Thursday, 31 October 2013

Gingham Shirt Dress -Finished last! Firstly apologies for the terrible gloomy pictures. It's currently impossible to take a good photograph in my house as there is just so little light at the moment. These will have to do for the time being.

Anyway... I started working on the bodice for this gingham shirt dress back at the height of summer. Despite needing to re-size the somewhat 70's looking collar I was quite happy with how it was coming along until I got to the skirt.

I just couldn't decide what to do with it. I wanted a slightly flared skirt so was thinking about a half circle -but working with gingham I thought that the bias at the side seams would look odd so I proceeded to play around with a rectangle based skirt -pleating and gathering in all manner of ways but nothing looked right! At that point I threw it in the wardrobe to be tackled at a later date.

Then I bought the 'Kelly Skirt' pattern by Megan Nielsen. I made this version (also below) and was really happy with the outcome. I then had a 'Eureka!' moment when I realised that the pattern was rectangle based therefore eliminating the bias issue at the side seams!

So I made up another 'Kelly' using the gingham -omitting the waistband and shifting the darts to match up with the ones on the bodice. I also used french seams throughout as the fabric is quite lightweight and prone to fraying.

If I were to make another I think I would firstly not wear a sports bra when fitting it (rookie mistake as it now gapes at the bust whenever I wear anything else!) and secondly fit it slightly closer at the waist.

In my last post I mentioned that winter would probably arrive before I had it finished and although I think we're still technically in autumn/fall the weather is definitely pretty winter-y! Luckily despite it being very lightweight and cool I was right in thinking it would work well with layers. I've been wearing it with woolly tights, ankle boots and a cardi.

Hope everyone has a cracking Halloween. Now the pre-Christmas panic begins! Anyone else sewing / making gifts for Christmas?

Friday, 25 October 2013


I was intending to post this on Sunday but it turned out so adorable I couldn't resist! I'm quite sure it's recipient's Mummy will see it, but turning 2 next week (and so having limited IT skills) I think it's safe to say that it will still be a surprise for the birthday boy which is the main thing.

I chose the fabric specially as the last time I saw him 'Dinosaur!' was the word of the day. It's quite loud, but I'm imagining it worn open with a navy tee, or perhaps closed with a little cardigan.

It's made using the hand drafted pattern which I created a few weeks ago. I think I could have done a slightly better job of pattern matching (the print was quite wonky!) but I'm really pleased with it.

I hope the birthday boy will be too!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Eclectic Elements by Tim Holtz

I recently stumbled upon this gorgeous new fabric collection by Tim Holz. It's available from Eclectic Maker who I wholeheartedly recommend.

I needed a little colour matching help when ordering a batch of fabric from them previously as when distance buying you can never trust the shade to be accurate due to the light conditions when photographing or variations in colour on your computer screen.

Not only were the folks at Eclectic Maker extremely helpful but they responded incredibly quickly as well! I'll mention no names but I've had two very recent disappointing experiences of companies not responding to my telephone/email queries at all so I can't recommend them enough.

On another quite different note... This post marks my 50th here at Stokes Croft Stitching. When I first started this blog back in February this year I wasn't entirely sure whether it would be something I would commit to and keep going so I'm really pleased to still be documenting my endeavours and sharing bits and pieces.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Megan Nielsen 'Kelly' Skirt

Yesterday I finally got around to putting together the 'Kelly' skirt by Megan Nielsen which I've had cut out for a little while now -due to picking up a particularly nasty cold I've not been doing much sewing (or much at all) for the last couple of weeks.

Unfortunately due to the stripe the fabric doesn't photograph that well. Either that, or I'm incapable of standing still for even a fraction of a second which could very well be the case. I bought it back at the height of summer to make my other half some more shorts, only he didn't like it (yay for me!).

The pattern is now out of print but is available to purchase from the website as a downloadable pdf which is great if, like me, you're a fan of instant gratification. If you'd rather purchase the real deal then there are bound to be a few online stockists with some left.

It's a great pattern which is suitable for beginners, with clear precise instructions and some great tips -It never occurred to me to use my pinking shears to clip curves! You have to be extra careful not to clip too close to the stitching though as there's very little seam allowance left.

The only change I made was to add four belt loops and a matching narrow tied belt for little extra detail.

I prefer making narrow strips like this belt as if making bias tape (but on the straight grain) then folding  in half and top-stitching, rather than stitching a tube as I find the turning so darn fiddly! To reduce the bulkiness for the belt loops I decided to simply overlock the edges then press and topstitch them into place.

I cut an XS going by the measurements given and I'm really happy with the fit. I don't usually wear full skirts but I was drawn to this one with a view to wearing it with thick tights/boots. I'm really pleased with the result though despite my best efforts it has a distinctly summery feel.

If you're thinking about making a skirt this one's a great choice. It'll work well in different weight fabrics for summer or winter (thinking about #2 already -perhaps in cord?) and it comes together really quickly (particularly if you're lazy like me and use Kam snaps instead of buttons and buttonholes!).

For a little more skirt inspiration there are some great examples to check out in the Megan Nielsen Flickr group.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

EPP Mystery Project

Golly it's been a while so here's a little catch-up from my sick bed (sick sofa is more accurate, I've not left it much for the last few days -thanks miscellaneous cold/flu/bug!).

I had a last minute interview to attend last week and no outfit which I was happy with. I thought I'd whip up a second Sorbetto in a printed chiffon but have yet to take any pictures so more on that one shortly!

The ATC swap is well under way with some great examples cropping up in the Flickr group. I was working on a first attempt incorporating various ideas but was not at all happy with the result as it just had too much going on. I've decided to simplify it, omit the sequins and just stick with drawn thread embroidery on burlap using embroidery floss in autumnal shades.

I'm currently finding myself really drawn to hand sewing (despite historically having very little patience indeed and favouring fast methods and short cuts). I guess as I'm getting older I can greater appreciate ambling and pondering and the prospect of meticulously creating something entirely by hand.

I've wanted to have a go at English paper piecing for a while. Having spent yesterday confined to the sofa, I thought it would be a good time to try it out with some Andover cotton I've had hanging around for several years.

As this is my first attempt I wanted some information to get me started. I found this post by Florence really helpful, as well as this one by Heidi. I'm making the pattern up as I go using a lozenge template by Lynne of Lily's Quilts and currently have no idea what it will turn into!

Anyone else trying out something new? I hope everyone's germ free and enjoying the weekend!