Simplicity 1158 – Inspired by Project Runway – Printed Playsuit


When I visited the Sewing for Pleasure exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, I picked up this pattern. I wasn’t looking for a playsuit pattern, but I wanted something different to dresses, that could maybe give me a bit of a challenge and learn new techniques.

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Once I’d bought the pattern, I was on the lookout for the perfect fabric that would be suitable for a summer and winter wardrobe, with bare legs (rare) or tights (the usual). This printed crepe fabric caught my eye, the drape and hand feel felt right for the pattern and I was lucky as there was slightly more than the requested 2m left so they lovely lady on the stand gave me the rest of the bolt!

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I was determined to sew this up for my holiday (which I returned from last week, it was lovely btw!!), and committed a sewing evening at work to cutting out the pattern and fabric. I like to do this at work because we have large cutting tables and there are no cats there to distract me or sit on the fabric/patterns. Whilst selecting the patterns for the design I chose, I realised this playsuit has pockets… I bloody love pockets on dresses and skirts and playsuits, well just about everything! I can see myself making more of these! I cut a basic size 12, as this was the closest to my body measurements, and because there is so much positive ease, it didn’t matter if the measurements were a little smaller than me!

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The playsuit didn’t take long to put together at all! The instructions were really clear, it all came together easily, I completed he bodice one evening and the shorts the next evening. The only thing I changed was to add an additional line of top-stitching at the waist to hold the deep waist seam allowance and elastic channel up against the bodice of the playsuit. I also didn’t have any bias binding for the armholes but found overlocking seam allowance and turning them under worked just fine!

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The fabric was lovely to sew with, however it doesn’t press all too well… You can just about press your seam allowances, but this was the main reason I top-stitched the waist elastic channel/seam allowances up, because I knew it would twist up and down when being worn.

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The fit is looovely, and it is probably the first playsuit I own that isn’t “too short”, even for me! I did wear it on holiday but didn’t get a photo (I forget to take photos all the time, even when I’m somewhere lovely, so this wasn’t surprising!).

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I’d happily make up lots of these, in different colours and fabrics and the pattern has so many options of what you can do -wide leg shorts/trousers, slim leg shorts/trousers, short sleeve, long sleeve, sleeveless, cross over front, pleated front… The possibilities are endless!! I think I might even make one of the jump suits, when I find the right fabric!

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All-in-all, this was another great Simplicity – Inspired by Project Runway pattern, suitable for beginners looking for a new challenge!

GBSB 2016

Image from: BBC Website

This week it was announced that The Great British Sewing Bee returns to our screens on Monday at 9pm!! Last year was the first series I’d watched and I found it so inspiring! Even the fella loved it, so I’m looking forward to seeing the projects, challenges and how everyone copes under that sewing bee pressure his year! I’m quite a slow sewer, even if I’m trying to be quick, so I am always in awe of the contestants!

Blog meet badge 2016

I’m also attending The Big Simplicity Blog Meet on May 21st in Manchester, which is my first blog meet and I’m really looking forward to it! I’ve seen quite a few bloggers that I already follow will be attending too, so it’ll be nice to meet the people behind the blogs and widen my blogging circle!!

If you’re also attending the blog meet, let me know in the comments below :)!


 

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Simplicity K1418 – Inspired by Project Runway – Polkadot 50’s Dress


In just under a month, one of my closest friends is getting married. Since she set the date, 6 months ago, I have planned to make the dress to wear to her wedding… I have the design in my head. I just need to plan the pattern out properly onto paper (it’ll be a mix of Treid&Tested and self-drafted) and order the fabrics and trims. I have a whole month, it’ll be fine!

Despite the planning of the above in detail, it was a completely different affair for her Hen Do! In my defence, although the date was booked in, the details and theme’s for the day were quite last minute. The day theme was 50’s and I had nothing in my wardrobe that I thought would be suitable. What worked against me was the plan to not make something and to buy something RTW that worked both in the theme and also would fit in with my wardrobe.

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AND THEN I rooted through my patterns to see if there was something there that would work, and I found this pattern! It came free with Sew Magazine months ago and I’d forgotten about it. The off-the-shoulder look felt very 50’s-esque with the full pleated skirt. The seed was planted, but I wasn’t 100% sure whether I’d have the time to make the dress. That was until I decided to pop to the local haberdashery for some notions for a different project and left 20mins later with fabric and zip in hand! The seed was sown and the dress was to be sewn!

I made a quick toile of the bodice in size 12, as my measurements placed me between sizes 12 and 14 and I was closer to the finished measurement of the 12. I hedged my bets and it paid off. I was ready to cut out the actual fabric.

