Emmy-Lou's Christening dress - Stitching Memories.
As I mentioned in Part 1 of Wedding dress refashion blog post, the past couple of months have been quiet an emotional sew!
Starting with the 'Gathering Memories' project to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society which you can read more about here.
But this post is about the challenge set by my sister in law, Gemma Beryln - to make my niece, Emmy-lou, her christening dress. Which at first I was totally fine with; however the challenge was to make it out of her wedding dress. Now this wedding dress is very special as this was a Hand-Made wedding dress which her mother in law, Ineke Berlyn had made for her.
If you have had chance to read part one, you will know that Ineke was the person who set me on my sewing journey by showing me how to make my own wedding dress. She is a huge inspiration to myself as well as Gemma who has also been inspired by Ineke's printing and textile art. What made this project hard is that sadly, Ineke is no longer with us.
She lost her fight to cancer in 2017 and has left quite a hole in our family. Try as we do to make sure she is still with us in what ways we can.
So for me, to essentially cut up what Ineke had beautifully made for Gemma, was the most terrify thing. More terrifying than appearing on the Great British Sewing Bee Studio on the first day!
Before cutting into the precious dress, making a toile was essential! I didn't use a pattern as Gemma wanted the gown to be a copy of a dress she already had that fitted her perfectly.
I was so pleased with the toile! It's so cute and I didn't realise until after that the fabric has flowers resembling tulips on it, Ineke's favourite flower! I felt like it was a sign that she was approving. Which really helped as the next step was to cut up the wedding dress!
luckily I was able to keep the upper part of the dress in tacked, so that Gemma still had a 'dress' left to cherish.
I placed my pattern pieces onto the off cut, trying to avoid areas that had become marked from the evenings dancing and luckily there was just enough left over lace to cover the front bodice. PHEW!
I also used the lining from the wedding dress to create clean finishing around the neckline and arm holes, where as on the toile, I bound them with bias binding. I also bagged out the skirt, so that it created a little volume in the dress.
It didn't take long to sew up as it was such a small garment. I'm so used to adult sizes it seemed to sew up in no time at all, but it was a little tricky at times because of the arm holes being so small! They wouldn't fit around the arm of the machine. Again, I'm so glad I made a toile first as I was able to practise before hand.
I took my time over the hand finishing details. I stitched sea beads left over from my wedding dress onto the lace and also hand finished the button plackets on the back of the dress. I didn't want to spoil the finish by top stitching them closed with the sewing machine.
To finish off the dress, I added some vintage mother of pearl buttons that I'd been keeping in my stash.
When I sent the finished dress pictures to Gemma, we both became emotional and was crying as we texted each other back and forth. I just hoped that Emmy-lou didn't have a massive growth spurt between now and the big day and that I had done Ineke proud.
I felt that with Ineke no longer with us, I was somehow responsible for passing on this tradition of making special clothes for our children/ family members. Ineke had made both Gemma's and Liske's (Ineke's daughter) wedding dresses, and I know if she was here then she would have made Emmy-lou's christening dress.
So I'm very honoured to do this for my beautiful niece, Gemma and Ineke. I like to think that Ineke and I made the dress together somehow; through two stitched garment, our hands have become one and we made it together just in time for the special day.
Everything was perfect on the day! Gorgeous sunshine and fabulous home cooked curry at Little heath Barn Studio - Piet's family home as well as Ineke and Liske's studio where they hold printing workshop surrounded by her beautiful textile art. There was tears, laughter, wine, music and great company.
One thing though -trying to photograph a toddler is impossible, especially when all they want to do is play on the slide!! lol
Have you made a special garment for yourself or a family member?
Have you refashioned your wedding dress to make a christening gown?
I'd love to see your creations so please send me pictures via my Facebook page Tailor - Taylor
or don't forget to use the hashtag #sewingrevolution !
Also Emmy-lou's Christening dress has been featured in my editorial for June's addition of Craft Business .
Where I was posed a question - The royals - A class of their own or fashion trendsetters?
With Royal weddings and new royal baby arrivals in the press, are we being influenced by the royal's wardrobe - I wonder what your thought are?
Simplicity & Korbond Birthday Giveaway!
It's been a while since I last did a blog post but as its my birthday I thought i'd treat myself to a handmade garment and as we are in the midst of #memademay which I sadly have not had time to take part in this year so it just seemed the right thing to do even though it is only one garment.
You will know from watching me on the Great British Sewing Bee that I love dungaree's! I always feel like a little scamp who is likely to get into trouble when wearing them.
