High Waisted Skinny Jeans

I actually made myself some jeans! Woop. As I have mention before this has been a goal of mine for some time and I finally finished it. I started looking for some high waisted skinny jeans about 6 months ago. Where ever I looked I could only find some that had a zip fly (I personally like button flies on high waisted trousers) or they cost an arm and a leg and were way out of my budget. I slowly came to the realisation that if I wanted some I was going to have to make them myself.

The trouble was I couldn't find a pattern for high waisted skinny jeans any where. So instead I went on the hunt for a pattern that had a high waist that I could 'skinify' once I have made them. I used the Burdastyle 'Bella' pattern 6011 which I really liked the waist of. I then followed the instructions carefully and just made the legs skinny instead of wide.

The big drawback to this was the pockets. The pockets in the original pattern are pleated to make space for hips and with the loose leg trousers they work perfectly. However on my skinny version they are very gapey and make my hips look huge.

Apart from the pockets I am pleased with how they turned out, they are a good fit around my bottom and down my legs. The denim is 5% lycra but if I were to make some again I probably would up the lycra a little as these are quite restrictive and tricky to get on. They're definitely wearable though (although not in this weather, I was sweating like mad when taking these photos).

When the Autumn/Winter kicks in for real I will be wearing them lots. Admittedly I will probably wear my top untucked to cover the hips up most of the time, so maybe next time I should just stick to normal skinny jeans instead of the high waisted variety!

I have been crazy busy these last few weeks so I'll be posting a little less often over the next couple of months so I can catch up again. You can expect to hear from me 1-2 times a week still though so I won't be too far away. Zoe x

Sewing School // Sew a Flat Fell Seam

A flat fell seam you say? What on earth is one of those? Well luckily for you I am about to tell you.

Are you wearing jeans? Well look at the inner leg seam, you can see two lines of stitching right and a sort of bump all the way along the seam. This is a flat fell seam and you find it on most jeans here because its a super strong seam that works well for the heavy denim fabric. Also its particularly good on the inner leg where the jeans take a lot of wear and tear. So without further ado, let's sew a flat fell seam:

Step 1
First off place your fabric pieces with the wrong sides together, this is the opposite way to normal, so that the good sides are facing out. Then sew your seam using your usual seam allowance.

Step 2
Using your dressmaking scissors trim 1 (but only 1) of your seam allowances down to half the width, you'll end up with one wide one and one narrow one.

Step 3
Now press your seam open from the wrong side of your fabric. Then turn it over. Then fold and press the wider seam underneath the narrow one.

Step 4
Finally top stitch along the folded edge of the wider seam to secure it down. Then give it one final press and hey presto, a flat fell seam.

If you are making yourself a pair of trousers then this is a great technique to have under your belt before you start. Be careful though, you won't be able to use this type of seam on both the inner and outer leg seam because of the way it is constructed. Make sure you sew the inner leg seam first if you want to use this technique. I learnt this the hard way and had to unpick my outer leg seam when I first tried it. Luckily you can learn from my mistakes. Have fun. Zoe x

Sewing School // Tips for Sewing With Denim

I don't know about you, but I wear loads of denim. More often than not my outfit for the day has some denim in. Mostly so far this denim has not been handmade. I wear jeans and have never made myself some. So recently I decided this needed to change and I should try and make myself a pari. This project is well under way but long before I even cut my fabric I had to work out how to sew with denim. So today I am sharing these tips with you.

What is denim?
I am sure you all would know denim when you saw it, but could you describe what it is? Maybe but possibly not. Denim is simply a woven fabric, made from cotton, where the threads in one direction are blue and the threads in the other direction are white. At least in true form this is what denim is. You can find other denim-like fabrics out there that don't fill this requirement but they often call it denim any way. Chambray is one kind of denim but is just must lighter weight. The denim I am going to be talking about today is the heavy weight stuff that your jeans are made from. Some times it's stretchy (mine has 5% lycra) and sometimes it isn't (100% cotton).

Get the Right Equipment
When working with denim it's a good idea to use a thick cotton thread in your machine. Usually we match the material of the fabric with the thread, hence cotton, and thick because your fabric is heavyweight. Also you'll need a needle that is designed for heavy weight fabrics. A size 100-110 for european sizes or 16-18 in american sizes will work well. If you have had your fabric scissors for a while or someone 'accidentally' used them on paper you probably are going to need to get some new ones too, the denim needs an extra sharp blade.

When you have your fabric make sure you prewash it, especially if it's a stretchy one because its quite prone to shrinkage. (If your anything like me your jeans are tricky to do up after a wash and almost falling down by the end of the day, I think I should invest in a belt.) Also prewashing will help the fabric soften making it slightly easier to cut and sew with.

Prevent Fraying with Strong Seams
Sadly denim is also pretty prone to fraying. To help avoid this you can try using flat fell seams (come back next week for a tutorial for this) which is extra strong and keeps the raw edge inside. If you take a look at your jeans the inside leg seams are usually flat fell seams. On other seams make sure you finish the edge of the fabric with some zigzag stitching or pinking sheers (unless of course you have a Serger, no? Me neither). Also don't be afraid to use a really high heat when you press your seams, the denim can take it and the seams need it.

