Monday, 29 May 2017

Totally Tropical, a collaboration with Spoonflower

A couple of weeks ago Spoonflower asked if I would like to join them on their British blog hop. I quickly wrote back explaining that I had purchased from them before and hadn't been happy with the quality but have heard their production has changed and would love an opportunity to try them again and provide a honest review.  When I ordered from them in 2014 they only offered one type of jersey and all orders shipped from the US.  With the opening of their Berlin office I was hoping that this meant the quality would be closer to the European knits I usually buy and love.  The jersey I previously purchased never got made up, it faded that badly after one wash that it just wasn't worth spending any time creating something.  I also only sewed up one of the four kona cotton prints I ordered, the pigmentation was uneven and just wearing the dress caused white dots to appear all over the print.  I didn't ever complain, not sure why as my order was nearly $250, I just decided that Spoonflower didn't work for me.

The thing I love about Spoonflower is the choice of prints from many amazing designers.  I had a look through some of my favourite designers (Andrea Lauren, Little Smilemakers, Elvelyckan in case you wondered) and my current favourite theme - tropical!  After much deliberation I settled on two prints, the flamingo print is by Andrea Lauren and the Bananas by Hug and Kiss.  I decided to have them both printed on the cotton spandex jersey - I prefer my jersey to be cotton with some kind of elastane as good recovery is needed on the dress bodice.  The whole order process went smoothly, you can track what stage your order is at and you also get notified once it ships.

The fabrics were washed together at 30 and then tumble dried. I took photos before and after the prewash and as you can see colour fade was minimal.  I checked for any fade marks or uneven fading but didn't find any on either fabric.  One thing to note is the fabric doesn't feel smooth to the touch like most jersey fabric I have sewn with, it's almost as if you can feel the dye on top of the fabric if that makes sense.

Before

After

I also did a stretch test to see how much of the white background shows through when stretched out, this helps me decide if I am going to cut a larger size so the fabric stays opaque when stretched across the bust.  I was happy to see minimal white peeking through so cut out at my usual size.




I decided to make a sleeveless Lady Skater dress with the banana print and a just below the elbow sleeve version with the flamingos.  The fabric sewed up nicely and I had to unpick some coverstitch stitches after it skipped a few stitches and was pleased to see that the stitch holes disappeared with a light press. Spoonflower recommend that you iron the fabrics on the reverse and a couple of times I ironed directly on the print in autopilot.  This didn't do any damage to the print at all but some of the blue did transfer to my iron plate which I didn't notice until it had deposited itself on a seam of my pink cardigan...  ah well!





I also received a swatch pack which is really useful to see how prints look on each substrate and to get a good feel of each fabrics.  I asked for a larger sample of the sport lycra so I could get a good feel for the weight and stretch of the fabric - swimwear is something I want to have a go at making at some point and I have to say I am really impressed.  It has a really good weight to it and looked exactly the same after a pre-wash. I've had samples from other sites and the quality of the sports lycra from Spoonflower is far superior.


So would I order again and spend my own hard earned pennies?  For the jersey the answer is probably not.  The quality of the fabric is just not good enough for the price charged in my opinion, my order consisted of 4 yards of jersey and came to $136.80 inc VAT and delivery.  If I really wanted a specific custom design and the jersey was smooth to the touch after printing then this may change though it still feels a little expensive.  The banana print is something I have wanted for years after Topshop promoted but never actually made a banana print dress on a pink background, so if I was still in the market for banana print fabric I would consider ordering all things considered.  I will definitely order the sports lycra, I am yet to find any swimwear fabric in a print I like and am really impressed with the quality.  Just need to find the time to toile now.



I really like the resulting dresses and have even made Jenna cardigans to match.  I will update how they hold up to being worn and washed if you're interested.  Just need a bit of sunshine now...

♥♥♥

*the fabric was gifted by Spoonflower, however all opinions are my own*


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Sewing with Velvet - Lady Skater Dress

Hey, it's been a while! I have been busy sewing and sharing my output over on Instagram as it is just so much quicker to stick the dress on Violet and share a quick snap than it is to actually have my photo taken by a usually pouting husband. This little velvet number deserved more and as we were about to go out for an anniversary meal Gray was unusually happy to oblige... Plus with a wall like this I couldn't resist the chance to get a few snaps.

