cropped-losori-1280-blog-cover-tiff2.jpg

A Couple of Updates

Happy new year everyone! I’ve been pretty absent this last month so I thought I’d give a few updates just to tide us over here at Losori.

 

Firstly, I’ve unfortunately not been making things recently because I’ve simply been too busy. I know, sad faces. I’m moving both job and city and flat at the moment which means most of our evenings are spent sorting all that out. Therefore, I also don’t have much time for blogging. This is all very exciting, although in this regard a little sad, as I like doing both of these things a lot. I promise once I’m in a better position I will be revving up my sewing machine’s engine like there’s no tomorrow!

 

Onto more positive things, I hope you’ve noticed I’ve got a new banner! It was drawn for me by the very talented Becca Drake. I’m so very happy with it, and Becca seemed to exactly work out what I had in my head, even though I’m pretty sure I gave really terrible aims. Like I sent this photo-

dsc00141

And said ‘Like this but illustrated and in like space. With like smears of colour?’

cropped-losori-1280-blog-cover-tiff2.jpg

And from that what a beauty was birthed. I love it. I was planning to introduce it with a launch of my new website, but, well, see paragraph two for why that hasn’t happened yet.
Hopefully it won’t be too long until we speak again, and go check out Becca’s blog, Drake’s Doodles, for more examples of her lovely work.

dsc00700

Tablecloth Skirt Mark Two

I used to have long hair. It was determined to be straight and limp and boring, not matter how much I messed with it. I would curl it, it would deflate within the hour. I also had very little interest in doing anything cool with it. A bun was too complicated for me to work out. And so, during a period of being especially annoyed with it, I got it cut off, marking one of the best decisions of my life. No longer will my hair get in the way while eating, take forever to dry, and make me sad by hanging over like a wet blanket over my face. Best of all, it suited me. It turns out I was a short haired person stuck in a long haired person’s body. 

However, I’m sure none of you are surprised to hear I got some backlash from this decision. I remember being told to ensure I wore more flowery clothes, to offset the ‘masculine’ hair. Often I would be told ‘You suit short hair so much, it looks great! When are you going to grow it back?’, which is a weirdly paradoxical statement. I was also ‘warned’ that people would think I’m a lesbian, which is strange, as that isn’t an insult. Anyway, regardless of my sexual positioning, these strange stereotypes pursued me, despite the fact that reactions to my hair specifically were overwhelmingly positive. People have such messed up priorities sometimes.

I wanted to mention this little story from my life for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I got my haircut yesterday (after these pictures), and it got me thinking about how, to some people, my hair is something of a confusion to their prescribed view of what a woman should look like. Secondly, and rather more trivially, I made a long skirt into a short one, which also reminded me of this process.

This skirt was very originally a tablecloth, found in a charity shop. In my early days of sewing, I made this into a maxi circle skirt. It was a real ramshackle affair but I eventually made something wearable, at least for a few wears.

Like my long hair, I began to find the long skirt more trouble than it was worth. It kept tripping me up on the stairs, dragging in the dirt, and getting stained. I bundled it up into a bag for a bit, before using some of it for this Mimi blouse. The other week, I had a look at what was left of the skirt, and decided it would be perfect for a quick A-line skirt. I traced a shape directly from my Delphine skirt (I couldn’t be bothered to trace the proper pattern out again, as I said, I fancied a quick project), and cut as close to the grain as possible. I was considering going for pockets, but I went for a side zip so I didn’t fancy working those two things out together! The best bit was that I didn’t have to hem, as it already has these scalloped edges.The waistband is a bit of a mess and could do with being about an inch and a half smaller, but for a simple project I’m pleased with it. So pleased I took these photos outside when it was rather nippy.

DSC00700.JPGDSC00701.JPG

img_0803

Happy Birthday Blog!

This post has taken me a long old time to write. Do you ever feel like you’ve been experiencing too much internet? I just felt smothered by it. So, I deleted all my social media apps from my phone, stopped refreshing the Guardian homepage every three minutes, and tried to spend more time doing other things. I’ve started learning the Ukulele again, having stopped after a very short burst about four years ago. My apartment is also now many bags of junk lighter, having gone through a donation spree. It’s felt good; necessary. Next, I’m going to clear out my fabric cupboard (yes, I know!), as it’s been making me feel more sad than excited. Sometimes a good cleanse can be useful for the creative soul.

