Advertisements
Archive | By Hand London RSS feed for this section

Flora, Flora, Flora

9 Mar

Hola sewing folkaroos! It’s been a while. Life’s been crazy. Bought house, moved house, got dog, mini-breaks, christmas, new year, work blah blah I won’t bore you with my day to day life!

However, in amongst the mayhem I found some sneaky time to pattern test By Hand London‘s newest pattern, Flora! Have you seen her yet? I was delighted with the invite to test the pattern, and found the deadline very motivating to actually complete a garment in amongst everything else.

I went with Variation 1 – faux wrap bodice with pleated dipped hem circle skirt (otherwise known as a mullet skirt). I had next-door-to-zilch time to create this baby, so I lived live on the edge and proceeded without a muslin. The lovely Colette from Tessuti kindly donated the lovely floral viscose linen blend that I made Flora up in too.

ZoSews - Flora dress

I chose my skirt size based on waist measurements because hip didn’t really matter so much due to the voluminous nature of the beast, and bodice on bust size. I made size 10/14. I should have gone down at least a size because I would have preferred a tighter fit – she’s a bit loose. However because I was in such a mad rush and also decided to give you guys the best idea of the pattern fit out of the box by not making any changes, it is what it is. And I still loves ‘er.

ZoSews - Flora dress

The pattern says you need 160cm wide fabric. It’s not a lie let me tell you! I was working with 135cm and had to pinch out a whole lot of volume from the both front and back of the skirt – shown in photo below.

Cutting Flora Dress Skirt

See the sections pinched out?

I also tried to make her up with the longest size hem – I don’t like short thingys 🙂 – but it didn’t work for some reason, so I chopped all the excess back off and went back ‘on pattern’. Which means she’ll probably be more of a winter rather than summer number for me – teamed with tights and boots of course.

ZoSews - Flora dress

So what else can I tells ya?

  • Hemmed by hand – still can’t handle machine hemming – and it’s quite cathartic in front of the TV anyway.
  • Bodice is lined with a white cotton batiste.
  • I love invisible zips.
  • Next time I’ll go down a size and lengthen the waist.
  • I’d like to try the non-mullet version, and I’d also like to frankenpattern the bodice with a pencil skirt
  • From what I’ve been reading, many other testers were smarter than me and thought to french seam the skirt because you can see the inside of the mullet from the front – I wasn’t that tricksy and have simply overlocked to finish. I don’t think it looks terrible though.

ZoSews - Flora dress

Oh man I need a haircut… that fringe, gah…

ZoSews - Flora dress

So that’s Flora, give her a go!

And what’s a post mentioning a new fur-baby without a pic ‘ey? Meet George, my newest obsession 🙂 Don’t let those eyes fool you, he’s a savage monster ;p

George

Z xx

Advertisements

Anna goes tropical

17 Nov

By now, pretty much the whole entire blogosphere has made the By Hand London Anna Dress. So yes, I am late to the party (or with this fabric should I be saying I’m late to the luau?), but I am still at the party! Woot!

By Hand London Anna Dress

I sewed along with the sewalong, but faltered at the last curve being late, late, late with photos.

Now she’s not a hard make, but if you’re not feeling confident, the sewalong had great tips and pics, making her even easier to sew up.

By Hand London Anna Dress

I made the maxi dress version with the boat neck, but got a little crazy and added a second split to the skirt. However craziness was dialled down when I reduced the height of the split – no-one needs to see that shiz.

By Hand London Anna Dress

I traced the pattern onto Swedish tracing paper in a 14 – it was way too big and I ended taking off about 6-7 cms off the side seams at the end. Make a toile people – it will save the unpicking!! And while I’m handing out hot tips – if you’re a tracer, GET AMONGST the Swedish tracing paper, it’s so much easier to work with than any other kind of paper.

By Hand London Anna Dress

I cut about 5cm off the hem, and my current hems are still huge! 8-10cms I reckon. I love that these BHL ladies design for us taller style people, this is the only pattern brand where I’ve ever had to shorten!

By Hand London Anna Dress

I overlocked most seams to finish them off, and hand blind stitched the splits and the skirt hem.

This lovely lady is made a tropical rayon from Spotlight that I nearly wet myself when I found amongst the fabric rolls because it was exactly what I was looking for for Anna – and I got the last 5 metres of it – HAH!

