Sewing | vintage sewing pledge


2015 vintage sewing pledge
You guys know I love a good vintage pattern. I've got a pretty serious collection going (thanks to 50p patterns at my local charity shops).

But it turns out I've not really touched any in my collection (apart from this super star pencil skirt which I've made twice - in floral stretch cotton and lace). 

All of which leaves me feeling like a pretty bad owner...  leaving those lovely vintage patterns unloved for so long just doesn't feel right.

Now it's been a while since I've really sat down and gave myself a sewing challenge. I mean, come on, sewing with a super active bambino is already quite enough of a challenge. Thank you very much.

So it was a pretty brilliant coincidence that I randomly stumbled across the 2015 Vintage Sewing Pledge (well, not so random - I was reading Handmade Jane's post about it). 

What a brilliant idea. It's being hosted by Marie at A Stitching Odyssey and Kerry at Kestrel Makes. You can read all about it here. But the bestest is that you can set your own challenge. 

Which leaves me thinking that this pattern desperately needs to be made up...

2015 vintage sewing pledge
And this one...

2015 vintage sewing pledge
So here is my 2015 vintage sewing pledge:

During 2015, I, Elena Rosa Brown, will sew up (at least) three of my vintage sewing patterns.  

So, are you tempted to take part? Maybe use up a snazzy little vintage pattern you have tucked away somewhere. Or are you totally turned off vintage patterns?

p.s. If your keen to start sewing with your vintage patterns, but not sure where to start, check out my top tips for using vintage sewing patterns like a pro.

DIY Pattern | 3 best ever DIY sewing blogs


There's something so satisfying about creating clothes that fits you pretty perfectly, isn't there?

I think that's why I'm sometimes so drawn to DIY patterns. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm pretty smitten on commercial and indie sewing patterns. They're generally pretty darn brilliant and it's always good to support the indie sewing community. 

... But there's just something particularly awesome about drafting up your own bad ass leggings or perfect slouchy top. Definitely less fit issues. And it's honestly not that hard.

Heck, once upon a time I even spent some time creating DIY patterns and sharing my adventures here on the blog (which you can now find all living on this nifty DIY patterns page).

So since I've been recently playing around with the idea of getting back into DIY patterns I thought I'd share my favourite top 3 DIY pattern resources.

See what you think:

Cotton and Curls - a DIY pattern party

Liz at Cotton and Curls is one of the first blogs I ever really started following. She's got some great from-scratch patterns and also quite a few refashion ideas.

Merricks Art - stylish

Gosh Merrick sure is stylish isn't she? Add in her awesome collection of on-trend DIY patterns and her blog, Merrick's Art, becomes a definite must-read. 

Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing - beyond the basics

If haven't come across Gertie's blog, then you are in for a real treat. She has some great DIY patterns (though you have to look around a bit), but the true strength are her sewing and pattern alteration tutorials. Sensational. Great if you're looking to learn a little more about construction.

Have you tried your hand at DIY patterns - if so, what are your favourite resources?

Or maybe you might want to suggest a DIY pattern you'd want to see - I'm tempted to get back into the pattern drafting game (but be gentle on me!)

Sewing | why hello there 2015


Why hello there. 

No need to tell you its been crazy busy round these parts the past month: Christmas with all the families. A very cute, but ever-active bambino. A bought of the most evilest, foulest tonsillitis ever. Figuring out how the heck I will manage to go back to work and function as a normal, working grown up. 

All of which equals 0% time for blogging.

I have the most ridiculous back log of posts and projects I want to share with you, but you know, January in England + photography. It just isn't happening.

So while we're waiting for the sun to shine, I wanted to share with you my plans for a fruitful, sewing-filled 2015.

Handmade Wardrobe

I'd like to continue to build on my handmade wardrobe. Which is pretty tiny at the moment, so it shouldn't be too hard to build it up. I have my eye on a few patterns that should turn into TNT (tried and tested patterns) including Papercut Pattern's Sigma dress, Sew Over It's ultimate shift dress, and Grainline's archer (which I've already attempted in lovely peach cotton).

(p.s. have you seen Jen's sketches of her wardrobe planning? Such a cool way to plan out your makes. If only I could draw!)

Make beautiful insides

I am seriously obsessed with the beautiful insides of Katie's makes. There is seriously no way I would e-v-e-r show you the insides my makes. It's just a horrible nest of threads and wonky finished seams.

