Body confidence and 'braving' the Nikko Dress

As someone who's barely worn a t-shirt since being a teenager, I've been finding it difficult to judge what knits will sit well on the body and which ones are the best to work with for each project. I remember the horrors of clinging high street knits all too well, so I want to get it right as I amp up my sewing with stretch. After making the True Bias Nikko Top (in a slightly too stretchy rib knit - see here) and seeing the amazing fit Kate from The Fold Line achieved with hers in grey, I decided imitation (*cough* outright copying) was a sure fire way to get it right.

True Bias Nikko Dress
I used the exact grey marl viscose jersey from Fabrics Galore that Kate used for hers. If it hadn't been for the recommendation, I would have probably let it pass me by, thinking it was too lightweight for a project like this. When it arrived, I was still worried that the fabric was too light and also slightly see through when held up, but I went with it in the effort of honing my not-quite-there-yet jersey-judgement, and it worked!

In sunny Hebden Bridge-post Rag Market
The Nikko dress has a slightly more relaxed fit from the waist down, which I didn't think would be the most flattering fit for me, so I made some slight adjustments to get a closer fit at the waist. I cut a size 6 at the neckline and bust, grading down to a 2 at the waist and out to a 4 at the hips. I also took the split seams and hem up by 3" (I'm 5ft 6" for reference, so this is a long dress). Just like the top, it's a very quick and easy make and the instructions are easy to follow.

Whilst my Nikko Dress has turned out close fitting in the way I intended it to be, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little self conscious when wearing it. The fabric is spot on, if not a little clingy, and using plain grey has made for an unintentionally bold finish. From some angles I feel totally statuesque, and from others... more like the fifth (grey) teletubby. I definitely like the finished dress more than not though and really want to get wear out of it, so I guess I've got no option other than to try and own it.

Less into this angle...
Wearing it with a slip does reduce some of the cling and skims the underwear lines a bit. I also think I might feel a bit more comfortable by breaking the block colour up. I had a black leather jacket on before taking these pictures and felt great, so I think I might just need to wear something over the top, like a loose button up shirt (actually that's a good excuse to make one - I'm thinking khaki will fit in nicely with the rest of my wardrobe)!

Thanks Mum for patiently waiting for the walkers and cyclists to pass to take these
I'm not an un-body confident sort of person, but it is a dress that I feel like I need to 'brave' to an extent. It's quite difficult putting yourself/body out there in a silhouette you're not quite used to - even if the only person who really knows it or cares is you. It is a lovely pattern, so I am determined to integrate the Nikko into my wardrobe, to the point where I don't have to feel brave to put it on. Points if you spot me, head held high looking positively statuesque in my big grey Nikko!

Has anyone else had similar feelings about 'braving' wearing certain garments?

Stay in touch!

Sewing Leftovers: Inspiration & Ideas

It's been amazing to see so many people sharing their makes over on Instagram using #sewingleftovers. There's been everything from incredible garments squeezed out of the tiniest scraps and leftovers repurposed as stylish linings, to bags, baskets, patchwork and English paper piecing. As primarily a garment sewer, I'm really keen to try and transform my own leftovers into something wearable - whether that been an entire item, or a garment 'feature'. So here's some inspiration for incorporating leftovers into making a stylish wardrobe:
All images sourced from Pinterest, with the exception of 7, which was sourced from Instagram
1. I've never been quite sure what to do with leftover outerwear fabric, but I absolutely LOVE this patched coat. I'm thinking next year's winter coat might be a big win for stash busting!

2. This contrast-patterned kimono-style jacket is perfect for spring/summer layering.

3. Inspiration from Paul Smith Menswear: the contrasting border sleeves and lower jumper could be a good way to use leftovers!

4. Statement pockets and stand out details like the cuffs and collars on this jacket are great for using up smaller scraps.

5. Some simple colour blocking inspiration: this RTW dress could totally be recreated with the Inari Tee Dress.

6. I want my own version of this Mimi G Simplicity 8613 men's top. Using a mix of prints for the sleeves/body of a t-shirt is a great way to mop up stray bits of jersey!

7. Instagram inspiration here from @fragmentid who made this hack of the Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater for her daughter. The contrasting collar and cuffs give it a real edge!

Personal #sewingleftovers plans

I have some pretty substantial chunks of denim and corduroy leftover from my many attempts at the Lander Pants. I've just finished up pair 4 and finally got the fit right, so it's time to seek out some inspiration for the scraps...
All images soured from Pinterest
1. I may be at risk of looking a bit too B*Witched, but I'm really into these jeans made from large patchwork sections, particularly the deep blue culotte version.

