Sunday, 3 August 2014

FO: By Hand London Polly Top

In a short break from the Summer of Stripes, I bring you another top, this time including a spot of refashioning and stash busting.  Can't go wrong with that!

The Polly top is a free pattern from the lovely ladies at By Hand London. I had my eye on it for sometime before I got round to downloading it. There are a number of gorgeous version of this top around the internets, my favourite being this from Crab & Bee.

The patterned fabric was given to me by a good friend in the shape of a top from Jigsaw that she had had for some time. As soon as I saw it, I thought it would make a great feature panel in a Polly top.  I took the orignal top apart completely and the spent the best part of a day working out the pattern repeat and matching the pattern pretty accurately, I think:
Spot the seam??
just to show there is a seam there!
The fabric is a silk and linen blend according to the label, so I thought I would pair it with some navy blue linen hat I have had for a couple of years, bought from Geoff Rosenberg at Trumpington Village Hall. I only used a small quantity of the linen so I think I am pushing it to say that it was a stash bust! The two blues are the same tone - I tried a different navy linen and it just looked wrong some how.

The panel is shaped in such a way that the top doesn't need darts.You just have to be very careful sewing the curved seam evenly and without puckers - which I managed first time round due to an excess of pins on the corners! I also clipped the corner very carefully before overlocking the seam edges. The clipping made a huge difference and the two fabrics pressed really well.





I basted the shoulders and side seams together to check on the fit as some people have said it runs a little large.  I opted at that stage to sew the shoulder seam at 2.5cm rather than the usual 1.5.  I sewed the side seams as basted, then after trying it on, basted in a more shaped side seam that curved inwards at the waist.
taking in the side seams
For the neck and armhole binding I used shop bought navy bias tape.  I didn't have quite enough of the patterned fabric to make my own without a ton of joins. Because the bias wasn't a true match for the linen, I did a concealed binding, which resulted in the shoulder straps being considerabley narrower than most versions I have seem.

I think doing this affected the fit as when I tried it on again, the armhole were gaping and the neckline seemed awfully low. I then tried taking up the shoulders again, which didn't work so I undid that. Then I decided that the seam under the arm needed to come in a bit, which involved undoing the very neat binding and redoing that.

I have worn it once a couple of weeks ago but the straps kept slipping off my shoulders, so I have sewn in bra strap holders made from ribbon and clear plastic poppers.

I was considering making it a hi-lo hem and may well change it. Having worn it today, it creases right at the top of the thigh when I sit down, which doesn't look great when standing up! Here are a couple of photos taken after having worn it all day:
tired face cropped out!

I look quite brown in these...
Usually I take my photos with a tripod and remote (hence the rather solomn face in most of my photos), but I wanted these done quickly and press-ganged Middlest daughter to do it for me. She told me to be silly...





FO: A Summer of Stripes - part two

The second top in my Summer of Stripes is a direct copy of one of my rtw tops. Again I have had it for some time and either I have got bigger, the top has shrunk, or a combination of the two, but it didn't seem to fit as well as it could when I last put it on. I loved this top, but it never really felt quite right on - I felt I had to tweak it regularly when wearing it.
Original top
Rather than try to wrestle with the finished top to get a pattern, I actually decided to cut this up to get the pattern. This was interesting - when I laid out the pieces to cut my fabric, it was quite clear that the original had been cut inaccurately. Quite noticabley in fact - the back was not symmetrical and the two front pieces were different shapes. All of which might explain why never felt like it fitted properly!

I laid it all out and made sure that everything was cut out to include enough fabric to make it a bit bigger and to include seam allowances. You will recognise the fabric as the same stuff my previous top was made of (and I still have enough to do a Kirsten Kimono T hack or a skirt for a child)
how to give yourself a headache

back piece folded in half - you can just see that it is not symmetrical
This top has two front pieces cut on the diagonal so that there is a chevron effect and a cut out section with a hoop thingumy in it. I pinned, basted and sewed the front pieces very carefully so that the chevron matched perfectly



I harvested the original hoopy thing and ended up sewing it in by hand as I couldn't begin to work out how to do it by machine






The back was cut on the straight grain with the stripes going horizontally. I turned and stitched the neckline, armholes and hem, although the original just had overlocked edges. The original also had a mostly decorative halter necktie thing. To copy that I cut a strip a few stripes wide and sewed it right sides together, then turned the right side out with the aid of a safety pin. I have made it a bit long and have yet to cut the ends to the correct length.

