Monday, 27 July 2015

McCalls 6696 Shirtdress - My 30th Birthday dress :)

Feeling quite apprehensive about turning 30 this past week, I decided to go ahead and spoil myself with this gorgeous Liberty cotton fabric. I love the print, the colour, the feel of the fabric, it's just BEA-utiful!

I made a muslin a few months ago of the McCalls 6696 shirtdress bodice but was waiting for 'just' the right fabric to come along! I didn't care for the gathers in the back bodice when I made the muslin, it felt way too baggy and like there was so much excess fabric on me, and as I like my clothes quite fitted anyhow, I decided to omit the gathers for my main garment. 

I did this by comparing the distance between the small circles marked on the pattern of the bodice back, and made these the same as the distance between the small circles marked on the Yoke back, and the Waistband pieces. Are you with me? 
Liberty, McCalls 6696, Shirtdress, Pink, Gem's Hems
The only other alteration I made was to take 2.5 inches off the length, I dont care for dresses that hit me at the knee and find them totally unflattering at that lengh, so I tried it on and lopped the bottom off! Much better now :)

Liberty, McCalls 6696, Shirtdress, Pink, Gem's Hems

I am totally in love with this dress, the fit, the colour, the style.....I could go on forever! But I promise I wont ;)

Liberty, McCalls 6696, Shirtdress, Pink, Gem's Hems

Sorry for the moody face, I have no idea why I get in front of a camera and suddenly turn into the grumpiest person ever to have their photo taken! Will try to do better :)

Laters! Gem :) x

Monday, 20 July 2015

Mini Southport Dress

I decided to take a break from my selfish sewing to whip something up for my girlie! Enter the Mini Southport dress from True Bias! As I made the realisation that it's technically summer now here in the UK, this provides a perfect opportunity to sew some pretty dresses for my little munchkin! (And a perfect opportunity for me to moan about the weather...)

Mini Southport Dress, True Bias

I bought this SOFT SOFT SOFT ex Paul Smith cotton lawn from my trusty fabric man at the market (feel it, it is really SO soft!), I've made myself a basic shell top from it already and had just enough left for a first version of the Mini Southport in a size 2T - win!

Cotton Lawn Fabric

Another bonus of this fabric is that it's so beautifully multicoloured, I can finally send her to childcare in something I've sewn for her without worrying about stains and marks etc (think 'Sound of Music Playclothes' - without the curtains of course...)

Mini Southport Dress, True Bias, Cotton Lawn

 The instructions by True Bias are second to none, very easy to understand and follow along with. I totally love the bias facing finish to the neckline and armholes, it gives such a polished professional looking finish. The front button opening detail is great too as a lot of dress patterns I've seen of this type for kids tend to be back opening ones, this style gives a bit more detail to the front :)

Mini Southport Dress, True Bias, Cotton Lawn

Mini Southport Dress, True Bias, Cotton Lawn

And a few shots of the lucky girl modelling her new dress - she was feeling in an especially co-operative mood today!
Mini Southport Dress, True Bias, Cotton Lawn

My little poser!!
Mini Southport Dress, True Bias, Cotton Lawn

There are a few more of these on my agenda if this is how pleased it makes her!
Gem x

Friday, 17 July 2015

Sewing Fifi!

 When my postie dropped these lovelies through my door this morning, I instantly knew what my evening was going to consist of!
TATB, Fifi, Bettine, sewing, pyjamas,

Yes it's the brand new patterns from Tilly and the Buttons - Fifi and Bettine! I bought them both as a bundle on offer at Tilly's online store, I usually only buy PDF patterns but I thought as it's my birthday next week a treat or two wouldn't go amiss ;)  I'm turning 30.....don't tell anyone!!
If you're after these patterns then be quick, Tilly is offering them as a bundle for £20, normal price £12.50 each! But BE QUICK - this offer is only on until Sunday 19th July!!
A quick trip to my reliable fabric man at the Market, and I fell for this wacky dolly mixture print... I love the fact I can sew my own Pyjamas and wear kitsch prints at home that I would never wear out in public. I turn enough heads with my tantruming two-year old as it is, I don't need any more attention!!
TATB, Fifi, sewing, pyjamas, sweets

I cut a size 4, I'm in between a 3 and a 4 going by the pattern sizing measurements but there's nothing worse than uncomfortable sleepwear, so I erred on the side of caution and went for the larger size for my first sew.
Tilly's instructions are so clear and easy to follow, having actual photos of each step is lovely rather than a drawn diagram that some instructions use.