2. Some decorative patching/appliqué inspiration. I'd probably be less likely to do this at the point of making, but it could be a good way to salvage a much-loved pair of jeans and trousers whilst using leftovers at the same time!

3. Marilla Walker's denim Lander Pants might just be my favourites. I think I'm going to try and combine some of the patchwork elements with this version of the Landers in mind, to make my own leftover-Landers!

I have a fairly small amount of textured red faux leather leftover from making the Ready to Sew Juliette Skirt which is crying out to be made into a matchy-matchy bag/purse...
All images sourced from Pinterest
1. RTW regrets - Cos had these amazing circle bags in last year and I should have bought one at the time. I'm wondering how difficult they it would be to recreate...

2. This envelope-style clutch could be easy one to draft and make from a small amount.

3.Serious matchy-bag inspiration on the catwalk at Marni.

4. The Ida Clutch Bag by Kylie and the Machine might just be the perfect #sewingleftovers project. I've made 4 already for gifts, but still don't have one of my own. I love this little handbag hack by @danisaurus33 and would love to try one out for myself! 

And if you needed any more inspiration:
  • Listen to episode 35 of Love to Sew Podcast. Helen and Caroline launch into a thoughtful, well researched and balanced discussion about sustainability and sewing, which contains some useful suggestions for scrap usage!
  • Take part in #makeyourstash challenge organised by @pilar_bear and @timetosew. Use fabric that has been in your stash for more than 6 months to make a wearable garment and share for the chance to win a prize! Full details here.
  • Read Rachael's thoughts on how sewing has had a positive impact on her environmental/ethical consciousness. 
  • Sign up to Megan Nielson's newsletter to get the Acacia Underwear pattern for free (a great one for #sewingleftovers)!

Next up for #sewingleftovers, I'll be doing a round up of fab patterns for limited amounts of fabric. If you know of any patterns that absolutely should be included please leave me a comment below :)

Stay in touch!

Sewing Leftovers: New Look 6459 Trousers

I was really nervous to press 'share' on Sewing Leftovers, so I can't thank the sewing community enough for the interest and support shown for it so far! Some people have even started sharing their own leftovers makes using the #sewingleftovers hashtag... so I thought I'd better get on with it and show you mine! This first Leftovers make put real challenge to suggested fabric requirements and lay plans: here's 1m of orange corduroy VS the New Look 6459 trousers.

New Look 6459 trousers in leftover corduroy
Fabric: Mid-weight orange corduroy from Fabrics for Sale

Original garment made: This Simplicity 8459 Skirt (view B)

Leftover fabric: Just over 1m. I bought more than needed as I originally thought I would make the longer version of this skirt.

Sewing Leftovers make: New Look 6459 Trousers 

Leftovers-wise, what did I learn? What many of us know already: not to follow the suggested lay plan. I positioned the trouser leg pieces next to one another and cut my waistband on the cross grain (this worked better with the direction of the corduroy) and I squeezed mine out of just over 1m rather than the suggested 1.8m. It was also fun to experiment with making this pattern in a not-so-expected fabric. 
Simple and wide-legged staple
About the make: 
I keep seeing this pattern pop up online (as made by some of the internet's most fashionable sewists, @adaspragg and @michelleofatime) so I was pretty pleased to find it free with February's Sew Magazine. Whilst the pattern is pretty unassuming from it's cover and the top isn't so exciting, the trousers are a simple, high waisted, wide-legged staple, with a zip fastening in the back. They were really easy to make and work well in such a bold fabric. I think they've turned out quite quite cool in an unexpected corduroy, though based on the fabric recommendations and style, the pattern would work probably work best in something with a bit more drape.

Back view
One of my biggest criticisms of the 'Big 4' patterns is that they often only list the finished hip measurement and don't include finished waist measurements too. Forgive me if there's something I'm missing here, but the waist of this pattern is particularly unforgiving, so I'd say it's a pretty important to know. From measuring the waistband pattern piece minus the seam allowances, I found that I needed to cut the 14 (good job I did this as I would've cut a 12 if going off my hips alone).

Relaxed side view
The resulting fit is perfect on the waist, a little loose on the hips but in a nice, relaxed way that will work even better with a more drapey fabric. The waistband is surprisingly narrow and fits snugly without gaping. I would be tempted to add depth to it in future, though I think the narrowness (as well as reinforcing it with waistband interfacing) has limited the crumple which is often the norm for high-waist garments.

