Friday, 27 February 2015

Your Makes!

Happy Friday, everyone! Tilly is head down working on our next sewing patterns, so it's Laura here today. London has been going clothing crazy during the last few days with London Fashion Week, but we much prefer seeing the handmade fashion you've been making yourself with T&TB pattterns!

This month people have been suffering from Megan madness – we have seen so many great versions of this dress being made! Charlotte loved making herself a new Little Black Dress, and Jemima made the Megan dress her own by lowering the empire waist line and adding a self-drafted collar and button placket. The pattern is included in Tilly's book, Love at First Stitch.

Katie used some swoon-worthy floral Liberty fabric to make her Megan dress. And Jane looks very happy to be wearing her version made with a beautiful swirly print fabric.

The Lilou dress (also from Love At First Stitch) has been getting some major love too. Thouraya has sewn her new favourite dress in a fab arrow print fabric, while Elie’s floral version looks super cool with black tights and boots.

Who would have guessed that this awesome bright red Coco is the first garment Lisa has ever made?! I love how Selmin has used a different colour fabric for the funnel neck and sleeves on her Coco - such an effective idea.

Spring is definitely in the air, and Holly is getting in the spirit with her adorable floral Mimi blouse (pattern in Love at First Stitch). Sylvia has also used a fab flower print for her version, in a gorgeous shade of green. Cute buttons too!

Lottie had her head in the clouds when making herself this fun Clemence skirt (project included in Love at First Stitch). Sarah has chosen some great fabric too – who doesn’t love a bright geometric print? It really stands out when teamed with a black top and tights.

The sleeveless version of the Francoise dress will be great for warmer weather. Ping looks stunning in her printed velvet dress with contrasting collar, and Tabatha was getting into the Valentines Day spirit with her Francoise in a crazily cute heart print. Also, anyone else have major rug envy?!

The Margot pyjamas (pattern included in Love at First Stitch) are just what you need to get cosy in the cold weather. This fab pair sewn by Sara are the first garment she has made – so impressive! Andy is also getting involved in the action, with these super fun pjs made for him by Christina.

Running out of things to team with a classic Breton striped top? What better than a bright yellow denim Delphine skirt, like this awesome one made by Jenna. Sophie has made her Delphine in a super stylish tartan. (Pattern from Love at First Stitch.)

Lindsey has made not one, but two adorable versions of the Mathilde blouse with short sleeves. Emma’s version looks great worn with some jeans – such a pretty, relaxed look.

If you (like me!) are getting major sewing envy right now, there is loads more inspiration in the Maker Galleries on Pinterest - go see what people have been making. If you've sewn something with a Tilly and the Buttons pattern, send us your best photo for the Maker Gallery - you can tweet us, email us, or send us a link through this page (unfortunately we can't pin from Instagram). We can't wait to see!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

I Made a Bra!

If you'd been a fly on the wall during the creation of this - my first homemade bra - you would have heard a repetitive stream of frustrated "doh!", "aaarrrgh!",  and "I'm so stupid!", interjected with the occasional "ooh!" exclamation of delight.

This baby is essentially a wearable toile, a tool in the learning process as I figured out how to make a bra. I don't think I've ever used the seam ripper tool so much in my life, as I sewed things together in the wrong order, used the wrong stitch setting, left holes in places where there really shouldn't be holes, and came to realise what a huge difference one single mm makes when working on such an intricate scale. But when I trimmed off the loose threads and admired my work, I felt that immense sense of pride you get when you make something with your own hands... I made a bra!

This was the result of a course I've been doing at Morley College on lingerie construction. We started with a pattern from the book Bare Essentials: Bras - Construction and Pattern Drafting for Lingerie Design and adapted it to a strapless shape (purely because strapless bras was the focus of the course this term). We made a rough toile and fitted it to our own bodies. It was at that point that I realised I personally don't like the shape of the cups on this pattern. You could call them "vintage", but they just remind me too much of Kermit the frog's mouth. But I persevered with it, the plan being that once I grasp the construction methods I can play around with the seam lines and shaping of the cups, adapting it to something I like better.

