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Sewing – The Pietra Shorts

Sewing – The Pietra Shorts

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, 

Sustainable fabric spotlight: Hemp Fabric and its environmental impact

Sustainable fabric spotlight: Hemp Fabric and its environmental impact

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 

Pattern Testing – The Adele Apron Dress

Pattern Testing – The Adele Apron Dress

The Adele Apron dress was love at first sight. You know when you see a pattern and want to make it immediately, well I fell hard for the Adele Apron Dress. As soon as Alice and Co Patterns posted that they needed pattern testers I jumped at the chance! The Adele Apron dress is a cross between and apron and a wrap dress, cleverly cut to fit like a dress but with the traits of an easy to wear apron.

Why I Pattern Test

I really enjoy pattern testing; I enjoy the whole process. Recently, I was involved in a discussion online with some other seamstresses, where some felt that when you test you are taken advantage of. I don’t feel like this at all, in fact it makes me feel special! Alice and Co were more than lovely to work with, encouraging and enthusiastic about everything I did. They, like most pattern testers don’t put pressure on you, they understand you are helping them and sometimes other things can get in the way. I love seeing a pattern early, and giving my feedback and ideas.

Adele Apron Dress Process

So, this is a fairly simple, cleverly designed pattern, made up of 5 panels. All the darts and shaping over the bust and hips is built into the seams, which makes for a slick design.

I bought this fabric from Ikea some years ago, waiting for the perfect project. Side note – Ikea does high quality, vibrant and usually bargain priced fabric – I always buy lots when I go. For this pattern I decided I wanted to pattern match the check design of the fabric. I did this but picking a horizontal line on the print and lining the waist notches up with it, quite simple. I them slightly adjusted when sewing the panels together to get a perfect match.

For this pattern you sew all the panels together – encasing the pocket as you go. You also leave holes in the side seams to thread the ties through. I left all the holes so I could have different wrapping options. You end up with a large flat 7 panel piece. You then sew you ties and straps and turn them through. Luckily for me I have a really long metal ruler that was the perfect width for turning. At this point you can pin your straps on in different places and test the fit. This was a bit of a fiddle, as there was a lot of work with, and I was on my own. I’d recommend having another person here to help with the pinning and fitting.

Once I got it sorted, I topstitched all the seams and hemmed the top and bottom of the dress and attached the straps.

Adele Apron Adjustments

Once I topstitched everything and tried it on, I realised I’d done a bad job with my fitting, or stretched it top edge while sewing. So, I had to unpick a load and shape the top better across my high bust. So again, I will recommend taking it slow with the fitting part and getting some help. I also shortened the dress a bit to make it more of a mini.

Would I make it again?

One of the design features I particularly like is the topstitching detail on every seam. With the fabric I chose I think it got a bit lost. I’d love to make a plain version maybe in a linen or denim so you can see details more.

The Adele Apron dress pattern lauched last week and can be bought from the Alice and Co website. Has anyone else made the Adele Apron dress?

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

Thanks for reading

Ruby

Good Fabric – Your New Favourite Fabric Store

Good Fabric – Your New Favourite Fabric Store

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 

Sewing – The Wilder Gown

Sewing – The Wilder Gown

The Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company was the dress of 2019, so I’m quite late to the party. It’s been on my radar for a while but just haven’t had the right fabric…until now! I was recently contacted by Fabric Godmother, one of my 

Sewing The Basic Instinct Tee

Sewing The Basic Instinct Tee

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 point would be a standard t-shirt, nothing fancy. It’s been a while since I’ve sewn with jersey, I just used to make myself bodycon dresses in my 20s. So, although a basic it felt like I was going to learning from scratch.

Basic T shirt girl wearing striped tee

Selecting a Pattern

Usually I’m very picky when it comes to the fit of my t-shirts, so selecting the right pattern is important. I like the neck to be just right, not too low and gaping but not too high like a polo neck. I also don’t like a skin-tight fit on the body, but not overly loose either. So I’m not easy to please! As I guessed I would be trying a few different patterns before finding the perfect tee. So, I decided to start off with a free PDF pattern – The Basic Instinct Tee by Secondo Piano. You can download it if you sign up to her newsletter.

Ruby Rose Basic Instinct tee pattern

Basic Instinct Tee Process

The instructions on this pattern are really easy to follow and there is also info about matching stripes which was super helpful. This pattern is a nice simple one, just 4 pieces and available in sizes XS-XL. I chose to make a Small as I didn’t want it to be too fitted, just casual and comfy. I selected this amazing stripe cotton jersey from Minerva.

