What If We Didn’t Sew?

I’ve been thinking lately, what would I do if I didn’t sew? Have you ever wondered?

When people find out I sew they tend to give me a bit of a funny look and say in a slightly high pitch voice “oh really?” I know they think it’s a little odd but I just can’t understand why? I love spending my free time creating something new with fabric or yarn so I just can’t work out what they do instead?

If you didn’t sew how would you spend your time? Housework? Watching tv? I know what I’d rather be doing! I may live in a house full of boys but a living room floor covered in granny squares is definitely the norm. I wonder if I didn’t sew would we have family dinners at the dining table instead of me taping patterns to it to trace?

Since I discovered my sewing obsession I’ve had the chance to meet lots of friendly like minded people, many who have become great friends. How do other people make friends?

How different do you think your life would be if you didn’t sew?

Handmade Wardrobe – Joni Top

I was lucky enough to get to test this fab pattern for my IG buddy Leanne Fanny. The Joni has a dress and top version, I tested the top version in a size 14 (to fit my big bangers in). I did have to take the side seams in a little extra but it fit me perfectly across the bust.

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This is the first pattern Leanne has released, you can find it here, in her Etsy shop. I really like the shape of the neckline on the Joni and love that the back is the same shape.

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The pattern is great for beginners as there are plenty of photos and comprehensive instructions to follow. The dress version has an elasticated waist which looks cute, but I haven’t had a chance to make it yet.

I had fun picking fabric for this top. I had originally planned on using the leftover blue floral print from my Myrtle dress but I didn’t have quite enough. Instead, off I trotted to Fabricland where the classic cars caught my eye. Lucky for me they had a plain lilac polycotton in the same shade as the cars in the print and exactly the same weight. A match made in heaven don’t you think?

Before I go I just want to say sorry for the scary stare in these photos, I don’t know what happened? Think I lost the ability to smile. Seriously what was I doing??

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I Sewed Sleeves!!

Yup, big news in this house ( well for me anyway). I managed to make an item of clothing with sleeves, actual sleeves. “So? A lot of clothes have sleeves, what’s the big deal?” I bet you’re thinking.  The thing is I have a bit of a fear of them, they scare me. I know how silly that sounds but when you’re learning there is always something you know you are going to find difficult and your brain just won’t be able to handle it. For me when it comes to sewing I fear sleeves, I just cant understand how you can smoothly fit an arm into a shoulder without it becoming a horrible ruched mess.

So far my handmade wardrobe hasn’t required much sleeve sewing, the weather gods have been on my side, but Autumn is officially making its presence known.  The weather is starting to get cooler and my arms are getting chilly. I really want to carry on with my handmade wardrobe plans so I faced my fears and made a cardigan. to ease myself in gently I opted for the Coppélia top from Papercut Patterns. It’s a cute little wrap cardi and the best bit is it has raglan sleeves. I know I know I’m a bit of a cheat but a sleeves a sleeve no matter how its constructed!

To give myself more of a challenge I chose to make it out of some mouth watering electric blue Lycra. It reminds me of my childhood dance uniforms Woo!

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I wasn’t sure how well I was going to get on with Lycra but its pretty easy to work with, I’ve come to realise I’m a big knit fabric fan, if its stretchy I love it.

I made a size S as per my measurements but really I should have made an XS. As you can see in the photos its a little loose fitting, especially in the front.

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Luckily the wrap style means I can get away with wearing it without the back looking too baggy. It came together nice and quickly, which is great as I plan on making more, it’s a great wardrobe staple.

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My glamorous assistant wanted to get some of the attention too.

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I’m not planning on wearing only raglan sleeves through the winter months so at some point soon expect a blog post about inset sleeves. Wish me luck!

Myrtle, She’s My Best Friend

I’ve got a new best friend. Her name’s Myrtle. She looks good in every colour and print imaginable and what’s best of all she likes both woven and jersey fabrics!!

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This is the first Colette pattern I’ve tried and I was really pleased with the results. The Myrtle has two length versions, I started with the short version in a metallic stripe Jersey from Fabric House (of course!). There is also an option to add epaulettes but I decided to make it without.

Seriously how awesome is this fabric?!

