Tag Archive | sewaholic renfrew

The John Lewis leopardprint dress.

Happy New Year everyone,

Back to blogging the stuff I made before Christmas but did not get round to posting about – actually for some reason I went completely nuts with the sewing in December and made three things so there’s a good reason I didn’t blog everything in time. I am having a massive break from sewing at the moment as Jon had 2 weeks off work, then we were dealing with the house move – it’s fallen through, I’m a bit sad but the amount we were being mucked around it’s totally for the best. And now Jon has come down with a cold so he’s been at home for most of the week and today is his first day back at work, so I’m using it to catch up on admin jobs and hopefully will be back to the actual sewing next week.

Anyway, back to the dress….so the idea for this particular dress came from two chance happenings coming together simultaneously.

The first is that I was down the fabric stall on Lewisham market looking for a specific shopping list for some long term projects, and while I was there Maggie, the lady who owns the stall, tipped out a new bag of fabric. – She sells deadstock and samples from some very well known high street stores and independent designers – which is how I get such gorgeous stuff off her- and anyway, some of the stock comes as large bags of random from the high street clothes companies workrooms. So this particular bag there wasn’t actually very much of interest in it, it was mostly very small pieces, apart from a 4m length of the most beautiful leopard print jersey. So I had it off her pretty much before it even hit the stall.

Then I got an email advert from John Lewis with a really nice but very simple polo neck leopard print jersey dress by Ghost selling for like £95!!!! I took one look, sniggered and knew immediately that I could make my own version with pattern pieces I already had in my stash and the £12 of fabric I’d just picked up off lewisham market!

So of course because it’s my version it has a cowl neck rather than a polo neck and it has 3/4 length sleeves rather than full length ones, but for £12 I’m rather proud of it.

The pattern I used was a mashup of the Sewaholic Renfrew Top and the Colette Patterns Moneta dress . I’d love to say it was my idea but I’ve seen several people do it on Instagram so I just ripped off the idea from there.

I’ve made literally dozens of the Renfrew top over the years so it’s a pattern I’m very comfortable with, I only made one Moneta dress in the past and it was a complete utter disaster , I used a crappy cheap jersey, the neckline stretched out of all recognition and I didn’t get on well with the weird elastic gathering method of constructing the skirt. But that was two and a half years ago, my sewing has massively improved since then, I was using a decent quality jersey this time and I totally ignored the instructions for the gathered elastic, gathered the skirt using two rows of long machine stitch (ie my usual way) and attached the elastic to the bottom of the bodice instead.

& I think it’s worked wonderfully. My one remaining gripe with the Moneta is the skirt is not as full on the plus sized versions as it appears to be for thinner girls. But I love the fact it has pockets – a sad omission on most women’s ready to wear dresses- and I think what I’ve ended up with really suits me. I now have plans for two more in different jerseys I have in my stash.

So onto the pictures….

We took these on the balcony of Jon’s brother’s block of flats when we went over for an early Christmas celebration.

I’m particularly pleased by the way the gradient stripe lines up between the bodice and the skirt, because it was completely unintentional and it didn’t even occur to me to try pattern matching, so I’m really glad it matched itself!

It pretty much hasn’t been out of the wash since it got made. I’ve now set up an entire Pinterest board to stalk top end highstreet dresses, as clearly this is an inspiration method I completely need to be trying again.

It looks better on me!

I freely admit I’m totally awful at blogging regularly, but it’s coming up to the end of the year and I’d quite like to have blogged everything I’ve made by then – I’m only a couple behind! I’m also hoping if I blog this it’ll get me excited enough about it again to make a replacement.

You see this particular make was almost a complete cock-up.

So pattern Sewaholic Renfrew top made by me on at least 10 previous occasions and something I could possibly make in my sleep. So you’d think I wouldn’t have any issues with it.

Jersey from Stoff & Stil which I’ve never shopped from before, & the jersey came and washed up ok and I didn’t notice any problems.

Except it has absolutely zero stretch. & I totally failed to notice before I made the top.

So here it is on the hanger, looking lovely just off the machine….

And here it is on me two days later….

As you can see it’s a bit on the small side – not unwearably so, but it was not the comfiest thing to get into.

So I asked what to do on Instagram, all the seams were overlocked so there was no way of letting it out. & it was suggested that if the fabric was still available to just buy some more and make another one.

