Sunday 12 May 2013

And the winner is...

...Sassy T from Thread Noir

Congratulations! Please email me your postal address and I look forward to seeing what you make from this wonderful pattern :) 

Thank you for everyone who has taken part. There will be a couple more giveaways to come in the next few months, so watch this space.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Ultimate work skirt - McCalls 3830 v2!

There we go, my second version of McCalls 3830. I've called it the ultimate work skirt, as I have tried to address all the issues that came out of the last version/wearable toile, and I am really happy with how it's turned out. I finished it last weekend, and have already worn it to a meeting on Tuesday! 

The most obvious change that I made was adding a 2.5cm waistband, by following the really helpful tutorial on Coletterie here. After studying one of my RTW skirts with a waistband, I went slowly and topstitched the waistband right on the previous stitching line, so the second stitching line is almost invisible.   

I also added a aubergine satin lining, so that the skirt doesn't ride up or stick to my tights. I was surprised by how much difference this made - the skirt feels so much more expensive! I'm going to add a tutorial on how I did this (basically by studying that RTW skirt and copying it) later on in case this was helpful to anyone. 
I did a blind catchstitch for the hem, and the stitch is actually completely invisible from both sides! 

I did a slipstitch to attach the lining to the zipper, so that's also invisible :)
For the centre zipper, I basted it first on the wrong side, and then stitched on the right side to get the stitching nice and balanced. 

The grey fabric I used was from John Lewis's remnant bin - it was a polyester and viscose blend, and the piece was only 70cm wide, which was actually more than enough for View D (at size 4). This small piece of fabric cost me a mere £4.18 precisely, cheap as chips. The satin was also from John Lewis, and I'm pretty sure that was at a reasonable £3 a metre in the sale, too. Overall it turned out to be a cheap and cheerful skirt, but one that I think will make a great work wardrobe staple. 

Monday 6 May 2013

Navy work skirt - McCalls 3830 v1

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, and for those in the UK, a fantastic long weekend in the sun! I feel so much better now after my post last week re our lack of Labour Day celebration (but hey, I did attempt to cheer you up with a GIVEAWAY - which is still open till this Saturday - be quick!), getting a bit of sunshine, and an extra day off today :) 

My first version of the very popular McCalls 3830 skirt in navy, and (almost) straight from the envelope! 

This was supposed to be a toile, which I made from a lovely piece of suiting from my Walthamstowe trip last year, which was all purchased for £1.50 per metre!!! (I have no idea what material it is, but it's soft and drapes beautifully.) However, as the fit worked just fine, with no adjustment needed, and not to mention the fact that I love the fabric, I decided to finish off the skirt and wore it to work!

I said that it was "(almost)" straight out of the envelope, because I did scale the pattern down to a size 4 for view E. But other than that, it worked a treat. 

I liked the shape of the skirt, but as I wanted a formal-ish looking work skirt (as part of my grand plan to make more "everyday" clothes), I did quiet a narrow hem so that it finished not too much above the knees (version E is really quite short if I did the hem that was suggested). 

I did feel that a waistband is sort of missing, so I have added one to my version 2 (yep, you read that right, I have already done a version 2 - thank you Bank Holiday!). Also, as I didn't line this version (the pattern does not call for lining), it does have a slight tendency for the skirt to stick to the tights. No biggie though - it's not stopping me from liking this simple little skirt!

Saturday 4 May 2013

Crazy about coral

Finally, spring has sprung, and I have gone a bit coral crazy. I bought some polka dot coral jeans, coral pumps, coral scarves, and a coral Kindle cover. Still, I had a feeling that something was missing... Then I remembered, I have a lovely jazzy viscose in my fabric stash from my local Fabricland, so it's time to turn it into a top to complete my outfit!
Obsessed much?!

It's a simple, basic top. Although the fabric is quite "busy" looking, I think it will be great teamed with plain jeans (I doubt I would wear the above outfit out... or perhaps with a jacket.)