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The dress goes together reasonably quickly. I pre-cut and took it to our August Sewing club meeting, I managed all the sewing while I was there except closing up the waistband and hemming. Well actually I did get the waistband done but the stitching was a mess because I was rushing so I redid it when I got home.

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Next up, a woven version.

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Although the pattern is supplied with instructions for making the dress in Jersey you can find instructions for using woven fabrics on the Colette Patterns website. I got some bargain, blue, floral viscose (I think) for something like £2 a metre from a shop in Goldhawk road. It was light and had a nice drape so I figured lets give it a go. I found some ready made bias binding in Fabricland which went perfectly with the fabric for the back of the neckline and armholes. It’s the first time I’ve used binding instead of facings and I love the finish, I’m not really a fan of facings so will try using binding more often.

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I opted for the longer length and I think it works really well. Next time I make a woven Myrtle I would add a little extra to the seam allowance just to give me room for a nicer finish.

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The dresses are so easy to wear, the jersey version was great on holiday with both heels and flats. The floral one I’ve worn since we’ve been home with a shawl for a party at a friends house and also dressed it down with a grey, boyfriend fit, cardi and a pair of converse. I really like the fact there are in-seam pockets too.

This is a great dress for me as the pattern is easy to follow and the finished dress looks a lot more complex than it actually is to make. I love how easy to wear the Myrtle is while the neckline adds a bit of interest. It’s definitely versatile too, how great would a velvet version look for winter with tights and boots? Or maybe even a maxi length version?

Handmade Wardrobe – The Holiday Edition

I don’t know about you but I like my holiday clothes to be easy to pack and wear, I try my best to travel light and I don’t want to spend my valuable holiday time ironing. This summer Hubby, the Monsters and I spent two weeks relaxing in the Red Sea. While on holiday I wanted to wear as much handmade as possible. As you can imagine Egypt was HOT so I wanted light weight items that would also compliment my other clothes. I could never be described as a fashion forward, I love clothes and fashion but with 2 boys in the house I don’t spend much time in heels. I like my clothes to show my personality but at the same time they need to be comfy and easy to transition from day to night. If I’m being really honest I’m a pretty lazy dresser.

After going through my wardrobe I decided I needed a few more dresses and some bikini cover ups. My fabric of choice was definitely Jersey, it just rolls up so tiny for packing and I love to wear it.

Cover ups -

You can’t go wrong with a playsuit. Quick to slip on over a bikini but can just as easily be dressed up for the evening with heels and jewellery.

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The pattern was an old Prima pattern I had from a few years ago, it also had a jumpsuit version which I might make too. The fabric I picked up in Goldhawk road from my favourite shop, Fabric House.

On the same shopping trip I bought two chiffon prints from the famous “man outside Sainsbury’s” in Walthamstow market. I thought they would be great for simple kimonos. I used this tutorial and added cute crochet trims from Fabricland.

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As I chose sheer fabrics I opted for french seams. The main reason I added the trim was because I couldn’t decide how to finish the raw edge. I had originally planned to do a rolled hem using my overlocker but I just couldn’t get it to work properly. It was the first time I’d worked with Chiffon and it wasn’t really my friend, the crochet trim definitely saved me!

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I thought I’d wear these a lot in the day but I ended up wearing them in the evenings with a plain vest and skirt or shorts. I’ve also worn them a lot with jeans since I’ve been home.

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Dresses -

Dresses were a no brainer, I whipped up two Mission maxis, this time minus the maxi.

I kept one short.

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And the second midi.

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Both fabrics were from Fabric House, again. My mission maxi pattern was definitely a good investment, so far I’ve used it to make 3 dresses and a vest, it’s so quick to sew up and fits me perfectly.

How cute do the monsters look in my holiday snaps?!

Schnitzel and Boo’s Mini Quilt Swap

I’m crazy late in sharing this post with you but to be fair I wanted to wait until my swap partner received their gift from me and I had received mine. As this was an international swap the snail mail took a bit longer. Anyway gifts were all received but then I was frantically sewing holiday clothes and the monsters were off school for the summer so it was a mad house round here.

We’re back from our holiday now and only a few more days then it’s back to school too so slowly normality is returning to Casa O’Meara. Finally I have a few minutes to share my swap photos.

Incase you haven’t heard of Schnitzel and Boo (what’s wrong with you?!) Kerry is super lovely and decided to organised an international, secret mini quilt swap.