Its 95% cotton and 5% Lycra so it has the perfect amount of stretch to work for the Basic Instinct Tee. I really love the quality of the fabric, its medium weight so really feels great quality for making the tee. I hate it when you end up with thin flimsy jersey, or any fabric really.

As I was working with stretch, I decided to make the whole thing using my overlocker, although you can do the same with a zig zag stitch. If you just use straight stitch it will no longer stretch and you’ll probably end up snapping the stitches. I sewed up the tee shoulders, sleeves and side seams.

One of the last bits was adding the neckband which is more of a fiddle. Once you have a loop you carefully pin and stretch the neckband to fit onto the tee. I realised that I didn’t really think about seam allowances when sewing using the overlocker. Therefore, the neckband ended up being wider than it was supposed to be, and therefore didn’t lay perfectly flat.

Ruby Rose with a dog in striped tee

Adjustments

I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern, I wanted to start with the pattern as is and then see if I needed to make any changes. One did I did adjust was the way I sewed the sleeves. I folded them back on themselves and overlocked, then folded down to create a fake cuff style hem. I really like this finish and it ends up looking more professional as I don’t have a cover stitch machine.

Basic Tee close up red lip

Would I make the Basic Instinct Tee again?

Well, I started with a free pattern, the Basic Instinct Tee, to see how I got on sewing myself some basics. Turns out the pattern really is the perfect T shirt for me. The fit is perfect and its exactly what I wanted. I sewed it up in under 2 hours so I will definitely be making it again. I think I need some plain versions to go with my fun Pomona shorts.

Has anyone else got some favourite basics patterns I can try out? – send me links in the comments.

If you enjoyed this blog post be sure to subscribe 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

Thanks For reading

Ruby x

BIPOC Sewing businesses to support in the UK

BIPOC Sewing businesses to support in the UK

If like me you are struggling at how you can continue to support the BIPOC community on an everyday basis,. Hopefully this blog post is for you. I have compiled a list of Black owned sewing businesses, so I can make more conscience decisions to 

Top 5 sustainable underwear brands in Europe

Top 5 sustainable underwear brands in Europe

Where can I find sustainable underwear that will last and doesn’t cost the earth? Whether you are a long-time slow fashion enthusiast or a complete sustainability newbie, you have probably asked yourself this question. Finding good-quality ethical underwear can be a challenge and with this 

Pattern Testing – The Tulia Tee

Pattern Testing – The Tulia Tee

I recently took part in the testing process for Sewing Patterns by Masin for the launch of her new pattern, the Tulia Tee. This is a unisex jersey t-shirt with an oversized fit. It only has one view in the pattern but is open for hacks and adjustments. Which is always something I look for in a pattern.

Ruby Rose wearing striped Tulia Tee with arms wide stretched

Pattern Testing

So, now I’m basically a pro at pattern testing, okay I’ve done it about 4 times. You can check out the last time I did it for Sewing Masin, Pattern Testing The Dayo Blouse. I’ve trained myself to actually read the pattern instructions and pay attention to every detail. Luckily these are really well put together and have a lovely conversational style. Which makes it feel like Jasmin, the design is talking directly to you.

Lockdown had just started when I agreed to start pattern testing. So with the current shop closures I decided to just “shop my stash” and use what I already had.

Ruby Rose in a Sewing Patterns by Masin Tulia Tee smiling

Tulia Tee Process

The thing about the Tulia Tee is it is made up of panels, 5 to be exact. This means you can be creative with your fabric choices. Make it all in one fabric or make each panel different. This is perfect as I already knew my Tulia Tee was going to be a scrap buster experiment. As it is oversized, I looked at the measurements to decide a size. Also the examples of the versions Jasmine, the designer had already made to help determine my size. I decided to make an XS, so it was still oversized, but not massive.

I love using Instagram to find out more about patterns, if you search the hashtag #tuliatee you’ll see everyone else’s lovely inspirational makes.

Close up of the Tulia Tee in red and black and white stripes

So with this pattern I looked through my stash fabric and realised I didn’t have any large measurements of any of my jerseys. Therefore I decided to mix it up a bit with plain red and a striped jersey. As the Tulia Tee is oversized it can be made on a standard machine or an overlocker. The only part that needs to really stretch it the neck hole. I used an overlocker for all the seams and neck hole and once cut it was a super quick sew. Just sew up the front panels and back, should seams and then the neckband. I pinned the neckband at 4 points and overlocked it place. Then just the side seams, topstitching and done. One thing I did was topstitch the hem and sleeves in black which I’m not a fan of and will at some point unpick and re-sew in red.

