Sew The Year: March Roundup & April Goals

After February's long list of things to do I tried not to set myself too much for March but after seeing it all written down in my last roundup/goals post it certainly did seem like a lot. However, I have been focused and determined and managed to complete the following:

Virginia leggings and Briar t-shirts for me and the girls

I really enjoyed sewing these up as we did a bit of fabric stamping on the material first. The Virginia leggings for me were part of the #SewMyStyle project for March. The Briar is also another #SewMyStyle project for June so as I wanted a matching set I just decided to sew it up in March seeing as my overlocker was set up with the right colour thread etc. I also made the girls their PJ's and they turned out super cute. I have written a seperate blog post if you wany to read more about them.

Watson Bra

I got on to this project pretty early in the month as I've been nervous about sewing a bra and just wanted to face my fear and get it out of the way. I'm so glad that I did - it wasn't that difficult and it only took around 3 hours from start to finish and that was whilst being interupted by the girls multiple times. I actually cut the bra out months and months ago and chickened out of sewing it. I remeasured myself and I actually now fit into a smaller size but as I'd cut the fabric out I thought why not sew it up as practice. Going into this I didn't have high expectations of it fitting but just wanted to get over the hurdle of thinking it was something I couldn't sew. I was delighted to find out that the cups fitted really well. The band is loose but wearable if I fasten it on the tightest hooks so its a good enough bra to sleep in. So I'm counting it as a success as I do have something wearable. I definately learned a lot. I learnt that I need to take more care with the width and thickness on the top of the cups as mine only just fitted through the rings and it's a bit ameturish looking. I had luck with one side of the hook closure but the other one must have slid when I was inserting it under the presser foot so its a bit out of line. Next time I think I will baste them in - an extra step but I'd rather that than have to unpick a tight zigzag stitch (which I admit I didn't do on this toile). So for my next bra I'm going down a sister size so hopefully the band will fit me better. I'm using a black dot mesh and black powermesh and black elastics for my next one. I may also use two layers of powermesh for the band. I've also read that lining the cups in powermesh gives a firmer hold and makes the insides neater as it acts as a full lining. I may try this to. I will do a blog post on my bra making adventures but I want to get a few more under my belt (or top ha ha) before I blog about them.

Ogdgen Cami / Bailen Cami

I was planning on doing a muslin of both the Ogden and Bailen but once I'd completed the Ogden I stopped there as I fell in love with the soft v neck at the front and back. The fit wasnt great but I didn't spend too much time on this and decided to move the fitting of this to April as I still had a long list of things for March and I wanted to get through as much as I could without falling down the fitting robbit hole! But for my initial muslin of the Ogden I ended up going down 2 whole sizes and trying that in a cheap check cotton lawn I had seperated in my stash for muslins. On the whole there were only two areas that needed further adjustment. One; I needed a full bust adjustment and two; I needed the straps lightly wider to cover my bra straps. I would love to find a comfortable strapless bra but in the meantime I will just do this quick fix for the visible bra straps. I wanted to keep the cami dartless to knew that was the main fitting task for April. The check one is a little too tight for outside as it pulls up the front so its destined for my sleepwear draw where all my ill-fitting muslins go. Seamwork also just released the Gretta cami and I started a subscription with them last month when they had their half price offer so I fully intend to download and sew that up next month. I may also sew up a Bailen to as I have some plain green fabric which can be cut on the bias. I have a few prints that I will use for the Ogden once I get the fit right.

Pillows from my Nan's Jumpers

This job took me literally a few hours to do. I have put off cutting these jumpers up for ages - well since 25 December 2015 when we lost her. I've tried to do this job a few times and I'd get them out and smell her scent on them and get too upset and put them away again. But it was time to tackle this. I'm glad that I did it but I was nervous of cutting into the wool and ruining them. As soon as they were cut out I overlocked them straight away to prevent any unravel. A lot of the jumpers were raglan sleeves so I didn't have much room to work with so I ended up doing two different closures on them. The two jumpers that weren't raglans I just cut one square longer so that it had a fold over (which was the ribbing at the bottom of the jumper) and then simply stitched down the two ends and attached a plastic press stud to keep the middle neat. The smaller cushions I ended up sewing a zip at the bottom of the ribbing and then just hand stitching the corners closed. Thankfully I had reasonable colour match zips in my stash. I also made two round cusions for my cousin Jamie out of a chiffon dress that my nan wore to his wedding. These were the most difficult of the lot as the chiffon was super slippery and I decided to use the lining of the dress as the underlinging and that was super slippy to. I sewed some round buttons in the middle and they turned out quite nice. I made 8 cushions in total but I didn't get photos of them (#NewBloggerFail) but I have two of the pillows for myself and both of these have the different closures I mention above.