So I bought some more fabric and was procrastinating when my mother came round to visit. She admired the fabric so I showed her the offending top and was bemoaning what had happened when next thing I know it’s going home with her!

And yes I have to admit it looks better on her. Mum is about 2 dress sizes smaller than me & about 3 inches shorter.

I didn’t think it was her style but she’s worn it pretty much constantly since.

So now I have to make another one. I’m hoping that writing this post now and looking at pictures of how awesome the idea was will inspire me to make another (slightly larger) version.

I’m the top size of the pattern so I’m a little nervous about cocking it up, as I’m going to be winging it a bit with how much extra I add. So I’ve been putting it off partly through nerves and partly because I don’t want to make the same thing twice.

But it has to be done, & it’s a lovely sunny day to do some cutting out.

Shine like a star

So still on catchup with blogging the stuff I’ve been sewing this summer. Bizarrely moving house with the threat of having to put my sewing machine away every week or so to make it look tidy and I’ve actually been sewing as much as I normally sew.

It’s all the same patterns though!

On which note, introducing my latest incarnation of the Sewaholic Renfrew top . Again with added sleeves from McCalls M7542.

I wore it for a day out in Greenwich and we took loads of pictures round the Queens House and Royal Naval College (site of filming for Les Miserables, Thor 2 and Poldark – & pretty much everything that needs an unspoilt Georgian backdrop)

Lots of flouncy gestures to show off flouncy sleeves.

Trousers are shop bought from Simply Be. I am actually struggling to know what to do with this top. It’s harder to co-ordinate than I thought it was going to be. It’s also white so I am super paranoid about wearing it unless I know I’m going to be eating and drinking extremely bland coloured refreshments. I’m going to have to work on it.

Upclose of the fabric and trim.

It is a really good quality jersey from Maggies stall on Lewisham market (where 75% of my fabric comes from)

Ultimately I should probably stop worrying about wearing it. If I stain it I can always stick it in a dye bath. I reckon it’d look good a nice rich burgundy!

Finery of the Red Queen

So after resurrecting this thing we promptly decide to move house and chaos ensues for several months while we try and sell it then do the whole wait for the paperwork to happen thing during which time I’m finding it hard to sew as for the best part of three months I’ve had to have my sewing machine packed away incase anyone wants to come round and look at the flat. (We sold it pretty quickly, but then there were second viewings and surveyors and all kinds of people traipsing round needing it to look like a civilised flat rather than a sewing studio with a bed in it 😂)

However I have managed to make some stuff, basically by keeping it really simple and sticking to quick and easy projects that only take a couple of hours to make.

So first up are these two beauties I made during the heatwave (oh yeah , that hasn’t helped- zero energy to sew and no way in hell Im wearing what I’ve made whilst that was going on). A plain black Sewaholic Renfrew and McCalls M7542 mashup, which needs no real explanation, it’s just a basic wardrobe staple….

And a self drafted gathered rectangle skirt with an elastic waistband (so barely drafted at all) made out of this gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana knock off fabric I picked up from a Russian seller on Etsy.

The fabric is actually really good quality, but I don’t think it’s genuine, or if it is it was a dodgy print run because the black background fabric is a bit mottled and grey.

There was only just over a meter by 1.5m of it so my options were limited with what to do with it – hence the gathered rectangle skirt to maximise use. It has pockets though (in a complimentary other fabric) I was undecided as to whether to bother, & I’m really glad that I did.

Here I am wearing both of them together on Monday…..

Think both of these will be very useful and get worn quite a lot.

The skirt has Alice in Wonderland vibes and I am going to try and find appropriate accessories to style it up in a more alternative kind of way.

The necklace I’m wearing in these photos is a good start. It is awesome actually, I was thinking I did not have any appropriate accessories and then I walked past the Sally Army shop in Catford and this was in the window for £3! I bit back my dislike of the Salvation Army (they are actually quite vocal anti gay and trans rights activists specially in America) and went in and bought it, and it’s perfect…

To me that looks like proper lolita brand jewellery.

It is about to be Halloween season though, TKMaxx have got all their stuff in already. So it’s just a case of waiting a couple of weeks till Claire’s and Flying Tiger and Asda start stocking stuff and then going down to Lewisham and doing a haul. I have a set of skeleton hand hair clips I bought in Flying Tiger last year that I have worn pretty much two or three times a week all year, & whenever I go out people comment on them. Hopefully I will find something as good this year, and I’ll certainly be looking for anything Alice in Wonderland themed.

