Makerist Make It Yours Challenge As you all know I love making my own patterns and adapting others. My fashion degree taught me pattern cutting and I love refreshing my skills. I still turn back to my pattern cutting reference books for help with various …
The Anthea Blouse is here!! Again I have taken part of the pattern testing process for Anna Allen Clothing’s newest garment – the Anthea Blouse. A versatile pattern that comes with 2 different versions, dress and blouse and 2 sleeve lengths. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I love Anna Allen’s patterns, they are just beautiful. They are easy styles that always have different views and are easy to hack and adapt. Also, her Instagram always has such lovely inspirational pictures it’s hard not to want to make them straight away. You can read the previous blog post here featuring the Pomona pants, which I also helped test.
My sewing has generally improved so much due to testing patterns, by reading the instructions carefully and following along step by step. Being pushed into different techniques and styles I might not necessarily pick for myself.
I’m currently 6 months pregnant, so when I was asked to test, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to. But this pattern is quite free sized at the waist and hips so wasn’t a problem.
Anthea Blouse Process
As I’m pregnant and the waist and hips are free sized, I decided to just go based on bust size. My usual bust measurement in about 34 inches but pregnancy has increased that to 37 inches. That would put me at a size US10 based on my measurements. But I always like to look at the finished garment sizes. This has 7 inches ease around the bust and as I didn’t want it too oversized, I went for a US6.
After viewing all of Anna Allen’s versions on her Instagram I decided to go with a 100% Linen that I bought from my local fabric shop. Also, who is enjoying going to actual real life fabric shops!! I don’t often sew with linen and this checked version didn’t seem very like me, but I fell in love with it.
The Anthea blouse came with quite a few techniques that I usually avoid, bias binding, button holes and set in sleeves. I decided to follow the pattern step by step, to help with testing. But also, to make these techniques less of a chore.
Firstly, you stay stitch the neckline and fold over the centre fronts to create the button stand. You are supposed to add interfacing, but I don’t often do this as I’m a bit of a lazy seamstress. Then the sides and shoulder seams are sewn and finished. The neckline is then finished with a bias binding strip. The pattern instructions tell you to just use the strip and press it as you go, and although I followed this technique, I think next time I will pre-press it. It’s a little less fiddly this way. After this the sleeves are gathered on the upper and lower edges, with two lines of basting stitches. Before pulling the gathers in you finish the sleeve seams, this is where I messed up and overlocked my basting tails into my seams. Some unpicking later I was able to gather and attach my sleeves and cuffs.
These are the most dramatic sleeves I have made before and I was dubious if they would suit me, But I absolutely love them!
Anthea Blouse Adjustments
I didn’t need to make any fitting adjustments to the Anthea Blouse. I have made quite a few Anna Allen patterns before so know the sizing pretty well. The only adjustment I made was to add 7 inches to the hem, so it was more of a tunic, rather than a blouse. This works really well for me over my maternity leggings.
Would I make it again?
When I started making it, I wasn’t sure if the pattern was for me, or if I would just end up with one for the test. But not only did I end up with a garment I loved I really enjoyed the process. I enjoyed being careful and slow with my binding and sewing my buttonholes. I especially love the statement sleeves. I’ve been styling it in different ways, layered over maternity leggings and dresses as well as tied.
The pattern is available now, you can purchase it on Anna Allen’s Website
I’d love to hear if any of you make the Anthea Blouse or Dress – send me links in the comments
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Choosing a Fabric As soon as I saw this amazing Mind the Maker dot fabric at Minerva I fell in love. Even better it is sustainable organic Ecovero viscose, so much better for the environment than regular viscose. Ecovero is similar Tencel fabric is made …
I got this great pattern in the big Makerist 2-dollar sale. I’ve had my eye on a few patterns, I like to put a load in my wish list whilst deciding. The Leda Skirt has been in there for some time – it was included …
I love shorts, I love making them and wearing them, so I’m not sure what took me so long to make some shorts dungarees. As soon as I saw the Make it Yours Shorts dungarees I knew they were the perfect ones for me. They aren’t too fitted, a lovely casual boxy fit.