Tulia Tee Adjustments

After much fiddling with my jersey pieces I realised I just wasn’t going to have enough fabric, no matter I’ll just make a cropped version. I fiddled about trying to work out where to crop it, but for ease of use I just used the lengthen/shorten lines already marked on the panel. This ended up making it about 24cm/9 inches shorter.

Ruby Rose in cropped tee pattern

Would I make it again?

This was a really quick sew and brilliant as a scrap buster project so I’ll definitely be making it again. Jasmin at Sewing Masin mentioned that one change she has made in the final pattern is to make the neck hole a little wider, which is a good adjustment and would like to try out.

I’ve seen this pattern hacked into a long sleeve version and a dress version, so I’m keen to have a go at those! The pattern is also unisex, so maybe my boyfriedn will be getting one too! The pattern is available now, you can purchase it on the Sewing Patterns by Masin website.

I’d love to here if any of you make the Tulia Tee – send me links in the comments

Stay up to date with my latest reviews and creative projects, subscribe to my blog mailing list up on the right there>

Thanks

Ruby x

Sewing with Wool – Making a Basic Skirt

Sewing with Wool – Making a Basic Skirt

So, before the lockdown happened, I had planned to make the perfect Spring work skirt. I have quite an active job, I am mostly on my feet and don’t get much time to sit down. I’m constantly moving about the studio and therefore need to 

Fashion Revolution Week

Fashion Revolution Week

Fashion Revolution week is a very important date in the calendar for sustainable fashion. Before I started to concentrate on a more sustainable ethical lifestyle, I didn’t give much thought to where my clothing came from. Clothes just came from Topshop and H & M 

Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps with Georganics

Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps with Georganics

Girl smiling with toothbrush pin image

Creating a zero waste bathroom is a new mission in my life. While on my sustainability journey I have mostly been concentrating on my clothing and fashion in general. But sustainability goes so much further than that! I realised it needed to apply to my whole life and there are so many easy things I can do to help this. In the kitchen I already think about the food I’m eating and source the majority of my fruit and veg from the local Brighton Open Market. We are also lucky in Brighton to have a number of zero waste bulk food stores that allow you to buy by weight. But that’s for another blog post once all the shops are back up and running after Covid 19.

I look around the bathroom and it is a collection of plastic bottles, and this is something I want to avoid. So creating a low waste home is high on my list, starting with my toothcare. I discovered Georganics some time ago and have been using their products ever since. I was lucky enough to be gifted the products featured here. Although not in exchange for a blog post, I have chosen to write this, all the opinions are my own.

collect of natural toothcare products by georganics

Georganics concentrate on not only creating a zero waste bathroom, but one without harmful chemicals. Especially with toothcare where you are actually ingesting synthetic chemicals found in the majority of everyday commercial products.

Georganics Promises

All natural – everything they use is actually natural, organic, pure ingredients

Sustainable – they create everything is smaller batches to reduce waste, and sourced as locally as possible.

Packaging – all packaging is designed to create no landfill waste

Footprint – the planet is at the heart of their business and environmental footprint is low

Not tested on animals – this makes all their products vegan friendly

Living wage – they are a proud living wage employer

If all of that has convinced you of what a great company they are, let’s check out some of their zero waste bathroom products.

toothpaste and mouthwash tablets by georganics in glass jars

Natural Toothpaste

This natural toothpaste comes in 6 different flavours but the one I use and prefer is English Peppermint. It is super mint and fresh and the mint oil used actually helps to kill bacteria in the mouth. Like all their other flavours this is SLS free, which for me is a big plus. SLS has been linked to causing mouth ulcers and as someone prone to ulcers, since making the switch I have had none!

I come with a cute bamboo spatula to help apply to your toothbrush, and then you just use like standard toothpaste. But unlike your regular plastic tube of toothpaste, afterwards you can recycle the glass and aluminium jar and compost the carboard box…perfect.

Natural Floss

Now this is a brilliant zero waste swap that is so easy to make, it’s so similar to the original. Natural Floss is available in 3 flavours, and I go for the charcoal. It comes in a reusable glass container with cutter on the top and you can buy refils in two packs on their website. It is strong and doesn’t fray when used. There are options with this floss you can get the 100% natural silk version but this is not vegan, or you can get the charcoal fibre and polyester yarn version but this contains a little pastic. Still a great low waste product

natural mouthwash tablets and a glass of mouthwash

Mouthwash Tablets

These are a favourite of mine as I’ve never seen another product like them. You just disolve in water and use the same as any other mouthwash. Each jar has 180 mouthwash tablets so way more than your standard bottle of mouthwash. Also takes up loads less space so perfect for travelling. These are also available in 6 flavours, like the toothpaste, but I have only tried the spearmint. I’d love to try out the orange, but not sure how ‘fresh’ that would be. Top tip for using these, start disolving before you brush your teeth so they are ready to use once you’re done!