Such an exciting time of year!

Guess who’s back? Back again…..

So about 9 months ago I stopped posting on WordPress. Partly I was under the impression that no one reads this damn thing, partly I got over excited by Instagram (so much easier to use if you are tired- & I’m tired a lot of the time) and partly even though my sewing has been going brilliantly, I got in a bit of a downer and wasn’t really in the mood to write about stuff.

However, having revisited my blog today for the first time in several months, I’ve realised that

a) even when I don’t write in it I get more hits than I was expecting – people actually read this stuff!

b) it’s not as awful as I thought.

& c) it is actually useful for me to record details of the things I make more than what I post on Instagram, largely for me – then I know what worked and what didn’t if I make stuff again, but also for other people, the more detailed reviews of a pattern there are the better.

Anyway….. apparently this new app makes it easier to post photos, so I’m going to do a very quick run through of all the stuff I’ve made since my last post (I have chronic fatigue, I sew slowly…. it’s not going to be that much!)

Firstly another Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress, fabric courtesy of the local fabric stall. I had a few issues with this one to start with, a little darling locally accused me of cultural appropriation 🤦🏼‍♀️ which massively upset me because under no definition of the term could I see a way it possibly could be, I’m super careful because we live in an area with a lot of African neighbours and fairly near to Goldsmiths uni (one of the hotspots for the social justice warrior movement) not to make stuff with African Wax fabric, even though it’s really easily available round here and it’s super fashionable with sewing bloggers & basically it made me feel really self conscious and worried about wearing the dress. (Actually I think this incident is why I stopped blogging – I was very very upset, it happened the first time I wore this out & I didn’t want to write about it I did not want to open the can of worms that is racial politics) However I made myself keep wearing it, & gradually fell back in love with it (also I got “called out” loudly behind my back by a bunch of teenagers for dressing like Gwen Stefani 🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ (I was wearing black and white striped leggings and had some stamped eyeliner stars round my eyes – and a massive great coat covering what else I was wearing it was freezing and I’d been at a metal club) and I’ve come to realise you just can’t win with the kids round here, they basically take offence at older people wearing anything fancy, cultural appropriation is basically a tag they use to justify being judgy little busybodies, so it doesn’t bother me as much any more. Which is good cuz it means I can give this dress the love it deserves.

Short sleeved version of a kitschycoo lady skater dress. Not my favourite make ever, had a bit less fabric than I expected so had to make the bodice in black, worked out ok, but basically I needed a sun dress in a hurry so I made it in a hurry, & it does the job ok. It’s only about two weeks of the year it’s hot enough to need sun dresses but those two weeks are usually one continuous block of time so you need loads of the damn things cuz you have to change at least once a day and I can’t do the laundry quick enough.

Another sewaholic Fraser sweatshirt like the one I made here . Made this for a friend. I like this better than the one I made me. The contrast sleeves and hem was largely a happy accident and I much prefer the 3/4 sleeve version to the full length version I made myself.

Took a cheap £10 Claire’s Accessories cloak for Halloween, added lace trim round the edge and a velvet bow and improved it from tacky children’s costume to something I could wear comfortably to a goth club.

Deer and Doe Belladone also for Halloween. Excuse the drag queen makeup – that was actually the look I was going for as I made this to wear to a Rocky Horror themed fancy dress event. I was supposed to be the lips. I need to get pictures of this at some point the way I wear it normally, cuz I wear it quite a lot, & so far I haven’t spilt anything down it which is an achievement!

Tilly and the Buttons Coco out of floral velvet from the fabric stall for my Mum. She really likes it, & wears it a lot.

Sewaholic Renfrew, but I stole the bell sleeves from McCalls M7542. Fabric is beautiful laser printed jersey from a Dutch fabric shop (the laser printed Dutch stuff is just amazing) with images of Rembrandt paintings on it. One of my favourite things I’ve sewn ever!

Another Tilly and the Buttons Coco – so useful for the middle of winter. In bright yellow beetles fabric I got from Ditto Fabric about a year ago. Doesn’t have the best recovery in the world, but I really like the dress.