I made a mini for the very talented Sarah from No Hats in the House. I have to admit I was a little nervous about what to make as her quilts are beautiful and I didn’t want her to be disappointed with her gift. I knew she liked monochrome so I started there.

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After playing around with a few ideas I settled on this design.

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Sarah had also shared that she loved international gifts so I included some English fudge and a selection of teas in London themed tins. I also made a little zip pouch with some sewing themed fabric because, well, you can never have enough zip pouches.

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I was totally relieved when Sarah received her parcel and liked it.

I received my gift from Jade (@cr4zycupc4ke on IG) who completely spoilt me! She made me this brilliant mini quilt plus sent me a Hello Kitty overload, how awesome is that?!

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I really enjoyed the swap and home Kerry organises another soon. In the mean time you can check out all the great mini quilts that were made in the Flickr group here.

A Serious Crafty Catch Up

Well hi there, how have you been? I don’t know about you but here at Casa O’Meara we’re all looking forward to the summer holidays, only a few days to go. The down fall to having the monsters at home for 6 weeks is my sewing time gets seriously cut. So before my project progress becomes non-existent I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to.

A few Sundays a go I got to spend a bit of quality time with Monster no1 helping him with his craft homework, he had to make a sea creature of his choice. After trawling the internet he decided on a banded sea snake, we raided my stash of felt and got to work.

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It was great to see him really concentrating and enjoying using the sewing machine. I don’t think I’ve seen him sit still for that long since he started walking! He was so proud of his efforts, he did a brilliant job. I only had to help him sew the curve of the head and to close up the tail.

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As well as homework I’ve been working on my handmade wardrobe. We’ve finally booked our holiday and I’m hoping to have plenty of handmade clothes to take with me. My project list is full of beach cover ups and lightweight easy to pack items. First tick off the to-make list was a quick little upcycle. My t-shirt I love but have sadly shrunk out of (yup that’s right!) was too ridiculously big to wear anymore so thanks to pinterest and my fabric scissors I chopped the sleeves off, changed the neckline and plaited the back.

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Beach cover up done!

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Next on my list – Lace t-shirt
I popped into my local haberdashery and for some reason this coral lace just called out to me, honestly it made me buy it. Next thing you know I’m skipping out the shop with lace and neon binding. I mean it could only end well :)

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I already have an old lace t-shirt I bought a few years ago, its cheap but just the right size, so I used that to draught myself a pattern while Monster no2 took a rare nap.

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To finish it off I decided to trim the hemline following the lace pattern, for a cute scallop edge. I love the neon binding and the dropped hem at the back, its little touches like that I like the most on handmade clothes, that’s when you get to really put your personality across.

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My last project to show you for now is a fun little make up bag I made as a gift for a friend, I hope she likes it!

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Handmade Wardrobe – Scalloped Hem Shorts

Another make off my list, although not entirely successful :( When I first saw the Scalloped Hem shorts from Pattern Runway I just knew I had to make them. The shape was exactly the sort of thing I would wear a lot, not too short, functional but still feminine. Only problem being I hadn’t made shorts before and was really nervous about fitting.

Well I plucked up the courage and gave them a go. I double checked my measurements and opted for a size M. I chose some lovely soft fabric I found in Goldhawk road. It was in the denim section (I can’t remember which shop now?) but it’s so fine and has a lovely drape, unfortunately it does not photograph well.

Making these shorts was quite a challenge for me but I did learn a lot. The welt pockets gave me serious brain ache, I didn’t find the pattern the easiest to follow and the recommended tutorial used a slightly different technique to the pattern so just made it more confusing. After a lot of perseverance (and swearing!!) I figured it out.

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I really tried my best and worked so hard, in the end I was really happy with how they turned out. The pink stitching detail I added finished them perfectly, only one problem, they don’t fit!!

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After all my blood, sweat and tears they don’t bloody fit! They’re just slightly too tight across the hips :( I found them such a challenge to make I just can’t bring myself to take them apart and adjust them. I think it’s just going to be easier to adjust my body by half an inch instead, so paleo and exercise here I come! If only I had chosen fabric with just a little bit of stretch then I would have been fine.

