Hi friends! It's been a while, but I finally found time to sew something thanks to the lovely Ana of CocoWawa Crafts, who sent me a copy of her latest pattern.

At first, I wasn't sure if Honeycomb (available both as a paper pattern and PDF) was for me. I'm used to more fitted silhouettes and was convinced the relaxed fit wouldn't give me enough waist definition. That's why I fished out this animal-print viscose from my destash pile (bought from Minerva Crafts many moons ago), thinking that if it looked terrible on me at least I won't have wasted fabric I love. 

It turns out I quite like the looser fit and wish I'd gone for a print I'll actually wear. Still, I now have an excuse to make another version or two. If you're a fa of this pattern then you're in luck, as today is the start of the Honeycomb sew-along!



Let's talk details! The bodice has a front button placket with a Mandarin collar and two sleeve variations. You can choose to make a blouse with a gathered peplum or a dress with a midi-length skirt which can easily be adapted. Both versions get their waist shaping from sweet little side ties.

I sized down, making a 4 (UK 12) with no major alterations and I'm pretty happy with the fit...although I did make a couple of small changes.

I added two more buttons to the front placket because there was way too much gaping with just four buttons for a big bust like mine. I should have added an extra one between the top two, but I'm never going to wear it buttoned all the way up, so I got lazy.

My one observation is that the armholes are pretty big, something that would definitely need addressing if you wanted to make a sleeveless version or use a fabric with less drape. Despite the suggested 1cm seam allowance, I sewed my sleeves on at 1.5cm to try and eliminate some of the armhole ease. 

Next time, I'd love to find a way to shorten the back bodice without compromising the matching up of my side seams. Due to my larger bust again, I find that when a front bodice fits, the back bodice comes up a little long. Should I be shortening the bodice pieces and doing an FBA? Any thoughts/advice on this would be much appreciated!



Overall, this is a pretty cute pattern with lots of inspiring versions already out there. In fact, it's so easy and comfortable to wear, that I'd go as far as calling it the woven equivalent of secret pyjamas!



What do you think to Honeycomb? Will you be giving her a go?

Late last year I collaborated with Minerva Crafts on a review of Vogue 9075 for Sewing World magazine. With spring/summer just around the corner (we're even due some sunshine today apparently) I thought I'd share it in full below. I picked out the pattern/fabric myself and both were sent to me for free, but what you're about to read are my honest opinions.




Jumpsuits and tropical prints must have been this summer's ultimate dressmaking dream, right? Well, I got to make mine a reality thanks to Rachel from The Foldline for introducing me to Vogue 9075 and to Minerva Crafts for stocking this wonderful crepe

The pattern lingered in my stash for a good few months before I came across the fabric, but when I did, the attraction was so strong that it pulled me right out of my sewing slump and reignited my sewjo. As an added bonus, this light and floaty crepe takes to pressing very nicely, yet doesn't crease when worn. It's quite robust too, so you don't have to worry about ironing on a lower heat - in fact, I found it behaved better on my setting for cottons. 

As a jumpsuit, view B has pretty much everything I look for in a pattern - short sleeves, a princess seamed bodice, pockets and pleats rather than gathers at the waistline. The neckline could be lower (an easy alteration for anyone who feels the same), but personally I'd rather one that's a smidgeon too high than too low. 

Annoyingly, Vogue 9075 is a split-size pattern meaning you can either choose a range 6-14 or a range 14-16. Overlapping the size 14 makes it easier if you're in between sizes, which is good, but I still much prefer having all sizes in one packet. You never know when generosity might strike for a little selfless sewing!

On the plus side, the sizing was spot on. Going by my measurements I cut out a straight size 14 and without any grading whatsoever, the neckline didn't gape, the shoulders weren't too wide, my full bust was accommodated and the waist fit nicely. Also, choosing the largest size in the range meant no tracing for me...whoop! The only alteration I did have to make was to chop 7cm off the bottom of the pants before hemming, but that's to be expected.



One of my favourite things about this pattern is that the bodice and pants pieces have fold lines for petite people. Being 5ft 3in, I always have to shorten pattern pieces, but having a guideline already there feels like such a luxury and it worked perfectly for the bodice. Word to the wise though: just because you have a petite torso doesn't mean you have a petite crotch! There, I said it. I automatically shortened the crotch using the petite guideline and really wish I hadn't. Any sudden upwards arm movement results in an automatic wedgie...front and back!

Despite being conservative with words, the instructions are pretty clear with detailed diagrams. Where I think there's room for improvement in terms of instructions and construction, is around inserting the pockets. Not only are the diagrams for this step a little confusing, there is no mention of under-stitching the pocket facings, which I did anyway for a cleaner finish. I also think the pocket openings end up a little on the small side, so I will probably rectify this next time. 

