Romper stomper: Simplicity 2459

Hey everyone, I’m so sorry I’ve been so quiet over the last few weeks. It’s not like I’ve been mega busy, or super tired – I’ve just taken myself out of the zone I think! Thank goodness for Handmade Style. Without this regular feature there’d be tumbleweeds round these parts. Thanks for your suggestions on new questions – I’ll be factoring them into some exciting new interviews with your favourite bloggers, coming soon.

In the meantime, let’s all have a collective awwwwwwh for Simplicity 2459…

Simplicity 2459How gorgeous is this?? It’s made of leftover teal cord from my Beignet and Ginger skirts, and lined with leftover rabbit fabric from my self-drafted smock top. Dontcha love a ‘free’ make?

For the most part this was really easy to knock up, except that the instructions seemed to omit the adding of the shoulder straps for View G which was what I was doing, which was a tad confusing but easily remedied by seam ripping the top of the bodice back and tucking the straps in, then securing with some top stitching. I also added a snap on each side under the arm. BOY I hate doing snaps after a long hiatus. I always forget how to do them, then lose/break/throw-them-at-the-wall-in-frustration. We got there in the end though. But I was down to my last two snaps – I shit you not.

This little romper goes with everything it seems. Must be a baby thing…

I used ready-made popper tape for the bottom – I’m sure I could have done a neater job here but truth be told I have no idea how these things work. I reckon a day or two of changing nappies will shed some light on what’s really practical.

Less than two weeks to go! The baby is a teeny tiny bit engaged which means he/she is taking his/her own sweet time to get into position. That’s cool. We’re ready. The romper will be waiting.

My Handmade Style: Catherine Daze

From vintage chic to clean modern shapes, how do these seamstresses create and communicate their own unique style in their projects? What and who inspires them, from film and music to everyday life. And what’s their dream outfit?

Thanks to everyone who came forth with amazing suggestions for new questions to ask willing seamsters in this series! Loads of great suggestions and ones I will definitely take on board for new interviews. But in the meantime let me introduce you to Catherine of Cyberdaze. Catherine’s blog is fairly new to me in that I only discovered it a few months back – but what a treat! Here’s more on her darkly playful, avant garde style…

Catherine Daze

Catherine, you’ve been described by Dolly Clackett as the Tilda Swinton of sewing blogs! But how would you describe your particular handmade style?

That’s a lovely description – thanks Roisin! I really admire Tilda Swinton’s style, she’s very individual and daring.

What I am aiming for is an urban, dark, slightly futuristic look that isn’t too costumey to wear every day. My blog name – Cyberdaze – is obviously a spin on cyberpunk. But I also have a great affection for the 70s.

Where do you find your style inspiration and how do you channel that into your me-made wardrobe?

I like a lot of science-fiction costume design. June Hudson‘s late 70s/early 80s designs for Blake’s Seven and Doctor Who still resonate with me. I keep a scrapbook of images I like from magazines – mostly Vogue, there’s no way I’d tear up my Burdas! – and I find there are definite themes in the collection which I try to bring out in my sewing. For example I have lots of pictures of silver or metallic trousers, so that was a direct inspiration for my silver jeans.

Catherine's silver jeans

Who are your style icons and why?

Tilda Swinton, of course. Vivienne Westwood is an inspiration as she not only makes amazingly distinctive clothes, she wears them day in day out. Daphne Guinness, especially her accessories. I’m not a jewellery wearer myself but I love her taste.

Daphne Guinness and Tilda Swinton

Are there any particular designers that you use for inspiration?

I have to say Vivienne Westwood again! I like Rick Owens‘s urban, grungy glamour. I wish I could imitate Louise Goldin‘s scifi knits. Marios Schwab and Alexander McQueen are also favourites.

If you had to select one self-stitched garment that really encapsulates your style – what would it be and why?

This is tricky because my favourite garment is usually the one I sewed most recently. But I think my black neoprene and knit version of Vogue 8319 incorporates most of the elements I’m drawn to. I love technical fabrics, contrasting textures, and black. I made the dress quite a while ago and it’s still getting regular wear which is always a good sign.

Black neoprene Vogue 8319

Do you ever take risks and experiment with your look? What’s worked and what hasn’t?

I am often tempted by very ladylike, elegant things which don’t actually work for me. Case in point: I made a red wool version of Vogue 8667 which I was really happy with as a project but never wear. I’m still proud of the invisible zip and finishing on that one though.

Vogue 8667

But I’ve tried some experiments that worked. I made my first maxidress as a bit of a joke. I originally bought the pattern for the glorious envelope illustration: it is from 1972 and the girls in the picture had big Charlie’s Angels hair and chunky platforms, wonderfully glamorous. I made it up for a vintage pattern contest on Pattern Review, not expecting I’d wear it much. I was wrong. It came out most weekends that summer and I’ve made the same pattern up again since then.