Anyway, onto the purpose of this update, which is that my blog had its anniversary last week! Happy Birthday blog! Losori started a year ago now, and my goodness what a year. I am so glad I started this blog all that long year ago. Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading, commenting or saying nice things in real life. There was a time that I didn’t feel confident telling people I liked to sew, or god forbid knit. I’m still not shouting it from the rooftops in the real world, but I’m feeling way more happy about my passions, and I do talk about them, both chatting to people and right here on this blog. One thing I didn’t anticipate is pride. I’ve been starting to feel good about making things and sharing them. Every new make is a little story of my process, and I actually get really excited about sharing that with the world.

Just to get vaguely personal, it’s been a rough year. I think it has for a lot of people. And this blog has actually been a bit of a rock for me, even if it might not look that way from the outside. I’ve been able to dip in over the year, adding to my writing, taking better photos, and each time feeling like I have achieved something, even in a small way.

I thought it would be nice to have a look at the hits and misses from my very first blog year, so I hope you enjoy.

Hits-

20160813_165008

First, the highlights. This year was pretty much the first one where I had both the time (sort of…) and the resources to sew, so I definitely saw my skills improve over the course of these 12 months. My favourite make this year, to no one’s surprise, has to be my space dress. Nothing has made me feel so proud and happy to wear. Do you ever put something on and it actually feels like it accurately represents you and who you are? Somehow, this dress does that. I’ve ordered a long invisible zip for this dress so soon it won’t take two people pulling to get this dress off…

20160502_160206

 

My Megan dress is again, not perfect, but I actually wear this to work and no one gasps ‘Gasooks, this woman is wearing an outfit made on her kitchen table. Cast her to the flames!’ They haven’t said that because I don’t work in a anachronistic medieval witch hunting club, but also because it legit looks like a well made item of clothing.

 

IMG_0916

I have knitted intermittently over the year, leading to my biggest project which was my owls jumper. I love this jumper, it’s so soft and chunky and lovely. The only thing with it is that it’s a little snug ‘round the neckline getting it on and off. Did I cast it off too tight? I’m not sure, but probably.

 

dsc00376

And lastly, just a couple of other makes I’m especially pleased with. My America dress is just really cute and fun. I used to love this dress in its original form, and it’s great to still be able to wear it in a new way! Lastly, this nedroid costume was very easy but very effective. I liked being a bear and a potato.

12196311_921166324597108_2530869809830936238_n

 

Misses and eh’s-

IMG_1059

I made this scalloped skirt as part of a facebook group’s challenge and whilst I enjoyed the process, I really can’t get along with the finished product. It doesn’t have a strong waistband so it sags over the course of a wear, plus the scallops always need ironing which just irritates me. These, combined with the fact the design causes so much upskirt with even the slightest breeze, makes it my top miss of the year. But, as a plus, it was my first time with buttonholes which was fun.

dsc00439

This sleeveless Mimi blouse is a funny one, because I kind of like it, but am also not sure at the same time. The fabric choice isn’t really right for the pattern, and if you read back over my post about it, I was kind of cobbled together from a load of mistakes. But then it looks ok in these photos. I’m going to give it until next summer and see how it holds up with the rest of my wardrobe.

60's

One day I randomly got some pictures taken of me in a vintage inspired outfit, and thought it might be good to put on here. I then went on to do a couple of My Style posts, but to be honest I never felt altogether comfortable with this category. I think it shows in the photos. Compare my body language to in photos of my space dress, for example, and there’s a whole world of difference. I’m not going to get rid of them, as it seems dishonest, but they really aren’t my best work. 

And that’s been the year. Generally a successful one for makes! I’m very much looking forward to the next. Once again, thank you to you all, and I look forward to the next year of creativity!

Reel Life: Wreck it Ralph

Ralph.png

Not my image… obviously

Here’s something a little different today. I love costumes and thinking about how the outfits in the films I watch were made. Clothing and costume design in a more formal sense is actually an academic interest of mine, studying it a bit at uni and still considering studying it further in the future. Without realising it, I have been looking at film costumes, and in the back of my mind trying to work out what patterns I could make it out of. So, I thought it might be fun to show some examples here of some costumes you can recreate for yourself, and the wear your favourite character’s outfit in Reel Life! Tada, that’s why it’s called that! Ok, I know it’s silly, but go with me here.

Ooh, bear in mind I have not necessarily used these patterns before, so they don’t come personally recommended from me in terms of making things from them.