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The fabric is a heavyweight cotton in navy with tiny white polkadots, which I chose so that it would hold the shape of the pleated skirt. It was a dream to cut and sew. The polkadots make it really easy to line up the grain of the pattern, so cutting was easy and quick. This is always my least favourite part of a project, sometimes it drags on and on and I don’t really have the space in the flat to lay it all out, especially when the floor of the flat is the kitties’ territory, so it’s nice when it’s made easier and is relatively painless. (Where possible, I like to use the large tables at work for cutting out, however time was not on my side and it was the long Easter weekend I started this dress and the office was closed). As soon as I’d cut out my fabric, I cut out the interfacing and prepared the pieces this needed attaching to. Everything was then folded neatly and I went to bed.

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With everything on track for the dress to made in good time, I then put off sewing it for 2 days – I think life just got in the way (working late, gym etc). This left me 2 days to make the dress around my full-time job, so essentially 2 evenings. While this isn’t a need-to-know fact, I think it is relevant to show how quickly and easily this dress came together.

I constructed the bodice in one evening after work using industrial machines – probably in around 2 and a half hours. The instructions for the main bodice and straps were straight forward, and obviously the basic toile helped as I followed the same processes, except for the toile I did not add in the elasticated straps, which are hidden under off-the-shoulder sleeves. Having worn the dress, I am still not 100% sure how effective these were but I didn’t want to risk not adding them in.

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The neckline and armholes had a full facing and this was certainly the fiddliest part of the garment to sew. This is mainly because of the variations in the thickness of the fabrics as you sew around the armhole and sleeves where you will have 2 layers of fabric in some places, 4 layers in another and then 6 layers of fabric plus elastic when you get to the elasticated straps. This then becomes 4 and then 2 layers very quickly as you reach the neckline edge and repeat at the other other end of neckline for the armhole on the other side of the body. I knew, in order to get a clean finish and to around catching the straps into the seam, I would need to take the sewing of this area more slowly. Also, I was already having to do this twice for the front and back, I couldn’t bear the though of unpicking parts or all of it to re-do it. Luckily, taking my time and practicing a little bit of patience paid off and I’m really happy with the finish of the neckline.

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Following this, the skirt came together very quickly in approximately an hour and a half, the next evening after work. I usually find pleats to be fiddly at times but I just made sure I pinned each pleat accurately and machine-basted the pleats in place in one go, ensuring they were consistent to each other. The instructions for the skirt construction, attaching it to the bodice and inserting the zip were very straightforward, nothing out of the ordinary. Once I’d hemmed the dress, I did one final fitting before I met with a friend for some after-work drinks where I could relax and look forward to the festivities the next day!

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All-in-all, for a last minute project, I am very happy with this make, it had some great feedback at the hen-do. Although, I do wish I’d made it with a circle skirt so that I could swish it around at the dance class we attended! Another regret was not buying the concealed zip as suggested on the pattern envelope (I really need to pay more attention in future or take a photo to review when in the store!).

I think, for me personally, I will shorten the skirt and replace the zip to be concealed and inserted much more neatly, however for many sewists out there, I think this pattern will be pretty much near perfect for you straight out of the packet! There are loads of design variations in this pattern, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be making more of them in the future.

Have you tried any of Simplicity’s inspired by Project Runway patterns? What did you think?


 

Oh, hi there!… Remember me?


Hi again!! So, you may or may not have noticed that I’ve not been around for a little while… I haven’t technically gone anywhere but I’ve most definitely not been posting or sewing. I won’t go into the details but I lost my sew-jo AND had a bit of blogger’s block. So I took a little break from it all, and had a little think about my blogging goals.

Having been really excited to start my 52 weeks challenge, I don’t think I’d really thought through the commitment I was making. It was more challenging to divide my time up into sewing portions around plans and work and chill time than I’d imagined, and I think the commitment was ultimately too big.

Don’t worry,I will be reworking the guidelines of the challenge so that the challenge will still exist BUT it may be more of a “How many garments can I make in this 52 week period?” as opposed to “I have to make 1 garment a week for 52 weeks”. A little more flexibilty won’t do me any harm, and it will also take off the pressure and allow it to be fun again!! It’s taken me a little while to come to this conclusion, and admitting it out loud is a little embarrassing, if I’m being completely honest (after only a few posts to show what I’d made so far). However, I can’t keep pretending I’ll make up the lost time and I can’t keep avoiding the challenge either. I considered deleting it, but I just don’t feel right about giving up on it completely!

I also want this blog to be more than just about sewing, and for a little while, all I was doing was concentrating on the sewing aspect (with a little bit of running thrown in – more on that soon, there’s an exciting update about my race lined up!).

I think the break has done some good for me, I miss reading blogs daily and feel a little guilty about my growing, but in reality quite neglected, sewing area. Now that I have cleared the air, I feel a whole lot better than just hiding from it all!!

Please feel free to share some exciting posts I may have missed in the last 2 months in the comments below!! 😛