Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tuesday’s Tutorial Treat–Easy Square Top

tuesday tutorial treat button

A super-easy tutorial today. This one comes from Cotton & Curls – which is FULL of really great refashions and DIYs, so do check it out if you haven’t done so yet.

Square top
link HERE

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Lace Bandeau Knickers Tutorial

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I’m so excited to be able to share a little tutorial with you all today. These lacy Bandeau Knickers are seriously easy to sew up, I literally made a pair from scratch in about 10 minutes (and that included figuring out how to make it!). These are based on knickers that I own (the black pair in the tutorial photos) and wear all the time (TMI?!). I am a bit obsessed about VPL (Visible Pantie Line) and these knickers are, in my opinion, the best way to ensure you never have the dreaded lumps and bumps you can get with regular jersey/elastic knickers – and they look sexier than other “no VPL” knickers and are super comfy to wear!
So let’s get on with the tutorial:
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  • About 1.2 yards of 6” – 7” wide elasticated lace
  • Thread (matching your lace)
  • An old cotton jersey T-Shirt in matching colour to your lace
  • A pair of RTW knickers (preferably in this style, but not necessary)
  • An overlocker & a regular sewing machine
  • Ribbon or Button (optional)
Get Your Measurements & Draft Your Pattern
As I mentioned, I made these based on a pair of knickers I already own. So if you own a similar pair, then please use these as your measurement guide. Otherwise, I will talk you through how you can draft your own pattern for the knickers based on your measurements.
sketch 2a
Using the diagram above as a guide, find out your measurements for A (just below your waist, where you would like the top of your knickers to come to – I measured lower than the diagram shows) and B (around your upper thigh).
Drafting your pattern - bandeau knickers
To find out the length of the waist/top edge of your pattern piece divide A by 4 and take off 3 inches. For the leg, divide B by 2 and take 2 inches off. We are dividing our measurements as the lace will be cut on a fold and taking off the extra inches to allow for a neat fit. It may require a little bit of trial and error regarding how many inches to take off. These figures are based on my own personal findings!
If you already own a well fitting pair of knickers like these, then all you have to do is fold your knickers in half along the sewn crotch line and then measure the upper line and lower line. Remember to keep your lace parallel to ensure an accurate measurement.
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Now that you have the two measurements for your pattern piece you can draft your own pattern based on the diagram above. To get an accurate crotch curve (lovely! can’t wait to see what Google search results my blog now turns up in!) you can just copy a pair of knickers, tights or leggings you already have. I used the black pair above to make my pattern piece.

Cut your Lace
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Fold your lace in half just long enough to fit your pattern piece. Place the pattern piece on top and secure with pattern weights (anything heavy!) and carefully cut out. Repeat.
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You should now have two pieces of lace, that, when unfolded, look like the above.

Sewing Your Knickers!
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Place the two pieces of lace RIGHT sides together, aligning curves. Sew each curve on your overlocker.
TIP - It can be difficult sewing a concave curve on an overlocker so I recommend deactivating your knife and pulling the curve straight while sewing (see image above). It won’t affect the seam.
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To secure the top of the seam run it back through the overlocker for about an inch and then trim.
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Now that both curves have been sewn your lace will start to resemble knickers! Position so that both seams are on top of each other, again with RIGHT sides together. Sew together on your overlocker. Repeat to secure seam.
Your knickers are nearly complete!