I know some of you are looking for lingerie supplies, so here's where all the bits are from:
- turquoise cup lining, black power mesh, underwires, hook & eye closure bought from Sewing Chest
- black stretch lace, stabiliser fabric, underwire casing and two different types of lingerie elastic from Freya (thanks, Freya!)
- satin-covered boning bought from Minerva
- padding scrounged off Carol at Morley College.

I enjoyed learning a new skill so much that I've signed up to the next six weeks of the course too. We're going to do moulded cups next, and I'm going to ask if I can go off piste and make a bra with straps. I can't wait!

Have you learnt any exciting new sewing skills lately?

Friday, 20 February 2015

Stash Busting (and a New Sewing Magazine)

Guys, my fabric stash is out of control! I can't fit any more Expedits - sorry, Kallaxes - in my world, so I fear it's the excess fabric that needs to go. Plus I've finally admitted to myself that I won't be able to sew through it all in this lifetime. I know.

I'm going to have a serious sort out of my stash in the next few weeks and am thinking of holding a sale of the bigger pieces on Instagram (or maybe the blog?) at some point - so watch this space if you're interested in taking some of it off my hands. I haven't held an online fabric sale before so if you have any tips, I'm all ears...

What do you do when you have too much fabric in your life? I asked this question on Instagram a few weeks ago while writing my column for new magazine Simply Sewing - thanks so much to everyone who contributed ideas for using up fabric, from making bias tape to pin cushions. 

Have you seen Simply Sewing magazine? It was a gamble signing up to write a column for a mag that I hadn't seen before, but I'm really impressed with the first issue. It's published by the same people as Mollie Makes, and features bright, modern colours and great styling. There's a whole ton of useful information and inspiring sewing ideas inside, from a guide to buying a sewing machine, to refashioning projects such as a pashmina-to-top tute from Portia and a homemade hot water bottle cover (I'm definitely making one of those!), to a hand embroidery 101, and garment projects such as a downloadable dress pattern from Lauren's book and a printed Japanese pattern for a child's dress.

It was sad to see both Crafty and Cloth magazine fold, so I'm hoping that the emergence of a new sewing magazine - and one that features dressmaking at that - is a positive sign about the growth of DIY fashion. The more we can encourage new people to get into sewing, the better :)

Bon weekend, tout le monde!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric

The Great British Sewing Bee is back! And with it the third tie-in book - this time written by Claire-Louise Hardie, the sewing producer of the show who also runs sewing school The Thrifty Stitcher. Wanna see inside? Spoiler alert - the book features projects from the series, so if you would like to keep the contestants' makes a surprise, best stop reading...

Still here? Okay, let's take a look. The book is a hefty hardback, accompanied by a pack of printed patterns. It begins with some sewing basics, followed by four chapters divided up by fabric type - cottons, wool and other animal fibres (leather and silk), stretch fabrics, and luxury fabrics (such as lace, satin and tweed). Each section starts with a glossary of those kinds of fabrics, some tips on working with them, and even a bit of history on their origin - the series is on the BBC, after all!

I really like the idea of breaking the book up by fabric type, as it not only helps stitchers to understand the impact that fabric choice makes on a finished project, but it might also encourage people to branch out and work with materials they haven't tried before. I'm definitely feeling inspired to try some of the tips and projects - and on that note...

The projects! While the book is very text-heavy, it also includes a ton of garment projects for women, men and kiddos - some made from the patterns included, others with instructions for drafting your own, plus a few variations. There are seven women's sizes included (UK 8-20), six men's sizes and the range of children's sizes differ between the patterns.

Obviously being a mainstream BBC TV show the book is aiming to appeal to a wide target audience, and it covers a lot of ground, from simple skirts to a leather jacket (omigawd I can't wait to see that episode!). While on the downside there may be only a couple of things in here that suit your particular taste, on the plus side there is, as they say, something for everyone. If you're looking to sew for your family, then this could be a great resource for you, as you get a ton of patterns for the price of a book.

I haven't tried the projects yet myself as the book just arrived yesterday (and because hello project backlog), but I've got my eye on the jumpsuit and casual trousers variation for Summer. And I might have to make the elephant costume for a random child - did you see that episode? Awwww!

The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric comes out at the end of February and is available for pre-order now.

Book c/o Quadrille. Opinions my own.