By Hand London Flora/Culotte mash up

It's my birthday! I saw in the early hours of the day at a wedding, wearing what I think may be my finest ever sew - a culotte jumpsuit - and luckily managed to get some pictures of it too. This has been in the pipeline for a little while now, so I'm thrilled that it a) worked out, b) I had an occassion to wear it, and c) I get to share it with you guys!

B6178 meets Flora!
Clearly ecstatic about the freedom for weird dance moves!
I made it using a mash up of two patterns - the By Hand London Flora bodice, and the B6178 Culottes, which I've been singing the praises of for the last couple of months (and blogged about here). I've had the Flora pattern for nearly 2 years now, but I've always put off making it for the fear of having an ordeal with the fit adjustments. After making a couple of pairs of B6178s and absolutely loving them, I realised that they'd look amazing together if I could make it work. This, coupled with the slight pressure of an impending wedding - one of my resolutions was to sew my own dress for wedding attire - was the push I needed to get fitting. It's not quite a dress I know, but I wanted something a bit different, and in my head, in this totally fitted the bill.

Working out the fit adjustments on the bust
Gigantic darts on my muslin!
First up was the - dreaded - fitting. I needn't fear the FBA, but there's just something about committing to it that makes me nervous. Anyway, the BHL site has the best FBA tutorial for version B of the Flora bodice. I made up the adjusted version and it was nearly spot on. I just had to take a centimetre out of the centre front as everything was all a bit too far out. I made up one other muslin  - a big deal for me considering it's usually very rare that I even make one - just to be sure I had the fit right, and then cut straight into my final fabric.

A pretty good fit for the first muslin
I used this lovely black and white polka dot crepe that I made the Nita Wrap Skirt in. I bought 4metres ages ago for a project that never saw the light of day, and I'm finally glad to have found the perfect use for it - a bold silhouette calls for a bold fabric right? I even had enough to fully line the bodice in it too - the stuff of luxury! The only thing I should've given a bit more consideration to was the placement of the spots. There was no way I was going to attempt pattern matching, but although I matched the selveedges, I seem to have cut the fabric with the spots running at a twisty angle. I'm hoping the spot placement looks fairly random despite the definite squiffy angles.

Used making my own outfit as an excuse to buy sparkly new shoes!
I was lucky that the bodice and culottes matched up pretty well with very few adjustments. I moved the front darts slightly, but in hindsight I didn't even need to do this, as the culottes are ease stitched into the waistband/bodice, so there's a bit of wiggle room. I used a 22" invisible zip straight up the back, and handstitched the lining in on the inside, and taa daaaa! It's done (phew!) but it really was a seriously enjoyable make!

Back view
Happier than I look!
I'm not saying it's quite my finest technical sew, but I couldn't be prouder of the ideas, the pattern mash up and how it came together, and getting the fit just right - I love it, and it's a dream to wear. It's even more of a dream to wear with these sparkly shoes I got in Zara - making your own wedding attire totally justifies a new shoe purchase right? I've since seen a pattern that's probably a quicker way to make a similar one (the New Look 6446 - Erica Bunker made a fab version) but I'm glad I pushed myself with this one, and finally made up the Flora bodice! I think there'll be many more of these (Floras and Flora/culotte jumpsuits) to come :)

Here are a couple more pictures from the beautiful wedding we went to (congratulations Helen and Shaun!)

I have another 3 weddings to go before the season's out, and I'm really excited about making my dress for the next one after being sent a parcel of beautiful fabric from Sew Essential. Updates on that one very soon!

Is anyone else planning to sew their wedding outfits this year?

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Turia dungaree dress #2

Hola! I've just returned from a recent trip to Barcelona where I managed to get some lovely sunny snaps of my second, (new and improved with adjustments) Pauline Alice Turia Dungaree Dress. I must say this about nearly every make, but it's definitely my new favourite. I think this one is very deserving of it's place on a pedestal for the sheer amount of effort that went into making it.

2nd Turia Dungaree Dress
I already sung the pattern's praises the first time round, and now I knew what to expect, it felt easier to put a bit more planning and effort into the finish of the garment. First up, I knew I wanted a slightly heavier denim in black. Quality black denim was surprisingly hard to come by! I finally found this mid-heavy weight denim in Fabworks - but I've also been informed by the lovely Sew Essential team that they stock black denim too! The weight is perfect, and holds it's shape much better during wear (creases above only the result of the flight to Barcelona!!)

Finishing the pocket edges
I think I was feeling brave/inspired in the wake of The Big Simplicity Blog Meet, so I went for contrast topstitching on the pockets and top of the bib - in what I can only describe as 'Doc Marten yellow'. I even bought proper topstitching thread, which it turns out, requires a larger needle (which I used) or preferably a special topstitching needle (if you've got one) and an increased stitch length. You can sort of tell I was a bit nervous at getting the 2 rows of stitching neat and parallel in parts, but I'm super proud of the effort! I think the little wobbles add a certain charm :)

Pre-buttons and buckles
I used bias binding where needed to conceal the raw edges on the inside pockets and back - the main edge is machine stitched and then I hand stitched it in place on the inside. I blindly put all faith in the instructions with my first pair, which frayed like mad in the wash on the bits where there weren't explicit directions to finish the raw edge. Ah what a thing hindsight is... It took a bit of time to do, but I'm SO pleased with the finish.

Back view

- I adjusted the positioning of the back pockets - I thought they were too high and too far apart last time - which has worked out pretty well. Note: topstitch detailing on them too - I was really starting to enjoy it by this point!