Today I’ve been looking at Wreck it Ralph. What a sweet guy. You too can be this diamond in the rough, and all you need is-

overalls

Misses Overalls Kwik Sew Sewing Pattern 3897

Wreck it Ralph’s overalls are an essential bit of kit- it’s messy work wrecking a skyscraper over and over again all day. Just swap out the blue denim shown here for brown, and you’ve got the base of this outfit. Extra points for wearing it with the left side unbuckled.

6403

Misses Easy Seperates New Look 6403

I’m  stickler for accuracy and so even though you only see a bit of it, here’s a pattern for the undershirt. It took me a bit of time to find a jersey top pattern with the right high neckline, surprisingly.

henley

Mccalls m6747 Henley Maxi T-Shirt Dress

Finally, we’ve got Ralph’s shirt. This is a short sleeved Henley shirt, a neckline not as often used for female shirts. I’ve got some pajamas with that button placket, which to be fair is where the design originated from. However, Mccalls m6747 works nicely for it! Also, looks like it’s reduced on this site at the moment, double win. This pattern does have 5 buttons instead of three on Ralph’s, so depending on how much you care about accuracy you might need to make some little alterations to the top. You can shorten the placket which, give that it’s just straight lines on the centre front and placket pieces, shouldn’t be too complicated. Or, you could go for more oversized buttons and spread the three out across the placket for a more cartoony look.

All in all, this would be a pretty simple cosplay to whip up. I think the hardest bit would be finding a jersey in the red and orange check…

 

Have a pattern you think would be perfect for this costume? Got a film you’d like to see recreated in patterns? Let me know in the comments 🙂

dsc00617-2

Nasty Man Costume

I’ve not been able to do a huge amount of full on sewing in the last couple of weeks, but I have been managing a bit of hand embroidery. It’s been a good thing to do when watching a film, on the train or at the pub- don’t judge me. We went to a Halloween party this weekend, themed around something very scary. I won’t say who it is, but it’ll become pretty obvious shortly.

Most of the outfit was made from stuff I already had, plus a suit jacket way too big for me (it helped my hands look tiny) I got from a charity shop. I wanted to make at least a little something for it, and so I bought these plain red hats from Ebay to make some campaign hats.

dsc00619-2

To add my own slogan, I simply typed the word out, tracing it off with baking paper. Then, I pinned the template onto the hat, lining up the middle and making sure it’s not wonky. I used satin stitch mainly, making decisions pretty much just as I went along.

dsc00617-2

Anyway, that’s it! It was a bit fiddly, especially because of the separate bit on the front keeping it sturdy. What is that bit called? I had to keep holding that out of the way. But, I really like how they’ve turned out! I think I might wear them just around in normal life… If anyone asks why my hat says HATRED, I’ll just tell them it says HAT RED, it’s purely descriptive.

DSC00618 (2).JPG

I thought about getting a photo of the whole costume, but I thought it would be too scary/ I was too busy playing charades to get any good full length shots on the night.

I hope you’ve all had a good Halloween time! I’m off to look at costumes on Instagram because gosh darn it I love costumes.

dsc00131

Sew stylish- Dubrovnik

As promised, here are some snaps from my holiday in Dubrovnik. This isn’t a travel blog so I won’t bore you all with too many details about the place itself. Basically, if you like ice cream, blue seas and beautiful roofs, go to Dubrovnik like right away. It’s awesome.

This holiday was a great last swan song for a lot of my summer wardrobe for this year, & I think I saw them off well.

dsc00132

Ha, look at my funny face. Here I am on the main street wearing my sorbetto top & a refashioned skirt. This skirt used to be a dress I got years ago from Primark. The pattern remained adorable, but the body grew. However, I just did the same thing as with this skirt, & a new outfit was made.

dsc00137

dsc00141

dsc00186

Next, we’ve got this refashioned America dress. I love this outfit, it’s so fun to wear. Also, one day I will get a good full length picture of me wearing this dress, but this holiday was apparently not that time.

dsc00376

dsc00367

dsc00374

You may well recognise this next outfit, as it’s the one from my last blog post here. We’ve got my sleeveless Mimi blouse paired with this refashioned liberty print skirt. It’s a real pastel fest here.

dsc00437

dsc00480

 

Finally, I wore my space dress on the last day. I don’t have any full length pictures from this trip so go click that link if you want to marvel at that awesome print.

