Thursday, 28 April 2016

Signing up for Me-Made-May 2016


I have done this challenge for a few years now and have always enjoyed it. I have generally not made my pledge too tricky because I know I just wouldn't do it if it was!  Last year I signed up for 5 me-made days out of 7 for each week which I managed easily. Here is this years pledge:

 'I, Tamsin of and tamsinwp_pmc on IG, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '16. I endeavour to wear an item of me made or refashioned clothing each day for the duration of May 2016. I am also planning to remove any rtw clothing from my wardrobe (other than underwear, socks and sweaters) just to see how I get on'
Nothing too crazy. I have left sweaters in my proviso for rtw clothing, because, from past experience May is generally pretty chilly and I would be cold and miserable if I couldn't wear my jumper/cardis! 

Good luck everyone - I look froward to seeing other peoples MMMays!

FO: Thestral outfit for World Book Day

Youngest decided to dress up as a Thestral from Harry Potter for World Book day this year.  Her sisters suggested that she just not turn up to school as people can only see Thestrals if they have come to terms with death and therefore no-one in her class would be able to see her!

We decided that she could wear all black and if possible get some black 'fairy' wings and mask. I wasn't expecting to find either, it not being Halloween, but our local party shop had wings, headband with ears and a mask - result.  We both felt that she needed at little skirt to cover her bottom as the only black trousers she had were leggings which she normal wears under dresses and skirts.

I had a scrap of black cotton lycra left over from this project, which was just enough to eek out a little skater style skirt. I used the pattern I drew up for Middlest's skirt, but had to reduce the swing of the skirt due to lack of fabric. I finished the hem using my new rolled hem foot that I got in a set of sewing machine feet for Christmas.  It worked really well and I got a nice wavy finish which Youngest really likes.

The waist band was 1" elastic as I had run out of the 2" and I think it would have looked too big on her.

We used the same skirt as part of her outfit as a wood sprite in a new Opera that was staged at our local music venue. Children in the upper years of the local primary schools were all part of the chorus scenes, while drama students of the secondary school where the venue is based, were most of the rest of the characters, with 3 professional opera singers as the main characters.

showing off her 'wafty' moves as a wood sprite

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

FO: The 'Blue Marl' collection

As ever I have tonnes of catching up to do.  I have done lots of sewing over the last couple of months, but just haven't felt like writing about anything!

I have been spurred on to get writing again by going to a meet-up of Cambridge sewists last Saturday. It was orgnised by Susie of Susie Sews blog and I met a bunch of lovely ladies. We had coffee (and cake) a fabric swap (where I got rid of a piece and came home with 2 more) and a pattern swap.  There was an element of shopping later, but I had one of my girls with me and we had other things to do so we left them to it. We have shared our social media details so I am looking forward to reading some new blogs soon. I subsequently realised that I hadn't posted since February, hence the flurry of posts that will be coming up.

This fabric was bought from Geoff Rosenberg at his Trumpington Village Hall sale in November of last year.  I found it in the remnant corner and asked Geoff how much it was - he said it was ex-Paul Smith fabric and I could have it for (I think) £8 for the whole piece. Once I got it home I realised that I had 4 metres length of 2 metres wide! What a bargain!!!

So, what have I made? First off I made a little skater skirt for Middlest, which I gave to her for Christmas.  We had bought one earlier in the year which I consider is getting a bit short but others wise fits ok. I used the bought skirt as pattern and lengthened it. I basically sewed up the skirt pieces, then attached the skirt to some black 2" elastic and bingo - a skirt. It was inevitably, deemed too long, but it has been worn several times and she is constantly growing at the moment.

Next up was a Lady Skater dress for Eldest.  Again, we had bought a skater dress, which appeared to be almost identical to the Lady Skater, but with some added detail. I got Eldest to try on the Lady Skater that I had made for myself a couple of years ago to work out what size to cut for her. I ended up cutting out the same size as mine, but I had not realised that the blue fabric didn't have quite the stretch that the ponte of my dress had. I ended up sewing the side seams and armscyes at the minimal seam allowance I could get away with, which did ease the fit a little. It has been worn more than once so counts as a success.

