Wednesday, 6 June 2018

FO: Ginger Jeans

I have been sewing a lot in the first half of the year, and I am determined not to have a back log of projects to document so here is my second pair of Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns.

I made my first pair back in February of 2016 and have been meaning to make another pair ever since. I was very pleased with the first pair and they quickly became my favourite jeans. I loved the high waistband having avoided anything that high for years - the relief of not being cut in two every time I bent over was great. Over the two years that I have had them, the fabric, which wasn't quite as stretchy as it should have been has lost some of its stretch, and also they have shrunk in leg length a little as well. I can still wear them but they are not quite as comfortable as they were.

Last summer we had a family holiday to Paris and our Air BnB apartment was a few minutes walk from the fabric district at the base of the Sacre Cour. Naturally a few visits with and without the family were made, particularly to Tissue Reine. Here I found quite a lot of stretch denim - the piece I brought home was 65% cotton, 30% elasten and 5% lycra. I bought it specifically to make another pair of Gingers, it just took me seven months to get round to it!

When I was cutting out I cut in one layer which gives a very economical lay out, so economical in fact that I have enough for a skirt - possibly enough for another SOI Erin skirt, if not, a self drafted one.
I cut the same size as before - even though I took it in quite a lot the first time.  Having done the fly and the pockets, I used a tip that I learnt at Camp Workroom Social - namely to sew the inseam until about 4cm from the crotch, pin the outer seams together wrong sides together, then try them on.
pin fitting on the legs

fly insertion
This pin fitting refines the fit on the legs, and leaving the crotch open at this point means that fit in this area can be tweaked as as well. It is tricky to do on your own, but not impossible. I did one leg at a time and I think it worked really well.  I was concerned about a lot of excess wrinkling on the back of the legs when I first started wearing them, but I think most of the issues were to do with the boots I was wearing them with.
checking fit and dodgy pocket placement

Looking at these pictures, I think I need to lower the waist band at the back a little, and having worn them a lot I need to make the waistband a bit tighter on the next pair and to allow a bit more room in the calf area. I have noticed that they have shrunk in the leg length as well, so I think I will give my next lot of denim and second and third wash before cutting into it.

I have worn them a lot since I made them and they featured quite heavily in Me Made May, so altogether a very successful make.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

McCalls 6886 - first finished item of 2018

So this is the first of several finished items this year. If you follow me on instagram you will have seen this already. I am all out of order on my posting as I have already posted a couple of my Simple Sew makes, which I made since this dress.

I cut this out between Christmas and New Year, and made it up in the beginning of January, using a lovely ponti knit that I got from Geoff Rosenberg/Stitch Fabrics. I thought the pattern on the fabric would be best shown off in a simple style dress, and decided to use the McCalls 6886 pattern that came free with a sewing magazine at some point last year.

It is a very simple dress with just the front, back and sleeves.  The neck line finish was just a turn and stitch, but I decided I wanted a cleaner finish, so drafted a facing .
I also decided that I wanted pockets in it so I used the pocket piece from the jersey dress (Solange dress) in the first English issue of La Maison Victor magazine  The pockets were great whilst I had my hands in them - which was most of the time really, but when I took my hands out I was constantly checking to see if the fabric and the skirt portion of the dress were sitting nicely. 
After a lot of wears, I decided to take the pockets out. I have worn it a couple of times since doing this and have realised I need to just tweak the fit around the hips a bit more.

Overall I am very pleased with this dress and it got a lot of wear in the colder months earlier this year.  It is a bit of a departure for me as the design is on a black back ground and I don't really have any black clothes.  Because of the colours in it I can wear a russet coloured cardi and also a dark blue one with it, but here I am wearing a black textured fleece type fabric Lou Box Top.
I wanted a lightweight layer in the autumn to pop over one of my other dresses, and came up with this.( I forgot to include it in my round up of last years sewing).  I was a pattern tester for this top a few years ago, but haven't used the pattern since.  I wasn't very keen on the top that I had made as my test garment - most due to the fabric.  For this top I used the size I had originally cut for the shoulder/neckline then I bought the underarm seam in to the smallest size.  I wanted an droopy collar so played around with the scraps until I had something I was happy with.