The Fifi set took me about 3 hours from cutting to finishing up and I'm currently wearing my new jammies writing this post before I head off to bed! I could probably stand to go down a size as they are roomy but that's better than being too small. I will hold my final verdict until I've had a good nights sleep :) 

TATB, Fifi, Bettine, sewing, pyjamas,

TATB, Fifi, Bettine, sewing, pyjamas,

TATB, Fifi, Bettine, sewing, pyjamas,
 I've got some fab Hello Kitty fabric that I bought on my recent trip to the states which is now destined to become a pair of Fifi jammies!

For cooler nights this top would go perfectly with Tilly's Margot Pyjama bottoms from her book, it's great to have the option of both :)

 I can't wait to get started on the Bettine!!

Gem x

UPDATE: After a great night's sleep I am concluding that whilst these are comfortable being roomy, I will still size down to a 3 on the top for my next pair, as I'd like them to be slightly more fitted than this pair! The shorts will stay a size 4 as they are perfect as they are :)

Friday, 8 May 2015

Me Made May 4th - 8th May

Evening folks! I'm sat down with a nice glass of Rose to blog my remaining #mmmay15 outfits for the rest of this week :)

4th May 
new look 6323

5th May
Jennifer Lauren Vintage Bronte top - True Bias Hudson Pants

6th May
I worked this day and didnt get chance to take a picture before I collapsed in an exhausted mess!
But on days I work I always wear a plain white tunic top pattern New look 6323 and a plain back skirt New look 6191

7th May 
new look 6323, true bias hudson pants
Working from home and feeling comfy in True Bias Hudson Pants

8th May - It's FRIDAY!
Knitting, handmade, owls jumper

For my Playday with my baby girl I wore my handknitted Owls Jumper and Leggings - New Look pattern 6323 (excuse the cats photobomb!)

Here we are being sad in our matching jumpers ;) 
Knitting, handmade, owls jumper

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Me Made May - 3rd May

Sporting my Burda Jeans again today together with a Colette Sorbetto with added sleeves :)

Burda Jeans, Colette Sorbetto #mmmay15

Saturday, 2 May 2015

2nd May - Me Made May

It's Saturday! 

Today I wore the First Blouse I ever made myself - Simplicity New Look Pattern 6104 out of a lovely floral polycotton, and Burda Jeans that I made about a month ago. 

The jeans were slightly large when I finished them which annoyed me slightly after all that work, but 2 washes in and they are fitting much bettter. Either that or I've put on weight. In any case, I find that jeans are really satisfying to sew! I'm dreaming up a pink denim this space!!

New Look blouse, burda jeans, me made may 2015 #mmmay15

Friday, 1 May 2015

Me Made May 2015 - 1st May Outfit

Afternoon all! Today I wore this outfit, comprised of:

Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top made in Turqoise Polycotton with white polka dots

Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardigan made in a lovely lightweight jersey.

Simplicity New Look leggings made with a denim look jersey

Colette Sorbetto top, Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan, Simplicity New Look Leggings

What have you been wearing today? Leave me a link in the comments so I can check out your creations :) 

Gem x

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


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Monday, 27 April 2015

Maxi Dress - New Look 6096

So, you know the drill, cut out your project, run out of time, bag it up to sew another day. All fine and dandy. Until that is, you come to sew it and find you have completely and totally 'misplaced' the instructions. Are you still with me? No? Oh just me then....

Which is precisely what happened with this dress! I searched high and low and have a terrible feeling that I accidentally collected them up in my rubbish, but I'm not going to dwell on that....!

Anyway, so I sat down to try and figure it out. Not sure if I did it right, but it actually looks like the picture!  The fit is lovely although I am intending to shorten the straps slightly as I am in danger of exposing myself inadvertently at the current length!

Daisy (my Adjustoform) is happy to model this for me though, I had a little word with her and she has no sense of modesty ;)

The Fabric a lovely Viscose I picked up at Barry's in Birmingham, it's so light and drapey, Viscose is fast becoming my favourite thing to sew with! 