SELECTING A PATTERN
It means if there’s ever a sale I can see what I’ve found along the way. The Make it Yours Shorts dungarees have been there for some time. But as soon as I saw this fantastic organic cotton canvas from Sister Mintaka I knew they were a match made in heaven.
SHORTS DUNGAREES PROCESS
These shorts dungarees call for 1 and a half meters of fabric but doesn’t mention the fabric width. But the cotton canvas I ordered from Sister Mintaka was slightly narrower than the usual 140cm. I decided it would probably be fine and I would risk it. I’ve realised I am the opposite of a perfectionist. I hardly ever toile, I guess procedures and often miss steps. It’s probably not the best sewing method but it seems to work for me!
I actually spent quite a white cutting out the fabric as I couldn’t work out if the print was directional or not. I decide it was as a couple of the oranges looked like they were hanging down. So, I made sure all of them were facing the right direction and cut out my pieces. There are no lay plans included with this pattern, but I don’t often follow them, preferring to see how it best fits so I can save fabric.
The instructions for the shorts dungarees are super comprehensive, with detailed notes as well as photographs for each step. I started by making my straps and attaching the buckles, then made the patch pocket for the front. I decided as the cotton canvas wasn’t super heavyweight that I would overlock as much as possible beforehand. This saves time and also works like a stay stitch to stop the fabric stretching as you sew the garment.
I then sewed the front and back centre seams and pressed before adding the patch pocket. Following the notches, I added the side pockets, with one pocket bag on each side before sewing the side seams, encompassing the pockets. I then sewed the crotch seam and all that was left to do was hem, and attach the jeans buttons.
This is quite a quick sew, and a really enjoyable one – the instructions has a bonus section to show how this can easily be turned into a dungaree dress.
I didn’t make any adjustments on these, but I think next time I might think about making a slightly longer version so I could do turn ups. I would also consider adding buttons at the sides.
WOULD I MAKE THE SHORTS DUNGAREES AGAIN?
I absolutely love this pattern, it’s a classic dungaree pattern and I love the boxy fit of the shorts. Next time I think I’ll make and oversized version for a super casual look. I’d also like to make a plain pair to really accentuate the details and stitching.
As usual if you want to buy anything from the Makerist website you can use my code ruby-rose-15 for 15% off
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I’ve been putting it off making underwear for the longest time. To me it always seemed a bit fiddly and complicated. But I wear underwear everyday, as I’m sure most people do, its such a necessity. So I decided it was important to learn and …
This year Christmas and New Year were so up in the air. I wanted to make myself a fun party dress to wear, even though there were no parties to go to! I decided that as Makerist has such a great selection of dress patterns …
Merry Christmas everyone, you’re in your quiet boxing day slump…recovering from the big day. Time to treat yourself! Makerist is having a big 2 dollar sale, where so many of their patterns are just 2 dollars! The sale runs from Dec 26-30th. It’s a brilliant time to get your hands on some of your favourite patterns for a bargain price. Here’s the main sale page for you to take a look at.
I’ve selected some of my favourites to share with you guys, let me know what you think:
This pinafore dress by Bloem Linen is just so simple and lovely, maybe more of a spring pattern – but perfect layered over some knitwear in the colder months.
The Marius shorts by Ma Petite Fabrique are just lovely, I love the cute frill on the main pic. But this pattern comes with 8 different versions, all that for just 2 dollars in the sale!
The Leona Dress looks lovely, especially in this velvet. I’m already making this pattern, it would have been my Christmas/New Years party dress – but I’m just going to party at home with it on! I’m also planning on layering it with some knitwear and wearing it as an everyday dress. I think that with 2020 turning out the way it is, we need to wear our clothes differently. Sometimes more formal dressy dresses can be worn everyday with boots and jumpers, and I’m totally okay with that.
