In progress: the maid of honour dress

Every now and then, you get to sew something a bit special.

A couple of weeks ago I got a text from my buddy Tom telling me that he and his fiance Karl had set a date for their wedding. I did a little dance, told him I’d definitely be there and that I couldn’t wait to make a dress for it. To which he answered: “Well, you might have to think about coordinating colours because I was wondering if you would be my maid of honour?”

I did a little scream, scared my housemates, danced up and down the stairs… and then told him OF COURSE I BLOODY WOULD.

Said wedding is now just under a month away, so it’s been full-speed ahead on the dress. It took me the longest time to decide what I wanted to do. I had hoped to do something akin to Gertie’s recital dress or   , especially when I found the perfect burgundy polka dot flocked tulle. In the end, I’ve stuck with a strapless number, using the strapless party dress from Gertie’s book.

Strapless dresses being what they are, I wanted to make sure the bodice would fit me so I used it as an excuse to make ANOTHER dress from the pattern with a slimmer skirt. Hey, you can’t have enough floral numbers in your wardrobe right? I wore it out the other night and I can confirm: it fits. And it stays up. Hurrah! I’ll post more details about the construction in a later post.

I’m working on the circle skirt right now and will be sure to update you once it’s all done. In the mean time, I wrote about sewing for the Guardian’s Live Better network today! It’s been a sewing-heavy month for us – earlier this month, I got to write about Me Made May. Yay sewing!

What’s on your sewing table right now?

Me Made May ’14 so far

I can’t believe we’re 13 days into May already! Time’s going so quickly…

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If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you may not have seen my updates from Me Made May so far, so here’s a quick collage of what’s gone on outfit-wise.

What have I learnt so far? Despite saying it almost every year, I really don’t own a great deal of me-made basics. Most of my basic items were either bought before I began the pledge or are second-hand. It’s partly because basic items don’t feel as fun to sew, perhaps? If anyone can recommend some great basic sewing patterns in the comments below, that would be great!

Also finished a new skirt today, hurrah! Though I did manage to stab myself with the seam ripper. Boo.

How’s Me Made May going for everyone else? And in case you missed it, I wrote a blog post for work about the challenge. You can check it out here.

Me Made May ’14 – bring it on

OH HELLO LONG TIME NO SEE

So remember how 2014 was going to be this super productive year of sewing and blogging? So much for that! Turns out moving to London takes a bit more adjustment than I’d thought. But hey, there’s nothing better than a cheeky challenge to get back in the saddle…

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I, Elena of Seamless, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear only me-made and second-hand clothing (excluding underwear and coats) each day for the duration of May 2014.

It’s not too different from my Me Made May challenge way back in 2012 – being as I didn’t do too well last year, I thought going back to the basics would work best. I’m not adding any extra sewing challenges on top this time because I’ve got quite a big project in the works which needs finishing this month. More on that later…

Want to follow my updates? I’ll be tweeting, instagramming and all that lark using the hashtag #mmmay14. Make sure you check out the Flickr group for everyone’s updates. Happy Me-Made-May!

Sewing sequins – some inspiration

With the festive season over and done with, you’d think I’d missed the boat on the sequin front – but there’s nothing wrong with a spot of glitz to kick off the first month of the New Year.

As I mentioned last time, I’m trying to concentrate on one of my Can’t Jar entries a month. I’ve never sewn sequins before and I’m currently without a sewing machine, so it seemed like the perfect place to start.

It can be fiddly work for sure, but, as you’ll see from some of these projects, the results are well worth the effort. I’ve gathered five sequin tutorials from around the web

Sequin clutch

This is definitely one you’ll need to set a bit of time aside for, as well as about 40 yards of sequins! Again, no sewing machine needed here right until the end when you put all the pieces together. Kris from How Did You Make This has a great tutorial for this evening clutch bag here.

Paillette sequin collar

Really simple idea from A Pair & A Spare to update a round neckline. Geneva added paillette sequins to the neckline of a refashioned white dress. Best of all, you won’t need a sewing machine at all. But if you do have one handy – why not make a version of this BurdaStyle peplum top with the embellished neckline?

Embellished headpiece

Embellished headpiece | Everything Oz/Mollie Makes

Embellished headpiece | Everything Oz/Mollie Makes

Excuse the dodgy picture on this one, as it’s actually from issue twenty of Mollie Makes magazine! This hair clip is made from sequins, beads, gems and stones with the starbust design sewn onto sinamay in an embroidery hoop. It’s from Everything Oz by Christine Leech and Hannah Read-Baldrey, which you can get here.

