Make it Easy: A newly made top and a long lost sewing magazine

I recently bought an issue of Make it Easy: Mix and Match Pattern Wardrobe & Sewing Guide from an antique shop in Sheffield (though I'm not sure I'd quite class it as an antique yet - it was published in 1984). I first remember being drawn to the attractive, bright, retro designs of the Make it Easy series when I was in my teens, and I came across a bunch of them in a junk shop. I bought a few at the time, just because I liked to collect old catalogues and 'vintage' imagery. These were a bit wasted on the non-sewist teen me, so now I actually sew, it was a pleasure to come across a few issues.
The cardboard sleeve and it's contents
A preview of what's inside issue 7
Make it Easy is a 26 piece series, originally published by Marshall and Cavendish in 1984. Each issue offers instructions to make a number of garments, as well as a pattern hack and 'styling' suggestions. The patterns are all printed and enclosed with the magazine in a cardboard sleeve, and each issue comes with 'technique cards' - though mine were missing unfortunately. I decided to buy issue 7 for the top/trousers/dungarees combination of patterns.

Jam packed contents!
I've really struggled to find out much more about the series. It seems that the magazines are aimed at the beginner sewist, who was trying to build their very own 'mix and match' wardrobe - and as some of you may know, I'm already a big fan of the capsule/mix and match wardrobe (see here)! Marshall and Cavendish also published a similarly beginner-targeted magazine series called 'Get Knitting' the following year - each pack containing a colour knitting and stitch guide, plus patterns for men, women and children. You probably get the idea, but I did come across this wonderful video ad for Make it Easy (via Kristina at Arts, Thoughts, Fashion, Tech) that is well worth a watch:

Anyway, over to the make! I still had some (suitably retro print) cotton hanging around from the last Hebden Bridge WI Rag Market, so I decided to use it for the very basic top in the magazine. No darts, no shaping, just a straightforward sew to kick start 2016. The blouse/top has a wide, almost boat-style neckline and a neat little tie to the right shoulder.

Make it Easy top worn with Topshop trousers

The instructions would be super easy to follow for an absolute beginner - though I took more time finishing my seams, rather than just using pinking sheers as per the instructions. The only bit that was a pain was turning the narrow ties out - totally manageable, but just takes patience! I've rolled my sleeves up a couple of turns and stitched them in place like the design on the front cover - see I'm paying attention to the styling tips! Here are some more:

Mix and match styling tips for the patterns in issue 7
Simple pattern hacks and accessory suggestions for the top
I'd like to try making the trousers from this issue (when you consider the picture below, how can I not?!) and I'd collect more of the Make it Easy series if I ever come across them again! If anyone else spots a copy then I'd recommend snapping it up - even if just for the fun styling :)

Snazzy trousers and dungarees here!

Can anyone else shed more light on the Make it Easy series? Have you come across or made anything from it?

Stay in touch!

Goodbye 2015, hello to another year of sewing!

Happy New Year! I'm not going to dwell too much on 2015, but all I can say is that it was a pretty good year for sewing. I think I'm really finding my feet with some trickier sewing techniques and (particularly in the second half of the year) I've been doing a lot of thinking outside of the box (or sewing outside of a pattern) and making things that feel truly 'me' in style.
So here's a brief look at some favourites:

L-R: Vogue 1395; Mix and match culottes with overall bib; Kielo Wrap Dress with sleeves; GBSB Casual Trousers - overall bib hack; Self-drafted dress; Self drafted Liberty fabric dress.
I have to say though, it's definitely been the year of the Kielo Wrap Dress by Named Clothing - my most made and loved pattern of 2015. I imagine there'll be a fair few more of these in 2016...

L-R: First and favourite in blue crepe; An unblogged Kielo in Celia Birtwell-style fabric; Black sheer Kielo with sleeves.

So onto 2016, and some things I plan to work on!

I've already made an early sewing resolution (in this post about Sewing and Sustainability): to make sure I have no unworn garments in 2016.
Me Made May will be on the cards again for 2016. I did really well for the first 3 weeks last year, but didn't manage the last week as I went on holiday, so this year (holiday or not) I'm making it happen!
I'll also be trying to work my way through my fabric stash. I have a few 'treasured' fabrics that I need to brave the scissors and needle with, particularly these two that I acquired in 2015:

Best in stash: a vintage orange Paisley from Hebden Bridge WI Rag Market and black and white spotted crepe from Minerva.

I already have invites to a couple of weddings in 2016, so another aim is to attend in something me-made. I have a nearly finished wedding-worthy dress that I really need to push myself to get done, so maybe that will make an appearance at one of them!
A lovely save the date
And something a little bit different that I haven't spoken about much on my blog... I've been slowly acquiring all the tools and equipment to try my hand at leather work - much to everyone's amusement, my lovely boyfriend bought me a hammer and tool box for Christmas (exactly what I needed!) I bought a huge bundle of leatherette from Fabworks before braving the real stuff, and I made musician Louisa a leatherette harness as a part of a stage outfit (still in progress) that I posted about here. So here's some inspiration for making my own accessories in leather and leatherette:

L-R: Leatherwork inspiration from Yan Man Leather; A leatherette harness made for Louisa from Actor; A Fleet Ilya harness bag that I want to make my own version of.
And here's my first leather harness that I made towards the end of 2015! All tools, leather and notions were from Le Prevo Leathers and I'm really pleased with it! Worn here with a jersey turtleneck top to jazz up a daytime outfit.

My own leather harness
Finally, my current reading material, top inspiration and favourite Christmas present is the Vivienne Westwood biography/memoir. I'm quickly making my way through the pages!

My favourite Christmas present!
I hope the New Year brings continued creativity, lots of sewing and wonderful times for you all. Looking forward to another year of sharing my sewing and seeing everyone else's wonderful makes :)

Stay in touch!

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