By Hand London Anna Dress

If you’re gonna get all technical like, the fit is probably not perfecto. For example, the waist seam is hitting me too high, but c’est la vie, I’ll fix it next time. On the other hand, my invisible zip insertion is divine – even if I do so say myself. What’s even more interesting is that I can’t remember the last time I actually hung out with an invisible zip. Needless to say, I was happy.

I can’t wait for some more Anna appropriate weather. However, I did wear her last week with boots and jacket, and I think she worked those boots 😉

Come at me – what are you working on right now?

Z xx

I am in Victoria. The blazer and the state*.

4 Aug

Every sewer and their dog seems to be talking about the rad By Hand London patterns and ladies. Sorry, I’m about to do it again too!

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

Some hideously long time ago I was asked if I would like a copy of the Victoria blazer. You can imagine my response went something like, “yes, yes, love one, please, send immediately, now”. Sorry ladies, it did take me a while to bring her to life, but I am there now and that’s what matters, right? Right. The recent sewalong was a good way to keep motivated 🙂

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

I made variation 1 out of a green linen and a watermelon coloured silk cotton blend, both from Clegs.  I LOVE this watermelon colour. I would wear it 24/7 if I could.

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

The pattern doesn’t ask for the sleeves to be lined. I planned on doing it anyway, until I realised I didn’t have enough delicious silk cotton. Which meant that for once, I pretty much did what I was told and stuck to the instructions as written. (Edit: I lie. I didn’t want thus didn’t include the pockets. Oh yep, I changed the cuffs as well, applying the silk then folding back.) I did finish the sleeve seams hong kong style, which is ‘off-pattern’ but a nice touch I think. Here’s a bad indoor pick of the finish…

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

The cuffs don’t have the opening/join on the outer side of the sleeve, I didn’t read the instructions there (naughty) and just threw (sewed) them on. I don’t mind, I finished them off with a cute little button each that the lovely Hannah from Sinbad & Sailor sent me too.

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

I think I went awry in cutting her out somewhere, because the front pieces were about 5cms longer than the back pieces. Obvs the back pieces had to be cut to fit with the front, but I think I would have preferred the longer length.  You live and learn 🙂

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

The front pieces and their funky darts look quite odd, and l thought they were going to throw me, but by actually reading the instructions and sticking to them, there was no throwing at all – in fact those weird looking front pieces were a piece of cake!

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

One other little note, I made tiny hand tacks at the top and bottom of the each lapel to make them stay back. I also ran a line of stitching around the underside of the lapels and collar (green on top, watermelon bobbin) to help it sit back properly.

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer
So there you go. Meet my dear Victoria, she may not come out to play properly until we get some sun. It’s flippin’ cold here at the moment.

Z xx

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

*I live in Melbourne, which is in the state of Victoria, in the country of Australia. FYUI.

It’s gridlock out there…

26 Mar

So, Tessuti decided to run a competition, with 50% off the fabric and a pretty loose brief. And most importantly, no size specs! I could hardly refuse…

Gridlock Gertalex

I am so in love with my first Elisalex, that I decided to run her up again – of course with some changes 😉 PS – this is the first time I have EVER made a garment twice, so hats off to you By Hand London, you’ve hooked me.

Gridlock Gertalex

The fabric that everyone had to use for the competition, called ‘gridlock’, was nice and structured like my dotty Elisalex fabric, so I had a good feeling she’d come together well. The one key change being that I substituted the delightful oversized tulip skirt, for Gertie’s pencil skirt – the same pattern I teamed up with Sewaholic’s Lonsdale bodice – this time however I remembered to add in the skirt vent.

Gridlock Gertalex

I thought that with the pencil skirt the dress would be a bit more wearable and closer to the ‘daywear’ brief set by Tessuti. Further, I thought the clean lines of this ‘Gertalex’ would work and not compete with the strong fabric pattern. Oh, and instead of the skirt front darts, I created pretty little tucks that lined up with the princess seams on the bodice.

Gridlock Gertalex

Sooo, the rest of the details –

    • Lined in a cream cotton from Spotlight to play up the creamy background of the gridlock fabric
    • Navy blue grosgrain ribbon waist stay included to help control any zipper spreadage and maintain a clean shape
    • Hand picked zipper: Instead of focusing on neat, straight stitches, I focussed on invisible stitches, blending my stitches in with the blue pattern in the fabric
    • Blind hemmed by hand the sleeve and skirt hems

Gridlock Gertalex

  • A delicate little cream scalloped lace trim was added to the lining hem, it’s very sweet and just peeks out
  • The outer fabric hem was finished with a navy satin binding
  • Instead of sandwiching the zipper between the lining and fashion fabric, it’s attached to lining, ensuring it won’t show through to the outside. And there’s a hand sewn hook and eye at the top just to finish off.
  • Three navy and gold buttons were hand sewn to each sleeve. Just a little bit of shjooz to break up the pattern, without competing with it.