So that's one maxi dress done for the summer! 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

My Me Made May 2015 pledge! #mmmay15

I, Gem of Gem's Hems, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2015! I endeavour to wear ONLY Me-Made items (excluding underwear) for the duration of May 2015!

This will be a challenge for me because, despite having an extensive handmade wardrobe to choose from, still readily pick out RTW items from my wardobe. I had a bit of a think about why I do this and it essentially falls down to two things - comfort and not wanting to 'ruin' my painstakingly hand sewn clothes! Have you ever heard anything so ridiclous! 

So my focus on sewing for the near future will be - concentrating on comfortable things I'm happy to wear if I'm staying home all day - there's no reason I can't still look reasonably put-together whilst being comfortable enough to do housework and such like. In the past few years since having my daughter I have fallen into the trap of dressing 'comfortably' which - in my case - has seemed to translate into sloppily and I need to snap out of it!

In preparation for this I have had a huge clearout of my clothes (in partial thanks to recently reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo) - and sorted out things that need mending which I aim to tackle this coming week! 

As a side-note challenge for myself, I also aim to complete at least one item of clothing per week during May 2015. For our upcoming holiday this summer I am aiming to take only handmade clothes and time is running out, I've only got a couple of months left so I really need to get cracking with that!

Are you signing up for Me Made May 2015? #mmmay15

Clemence Skirt

Presenting,.. The Clemence Skirt - Pattern from Tilly Walnes book - Love at First Stitch

Ever so slightly big on me at the waist, I think because the fabric I used has ZERO give I was a bit worried it would be too tight and erred on the side of caution... hence it being a bit large. Not much I can do about it now as the waistband is attached as a single piece, so I will just have to treat this as a wearable toile and wear it on the days I'm feeling fat - or about to have a large meal!

Clemence Skirt - Gem's Hems

The Fabric is really lovely to wear though and I do have a small amount left....! 

Watch this space :)

Archer Shirt

This was a challenging make!

My first proper shirt, collar and cuffs and all the bells and whistles! 
The Pattern is the Grainline Studios Archer Shirt, which is drafted as loose fitting but I took it in slightly at the side seams as I like things a bit more fitted.

There is a lot of material pooling at my lower back too, so in future I think I would need a swayback adjustment to stop it looking 'really' baggy.

The fabric is sort of a brushed cotton, and I was slightly worried that I would look like I'm wearing my jimjams, but making it a bit more fitted and with careful selection of bottom half wear I'm managing to avoid that trap so far!

First time I've sewn a collar, stand and cuff plackets but I found the sew-along instructions so easy to follow, it's great to have a visual reference to look at as well as the pattern guidelines :)

Grainline Studios Archer Shirt - Gem's Hems
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Zsalya Top

This top is made with a lovely drapey Viscose that I got from the Birmingham Rag Market! 

The Pattern I used is called the Zsalya Top and Dress (no idea how it's pronounced) by Kate and Rose on Etsy 

To be honest I don't love how it looks on me, the pattern is drafted with a lot more ease than I like on myself as I like my clothes quite fitted and I just feel baggy in it. Nothing against the pattern and it's a nice casual top which I do get some wear out of but I'm not convinced I'd make it again for myself!

Zsalya Top - Gem's Hems

Coco Top

My first Coco Top by Tilly - I used a knit fabric that I got from the market, no idea of the fibre but it's nice and soft :) I love the print too, makes me feel very springtimey!

Coco Top - Gem's Hems

Coco Top - Gem's HemsCoco Top - Gem's Hems

Lady Skater Dress

This was my first Lady Skater dress by KitschyCoo - a pattern I have now made several times and love it! It's just the style of dress I like to wear and I find them so comfy!

The fabric is a cotton knit that I got from my local market fabric dealer :) 
KitschyCoo Lady Skater

KitschyCoo Lady Skater

KitschyCoo Lady Skater

New Look 6191

I made this skirt using New Look 6191 Pattern. The Fabric is Cotton Poplin - it's lovely without tights but it tends to stick if I wear tights with it, if I used this fabric again I'd probably line it!
new look skirt pattern 6191

Very pleased with the fit - excuse my moody face! It's just my natural 'resting' face - I get told to cheer up a lot by random strangers in the street! Sorry but it's just my face!! Will make more effort to smile in future! :) 

Not much more to say about it really, it was a very simple non-incidental make!