The Helene Selvedge Jeans pattern has been a long awaited one. Over lockdown I watched Anna Allen’s Instagram posts closely as she shared pair after pair of amazing jeans, she was making herself. I knew she was planning to release them, but as usual wanted …
To get myself back into sewing again I needed a quick project, I chose the Twig and Tale Sunny Hat. It’s been a while since I’ve sewn anything, with a new baby I’ve been quite busy. She has just started napping for longer periods of …
Versatile maternity clothing, I’m really running low on this. I’m currently shuffling through two to three dresses on rotation. Quite a few of them aren’t weather appropriate but they fit and that’s a win for me. But I definitely needed another maternity dress.
Choosing a Dress
I’ve started digging deep through my drawers to find forgotten clothes, that’s when I found a really old, fast fashion jersey dress. It’s so stretchy and comfy that it became a new favourite. As soon as I saw this beautiful Meet Milk Tencel jersey I knew what I had to do. Make a copy of that dress and make it quickly!
As this fabric is a loose rib it has plenty of stretch, perfect for my growing bump. The sustainable Tencel is also brilliant as it creates a lovely drape so it hugs my shape without being skin tight. The colour! That was another issue, the colours available in this fabric are all so lovely. I narrowed it down to 3, and after making this dress I think I need to order the other colour ways!
Tracing the Pattern
I started by making the pattern for my maternity dress, it’s a really simple shape, just one simple column with neck and arm bands. As the dress is symmetrical and fairly simple, I realised I could trace this pattern on the fold. I folded my original dress lengthways and traced it onto dot and cross paper. I did this by simply lying flat and then drawing round the rough shape of the dress. After this I moved the dress and tidied up the lines. Using my pattern master and a long ruler I was able to get smooth curves and straight lines. Using this pattern piece, for both the front and back of the dress. Not forgetting to add seam allowance, I added 1cm to the side seams.
Remember to check the traced pattern measuremenst against the measuremnets of the original garment as you go along. I then adjusted the neckline for front and back. The dress is high neck, but not the same both sides. I slightly lowered it at the front and checked by measuring the neckline of the original dress I was tracing. After that it was as simple as cutting out the pattern onto the meet milk tencel rib.
Sewing my Maternity Dress
As I don’t have a cover stitch machine, I usually go for bands in self fabrics to finish the neck and arms. It ends up looking more professional than a folded over hemmed seam. For the neck and arm bands I needed to calculate the band measurements. I’m sure there is a mathematical technique for this, but I usually just measure hole and then take a few cm off to allow it to stretch and lay flat.
I made the entire maternity dress on the overlocker, so it was super quick to do. With pattern to complete dress in about 2 hours. I used a zig zag for the hem, and as I don’t have a walking foot it’s not the neatest. But after a good press it looks fine.
I am beyond thrilled with my dress and it’s become a firm favourite, I’m hoping that due to the stretch and drape I’ll be able to wear it after I’ve given birth too!
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 …
I’m back with a bump! And it’s a big one… turns out as I get bigger none of my trousers fit, who knew! My love for fitted high waisted trousers, shorts and skirts has not worked out well during pregnancy. I knew exactly what I …
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 have found a similar linen available online here. 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.
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
I’ve now started using the wishlist feature on the Makerist website, it’s really handy. Anytime I’m browsing, which is often, I just add patterns to my wish list so I don’t forget them.
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?
f 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
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.
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!
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. …
I created my own pattern for self-drafted shorts many years ago. But have recently adjusted it to add a bit more volume with pleats and extra length. However, as I’m sure you can see from the photos, it didn’t exactly go to plan. The Hemp …
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.
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 …
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 …