Any way, thats about it for this make. I am sure I will make this again at some point  - there are neckline and arm variations, so lots of scope for very different looking dresses.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Simple Sew Classic Sweatshirt

This months make is the Classic Sweatshirt

I have made a sweatshirt style top a couple of times before, but have not been super happy with the fit of the neck, so when Gabby asked if anyone would like to use this pattern I was happy to say yes!

I looked at the finished garment measurements and decided to cut a size 8 for the shorter view B. This month my fabric came from Doughty's Online and I chose a textured floral print medium weight knit in a combination of pink, mustard, black & turquoise. The colour way I chose doesn't seem to available now but there is a blue version. I deliberately didn't choose the blue one as I am trying to get a bit more colour into my wardrobe.

I received the pattern just before Easter weekend and the fabric just after Easter, so I thought I had plenty of time to get this done. Unfortunately, I had done something to my back and have been pretty immobile until this last week, so have been doing 'last minute' sewing which I prefer not to do!

Having washed the fabric, and finally got around to laying out the pattern pieces I found that unusually, the stretch went down the length of the fabric rather than across the width. I thought about what to do for a little while and then decided to completely ignore the lay plan in the pattern instructions and cut the pieces with the stretch going across them (selvages at the top and bottom of of my layout rather than down the sides).

Fortunately for my 'last minute sewing' this sweatshirt is a pretty simple sew - see what I did there?  The raglan sleeves make putting this together very easy - all the notches matched  and I very quickly had something that looked like a top.

The pattern recommends using ribbing for the neckband, sleeve cuffs and hem band.  I didn't think that I wanted the look of contrasting colour for those, so decided to use self fabric.

I haven't used ribbing before, but I am guessing that it is pretty stretchy. I really struggled to get the neckband on using the method in the instructions and I suspect that the fabric just isn't quite stretchy enough.

I wangled it on in the end, completed the sleeve cuffs and hem band, then tried it on - disaster - I really didn't like it.  It was too long in the body, the sleeve were too long and the cuffs were too tight despite trying them on before attaching them. Rather than try to fix it then and there, I went to bed and had a proper look at it in the morning.

I ended up cutting about 10cm off the length of the body and reattached the hem band. I cut the cuffs off the sleeves, shortened the sleeves by about 4cm, cut new cuffs 2 sizes larger (my unorthodox cutting had left me with quite a big remnant) and attached the new cuffs.

This fixed all my  'problems' and hey presto I have a new top that I really like!

Monday, 12 March 2018

2017 catch up - part 3

Continuing on with the recap of my makes for 2017:

I had seen a lot of versions of the True Bias Odgen Cami on the internet last summer and rather randomly I decided to make one for myself.  The fabric was leftover from a dress I made to wear to a wedding in 2016.  There was just enough to squeeze out this top. I quite like and wore it quite a bit, but I felt very exposed. If I were to make it again I might try to make the straps a little wider to give me a bit more coverage. True Bias's instructions are very good and it was a pretty simple sew. In order to fit the top in the fabric that I had, I had to cut the back in two pieces, which makes it easy to tell the back from the front!

Both of my older girls decided to redecorate their bedrooms last summer which involved replacing their curtains.  The previous curtains had been made in a rather sweet, but childish print from the Designers Guild, by my mother-in-law about 15 years ago. They were showing their age and the girls wanted something that would go with their 'new' rooms.  Middlest's bedroom is a warm white with a feature wall papered in a blush colour with a rose gold crackle effect over the top.  A lot of accessories are rose gold and the new curtains are a blush pink that match the wallpaper pretty well.  Eldest's room is light and dark grey with a feature wall of a petrol/teal colour, with accents of yellow The curtain fabric is Sanderson 'Finches' in yellow which has all of the colours of her room in it.  We had looked at this locally and it was very expensive - I looked online and found just over three metres for less than the price of two in the shop.  Because of the shape of the window, the curtain rails pivot in order to let in as much light as possible meaning that the curtain's needed to be double sided. The previous curtains had been lined with blackout lining and both girls said that they would still like this. I put off doing this for ages, but once I got going they were extremely simple even with the blackout lining!