Along with dungaree's I love a pinafore or Apron dress.
Still feeling mischievous in them but look a little more feminine than Dunga's!
With this in mind I decided to make 1970's inspired Vintage Simplicity Pattern 8073. It's a cute and super simple Apron dress. Perfect for spring or summer and is great coupled with a long or short sleeved t shirt.
I wanted to make it up in this awesome crazy floral print fabric that was kindly gifted to me by SewJo after an epic fabric clear out. I don't have many garments with flowers on so I thought i'd go for a change.
Ive made a few different types of Apron dresses before. Sew Me Something' s Beatrice which I made reversible and also the Walkaway Dress by Butterick which also featured as a task on the Sewing Bee Series three. So I was looking forward to trialing this one too.
It's a super simple in design as it is literally an oversized Apron.
You have a 'normal' apron front but the 'wings' are larger so they wrap around the back turning the apron into an awesome dress.
With the #sewingrevolution in mind I think this is a perfect pattern for a beginner wanting to make a garment for the first time.
I like that there are not too many pattern piece's to cut out and the instructions on how to make it are super clear. So there is nothing daunting about this pattern if you are a beginner. I loved it as I was able to make something for myself in super quick time ready for my birthday meal with the bonus of being able to loosen off the waist ties when you have eaten far too much!
I think this dress is also perfect for holidays as you can just pop it on when you want to go to the bar after sunbathing by the pool and want to be a little more covered up. What do you think?
So to celebrate my birthday and the return of the Great British Sewing Bee with series four starting this evening at 9pm I'm doing a little competition giveaway!
If you can guess how many Vintage Buttons are in my Sewing Pot you will be the winner of a selection of wonderful Simplicity patterns, a Korbond Sewing kit and a Needle Wallet made by yours truly.
All you have to do is leave a comment with your guess along with an email address at the bottom of this blog post and ill be picking the winner on the 31st May 2016. Once the winner has announced I will contact you directly to organise the delivery of your goodies!!!
So a few rules.
only one guess per person, only comments on this page will count (facebook and twitter will not count) and the closest guess wins. If I have a few people with the same closest guess, then they will go into a draw! Competition closes at 12pm 31/5/2016 so comments will not be counted after this time.
Good luck, feel free to share and viva la #sewingrevolution!
#craftblogclub Secret Santa!
I love Christmas. I think it's the perfect time to share what you love with others and nothing says 'I care' more than a hand made gift- wouldn't you agree?
So when #craftblogclub invited me to take part in their secret santa, I just couldn't resist!
I knew that I wanted my secret santa gift to be something upcycled as it is something that im very passionate about for many reasons.
one that it means we are not wasting anything but mainly because I think it is a fantastic way for beginners to get into sewing. So in order to share the love, i'm sharing my #sewingrevolution ethos.
I had recently held a christmas knits workshop and was completely inspired further by my students makes. I thought I would make my secret santa a pair of gloves and a matching scarf too, using a lovely purple jumper and Korbond embroidery threads.
I firstly got to work on the gloves as I knew that they would take the longest to make, but to be honest the whole project is a nice quick make and is perfect for Christmas when wanting to make a few hand made gifts for friends and family.
I used the arms of the jumpers for my gloves as the cuff's of the sleeve just work perfectly and reduces the amount of hand sewing that you have to do. I also loved the detail in the knit and wanted this to be the main feature of the gloves. Roughly pinning my hand in place, I cut out a mitten shape and used this as a template for the other glove by placing this over the top of the other sleeve.
After hand sewing the glove with normal sewing thread inside out. I then pulling the glove the right way out and stitched it again, but this time using Korbond embroidery thread and using a chain stitch to add a little extra detail.
I also wanted to add a few cute pink buttons as I thought it complimented the threads I was using as well as the purple of the wool.
I then got to work on the matching scarf.
Using the body of the jumper I simply cut across from armpit to armpit, giving me a large tube to work with.
Folding this tube in half, I then single hemmed the cut side and joined it to what was once the original hem of the jumper.
Pinning these edges together I then ladder stitched the seams together, giving you a nice chunky scarf.
To bring the designs together, I added two pink buttons to the detailed side of the scarf.
My Upcycled Winter Warmer gift was now ready for the post just in time for Christmas!
It was so lovely to see Kay gets Crafty post a picture on her blog and twitter!
It looked just perfect for her, so I was so glad that she liked it!