So there you go, my whistle stop tour of sewing with denim. It's much easier than it sounds so don't be too scared. If you pair your denim with a simple project (like this bag?) then it should be much easier than sewing some button-fly high waisted skinny jeans, which crazy person would try and do that?!? Oh yes, that would be me. I'll show you when I am done. Zoe x

Blog Hop Time.

Hi Everyone, today I am excited to be part of a Blog hop. This particular hop has being hopping around for who knows how long. The idea is to answer the questions set to you on a blog post and then nominate one or two bloggers you know of to do the same a week later.  I was nominated by the lovely Jacq of Jacq made it. Today is my turn so without further ado:

Why Do I Write?
For fun of course! Not exactly the fun of writing, but for the fun of having a blog. I love blogging. I love thinking up post ideas; I love taking photographs of what I am making and doing; I love the process of putting together a post; I love publishing a post and sharing it with people and I love being part of an online community of like minded people.

What Am I Working On?
I am currently trying to make myself some skinny jeans. This has been a goal of mine for a little while now and I've been gathering together the required items for a few months but I finally took the plunge and started to cut my fabric last week, I am trying to take it slowly because I REALLY want them to come out right and I have a tendency to rush because I want things to be finished. Obviously I will show you the finished article when they are ready. (Even if they are a total fail I'll show you any way.)

Over the summer we had a new bathroom fitted and we still have LOADS of painting left to do so that is sucking away a large proportion of my normal crafting time. I am so pleased with how it is coming along though so I'll probably show you that too in time.

I also have a very long list of other things I'd like to make. Some that are just waiting for me to start and others that are more just dreams at the moment. So expect to see lot's more sewing projects coming up soon.

How Does It Differ From Others In It's Genre?
This is very difficult question to answer. There are so many craft/sewing/handmade lifestyle blogs out there that I am not sure that many of us can claim to be different to all the others in their genre. But that's ok. I am not aiming to be different, my goal is to be interesting and useful. I try to make each post I write both of these things, sometimes though I forget and end up being only one (or sometimes neither and then I might as well not bother). But if you count me a sewing blogger then I suppose I differ from others because I write about other subjects too, like photography tips and occasional recipes.

How Does My Writing Process Work?
I am a bit of an obsessive planner when it comes to my blog. I have long lists of post idea that I'd like to write and usually I decide the order of posts about a month in advance #GeekForever. Once I know what I am going to write about I then go and make it and take the right photos as I go. Doing it this way around (rather than making something then choosing what to write) helps me made sure I don't miss out important step photographs. It may sound like all the fun of crafting is taken out by being so organised but I get a total kick out of it. If only I could be this organised about cleaning my house. I can't, I hate cleaning.

I hope you have enjoyed this little blog hop. I am nominating not one but two lovely ladies to join the hop next week. Firstly a friend of mine called Ruth who write a lovely handmade blog sharing gluten free recipe ideas and house projects amongst others. My personal favourite is her yellow sofa DIY. I am also nominating Zoe B from HelloZoeB (what could be better than another Zoe B?) the creator of the fabulous Hello Betty Bow.

Thanks so much for reading my blog hop. Zoe x

Plantain OWOP Round Up - 5 Ways To Wear A Stripey Dress In Autumn

OWOP round up

Woo-hoo I wore Plantain for a whole week! It was a great challenge to try and wear something from the same pattern every day for a week. The two items I had were my stripy dress and my stripey tee. Those keen sighted among you may notice that the dress isn't quite the same as the one from the original post, the first one shrunk in the wash and was too short to wear without flashing my knickers. So I cut off the bottom and added a pleated skirt instead. I think I actually prefer the second version any way. I had only two plantains so I had to be inventive about how to wear them.

Since I made my stripy summer dress so late in the year, I wanted to think of some ways to wear it in the Autumn any way so this week was a perfect excuse.

5 ways to wear a stripe dress
Turns out this week was so warm I actually shed most of the extra layers on most days but I still have some pictures of Autumnal outfit ideas for a stripy dress. My first suggestion would be to throw on a jacket and scarf with your boots and hey presto, Summer to Autumn in no time.

5 ways to wear a stripe dress
Or you could wear it underneath a skirt, like my circle skirt, so it looks more like a top and skirt combo. I kept my sandals on with this because it was warm but you could easily exchange those for something to keep your tootsies toasty.

stripe dress 5 ways to wear a

I also paired my dress with a Chambray shirt and just left the skirt part showing. You could wear any t-shirt over it too to make it look like another skirt top combo. The oxford shoes were actually perfect for the weather, warm enough in the morning and not too hot in the afternoon. You could easily wear this outfit with tights though if it were even cooler.

stripe dress 5 ways to wear a

For my fourth outfit I slipped some leggings on. Such a simply way to extend the life of a summer dress.

And finally a wore it under a colourful knit and belt. You could easily warm it up even more with tight rather than bare legs.