I have made the Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans and have plans to make more, but I wanted to try the looser fit of the Morgan jeans. I thought that I had the perfect denim, but it was far too stretchy, then I found some olivey green corduroy in my stash that I had originally bought to make a Colette Beignet skirt.  I have had the fabric for sometime and you can see in the collage the sun damage - thankfully on the reverse - from storing it near a window! I used the pattern instructions and the Jeans e-booklet when putting them together.  They are a much looser fit than I am used to - which is to be expected as that is the style, but I am not sure how they look on me. I have decide that I much prefer the higher waistline of the Ginger jeans - these feel a bit low, particularly in the back and I feel a bit frumpy in them. They are a useful addition to my wardrobe so I will continue to wear them for a while - and they are not blue - as many of my garments seem to be!

As an aside, having worn these quite a lot recently - they have bagged out with wear and are constantly falling down. They also seem to have shrunk in the leg length so I am not sure how much longer they will last in my wardrobe. 

Having made Eldest a second pinafore dress out of some lovely ochre/mustard denim earlier in the year, I was left with a sizable leftover.  I had seen the Sew Over It Erin skirt when Lisa Comfort released it as part of her City Break Capsule Wardrobe E-book, then it was released as a pull out pattern with a sewing magazine (possibly Simply Sewing). I had in mind that I would make the long version, but I did not have enough of the leftover fabric, but there was plenty for the short version.  It was a pretty straight forward make - although I found that the centre back notches on the waistband did not line up.  Because I have been sewing for a long time I realised that this was an error and ignored it, but I felt that a less experienced sewist may not have realised and continued to try to match them resulting in a twisted waistband. I really like the finished garment and colour wise it is quite a departure for me!

A lot of my friends in the village where I live know that I sew. One day I got a call from one of them asking if I could make a pair of pj's for the favourite toy of her youngest son. Apparently DeeDoo goes everywhere with him and despite being washed, was looking somewhat the worse for wear! I invited DeeDoo for a measuring and showed them the fabric I thought might be suitable. I drew up a little pattern and made a very tiny pair of pj's.  My friends son was very pleased with them and even wrote me a very sweet little thank you letter - he is 6!

In October I went to Camp Workroom Social and took part in the Pant Fitting Intensive class that was taught by Melissa Watson using the Palmer Pletch tissue fitting technique. That experience merits its own post - I can't quite believe I haven't done yet! The whole trip was amazing and I ended up with a 95% finished pair of trousers by the end of the weekend. I finished the trousers a couple of weekends after I got back and the trouser fitted me completely differently from how they had in class - I know my shape fluctuates during the month but I hadn't expected such a difference.  I tweaked them to fit and they are now finished, but I haven't worn them and I haven't any photos of then as yet.  However I liked the idea of that style of trousers and proceeded to make a second pair affectionately called my  Party trousers. I used a stretch cotton sateen that I bought in Metro Textiles in New York and after discussing making a dress I decided pretty quickly that it would be trousers. I used the techniques we were taught in class and end up with a fab pair of trousers that got a lot of wear over Christmas and New Year. I also made the top to go with the trousers. It is one of my favourite top patterns - MyImage Cowl Neck top made in a navy slinky, possibly viscose, jersey. This time I decided to crop the pattern and put on a band at the bottom with a tie at one side. I also opted for three quarter length sleeves- again finished with a small band. A normal hem on this fabric was pretty tricky so I gave up!

You may know that I have made my Husband a number of shirts over the years as a Christmas present.  At 6'3" he has always been, what he would describe as a 'big unit'. He has always been fit  and exercised a lot but decided that 2017 was the year to loose weight.  He has lost around 22kg and because of this he has slimmed out of the shirt pattern that I usually use for him (McCalls 6044) . Rather than buy the same shirt in the smaller size range I thought I would try a different pattern.  I have been following the progress of the Thread Theory patterns over the years, and thought I would try out their Fairfield shirt.  It has a different technique for the button band and also tower plackets on the sleeves.  Because alot of Husbands height is in his back I used to lengthen the McCalls pattern by about 5cm and I think I lengthened the sleeves a fraction.  For this shirt I also lengthened it by 5 cm. I didn't lengthen the sleeves as they seemed a bit longer any way.  The fabric came from one of the shops at the base of the Sacre Coeur in Paris, where they sell predominately pre-cut lengths of 3 metres. I cut the back yoke and the pocket on the bias for a bit of visual interest. I cut the inner yoke on the straight grain for stability and in a fine white cotton that I had in my stash, so that the pattern didn't show through on the the main fabric. The tower placket instructions were fab and having a gridded fabric also helped tremendously! I, and Husband, are both really pleased with it and it has already seen quite a bit of wear. However after a few wears Husband asked that I lengthen the sleeves next time I make it - probably only by about 2.5cm though.