Not forgetting that it wouldn't be Christmas without a gift in return. I received an awesome fabric wreath made from fabric left overs! AWESOME UPCYCLE Katie!
You can check out how she made it over on her blog 'Katie gets crafty'.
I had to put it up straight away on my sewing room door. I need to ask though, is it bad luck to keep up Christmas decorations as I don't want to take it down!?
Thank you #craftblogclub for organising an awesome Secret Santa.
Check out #craftblogclub which runs every Tuesday from 7-8.30pm on twitter for Craft Bloggers and lovers everywhere!
Happy new year everyone and Viva La #Sewingrevolution!
My first sewing kit.
I often get asked ‘what sewing equipment do I need?’ to attend my #sewingrevolution workshops.
I generally say a pair of fabric scissors, tape measure, pins and an unpicker as I would have everything else on hand at the workshop, but the question got me thinking about my very first sewing kit that started my sewing journey.
When I made the decision to make my own wedding dress, I must admit that my first action was not to head to my local haberdashery. Shamefully I didn’t know where my local one was and I did not have anyone to ask for advice on where to go.
Impatiently the first thing I did was look at wedding dress designs on the internet. Images of women in gorgeous dresses in fields, beaches and other aesthetically pleasing places. I then found my perfect dress it was unusual with what I called Spirograph lace, but do you think I could find the designer or where I could buy it - NO. I then headed to bridal shops and outlets to see if I could find something similar with no joy. So then I gave up looking to buy a dress and decided to make my own.
Instead of looking to buy I began visiting bridal shops to look at how these dress were constructed and took notes and sketches of designs. I also tried several dresses on, ( well, I was a bride to be after all and I couldn’t resist dressing up) to see what shape and style suited me the most. With my design in mind, I brought my first sewing kit and Sew Magazine (also my first sewing magazine) from a place that everyone visits at least once a week. My local super market.
My first sewing Kit was a Blue Oval Korbond sewing kit. It was almost the size of my palm. Not knowing everything that was listed in the bag I purchased it with excitement; My first sewing kit and confirmation that I was going to start sewing my dream dress and my first ever sewing project!
The little kit had so much in it.
A small pair of scissors, needles in various sizes as well as a wool needle, a measuring tape, pin cushion and pins, threads, thimble, needle threader, hooks and eyes and snap fasteners, buttons and safety pins.
Then there were items that I had never seen before let alone knew what to do with; but I now cannot live without - A Stitch ripper, Tailor’s chalk and a tracing wheel. Looking back now surrounded by my many variation of fabric or paper paper scissors, tailor chalks and unpickers that, that sewing kit really was the best thing to start my sewing journey and many of the items are still part of my sewing kit today. I stitched my crochet waistcoat with the blue wool needle last week. Used the tailor’s chalk pencil to draw out my design for Charlotte’s ‘salt of the earth’ birthday present. The threads are long gone along with my ever evaporating pins and needles but I still have my tomato Pin cushion!
So whenever anyone asks me ‘what sewing equipment do I need to get started?’ I would recommend my first sewing kit. The main reason , because it wasn’t scary. It is just a little blue bag packed full of items to help you on my way but the main reason was that it was so accessible. It is likely that you have passed the stand in the supermarket a hundred times before, it's familiar and I didn’t need to go searching for it.
As you may have guessed I’m passionate about getting people sewing. Many of my workshop attendees have never picked up a needle and thread before, let alone used a sewing machine. So I want to make getting started as easy as possible for them.
Upcycling is an element that I truly believe helps people get into sewing. You are taking items that you already own or can pick up very cheaply at charity shops and transform them into something unique and new. Being able to pick up good quality sewing equipment easily and at an affordable price is also important, as this can be a huge stumbling block. I want sewing to be accessible to all- regardless of what you can afford or be able to access. I want to prove you don’t need to go very far to get started. Just grab a sewing kit while you’re food shopping and take that old garment from your wardrobe and start a #sewingrevolution!
By taking these small steps and building your sewing confidence you are more likely to continue and improve your sewing skills. I want sewing to be a long term investment not something that turns into guilt for ruining that beautiful and possibly expensive material by the mistakes you made. For me mistakes are an important part of learning and you will make them, So the last thing I want is for you to give up because you don’t want to ‘waste your money’ on it.
I hope that my #sewingrevolution helps to give people confidence in their sewing abilities; to head to the haberdashery and buy that metre of awesome fabric, confident with your wonderful new found skill and completely guilt free. Being able to make something for yourself or others is one of the most rewarding things. Making clothes that fit you perfectly and to your style and taste is a great self-confidence booster, especially if you struggle to get clothes to fit you, for whatever reason that may be.
