Sometimes I wonder if sewists have a hive mind. Judging by how many black funnel-necked versions of Tilly’s fabulous Coco pattern there have been – evidence is stacked in favour.
It’s a trend I’m happy to follow although to be fair, this version was made back in January as a pattern tester. I needed fabric quick and a week day visit up to Walthamstow yeilded this sturdy black double-knit. The stretch however was minimal so I made a full bust adjustment, creating a side seam dart.
At first I was hesitant to go with the this version, big busts and high necks are a challenging look to pull off. However, I was quickly won over by the width of the collar and it’s had more than it’s fair share of wear.
It’s a lovely quick and rewarding sew and I’m another happy member of the Coco Club.
I love a pretty head scarf but they never stay on so I had to get a bit creative. A quick google bought up the suggestion of adding wire to one of the edges so it would hold shape and what do you know? It totally worked!
To start with I made a pattern piece 5cm wide x 85cm long and added a 1cm seam allowance to all the edges as seen in step 1.
Once I was happy with the shape I cut 2 copies of it from quilting cotton, joining them right sides together.
Inserting the wire was quite fidly and I freely admit to getting frustrated although I got there in the end. If you have better suggestions please do share them in the comments!
Let’s start with a disclaimer – that sounds fun doesn’t it.
Tilly is someone I consider a dear friend. Like many, I first got to know her through her gorgeous blog and then in London sewing meet-ups. She is one of the most generous, helpful, energetic and enthusiastic ambassadors for sewing there is and so I was delighted to recieve her new book Love At First Stitch courtesy of Love Sewing to participate in a blog tour.
But I also think it’s important to be honest, and honestly, I was a little nervous.
See Tilly and I are not exactly the same size:
Could a pint-sized pattern maker really design something to fit such a different body shape?
First things first – the book itself is gorgeous. It is graphic and modern and a mix a straightforward, easily explained info combined with the best of Tilly’s blog and pattern line.
Each chapter is shaped around a project so right from the start you are focussed on making. The sizes range from a Bust-Waist-Hip of 30-24-33in through to 44-38-47in.
You are taken through the project step-by-step with very clear photo illlustrated instructions. The key steps are displayed on a solid yellow background so if you already sew you can just focus on the bits you need. As a new technique is introduced it is shown in detail against a grided background. The best part here is that unlike many sewing books, techniques are introduced as they are needed so as not to overwhelm the learner.
For each pattern, Tilly provides two variations so you can try different looks. For the Lilou dress, there are even instructions on how to add a scallopped neckline which you might remember from one of Tilly’s GBSB projects.
Lastly each chapter has a section on making sewing into a lifestyle – including what to do in a fabric shop – quite intimidating if you’re a begginer!
It’s a book that balances the written with the visual extremely well and there are loads of pictures along the way but I wanted a better idea of what the designs would look like on me and other curvier sewing peeps. In the interests of any plus size folks on the fence, here’s how they look.
Clemence gives us a gathered waist skirt. Coco isn’t in the book but how cute do they look together?
Lilou is the most complex project in the book with a fitted bodice and pleated skirt and is one of two dresses. You can see Megan at the top of the page.
And here is Delphine and my favourite of all the Mimi blouse – especially after catching sight of Katie’s version at the book launch.
So there you have it – have I tempted any of my fellow curvy sewers? Want to see more – there’ll be a Brigitte tutorial and a Megan dress coming up – I’m putting my Me Made May pledge to work. Watch this space.
Thanks again to Love Sewing Magazine for including me on the tour. You can see the other tour posts below:
Love At First Stitch is available from Tilly’s shop (signed copy!), Book Depository (free international shipping!!), and Amazon. Or you can get it free for a limited time by subscribing to Love Sewing Magazine.
May is a month of celebrating who we are as a community and what we do. Zoe’s Me Made May challenge is arguably the biggest event on the sewing blogger’s calendar and for years we have proudly paraded our self stitchery and dutifully documented our daily outfits. I have learned so much from participating (May 2013 // September 2011). Wearing handmade is no longer an Event with a capital E, waiting for someone to point out that wonky hem or mismatched seam. This confidence came from challenging my comfort zone. Now a days, you could ask me if I made what I was wearing on any given day and I’d probably have to look down and check because there are no longer two parts to my wardrobe.
And so with this in mind, I went back and forth on whether to participate this year – do I need to be taking selfies every day this month?
But here’s the thing – Zoe is always the first person to point out that taking photos is the least important, least interesting, least manadatory part of the month.
The point is to celebrate and challenge yourself into living a more me-made life and for many people wearing what they make is the biggest part of that. For me it’s not.
My biggest challenge in the last couple of years has been the actual me-making bit. I haven’t figured out a smooth schedule, an easy managable way to incorporate this hobby into a habit when the rest of life gets in the way. Instead I’ll sew nothing for a few months, then crank out three garments in a week. Hi my name is Alana, and I am a binge sew-er.
So I am embracing Me-Made-May a little differently but with open arms. Here is my pledge:
“I, Alana of Lazy Stitching, pledge to sit at my damn sewing table and sew for 20 minutes every day in May.”
Back again with a post I procrastinated over for a few months. Not that there’s anything wrong with this dress – it’s just I’m still struggling to find somewhere to take photos in my flat. The light of an English winter being what it is I’ve pushed the exposure on these pretty high to see the details and it’s less than ideal, gah. The photo situation is a work in progress but I have a couple of things still to try.