I made them in just an afternoon/evening and they're overall a nice wear with particularly roomy pockets - yay for pocket fans! I'm sure I'll try them again in a more summer-appropriate fabric, or leftovers if I have any suitable!

What else do they go with?
The trousers fit in quite well with my current wardrobe. In the main pictures I'm wearing them with a sleeveless Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck hack, and below with a Fall Turtleneck and my Named Clothing Isla Trench, and with the True Bias Nikko Top. At the minute, I'm feeling most comfortable pairing them with a black top (they are quite a bold trouser after all), but I'm hoping that will change as I get more used to them.
Worn with a Fall Turtleneck and Isla Trench Coat
It's been unseasonably cold for springtime here, so they're mostly getting wear with socks and boots, but I'm looking forward to warmer, bare-ankle friendly days (which will no doubt also provoke a short trouser/sock/shoe dilemma - fashionable friends, what would you do?!)

Worn with the Nikko Top and a perfect nail match (No7 Ginger)
Thank you for reading about my first Sewing Leftovers make! I'm feeling inspired to hunt through my 'substantial scraps' and scout out my next make.

I'll be sharing my Leftovers journey on the blog and on social media via #sewingleftovers. Please feel free to use the tag to share your own makes and ideas if you'd like to join in too! If you're taking part then I'd love to hear what your plans are - let me know in a comment below!

Stay in touch!

Introducing 'Sewing Leftovers'

It's fast approaching my little blog's fourth birthday! Thank you to those of you who've stuck with it from the start (cringe) and those of you who've joined me along the way. Breathing a little new life into the old blog and my approach to sewing, I'm introducing a new series on The Magnificent Thread called 'Sewing Leftovers', in which I look at putting creative use to remaining fabric from my sewing projects to make another garment or accessory. I hope you'll be interested in reading all about it and that some of you might even consider joining me in #sewingleftovers too!

Why am I Sewing Leftovers?

1. To build a more cohesive wardrobe:
This largely follows on from this post, where I put my leftover fabric to use to make a coordinated outfit with a more considered colour palette. I'm inspired by how well it worked and hopeful that producing multiple garments from the same fabrics/colours/textures will build a stronger and more cohesive wardrobe to suit my personal style, as well as making it easier to address the gaps.

2. To become more aware:
I typically overbuy fabric, so this is a way that I can try and make good use of bad habits! I'm hoping that the challenge will increase my awareness and understanding of how much fabric I need for different projects (and best case scenario: one day there'll no longer be a need for #sewingleftovers)!

3. To be less wasteful:
The aim is to use up my stash, paying particular attention to those leftover 'bits' that seem not quite enough for a full project, but too big to throw away. I want to challenge suggested lay plans and fabric requirements to really get the most out of my fabrics!

4. To be more cost effective:
What it says on the tin really! Getting 2 (or more!) garments out of one fabric purchase rather than unnecessarily buying new is the aim.

5. A personal challenge:
I want to re-energise my sewing outside of the 'big' projects and encourage myself to think creatively to make the best of what I've already got. Can I find new patterns that use small amounts of fabric? Can I combine leftovers to make something totally new? Can I make better use of my existing pattern collection along the way?

What to expect from Sewing Leftovers:
  • Posts about garments made from leftovers (when I have them), showing how the fabric was used and how the new garment fits in with my current wardrobe.
  • Sewing Leftovers inspiration posts
  • Sewing Leftovers pattern suggestions for makes that require small amounts of fabric
  • Round ups of Sewing Leftovers makes from the sewing community

Can I join in?

YES! Absolutely!

If anyone would like to join me in sewing up their own leftovers, whether it's for the reasons listed above, or reasons of your own, please do! There are no prizes, time constraints or pressures: this is purely a 'for fun', personal challenge. It would be amazing to see the sewing community getting together to really make the most of ever last inch of their precious fabric purchases.

If you'd like to join in on social media, you can use the hashtag #sewingleftovers

Tag me in your posts if you're happy for me to share your #sewingleftovers makes in round ups and to help inspire other makers in using their own leftovers (I'm @shaunimagnifique on Instagram).

Coming up first from me will be a pair of New Look 6459 trousers, squeezed out of the orange corduroy leftover from this skirt.

Will you be Sewing Leftovers?

Stay in touch!

Thanks for visiting!

Thanks for visiting!