Maxi dress

There are certain looks some of us just can’t pull off… do you have a style bugbear?

I can’t wear anything too girlie or cute. Frills are right out! That sort of thing looks ridiculous on my frame. I no longer find that as frustrating as I used to; sewing gives me so many other choices. Another look I can’t do at all is the midi skirt. Above the knee or floor-length for me every time.

What would be your dream outfit, existing or otherwise?

If we’re talking real fantasy stuff I’d love to wear Balenciaga’s gold C3PO leggings.Over the top, shiny, and geeky. I think I’d need a new lifestyle to go with them though.

What other sewing bloggers would you recommend for great individual style?

This is really difficult; there are so many to choose from. Kazz, Ooobop!, Alice and The Perfect Nose are particularly inspirational for me in very different ways. Kazz’s blog is a visual feast. Ooobop! has a glamorous, vintagey vibe. Alice is effortlessly cool. The Perfect Nose makes the most amazing use of colour.

Ok so now I really want those leggings too… and I’ve never even seen a Star Wars film the whole way through… thanks Catherine!

Meet Pete: Crap Ted

Awh bless him. This is Pete – my unborn child’s first best friend.

Pete the crap tedThat’s assuming said unborn child doesn’t scream at Pete’s wonky head, unbalanced torso, lack of mouth and rickety legs. Rather alarmingly, Pete already looks like a Ted that has seen better days, which might mean that he may not last the distance we all hope our first Teds will. But no matter. Pete is soft, lovable and a bit wrong – like all my favourite childhood toys.

He’s been made using another pattern from (Cute & Easy) Crocheted Baby Clothes and stuffed with safe toy stuffing from John Lewis. I like the combination of colours – gives him a bit of a retro Rainbow look.

And here’s another project from the same book! A blanket for the pram using a sort of chevron stripe and featuring corner pom poms.

Baby blanketThe purple/mulberry colour around the edges and within the stripes matches the pram perfectly and goes rather well with Pete too. Bonus. Here’s a pom pom close up.

Pom pom close upNext up – maybe some more bootees, definitely more granny squares for the ongoing baby blanket project and maybe even start a cardigan for myself! I’ve got my eye on this little number from The Best of Interweave Crochet which I purchased a while back.

I love the bow detail and the oversized buttons. It’s supposed to be fairly straightforward and suitable for beginners so let’s see how I get on…

Have you found yourself doing more knitting/crocheting/embroidery than sewing recently? Is it because it’s just so much easier to curl up on the sofa with?

My Handmade Style: Over to you

My Handmade Style

We’ve now had seven very talented seamstresses share their style inspiration with us over the last couple of months or so, from Tilly and her tap-dancing playsuits to Lauren  and her retro-ladylike chic. And there’s more to come!

I wanted to stop and take a breath in this series and ask how you’ve been enjoying it so far? From the comments on each post it sounds like you guys are enjoying it just as much as I have been (plus you’re all as nosey as I am when it comes to rummaging around these ladies’ mental and real-life armoires, so to speak).

Is there anything else you’d like to know? Any burning questions you’d like to ask that I can include? For example, for those sewists who still buy ready-made items, maybe you’d like to know their favourite high street stores? Or maybe you’d like to know how they decide what to wear in the morning?  It’s up to you. Let me know what I’m missing and I’ll endeavour to include it in the questions, without overwhelming the recipient mind.

You’ve been nominating your favourite bloggers all along (and I promise I’ll get around to asking all of them at some point) but is there anyone that hasn’t got a mention yet that you’re just dying to know more about? Shout ‘em out.

To those amazing bloggers who have already taken part, thanks very much for taking the time and effort to put such thought and consideration into your answers. I LOVE seeing those emails and pics dropping into my inbox.

Earning my Renfrew stripes

Yoo hoo! It’s another Renfrew!

Sooooo I actually made this not long after my stars Renfrew but have just got round to writing it up. Yay – another successful Renfrew. This pattern is awesome – seriously. I cannot recommend it ENOUGH.

But what to say that’s new? Well – I kinda fecked up the stripe matching even though I really did try, I promise! But the mismatch doesn’t bother me at all if I’m honest.

I really like that the neckline has that thin white band all the way round. Don’t ask me why. Simple things please me these days.

This top is so comfortable it’s unreal. You just pop it on and forget you’re wearing clothes – it’s soooo cosy. Even after my bump deflates I’m going to wear these as jammy tops in the winter. I could put a hot water bottle in the flabby bit left behind.

In other news I’ve been enjoying my first few days of total and utter freedom. I’ve officially left work and am JOBLESS. It feels really weird to a) not be working and b) not be actively looking for work. I’ve been batch cooking for post baby dinners so lots of spicy carrot soup and Irish stew is getting whipped up. Plus I’ve got some uber-cute crochet projects to show you too. But that’s for another day. Have a fabulous weekend!

