Friday, 13 December 2013

A Red Washi Dress

Su Sews So So Red Washi Dress 2

Yeay - a newly finished project to share on the blog, finally! 

As I suggested in a previous blog post I have been thinking about making the Washi Dress by Made By Rae as it seemed to be a flattering yet relaxed dress which is just what I have been looking for (see why in this post). 

This is quite a simple pattern with a fitted, empire line bodice, a pleated skirt, inseam pockets and a shirred back. The shirred back is great as it means you don't have to worry about sewing closures (such as a zip or buttons) so it's a good project for beginners or for those looking for a quick sewing fix! The Empire line has the potential to make a dress look like its Maternity Wear, but on this occasion I think it's slim fitting enough to hide your muffin-top without people wondering if you may have an announcement to make!

The pattern also comes with a cute option to cut a key-hole neckline, which on this occasion I decided to go for. A little bit tricky, but I thought since my dress was going to be a solid colour it would add a nice detail. Speaking of which, the dress is made out of a burnt red linen-cotton blend that I have had in my stash FOR AGES! The truth is that I bought it on-line with the plans of making a shirt dress out of it. But when it arrived it was heavier and had a different drape to what I had imagined and so it got put aside until i could think of what to use it for. It's so nice to finally put it to good use, plus I still have some left over which I think might be enough for a skirt.

Su Sews So So Red Washi Dress 1

I didn't make a muslin for this, partly because I couldn't be bothered to be honest and partly because there's not a lot to fit, and the shirred back would provide some ease. Turns out that my bust darts are too high, as is the empire line. But it's not anything major, and if you don't sew you don't notice it!

The cotton-linen fabric is actually really perfect for this dress, although it does crease a lot, as linen tends to do. But that doesn't really bother me very much. It's a great dress for layering up in Autumn/Winter, as I've done in the above photos with a polo neck, jeggings and boots, but I think it will also lend it's self well to Spring/Summer too.

Su Sews So So Red Washi Dress 3

I think this is turning into one of my favourite makes as I have worn it repeatedly and it has been through the wash several times already. I'm lucky that I don't have a very formal dress code in work which means this has been in high rotation and I am keen to make more!

I am the Queen of Cardi's when it comes to Autumn/Winter work attire, mainly because our work heating is so unpredictable, so I actually tend to wear this layered with a cardi rather than with a polo neck underneath (unless it's really cold!). So here are a few renditions:

Su Sews So So Red Washi with cardis

Oh, I also mentioned in a previous post that I was going to start recording how much each project cost me, so here's the low down:

Washi Dress Pattern - £10
Red Fabric (I probably used about 2m from the 3m that I had) - £6
Thread - £0.70
Shirring Elastic (I had some in my stash but found some in red!) - £1
Interfacing  - £0 (had some in my stash, and I used so little it would be very hard to work out the value used!)
Bias Binding for arm holes - £1

Total: £18.70

In summary - BARGAIN!  Totally worth it as I have been wearing it non-stop!

So, are you tempted to try out the Washi Dress for yourself? Or perhaps you have already made it? I would highly recommend it!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

DIY I Do : Decor, Quotes and Fun for our Guests

RS wedding 180

Here's a fun Wedding detail that Robin and I put together for our guests. We all know that the wait between ceremony and dinner can be quite long for the guests so I thought it would be sweet to frame love, marriage, friendship quotes and scatter them around the venue. The guests could then come upon them (or hunt them out if they wished!) and try and guess who said each quote. Answers were written on the backs. 

We had great fun searching for appropriate quotes and gathered up a collection of both romantic and funny (about 20 in total I think). I knew Robin wouldn't be too keen on the overly soppy quotes so I had to keep it balanced…I even managed to include a quote from Star Wars! The frames were all sourced from car boot sales and then painted white, which made this a very frugal Wedding decoration/game (always a bonus!).

RS wedding 181Audrey Hepburn

RS wedding 465Winnie The Pooh

RS wedding 450Bob Marley - read the full quote here

I also thought it would be fun to create a hashtag for our Wedding so that friends and family could share their photos of the day on Instagram. So I made a couple of little signs for it: 

RS wedding 464

However…my top tip is to check that your venue either has WIFI or is within signal range. Our lovely country Manor House was in the middle of nowhere so no one could get the internet!! Whoops!!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Would you? Could you?

I wasn’t going to post today (3 posts in 3 days from me…what’s going on?!), but I have just seen this on Design Sponge and I HAD to share it would you guys!

Grace has shared the most fabulous makeover by Cori Kindred who has covered a retro typewriter in fabric (click the photo for more). As soon as I saw it my heart skipped a beat (come on, we all love fabric don’t we?!) and I thought… could I do that to my sewing machine??!!!