Gridlock Gertalex

Gridlock Gertalex

The team at Tessuti are simply going to pick their favourite garment as the winner, but I’m sure a few flash mobs/emails/smoke signals/telegrams telling them to pick the gertalex wouldn’t hurt 😉 Just kidding, good luck to everyone entering, can’t wait to see what y’all come up with, it’s been great so far!! You can check out all the entries on Tessuti’s Pinterest.

Zxx

Dotty for Elisalex

16 Feb

I was lucky enough to win myself a copy of the By Hand London Elisalex dress via a giveaway on House of Pinheiro, becoming the envy of many a sewing blogger mwah ha ha ha.

I decided to whip it up for a wedding I was going to. Teamed with some pretty brocade style fabric from Clegs (thanks to a birthday voucher from Mr ZoSews) this is how she came up.

Elisalex dress

The gory details

The pattern

  • If you haven’t already seen the gorgeous packaging BHL are using, you’re missing out. When I first saw it, it absolutely delighted me.
  • Personally, I’d really like to see some finished measurements and a hip measurement included. I know that the skirt’s huge so there shouldn’t be issues with hip size if you get the waist right, but for a hippy gal like moi, I just like to know. Ease and height of fit model would be useful too…
  • The instructions are written in very accessible language, and provide the sort of information that’s helpful for those just dipping a toe in sewing land, for example, “Back stitch at the start and finish of your line of sewing”.

Elisalex packaging

Pattern alterations

I traced and cut the bodice in a size 10, but then…

  • I’m long in the body, so I slashed and spread and added 4 cm to the bodice length, so the waistline would actually hit me on my waist. 
  • I moved the bodice princess seams across towards the centre 1.5 cm so the line went right through the apex of the bust.
  • I did some shaping from under the bust down to the waistline for a closer fit.
  • I used a pink cotton voile for lining, and in addition to lining the bodice, I lined the skirt. All I did was reuse the skirt pattern, and cut it at around 26cm length. 

Elisalex dress

Construction notes

    • I couldn’t find a 30 inch zipper on the face of this planet! Well in the few stores I went to anyway. So I got a 24 inch and just free-styled the insertion, hand picking it in.
    • Instructions say to machine hem the sleeves. Not for this little black duck, so I blind hemmed the sleeves by hand.
    • Because I didn’t make a toile of the skirt (bodice only), I cut it out in a huge size to start with (18 I think… ridiculous now but it made sense at the time). Not surprisingly, cut at an 18, the skirt was frickin huge and looked ridiculous. I went back down in size in stages by just basting my side seams together until I hit what I liked. I now have ENORMOUS side seams, but no-one can see that 🙂

Elisalex dress

  • It’s probably due to my giant skirt plus shaped bodice, but, sheesh, easing that skirt on to the bodice almost killed me. I reckon I had at least 4-5 tries and she wouldn’t play ball. So in the end I have some tiiiiny gathers between the two waist darts, and more annoyingly the waist darts don’t perfectly match the bodice seams – but I managed to deal with that because I don’t think anyone else would notice. Phew.
  • Pattern suggests top stitching around the neckline, but in this case I under stitched.

Elisalex dressThe verdict

At first I was worried that it wasn’t very flattering around the hip region. However, I’ve since decided it’s a winner. I reckon I’ll make this bad girl again. In a less ‘icing’ fabric, I think this would be a goer for the office. I also want to try the bodice with a pencil skirt. Overall, I’m very happy with it 🙂 And it seems I like grey and pink… 

Elisalex dressPostscript

I almost forgot. Walking around in Toorak between this wedding ceremony and reception, I crossed the road at a pedestrian crossing and heard two women talking about my dress as I walked past them. It went something like this, “Now THAT, is a nice dress”. Oh yeah, as you’d expect, I was quite chuffed! Especially as I had just finished the thing standing in the kitchen hand sewing while Mr ZoSews packed my bag to leave to go to the wedding. Last minute much?

Elisalex dress

Thanks for reading. I hope I’ve enticed you to give Elisalex a go?

Zxx