 At the same time that I cut out Eldest's dress, I cut out a pair of True Bias Hudson Pants for me.  If you follow me on IG you will have seen that I managed to cut both of those out and still have 1m 20cm left. I am hoping to squeeze a top out of what is left, but I am not sure which yet - I would like another cowl neck Renfrew, but even with the width of the fabric I don't think I have enough for that.
Details on the hanger

I have made the Hudsons before and decided on a couple of tweaks when I made these. I lengthened the rise front and back, made the pocket bags correspondingly bigger and lengthened the leg a little for some extra ruching at the cuff.  I had meant to reduce the height of the cuff but completely forgot, so I some times fold it up inside the leg when I am wearing them.  Because of the minimal stretch in this fabric the cuffs are a bit tight and I need to be careful, particularly when I am taking them off

on me!

Now, what to make with the last metre?!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

FO: The Christmas 'Space' shirt - McCalls 6044 again

This is shirt number 5 for Husband, using the same pattern as all the other shirts, McCalls 6044. Annoyingly I have lost the lengthened body pieces used previously, so I had to trace out the pattern and add about 5cms to the front and back pieces again.

The construction was pretty straight forward having done it several times already.  I had planned to change the sleeve from a two piece to a one piece and change the sleeve opening to a tower placket, but I didn't have the brain power to sort that out at the time.

I did fancy it up a little, I wanted to have contrast collar stand and inner cuffs again - I did this on the second shirt I made. But then I got a bit carried away... I had enough of the contrast fabric to make some bias tape as I wanted to do a bias hem.

I found doing a small curved hem pretty tricky on some of the other shirts and thought a bias hem might be easier - it was by miles.  So I had enough for the shirt hem and then discovered that I had just enough to make a feature of the button band as well (which I had done on the first shirt). 

Lastly, I made a yoke on the inside of the back of the shirt, using a toning piece of plain fabric left over from Eldest's cat dress and then made a feature of the label.

Fabric is from the Moda Nocturne set by Janet Clare. I saw the range online and was intrigued by the collection's name. I knew that Backstitch, near Cambridge stocked the collection so I went to have a look.  The two fabrics that I liked the look of online, just didn't look right together in the flesh, as it were, so I ended up with these instead. The main fabric is called Data:Hubble and the contrast is Orbit: Eclipse. I thought that the names would appeal to Husband's love of science (he is a physics teacher).

The stash...

Last week I bought some more fabric. They are lovely pieces and when I was buying them I could see exactly what to make from them. Now they are home and washed and in my pile, I keep having different ideas about them and now I don't know what to make. This happens to me all the time.

Paralysed by indecsion, not wanting to make something and mess it up, or not liking something when it's done. Time to get a bit braver I think.

Here are my new pieces:

Top is a cotton lycra stripe jersey, middle is a beautiful brushed cotton jersey, and bottom a lovely Liberty jersey print. Not pictured is some stretch denim for another pair of Ginger Jeans.

Earlier today I discovered the Stash Less 2016 challenge on the The Craft Sessions blog.  Lots of interesting reading and inspiration to crack on and get using my stash. I don't think my stash is that crazy, and I don't think having a stash is bad, I just need to start using what I have got. We'll see what happens - I have enough to keep me making for quite a long time!

Friday, 5 February 2016

FO: Ginger Jeans

Oh my gosh, I made JEANS!

Having always thought that jeans and underwear would be things that I would never sew.... I have made jeans! I kept seeing amazing versions of the Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans pop up all over the internet and began to think that sewing my own jeans might be feasible.

I was nudged closer to this decision by the realisation that I would need new jeans soon-ish and I didn't particularly fancy several hours in a jeans shop trying to find the right fit. Finally, I was tipped over the edge by Winnie of Scruffybadger. She posted sometime ago about a pair of jeans she had made that were one of her Minerva Makes. Because it was a Minerva Make post, Minerva Crafts have put together a kit including the fabric, top stitching and normal thread, twin needle, jeans button and metal jeans zip, so one can grab all the supplies all in one go.  I quizzed Winnie about the feel of the fabric and then eventually purchased the Minerva kit and the download version of the Ginger Jeans pattern.

