Hi friends! We're halfway through January already and I'm still getting around to sharing all of my 2017 makes, one of which is this faux leather McCall's 7253 I made for Charlotte as one of her Christmas presents.

The pattern was a freebie with Sew Now magazine and a dead ringer for Charlotte's favourite faux leather RTW skirt. I knew it would be a big hit with her, especially when I found the perfect print from Fabric Godmother. Sadly, this gorgeous floral faux leather is all sold out, but Jodi has plenty of other beauties to chose from!

With just three pleated rectangles and a waistband, the pattern couldn't have come together easier and the sizing was spot on too.

I made a couple of changes, including installing an exposed zip for an edgy finish. It's really not my neatest zip ever, but I'm letting myself off as this was only my second time sewing with faux leather. The other change, inspired by Charlotte's RTW make, was to finish the waistband with bias binding and secure it by topstitching from the front. This RTW technique was perfect for reducing bulk and I'll definitely be using it again.

Tips for sewing with faux leather

Sewing with faux leather is nowhere near as tricky as you may think. Here are some tips I've picked up along the way:
  • A lot of faux leather can be pre-washed at 30 degrees Celsius, but test a small piece first
  • Always use a needle suitable for leather fabric
  • Pin your pattern pieces within the seam allowances to avoid unsightly perforations
  • A walking foot will save the day
  • If you don't have a walking foot, try masking tape on the bottom of your sewing foot for less resistance/drag
  • Increase your stitch length slightly
  • Set your iron to a low heat and always use a pressing cloth to avoid direct contact with your faux leather

So, what do you think? Doesn't Charlotte look peachy in her skirt/outfit?

Have you made McCall's 7253 or sewn with faux leather before? I'd love to hear your top tips...

Happy New Year, friends! I'm kicking off my 2018 blogging with a heartfelt apology to my #VintagePledge family, as I've totally let you down. Sure, 2017 started well and we even had a fun #VPJuly fortnight with daily photo prompts and generous sponsors. But since planning and starting comprehensive building work at home in the autumn, my mental and physical capacity to host the pledge fell by the wayside. 

The good news is that I've been busy organising belated end-of-year prizes and thanks to generous sponsors I can reveal them next week and announce winners in early February. So what are you waiting for? Get those half-finished #VintagePledge makes done and shared on the dedicated Pinterest board!

With our building work overrunning and life/work being as busy as ever, I've made the difficult decision to pause the #VintagePledge this year. I've absolutely loved running it for the past four years and it's my HUGE privilege to have had so many of you take part. But I don't feel I can give it my full attention and it's been a struggle keeping on top of it these last couple of years.

I'm so sorry, but I hope you understand!

Hopefully, once I've recharged my batteries it will make a return, but in the meantime, feel free to keep using the #VintagePledge hashtag on social media so we can stay in touch and continue to inspire each other with our vintage makes.  

Finally, I wanted to round-up some of the gorgeous makes added to the Pinterest board during the last quarter of 2017.

Although it's the wonderful array of coats/jackets that really caught my eye, a special mention has to go to the absolutely stunning 1930s wedding dress by Annotations of Jenny, who also made the 1930s bed jacket as outerwear below that.

Verity Vintage Studio: 1940s red coat

Stitch and Kitch: reversible 1960s coat

Kat Klebenow: 1950s plaid jacket

By Gum, By Golly: 1940s plaid jacket and 1950s swing jacket

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! There are countless beautiful dresses to list, fabulous knitwear, lovely bottoms and adorable kidswear. I encourage you to go have a look for yourself and can guarantee that it's a total treat.

While you're at it, why not check out previous contributions on Pinterest? Make a cuppa and immerse yourself in 2014, 2015 and 2016 too. 

Thanks SO much for your unwavering dedication to #VintagePledge...keep stitching up a bygone storm!

In my head, this photoshoot looked more 'winter wonderland' and less 'construction site', but anyone who's lived through building work will know how trashed a garden gets. Nevertheless, the novelty of photographing a festive dress during snowfall was far too strong a pull.

This is view B of the Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress with sleeves from view A (minus the cuffs), in a silver pleated velvet jersey from Fabric Godmother. Although it doesn't actually look that festive, I can't help but associate shimmery velvet with this time of year.

I expressed my love for this pattern when I made view C, but sadly I don't think this version will get any wear in its current state. I just don't feel comfortable at all in a figure-hugging skirt. Despite wearing big spanx and tights, I still felt super self-conscious of my bumpy/lumpy hips and I don't see that ever changing.

Also, I'm not so sure that my large bust looks at its best draped in shiny pleats. However, I do like the bodice and could probably overlook this issue if the skirt was to my liking, so I'm quite tempted to order some more fabric for a fuller skirt. Doing so would make this a really pricey dress though!

If you're curious about sizing, I made a 42 and graded the hips up to a 44. The sleeves were a little loose so I increased the seam allowance on those and I also shortened the skirt by 7cm. I then had to unpick some of the side seams to make the slits longer again, so something worth thinking about if you need to take up the skirt. 

Working with pleated velvet was no problem at all thanks to my walking foot and a stretch needle. Just like the last time I made this pattern, I added clear elastic to the waistline. I really don't get why the pattern doesn't call for it, but I do know that heavy velvet needs something to stop it from sagging and losing its shape. 

If you're wondering where the cute rabbit fits in, it's not every day I make a dress that matches my velvety Birdie bunny! For this happy accident alone, I'm tempted to throw more cash at this dress to make it wearable for me. What do you think? Should I get more fabric and replace the skirt with a fuller shape? 

Happy Friday friends! I'm thrilled to be sharing my Vogue Patterns Cocktail Hour dress today, supporting this year's charity sew-along from The McCall Pattern Company in partnership with The Eve Appeal. There are 20 gorgeous patterns to choose from, with a proportion of the sales going to the charity which is raising awareness and funding research into five gynaecological cancers. 

Months ago, when I first chose to make Vogue 8997, I had visions of a romantic version in a dark floral with floaty sleeves. Then along came this stunning Cocktail Hour cotton lawn from Fabric Godmother and I had to seriously rethink my plans. I mean, aside from it having the perfect name for this sew-along,  I was powerless to resist the mid-century print and delicious colour palette.

I immediately knew that the print needed showing off with as few distractions as possible...which was problematic given the fussy design lines of Vogue 8997. The only solution was to hack the pattern - a difficult decision, but the right one I think.

I kept the princess seam bodice and re-drew the front pieces for a straight waistline. I wanted to add a circle skirt, but I soon realised that my fabric wasn't quite wide enough. Luckily, the By Hand London Flora Dress skirt came to the rescue! The whole dress is lined with anti-static lining which makes it swish nicely when I move around.

One impressive thing about the pattern is that the bodice pieces come in a number of different cup sizes. I cut out a size 14 in a D cup, but could probably have gone down to a C cup as I ended up taking out a bit of fullness. Overall though, the fit was pretty good. I just had to pinch out a little excess to prevent gaping along the neckline and tighten the 'straps'.

What I really wanted to include in this photoshoot was a sexy cocktail...but could I find an appropriate glass anywhere? With 90% of our kitchen packed away due to building work, I didn't stand a chance!

Anyway, have you been following the #SipAndSew action? Browse the beautiful makes by participating bloggers and keep an eye out for the remaining three contributions to the sew-along. 

And to see what a true Vogue 8997 looks like, check out this wonderful version by Almond Rock!