordered the Miette pattern and fabric first, but from a different shop and they took an age to arrive!) and I had no fabric. After a rummage through the flat I found an old table cloth that I didn’t like and got to work!

Tilly and the Buttons Margot PJ trousers, poorly photographed in the wee small hours.

Tilly and the Buttons Margot PJ trousers, poorly photographed in the wee small hours.

I made the Margot trousers in one sitting. That isn’t to say it was quick (I’m sure a more experienced hand could sew this up in a few hours but, alas, not I!) but just that I was determined and sewed into the night. Not my best laid plan as towards the end I did start to lose focus and make mistakes in my bleary eyed and excitable sprint to the finish.

Bed Time!

Bed Time!

The pattern was really easy to follow but I was disappointed to find I had made some mistakes and misunderstood a bit of the description so I decided that I wanted to get this pattern right before I moved on and made a second pair. This time I got to choose the fabric (one of the real delights of hand-making clothes!) and went for a lovely lightweight cotton in a plaid pattern.

Men's Margot

Men’s Margot

I loved working with this fabric, it has such a nice feel to it. I’m really happy with the finished article and I feel confident I can move on to my next pattern.

Onwards!

(Apologies for all the awful pictures! These were taken on my phone in poor light. In hindsight, I wish I’d taken better pictures and perhaps taken a few of the process too. Oh well! We live and learn!)