So there you go, 5 ways to wear a summery stripy dress in the Autumn. I really enjoyed the challenge of wearing one pattern 7 ways. What have you been up to for Owop? I would love to see. Leave a link below and I'll have a look. Zoe xx

Delightful Delphine (From Love At First Stitch)

Time for another make from Love at First Stitch, this time its the Delightful Delphine. I had some fabric left over from my Chambray Elisalex Dress but there wasn't a huge amount so I wasn't sure what to do with it. When I saw that Delphine required only 1m of fabric I thought it would be perfect. I wore it on Sunday as part of OWOP with my Plantain tee. I really liked the combination and I love the shape and style of Delphine. I have my fabric lined up for my second version to make soon.

However, and this a a pretty big however, I am starting to get a little sick of my Chambray fabric. As you can see from these pictures it is VERY crinkly. This is after I ironed it and used LOADS of steam to flatten it as much as possible. Then I put it on and went straight to taking pictures so I didn't get any more creases and it still looks like I just pulled it out of the bottom of a suitcase.

My next Delphine is going to be thicker denim so I can still wear it with almost anything but it will hopefully press nice and flat and hold its shape a little better.

I think I will fold it up and keep it for next summer thought because it is nice and light and very easy to wear. I even used a fun floral for the waistband facing:

So I would call this version a half success, loved the pattern and the fabric looks good but only If I spend half a day pressing out the creases first.

On another note, I have decided to embrace the dorky pose and from now on show you all my makes like this. I call it 'Ta-Dah!'. Zoe x

OWOP and My Second Stripey Plaintain Tee

So first things first, what the heck is an OWOP? Well I was asking this question a few weeks ago too when I saw the strange new word pop up on Handmade Jane. So if you hadn't worked it out for yourself OWOP stands for One Week, One Pattern. The idea being that you challenge yourself to wearing clothes made from the same pattern every day for one whole week. You can choose any sewing pattern you like, one you have made only 1 version of or one you have 29 of, and come up with a different outfit idea for each day.

I am pretty sure the idea is not to wear the same clothes every day and just need to give them a good clean by the end of the week. No, no, no, the real idea is to style the same pattern differently, partly to show how versatile the pattern is but also to find new ways of wearing your clothes. If you still don't know what I mean you can have a look here for more details and a better explanation.

I am planning to use the 'Plantain' pattern from 'Deer and Doe' from which I made this dress, I finished this t-shirt version about a week ago. I have also made a simple stripy dress from the very same pattern. Now I know that these two items are actually quite similar but I didn't know anything about OWOP until a few days ago so you'll just have to forgive me. However I have been planning on doing a post about 'ways of wearing your summer dresses in autumn', or something, so now I can do that at the same time as doing a round up of my week in Plantain.

My second plantain was a doddle to sew up and even the neckline is pretty even this time around. It is super versatile (you wait for the end of OWOP if you don't believe me) and super super comfy. Plus if I am being honest I need more clothes like this for my lifestyle. The challenge actually starts tomorrow so it won't be long before you see my results.

I think I might do more dorky poses like the top picture in future, what do you reckon? Zoe xx

Make a Circle Skirt // Sew the Waistband and Hem

Today is the final part of sewing up a circle skirt. Just need to make a waistband and sew it on, then hem your skirt. You can find the previous sections here and here. Let's start with the waistband.

Measure the size of the un-stretched waistband of the skirt you have made so far and add 5cm to this length. Out of your fabric cut yourself a rectangle that measures 10cm (4 inches) by this length you just calculated. This will be your waistband. Start by sewing the shorter ends right sides together and then pressing open your seam.

You'll now have a big loop of fabric that should be the same size as the waist of the skirt. With the good side of the waistband touching the inside of the skirt, line up your waistband seam with one of your side seams. Pin this in place and then zig zag stitch the waistband to the skirt, as above.

When they are attached together, turn your skirt the right was out. Fold and press the waistband up (as above). Now fold the raw edge of the waistband down over the raw edge of the skirt and then under itself pinning it in place. Now, starting at the side seam, top stitch this down...

 … so that your zigzag stitch goes back and forth over the edge of the waistband. That is it, your waistband is done.

Now to sew the hem. Because the bottom of your skirt is a curved edge you will need to do a really narrow hem. Luckily, since the stretchy fabric won't fray, you don't need to turn the bottom over twice like you normally do on a hem, once will be plenty.

So try on your skirt and check its the right length. If you'd like it a little shorted then carefully trim off however much you need to to make it the right length, keeping it even all the way around. Then take your iron and press the bottom seam up and into the skirt (so wrong sides together) by 1/4inch or half a centimetre. Pin it in place, then sew zigzag topstitching back and forth over the raw edge of the fabric. Start on side seam and sew all the way around until you have hemmed the whole skirt.

And then you have made yourself a skirt! Wowee! This is such a great feeling right there that you will want to go and show it off to every one. Plus circle skirts are, without a doubt, the best for twirling so don't forget to do a big twirl to show off your skills. Happy twirling. Zoe xx
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