New Liberty Prints Spring/Summer 2014

How’s everyone holding up this January? I’m doing okay, thanks for asking. Unlike the Arctic temperatures of 2013, the weather in London is surprisingly mild. Also, I haven’t pledged to give up alcohol/sugar/fatty foods so I’ve been consuming all three with gusto, which always helps.

To be honest I think February and March are probably the worst months of the year anyway. It’s a long slog until the Easter bank holidays.

Anyway, enough misery, here’s something to cheer you up. Liberty have released their new range of fabrics for 2014!

It’s based on the London store, with different designs representing each department. This is my favourite, and I don’t usually like novelty fabrics. But I’ve fallen hard for this one:

ss14libe1041034b

It’s ‘Forget-me-Nots’, and it’s based on the contents of a lady’s handbag, although for some reason they have left out the lidless biros, crumpled up tissues and chocolate bar wrappers that live at the bottom of my bag. I love how meta it is with the tiny Liberty prints on the hairspray, notebook and purse.

It comes in four colourways but this lilac and yellow one is my fave. If you like it, for heavens sake don’t buy it for £22 on the Liberty site, you can get it for £14.25 a metre at Shaukat here.

Here’s my second favourite, called ‘Holly’:

holly

It’s based on the texture of ripped jeans, overlaid with splattered ink. I love the more abstract Liberty prints and this is a beauty. You can buy it from Shaukat here.

The rest of the collection is all very nice, but has lots of little floral prints which aren’t really my thing. You can see the whole range here.

Incidentally, did you saw the recent TV documentary about Liberty? One jaw-dropping fact that I can’t stop thinking about is that their top customers spend over £40,000 a year there. I’m not sure whether to feel disgusted or envious about this. I definitely wouldn’t pass up the chance to do a Supermarket Sweep style trolley dash in Liberty.

p.s. how do you all feel about sewing with Liberty lawn? It has a very crisp, almost cold feel to it for such a delicate fabric, with not much drape. I think it can be tricky matching it to the right pattern – sometimes I prefer it as an accent rather than a full garment. The prints are so gorgeous though…

Minerva Blogging Network: Burda polka-dot trousers

This month’s Minerva project sprang from my wish to make a pair of trousers that involved no topstitching whatsoever. It was also inspired by the totally awesome pairs that Rosie from DIY Couture makes, and these overpriced Moschino polka dot trews.

Here’s the result:

polkadot trousers 1

You can see more about the project and the fit changes I made on the Minerva Blogging Network here.

These trousers have caused no small amount of controversy within my household. My husband thinks they look like pyjamas. I do own a pair of pyjamas made from extremely similar fabric, so I can see where he’s coming from, but hopefully the fabric is sturdy enough not to look like I’ve just woken up and strolled to the corner shop in my loungewear.

spottytrousers 3

The pattern is from Burda magazine 11/2013, available on the Burda site here, and it’s pretty good, with a shaped waistband and well-drafted pockets. I didn’t bother making a muslin, just compared them to my existing jeans pattern, and the fit isn’t bad, if a little bit tight.

If I’m totally honest, the main reason I chose this pattern is because there are four pieces to trace, and no welt pockets. Although this doesn’t help to support my ‘not pyjamas’ case.

They also have a turn-up cuff thing going on which I like although it’s not that noticeable in this fabric.

polkadot trousers 2

I’m not sure if I’ll be wearing these much, but I’m glad I made them. They might be more use in the spring.  I’m not convinced this is the most flattering style for the pear-shaped of us. Also, I think this pattern might work better in a slightly heavier wool fabric, as the knees tend to bag out a bit.

Still, I’m counting these as my first win for 2014. I made a wearable pair of non-jeans trousers! Hooray!

polkadot trousers 4

Read my Minerva post about these trousers here.

You can buy the polka dot stretch fabric here – I think it would make an amazing fitted dress.

Or buy the full kit with zip and fastening is available here.

Download the Burd pattern (11/2013 #110A) from the Burdastyle website here.

(sorry for the terrible photos. This is about as light as it gets in Britain at the moment.)

2013: A Sewing Review

Hello and happy 2014! My blogging muscle feels a bit rusty. I’ve been in Scotland since Christmas Eve, eating at 4 hour intervals (plus snacks), and watching classic musicals on TV. I’m not sure how I’m going to get my brain back into gear for real life but a blog post seems like a good place to start.

I’m a bit late, but I wanted to join in the year-end review mania currently sweeping across sewing blog land. Here’s my attempt.

Top 5 sewing successes

Based on what I wore the most:

Faves

  1. Giraffe print blouse from a Burda magazine pattern. This is a surprise late entry! I didn’t like this at all when I sewed it, but I discovered it looked great with the top button undone and the sleeves rolled up and I’ve worn it a lot.
  2. Vintage Maudella shirt. I’ve made a few shirts over the years but this is the first one I’ve been pleased with.
  3. McCalls 6355 dress. This is probably my most worn item this year. It’s so comfortable and simple, and it was ridiculously easy to sew. The fabric was from the magical Tottenham warehouse, which I plan on visiting again in 2014.
  4. Blue skinny jeans. Wore them to death this summer and they’re a bit tired and saggy now. But it was good while it lasted.
  5. Emerald green skirt. I was particularly pleased with this because it was a rip-off of a designer skirt I saw online and it worked out perfectly, which almost never happens. The fabric was perfect.

From the evidence of this, I need to make more separates and use more geometric prints.

Top sewing failures of 2013:

sewing failures

  1. I have still massively FAILED to make a jumpsuit, after talking about it in, er, February. Blogging about potential projects seems to be the kiss of death for me.
  2. I am bad at reusing patterns.Then I put off sewing new patterns because I know I’ll have to make fitting changes. This seems a bit short-sighted.
  3. My biggest sewing disasters this year came from mismatching pattern and fabric. My yellow skirt wasn’t crisp enough to hold pleats, and I ended up having to re-jig it. My denim skirt was way too heavy, and the bias hem I did constantly flips up.
  4. I also need to take into account what I actually wear. My second pair of jeans are languishing in a drawer because I can’t be doing with brown. The skater dress I made ended up way too short to be practical.
  5. I need to take better photos. Don’t think I’ll be able to do much about this until it starts getting light for more than 2 hours a week (sometime in mid-May judging from last year’s weather). I’d quite like to do a whole blog revamp as well but my design skillz are somewhat lacking.

Wedding bells

Weddings seem to be the only time I dress up nowadays, and in 2013 I attended three (as well as my own, but I didn’t make a dress for that), and managed to finish a new outfit in time for each of them – a pink New Look shirtdress, a floral number also from New Look, and a Pretty Woman style spotty dress from a vintage Maudella pattern.

wedding dressesNext year I have at least two nuptials lined up, so I need to start planning…

Top 5 blog posts of 2013, according to WordPress:

  1. Where I buy fabric in London and online – I need to re-write this. If I’d known it would get so many views I’d have spent a bit more time on it.
  2. 20 Top Tips for Topstitching – Probably the only genuinely useful post on this blog.
  3. Psychedelic jungle By Hand London Anna Dress – I have fabric to make another one of these; one of the top patterns of the year I reckon.
  4. The Great British Sewing Bee – Can’t wait for the 2014 series!
  5. The Scientific Sewing Enjoyment Chart100% scientific nonsense.

I really feel like my sewing has improved 100% this year, and blogging has been a huge part of that, particularly being part of the Minerva Network which has been loads of fun.

I’m so grateful to everyone who reads this blog, even if you’re only doing it because we’re related, or if you enjoy laughing at my strange facial expressions. Thank you all anyway. Here’s to a brilliant 2014!