The Cotton Lining
As I’m sure you all know, knickers have a strip of cotton in the crotch for added comfort and hygiene, so we shall do the same for these knickers.
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Use a pair of your own knickers to draft the correct size and shape for your lining. For information mine is about 1.5” at one end, 2.5” at the other and 6” long.
Use this to cut out a lining piece from an old, clean t-shirt.
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Sew a rolled hem around all edges of your lining pieces.
TIP – for neat corners, ensure the knife on your overlocker is activated and once you reach the end of one side keep serging to get a long enough chain to bring the piece back under the presser foot and sew the next edge – this will cut off the chain from the previous edge (see above image), and produce a secure corner. Trim all excess chains once all edges are complete.
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Lay your knickers open so that the crotch is lying flat, wrong side facing up. Pin your lining piece into the crotch, ensuring seams are lying flat.
Using a REGULAR sewing machine, sew the lining in place with a normal straight stich.
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Since it was St. Valentine’s Day recently, I thought it would be sweet to add some little extra details to the knickers. On one pair I’ve added a little red gingham bow and the other a red heart button. These look extra cute, but obviously make the knickers a little less “invisible” under clothes, so do take that into consideration when making yours.
Elastic lace comes in all sorts of wonderful colours and patterns, so you could create endless looks even without adding any extra details.
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I hope you found this tutorial helpful. I know many of you may not own an overlocker/serger and I’m afraid I don’t know if you could make these completely on a regular sewing machine. Perhaps if you used an overlocking stitch? If anyone has ever made these just on the regular sewing machine then please do let me know which stitch you used. Or, if anyone wants to give it a try, please do let me know how you got on!

I’m off now to sew up a whole drawer-full of lacy knickers!!

P.S. I’m Linking to:
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Sunday, 19 February 2012

I made it….AND I wore it! 7

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A bit of red and pink in honour of Valentine’s day this week. This is the first outing for my Crescent skirt since starting IMIAIWI and since it’s still pretty cold around here I decided to pair it with a polo neck, tights and boots. I’m not a massive fan of the outfit and to be honest, the photos have got me rethinking me in polo necks!! But you know what…that’s part of what this exercise is all about.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Passing on the Liebster Blog Award


Thanks to the lovely Gina from Fingers, Chopsticks and Bobbins for nominating me as one of her chosen 5 blogs for the Liebster Blog Award – I’m so chuffed!

If you haven’t heard of this before here’s the gist of it in a nutshell:

"the origins of the Liebster Blog Award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it means favourite or dearest to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers."

And it comes with the following ‘rules’:

1 - thank your liebster blog award presenter on your blog.

2 - link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.

3 - copy/paste the blog award on your blog.

4 - present the liebster blog award to 5 blogs with 200 followers or less.

5 - let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment.


And with that, here are my 5 chosen blogs that I’m passing this on to:

  1. Cation Designs
  2. Sewin’ Steady
  3. Magpie Makes
  4. Ozzy Blackbeard Knits and Sews
  5. Bundana

That was really hard to whittle it down to 5 (I follow a LOT of blogs)..but the 5 I have chosen are all super talented ladies and you should definitely check out their blogs if you haven’t done so yet!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Holy Cowl - I made a top!

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Well I am so excited to be able to share my latest make with you all today. I gave you a sneak-peak on Sunday, but the photos didn’t really show the top off very well – so here it now is, in all it’s glory!

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OK, so why am I so excited about sharing this top with you? It’s just a simple cowl neck top right? Well yes, but did I mention that I drafted the pattern for this MYSELF?!!! Yes-siree, I started with no pattern and ended with a top that I just totally love! Well actually, to be completely honest, I started with a RTW top that I really loved, and after a fair bit of head-scratching and a few slightly squew-if muslin attempts I had a eureka moment last Wednesday night and cracked it,

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I whipped this top up (including making up a muslin version, copying that onto a neat paper pattern and then making up the purple version) in a few hours on Wednesday night, so it really is a quick and simple make. It’s super neat inside, with french seams and pale lilac bias binding on the arm holes and back neck. Oh, and the edge of the cowl neck is done with a neat baby hem (one of my techniques to tick-off for my 12 in 2012). The neatest bit though is that the shoulder seams are completely enclosed because of the cowl neck. I don’t have photos of it to show you today (doh!), but I’ll take some and show you another time (there will be a lot more of these tops to come!).