Sequinned shoe clips

How cute are these little bow clips?! They’re pretty easy to make too. Alternatively, there’s a tutorial here for a pair of heart-shaped sequin shoe clips, if those should take your fancy.

DIY Sequin Maxi Skirt

Being the shortarse I am, I’m not sure I could pull this one off, though I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who could rock a full-length sequin skirt. This YouTube tutorial is definitely for you.

Any of you spotted some good sequin tutorials? Or have you tried sewing with them? Do let me know in the comments below.

Happy New Year, folks!

Can you believe it’s 2014 already?

I’m feeling quite a bit worse for wear today after one too many glasses of champagne yesterday, but I’m extremely excited about this year. 2013 was a bit of a mixed bag in all – and when it comes to sewing, it slowed down a little by the end.

Hopefully, that won’t be the case this year. I’ve got a few challenges going for 2014, which you can find full details of here. But the most important one you guys should know about is as follows:

Earlier this year I popped a list of all those projects I’ve passed up into a fancy jar, which currently gathers dust on my bedside table. For each month of 2014, I’ll take a Can’t out of the jar and get it done, once and for all. Some things, like a coat for example, will take up the whole month with just one project while others can comprise of lots of different ones. I want to push the boundaries of what I can sew by getting out of my comfort zone. Should be fun!

This month, it’s all about sequins. I’ve never sewn sequinned embellishments and I’ve never used sequin fabric – so this could either be an awesome new skill or a recipe for disaster. I’ll be posting some inspiration for sequinned projects this month – hopefully ones which can travel, as I’ll be moving to London in a week and I’ll need something I can stitch on the move!

For now, I’ve got a pair of trousers almost finished and I’m in dire need of a long snooze…

And of course, if you’re stuck for a New Year’s resolution – you can always take on the Seamless Pledge!

The sheer madness of Boxing Day sales

I swear, once upon a time Boxing Day activities were limited to cold meats and watching telly.

Nowadays, it’s the day when retailers kick off their bargain sales. In my hometown of Cardiff, people queued up from as early as midnight to try and nab some discounts in Next, a popular clothing chain. Basically, if you’ve never been out for the Boxing Day sales, it’s a little bit like the stampede part in the Lion King:

stampede

 

Trust me – there’s not much a shopaholic Brit loves more than a bargain. Of course, it’s not always cut-price clothes on offer – anything from toys to gadgets to food end up in the Boxing Day sales. The day is often hailed as a chance for retailers to claw back from a disappointing run-up to Christmas.

I was working today, which meant the inevitable Boxing Day chat with some of Cardiff’s intrepid shoppers. To be fair, it wasn’t nearly as busy as I thought it would be, especially after seeing the pictures of the humongous queues. What most shoppers had in common though were oodles of bags, filled to the brim with Boxing Day goodies.

When you’re not buying any clothes at all, or trying to cut down on your shopping habits, Boxing Day sales can prove a little tough to handle. Especially when everyone else is rooting through the rails at New Look or Topshop in hunt of the best bargains. The answer is simple, of course: stay away! And anyway, at least it means you won’t be stuck in the queues.

On the plus side, sometimes you’ll find your favourite fabric shops and haberdasheries are also having a post-Christmas sale. John Lewis often has discounted fabrics (they weren’t open today in Cardiff – their sale starts tomorrow), for example.

I hope you’re all having a great festive period – truth be told, I wrote this really quickly just to get back into the swing of post-work blogging. If I’m completely honest, the last few months haven’t been so brilliant, meaning I’ve let a lot of my hobbies slide.

But! Things are definitely looking up and I’ve got a scheme to make sure I don’t lapse in 2014.

Merry Christmas everyone!

(I sent that Lion King GIF to our online editor at work today after I’d been out vox-popping shoppers for the paper – so of course, we put together The 9 stages of the Boxing Day sales as told by the Lion King. JUST BECAUSE WE COULD)

We Can Sew It – Trouser fitting has got me stumped

Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve had a chance to update, hasn’t it?

It’s also been pretty slow on the sewing front.

I finally got around to starting my Clover muslin this week and am already a little bit stumped.

So can you see those creases at the front of the trousers going towards the crotch area?

I have no idea what causes those, or how you’d sort them out!

Anyone got any ideas?

(I promise a lengthier update soon…)

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