Kids Clothe Week (20-26 March 2017)

I managed to sew two dresses and two tops for my first ever KCW. I used the same pattern for all four things - the Monarch Dress and Top from Lil Lux Collection and I LOVE it. I first came across this pattern from Sarah who blogs over at Lace & Pine as she put it on her daughters Make9 list. The pattern is modern but still girly and the instructions were fantastic. I cannot recommend this pattern enough. Anyway - I sewed up the tops out of two old sundress (the pink was mine and green patterned one was my step-mums). I skipped a few of the more professional instructions for these such as burrito lining and just simply overlocked them. I wasn't to bothered about the construction as such but just wanted to assess the fit (which was great - more ready to wear in ease which I prefer). I hate it when you get a pattern and sew it up in your childs size only to discover that it won't actually fit them for 6 months! I know this might be just a thing for me as my eldest is super slim and tall so most patterns are just too wide and short on her. Although she's tall all her height is in her legs so dresses can look very short on her but the top half is either to wide/long or both. Anyway getting back to the construction, I made a mistake when reading the instructions and didn't really look at the line drawings to closely (I was distracted by the fantastic ruffle - I just love a good ruffle and am so glad its in fashion for this summer!) and didn't realist that the bias tape which was needed would be on show - most bias applications methods get you to completely fold the tape inside the garment and topstitch but as this bias is used to hold down the ruffle so that it doesn't stick up it is on show at the top of the neckline. Anyway I didn't cut this out for either of the tops! I had kept the scraps to the pink maxi dress as I had a bit left so that wasn't a problem but the green scraps I threw away (I know!!). But thankfully past Dee had cut out the button placket in green and then decided that I wanted it in the contrasting flower pattern so I had them to use. I cut the strips of bias diagonally across the length of the button placket and then joined the two bias pieces and it just made enough take to make the top - I think I cut off around 1.5cm once I'd sewn it on! Thank you past Dee!!!

So once I'd finished the tops and liked the fit I decided to just sew up the two dresses quickly whilst the instructions were fresh in my mind before moving on to the next project in the queue. But I'd chosen the Carline Rose print Liberty tana lawn in the blue colour way from my stash so I thought it best to do french seams. Than it came to the lining and I wanted a clean finish so I decided to do the burrito method. Then it came to the buttons and I had every button I own out but nothing seemed to go with it so I ended up doing covered buttons! So by the time I'd finished them KCW was almost over! I'd spent the whole time going all out on these two dresses! They did turn out lovely but I'm not sure the girls will really appreciate the effort but hey ho....sometimes you just get lost in sewing things nicely and I did enjoy the process.

I wanted to sew up a few Ogden desses as Kelly from True Bias posted a tutorial on her blog literally the day before KCW started. These would be a perfect little dress for our holiday in Portugal so I will still sew them up but as KCW is over and theres no rush for them I'll add them on to my list of things to do for another month.

Overall I didn't' get as much sewn as I wanted but I really enjoyed the week of sewing so I'll definately be taking part in the next season. To top everything off the two liberty dresses were picked as one of three that were featured on the 7th day so I was really pleased to get a feature on my first time of taking part.

Girls Pillows

This was the only job I didn't get around to. I am so over home deco sewing at the moment so I'm going to put these on the back burner for now and think about them later in the year as I just cannot face them for a third/fouth month!