After the success of the previous waistcoat that I made Husband, I decided to go the whole hog and make another one for Christmas.  I wasn't super impressed with the Burda pattern I used previously so tried the Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat. I bought the fabric from Doughty and Sons stand at the Great British Sewing Bee Live and it was lovely to work with. I was very pleased with the pattern, the instructions were great and I have some very neat welt pockets. I made the more complex view with all the pockets and the little side vents. However, there is a BUT!!!  Knowing that Husbands height is in his back, I completely didn't think to lengthen the pattern at all (this was just after making the shirt above, where I did lengthen it!) and you may notice that it is too short on him. The fit is great - it just needs to be about 5cm(!) longer. I did feel pretty stupid for not doing that. I contacted Doughty and Sons and sent them a swatch recently to see if they by any chance had any more but they didn't. They did find something similar in a slightly different colour which I have since bought, but I haven't done anything with it yet.

So that, finally, is the summary of last years makes.

After some procrastination I have cut out and am about half way through a new pair of ginger jeans, and I have been asked to do a bit of wedding sewing for later in the year!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Simple Sew Bella Dress

Well exciting times! I have been asked by Gabby of Gabberdashery if I would like to join the team of bloggers on the
Simple Sew Blogger team. Gabby asked me at the beginning of the year and this is my first post to go live. I am
one of several new faces to join the team and we are allowed to post our makes on our own blogs once the Simple
Sew post is out. I have been blogging sporadically here for a few (9!) years, and I thought that being part of the 
Simple Sew team might spur me on to write a bit more frequently!
Gabby asked us to have a look at the patterns available on the Simple Sew website and choose some that we would like to sew.  I realised that I already had several of the patterns as they had come free with Love Sewing magazines over the last couple of years.  

I am normally a jeans and cosy top kind of person as it fits my day to day life of being a stay-at-home mum. However, every now and then I feel a bit bored with the mum uniform and want to wear something different.  Recently that ‘something different’ has been jersey/knit dresses, so having looked through my pattern collection I thought that my first Simple Sew make would be the Bella Dress.

I really liked the shape of the dress and the collar, but wasn’t so sure about the shape of the sleeves. I decided pretty quickly to slim down the sleeves and at the same time Iengthened them by about 9 cms to make them full length - I hate being cold so full length sleeves are a must in winter!

The fabric I chose is some kind of slightly embossed heavyish knit that I bought from M.Rosenberg/Stitch Fabrics at the Knitting and Stitching Show, Ally Pally in October 2016.
I had always envisioned this as a long sleeve top (to go with my jeans!) but thought that it would be a good choice for the Bella dress. I think I only bought a metre and a half, and surprisingly this was plenty for the dress due to the width of the fabric. I didn’t really use the lay plan but managed to get the dress cut out perfectly with minimal fuss.  I even managed to cut the collar piece about 5cm deeper for more slouchiness.

I have made many garments in jersey, but this was the first time that I have sewn darts in a knit fabric, and also the first time I have put a zip into a knit.  The instructions didn’t specify what type of stitch to use to sew the darts, so I did a couple of practice ones on some scraps using both a small zigzag stitch and a slightly longer than usual straight stitch. I tried the zigzag stitch to try to keep the stretch of the fabric but it didn’t really make much difference and it also made a slightly lumpier looking dart, so I used the straight stitch.
I made the dress up on my sewing machine using a zigzag stitch (apart from the darts). I normally finish the seams on a knit by overlocking the seam allowances together, but this made for quite a bulky seam in this fabric so I left some seams unfinished and and finished some singley with the overlocker.