Anyways, this is of course the Sewaholic Saltspring pattern sewn in drapey jersey knit fabric. I actually completed this one before going on to the Salt-fall longsleeved variation – as you can see it’s not quite in season.
To be honest, the other reason I was hesistant to post this one, is because there is not much to really say about it. I followed the pattern as written and from memory I didn’t make any alterations. I must say it’s a super easy dress to fit due to the elastic waist and would be ideal if you had to make something for a friend as the measurements don’t need to be so precise.
In the end I figured it’s always nice to be able to see patterns on different body shapes so while this isn’t anything new it’s nice to have in the archives.
I promise something more exciting for next time! I had a lovely time catching up with new and old friends on Goldhawk Road yesterday so the motivation is revving up.
i forgot to mention in my last post a new machine had joined the family and at the time of purchase I went a bit foot crazy and added some useful (according to le internet anyway) ones to my stash. Then followed much procrastination about actually using them, until a project came my way to utilise them all. May I present not just a muslin of Colette Patterns’ Hawthorn but also a modern kind of sampler, a chance to try a few new things without worrying about the outcome.
At least mostly this is the Hawthorn V.1 but sleevless. Except that I started with a self-drafted block I’m working on which went alternatly brilliantly and horrendous so I don’t think I’m ready to share that process here. Bottomline, The peplum, collar and neckline are all from the Hawthorn but bodice front and back are from a custom block and it’s most noticeable where the shoulders of my block are quite a bit narrower than the pattern is designed.
The Fabric: Yup – totally style-stakled Roisin for this one. After seeing her gorgeous BHL Anna dress I snuck along to Goldhawk Road for some of these lovely swimming ladies, and I heard some twitter talk that Classic Textiles might still have some in stock, is that right?
New Skills: The Footloose Collection
Lessons I learned in no particular order: Don’t attempt the rolled hem when you’re tired – getting the initial roll happening will make you a little nuts and a lot frustrated, the bottonhole foot needs a lever pulled down from the top of your machine or it won’t go, lower the feed dogs when you use the button foot and lastly…. I wish I’d got all of these sooner!
Oh and one last toy – Karen and I must have been on the same page because one of these got used as well:
Favourite Features: I do love those ladies in their swimming caps
Changes for Next Time: Can I be honest? For all the fun I had in making this top (just call me Q) I feel a little meh, about the resulting garment and I don’t know that there will be a next-time. I like it but just not on me, ya know?
First Worn: To work where I promptly spilled coffee all over it so maybe it’s a sign.
Contrary to what actually makes it to the blog, I have been sewing in the few moments I can grab around work and after my BHL Anna Dress I continued the maxi momentum with a full length knit Saltspring dress (which is languishing in the to be photographed pile). This pattern is everything lovely about Tasia’s designs – deceptively simple, beautifully cut and cleverly designed but it’s very much a summer dress with it’s drapey top and shoestring straps and damnit I wanted these same things going into Autumn so sleeves were needed.
Enter Sewaholic Pattern’s much loved basic the Renfrew (also made and not yet blogged).
Size +Alterations: I started with a size 16 in both patterns then overlapped the pattern pieces to see how they interacted together.
You can see that the the bodice front of the saltspring dress is longer than the bodice front lining and that it has been slashed and spread not just lengthened at the bottom edge.
Looking at the back view of the saltspring and renfrew together the hardest part was deciding where to align them. Because I was using a knit, I could eliminate the zipper and cut the back on the fold so I started by overlapping the centre back of each piece. Beyond that I just estimated where the waist would fall on each piece which happened to be between the lengthen/shorten lines on each piece so that’s what I went with.
Straight away you can see the saltspring piece is much wider so I started by tracing the renfrew neckline and armscye then merged into the saltspring for the side seam and the hem. I did have to go back and smooth the curve of the side seam but it was pretty straight forward.
I had to do this for the front bodice, front lining, back bodice and back lining. The skirt pieces are from the salt spring and the sleeves are from renfrew.
Other changes – I made a 1.5 inch FBA, made the neckline 2 inches lower at the front grading to a half inch wider at the shoulders.
The Fabric: 2.5 metres of Cotton Jersey from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road @ £3.50 per meter.
Construction: Between you and me I kind of winged the construction but as best I can remember:
Bodice front to bodice back at the shoulders and side seams
Repeat with bodice front and back lining
With wrong sides together, basted bodice to lining at armscye and hem (allowing the bodice to bag out).
Sew sleeve seam
Sew sleeve cuff and attach as per Renfrew instructions
Insert the sleeve
Attach the neckband as per Renfrew instructions
Continue as per Saltspring instructions
Time to Make: One afternoon for altering the pattern pieces and another for sewing.
Favourite Features: It’s not so much a favourite feature but this is definitely super comfortable which is exactly what I needed. You know those pieces that feel like pajamas but don’t necessarily look it.Changes for Next Time: Definitely need more length in both the bodice and the skirt. I’m 5 foot 9 and generally I don’t have to make any adjustment for my height but I definitely noticed it here. You can see at the back that the elasticated waist doesn’t have as much blousing because I keep pulling it down. Next time I would add maybe 2 inches to the bodice pieces by slashing and spreading and 3 inches at the skirt hem.