Sunday, 15 January 2017

Lark sweatshirt

Hello all! Today I have another Lark to share with you. You may think that you have seen this fabric before, and you would be correct. Dad went into the local fabric shop just before Christmas and bought me the same fabric that he did for Christmas last year! I made a pair of trousers from last years fabric, but they never got a lot of wear, so I was glad of another chance to do this fabric justice.
I decided to make a Lark, cropped sweatshirt style with cuffs and a bottom band ending at the waist. The fabric is a woven with a weird amount of lengthways stretch, as opposed to the traditional horizontal stretch and perhaps I was a little optimistic that the lengthways stretch would be enough to make the Lark tee.
It turned out alright I think, for the gamble I took. The sleeves are a bit short and a bit tight, and the band around the waist is just a little too short for these jeans. It might be worth just quickly sewing a smaller seam allowance on the sleeve and ripping off the band and adding a slightly longer one.
I do really like this jumper and I think it would be worth doing the alterations to make sure it gets worn. I can see myself wearing a black shirt with it and I love it with black jeans.
Thanks for reading and to Edward for taking photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 8 January 2017


Hello and a very Happy New Year to you all! Research was part of my dancewear module at uni and I couldn't help but want a tutu after seeing all of the gorgeous ones in my studies. I decided that the romantic tutu's are my favourite. They were popular in the romantic era, hence their name and were cut just above the ankle so that the dancers footwork could be admired.
Luckily my friends were having a fancy dress party for their birthday so I could make my ballerina dream a reality! If I was to make a romantic tutu properly it would be attached to a basque but I wanted mine to wear over the leotard I made last year so I simplified the process a lot.
I ordered 2 metres of tulle from eBay hoping that with a long width there would be enough fabric. This was then cut into 3 equal pieces and sewn into 3 tubes with an opening left at the top of each seam so I could get it on. These tubes were then gathered to my waist measurement and sewn onto a bleached calico waistband which is fastened with a giant snap.
I wasn't at all happy with the fit of the leotard so I made a few drastic alterations. The first was to cut a straight line at the neckline, cutting off the straps which always dug into my arms. The neckline was looking a bit baggy so I zigzagged a piece of foldover elastic down the wrong side of the centre front to ruche it a bit, which I think looks great.
I curved the underarm seam down into the back and used foldover elastic for the straps. The result is a lot more comfortable than the original. Don't look at the finishing on the inside though. That leaves a lot to be desired.
I was really quite happy with the overall effect for the party, but there really aren't enough layers of tulle to make a proper impact. One day I'd like to add at least another 3, or maybe scrap the waistband and do it all properly. It is very hard to find  information on making a proper romantic tutu though. All the tutorials are fashion based because it seems that tutus were all the rage a few years back.
It was very fun to wear, I must admit. An outfit such as this really requires a person to float around with shoulders back!
Thanks for reading, to Beth for letting me borrow her dance tights, to MK for the fabulous party and to Edward for letting me drag him to the woods for photos.
Lauren xx

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

What I made at uni: Dancewear!

Hello all! Today I've got to share with you my latest uni project. We had a week to make a leotard or catsuit and I opted to make a leotard out of this fantastic purple metallic foil with raglan sleeves and a turtle neck.
I started by drafting the leotard block from Winnie Aldrich's patterncutting book, then I adapted the sleeves to raglan sleeves with a dart, which was surprisingly easy to do. To transfer the pieces to the fabric I layered up carbon paper on the bottom, then the fabric, then the pattern pieces on top. The markings were then transferred using a tracing wheel.
The first step after cutting out was to cut out a strip of knit interfacing and fusing it to the centre back to stabilise it ready for the invisible zip.
The invisible zip went in really well. I darted off the end of the zip so it would blend because I didn't have a centre back seam. Then it was a case of sewing everything together for the fitting. Everything was tacked with a 'running stitch' which was a wavy straight stitch which allows the fabric to stretch but is easier to remove than overlocking. The fitting went fairly well and the only thing that we changed was make the sleeve more fitted to the arm.
I then transferred the changes to the pattern and then back to the fabric to ensure the changes were even on each side. I turned the sleeve hems over and topstitched them with a twin needle.  Then it was just a matter or overlocking all the tacked seams together before inserting the elastic. We have an industrial overlocker available to us so I used that. My goodness is it a powerful beast.
The elastic measurement was the front leg measurement -1cm and the back leg measurement -1.5cm added together + 3cm for a 1.5cm crossover  on each side.  Then I pinned it evenly along the leg hole, stitched, turned in and topstitched with the same stitch that I used for tacking earlier. I sampled it with a twin needle but the finish wasn't quite as good.
This seam matching up has to be one of my proudest sewing moments.