Despite my careful cutting out the finished item is as tight (or tighter than) the original. I am pretty sure that I will wear it, but may be just around the house




Very pleased with the cherons and hoop at the front. Not quite so chuffed with the skintight nature of the top!



And finally, a pose in honour of Rachel (House of Pinheiro)!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

FO: A Summer of Stripes - part one

I seem to like stripes particularly in tops. I have a number of ageing rtw knit tops in stripes and in an effort to replace some of my rtw items, I have made some more stripey tops. Today is top number 1:

This top has already been seen in my polka dot skirt post...

This is the Burda raglan sleeve top 02/2013 #127 that I have already made here and here. In the magazine, one of the photos showed a red and white stripey top in the short sleeve version, which I liked the look of. (Although you can't see much of it under that mac!)

When on Goldhawk during during the NYLon14 meet up, I found some red and white stripey jersey, which I think is probably a viscose jersey.  It is quite thin and drapey and I thought it would look good with the gathers in the sleeves.

The last couple of times I made this I haven't really followed the instructions properly. Previously I sewed the side seams and sleeve seam all in one, having already attached the sleeve to the body. This time I did follow the instructions which have you sew the body seams and the underarm seam, then set the sleeve in. It was a phaff and I wished I had done my own thing again. Doing it their way also meant that the sleeve seams just didn't want to sit properly the first couple of times I wore it, but it's ok now.



I shortened the neck band by about 10% on this make as I felt the neck was sagging in the last one I made, but I don't think I did it enough as the back neck still sags a bit. It also looks like I need a sway back adjustment in the back view above. I think it is because the fabric is so drapey.

I love this top and have already worn it loads. It is probably my most worn top this summer! Somehow I have managed to get a teeny tiny hole in the front, so I may end up shortening it at some point.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Spring Sewing Swap 2014 - update



Well, I'm a little late on this and I have lots of other things to catch up on too....

I signed up for Kerrie's Spring Sewing Swap 2014 and was paired up with  Lisa from Small Things.  The idea behind the swap being to check out your partner's blog and send them a parcel of sewing related things that would fit with what they like/make.

I had great fun reading through Lisa's blog and realised that I had seen it before when she had put a folded/pleated skirt on Burdastyle (which I had 'favourite-d') a couple of years ago. It turns out that she is planning to release the skirt pattern at some point in the not too distant future.

We chatted a bit by email to gauge what each other liked and I think (hope) we got it about right. Below is what I received from Lisa:


I have already cut out and nearly finished a dress using the grey and blue stripey jersey, which I'm hoping will be a simple 'throw-on' piece for the gorgeous weather we are currently experiencing in the UK. The needles and clear elastic are for sewing jersey, so will be using those in the future! The brown fabric is also a knit with a paisley type pattern which may become a Renfrew, come Autum time.

Lisa is currently travelling around Europe in a converted firetruck so I knew posting to her might be tricky. I ended up sending my package to her Mum as Lisa had told me they Skype regularly. I know her Mum has recieved the package, but Lisa hasn't seen it in the flesh so to speak! I don't think Lisa would mind me showing what I sent her:

I think the swap is a great idea to get to know different blogs that are around. Well done Kerrie and thanks for organising it!



Thursday, 17 July 2014

FO: Not Quite Finished Polka Dot Skirt

I have a denim skirt that I really like.  I bought it from one of the many charity shops in my local town about 8 years ago, may be more, and it was originally from Monsoon. I got it fo £4 - bargin! Because I have had it for so long it is looking a little the worse for wear.


The last project I did at my pattern cutting class was to make a pattern of this skirt so that I could make a copy. My teacher had me find the middle of my skirt, draw a straight line to act as the central line/grainline and then do lots of measuring.  I measured the distance from each pleat to the line and  the depth of each pleat for the top and the bottom of the skirt. I added seam allowances and a hem and did a 'rub-off' copy of the waistband.

It sounds quite quick, but it took foreveerrrhhh and the old adage of measure twice cut once is oh so true.  I found that I am pretty incapable of measuring things accurately the first time round. To make sure the pattern would work I pleated the pattern up as if it were the skirt and thought it would do.

The fabric the I wanted to use was the off cut from my polka dot Anna dress. I knew that there wasn't quite enough fabric to get the right length so I used some linen from my stash to add a band of solid colour  at the bottom and waistband. (I made a skirt from the same linen 11 years ago - I am pretty sure it was upholstery linen from Ikea. It will fade over time because the old skirt was a completely different colour from the original by the time I chucked it out last year. Any hints on how to make it colour fast are welcome).

