Monday, 20 July 2015

FO: sleeveless cowl #2 and a (very simple) refashion

I made this top last week to boost my summer top selection.  Whilst I have sewn a lot of tops over time (more than anything else), they mostly seem to be long sleeved/cooler weather tops.

This is another version of the MyImage Cowl neck top from the Autumn/Winter2012 magazine. I left the sleeves off again and did pretty much the same as I did for my last sleeveless version. I got a new sewing machine for Christmas (lucky me!) so everything I have made since has been with this machine.  I found a great stitch on my old machine when I did the hem on my black version, but there doesn't appear to be the same/similar stitch on my new one, so I just did a zigzag stitch.

Now that I have made this top a few times (2 long sleeved, 2 sleeveless) I find that it is a very quick and satisfactory make. I *love* the cowl neck and the way that it fits at the back. I think the back piece is marginally slimmer than the front piece, which gets rid of some of the pooling of excess fabric that I sometimes get.

I have linked to it before, but I use the tutorial from Melissa at FehrTrade for the neck line finish.

The long shorts/cropped trousers that I am wearing in these pictures were refashioned in MeMadeMay. A few years ago I bought some long tracksuit trousers that were too long. I then shortened them, but it was too much and they looked ridiculous.  I put them away to deal with later and promptly forgot all about them. In my effort to go through some of my stuff during MMM I found them again and very quickly sorted them out. I put them on, pinned roughly where I wanted to cut them and checked in the mirror before I cut them.  I used the cut-off section of each leg to create a cuff using the calf band pattern piece form the Hudson pants, and ended up with a quick pair of lounging/casual trousers.  I was a bit concerned that even with my careful checking of where I cut the legs, the finished seam attaching the cuff might be a bit irritating as it is right in the crook of my knee.

Happily, having worn these quite a few times now, they are very comfortable. The fabric is incredibly soft so the seam is not irritating at all.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

FO: Lou Box top pattern test

Back in November, Beth from Sew DIY put a call out for pattern testers for a loose fitting top that she has since released as her first pattern.

I had never done anything like pattern testing before, but decided to offer and see what happened.  I got an email a few days later saying that I was selected along with a copy of the pdf of the pattern. There was no obligation to blog about the make, which is probably a good job considering how long ago it was and my lack of blogging mojo.  I really enjoyed the make having a nice fairly drapey remnant from another garment, to use. I haven't sewn to a specific timescale before, other than my sister's wedding dress and the time frame for that was a bit longer! I made notes on my pattern, filled in the feedback form, and initially forgot to send photos of the finished garment.

Bias bound neckline

Hem and side split
The pattern is for either knits or wovens and I chose to use a woven. There were separate instructions for the different types of fabric.

I have enjoyed seeing Beth's own versions of this top and those made by other people, but am not too sure about the top on me. I think I am so used to wearing more form fitting jersey tops, that anything waftey feels a bit strange...

Given the test period was in the run up to Christmas, the photos I took make me feel cold when I look at them! It was quite an overcast day, and pretty chilly in my kitchen.

The top would have been quite useful in the recent hot spell we have experienced in the UK, but being unsure of the style on me, means that I haven't actually worn it yet.  Having looked at the photos I took whilst writing this post, I think it is the fit of the jeans I should be more concerned with - talk about about a saggy bottom!

Beth has since released her Lou Box Top pattern and has just recently asked for testers for a second pattern, although I think the test period is nearly over. I would happily do pattern testing again on this experience, but  can't commit to anything like that at the moment - but give it a go if you can!

Monday, 13 July 2015

FO: Kirsten Kimono Tee Hack

I have been following Aleah from no time to sew for a while now and really like alot of her makes.  A while ago (I just checked, it was almost exactly a year ago) she posted about a Kirsten Kimono colour block hack that she had made, inspired by a Boden top she had seen. The Boden top isn't available any more, but I remembered having seen the same top top and thinking it would be easy to do.

The Kirsten Kimono top pattern is free when you sign up to Maria Denmark's newsletter and I have used it before for me and Eldest. I made a size XS this time as I have lost some weight since I made the last one. Maria describes the top as having negative ease at the bust which mine definitely didn't have, but I think that was partly that my fabric was very drapey.  I had a bit of a brain freeze when cutting this out and it took me ages to work out where to cut for the colour block yoke. Aleah used the paper joint on the printed out pattern but I made my yoke section a fraction deeper, then I added a seam allowance.

This whole top was free, as not only was the pattern free, but I used navy jersey that I got at a fabric swap a couple of years ago, and the stripy fabric was a t-shirt of Youngest's.

 She grew out of it before she had much chance to wear it, so it was in pretty good nick.

Youngest aged around 4

I have made other things from the navy fabric so had a bit of a puzzle getting the main pieces of the tee cut out - I ended up having a seam at the centre front, but as I had to have a seam at the centre front of the yoke I thought it could be a design feature!

Centre seams on the front

I did not use the neck binding - I put it on, then took it off again. I much prefer the neckline on this top without the binding. I overlocked all the edges then used my lovely wonder tape (it sticks fabric together then washes away!) to do the neck, arms and hem. The wonder tape that I have is the perfect width for turning under for a narrow hem, but it does mean that you need to wash the item before you can wear it.