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The fabric is a really buttery-soft voile which I got on sale from M is for Make last year. They didn’t have a full meter of the fabric left, so amazingly you can squeeze this top out of less than a meter! The RTW top that I copied was made from some sort of slinky poly so the cowl is a lot less prominent and drapes better, but I took a chance with the voile and I’m happy with how it turned out. It was also very easy to work with (while a slippery fabric would not be!) so that was an added bonus. As you can see from the photos above, the front piece is cut on the bias while the back isn’t. It does mean that the pattern doesn’t in any way, shape or form match up, but to be honest I don’t think it matters. Having the front on the bias obviously aids with the drape of the cowl, while having the back on the straight of grain gives stability to the shoulders and keeps the tops structure. You may also notice from the photos above, that the front of the top has a curved hem, while the back is straight. The original top has a straight hem front and back, but the curve was born out of necessity, due to lack of fabric! Turns out I rather like the curved hem – and I am tempted to turn the back hem into a curve as well. Or I might not be bothered on this occasion – I plan to wear the top mainly tucked in so it doesn’t really matter.

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I had bought this fabric to make a Sorbetto out of, but I’m afraid that the Sorbetto just doesn’t really suit me (oh oh, I fear severe backlash from the huge Sorbetto fan club for saying that! I didn’t say I didn’t like the pattern – just that it didn’t suit me!!), so I’m really pleased with how I ended up using the fabric. I have a few more fabrics in my stash which I am hoping to turn into cowl tops (including a certain Liberty Silk I might have picked up recently).

And the other reason why I’m super excited to share this make with you is that, once I figure out how to actually do it, I’m hoping to share the pattern on the blog!! Yeay for free patterns!

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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Tuesday’s Tutorial Treat–Men's Polo To Woman's Bow Shirt Refashion

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Following on from last weeks Bow Blouse tutorial, I found a similar refashion that I had to share with you all. This is such a fun change to a man’s polo shirt – I may be raiding my boyfriends wardrobe again soon! This one comes from Lisa of Grey Luster Girl – such a great blog with so many inspirational posts. Check it out when you get the chance!


link HERE


P.S. Happy Valentines Day!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

I made it…AND I wore it! 6

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A double-whammy this week, I managed to wear a me-made item two days this week. That might be because I had literally just whipped this top up and was SUPER excited to wear it! Above is the top styled for work (quick out of focus shot courtesy of boyfriend – perspective all wrong because he’s taller than me. But at least he agreed to actually take the photo so I’ll stop complaining!).

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And then here I am at the ‘in-laws’ this weekend to celebrate my boyfriends mum’s birthday.

As I said, I whipped this top up this week, so I’ll make sure I get some decent photos for you and tell you all about it. It’s probably a bit of an understatement to say that I’m a little bit excited/pleased with it!!


P.S. Feel like a may be coming down with the cold (urgh) so next week might be a write-off sewing-wise. Hope not!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

12 in 2012: 1 month up-date and who’s joining in

12 in 2012

Well we are a month into 2012 so I thought I would do a quick up-date on my progress of my self-made goals for 2012 (see original post here), and also share who else has decided to join me.
It’s only been one month, so I haven’t got an awful lot to show so far – but nonetheless, I would say I am on track (for the moment!)…let’s hope I can keep the momentum up:

12 Pieces of Handmade Clothing:
8.Wildcard!  Pink Curtain Skirt

12 New Sewing Techniques:
4. Hand-picked zip - Pink Curtain Skirt

12 New Sewing Skills:
10. Learn to use an overlocker/serger - first post…getting there!

I actually am well on the way from ticking another goal off each category, which I’m so pleased with, but I’ll officially consider them ‘done’ when I blog about them.

And I was delighted to see that quite a few of you decided to join in and make your own 12 in 2012 goals:

Hope everyone is having fun checking off their goals. I know Anna and Juliette are certainly powering on ahead – you guys will have completed your 12 goals by June if you keep it up!!!
My blog has been a bit quite quiet sewing wise this week – which is ironic considering the amount of time I have spent sewing recently!!! Lots of sewing, but little photographing (except on Twitter)! I’m working on a really great project that I just can’t wait to share with you all…but it involves a fair bit of prep, so stay tuned and hopefully I’ll have it up on the blog for you all in March (ps. I’m not talking about my soon-to-open Etsy shop, although I have been working on that too)! 