The Florence blouse is by Size Me Patterns a new designer for Makerist so I’m happy to see them in the 2 dollar sale and cant wait for you to try our their patterns. They all look lovely. I love the shirring detail on the cuffs.
Another blouse that I’ve had my eye on for a while is the Jolanda blouse by Atelier Vicolo N.6. I love the top bib section with the frill and I think this would look amazing hacked into a dress!
My next pick is the Virginia Bag, I’m actually part way through making this one. This is the perfect project bag for me, I always have a different sewing project on the go. When restrictions allowed me I would travel to and from my parent house to sew with my mum. This bag has 3D pockets and an adjustable strap, a leveled up tote bag!
One of my new year sewing goals is underwear, it’s something I wear every day. It really is the ultimate basic! If 2020 has taught me anything, its about being comfy, and what’s more comfortable than the big pants! These high waisted knickers looks lovely, again by Fitiyoo. So versatile and the different panels would allow you to add inserts of lace or mesh. A perfect scrap busting project.
These are just a really small selection of patterns from the sale, you can check out everything here, Makerist 2 dollar sale.
What are your favourites?
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As my second Makerist project I decided to make myself the Lenaline – Alex Sweat but as an autumn jumper. So this was quite an exciting make for me and something that I might not have even attempted last year. This year I have been …
You might have seen via my Instagram that I recently became an ambassador for Makerist. This is a very exciting opportunity for me as I am being paid to do something I love – sew. As I am being paid these posts are treated as …
One thing I’ve always wanted to find out more about is sustainable eyewear. So one of the first things people notice about me is my glasses – they are right there on my face. I’ve always worn glasses, it’s one of my main features and can make or break an outfit. I’ve tried contact lenses but my face just doesn’t look right, I just love wearing glasses.
The same as clothing, the styles of glasses change over time. You won’t wear the same pair of glasses forever – even if they are long lasting and good quality. Your fashion sense changes as you grow up. But the same as clothing, glasses fashion is becoming more circular, with styles of the past coming back into fashion again.
That is when I discovered Retro Spectacle, they take vintage, second hand and deadstock glasses frames – refurbish them if needed and then fit them with new prescription or sunglasses lenses. They have so many beautiful styles, and some really unique quirky frames, it really is the answer to sustainable eyewear.
I caught up with Charlotte from Retro Spectacle to find out more about the brand and its sustainable practices:
Tell me a bit about your background?
I am a qualified optician and have been in the industry for over 12 years. I have worked in high street stores & independent practices, which has given me a wealth of knowledge and experience
What made you want to start Retro Spectacle?
A trip to Amsterdam, sat by the canal having a beer I said the dreaded words “I’ve had a an idea”. Twenty minutes later the URL was purchased and Retro Spectacle was born. That was back in 2016 and now in 2020 the business has grown and I have been able to commit myself full time to Retro Spectacle.
How important is sustainability to you and your brand?
Sustainability is a massive part of our brand. Fast fashion exists within the eyewear sector and this is something that needs to be acknowledged, more so than just creating an “Eco” range. Eyesight is precious as are the glasses that aid it. I feel that that ethos has been lost in translation over the years. People are encouraged to “buy one get one free” and many mass produced frames are poor quality not designed to last. Vintage frames were built to stand the test of time. Many of the frames were hand made by craftsmen in the UK and Europe. Vintage stock has already created a carbon footprint so why not make the most of stylish, high quality frames! Most of our stock is ‘new old stock’ but we also up-cycle frames, refurbishing and giving them a new lease of life.
Where do you source your glasses from?
I have sourced glasses from all over the world, there are no rules when finding vintage stock and it’s impossible to know if or when you maybe able to acquire the same frame again. This makes every frame even more special and desirable.
Do you think that circular fashion trends play a big part in your business?