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Even though I didn’t exactly enjoy the pattern itself I am going to make another pair, maybe minus the welt pockets. I do really love the finished shorts and it would be great to have a pair I can actually wear this summer. The next ones I make I’ll do in a size M again but just use a smaller seam allowance, problem solved…………hopefully.

Meet ups, Milan and The Mortmain Dress

Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet, I promise I have a valid excuse, I’ve been sewing like crazy. I’m so pleased I think I’ve finally got my sewing mojo back! Since I moved last Christmas I’ve found it hard to getting into any kind of routine with my sewing, couldn’t really get my rhythm if you know what I mean. But at last out of nowhere my mojo is back, I just can’t stop sewing.

I’ve got quite a few things to tell you about so expect plenty of posts over the next few weeks.

I thought if start with something fun. A couple of weekends ago my good sewing friend Rachel organised a brilliant meet up for sewing bloggers from all over. We all met at the V&A for coffee, cake and lots of sewing chat. We then had some photos taken of all our amazing handmade items and a group shot of us all, I think on final count there was about 70 of us!

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Photo courtesy of Kitty Wong

We then head off to Goldhawk road for some retail therapy. Although I didn’t end up buying anything I had a great day getting to know the other sewing bloggers and look forward to seeing them soon at another meet up. Unfortunately I spent too much time chatting and not enough time taking photos to share with you guys. Luckily everyone shared their photos of the day on Instagram, Twitter and Flickr using #nylon2014 so you can see what we got up to.

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Everyone’s handmade outfits were amazing! I’d been a little nervous about what to wear, being a bit of a newbie to making my own clothes I thought I would let the side down. I wore my Mortmain by Gather and was so surprised by the lovely compliments I received. I really loved how my dress turned out and plan on making another soon. The fit was just right for me, I didn’t have to make any adjustments. I found the pattern so easy to follow and would definitely recommend it. I love everything about it, especially the exposed zip down the back. As I said earlier I was pretty crap about taking photos, I got none of my dress. Have no fear though I totally took one for the blog and managed to get a couple outside Prada, in Milan. Milan darling!

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Super hubby whisked me off to Milan for a few days of quality time together while the kids spent some quality time with my (also super) mum and sister. It was great to just totally relax, we spent a lot of time drinking Aperolspritz and eating gelato. Perfect. We took a train to Como for the day, which was simply beautiful. A lot of the day was spent just sitting and taking in the scenery, oh and eating gelato.

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There was so much inspiration to be found in the boutique windows. I can’t remember which shop I spotted this in but I just fell in love.

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The Duomo blew my mind. We had planned to take the steps up to the terrace but it was just too hot so we stayed at ground level and took it in from there.

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If you are ever in Milan it is a must see, even though it is incredibly touristy. Just make sure you make the effort to head away from the main square to get something to eat or drink. We stumbled across this amazing gelato shop. The place was heaving but well worth the queue, they fill the cone with liquid chocolate and then pile it high with creamy gelato. I had a white chocolate filled cone and pistachio gelato.

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Heaven!

The only downfall to a quick little get away is the washing when you get home, which is exactly what I have waiting for me right now. If you need me I’ll be wading through a mountain of washing and dreaming of gelato.

Midweek WIP’s

I’ve been a busy girl working on my handmade wardrobe. My Mortmain dress is nearly finished, I can’t wait to show you. This week I whipped up a simple gathered skirt using the left over fabric from my Mortmain. For the skirt I didn’t use a pattern but read a few tutorials and adapted this one by adding bright yellow hidden pockets and a fully exposed zip (like the Mortmain).

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The skirt is by no means perfect but it was great practice for me, it was my first time sewing hidden pockets, gathering and adding a fully exposed zip. All in all not bad for a quick scraps project, plus I got to practice my overlocking skills again.

This Saturday I’m off to London for a blogger meet up arranged by Rachel (House of Pinheiro). I want to wear something I’ve made but I can’t decide whether to wear this skirt or not? As well as arranging the meet up Rachel organised a name tag swap. My partner was Louise, she loves pinks and greens and has a cute little teapot logo which I decided to incorporate in her name tag.

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Louise sent me this pretty tag that I plan on taking with me on Saturday.

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So far there are over 60 people coming to the meet up so the name tags will definitely come in handy! If you’re planning on going to the meet up I’d love to know, leave a comment below.