And I just wanted to leave a wee note to say how really grateful I am of all your support and lovely comments on my blog. I would love to have some friends locally who share my hobby, but unfortunately my friends aren’t really into it so it’s brilliant to have a place to go to share my hobby with like-minded souls - the on-line sewing community is such a fantastic group.
I would have loved to have joined in with the activities that are going on in blog-land this week for Sew Grateful Week, but unfortunately I didn’t know about the deadlines soon enough! Do pop on over to Debi’s lovely blog to check it all out though!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Tuesday’s Tutorial Treat–Refashioned Bow Blouse

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Today I’m sharing a really cute tutorial from Nicole of Cola Cola Island. This is such a cute bow neck blouse and a really easy to follow tutorial. She uses ‘yardage’ to make her top, but you could easily refashion a long sleeved shirt to make this. Check it out!

plaidtop_3 copy


Sunday, 5 February 2012

I made it…AND I wore it! 5

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I wore my ‘fireworks’ skirt out for a couple of drinks on Thursday evening last week. It was a freezing evening and we were walking to the pub so I have a LOT of layers on (inc. thermal long sleeve vest under my polo neck!! Yep – I’m rockin’ Granny Chic!). Sorry for the repeat photo location – I did get my boyfriend to take a photo of me in the pub, but it was horrific, so I took a couple of snaps when I came back home.

I’m so pleased that I’ve managed to keep this (‘I made it…AND wore it’) up for a whole month. I’ve already had to repeat (this skirt!) which proves I need a heck of a lot more handmade items in my wardrobe – I better get to it!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Ringing up the curtain for 2012!

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Well I finally have a finished project for 2012 – and it’s pretty much on schedule for my personal goal to make 12 items this year (see 12 in 2012).

I showed a few sneak-peaks of this make on my Instagram/Twitter account, and more recently on my blog:

next project[3]  nearly finished the skirt[3]

Although this wasn’t one of the garments I specified on my 12 in 2012 list, I left myself 5 ‘wildcards’ to allow a bit of flexibility throughout the year. This skirt is view A of McCall’s M5591 (the main skirt shown on the front of the pattern in the photo on the left above) and the fabric is actually a piece of curtain remnant that I picked up from my local fabric/curtain making shop (The Spinning Wheel) for about £1.50 (hence the title of this blog post). Being curtain fabric it’s quite heavy duty so I thought pleats would work quite well, and they do.

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I made up a very quick muslin of this skirt because for some reason I bought the pattern in sizes 6 – 12, and the measurements for the waist and hips for size 12 was a couple of inches smaller than my own measurements! Luckily, the pattern ran very big (as they often seem to do) and there was a lot of ease…and size 12 made up was a perfect fit for my waist!

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View A has really roomy slash pockets (for info views B and C have in-seam pockets) including a very smart pocket binding (erm, not sure what it’s officially called!) which I think could look really good made up in a contrasting fabric (I didn’t do this – but just making a note in case I decide to make this again!). As i said, I was working with a remnant piece so I didn’t really have very much to play with and thought some pieces might have to be made out of another fabric, but with very careful placing, I was able to get every piece out of the same fabric! I even managed to get the pattern running along the same line at the front and the back. They don’t match perfectly at the seams (which, as you know, is something I like to try and do – see this post), but considering what I had to work with I’m actually pretty amazed with how well the pattern does match up!

So, to summarise:

Fabric: Curtain Remnant £1.50

Notions: Regular Zip 60p


  • Pleating…Knife pleats and Inverted Box pleats
  • Hand-picked Zip (on my 12 in 2012 list!)  - WOW…so easy and looks great – I’m definitely a convert!!
  • Bound edge of slash pocket
  • Serged seams, and a serged hem turned up once and sewn down – so easy!! I decided to do it that way to keep the thickness of the hem to a minimum (enjoying the perks of the overlocker already!).

Pros: The instructions are very easy to follow and it’s quite a simple skirt to make with no adjustments necessary (whoop!)

Cons: The pleats take a lot of pinning to make sure they are sitting just right. Plus this fabric creases like there is no tomorrow so there is a lot of ironing to do before it looks decent enough to wear!

Make Again: Hmm…ironing pleats is not my favourite thing to do so I won’t be making it again in the near future (plus there are so many other projects on my waiting list!!).

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***Top Tip: be careful when pinning through thick fabric – pricking yourself and bleeding onto your garment fabric. Not a good idea!!!***

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