Yes absolutely, who would have thought Deirdre Barlow frames would come back to be the height of fashion. The vast majority of frames you see on the high street today (and from large global brands) take inspiration, (in some cases to the nth degree) from the past, we’re just lucky enough to have the originals.
What style of frames have been most popular? A surprise seller?
Gucci 2106 has been a popular model. We have a few colours and sizes available and due to the oversized shape of the frames it doubles great as glasses or sunglasses.
For the guys the Elite Maurice is a winner. Strong and distinctive and very durable vintage frames.
Which are your favourite Frames?Crikey, that is a tough one. I have had so many frames come and go.
Emilio Pucci is an astonishing rare vintage frame. A Pucci family member actually got in touch about the frame, which was amazing.
Zoe by Brulimar is a fabulous 80’s style
Finally, I’d have to say Aviator’s in general can look great on men and women, evidenced by our super gorgeous customer Jo sporting the Carrera 5321’s.
Charlotte gifted me these frames, luckily I was able to try on a few different styles before lockdown, and it was a really hard choice! Overall I think that as glasses are a necessity for me, so the most sustainable eyewear choice is Retro Spectacle.
Retrospectacle have given readers of Ruby Rose Sews an exclusive 15% discount code just add RETRORUBY at the Checkout!
If you haven’t already…head over to Retro Spectacle and take a look.
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Denim is an essential part of most people’s wardrobe. Ask anybody you know, and they will certainly tell you that they own at least a few denim pieces. Whether you stick with a few pairs of jeans or go all out, proper Canadian tuxedo style. …
As soon as I came across Good Fabric on Instagram, I knew we were a match made in heaven. An online fabric shop that only stock sustainable fabrics and patterns from small pattern designers – absolutely perfect. Good fabric has a growing selection of Tencel’s, Organic Cottons, Ecovero and many more. They’ve even recently added some sport and swim fabrics and denim. I reached out to Polina immediately to propose a collaboration, and here we are!
There were so many beautifully curated fabrics to choose from. Then Polina suggested I make a pattern from her selection too. Of course I chose the Pietra shorts from Closet Core Patterns. I then decided to play with colour blocking in the pockets due to the panelling of the pattern pieces. I chose these two beautiful Tencel fabrics in Rust and Golden Tan.
The Pietra Shorts Process
I’ve probably made shorts more than any other item of clothing – I can make a basic shorts pattern with my eyes closed. But looking at the Pietra shorts pattern pieces I truly had no clue. I had a read through the instructions and it all started to become clear.
Working with Tencel is very similar to working with viscose. This particular Tencel has a sheen to it and is quite slippy – so lots of pins are needed.
When researching patterns, I like to turn to Instagram and search the hashtags to see all the different versions people have made. It is often more inspiring than the picture or line drawing on the pattern. The #pietrapants selection is vast, it’s amazing to see what everyone has made. I was particularly inspired by this pair by Sewing for Dais. The beautiful red colour made me realise I needed some red shorts too!
I particularly like the pocket construction; one large pattern piece is folded up to make both the side panel and the pocket bag. Once that was complete and sewn to the top side panel and centre front it started to look more like a shorts pattern I could recognise. The facing on the front is sewn in before the back is sewn to the front. This leaves the back waistband taller ready to fold down and encase the elastic.
The next step I found really fiddly – I’m not sure if there would be a better way to construct the elastic casing and insert it. If there is someone let me know as I had to unpick it at least 3 times. Also, where the elastic is sewn to the side seam is quite bulky. But I eventually managed it. I think they were worth the fiddle.
I then decided to finish by sewing a few lines of stitching over the elastic – because I like the way it looks. The Pietra shorts turned out really well, the sustainable tencel really elevates them.
