Monday, 1 February 2016
This wonderful printed cotton by Windham Fabrics is from designer Jan Avellana's first fabric collection for the brand. Her print designs in the A Nod To Mod range are inspired by artists including Henri Matisse and Alexander Girard, with graphic cut-out shapes and strong, flat colours.
It would have been a shame to cut up this fabric too much, so Lotta Jansdotter's Everyday Style Esme dress provided a clean shape that would best showcase the pattern. I added two (essential) patch pockets here but carefully matched them so that they are almost invisible.
This clocks up to being my fourth Esme (see my third, a fleece version here) and I have no plans to stop making them just yet!
It's still a little too cold to wear this dress without long-sleeved layering underneath but I know it will come into its own this spring and summer.
Thursday, 7 January 2016
I'm on a roll with Lotta Jansdotter's Everyday Style sewing book and have run up an Astrid cross-body bag to go with the Dot Spot Esme Dress.
Such an easy bag to make, I cut it out yesterday evening, sewed it up in an hour after breakfast and then finished off the hand stitching at this morning's Meet and Make craft get-together.
I used whatever materials came to hand to finish the bag - the lining is left over from my first Esme dress, I used a long zip found in my sewing box and cut it down to size, then sewed a fabric strap so that I wouldn't have to go out and buy leather and rivets as suggested in the sewing instructions.
I made a patch pocket with a Velcro fastening inside to hold my keys. Next time I will try to make one with an internal zip pocket. The finished bag is a perfect shape and size for every day use, in fact I now think all my new homemade dresses should have matching bags...
Wednesday, 6 January 2016
The Dot Spot fabric I've used to make a second Esme dress is part of MoMo's Avant Garden collection for Moda. I bought it in the sale at Worthing's Eclectic Maker fabric shop last Saturday. The repetition of circles on a red background reminds me of Yayoi Kusama's polka dot art (Kusama says polka dots are a way to infinity), and I love the texture of this linen/cotton mix fabric.
The pockets are cut from another fabric in the Avant Garden range left over from making this Tova dress a year ago.
Lotta Jansdotter's Esme works just as well in a heavier weight fabric, and my second version of it fits me as perfectly as the first. The fabric's bold spotted pattern design really comes to life when cut and sewn into three dimensions.
Relentless rain and grey skies of the past few days have made it difficult to get a good enough photograph of the dress, but I can assure you that this Esme is even bolder and brighter in real life!
Sunday, 3 January 2016
Lotta Jansdotter's Everyday Style is a perfect place to start a new sewing year. It's packed with inspiration and includes five easy sewing patterns that can be adapted to make wearable every day garments. Jansdotter's designs in this book have been beautifully drafted into sewing patterns with the help of Alexia Abegg of Green Bee Design & Patterns (a new name to me).
I bought the book at a local bookshop and traced out the Esme Dress the same evening. I decided to use a red floral fabric (which days before had been the Christmas tablecloth) to make a trial version of the dress.
Sewing instructions in the book are simple and easy to follow and this was a super-quick dress to make. The enclosed patterns come in 5 sizes from XS to XL printed on traceable pattern sheets, just like the Japanese Sewing Books except here seam allowances are included. I drafted the Esme using S for the shoulders and bust, M at the waist, grading out to L at the hips. I also added 10 cms to the hem to make this a dress, rather than a tunic.
The finished frock fits my shape perfectly with no gaping at the neckline and the dress hangs in a lovely A-line shape. The sleeves deserve a special mention as there is ample room for arm movement meaning I can reach, stretch and cycle comfortably. It is the best fitting tunic pattern I have used yet needing no tweaking or alteration after drafting the pattern. I will be looking out for more Alexia Abegg sewing patterns in future!
To make the dress look less like a Christmas tablecloth I added yellow floral patch pockets and will wear it with a matching Layla Amber painted wooden brooch.
Tuesday, 22 December 2015
Inspired by Gudrun Sjödén's beautiful Midvinter collection, I decided to sew a heavily brocaded panel on the bodice using different braids and embroidered ribbon collected over the years. It took some time to get the placement right!
The finished frock has a festive folksy feel and will see me through this season's celebrations.
Friday, 11 December 2015
The Silver Dream Machine performs at East Beach Studios, Beach Parade, Worthing on Saturday 12th December at 1pm.
Monday, 7 December 2015
There is no better way to get into the spirit of Yuletide than with the fine people of Worthing Uke Jam and I left wishing it could be (Wukulele) Christmas every day.
Wukulele takes a break in January but we'll be back at Worthing Rowing Club on 21st February for our first uke jam of 2016.
Sunday, 22 November 2015
Last week I visited Gudrun Sjödén's Covent Garden store for the festive launch of her Christmas 2015 collection. This friendly, welcoming event for Gudrun's customers gave us the chance to meet designer Pia Marklund and hear some of the stories and inspiration behind the designs.
The collection is inspired by four strong women – mothers and grandmothers of the design team – including Gudrun's own mother Elsa of Norrbotten. Pia's talk brought these women to life with photographs and anecdotes about their family and working lives, including personal memories of her own maternal grandmother, Singa from Västerboten, a woman who travelled widely throughout Africa and the Orient bringing textiles, artefacts and exotic clothing home with her to Sweden.
Trying on clothes, eating Swedish cake and sipping mulled wine, I spent a good few hours in the shop and after much deliberation bought the Elsa print tunic in dark green and cranberry, and a pair of green Elsa leggings. The tunic is cut with triangular insets at the sides that give it a pointed hem. It reminds me of some of Yoshiko Tsukiori's designs and also Scarlett et Marguerite's Baba Yaga dress. I love this style and the fabric is fabulous in all of the three possible colourways.
I also came away with a long Christmas wishlist of garments I would like! Top of the list is Pia's aubergine Singa dress (the busy store had sold out of my size). It has a gorgeous bold flower repeat print, wide three quarter length sleeves that flare out slightly and fine short rows of elastic to gently shape the sides – an almost concealed detail but one that makes the dress truly beautiful to wear.
By the time I left the shop it was dark. I hope to return soon and now have an extra reason to visit London with the opening of Gudrun Sjödén's first pop-up shop at Marylebone High Street. For details of the pop-up shop and in-store events over the festive season visit Gudrun's World.
Gudrun Sjödén's Christmas collection is also available here.