 

dsc00574

dsc00561

We had a wonderful time & you should all go to Dubrovnik. Go to Mea Culpa, get a pizza bigger than your leg, & say hi from me.

dsc00131

dsc00480

Sleeveless Mimi Blouse

dsc00431

There was a bit of a journey to get to a finished and photographed garment here. I shall detail this for you now. As an aside, I’ve been feeling like a mess up makes for a more interesting post, but it meant I experienced strife. Do I secretly want to suffer so that my blog is more interesting? What is my life, what is real? Anyway…

dsc00443

When I heard that Karen of Did You Make That was hosting a gingham along where people made gingham items (obviously), I thought this would be a great opportunity to use up the rest of my never ending Laura Ashley duvet cover. Readers may remember my previous projects include a yoked sorbetto top and a scalloped skirt. People who know me in the real world may also know my first project with this duvet, which was a rather shoddily made pair of short dungarees. I liked them, but not enough to show them on here right now! I decided to make a Mimi blouse from Love at First Stitch out of the remaining fabric, with a contrasting pink collar using some hot pink fabric from my stash.

dsc00439

It was at this stage that things started to go wrong. Once I had cut out the pieces, I realised that this pattern is probably not gingham. I think it’s a check, just with very few colours. Ah well, it’s for myself anyway, it doesn’t matter whether it’s for a competition or not. I barely manage to squeeze out the shape of the collar from the pink fabric, then realise I don’t have enough interfacing. So, I order more and wait a couple of days before continuing. Then, I trim the wrong edges of the bottom side of the collar, so I have to cut out another piece and start again on it. Then, I go to iron the interfacing onto the collar, and this happens.

 

I was so mad at myself for ironing directly onto the fabric, scorching and slightly melting it onto the iron. I didn’t have enough of the hot pink fabric to cut out the collar again, and I didn’t think it would work having the collar patterned too. Plus, I had already purchased the shank buttons in a matching shade of pink for this project and it made me sad to think they would go to waste. So, I rummaged through my stash, putting fabrics up against the blouse trying to work out an alternative. I eventually settled on some light pink fabric which used to be a tablecloth. I had made it into a maxi skirt to reasonable success, as seen here in a photograph from the past-

 

Ha, wearing the same shoes! However, it wasn’t made to stand many wears, and so I used it for this project. This proved a little harder than anticipated, as the grain line was not even close to being parallel to the hem line in most places. I never could work out quite what shape that tablecloth was… I was much more careful ironing on the interfacing this time, using a cloth over the top to protect my wretched, demanding collar.

dsc00435

Right, collar’s on, pattern pretty much matched at the front, onto the sleeves now and… I can’t get them over my upper arms. I had traced a smaller size than the one my measurements suggested, because I wasn’t sure if this blouse would look a little clowny if too loose. However, I completely forgot that in making this decision, I was now using pattern pieces for my arms which don’t fit me. Like, at all. I was all about ready to give up. Then, I remembered that I was going on holiday to Dubrovnik in less than a week, and thought wouldn’t it be nice if I could wear this top out and about there? I yelled a few swearwords to get it out of my system, then stormed on. I cut the armholes to accomodate my weird, low hanging armpits, turned the raw edge to the inside and hemmed it. I guess we’re making a sleeveless blouse now. I am actually pretty pleased with the buttonholes, I took my sweet time over them and I think it shows.

dsc00356

I wipe my sweating brow, coming up for air amongst piles of discarded fabric and thread. Through the sweat, the track of a single tear can be seen sliding down my face. It is done, and I burst out of the room to the window, tearing it open and laughing as I feel the wind rush through me. I am free.

DSC00480.JPG

This blouse was a slog, I’ll be honest. Entirely by my own doing, I might add. The instructions were very clear and the pattern was actually pretty simple. I’m hoping to make another soon, to prove I can, mostly.

As I dreamed, I took this blouse to Dubrovnik for an awesome holiday (more about that in a future post), and was excited to take some photos of me wearing it with my refashioned skirt. We went out to enjoy the streets and ice cream, and within five minutes of leaving the apartment a pigeon pooed on me, right down the skirt (a refashioned skirt, no less), and quickly seeping onto my legs. Right, well I guess it was pretty outrageous for me to be in the same city as this pigeon, whilst wearing a skirt. I suppose I was asking for the poo… I washed the skirt (and myself), and wore it a couple of days later, where this blouse finally reaches the end of its creation story.  