After inserting the elastic in the back waistband, I used a safety pin to tack it in place to try it on – It was still very loose and so I had to reduce the elastic considerably. I think I may have lost weight from all my lockdown cycling. This meant that they are quite hard to take on and off the elastic only expands to be just wide enough for my hips. It could be my waist to hips ratio, I have a 10-inch difference. So if you have a big difference, I don’t recommend this pattern. – Since writing this I have been informed that Closet Core have made a hack for this. Head over to their blog to find out how to add a side zipper.
I also turned up the hem less than recommended, after making my Anna Allen – Pomona shorts I realised how much I like a longer pair of shorts.
Would I make another Pair?
Although I do like the finished result, like I said above they are hard to get on. So, I think I would add a zip instead. Also, this pattern has a trouser version that I’d be keen to try.
Head over to Good Fabric to see all the lovely sustainable fabrics they stock.
I have also compiled an interview with Polina from Good fabric – Your new favourite fabric store.
Please subscribe to my blog up on the right, you’ll then get not so regular updates from me. It really helps me create great content; I can’t do it without your support
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Hemp clothing has recently been gaining a lot of popularity in the west. Once a fabric for the hippies among us, hemp has been going mainstream, popularised by sustainable fashion blogs and influencers. However, let’s not forget that in many other non-western countries, hemp fabric …
As you’ve probably seen from my more recent blog posts, I am trying to concentrate more on being sustainable with my sewing. Sewing in general is much more sustainable than purchasing new for many reasons:
• You know the supply chain
• You know know garments workers haven’t been exploited in the making process
• The garment hasn’t travelled all over the world racking up CO2 emissions.
• There’s a lot less waste as any scraps will often be repurposed.
The one thing that can be more sustainable is the fabric you use, that’s where Good Fabric comes in. Selling a wide range of ethically sourced, eco dyed and GOTS certified fabric, they are proving that fabrics and trims that don’t cost the earth (literally).
I caught up with Polina, the owner of Good Fabric and was pleased to find out how well our views on sustainability and the supply chain in fashion aligned. It was great to have a chat to find out more about what is sure to be my favourite new shop…
Tell me a bit about your background, have you always sewn?
I have worked as product developer and production manager in the fashion industry for the last 12 years. I worked for brands like Anya Hindmarch, Ted Baker, Galvan London and Missoma. My background is most definitely fashion but I only started sewing this January 2020, so less than 6 months ago. Sewing has come very naturally to me, in my job I would work with factories on construction of items and tell/advise comments, so I understood how to make an item just never made one myself before. Last Christmas for some reason, I just decided to go for a sewing class in my local Southfields, South West London and as they say I was hooked.
What made you decide to start Good Fabric?
I have been made redundant from two or my last jobs, one was during maternity leave and one was recently due to Covid. I also have a 3-year-old daughter Emily, I am one of those lucky people that actually have enjoyed unemployment/lockdown and being at home with my daughter. The thought of going back to work, commuting in the morning, having to run to and from nursery did not appeal to me at all. At the same time, all my friends and colleagues were suggesting that I should start my own brand, since I have contacts in the industry and can actually now sew myself. So, combination of redundancy, friends support and the idea of being my own boss, made me sit down and think. What can I do that will allow me to use my skill, enjoy my work and be related to my hobby and most importantly have the flexibility of being with my daughter? Good Fabric has made perfect sense to me as it answered all my needs, wishes and desires.
Have you always had an interest in sustainability?
Yes and no. In my work I used to travel to China, Italy, France and UK to factories, so I know first-hand what a good or bad factory looks like, seen where the workers eat and sleep and met the people who actually make our clothes. What stuck with me, is that even though these good factories have all the right certifications and are deemed as safe and ethical places to work, I personally would never work or live like this, as this is below what I deem as acceptable living standard despite that there is a piece of paper that states otherwise. I suppose this exposure made me cynic when it comes to sustainability in fashion. So, when I see all these green initiatives by big brands, I simply do not buy into this as nothing can be produced that cheaply without someone being hurt in the supply chain.
