Marigold in bloom

Marigold

Howdy! Now it may not look exactly like it, but this is my tester version of Tilly and the Buttons’ new pattern, the Marigold jumpsuit which was released on Monday. Y’all know I love a jumpsuit so I was happy to help test this pattern before the launch, and I’m pretty pleased with how my version turned out.

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Marigold is a breezy elastic-waist jumpsuit with a loose pegged leg, dainty straps, and a sweetheart neckline, plus a variation to make standalone high-waisted trousers. I think the jumpsuit’s very versatile too since you can wear it like dungarees with a tee underneath to adapt it to cooler weather.

Marigold

You’ll notice the key difference in mine around the waistline. After making the design as patterned for the testing process I made a small tweak for personal preference – removing the elasticated waistband and sewing the bodice directly to the trouser instead. I’m just all about waistless silhouettes right now – I think it looks more cool and modern, though it was perfectly nice with the elasticated band too. Here’s a ‘before’ shot. Did I make the right call?

Marigold
Marigold

Sans t-shirt. I sewed a straight size 4 from the pre-release pattern and the only key fit adjustment I needed was to taper in the side seams at the very top to account for my hollow upper chest. I also reworked the straps as they were very short originally but that’s been corrected in the final pattern. Mine are skinnier than patterned because I had to re-cut from my very last scraps of fabric, also hence the annoying bra straps on show.

Marigold

I used an extremely lovely large scale floral viscose which was an eBay steal. I’m not typically a florals type of person, but the scale and colours of this one really appealed to me. If it wasn’t sold out I’d buy more to make a floaty kimono jacket! It was a rally nice match for Marigold; you’ll want to use something lightweight and drapey but opaque.

Marigold

The pattern is marked for confident beginners but there are quite a lot of steps to tackle and bits of the fit to get right. It’s got pleats, darts, facings and an invisible zip to deal with so it’s a moderately involved project. But Tilly’s instructions are great and clearly photographed as usual so you’re in safe hands. I’m really happy with fit so I might use the pattern again with a couple of tweaks next time I get the all-in-one urge. Which probably won’t be long. Long live the jumpsuit!

I was a tester for this pattern, so I received it for free, and the photos/review don’t necessarily reflect the final pattern.

Inari

Inari dress

The pattern that really needs no introduction! Yup, I finally fell prey to the charms of Named’s Inari dress, and je ne regret rien.

Inari dress

It was touch and go though, because halfway through making this I was convinced I hated it and it looked awful on me. Somehow releasing the side seams through the hip a little bit and taking 2 inches off the hem sorted it all out though.

Inari dress
Inari dress

I made size 38 graded to 40 at the hip. The fit is pretty good overall given that I didn’t toile first, but next time I’ll fiddle with the shoulder – it pulls to the back a bit when I wear it so I think a forward-shoulder adjustment may be in order. As others have pointed out, the armsyce is quite low which leads to reduced range of motion, but I like how the sleeves look and they aren’t uncomfortable so I think I’ll leave them be.

Inari dress

I used a lovely lightweight wool-mix suiting from one of my favourite local fabric stores Woolcrest in London Fields. It was a perfect match and doesn’t crease at all – these pics were taken on day two of wear! It’s got a nice linen-y look to the weave and I love the colour.

Inari dress

Overall, quite the win for a very quick midweek evening sew. It got both colleague and boyfriend approval (+ thanks to Josh for these pics as I couldn’t find my remote!) and saved my life this week in a very hot and humid office. Once I’ve tweaked the shoulders I’ll probably make a tee version too, so I’m glad I caved and made the purchase.

Frayed Cone Mills Gingers

Ginger jeans

I dug out the Ginger jeans pattern again because I’ve had some lush denim kicking around my stash for ages and really fancied trying a few tweaks out based on some RTW window-shopping inspiration. With the high waist and cropped frayed hems it’s about as close to the ‘mom jean’ trend as I’ll allow myself to go – and another tick off my to-sew list board.

Ginger jeans

These are view B of Ginger, the high waisted skinny leg ones, the only difference being about 4″ chopped off the length and about 3/8″ more ease at each side seam for a non-skintight look. I cut the legs with the pattern pieces butted up to the cut edge of the denim: after being through the prewash it had a good amount of artful natural fray. I cut the top of the back pockets on a raw edge too.

Ginger jeans

Ginger jeans

For a change I did three lines of topstitching along the yoke and inseam using regular thread in pale grey and my machine’s triple stitch function to make it stand out nicely. I like how it looks on the seams but it didn’t work so well for the fly topstitching: the back-and-forth action made it go a bit wobbly around the curve. I ripped out my first go (it’s not a fun stitch to rip) and it’s still not looking super great. Funny how those things get less important once you actually start wearing your new pants though, eh?

Ginger jeans

Ginger jeans

Ginger jeans

The denim is the famous Cone Mills stuff, which Katie of Handmade Threads / Threadbare Fabrics kindly gave to me when I met up with her in LA last October. I’m not sure which weight and colourway it is, but it’s quite lightweight with plenty of stretch in a dark charcoaly-indigo shade. It’s *insanely* comfortable: when I tried the jeans on partway through construction I didn’t even want to take them back off. I really hope they keep their shape as promised!

Ginger jeans

Pretty guts using scraps of ikat-printed rayon for the pockets and to bind the inner waistband and fly shield.