The first time I wore my Anna dress, one of my girls pointed out that it was see through, just as I was leaving the house to go to a meet-up, so by the time I made this I knew I was going to need to line it.

To make the lining pattern, I folded out some of the pleats and then drew around the resulting shape adding on seam allowances.

As you can see I had already put on the waistband at this point, and (in the second photo below) had to reduce the height of the waistband. Because I hadn't folded out all the pleats I roughly pleated the lining to fit.


Before I reduced the height of the waist band, there was a moment where I thought the skirt was going to be a disaster. I had tried it on and the fit was terrible - it was really uncomfortable and the waistband was digging into my ribs. I put it to one side whilst I worked out what to do. I was vastly over thinking the problem and ended up just halving the waistband height.

Once I had fixed the waist band, I hemmed the skirt. I wanted quite a wide band at the bottom of the skirt so did a 2cm hem, but when I tried on the skirt and started to take photos of it I felt that maybe it would look a little less frumpy/mumsy if it were a little shorter.  I then turned it up probably another 2 cms and pinned it, then took some more photos.   I did this at the end of May hence the slight vagueness.

back view - longer length

front view - shorter length
 I was undecided and so it is currently unfinished, awaiting a decision on the length. 


side view plus pleats
Pleat detail

Meanwhile I have been sewing lots of tops for the summer.... post/s to come. You can see one in these photos.

I think overall it has worked out ok. It doesn't fit as well as it could, it is still a bit tight and the waist is still a bit high but I think that could be easy fixed in a future version. I really just wanted to see if I could make a pattern from a piece of clothing without taking the orginal apart, and I can, kinda...

twirls nicely though!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Versatile Blogger Award...

http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com



Caroline from CJ made has recently nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award and described me as an experienced sewist - thanks Caroline! I met Caroline at the NYLon 2014 meet-up in May and have since had great fun reading about her sewing and art.

The VBA seems to similar to the Leibster and Sunshine awards where you nominate blogs that you enjoy reading and that you think others will enjoy, but without the limitations of how many people follow the blogs being nominated.

When accepting the nomination there are a few rules to follow:

  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their blog
  • Share 7 interesting things about yourself
  • nominate 15 other versatile bloggers (I have done 12) and
  • Let the bloggers know that you have nominated them
Firstly, I shall endeavour to find 7 interesting things about me!

1 - In 2008, Husband and I had the crazy idea to go and live in New Zealand for a while. October 2009 found us with our 3 young children, 10 large bags, 5 lots of hand luggage, a package of car seats, and an oversize package of kites, arriving in Christchurch, NZ. We lived in a small town called Fairlie, South Island. We made some great friends and had a mostly great time. We came home at the beginning of 2011 and it was almost as if we had never been away.

2 - I rediscovered my love of sewing whilst we were in NZ and started this blog whilst we were out there.

3 - I used to be a Law Librarian in London in my working days. 

4 - despite the organisational skills required for being a Librarian, I am not very organised at home - I would love to be a bit tidier and not have assorted tutt around my home, but I just can't  manage it!

5 -  I love to cook, but I have noticed that since I started sewing more productively, my time for cooking has dwindled.  I still cook - I have a family to feed after all - but I no longer spend a whole afternoon crafting a gourmet meal (unless it is for a special treat/we have guests!)

6 - I have been following a food blog called Smitten Kitchen since around about 2008/9 written by a lovely lady called Deb Perelman, and last year I got to meet her briefly, when she came to the UK for her promo book tour. 
 
7 - Husband and I got married on Halloween - it was the first date our chosen venue was available.  It was not a themed wedding!

And now for nominated blogs - I am pretty sure these have not been nominated before:

Lisa from Onlythesmall.blogspot.com 
Rachel from Boo Dog and me
Cathe from Amaryllislog
Amanda from Bimble and Pimble
Sara from Mixed Emotions
Ingrid from We the sewing
Sally from The Quirky Peach
Lisa G from Notes from a mad housewife
Sonia from Ginger Makes
Katy from Sleek Silhoutte
T from U&mii
Fiona from Diary of a Chain Stitcher

All these ladies write well and make gorgeous clothes - I hope you enjoy reading them.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Spring Sewing Swap 2014

http://www.kestrelmakes.com/search/label/Spring%20Sewing%20Swap%202014


Kerrie of KestrelMakes has organized a sewing swap for the last couple of years and when I saw her post about this years swap I decided to sign up. 

My parcel is ready to go and I am hoping it will get there on time!