Beechwood Toothbrush

Finally the sustainable bathroom swap that everyone can easily make is to the beechwood toothbrush. Made with sustainable FSC beechwood, every tree cut down is re-planted. The best bit is that once you’re done just snap the head off and compost the handle. You can then collect up the heads and wait until you have 10. Then just send back to Georganics as part of their zero to landfill scheme.

So if you haven’t realised already I love Georganics,! Their brilliant products have me well on my way to a Zero Waste Bathroom.

For more tips on a Zero Waste bathroom, Optimized Life has a great blogpost.

If you interested in other natural alternatives check out my natural turmeric dye tutorial.

What swaps have you made?

Thanks for reading

Ruby x

Pattern Testing – The Pomona Pants

Pattern Testing – The Pomona Pants

I was recently asked to be part of the pattern testing process for Anna Allen Clothing’s latest garment – the Pomona Pants. A versatile pattern that comes with 3 different views, shorts, wide trousers and tapered trousers. I love Anna Allen’s patterns, they are just 

Colieco Lingerie – Ethical Fashion

Colieco Lingerie – Ethical Fashion

This week I am focusing on one of my favourite ethical fashion brands, Colieco Lingerie. A bit of a different blog post, it’s me in my undies!! Sadly our holiday to Tenerife was cancelled because of the Corona Virus, I was hoping to show this 

Sewing – Demeter Dress

Sewing – Demeter Dress

This week I have been making a Demeter Dress for my summer holiday wardrobe, as I am off to Tenerife next week. Depending on virus outbreaks, but lets not think about that!

I picked up this beautiful mustard cheetah viscose lawn from the fabric godmother open day and have been saving it for something special. The fabric is normally available in 3 colourways on the Fabric Godmother website. But as it is out of stock it would also look amazing in this Atelier Brunette Ochre viscose. The Anna Allen Demeter dress pattern is available on her website.

Close up bodice of the homemade Demeter dress

Pattern Testing

I was actually part of the pattern testing for the Demeter dress pattern, so it always holds a special place in my heart, and it really is a favourite of mine. It was also my first time pattern testing, so a learning curve, and a great insight into the pattern making process. One thing that I quite enjoy with the testing process is having to follow a pattern carefully to the letter. I usually rush my sewing and steam ahead without reading the instructions properly, often assuming I know what I’m doing. So testing has helped me to slow down and take care with my work, being more precise. I do often still switch the order of the steps, but at least I read the instructions now! You can also read about my experience pattern testing the Dayo Blouse.

Styling a homemade dress for winter

Alterations

The pattern is designed to be longer, but I know for myself I prefer it shorter, it suits me better and with British weather I can team it with tights, boots and a jumper during the colder months – most of them! 

Dress made with leopard print viscose

I’ve also got the pattern down to an art so now I can fit it into under a meter of fabric. I usually go for the sleeveless version, which is view B on the pattern. I lay the two bodice patterns pieces at the top and I then ignore the skirt pattern piece and just cut a rectangle as wide as the width of the fabric. The pattern calls for 2 panels, that are then gathered in, but I just use whatever fabric I have and just do less gathers and it still looks just as good but saves fabric.

When I pattern tested this dress I followed the pattern to add pockets in the side seam, but as I used s heavier linen it ended up looking a bit bulky. Like I had lumpy hips. Therefore for this version I opted for no pockets, but may add patch pockets at a later date.

Close up of Anna Allen Dress neckline and armholes

Finishing

The original pattern also calls for self bias binding to be cut and turned inside, but as this is a bit of a fiddle, especially when using thinner viscose I opted for ready made binding. I already had this navy binding in my stash and I did a quick test to check it would work and decided to do bound neckline and armholes. I think these make it look really effective.

Finally to finish it off I added a large turned up hem, probably about 10-12cm. Not only does this add a bit of weight to it which helps with the drape, it also means I have some extra length should I accidentally shrink the viscose, as I have down in the past.

Styling my Demeter Dress for colder weather

So with all my tips, tricks and shortcuts above I managed to sew the whole Demeter dress up in about 2 hours. I really recommend it as a quick effective make.