Once I had cut out the dress, I did a quick hand baste together to check the fit.  I was slightly alarmed to find that it was rather more form fitting than I had thought, and thought it was a good job that there was a zip in it. However once I made it up properly I realised that the fit was ok and that actually I probably don’t need the zip - I managed to get the dress on this morning without undoing the zip! I may take the zip out just to get a slightly sleeker fit on that side seam, but I don’t notice the fit when I am wearing it so I may leave it.

All in all, I am very pleased with this dress as my first sew for Simple Sew!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

2017 catch-up - part 2

So this is my first blog post of the new(!) year and the second instalment of completed projects for 2017.  I mentioned at some point last year that I would like to blog more as I still really enjoy reading other peoples blogs. The blogging doesn't seem to have happened so much - but, as you will see I have done a lot of sewing and I felt I would rather sit and sew, rather than sit and write about sewing.

First up are some self drafted linen trousers.  I have been taking a patterncutting class for some time and was very excited to get to making trousers. I made one pair form my block that were ok, but still not great so last spring I decided to revisit my block and make some more, better fitting trousers.  I ended up making 4 muslin/toiles for these and whilst they are much better than the other ones, they are still not quite right - the waistband is far too high at the front so to make it comfortable I have on occasion folded the band over at the front.  I need to take it off and lower it by about 2cms

My Eldest bought some cheap trousers on the internet from some where like Boohoo (brown pair). When they arrived they looked nice, but she had the problem of them being too big on the waist even with an elastic waistband.  I managed to adjust them to fit better which involved adding a couple of darts in the back and shortening the elastic. The elastic was interesting as it was sewn into the trousers as if it were a facing.  Eldest decided that she really liked the style and asked me if I could copy it - which I managed to do (blue pair) and I used up some poly crepe from my stash.

One of my girls bought a playsuit from somewhere like New Look a while ago and whilst it doesn't get a huge amount of wear, Eldest decided that she really liked the style of the top and could I copy that too please? I traced off the pattern as well as I could  and made a muslin from an old jersey skirt  to check the fit.  It was proclaimed perfect,  so I then cut into the fabric she had chosen. The fabric was one of abut 5 or 6 knit fabrics that I won as a raffle prize at the Dressmakers Ball in May! I tried the top on having thought that the fabric colours wouldn't suit me but I think I might make something for me out of it too!

Around the same time as making the top above, I signed up to pattern test a skirt for Sinclair Patterns. It was the Amaya Asymmetrical Pencil Skirt.  I made it in a mystery textured knit that I picked up at a fabric swap a couple of years ago. I made it up exactly as the instructions said, then ended up shaving some width off at the hips, as my hip curve was not as defined as the pattern.  I believe that the final pattern had some of this width taken off, as other testers had done the same thing.  I wasn't sure that I liked it on me when I first finished it, but it actually got quite a lot of wear over the summer.

A while ago my Mum had been going through stuff at her house and had found a couple of patterns that I used when I was a teenager.  One of them was the dress pattern that I used for my textile GCSE in 1986.  It was Butterick 6603 which now qualifies as vintage. It still looks a nice dress, so I thought I would try it again - it actually reminds me of the True Bias Southport dress.  I made the flared skirt version for my GCSE so thought I would try the slimmer version this time.  I made the same size as before (!), managed to cut the front out wrong but saved it by adding a button placket, and covered my own buttons. It felt like a never ending project at the time but I think it worked out OK in the end.

After a rather unsuccessful shopping trip early last summer I made a Pauline Alice Rosari skirt for my middle daughter. She had had the problem of trying skirts and trousers on, only to find if she could get them over her hips then they were massively too big on the waist.  Rather demoralised by this I offered to make her a skirt - the Rosari was almost identical to one she had grown out of  and I was - surprise surprise - able to make it fit her properly! The denim is a rather stiff, very black denim so at one point I was experimenting with distressing scraps with sand paper and bleach! None of my experiments met with approval though.

