Rachel Top

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There’s been a bit of a blogging hiatus again! Ramadan was busy and then we had the usual end of term madness. You may have seen some of my makes over on Instagram but I will try and catch up here as I’ve made quite a few new things recently that I want to share.

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This is the Rachel top by See Kate Sew. I really liked the shape of the sleeves and the exposed zip at the back.

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Ruffled sleeves are a big trend this summer and they are everywhere at the moment! It was actually very easy to add the ruffle.

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I added a pink exposed zip which pops against the dark blue Art Gallery print fabric. This is a cotton voile from the Katarina Roccella collection.

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I wore it with some pink Biden Richmond trousers and an Inayah collection sleeveless crepe jacket. I also have quite a lot of aqua in my wardrobe so it coordinates well with other items. It is a little short for my preference and has a bit of a maternity look to it because of the gathers above the bust so I’m not sure I’ll make it again but I learned a lot doing this project and will use the skills again.

Charlie Hoodie

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I made this hoodie for my little boy a while ago, and it has been very useful in the cold weather we had the last few months.

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The pattern is called the Charlie Hoodie and is by Two Stitches. I bought the pattern and fabric at the Eternal Maker stall at the Knitting and Stitch show last October.

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This sweet wall art (by Dopeism) is not too far from us so we stopped by for the photos.

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The fabric is Kiyohara sweatshirt fleece and is very squishy! It’s held up very well to frequent washing.
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I traced the pieces and it was fairly easy to put together. The pockets in this size haven’t been used really as they are tiny and he doesn’t really understand what they are for yet!

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I definitely plan to make another of these soon, maybe with a plain front. I just need to find some more cute sweatshirt fabric!

Liberty Painted Portrait Dress

It’s been a little while since I made this dress but it has a springy palette so provided the weather improves, it should get some wear soon!

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This dress is made entirely in Liberty Tana lawn. The main fabric is Tuesday Trees, which was designed by Lauren Child (the creator of Charlie and Lola). It’s a pretty print with a hint of colour, just enough to complement the patchwork panel.

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The pattern is the Painted Portrait Dress by Anna Maria Horner. I purchased both the pattern and fabric quite a few years ago and it is wonderful to actually see them made up into something wearable finally.

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I used a variety of prints to make up the panel, which was actually very easy to sew. I found it a bit tricky to attach the side panels to the main bodice and had to reduce a bit of the fullness to get it to fit in. The fitting is still fine, I made a size Small.

 

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My only regret is not making the sleeves full length, as it would be much more practical for me in the summer.  I even considered remaking the sleeves but didn’t want to unpick all my stitching and overlocking. This may be an option still if it annoys me enough! But overall I’m very happy with the style and fabric combination, it’s something that would catch my eye if I saw it in the shops and it is comfortable and light to wear (once the weather cheers up!)

 

 

Fleur and Dot Dress

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A quick post about my daughter’s birthday dress! I’ve been making quicker than I can blog recently so I’m going to post a few projects with less waffle. This is made using the Fleur and Dot Peter Pan Collar dress pattern (it’s not quite finished in the above photo!).

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I bought this gorgeous fabric as soon as it came out last year. It’s from the Lavish fabric range by Katarina Roccella. It also comes in a beautiful white and pink colourway. I made a small change to the finishing of the cuffs as I wasn’t happy with having the overlocked edge showing, so I turned the edges over twice for a neater edge instead.

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I cut a size 5 and my daughter just turned 4. She is tall for her age so although it’s a little bit big now I’m happy she’ll get some decent wear out of it. The pattern was straightforward with only a few pieces to cut (bodice, collar, sleeves). The measurements were provided for the skirt. I was a bit unhappy about the very small age ranges provided for a not inexpensive pattern. This was a preschool pattern which came with sizes 4,5 and 6. Infant size and Youth are available separately. I don’t plan to repurchase the Youth size but will probably look for a similar pattern with a wider age range.

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I finally bought a tool for adding the popper fasteners which is a huge improvement to hammering them in with the little plastic tool that’s provided. I did put the buttons in the wrong way round at first though! Luckily my husband was on hand to get them out but I don’t recommend doing this!

Altogether it was a fairly quick sew. I learned a few new skills and am less intimidated by press studs!

Akita Top

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I just subscribed to Seamwork which is a brilliant sewing magazine. The best thing about it that you get two downloadable pattern credits a month, and all the patterns are designed to be quick to make. I have seen lots of these beautiful tops on Instagram and had looked at the link before but didn’t want to pay for the individual pattern. I used one of my credits to get this pattern and the second for the Moji trousers pattern. This is a link to subscribe to Seamwork which will give you the first month for half price, which makes it an even more amazing bargain!

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The fabric is organic cotton voile from the Palos Verdes collection, Cloud 9 fabrics. It is much lighter than most of the clothes I wear but is nice as a layer under a cardigan or for wearing at home instead of a t-shirt.

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I am not a huge fan of bias tape especially as I had to make it myself, but it didn’t actually take a terribly long time. I misunderstood the instructions and had to unpick the seam and the bias tape seams on one side which slowed me right down. I plan to make a couple more of these as I have a lot of one and two yard pieces of fabric in my stash. It is possible to make the top out of one yard of fabric by seaming at the shoulders.