Ginger jeans

I admit I do still have a RTW jean habit, mainly due to not being able to find the right sort of denim to sew my own. But after several demoralising try-ons of styles like this in the shops I was so happy to dig into this lovely denim and make myself a pair that fits just right and is 100% unique. And if anyone knows a great stockist for true solid stretch denims in indigo or black please do let me know…

Sudley

Sudley dress

Megan Nielsen kindly sent me along one of her recent patterns, the Sudley dress, to try out. It was just the thing I needed at a time when my sewing time and motivation has been quite low: easy-peasy, fast, no fitting – from machine to body in a morning.

Sudley dress

It’s essentially a loose smock dress, but there are are a ton of options included in the pattern to make it very versatile. You can make an empire or drop waist dress or a blouse, with an optional peter pan collar and ties on the keyhole opening. Also it’s reversible so you can wear the keyhole in the front or back!

Sudley dress

I think it’s more ‘me’ the other way around, but I’d like to try this way with the collar attached. The bodice is self-lined making a neat finish on the neckline edge. The instructions include a full clean finish inside with the armsyce edges handstitched down, but I got lazy and overlocked them as one piece.

Sudley dress

I cut size small but with the bodice length of the biggest size, as empire line isn’t the best look on me. I ended up tapering in the waist a bit, mainly because I didn’t have enough fabric to do the skirt as patterned so just gathered up my fabric width. The fabric is a viscose from Walthamstow – either the Textile Centre or Man Outside Sainsburys, I can’t remember.

Sudley dress

This is a great little instant gratification project that’s a very useful wardrobe builder. It’s good with tights or without and is the kind of thing that’s so easy to pull on for work and be instantly dressed. Pretty sure I’ll be picking it up to use again – the blouse option will make a great woven tee basic. Thanks Megan for sending along the Sudley pattern!

Printing with Contrado

A bunch of us sewing bloggers took a trip to Harlesden last weekend, to check out Contrado‘s amazing mini printing empire.

contrado

Contrado started as a tiny family business called Bags of Love (which still runs, through a separate website), printing photos onto bags in the early days of the internet, and has grown year on year, expanding their range and bringing as much of the processes and production under one roof as possible. Now they have Contrado as a specialist arm focusing on fabric printing: they print onto over 75 substrates and have a loyal customer base in students, creatives and home sewers.

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After this company background from founder Chris Childs and a rundown of how the online design software works, we were let loose to upload our designs and send them to print.

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It was pretty exciting to see the orders come in live on the big screen. There’s some impressive software powering the company’s printing process (they employ seven engineers) which means that the layplans can be as efficient as possible, resulting in a minimum of wastage. They can also turn around orders in two days due to everything being automated as much as possible under the one roof. As a startup and tech nerd I found all this fascinating and inspiring.

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Then it was down to the printing room to see our designs come to life. Depending on the substrate, some fabrics are printed directly and some are printed onto huge transfers before being heat-bonded to the fabric.

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The we took a walk around the rest of the factory floor. They have in-house pattern cutters and sewists to make up a lot of the readymade garments they sell through sister company Bags of Love. Cue lots of cooing from the assembled sewing bloggers over the lovely industrial machines.

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Back to the printing room because our final fabrics were starting to be revealed!

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Here are the two fabrics I was lucky to get printed on the day, back at home and prewashed ready to sew. I gave myself no time at all to design anything fancy, so knocked these up in the morning before I left. The ditsy emoji-type print is on 190gsm cotton jersey and the blobby abstract one is on French crepe. I’m so thrilled with the fabrics, they’re without a doubt the nicest fabrics I’ve seen custom-printed and the substrates both have a fabulous handle and softness. I can’t wait to sew with them!

I’m also excited to see the next phase of Contrado because they have exciting plans to build a marketplace of user-submitted designs that you can order direct – if I knuckle down and design some prints with a bit more time I’d definitely put them up. For now though, Contrado‘s fabrics start at only around £14.50 a metre so if you’re in the market for printing unique fabrics in the UK I couldn’t recommend them more.

Thank you so much to Contrado for the tour and chance to sample the printing process, to Rachel and Kate at The Fold Line for organising the trip, and my fellow bloggers Marie, Janene, Jane, Elena and Charlotte for being excellent company.

V1501: black midi edition

Vogue 1501

Sometimes I swear to remake a pattern again and it doesn’t happen for a long time, if ever, but in the case of Vogue 1501 I had such a ~vision for a black midi version that I went out hunting for fabric to make it happen immediately, and spent last week sewing it up.

Vogue 1501

To be honest I was just setting out to copy the Klein dress from the pattern designer Rachel Comey’s ready to wear line. (Apparently I even copied the shoes, ha ha.) I made a few fitting and stylistic tweaks to the pattern as follows:

  • Added 6 inches to the length of the skirt plus knee-high side seam splits.
  • Gathered rather than pleated the front skirt and bodice into the waistband
  • Graded out the back side seams to adjust for the tight fit across the bum in my first one
  • Rounded out the bottom edges of the bodice for a different look (and hemmed it using bias strips)

Vogue 1501
Vogue 1501

The fabric is black ‘powder touch’ polyester from The Textile Centre in Walthamstow. The pattern does work well in a crisp cotton like i used last time but I think it’s especially nice in something drapier.

Vogue 1501

Despite being a bit out there for my usual style (I’ve never owned a dress practically ankle length long) I bloody love this dress and feel really comfortable in it. I feel like it will join the ranks of things I’ll reach for on those ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’ days, and the poly fabric will make it really easy to care for.