I used New Look 6483, which claims to be a "1 hour easy" pattern. Erm... I don't remember signing up for the Great British Sewing Bee!! Speed-sewing is not my speciality, and let me tell you, it certainly took me over an hour of sewing time to knock this little number together. Just setting the sleeves in and finishing off the neckline would've taken me longer than a mere hour. Maybe I'm just inefficient though, and sew much more slowly than the average. 

The pattern runs from size 6 to 16. My experience of New Look patterns has been that they run a bit on the large size, so I scaled it down to a size 2 instead, and also took the side seams in by 1cm on each side. 

I made a view A, as I liked the simple design. I lowered the neckline though (by using a similar RTW top as a guide), as when I made up the top per the pattern, the finished neckline was choking me! Thankfully I used the single-fold self-fabric bias tape as a facing (rather than using the facing pattern) for the neckline, so it was easy enough to adjust. I also shortened the top by a couple of cms. 

The back has a button closure - it would've been functional if you followed the pattern, but now as I lowered the front and back neckline, I no longer need to undo the button to get the top over my head. Still, I think it is a nice touch. 

I was happy with what I ended up with. It's a fun, simple top which can be worn in a few different outfits. I was particularly happy with the pattern matching on the fabric. The side and back seams all line up nicely, and the pattern flows all the way round. I also really love viscose, especially as a light, summery and comfy fabric. 

And look, it must be that time of year again - my favourite tree in the garden is blossoming :)

Happy spring everyone (or happy autumn, if you are down under!) X 

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Labour Day Giveaway!

Happy Labour Day everyone! 

Having worked full-time for almost 6 years, it only just occurred to me this year that the UK does not really celebrate Labour Day on May 1st, and by "celebrate", I of course mean "the employers are kind enough to give us all an extra day off". As I admired all the out-off-office messages from my overseas colleagues, and hearing about the family get-together from  my parents on everyone's day off in China, I decided that it was time to figure out, once and for all, why we didn't get a public holiday in the UK today. (In fairness, though, we do get a day off next Monday, as a "Spring Bank Holiday", but why don't we just join the rest of the world and celebrate all the hard-working people on 1st day of May instead?)

Naturally,  Wikipedia is where I went. And this is what I learned:

The 1st of May is a social celebration for the rights of workers in Europe.
Except in UK, where only the Queen is celebrated.

Um... what?!?!
Never mind. In the spirit of Labour Day, and to cheer up all of us in the UK, I thought I'd host a little giveaway for my followers. So here it is:

... a great jacket pattern - Butterick 4610, so you can make up your version for spring! 
It's brand new, factory folded, and in size AA(6-12). If you need any more convincing, then check out this wonderful version here
Why am I giving such a great new pattern away, I hear you ask?
Well... let me just ask you this - have you ever liked the look of something so much that you accidentally bought it twice
Yep, that was what happened. I kid you not. I was doing some "research" on jacket patterns about a year ago, and fell in love with this pattern, so I bought it from my local Fabricland. Then summer came, and I never got round to making the jacket. Autumn followed, and I started looking for a jacket pattern again, and was, once again, thrilled to find this little gem, having forgotten all about my previous transaction only a few months before, so bought it online. It was not until when I was trying to put my new purchase in my pattern drawer, and neatly in the jacket & coat pile, when I was very confused to find that I have got it already!! 
Anyway - my daftness is your gain! 
To enter, you need to be a follower of this blog, either on Google Friends Connect, Google Reader (if you have not done it already, you will need to switch to an alternative soon), on Bloglovin, or by email (or any other means, just say). Simply leave a comment (confirming how you follow Moonbeam) by midnight of Saturday 11th May 2013 (British Summer Time) and you will be entered into the "hat"! Winner will be picked at random. 
Yes, it is that simple. I will happily post the pattern to anywhere in the world, to find the pattern a good home. 
Best of luck! Happy commenting :)
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