Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas Crafting

Last week I went to a lovely workshop to make a Christmas wreath. It was held at Just Cook, a local cookery school run by a friend of mine, and the workshop was run by a lovely lady called Claire from Waterbabyflowers. Claire has a very interesting history having started working in IT, going on a Jane Packer floristry course, then ended up doing flowers for events at The Dorchester Hotel and the Arts Hotel, Barcelona.

I normally make my own wreath by buying a plain wreath with the greenery already attached and then add baubles, berries etc until it looks done. This time I though it would be nice to learn how to do it properly, catch up with some friends and have a glass of wine.

Claire taught us how to attach the moss to our bases, add the pine base layer and then  how to weave in the additional foliage and decorations.  We had pine, thistle, viburnum berries, holly pine cones, cinnamon sticks, rosemary, dried fruit,not to mention gypsophilia that had been sprayed silver and then sprinkled with glitter - nothing like a bit of bling!

This is how mine came home:

The next day I decided that it was too sombre and needed cheering up so I added some crab apples from the garden:

and finally - in position:

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Shirt sewing help....

Two posts in a day, goodness. I need some help - I am making a shirt pattern for the third time so you'd think it would be easier. However when putting the sleeves in I discovered that the sleeves are considerably bigger than the sleeve hole. I have checked all the pattern pieces and they are all the correct size. I have tried easing as much as I can . I have basted the side seam from sleeve to hem and will get Husband to try it on (with eyes closed - it's a pressie) to check the fit. If it is ok, I'll leave it otherwise I'm not sure what to do. Any ideas welcome. Above is a picture to try to illustrate, but I took it after I had basted the sides...

FO: Thread Theory Strathcona Henley in stripes

Image of Strathcona Henley and T-Shirt
Image taken from Thread Theory website
I was very interested to come across the Thread Theory website and blog recently. They are a small husband and wife team in Canada, who started earlier this year producing modern patterns for menswear. Most of the patterns for men in the big 4 pattern companies seem to be pj's, hospital scrubs or the odd shirt. Whilst I have made a couple of shirts and pj's are useful, hospital staff scrubs are not something that Husband has much need for. 

 I have seen some lovely versions of the Strathcona Henley around the Internet and really enjoy sewing for Husband so I downloaded this fairly quickly. It is described as a slim fitting style tee/long sleeved Henley, which concerned me briefly but Husband's measurements fitted into the largest size of the pattern.
Last time we were in London, we went to Goldhawk Road and picked up some heavy-ish jersey/sweatshirt type fabric in a grey and navy stripe, for a wearable muslin. We ended up with the last metre and a half on the roll which seemed fine according to the fabric requirements. 

Unfortunately after washing the fabric it shrank quite considerably, which gave me somewhat of a headache when it came to the cutting layout. I managed to squeeze the main pieces on but had to divide the sleeves in two (along the lengthen/shorten lines) and then cut the neckband, cuffs, placket and hem band out of a navy jersey that I got from Rachel's epic meet up in April. It was quite a quick make and would have been even quicker had I not needed to cut new cuffs and hem band. The pattern directs you to cut these pieces with the stretch going down the piece rather than width ways, which was quite frustrating when trying to stretch something to fit when it really doesn't want to stretch! 

I used both my sewing machine and over locker and managed to use my twin needle successfully again.
Twin needle and placket
I am very pleased with the result, however it is a fraction too small and whilst Husband is currently on a mission to get fitter and slimmer, he feels a little self conscious in something so tight. I think it needs a centimetre or so on the side seams and maybe a little more on the bicep.
tight across upper arms and chest
Bicep and stripe matching on seams

Husband also noted that the cuffs are very deep, so he would like them at probably 2/3rds depth.

When I was pondering my cutting layout I expressed my frustration to Husband, who immediately searched online for some sweatshirt fabric and purchased some more and made sure we had enough to allow for shrinkage! 

I will be making this again, but the once I have washed the fabric, it is going in the queue behind a number of other items, some of which are for Christmas!

Some other great versions of this Henley are:
Blogless Anna
Four square walls - there is great info here on the construction  and cutting the neck & cuffs with width ways stretch, which I wish I had remembered before I cut mine out!
Huff makes stuff here and here - very inspiring posts on sewing menswear for her husband

I think this is the quickest anything has ever made it from the sewing machine to the blog!