It sounds like quite a tricky, fiddly task, but just imagine swathing your sewing machine in your most favourite fabric…my only problem would be having to choose which fabric to use!

So what about you, could you be tempted?

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Trend Spotting : The Dropped Waist

I think we would all agree that at some point along the journey of sewing your own clothes you start to experience a sense of freedom and power against the RTW world – you realise that you don’t have to be tied down by current trends and fashion. You can choose whatever style, fabric and colour you like (if you can find it in the fabric shop that is, that’s another story!)! Although that is true, I still see current trends and fashions creeping into the sewing world. To be honest it would be hard for it not to, fashion tends to recycle itself. I can remember countless outfits when I was growing up that my Mum would pass comment on to say she wore it when it was first in fashion!

Anyway, all this is to say that over the last few years I have seen the twinkle of a trend and thought to myself, “oh I recon that’s going to be big” (either in the RTW world or the sewing blog world) – but I’ve never bothered to blog about it. Some examples of this are scalloped edges, peplums, coloured lace dresses, peter-pan collars…the list goes on. So  instead of just letting them pass by, I thought I would share my thoughts on the blog.

Todays trend may not necessarily be my favourite trend ever, but I’ve been seeing it pop up a lot and I have a feeling we may be seeing a fair bit more of it next year, both in the shops and perhaps on sewing blogs: The Dropped Waist. My guess is this trend is probably being inspired by the recent Downton Abbey Flapper style (it certainly wouldn’t be the first time Downton has influenced fashion), or maybe it’s a development from the peplum, which evolved into the hem flounce and is now a dropped waist? Perhaps a little bit of both.

It can be a hard look to carry off but can be done beautifully. Simple and chic it can be dressed up or dressed down:



Or horrendously:


Sorry VB, that’s just wrong.

But asides from the Fashion World, I’ve spotted the dropped waist on a number of commercial sewing patterns as well:


And more excitingly (because we all know we love and want to support them), the independent designers have been giving their own spin on this trend too:



So what to you think? Do you like this style? Are you tempted to whip up a drop waisted dress?

Personally, although I think it would actually fit in quite well with my search for forgiving patterns, I don’t know if I’m ready to jump on this wagon just yet…


*Click images for links

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A Very Seasonal Cape

Su Sews SoSo Red Cape 2

Well this post is long overdue. I actually made this cape last year but never managed to get any decent shots of it at the time, and it seemed wrong to blog about it in Summer, so I've been keeping it for more Wintery weather.

This is a fun little wool cape, made from New Look pattern 6916, which unfortunately seems to be out of print now, but the envelope looks like this:


It's a very easy make which requires very little fitting (obviously), but it took my some time to complete due to my inability to choose a suitable lining. When I initially bought the red wool (which once I had laid eyes on I couldn't let go off - I just love the shade of this red!) I decided I wanted to have a fun, playful lining and ended up buying a bright turquoise Chinese brocade. The woman in the shop was giving me a bit of an odd look while cutting it for me, but I just thought her 'old' and not quirky enough to appreciate just how fabulous this was going to end up. It wasn't until I had the the red and blue pinned and ready to sew together did I realise that I was making myself a Superman cape!!! Um….no. There is quirky, and then there is just wrong.

Su Sews SoSo Red Cape 1

So the beautiful red wool languished at the bottom of my unfinished pile while I searched and searched for the right lining. After much thought and deliberation I decided that a tartan would be the perfect lining and ended up buying some online. Unfortunately once it arrived, it was rather heavy and, to be honest, a bit too much like a picnic rug. So again the red wool waited. (By the way - said picnic rug should hopefully be appear on the blog soon in another post!).

Su Sews So So Cape Collage 2

Finally I found the PERFECT lining, and on sale in my local fabric shop too! A lovely black, white and grey tartan with a little line of the perfect shade of red running through it. It was destiny! I didn't have enough fabric to even attempt to match the tartan, and to be honest even if I did I think it would have been near impossible anyway. I had hopped that the cape would be reversible and I would get a nice tartan cape out of this, but the tartan fabric has a bit of strange wrinkle to it due to a metallic thread that runs through it, so it doesn't really work for the outer layer. Never mind!

Su Sews So So Red Cape Collage 1

The cape is actually designed with a mandarin collar (see picture on left above), but I had a detachable faux fur collar in my wardrobe and when I put the two together it was a match made in Christmas heaven!!  For the closure, I sewed on two twine frogs  & wooden toggles.

Su Sews SoSo Red Cape 3

The cape, as most capes go, probably isn't the most convenient piece out outwear I own (where do you put your arms and how do you carry your handbag???), but with the collar on it's good fun and perfect for getting into the spirit of the season with a trip to the Christmas Market:

IMG 0261

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