To this day, I'm still not sure whether the pants pleats are supposed to be stitched down or hang free like I've left them. The instructions advise you to baste down the length of each pleat, but at no point do they go on to tell you to a) remove the basting stitches and/or b) topstitch in their place. I'm sure either finish looks just as nice, but this oversight is a little perplexing. 

Alarmingly, aside from hemming the sleeves and pants, there is no mention of finishing any seams in the instructions at all. It could be that I've been spoilt by indie patterns going the extra mile to help create insides that are as beautiful as the outsides, but as Vogue 9075 lends itself well to lighter fabrics that tend to fray, I think finishing seams is really important. 


It's definitely something you might want to think about before you get started if you want a longer-lasting jumpsuit. As you can imagine, the construction of the pants is a bit fiddly, so I suggest finishing/overlocking your pants and pocket pieces before you start sewing. 

However, Vogue 9075 does call for a neatly lined bodice, which eliminates the need for irritating facings and encloses the unsightly waistline seams. I used a luxurious silk cotton for mine and it feels heavenly against my skin. Once again though, my experience came in handy when finishing the armholes. Instead of following the instructions which would leave me with unfinished and exposed seams, I overlocked my fashion fabric at the armholes and then handpicked the lining to it for a much cleaner finish. 


Aside from my minor niggles, Vogue 9075 is an excellently drafted pattern and I'm seriously impressed by the fit. I'd say it's 'very easy' for slightly more experienced stitchers, but a well-worth challenge for beginners. 

I'd love to make a wool version for colder weather and a chambray version for next summer. I think it would also be fun to play around with the length going with maxi for maximum elegance and above the knee for a more  playful look. 

All in all, Vogue 9075 is a winning pattern in my book.

I've struggled to keep my blogging promises recently, but even though this post is over a week late I'm ridiculously excited to finally announce the 2017 #VintagePledge prize winners! 

Choosing winners was a challenging task - check out the beautiful makes shared on the dedicated Pinterest board to see why - and I only wish I could shower every one of you with goodies! Contrary to other years, I decided to award prizes based on 'collections' instead of single garments. I also found it hard sticking to my six sponsored prizes, so I dipped into my own stash to spread the love a little further and crown 10 winners.

Before the big reveal, a reminder to all winners: leave a comment with your email address or drop me a line at astitchingodyssey[at]hotmail.co.uk to arrange delivery of your prizes!

SPONSORED PRIZE WINNERS


Tanya, you've blown me away with your stunning 1920s and 1930s makes! Your fabric choices and embellishments are second to none. I hope you enjoy your Simplicity gift hamper including three sewing patterns of your choice and this tote bagiron-on transfer and sewing planner stickers from their 90th anniversary range!



I'm so impressed by how contemporary your vintage makes look, Sabine! Turning vintage glamour into everyday chic is no mean feat. Your prize consists of three vintage-inspired PDF patterns of your choice from How to do Fashion and a 12-pack of delicious Doughnut Pattern Weights from Oh Sew Quaint.



Not only have you sewn yourself fabulous vintage makes, you've also dressed your loved ones in bygone fashions. I'm in awe of the sheer variety of garments you made last year. Have fun spending your £30 Sew Essential voucher on your choice of fabrics and sewing patterns!



Kirsten, your range of 1930s and 1940s makes has stolen my heart. Everything you've made looks beautifully authentic and I'm so impressed that you stayed true to your vintage aesthetic during pregnancy as well! You'll be spoilt for choice spending your £30 voucher on gorgeous sewing accessories and tools from Beyond Measure.



Oh, Cate! Your knitted and crochet jumpers are to die for! In fact, I'll trade wardrobes with you any day...your vintage aesthetic is one I can only aspire to. Enjoy spending your £25 Girl Charlee UK voucher and picking two PDF patterns of your choice from Decades of Style.



Kelly, you stitched up a staggering number of vintage makes last year. They're all so perfectly made and true to their era...what a talent you have! A beautiful dressmaking fabric hamper worth £50 from Minerva Crafts will be making its way to you soon.



NON-SPONSORED PRIZE WINNERS


I know I said I was awarding prizes based on 'collections' this year, but how could I not acknowledge this work of art? Jenny, your 1930s-inspired wedding dress is simply breathtaking and you were a vision of old Hollywood glamour on your special day. I think you'll do this vintage pattern the justice I haven't managed to since buying it years ago and I'm pretty sure you'll rock the fabrics too.