So please, head to the supermarket, pick up a sewing kit and get sewing. There are plenty of online tutorials and workshops available or you can even watch me on create and craft TV so there is no excuses!
My next workshop dates are the Great Create Extravaganza 2nd & 3rd October where you will be getting 'my first sewing kit' free when you attend my workshop - book here!
For all other workshop details are listed under #sewingrevolution events.
Last but not least, If you know how to sew, buy one for a friend and be part of the #sewingrevolution by sharing your skills, it’s important that we keep this awesome craft alive.
Viva La #sewingrevolution!
I've had an educational sewing journey this month. Learning new skills by attending a weekend pattern drafting workshop, visiting a living museum and being inspired by the Issue 63 of Sew Magazine. Not that I'm an 'old dog' but you really never stop learning, experimenting and perfecting your sewing skills.
Pattern Drafting with Jules from Sew Me Something- Stratford.
Pattern Drafting is something that I have always wanted to learn. I love nothing more than to create my own clothes without using a pattern but I wanted to know how you take a persons individual measurements and transpose these onto paper to the create a block or sloper first. A block is a basic fitted pattern that can then be transformed into different patterns with different styles.
Within the class we all finally got to get measured properly from head to toe, literally. It was great as you really need two people (yourself and someone to measure you) to get the correct measurements at the right points. To have these measurements not only create my block but they are also really helpful for when trying to pick/ buy the right size pattern.
Then we got into the science of it. Drawing out my shoulders, bust, waist and hips on paper in a series of lines and curves was just amazing. Seeing my form as a flat drawing ready to be copied and transferred to Calico fabric to make my toile that fitted perfectly, was something that I always wanted to do. I've always wanted to really get into the mechanics and science of dress making, but don't let this put you off going to a pattern drafting course. It is not as high tech as you think once you get into the swing of it.
With my toile perfected I was ready to start altering and designing the style of my garment. I cant wait to show the final garment so watch this space.
If you are interested in doing a pattern drafting course, I would recommend Sew Me Something as Jules is an amazing teacher and also bakes wonderful cakes!
A Step Back Into The Past - Black Country Living Museum.
On a rare day off, Kirk and I decided that we wanted to spend the day together, so we went to a local attraction called the Black Country Museum. It was a very wet day but this didn't dampen the day at all. We had a trip down the mine, ate traditional fish and chips cooked in beef dripping and wrapped in brown paper. Visited the local pub for a pint and a warm by the open coal fire. This is not like a normal museum, they have people 'living' in the street and working in the shops, so it's as if you have just travelled back in time and popped round for a cup of tea. The people that lived or worked in the buildings were so lovely and very knowledgeable about the period and they were occupying. Explained the history of the house, their routine if they actually lived there, the equipment they would use and would also do demo's to show us how the blacksmiths would make chain links, cut glass. It was lovely to see that most of the houses had a sewing machine in them. This was obviously not uncommon for people to have a sewing machine have pride of place in the house or at least a sewing kit and it was great to see the people showing little children what it was and how to use it. It was when we visited a lady who was sat next a roaring fire in the living room making a rag rug when I really became inspired. I asked if she could show me how to do it and what they would of used back then. She told me that they would of been made out of old potato sacks and use old clothes to make the rugs. The perfect upcycle project, I was so pleased that they had the rag kit in the gift shop! Of course I had to buy it and make one for myself. It takes some time so not quite finished it yet but I cannot wait to share it with you when it's finished. I might even do a workshop on how to do it!
Going Bold and Bright with Log Cabin Blocks.
After getting the quilting bug last month after making a baby show gift for my friend, the 63rd issue of Sew Magazine couldn't have come at a better time. On page 71 they demonstrated how to make the 'block of the week' which was a log cabin block. This was perfect timing for the project I was already half way through. I had created a fairly big crazy patch piece but wanted to add to it but doing something different. Being a complete novice at this, the log cabin block was perfect to frame this piece and the instruction were easy to follow. Using a Jelly roll I had been given and wanted to use as the fabric designs just matched perfectly, I began to make my blocks. I was amazed at how quickly the shape came together and I quickly used up all of my jelly roll.
As it was quite a busy quilt I thought I would couple my finished log cabin blocks with single squares of fabric for the boarder.