- I sewed the back straps in slightly angled towards the direction they go during wear. I suspected this might improve the fit after making my last pair and it really did the trick - thanks Jo for letting me know that it worked for hers and giving me the confidence to try it!

Final picture - just ready to head in for day 1 of Primavera!
And then it was just the buttons and buckles to add - both from Green Grizzly again. I sewed the buckles in place rather than knotting the straps this time, as I thought it more suited the 'neat' finish I was going for.

Finished with buckles and buttons!
I have some pretty big makes on my 'to-sew' pile, and a house move on the cards for June, but when I finally get chance, I'd love to hack the pattern to make a long button down version like this one from Monki.
A very hackable option for the Turia Pattern
Thanks again Pauline Alice for my perfect summer pattern! (which will probably see me into autumn and winter too).

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May, Me Made May and May Martin

Here's to a fabulous sewing filled and themed May! I completed my first full Me Made May, wearing at least one (if not more) me made garments per day, and I have to say, it's a really great feeling! I also went to the wonderful Big Simplicity Blog Meet in Manchester, and my sewing productivity is through the roof - I made 3 basic tops, a pair of culottes and some dungarees all in May! First, here's my round up of the second half of MMMay16, featuring slightly more colour than the first half:

Week 3

Top row: days 15, 16 & 17; Bottom row: days 18, 19 & 20
Day 15 - Self drafted Liberty dress; Day 16 - Vogue 1395; Day 17 - Blue Kielo Wrap Dress; Day 18 - Faux wrap skirt; Day 19 - Nita Wrap Skirt and sleeveless rise turtleneck hack; Day 20 - Simplicity 2154 skirt; Day 21 - (pictured below at The Big Simplicity Blog Meet) B6178 culottes, sleeveless Rise Turtleneck and Driftless Cardigan.

Week 4

Top row: days 23, 24 & 25; Bottom row; days 26 (day and evening), 28 & 29
Day 22 - (not pictured) same as day 21; Day 23 - floral self drafted skirt and sleeveless Rise Turtleneck; Day 24 - Floral Kielo Wrap Dress; Day 25 - Rise Turtleneck and GBSB hacked skirt; Day 26 - Lottie Blouse in the day and faux leather Nita Wrap Skirt in the evening; Day 27 - (not pictured) polka dot Nita Wrap Skirt; Day 28 - Turia dungaree dress; Day 29 - Turia dungaree dress and sleeveless rise turtleneck

Days 30 and 31 came from my holiday in Barcelona, and featured my recently blogged B6178 culottes, the wrap top I made as a part of my 'make more tops pledge', and my yet-to-be-blogged second pair of Turia dungarees - those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen them over there!

Final thoughts on this year's Me Made May...

- My style's definitely evolved. I can split my me made wardrobe into Before-Kielo Wrap Dress and After-Kielo Wrap Dress. Making my first Kielo last year really marked a shift in my me made style, and it's the After's that definitely get a lot more wear.

- I'm moving house soon and have to do the brutal wardrobe cull, so Me Made May has really helped with some difficult decisions. My V1395 dress (pictured on day 16 above) is getting recycled - I just don't get on with the fit -  along with a bunch of older makes that never got a look in during the May.

- You know those days where you just don't feel like getting dressed? Well I haven't got any comfy me mades to wear on them. I'm not sure if this will spur me on in making a bunch of 'house clothes' but I'll definitely consider getting some PJ bottoms sewn up.

- I'm finding that wearing more than one me-made per day is coming quite naturally - maybe I'll have to up the challenge level of my pledge next year (!!!)

- I LOVED seeing everyone else's makes. My Instagram feed was so vibrant and positive all month - so much talent and beautiful patterns and fabric that I'm now dying to try out. It wouldn't be the same if MMMay ran all year round, but there's a part of me that wishes it would - thanks Zoe for organising once again.

The Big Simplicity Blog Meet!

Group shot!
And now a little about The Big Simplicity Blog Meet, which was held in Manchester a few weeks back. Myself, Aimee of Wrong Doll and Angela of Looks Like I Made It had already arranged to meet up in Manchester, and by great chance (fate?!) the event was running on the same day, so we signed right up!

Angela, Aimee and me - so lovely to finally meet!
Cake, goodie bags, fellow sewists and a May Martin masterclass. I'm not sure I was prepared for the amount of wisdom that May was about to impart - I had to steal a bit of paper off of Aimee to jot some tips down! From overlocker tips, to sewing with jersey and turning straps; May not only seems to know it all, but she has an insanely great tip for everything too. She's knowledgeable, witty and very honest - May said she couldn't endorse anything that she wouldn't be happy to use or teach with, with a rather interesting reference to a certain brand of sewing machine that Patrick just so happens to front...

Invisible zipper tutorial!
Anyway, here May is, showing us all how to sew the neatest and quickest invisible zip of all time. I ran straight out to Abakhan after and bought a skinny piping/zipper foot - the piece of kit I'm missing that's prevented me getting an up close finish on the bottom of my zips for all these years!

Goodies and Abakhan haul
We were lucky enough to get a fab bag of patterns, goodies and reading material at the end of the day too. I also grabbed some ridiculous but wonderful snake skin effect faux leather from Abakhan too (May recommended Scotch tape of the machine foot for sewing faux leather!).

For a much more comprehensive run down of May's brilliant tips and advice, see Aimee and Angela's great round ups of the day.

Thanks Simplicity for hosting such a wonderful event!

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