I think the only fit issue is the wrinkling at the back, which probably would benefit from a sway back adjustment. Next time I'd pinch out the extra room from the pattern piece.
Overall I really enjoyed this project. It was great to learn how to handle knit fabrics properly, e.g. never press them always steam them. Also, if a seam has stretched out it will quite likely go back into shape with some gentle nudging and a good steam. I think that this has been one of my most accurate makes yet. It makes me very happy that all of the seams match up. Now I've just got to find an occasion to wear it to!
Thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Friday, 16 December 2016

Gingham Dress

Hello all! This months Minerva project is all about the gingham. I originally planned for it to be a shirt but made a last minute decision to turn the fabric into a dress instead. I feel like I haven't made a dress in ages! You can read all about the making and see more pics over at the Minerva blog.

Thanks for reading, to Bethan for pictures and to Minerva for providing the supplies for this project!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 4 December 2016

What I'm wearing 04/12/2016

Hello all! Today I have an outfit of the day for you. A couple of people at Sew Brum asked how wearable the denim jumpsuit I made for the refashioners was for everyday life so I wanted to show you an example of how I wear it and what I pair it with. Today there was a definite chill in the air so I layered it under my Liberty sweater. I think the jumpsuit works fab as trousers. At first I wasn't convinced because they are rather straight legged but I do quite like the nonchalance of it. I rolled them down a bit further today because although I like to wear them quite cropped, I wanted to wear tights underneath as an extra layer. So for now they are rolled just to the top of my boots. With a big coat on top it makes for a very cosy outfit. Now I could do with a nice brown felt hat just to finish the look off.
Thanks very much for reading and to Abby for taking the photos on our lovely walk this morning,
Lauren xx

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Stripey Lark Tee

Hello all! The lovely Lucy at Sew Essential contacted me to offer me some fabric to try out, and I said yes please! I picked the St Tropez jersey in fuchsia and white stripes for the perfect basic tee. Basic, but a fun and warm tee that will be worn all the time.
I thought the Lark tee by Grainline would be the perfect pattern to pair it with, and it was. This is the second Grainline pattern I've used (the other being the Archer) and the first time I've used one in a paper format. It only took an hour to cut out all the pattern pieces from the tissue, fold them down to my size and cut out the fabric, doing as much stripe matching as possible. I appreciated the fact that there were separate pattern pieces for each neckline option, which makes the lines much clearer to see.
Because I put the effort into matching the stripes when cutting out, sewing it up was fairly simple and again only took about an hour. I'm so pleased with how well the sleeves match.
In terms of fitting issues, there are a few. The top is perfectly wearable, but there are definitely alterations to be made before I make it again. You can see below that there's some bunching at the back of the sleeve. Hopefully that can be sorted out by just pinching out some of the pattern piece.
As you can see, I'm pretty pleased with the stripe matching down the side seam, but there is some excess at the bust, which is to be expected because mine is an inch or so smaller than the smallest size of the pattern. I'm not really sure how I'm going to fix this. I could just bring in the top of the side seam a bit, or I could do a small bust adjustment.
Looking at the back I'm thinking that I perhaps have a bit of a swayback issue, which could be resolved by pinching out all of the excess on the pattern piece. The neckband is alright, but I wish I'd matched the stripe at the back!
I sewed it all up on my overlocker while I was home for the weekend, the hems are bondawebbed up, ready to be sewn in place. My overlocker is having issues at the moment. I spent a fair bit getting it fixed in the summer, and as soon as I got it back it wasn't right again, and so all the stitches on this are pulling apart, which is why there are white outlines on all of the seams. I mean, it's holding together but it's not ideal. Sew Essential have a big sale on at the moment and I'm eyeing up this one and this one. Do you have any recommendations?
Fit issues aside, I am very happy with this top. It's one of those items of clothing that you forget you are wearing, it's just that comfy to wear. Now I just need to find a big chunky cardigan to wear over the top, because it's getting chilly now.
Thanks very much for reading, to Sew Essential for the fabric and pattern and to Edward for taking the pictures!
Lauren xx

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Liberty Jumper

Hello all! When I came across this Liberty loop backed jersey on the Minerva Crafts website I knew at once that it would be coming home with me. It's fantastically soft, and the looped back makes it really warm to wear. It had to become a jumper. You can read all about the making process and have a peek at more of Ieuan's fabulous photos over at the Minerva blog now.
 Thanks for reading, to Ieuan for taking the photos and to Minerva for providing the kit for this make!
Lauren xx