But what a way to show respect for your makes by finishing them properly, right? Makes it all a bit more lady like. And 2015 is all about feeling like a lady.

Challenging patterns

This is the year of the challenging pattern. 

I've got the pattern for Jamie Jeans ready to go. I'd also like to try my hand at a spring coat (still looking for a pattern) and the bombshell swimsuit by Closet Case Files is v-e-r-y tempting.

So what projects have you got planned for 2015? Are you hoping to stretch your skills, or are you after tried and tested projects? 

DIY Pattern | leather look leggings


sew your own DIY leggings pattern
Guys, I think I may have lost my mind. 

These DIY leggings are totally different to what I normally wear, but I've got to say. I. Am. Loving them.

They certainly make me feel bad ass. Which is pretty important when you're half asleep and covered in baby sick.

sew your own DIY leggings pattern
The fabric comes from the kind people at Funkifabrics. It's a leather look lycra with about 5% stretch.

I'll be honest - I thought a lycra like this might end up feeling a little icky on, but this fabric is really breathable.

Plus the fabric was super easy to work with. I just used some ballpoint needles and my overlocker and these were whipped up in about two hours - including cutting out time. Score.

sew your own DIY leggings pattern
I used my tried and true DIY legging pattern but changed the waistband. I wanted a separate waistband - something that made the leggings look a little more trouser-like.

I've included a step-by-step visual below in case you wanted to follow along.

sew your own DIY leggings pattern
Sorry for the crotch shot. Unfortunate hazard of a sewing blogger.
The only real question I have (apart from occasionally wondering if leather-look is too OTT for this mamma) is whether I should put two back pockets on the back.

What do you think? I have them all cut out and am just trying to decide whether they would work.

sew your own DIY leggings pattern
A little someone was pretty vocal about wanting to join in the photo session...
sew your own DIY leggings pattern
Overall I'm really pleased with how these have come out - especially since they're so different to what I normally wear.

I think the fit could be improved a little by taking in some of the side seams. But, you know, I'm trying to embrace the ol' adage 'good is better than perfect' otherwise I would never wear anything.

So what do you think? Would you wear something like this, or is it too much? If you would flaunt your stuff in a bad ass pair of leggings what would you wear them with - style ideas always much appreciated!


leggings | DIY pattern
fabric | faux leather lycra c/o funkifabrics
jacket | vintage
tee | H&M
boots |  Fat Face

Wardrobe | bye bye birdie grainline archer


Grainline Studio Archer shirt in Atelier Brunette
So, I've gone and surprised myself by falling in love with sewing shirts.

I'm not going to lie - sewing shirts can seem scary. But guys, you have got to get on board. This Grainline Studio atcher shirt is one of the most satisfying sews I've done in a long while. 

Grainline Studio Archer shirt in Atelier Brunette
Sure I was intimidated at first (all those pattern pieces, button hole placement, sleeves - yikes!) but sewing Jen's Grainline Studio archer was really painless. 

Her instructions are ace and the pattern comes together really easily. Jen is my pattern hero.

I hardly modified anything - apart from bringing in the sleeves and sides. But that was probably much more to do with me selecting one size bigger than I needed (I'm always doing that. I need to learn to cut my size!)

Grainline Studio Archer shirt in Atelier Brunette
I'm particularly in love with the details. Like the two pleats at the cuffs.

Grainline Studio Archer shirt in Atelier Brunette
And the pleat at the back.

Grainline Studio Archer shirt in Atelier Brunette
I'm a little less convinced about my choice of buttons. They're ivory and slightly sparkly. They look a little off to me. Looking at these photos it looks like I managed to misplace the buttons too. Drat.

Well, heck, it's sure not a bad attempt at my first shirt.

Grainline Studio Archer shirt in Atelier Brunette
And can we talk about this lush cotton fabric for a second? It's Bye Bye birdie in blush by the stunning French company Atelier Brunette. Swoon. It's got the most amazing drape. Really soft but holds up well. 

The only downer is that I'm struggling wear it. I don't want to cover it up with a sweater, but its too cold to wear on its own. I'm thinking I may need to wait till summer to really get the most out of it.

But, hey, now I'm addicted to making shirts. Which has got to be a good thing.

I'm already on the look out for my next archer fabric but struggling to find something that isn't too, well, shirty. Super business woman is definitely not my persona. Anyone know of any cracking lightweight fabrics with a lovely drape? 


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