You can check out the rest of the Anna Allen Patterns.

I’d love to hear what you think or if you’ve made one…

Thanks for reading

Rx

Sewing Self-Drafted Dress

Sewing Self-Drafted Dress

I thought today I would share one of my favourite and definitely most popular makes to date. This is a self-drafted dress I made in collaboration with Minerva. This was my first make for Minerva who kindly gifted me the fabric in exchange for a 

Organic Basics – Sustainable Fashion

Organic Basics – Sustainable Fashion

Today I’m going to be chatting about one of my favourite sustainable fashion brands, Organic Basics. As you know I make a lot of my own clothes but underwear is something I have to buy, Organic Basics is so well engineered and made so I 

Pattern Testing – The Dayo Blouse

Pattern Testing – The Dayo Blouse

This week I have been lucky enough to test the new Dayo Blouse pattern for Sewing Patterns by Masin. As soon as I saw the shout-out on Instagram asking for testers I jumped at the chance. She is fairly new pattern designer, but she already has the beautiful Belen bodysuit available. So I was excited to see what she was going to do next.

Enter the Dayo Blouse/Dress pattern…I love the look of it, with the beautiful sleeves and tucks at the neck. I just couldn’t imagine wearing it, or it suiting me. Regardless of this I was excited to test it, and see how it turned out.

Homesewn bloused layered under dress

I decided to pick this beautiful fabric from my stash. My mum informs me was all the way from Thailand. My dad brought it back as it was left over after working there. I love inherited fabric! It is a fine cotton voile with lurex spots, which is semi sheer and drapes beautifully. My interest in sustainable fashion means I like to work with natural fabric whenever possible.

This pattern comes with two options, the Dayo blouse or the Dayo dress, I chose the blouse as I don’t think I could pull off a full cream dress.

I checked the measurements and went for a straight size small with no adjustments. I decided not to toile it as I thought the fit looked quite forgiving.

Pin Tuck details of Dayo Blouse

This pattern was simple to put together and I made the whole garment in an evening. Because I was testing the pattern, I had to follow the instructions correctly which meant no short cuts. Normally I attached the open sleeve to the arm hole and then sew up the side seam and sleeve all in one so I don’t have to ease the sleeve in and make sure the seams match up. But this time I did it all correctly and I’m glad I did as it made me realise it wasn’t as hard as I remembered. I used ready made binding rather than cutting my own, but you can see the slightly darker colour through the fabric, so I will change it at some point.

Work in Progress pics of Dayo Blouse
Work in Progress pics of Dayo Blouse

Another technique I really enjoyed was shirring, I hadn’t done it in years, probably since university. Therefore, I’m glad instructions that came with the Dayo blouse were clear and easy to understand. It was a bit of a fiddle at first getting the tension correct and the waist shirring is a bit of a squeeze to get over my chest. Turns out I love shirring; I can’t wait to add it to all my future sewing projects!

Here are a few tips for shirring the Dayo Blouse has taught me

  • Always test it out, every fabric is different so try a few lines of a scrap piece of your fabric first
  • Hand wind the bobbin, so as not to overstretch it.
  • Set the stitch width wide as the fabric gathers between the stiches, so it will create more gathers
  • Pick the right fabric, the lighter the fabric the more effective the shirring
  • Know your tensions, a tighter tension on the bobbin means tighter shirring.
  • The more rows of shirring elastic you sew the tighter your gathers.

Dayo blouse shirring elastci sleeve

As you can see I decided to use the wrong side of the fabric on the sleeves as that side is extra sparkly and I love the contrast. When it was all finished, I actually love it so much. Even though the waist frill doesn’t suit me, the sleeves are incredible and for a blouse that I didn’t think I would like it was such a great surprise to be so in love with it!

Homemade sustainable fashion white and gold blouse
Ruby Rose wearing home sean blouse

The pattern has just been released and you can purchase it here

Thanks for reading

Rx

Sewing The Nita Wrap Skirt – SewDIY

Sewing The Nita Wrap Skirt – SewDIY

As soon as I got the pattern for the Nita Wrap Skirt I knew I wanted to make it straight away. So rather than wait to buy some fabric I dug into my stash. Over the years I have accumulated quite a large amount of 

Sewing Comfy Striped Shorts

Sewing Comfy Striped Shorts

I have added a quick summary of the making of my Comfy Striped Shorts below. But the whole blog can be checked out on Minerva. Minerva asked me to be part of their Bloggers Network recently. Since, I have worked on some brilliant projects using