Extras that I managed to squeeze into the month:

Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse

I had a day out with my girl friends so I wanted to wear something new as you do. I always end up sewing something new to wear but as I don't go out often - maybe once every 2-3 months so its not so bad. Anyway I sewed up a Dove blouse when it first came out and I just loved it but the fit was slightly off (the V was a good inch too low, the body was a few inches too long on me) so I thought I'd sew up another one. This time I used a plain black viscose from Remnant Kings (my go do place for plain viscose as the quality is excellent and the price is good). I did the modifications to the pattern and sewed this up - I just overlocked all the seams this time around as I was short on time (I had 3 days to make something and I literally took one day to decide on the pattern I wanted to sew up and then took another day to decide on material which left me the evening to cut it out and then a day to sew it up before I was meeting the girls!). I hemmed the sleeves after my daughters swim lesson on the morning of the meet up - you would think that I loved panic sewing as I always end up doing it!

Anyway, I wore it out and loved it. Only after the second or third wear did I realised that I hadn't made the right adjustments! I thought that I just needed to simply shortern the legth of the top at the shorten/lengthen lines but I didn't really want the top to be shorter - I just wanted the curve of the back to be less exaggerated - maybe around 2 inches and the front curve around 1 inch. The sides are quite high on me now so when I reach my arms above my head you can see my skin - not what I wanted at all! If I wear it with high waisted jeans its not a problem but I don't currently have any in my wardrobe. So I need to make another version. The v neck is perfect on me now though so at least I was happy with that modification!

So for next month my plans are as follows:

1. Anna Dress

This is the #SewMyStyle project for April. Well it isn't - it's actually the Sew House Seven Bridgehouse Dress but as that's backless and has a high neckline it just wouldn't suit me so I'm substituting this make with the Anna dress. I've got some khaki green viscose mix in my stash for this.

2. Ogden Cami's

As I mentioned above I've got a few patterned materials in my stash to use up for these and I'm sure I can find something in my stash for the Gretta cami and the green for the Bailen cami.

3. Watson Bra

As mentioned above I'm going to sew a black dot mesh from my stash for this next one to hopefully get a better fit.

4. Start fitting the Sophie Swimsuit

I made a Sophie bikini last year for our holiday to Cyprus and it did fit and I wore it but I wasn't happy with how loose the band was and the bridge did not sit against my chest at all. Also the cups just didn't seem to support my girls - they were just kind of resting against them. I really didn't feel supported or secure in it so I'm going to give it another try for this year. I was thinking of adding powermesh to the back band but I'm unsure what to do about the cups. I think I'm going to make the bikini again but this year we are going on holiday with my husband's sister/parents so I may chicken out of the bikini and just make the swimsuit version depending on how much weight I loose before the holidays.

5. Turia Dungaree Shorts

I would like these for the summer to play around the house and parks with the girls but I'm not desperate for them so I may put them on the back burner for a month if my Sophie takes a while fitting.

6. Mending and UFO Pile

One the the reasons that Kimberly started Sew the Year was to tackle those projects that you never got around to. So I'm planning on taking on something boring to sew every month - what joy! But seriously I will feel so much better once these are off my mind and my sewing to do list. I'm under no illusions that I'll get all the mending and UFO pile complete in the one month but I'll try my best to get as much done as possible to save me having month after month of boring jobs! My husband has recently lost a lot of weight since he started running and he dug out a lot of his thin clothes from stroage but some of them are just a little too big so he wants me to dart them to take them in a little rather than buying new clothes as he still intends to loose a little more and doesn't want to waste money on interim clothes. I think darts are my most hated sewing task! But I must be a good wife and do them. I've done around 4-5 work shirts already and I think there are only 4-5 weekend shirts that need doing. This will be my first job that I do just to get it off my list.

7. Kittycorn for S' Birthday

It's S' 5th birthday at the end of May and she wants a stuffed animal called a Kittycorn which is only available in America. My friend has only just come back from New York in January but I couldn't get her to get me one as they were only being released for sale in early spring! So I've bought some gorgeous 5mm fake fur from Stoff & Still and plan on replicating one for her. So I've replaced the girls pillows with a stuffed toy! I'm going to make a muslin first as I only bought half a metre of each fur (light grey, baby pink and cream) so I don't have lots of material to waste.

So that is my full list of things to make for this month. It doesn't seem a lot but there are two weeks where S is off school on her Easter holidays so I won't get much done during that time and then the last weekend of the month we are visiting my husband's family in Wales. So I think it will be tight but I'm willing to move the dungarees to next month to give me a little bit of wiggle room if needed.

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