These Instagram photos were posted as part of #sewphotohop, a instagram challenge hosted over September by House of Pinheiro. Go have a look through if you fancy reading a bit more about my miscellaneous sewing thoughts.

 

IMG_1281

Make an Embroidered Card

Giving cards is great. Giving a personalised one can be even funner. Here’s how to make a monogrammed card – spoilers, it’s super easy and fun. Did you guys ever have those cards which you ‘embroidered’ with shoelaces? It’s similar, but way nicer than those.

First, draw your letter onto your card. Use pencil and copy from a picture if like me, you suddenly forget what an L looks like.

IMG_1273

Then, it’s time to pierce holes in the card. I have a card piercing tool but I couldn’t find it so I just used the needle I was planning to use for the embroidery. Place them a good distance away from each other, so you won’t break the card.

IMG_1274

IMG_1276

Get a rubber and rub out the pencil lines at this point.

IMG_1277

Next, get your embroidery thread. I used three strands because that allows the embroidered line to be thick, but doesn’t add too much bulk.

Usually when I hand sew I knot the thread beforehand. However, I didn’t want that strain on the card (seeing a key point here guys? Don’t make the card stressed!), so I left a bit of a tail going up, put the needle down through the next hole, then up again through the original hole.

IMG_1278

Now, gently backstitch your letter. Finish off by gently looping the thread into a knot through the last stitch at the back.

IMG_1280

This is such a simple make but I like how you can use it to personalise your greeting. Just add a little note for the receiver, and you’ve got yourself a neat little offering.

IMG_1281

IMG_1324

Refashion a Dress into a Top

IMG_1309

Another day, another dress to refashion. Following hot on the heels of my dress to skirt refashion, here’s one way to transform a stretch dress into a top. This dress was donated to me a little while ago, & I loved the cute collar & print. However, due to many years of wear and washes, it was way too short to wear as a dress comfortably. I saw that this dress would work so much better as a top, & as a bonus it’s a super easy process!

One of the easiest ways of refashioning is to use existing clothes to help with sizing. In this instance I put one of my best fitting stretch tops on top of the dress, lining up shoulder seams and edges.

IMG_1311

Next, I marked an inch below the hem of the top. This is to allow for folding the raw edge up for the hem. If you have any doubts about the length, overestimate. You can always take more off, but it’s a lot harder to add length on! I marked this line with tailor’s chalk.

Next, I cut the dress. The way I did it was to cut the front, then the back, to make sure they line up evenly.

IMG_1312

Turn the dress inside out, then pin the raw edge up, wrong sides together, by 1 inch.

IMG_1313

My carpet needs hoovering often, on account of all the wool which ends up there…

Now you just have to sew the hem. I used a jersey needle and a zigzag stitch. In order to ensure the hem doesn’t stretch out, keep the fabric nice and loose as you go around, don’t pull.

IMG_1323IMG_1318IMG_1324

All done! I keep saying I need more tops in my handmade wardrobe, so I’m grateful for more additions! I like how this top falls, it’s quite a floaty jersey. In these pictures I’m wearing it with some jeans I fabric painted clouds on, painstakingly, last year. It was worth it though, I like them so much more now. Full refashioned outfit, yay!

 

Title dress refashion

Refashion a Dress into a Skirt

IMG_1269

I found this lovely dress in a charity shop. The fabric is so cute & the style reminds me of an Emery dress which is great. I tried it on in the shop and the arms seemed a little tight but I thought I could deal with it. Fast forward to the next time I’m trying the dress on, & I fear I might have to cut myself out of it.

Having ripped the armhole in my escape, it’s clear I can’t wear this dress. Unless… it’s a skirt! This is a super easy refashion. The dress had a gathered skirt, and basically all I did was create a waistband out of the bodice.

First, work out how wide you want your waistband, then cut twice that length up from the skirt. I went for a couple of inches. I had to cut through the zip which extended into the bodice.

IMG_1271

Next, I used my zipper foot to sew down the edges of the zip. Check the zip still works fine!

IMG_1282

Then, I folded the waistband down onto the skirt, wrong sides together, tucking under the raw edges and pinning them in place.

IMG_1284

Lastly, I stitched in the ditch (sewed with the right side up onto the seam between the waistband and the skirt) and I was done!

20160814_145834

If you want a slightly more rigid and strong waistband, you can interface it before stitching it down. I wasn’t too bothered/ was too enthusiastic about how quick a project this was turning out to be!

20160814_145843

Now, let us all go forth and make dresses into skirts.