When joining all the pieces together I was really pleased with the outcome. I appreciate it's probably not to everyone's taste as I think it has every colour possible in there, but It's my quilt and I'll sewing it how I like it! lol. That being said when I posted the finished pictures on my social media sites your feedback was so encouraging and just lovely. So BIG thanks everyone! Can't wait to for the weather to get colder so I can snuggle up with a good cup of tea and a great movie. Not that I want to wish the summer away as I'm very much a sun worshiper!
I'd love to see what you have been up to this August! Are you sewing a quilt ready for the winter? Remember I do keep an eye out for your #sewingrevolutions so please keep posting!
On the 18th of July in Walsall, I held a #sewingrevolution event at Helen's Haberdashery. With wine and nibbles and about twenty other people we chatted about the Sewing Bee, problems with projects, new ideas, current makes. I had taken my Sewing Bee makes so people could have a nose at them, we even had a pattern and fabric swap. Everything you could possibly want to talk about sewing we discussed. It was really nice when we went around the room and everyone got to introduce themselves, talk about their passion for sewing and explain how it all started for them. Hearing everyone's sewing journey's was a real treat. Very personal and all for very different reasons. Thanks for sharing Ladies and Gents!
It was a little scary for me at the start as I had to deliver a kind of talk which then turned into a Question and Answer session by accident. They did grill me a little but it was all a bit of fun really, I was very nervous though but with a cup cake in hand and a glass of wine in the other it became a wonderfully relaxed evening. I cannot wait for the next one. So keep an eye on Tailor Taylor Events!
Catching up with the Bee's!!!
I also had a trip down memory lane this month and caught up with the Bee's!! It was so lovely seeing them again in the flesh. It's not quite the same talking over the phone or catching up on twitter or facebook. Face to face and with hugs is so much better. Heading back to the Wapping came with mixed feelings. It was such an intense period for all of us when the Sewing Bee was being filmed it, I felt nervous going down on the train, but this quickly disappeared when we all talked about what we had been up to since the Bee, how busy we all are and our stories of people recognising us is in strange places. We completely overtook the corner of the pub and filled the room with excited voices and laughter. It was a shame it was only for the day, I'm used to seeing them for at least 2 days solid. So it was sad when we had to say goodbye, but we are going to organise another get together soon.
All I'm going to say about our chat is that we all have some pretty exciting things going on at the moment. So keep an eye out you never know when you are going to see us next!
Gifts for friends.
Its also been a crazy one for bespoke items this month.
My best friend from school, Emma is finally getting married to her
partner Helen at the end of August. I had promised to make her wedding
shirt for her and as August is fast approaching I was running out of time. Luckily I've managed to brake the back of it making it after work in the week as my weekends are becoming less available, so its been a little stressful.
Going for something a little different Emma wanted ruffle's and she has them!
Just have the button's to go now. I'm thinking blue, one she is a Baggies Fan (West Bromwich Albion) and two you have to have something blue on your wedding day. What do you think?
I've also made a dress for my wonderful friend Charlotte. She is the one that made my amazing cup cakes for the viewing of first episode on the Sewing Bee..Remember?
Well she wanted a dress that she saw on Pinterest and couldn't find it anywhere. So we went fabric shopping together. She picked her fabric and I have drafted the pattern and made the dress for her Birthday. She is going away on holiday in August, so again it was all hands to the deck to get it finished in time. I do love paisley so I think the choice of fabric is ace and of course it has cheeky pockets!!
Last but by no means least, we have a new arrival on the way! A fellow friend who is also an amazing vocalist, Kelly and our slide guitarist, 'Dobro' are having a baby girl. They are going to call her Martha, after The Beatles track. They do not know I have made anything yet, but I hope they like it.
I wanted to have a go at quilting as I was to be going to the Festival of Quilts in August. However, I'm not able to make it now but still feeling inspired I decided to make this lovely handmade gift from me. Big enough for a cot or a push chair, the quilt is made from off cuts of left over material. I even had a go at a little hand embroidery to give it a little detail. I would definitely recommend making one especially if you have any small left over off cuts! It's a #upcycling #sewingrevolution waiting to happen!
In my last blog I mentioned that I've been getting migraines. To rule a few things out I've had my eye's tested. Turns out that I need to wear glasses while using a computer. They don't think that is what is causing it but it isn't going to be helping.
Advise - Give your eyes regular breaks from the screen, otherwise you will look like this! The glasses are ace though and a BOGOF as well!! BARGAIN!
So what have you been up to? Don't forget I'm keeping my eyes open for your #sewingrevolution makes so please don't forget to hashtag! I'm searching for you!
Whatever I'm doing