The lovely Lucy at Sew Essential asked if I would like to sew up some of their beautiful stretch velvet and obviously the answer was yes, please!  I have a bit of a thing for velvet and since I started to wear exclusively handmade dresses it was a fabric that was missing from my wardrobe.  I had been eyeing up the beautiful skater dresses over on New Look and thinking, I could make that!  Sew Essential have also put together a handy blog post full of tips on sewing with velvet.  I didn't have any issues with this dress, I avoided the iron completely and used hem tape and finger pressing instead.  I also didn't find it particularly slippy it pretty much sewed up like a good weight jersey fabric.

I originally planned to sew this fabric into a Wren dress with a skater skirt rather than the gathered skirt it comes with but after all the issues with the Rue pattern that led to it being recalled and then seeing a pre-photoshopped sample version of the Wren dress complete with a wonky waist seam and wrinkles galore I totally lost any confidence in Colette's drafting and my ability to correct any issues this may have presented and opted for my tried and true, the Lady Skater dress.   I decided to raise the front neckline and lower the back so it had more of a party feel and then made a couple of little bows to add a bit of interest.  The only thing I would do next time is size up for the sleeves, everywhere else fits nicely but the sleeves feel a bit tighter than they would in jersey or sweatshirting.





Shoes: Clarks

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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Where To Buy Jersey/Knit Fabric


I have been promising to write this post for a while so apologies for the delay, as you may have seen over on instagram I have been busy sewing a holiday wardrobe!  I much prefer dresses with sleeves but it will defo be too hot for that on holiday so I have been making sleeveless Lady Skater and Emery dresses and have bought a few new cropped cardigans to wear with them when required.  I have managed to make 16 dresses so far and still have fabric for a few more, not sure they will all make the cut but it's better to have too many to choose from isn't it.  Anyways onto where I buy my jersey fabric from...

I have been asked many times how I manage to find cool prints in jersey, they really are not that easy to come by but I am always dedicated to the cause so have spent many hours hunting them down.  It's a good job I enjoy looking at pretty fabrics ;)  Buying knits online can be a bit hit and miss as the fabric description can be the same but feel totally different in person.  I have learned I don't like viscose jersey, it is way too drapey for the Lady Skater - that skirt needs some body!  It is probably perfect for the Colette Moneta though with it's gathered skirt and I have seen many lovely versions in viscose jersey.  Polyester can be both yucky and fab, it is all down to the finish of the fabric.  The banana dress I made is in a yucky polyester, I have worn it once and it is now bobbled where my bag was resting against it so it has been put away for my holiday and will probably be retired when I return.  Very sad when that happens.  This leaf print dress is also a polyester jersey but it's slinky to the touch, hangs beautifully and looks more dressy as a result.  That gets a big thumbs up from me and I would love to buy more of this kind of poly jersey but it's hard to work out which type you're going to be getting online.  I mostly plump for cotton jersey, anything with an elastane content of 5%+ and much prefer European jerseys to any of the 'designer' jerseys I have tried.  They are a lovely weight, wash well and hang beautifully.  I'm in the UK so my recommendations are UK/Europe based, it's not really worth buying from the US at the moment with the value of the pound and custom charges.


I scour eBay for new jersey fabric and will often take a punt on a fabric if I love the print and the price is right. I have bought Liberty jersey from eBay for under £10 a metre and although it is viscose I have learned if I line them with a cotton jersey then that gives them more structure and plain cotton jersey is as cheap as chips on eBay and available in a full rainbow of colours.

The following shops have a really good choice of jersey prints and mostly specialise in jersey. They are all new to me since sewing with jersey and I have ordered from most of them.  While jersey seems expensive at around £20/m for the European brands I use much less fabric, I use 1.5m for a sleeved Lady Skater compared to 2.5m for a sleeved Emery dress.


The following shops specialise in, or have a large dressmaking fabric selection so have a good choice of jersey fabrics:


This next bunch sell a mixture of all fabrics and are my go to shops for stalking new arrivals of all fabric types. They have really good selections of quality jersey:


I also buy a lot of jersey on Etsy, mostly from UK sellers though a couple are German.  My favourite stores are:


My favourite European jersey brands are as follows, some of them can be easily bought in the UK others less so:

So there we have it, hopefully something for everyone.  Please let me know if you have found any other gems I should be checking out in the comments.

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