My Handmade Style: Lladybird

From vintage chic to clean modern shapes, how do these seamstresses create and communicate their own unique style in their projects? What and who inspires them, from film and music to everyday life. And what’s their dream outfit?

We have one of my favourite ever sewing bloggers this week. The legend that is Lauren from Lladybird is here to talk style. Lauren’s blog (if you’re not familiar with it then to paraphrase Lauren – WTF?) has one of the most distinct and unique voices in our little corner of the internet and her handmade style is just as sassy and sexy. Do we want to lurk her closet? Do we heck!

Lauren from Lladybird

Lauren from Lladybird

Lauren, your creations are always super-cute and very ‘you’. But if you had to, how would you describe your style?

I guess you could describe my style as feminine with a retro twist. At least, that’s what people tend to say when they comment on my style haha.

Where do you find your style inspiration and how do you channel that into your me-made wardrobe?

To be honest, the majority of my style inspiration comes from other sewing bloggers! I see things they’ve made & I think to myself, “Self, you need one of those too.” I also draw inspiration from the artwork on vintage patterns and actual vintage clothing, although I can’t really say I’m much “inspired” by scans of vintage ads & vintage catalogues (sorry! I think I’m the only vintage-loving person who doesn’t love those!). Oh, and of course I love Mad Men. I love every single thing that every single one of those women wear, regardless of how ridiculous & dated it may be. Sewing really helps with getting my wardrobe where I want it to be – especially since I have a taste for things I can’t really afford. I love being able to incorporate parts of what I like – a certain fabric combined with a pattern, and little vintage-inspired details on both the inside & outside – into a whole that is uniquely me.

The Bombshell dress

Who are your style icons and why?

Ooh, that’s a good question. I’d say the biggest one is probably Joan Holloway – we have a similar body shape (although hers is a lot more exaggerated than mine!) and look good in the same colours. We both put lots of emphasis on fit. I love everything she wears, although fuller skirts tend to creep into my wardrobe more frequently than they do hers. ;)

Joan Holloway - blue

Are there any particular designers that you use for inspiration?

I don’t follow much in the way of designers, but I do really love Lena Hoschek’s use of prints & girly silhouettes. It doesn’t hurt that her pictures are freaking GORGEOUS. Oh, Lena Hoscheck. Get in my life.

Lena Hoschek

Lena Hoschek

If you had to select one self-stitched garment that really encapsulates your style – what would it be and why?

This was super difficult to narrow down – it’s like picking a favorite child (er, not that I would know anything about that…). I think it would have to be my sleeveless gingham Peony sundress, though. It is basically everything I need in a sundress – sleeveless, lightweight, bikeable (my favorite cycling dress, if we’re being honest here), pockets, and GINGHAM. And I love the little surprise yellow touches at the zipper & hem, they make it feel extra special. It can be dressed up or down, mixed with different colors or just stand alone by it’s regal self. I’m telling you – the perfect little sundress!

Lauren's supercute gingham Peony

Lauren’s supercute gingham Peony

Do you ever take risks and experiment with your look? What’s worked and what hasn’t?

I guess I do experiment quite a bit, but I feel like the progression is natural for my style. An example of this would be wearing high-waisted pants – I swore on my LIFE that I would never ever squeeze myself into something so hideous & unflattering (ok, it was the late 90s, guys, we were programmed to be haters of the high-waist). Over the years, I found myself liking the idea more & more (and gradually adding high-waisted skirts to my wardrobe) until I eventually made myself a pair of those dammed pants. It was a bit of a risk – and I’m pretty sure most people still think the look is unflattering – but I’m happy and comfortable with it. And high-waisted looks great with little crop tops, without being scandalous. :)

Lauren's high waisted trousers

Lauren’s high waisted trousers

There are certain looks some of us just can’t pull off… do you have a style bugbear?

That would be those loose/breezy blouses and dresses. I love the way they look on everyone else – but on me, they just feel sloppy & ill-fitting. I wish I could rock them but I can’t, I can’t. I also cannot do strapless; I feel like my shoulders just look weird with that expanse of skin and no strap to break it up.

What would be your dream outfit, existing or otherwise?

I really love matching up one of my circle skirts with a fitted top and a hand knit cropped cardigan or sweater. Favorite silhouette, and, dude – circle skirts are so much FUN to wear.

Crop knit and circle skirt combo

Crop knit and full skirt combo

What other sewing bloggers would you recommend for great individual style?

My absolute favorite is Erica B – her gorgeous handmade pieces that are always on-trend and she always looks super fabulous. Seriously, I’m not a trend-follower but this woman OWNS that shizz. Also a big fan of anything I see on Casey, Sunni and Zo. Oh, and Kazz – a lot of her style is wack to the extreme but omg I just love it. I wish she’d be my friend in real life.

Reckon we all wish the same about you Lauren! Thanks for being part of My Handmade Style!