Over the last year or so interesting sleeves seem to have a moment in the spotlight.  I was pondering various patterns with flouncy sleeves and realised that a peasant shirt that I have made before, had the type of sleeve I had been thinking of trying (New Look 6179).  I shortened the main bit of the sleeve so that the flouncy bit finished at my wrist and I made metres and metres of bias binding for the neckline. I have tons of binding left over! A very successful light summer top that actually went rather well with the self drafted trousers (above) and the Amaya Asymmetric skirt (also above)

This next make is one of my rare fails.  The pattern, McCalls 7094 came free with one of the sewing magazine that are now available on the high street.  I liked the look of the shirt and had what I thought would be the perfect fabric.  However, the pattern came up massively too big for me.  I felt that the collar and placket instructions were particularly fiddly. I took some width out of the sides and stitched down the pleats at the shoulder, which both made the top better to wear.  I wore it a couple times but didn't really like it on. I packed it away with my summer stuff so when it warms up I will give it another chance, but I may see if my mum is interested in having it as she had admired the pattern envelope.

I am going to cut it short here as otherwise this will be super long. I have several more makes to share, so look out for part 3! Oh, and I also have an exciting post for tomorrow!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

2017 catch-up...

Waiting to blow out my birthday candles wearing my favourite me-made dress!

So, I have been doing lots of  sewing recently, did Me-Made-May again, went to a fantastic sewing party, celebrated several family birthdays, did some pattern testing... and haven't blogged about any of it! Instagram has made it very easy to post makes straight away, but I still get great enjoyment out of reading other peoples blogs, with a bit more detail about the makes - in fact I added quite a few new blogs throughout May as I discovered new people in the sewing community. With this in mind I am going to try and post a bit more, but for now here are some of this years makes. This is going to be quite a long catch up post I feel....

The last thing I posted was my sparkly Drop top, which I actually made in March but posted in June. Straight after I made that top, I made another Mouse House Creations Julia Cardigan in a loose sweater knit fabric that I bought from the Girl Charlee stand at the Knitting and Stitching show in October.  It was not very seasonally appropriate when I made it and I wasn't sure I liked it when it was finished, but I did find myself wearing it quite a lot for Me-Made-May. I have also had quite a few compliments on it which is always nice!

The next make was more PJ's for Youngest daughter. The fabric was a gift from my sister-in-law, who had been to Hong Kong and Singapore with her husband just before Christmas, and found herself in the fabric district of one of them at some point. I made True Bias Hudson pants again (and spent a long time stripe matching when cutting out), but this time she wanted short sleeves, so I made a Kristen Kimono Tee by Maria Denmark:

Next up I cut out multiple projects to get me over the 'starting a project' hump. I cut out a Syrah Skirt from Lauren Dahl/Baste and Gather. This is a flared skirt with a yoga style waistband that I made in some lovely navy cotton/spandex jersey, from Girl Charlee UK online.  The pattern doesn't include pockets so I used a pocket piece form another pattern and just did simple side seam pockets. I also added some elastic to the waistband as I wasn't sure how secure it would be without!

The other garments I cut out were two tops for me and a denim pinafore dress for Eldest. If you can bear to do it, it is definitely worth cutting out more than one project at a time. You can dive straight in after finishing one project, or you can try something different if you hit a stumbling block with another project.

For the tops, I made my two usual styles, the Burda raglan top and the MyImage cowl neck top. I have made both of these quite a lot, and whilst I still like them I feel it is probably time to choose a new favourite!

A while ago I made a pinafore/dungaree dress for Eldest using the Cotton+Chalk Sunday Set pattern that came free with a sewing magazine last year (I think). She has wanted another for some time, but I wanted her to have some input in to the choice of fabric.  Whilst clicking around instagram one day I found what I thought would be the perfect fabric from @SewMeSomething. Eldest agreed (it is her favourite colour) so I placed an order and amazingly it arrived the next day! When I made the previous dungaree dress I had to draft a half circle skirt due to fabric limits.  I used the same pattern pieces for the skirt again and then had to try and remember the modifications I made to the cutting out and construction. Even with the notes I have made in my makers workbook it took me a while to work through what I had done! She was very pleased with it and has got lots of compliments from her friends.

Well I haven't even got half way through yet so I am am going to stop here and continue in another post! I hope you have all been making lovely things over the last few months.