& lastly a goldwork embroidery I did at a workshop a couple of weeks ago. It’s a bit shit, but I’m proud of it, it was my first try. The big problem was I found it difficult to mark out the fabric in enough detail to give me guidance where to sew, so I winged it, so it’s come out a bit wonky, but I think it looks nice anyway.

Anyway. That’s my catch-up. I’ve been sewing consistently but it hasn’t been a huge amount. There’s a dress I’ve nearly finished at the moment that hopefully I’ll be able to blog about soon.

Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this a bit more updated in future. I didn’t mean to stop blogging. If anyone is actually readingthis ofcourse!

The top that nearly didn’t happen

All the credit for this top rightfully goes to Jon.

I was clearing out my fabric about 6 months ago and this fabric was added to the Chuck It Out pile (it got to a grand total of 10 pieces of fabric out of a stash of nearly 200 that I didn’t actually want.) About 2 months later, we did actually come to chucking it out, we had had ambitious plans about selling stuff on Facebook sales communities, but in the end what was chucked out was so little and all the shit quality stuff, that there didn’t seem much point doing anything with it but sending it to the recycling bin.

But Jon stopped me and persuaded me to look again at this piece. I bout it up Goldehawk Road about 5 or 6 years ago, before I discovered the local fabric stall, & almost immediately decided I made a mistake, it seemed quite primitive and 90’s to me at the time, & I didn’t think the fabric quality was great. However as Jon pointed out when I tried to get rid of it, extremely 90’s and bold florals is very heavily in fashion at the moment. & he persuaded me to at least wash it and see what I thought then.

So I washed the fabric, & it came out an awful lot softer than before, & I was in need of a basic Sewaholic Renfrew top, same as millions of times before (here, here & here) as the washing was backing up…..tangentially, it is one of the extra paradoxes of living in a small flat that no one ever admits to, but if you don’t have a garden to dry clothes in, & you don’t have room for a tumble dryer,  all your clothes have to dry on a clothes rack in the flat,  & a cycle of washing can take up to a week to dry in grimy weather, so you need to have twice as many flipping clothes as you would need if you lived in an actual house , & of course in a tiny flat, you don’t really have room to store them! ……..so I decided to make it up quickly and if it was shit I’d only wasted 3 hors of time so it didn’t matter anyway.

I was moderately rigorous about pattern matching, but tbh, its a wavey stripe, those are the ones that on the Great British Sewing Bee they go ‘are you sure you want to use that?’ so I matched all the main points and then didn’t really worry about it too much. In the event, I aced it!

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Its not 100% if you are being nitpicky, but its the same under the arms and on the other side, & actually thats a lot better than I was expecting it to turn out.

Actually the same could be said for the whole of the top. I tried it on, & my response was like “wow, this actually really suits me!”

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So now it is in constant rotation in my wardrobe (albeit it takes it 2 1/2 weeks to get through the laundry and ironing pile) the jersey is still a bit stiff, but actually that means it isn’t at all transparent (An issue with white jersey) and it will wear well with age. I am so happy with Jon for making me look again at what is actually a really useful bit of fabric.

 

grey like the skies

So I haven’t posted for a while, spent 2 1/2 weeks at my parents recovering from London and illness basically, then came back and spent 3 weeks recovering from overdoing things physically whilst at my parents. Have been busy doing things, just not sewing.

Except for what I’m about to blog about….

Made this a few weeks ago actually, & although its boring, with a pattern I’ve used millions of times before (Sewaholic Renfrew) I actually really really like this, it fills a massive hole in my wardrobe, is totally versatile, & despite the fabric being some weird, slightly stiff jersey off Lewisham market, its actually really soft and snuggley to wear.

Anyway…….

 

Skirt it is worn with is this devore grey one from 2013. The black velvety bits have finally worn off now, but it is still going strong, which is not bad really. I am never sure how long any clothes, let alone hand made ones, are supposed to last, but I don’t think three years so far is a bad lifespan at all, specially for something that gets worn pretty much constantly.

The next thing on my list to make is a heather grey Colette patterns Moneta dress. I’ve got it all cut out ready to go, but had to put all my sewing stuff away this weekend whilst we painted some furniture. I’m also about 3/4 finished with my tiger print hat, I got a load of knitting done at my parents, but haven’t really touched it since. It feels too much like summer really. Which is silly cuz its tipping it down right now.