So, having decided I was going to participate in The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month, the first three weeks I was either a) too busy, b) too sore, or c) too busy recovering from sore to actually sew. The first week my partner was sick so I had to look after him, the second week I was sick and had to stay in bed (back injuries are AWFUL), and the third week was recovering from both those weeks!
When looking for a company which I would call myself a fangirl of, there was only one company that sprang to mind. Lekala.
I adore their patterns. Their designs are a real mix of modern and traditional - I know I could find a fantastic structured blazer and a really traditional one from the same store, which is a big pull for me. I've got a multitude of different styles, and for me Lekala is a one stop pattern shop.
The fact they do custom sizes is also a big, big draw for me. Not just because you can customise the sizes of the big three, but also because you can say you have a narrower back and wider chest/bust, long arms, short torso, everything. Which benefits everyone, not just us plus-size gals! I have friends of all kinds of shapes, and I always recommend Lekala to them because there is, in no uncertain terms, something for everyone.
And finally, the price. $2.49 per pattern. And 10% off if you are a registered member. Or buy a bundle deal - 5 patterns for $9.99? That's a free pattern! Heck, that's not even ONE pattern from any of the big companies, and would normally only cover one or two patterns from an indie designer.
I also get special glee from some of the art used to show the patterns - I'd swear it's a picture show for BtVS!
Anyway, Lekala has a strong place in my sewing world, and I can't wait to sew up an Indie Fangirl: Level Ultimate dedicated to them. At this point, I'm aiming for a skirt, a top (a KNIT TOP! We're going all out!), and a blazer. I'm in the applying for jobs part of life, and having a good three piece 'suit' that I can wear to an interview seems a good start. 'Cause those things are expensive to buy RTW! I also have two dresses I want to make up, so we'll see what happens over the week!
I'll be back with updates of my progress, and a link to The Monthly Stitch post once I've made it!
But I am truly overwhelmed and ecstatic to have won - I adored the dress I made, and had a whole lot of fun looking through all the other entries. Many, many thanks go to Mari and all the other amazing people who organised, set prizes, and managed blog posts for/about the month.
I'll do individual posts on what I end up making with the patterns/prizes I received - I have a LOT of plans!
Recently Rochelle over at Lucky Lucille made a post on Wardrobe and Sewing Epiphanies which struct me rather a lot. I rather do have a habit of sewing items which I, in the end, do not wear as often as I would like. This is what I wish I wore on a daily basis: (And yes, I have discovered the awesomeness of Polyvore, I feel very clever!)
As you can see, my actual everyday wardrobe is considerably different to what I wish I wore, and following on from that, it is very different to what I sew. Of all the things I have sewn in the last few months, the one garment that I wear most often is my jeans which I made for SWAP2014. I wear these near constantly. After that, it's the odd button up shirt I've made. But to be honest, a lot of what I sew I don't wear often. I make dresses which I adore, but they are most often only dragged out for special occassions - dates, or family dinners.
Having read Rochelle's post, I decided that I need to re-evaluate my sewing habits. Because I don't think I'll actually be able to change my wardrobe habits. Firstly, I need to make more jeans/slim pants, as I wear them constantly. They may not be pretty and patterned like my dresses, but at least I wear them.
And I want to get over my fear of sewing knits. I know it is something I have waxed lyrical about this more than once, but I am actually doing it this time. I have a couple of patterns to try out, and some inexpensive fabrics to use as test subjects. I really want to start making things which I will actually wear, and since comfortable tees are generally what I gravitate towards, they are going to be where I start. I am still somewhat concerned by sewing knits without a serger, but I am sure I will muddle through.
Hopefully in not too long a time, I will have a chance to show some of them off!
So, yes, my second Anna is finished. And in the nick of time!
You'll have to excuse my unique posing ability - I was really excited about this dress and it made it quite hard to keep still while photo taking was happening! (That, and it was like 8degC outside, so I was FREEZING and so was my camera person)
I really adore how this Anna turned out. When I read the challenge was Dressed To The Nines, I knew two things - one was that this dress would be floor length, and the other was that it would be white/cream. Because I have a tendency to over dress some what, I wanted something which I would call dressed up.
I went with the BHL Anna dress again because I adore it a a pattern. It fits me well, and I can get it together without too many rereads of the instructions. Working with the lace was a joy as it didn't fray at all, so I could avoid any extra serging/zigzagging. The white fabric was less of a joy - it frayed like nothing on earth, and was a bit fiddly. I used fold-over satin binding for the neckline, sleeves and the hem of the underskirt - I like that it adds a little shimmer to an otherwise fairly matte piece.