Having worn it a few times during MMMay15 I think it is a fraction too small - I made XS but I am pretty sure that I forgot to add seam allowances to the side seams which would make it even smaller! It is only noticable where the top sits on my hips and the hem rolls up a little, but it is not enough to make it unwearable.

This is another of my catching up posts, I think I only have a few more garments to go then I will be up to date!

Friday, 12 June 2015

FO: Burda Raglan top 2/2013 #127, again!

How many times have you made one pattern? This pattern is my most used pattern - I used it for OWOP (One Week One Pattern) last year. I have made 2 long sleeve versions, a short sleeve one, a short sleeve dress length version and now this one.

I bought the fabric from Geoff Rosenberg at Trumpingtion Village Hall a few months ago.
The fabric in the middle

It is a John Kaldor Jersey so good quality, but it is 100% man made fibre and feels like it is a bit clammy when I first put it on.  Apart from that I really like it. It is quite stretchy and the arms are designed to be extra long, but in this fabric they were comedy long. I cut some of the length off and maybe took a fraction too much off, but not enough to be irritating, thankfully.

It is quite hard to take pictures of the fabric as the pattern makes it seem out of focus.
I think this one is in focus!

sleeve gathers - my favourite part of this pattern
This is the fifth time I have made this top so I didn't really use the instructions. I wore it several times during MMMay15.

I am trying out larger photos today - what do you think?

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

FO: Coral Bronte Top

Bronte Knit Top Ladies PDF Sewing Pattern Multi Size 6 to 24

Still catching up with unblogged makes!

This pattern has been around for a while and I eventually bought it as part of a Pattern Bundle last summer, along with the True Bias Hudson Pants and the Mouse House Creations Julia Cardigan amongst others.

I hadn't been that taken with the Bronte top when it first came out, but as ever, once other people's versions start popping up on the internet I began to warm to it.  I realise now that my top is almost the same as one of the ones Jennifer made for her pattern photos.

Around the same time, I was re-watching the series Castle with my two older girls and had noticed that the female lead, Kate Beckett, had a top that she wore (I think in series 3) that had a similar neckline. She had a couple of these in different colours:

Beckett's top is in a much stretchier fabric and the back neck is much higher. An idea began to form....

The fabric for this came from one of my first visits to Goldhawk Road and my intention was to make a copy of a summer top that I had. That never happened, and the fabric would have been too thick for that particular top any way.

I cut the top out in a single layer in order to get all the pieces on the fabric, at which point I nearly had a disaster. I had pinned along the centre back with a view to flipping the pattern piece over and cutting the other side... and I started cutting up the centre back..... I tried to rescue it by zig-zagging the cut bit together, but it didn't really work

Fortunately I had added extra length to the top and I ended up just sacrificing that extra length without compromising the top, phew! I also added a band at the bottom to add back some of the length that I lost.

It's a while since I made this top, but seemed pretty straight forward.  There is a lot of information in the instructions about working with knits and how to choose the best type of knit for this pattern. I think that my fabric is just on the limit of suitable.  My machine struggled with the thickness of sewing through multiple layers of binding when attaching the sleeves. I overlocked the armhole seams after sewing with a narrow zigzag, but I ended up unpicking the overlocking as it made the seam quite stiff and uncomfortable and really noticeable on the outside. The knit is pretty stable so I didn't bother trying to finish any of the other seams.

Unusually I haven't got any 'hanger shots' for detail, but here are a couple of different shots of me wearing it - the one with the skirt was taken not long after I made it in January, and the other photo is from my Me-Made-May photos.


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Last Me-Made-May15 review

So, May is well and truly over and here are my last few days

Friday 29th May day 25

I am wearing my favourite pattern, the Burda raglan top as a dress. Youngest is wearing a skirt for twirling
 And dolly is wearing shoes that Youngest made - with a bit of help from me

Saturday 30th May day 26

Hudson Pants with Bronte Top, both currently unblogged 

Sunday 31st May day 27

Unblogged self drafted trousers and Bronte top

I think it is pretty clear that I wear me-made something quite easily for most days of the week, but it is equally clear that I need to make some more bottom half items. These pictures have shown me that I get better pictures if someone else takes the photo and that I shouldn't leave it so long between colouring my hair. My blog gets more attention from me during me-made-May as I try to blog all the things that I have not got round to writing up, and I have actually done quite a bit of sewing this month too.

Heres to next May, and thanks as ever to Zoe for organizing it!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Catching up with blogging again - Party Top

Continuing with my catching up of unblogged items, here is a sleeveless cowl top.

Photo lightened so you can see the drape

I made this last November in about a day and a half which is unheard of for me!  A friend of mine invited us to her 50th birthday party. I had bought a stretchy multicolour sequin skirt specially for the party, but had been unable to find a top to go with it, so I whipped one up!

I knew exactly what I wanted  - just plain black with a cowl neck. I used the MyImage cowl neck pattern that I have made before here and here, and just left the sleeves off.

After having my sewing machine for 16 years I discovered a really good stretch stitch, which is probably a lightening stitch.
lightening stitch?

I had tried to twin needle the hem but that did not look good, so I tried this new stitch and it was fab.  I used Wondertape to help with all the hemming which helped tremendously. I left the edge of the cowl drape raw as it tucks inside the top and doesn't get seen.  I think I did this on the other two that I made as well.

Unfortunately I haven't any pictures of me wearing it at the party - which reminds me I must try and get some from my friend!