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This is a straightforward pattern and I’m sure my second attempt will be quicker. I’m looking forward to trying more Seamwork patterns soon.

 

Why Muslim women should learn to sew

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I’ve been sewing on and off for about 10 years now and although I still consider myself an adventurous beginner I have found it to be a fulfilling and enjoyable creative process which has brought me a lot of pleasure. I have sewn my own clothes on occasion and many times for my children and feel I’m ready to take the next step and make more clothes for myself.

I’d like to share that process here as well as make it easier for other Muslim women to make their own clothes. I enjoyed watching Rumana‘s stellar performance on Great British Sewing Bee  – with some relief, as a friend applied on my behalf a few years ago and I didn’t make it past the interview stage! I don’t think I could have managed a lot of those challenges, especially in front of a camera. I also realised that there was a lot of interest in sewing and dressmaking, but that many people feel like it’s something that they won’t be able to do themselves.With the explosion of hijab blogging and modest fashion for Muslim women, I’ve often been interested but also feel that it taps into the disposable and commercial nature of fashion blogging – looking for the next thing to keep pulling in readers and continuing to perpetuate the myth of looking perfect and having endless clothes and accessories to wear, which most people can’t aspire to. In addition it occasionally doesn’t fit into the ethos of hijab and being less materialistic, but seems another way to display one’s sense of style. This is not by any means a criticism of all Muslim fashion bloggers, who I am often slightly intimidated by!

For myself, sewing is a creative pastime but is also very practical. I personally believe sewing is an essential life skill, in the sense of being able to hem a skirt or sew on buttons. In addition, there are a lot of other benefits, especially for Muslim women who feel they may have less choice on the high street (although many companies are remedying that – Inayah is my favourite). Here are some thoughts I had on the benefits:

  1. Choice – I hear a lot of people complaining about the length of sleeves,  lack of suitable ankle length skirts or dresses. For example, often the fabric and colour will be perfect but the neckline may be too low, or the dress may have short sleeves or a slit. By choosing to make your own clothes, the ball is in your court.
  2. Quality – By and large the quality of high street clothing is now quite poor compared to what it used to be. A lot of clothes in affordable shops are made of cheap synthetics which lose their shape, bobble or fade quickly. Your £15 could go on a beautiful organic cotton jersey rather than on a polyester blend t shirt.
  3. Ethical concerns – We should all be concerned about where our clothes come from. A friend of mine recently visited a clothing factory in Bangladesh run by a well respected organisation yet there were very young looking children laboriously embroidering clothes in silence. By making our own clothes, the labour involved is not a source of guilt, but a source of satisfaction.
  4. Cost – the cost of high street clothes is going up all the time, while the quality is decreasing. Sewing can be expensive or can save money depending on the fabric you buy, but there are many bargains to be had. I do believe that well made clothes are more equivalent to quality designer wear than the high street, without the price tag.
  5. It’s easy! – OK, haute couture is not easy to achieve but the majority of clothes most people will wear are simple to make. T-shirts, blouses, dresses and skirts are all achievable by beginners with the right pattern. There are also many free sewalongs which walk you through from beginning to end, making it even easier. You can also easily achieve much nicer finishes, such as French seams.
  6. Tailored to you – for me,  being shorter than your average European, shopping is often frustrating as sleeves and hems are too long, the waist is in the wrong place or pockets are too low for comfort. You can make clothes to fit you, rather than a standard size.
  7. Slow fashion – by making your own clothes, you appreciate the effort and work that went into them and treat them with more respect. While it’s not practical to assume you will make all your own clothes, throwaway fashion becomes less acceptable.

Convinced? I will be posting some patterns that are hijab friendly or easily adapted to be shortly. In the mean time, please use the hashtag #hijabisewist on Instagram or Twitter so we can find your posts!

 

Kids Clothes Week: Mustard Paris Skirt

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I managed to miss the last KCW – even though I knew it was happening there was far too much going on at that time to even think about sewing! It’s still fairly hectic here but KCW always gives me a bit of momentum..its also very satisfying to be able to get a small useful item done in a short space of time. 

I had to abandon my first KCW project – a cord polka dot jumper dress, as one of the fabric pieces has mysteriously disappeared into thin air and there isn’t enough to cut another. Hopefully it will appear before the end of the week, but I have given up searching for it now to preserve my sanity! 

This morning I pulled out a mustard coloured cotton which I bought on Etsy a while ago, and decided to make a skirt. I had pinned the Paris skirt tutorial a few days ago and it seemed like it would work with the fabric so used that. The little bit of maths at the beginning is very simple and makes it so easy to customise the skirt – my daughter was asleep so I estimated her waist size and the final skirt turned out to be a good fit with a bit of room to grow. 

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will have to remember to cut those thread before photographing next time! 

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I have some plans for tops to match this skirt – a lovely white and red polka dot Nani Iro double gauze and a charcoal floral print. I’m sure I’ll be making more of these skirts too – I think it would be great in a floral cord or quilting cotton too.