My work, has been one of few influences on my journey to sustainability, but I would like to share two more thoughts that have made a very big impact on me:
1) I was listening to a lot of podcasts in my way to work and once I listed to an episode with EcoAge Livia Firth. My takeaway from this episode was that we all should ask a question when shopping – will I wear this item more than 30 times, if not, it should not be bought. This has made such perfect sense, and then when I looked at my own wardrobe, I found that most have been worn less than 30 times and some still had tags on this. This is shocking, so from that thought, I decided to make a challenge for myself – not buy any clothes for 1 year. I believe one way to resolve the over consumerism, is to reduce the demand. Once you reduced the demand, you reduce the supply, so this is my very small contribution to reducing the demand for fast fashion.
2) Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison – I think I was crying reading this book. It focuses on the aftermath of Rana Plaza disaster. There was a sentence said by a representative of a brand that produced in Rana Plaza: the biggest lie we tell ourselves is that our supply chain is free of abuse. So, when I see a green initiative by Primark or H&M – I always wonder if people who work for these brands actually believe in this or are they lying to themselves. again, that’s cynical me. I don’t want to dissect all the good work that brands also do.
So, as you probably have guessed my interest in sustainability is focused on the people who make our clothes.
I suppose on some subconscious level, me making my own clothes allows me to rest assure that it was free of human abuse.
Sustainability is a journey and I know I haven’t even scratched the surface, but step in the right direction is a great step. Conversations like these and platforms like yours, are all part of the learning process.
How do you check the sustainability of Good Fabric?
For each of my fabric that is stocked in Good Fabric, I have a separate tab that refers to its green credentials. All my fabrics come with either OEKO-TEX or GOTS certificate, sometime both. I also have 2 amazing quality Tencel and Ecovero.
These are the 4 standards that I accept at Good Fabric. I also want to stay away from polyester and nylon fabrics, but I do have Lycra fabric which is polyester. The only reason I made an exemption for this supplier is because it does carry OEKO -TEX certification and is produced in the factory that has implemented GOTS certified processes.
One of the very big issues in fashion industry is the lack transparency, so ability to trace all of the supply chain back to the fields where for example cotton was grown is virtually impossible, at least for end consumer. For this reason, I chose suppliers whose big focus is sustainability and whose company ethos is embedded in sustainable practices.
What’s your favourite fabric you stock, and what would you make with it?
Oh, this is probably the most difficult question, I change my mind on a daily basis. I love Urban Leo print in Sorbet by Mind the Maker. It is made in Ecovero viscose. I like to purchase 3-4 meters; in this case I can make an outfit for me and matching outfit for my daughter. See pics of my wearing Florence Top by Merchant & Mills. Emily is wearing Mabel Tiered Dress by Liberty Patterns.
You have a great range of patterns too, how do you select which ones to stock?
Thank you, I am glad you like them.
When I look for sewing pattern myself, I felt very overwhelmed by the choice, there is too much choice out there. So, I try and pick only my favourite patterns, the ones I would buy and make myself. I also want to point our Papercut Patterns from New Zealand. Their patterns are printed on fully recyclable paper, but more importantly their company ethos is very much aligned with mine and I love them even more for that.
What do you see in the Future of Good Fabric?
I have a lot of ideas or how to grow the business, I would love to print my own fabric and work with illustrators in the UK on print and patterns, I also love the idea of making sustainable trims such as bias binding and labels. But I suppose these are a bit of long-term plans.
This year I am focusing on getting my supplier base right and expanding my product offer.
Come next year, who knows, sky is the limit…
If you haven’t already…head over to Good Fabric and take a look.
If you enjoyed this, please subscribe to my blog , you’ll then get not so regular updates from me. It really helps me create great content; I can’t do it without your support
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This month I have mostly been sewing, The Basic Instinct Tee. During lockdown I have started to realise that I need more relaxed comfy clothes. I realised that I always made more complicated clothing and hadn’t really tried any basics. I decided a good starting …