Tasha, your handmade vintage wardrobe is the stuff of dreams. There's literally nothing you make that I wouldn't snap up in a heartbeat. I'm pretty sure these prints from my stash couldn't be going to a better home, I hope you have fun scheming what to make with them!



Anyone who manages to make me less skeptical about 1960s fashion is a winner in my books! Jade, you've won me over with your super cute shift dresses  and the incredible detail you've put into them. Here's hoping you can get creative with these reproduction patterns.



Last but not least, I can't get over this gorgeous dress made by seven-year-old Lillia Rae, the youngest #VintagePledge participant to date! Lillia Rae, it's been an absolute pleasure following your sewing adventures last year...hope the selection of fabrics below will lead to many more this year!


And that's a wrap, dear friends! 

A HUGE congrats to all the winners and a MASSIVE thanks to everyone who has stitched up a vintage storm with me over the last four years. I may not be hosting #VintagePledge this year, but please feel free to keep using the hashtag on social media so we can stay in touch and continue to inspire each other!



The irony is not lost on me that I'm standing here posing in activewear, when I'm at my heaviest and un-fittest...well, ever! But, when you get asked to take part in a blog hop to celebrate a book by the incredibly inspiring Melissa Fehr, you say "yes" and check your self-consciousness at the door. 

Even during my more active stints, I've never been interested in making my own workout gear, but Sew You Own Activewear has definitely changed that. Now I want to start exercising again, just so I can sew up Melissa's patterns!

There's a sneaky peek of the book here, which takes you through making a capsule wardrobe comprising of 13 activewear designs using just four basic pattern blocks. The book takes you through sewing techniques and performance fabric selection, sharing useful insight that even the seasoned jersey/knit stitcher will find beneficial. 




I decided to break myself in with the Raglan Tee, which can be made in regular jersey fabric. RTW workout tops are what I've always struggled with in the past, with many being sleeveless, too clingy and almost always too low-cut. 

This loose fitting top with raglan sleeves, banded V-neck and wraparound side seams is the perfect mix of comfortable and cute. The fun thing about it is the clever concealed pocket in the back - for stashing a key, some cash and so on - which I left out as I'm more of an indoor exerciser. 

As a self-proclaimed lazy stitcher, having to 'draft' the Raglan Tee using a basic block was a little off-putting. However, the process was faster than I imagined and the satisfaction I got from it was worth the effort. Following the instructions and illustrations was easy enough, but be warned that getting a sharp V-neck band takes a lot of patience...and unpicking in my case...so much unpicking!




There are so many tempting designs to choose from in Melissa's book, but some of my favourites are the Crop Top, Yoga Bottoms, Winter Base Layer and Split Shorts.




Having dug out my neglected workout gear to use as props for these photos, I'm actually seriously considering rejoining the gym. So, Melissa and her awesome book could end up being responsible for motivating me to get back in shape this year...now that's no mean feat!

How about you? Do/would you sew your own activewear?



With our kitchen-related building work finally nearing an end (if you follow me on Instagram you'll know it's been a looooong time coming), I realised I never did share our bedroom makeover with you!

We finished it about 14 months ago, but it took us an embarrassingly long time to get there. This was partly because Charlotte insisted on doing it straight after our spare bedroom and we were totally burnt out. It was also because everything seemed to go wrong from the wallpaper not budging despite copious steaming to discovering a ceiling crack which resulted in stripping all the lining paper off. 

Anyway, it's hardly a new look anymore, but we truly love it!



Unbelievably, I have no before photos other than the ones we took when we looked around the house just before buying it. So the styling in the two photos above is not ours, but you can get an idea of the previous decor including busy wallpaper, lots of lilac, dodgy green carpet and poorly located radiator.

Moving said radiator and laying new flooring was Charlotte's dad's excellent handiwork, but everything else was our own blood, sweat and tears. And there was plenty of each...ok, maybe not the blood bit, but everything else.

If I had my own way, our whole house would be decorated in a vintage aesthetic with a mid-century vibe, but apparently when you're in a relationship it's customary to compromise. Charlotte prefers modern lines and I've discovered a fondness of Scandinavian design, so this explains our new decor. Much like the rest of the house, our choices are also dictated by my intolerance to clutter (dusting is my most dreaded chore), love of light/space and our need for storage.










So what do you think? If you like any of what you see, Charlotte's put together a handy shopping list below. Word to the wise though, if you're interested in our ceiling light fitting, it's much longer in real life with red and black cords. We cut ours down and coloured the cords with a black marker pen!
You can find our other room makeover projects here. Do you enjoy a bit of DIY? What's been your most ambitious project so far?