I love the way the lace overskirt is transparent enough that you can see the underskirt, I find it looks really etherial and airy.
With this Anna I succeeded in what I am calling a perfect invisible zip insertion. I am so happy!
Rather than hem the overskirt, I decided to cut a slight scalloped pattern into it, following the pattern of the lace. I felt it gave the dress a delicate feminine edge, which was just what I wanted to achieve.
Overall, I am really happy with this Anna. It is sophisticated yet delicate and feminine, which is exactly how I envisioned it.
As an end to Sewing Indie Month, I am happy with this! I might not wear it til the weather warms up, but it is still a gorgeous dress that I am very happy to have in my wardrobe.
Having chased good photo weather around for the last few days, we finally had some sun! So here is my very first Anna dress, by By Hand London. And I am in love.
To begin with, I was a very good sewist.
Why yes, that is the original pattern, un-cut on the left. Yes, I finally got over my fear/laziness, and traced the pattern out. It wasn't nearly as hard as I had expected! I will be doing it for all my patterns from now on.
Now onto the actual item:
I really love how this dress turned out. The pattern was beautiful to work with, I adored how simple it was, and yet it looks so elegant once made up. I love dresses, but I can find them to be a little too much of a hassle to actually deal with. But not the Anna dress. It wears beautifully, and the day I finished it I wore it out around town (under a very thick coat and with opaque tights, but still!)
Instead of trying to hem any of the pieces, I went with bias binding for the sleeve openings and hem.
I really like how it turned out - the red brings out the red-orange of the background fabric; I was originally a little worried as I haven't worked with bias binding all that much, but it was a dream to attach - even better in my mind is that the fabric and the bias binding are both vintage, so they go together nicely!
I also used bias binding on the edge of the neck facing internally, and french seamed all seams.
Not only does it mean it is ultra-tidy on the inside, I always feel it wears a little better with french seams.
I adore the bust pleats on this pattern, and it makes me very happy that I chose it - having a comparatively narrow waist to bust, often I find the waist on a dress too big or the bust too small - but the Anna accommodates that incredibly well. As this dress was a wearable muslin for my second Sewing Indie Month project, I was expecting to make some changes to the bust area, but no need! I can sew this pattern straight as it is and it fits brilliantly. For someone with G cups who is used to having to alter bust darts/pleats, I was ecstatic! I did note that if I want to french seam I need to cut the seams with a little extra allowance, but that is pretty standard with french seaming.
The only issue I had with sewing this piece didn't come from the pattern, but from my own inexperience - I've never been good at lining up zips and this was no exception. So while the back waist seam lines up, there's about 0.5cm difference between the top necklines at the back; it doesn't bother me too much as with waist length hair since you can't see it, but I am going to work on my zip work insertion over the next couple of months and get it down pat.
I adored sewing this dress, and there will be many, many more stocking my wardrobe no doubt!
And I hope all my readers appreciate my photos - it was 9degC when I took these (That's 48degF - not exactly warm!) Hence the overly red cheeks!
Life has been rather organisation-centric of late. I've reorganised a lot of things in my sewing/craft room to make it more functional and tidy, which I've really been enjoying. Even got as far as emptying the plastic boxes of my miscellaneous stuff in the laundry! Lots of things in my donating box, and lots in the bin - you wouldn't believe some of the things I'd hung onto!
In my tidying I realised I am what I am calling a sentimentalist. 'Things' hold a lot of importance to me, they always have, and previously in my tidying/organising sprees I've tried to ignore or change that. And it never works. I either end up throwing something out which is actually really important to me in an effort to 'stop being silly', and then feel unhappy and refuse to do any tidying etc for months afterwards, or I don't actually end up tidying etc at all. So this time around, I tried to work with it. Things that were special in the past, that I didn't want to just throw away went into the donations pile - being so item orientated I am a little obsessive about looking after what I own, so everything that went in was clean and tidy, which was a bonus. Scraps of paper with scribbles on and old birthday cards are one of my main pitfalls - I like to keep them! I narrowed what I could down, and left what I couldn't for another day. I found a permanent home for what I did keep - if I ever feel like I am in the mood to let go of more, I know where they are.
My sewing and craft room is looking so much better, I am really happy with it.
So, for now, I am back to organising, and then I think I will have a bath!