The denim is a very dark indigo, which is my preference in jeans, and the top stitching thread is a more muted bronze rather than the usual brighter orangey colour. I washed my denim at least twice, but still had dye coming out on my hands whilst I was working on them.

I read a lot of the construction and fitting advice that is available on the internet, along with Heather's instructions and the very useful sewalong. I referred  to this post quite a lot as I felt her fit and wrinkle issues looked similar to mine. I still managed to cut the wrong size - thankfully a larger size - so it wasn't a disaster. I think I confused the body measurements and the finished garment measurement. I cut the high waisted skinny leg version.

In construction I used both the instructions included with the pattern and the sewalong available on the Closet Case Files website. The instructions go into a fantastic level of detail and make each stage of the process very manageable.
pockets and top stitching
The best piece of advice for these, is to baste the whole jeans together to assess fit - the front  and back pieces are all assembled and top stitched to start, then basted together with a long machine stitch. It is very satisfying whizzing these up - I then had the fun of  working out what changes I need to make.
baste fitting
assessing crotch fit at basting stage
I had to take a big wedge out of the yoke and waistband. I took most of the excess out of the centre back,  took in the side seams quite a lot, adjusted  the front crotch curve a little, and also took in the inside leg seam. This is where I made a mistake - I think I took too much off the the front leg pieces on the inseam.  The seam comes round towards the front. I cut the the denim very carefully on grain, so being off grain is not the cause. Having said that, and having worn these a lot since finishing them, they are the most comfortable jeans I have.  I was unsure about the high waist initially, but I really like wearing it.  I still don't like the way it looks if I were to tuck in my tops, but since I never do that, it is not a problem.
high waist
high waist
It is actually a relief not not be cut in half by my waistband when ever I sit or bend down!
waistband detail
I was concerned about the wrinkles in the back view, but I tried pinning them out to get rid of them and then discovered I need that fabric there in order to sit down! Having looked at these photos, I might straighten out the back pockets a bit if I make them again.

Picture overload there.... I love these jeans and have worn them a lot since I made and I am pretty sure I shall be making more!

Since I made mine, Heather has released a Jeans E-book with all the construction info in one place and a flares add-on. I may well be purchasing these!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Crazy Cat dress

So it is already February.  I am not doing a review of last year - I think I am a bit late for that! It was a good year sewing-wise and everything I made got worn a lot. The next few posts will be quick(ish) catch-ups just to document what I have made over the last few months.  I definitely have got the sewjo, not so much the blog-jo, not that that is a real word!

I have a list of things to blog about, so I shall start with the one finished the longest time ago which is another dress for Eldest:

This is using the same pattern as the last dress I made for her (Simplicity 1699), but I don't think this one fits her quite as well.  I took some length out of the bodice on both, but I don't think it was necessary on this second dress.  Her shape is still changing and I think she is taller now than when I made the first one. There also seems to be too much room in the bodice in this one. I think if I use this pattern again I might size down one size for her.

She chose the fabric. We have a newish fabric and sewing shop near us called Sew Contemporary and we got both fabrics from there. They don't immediately look like they go together, but the darker plain fabric is the same colour as one of the cats. She also wanted the same zip and trim for the sleeves as last time. Why change something if it worked! Although going through my photos I realise I did an invisible zip on this and an exposed zip on the other - shh, don't tell! The orange ties in with the cat fabric as the balls of wool that the cats are playing with in the print (that are too small to see properly here) are orange.

I made this probably around September/Ocotober time, so don't remember much more about it, other than almost having a disaster as I was nearing completion. I was overlocking a seam and managed quite by chance, to nick the trim  and hem on one of the sleeves: 

I saved the day by some deft hand stitching and a spot of fray check.  I owned up to the mistake but I shouldn't have bothered as Eldest didn't notice!
I haven't manged to get specific photos of this dress - this is taken from a photo 'shoot' where Husband and his sister were trying to take a succcessful picture of all cousins on a family holiday. As you might imagine we have loads of pictures but hardly any where they are all looking at the camera!