Monday, 29 December 2014

FO: Knock-off tops

These tops are a knock-off of a top I bought in H&M earlier in the year:

It is a very simple shape with slightly dropped sleeves. I took it to my pattern cutting class and basically drew round it then took lots of measurements to ensure the pattern was symetrical etc. As I discovered during the summer when using a top as a pattern, RTW cutting doesn't seem to be very accurate.

Top number one I used fabric bought at the NYLon14 on Goldhawk Road.

I loved the multi coloured abstract pattern. I had bought lots of it so was happy to cut straight into the fabric with my self drafted pattern. Original top has three-quarter length sleeves that are full length and stitched rolled up, so I just made the sleeves full length. I am extremely pleased with it and have worn it alot.
I wrote myself some intructions for the construction, which were basically the following:

*sew one shoulder together
*attach neck band
*sew other shoulder
*attach sleeves pieces
*sew side seams from sleeve hem down to the hemline of the top
*hem sleeves and top


Top number two was for Eldest for her birthday. Eldest is a fangirl. She loves Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Mortal Instruments, Sherlock, Cherub to name a few (the main ones!) She seems a fairly happy recipent of mum made clothing, so I thought I would make her a top for her birthday with some themed fabric. I went to Spoonflower and got sucked down the rabbit hole that is internet fabric shopping! The choice of Doctor Who themed fabric was mind boggling, but I eventually settled on this in their cotton knit:

The fabric took much longer to arrive than I had anticipated. It arrived about 2 weeks after her birthday, then I put it in a safe place where she wouldn't stumble across it, then found it about a month later. The fabric has a very nice feel to it, butis shrank quite alot after I washed it. I had ordered a metre but after washing only had about 87cm (something like that). I was very glad I had washed it before cutting everything out. She was very pleased with the fabric but decided, wisely I think, to go with a solid as well - overall Tardis's (Tardi?) might be a bit much!

This top is the same size as the one I made for me, but with minimal seam allowances. I intially sewed it up with normal 1.5cm seam allowances, but when she tried it on it was a little snug - she is a bit larger than me in the chest department. I just whizzed down the sleeve/side seam with the overlocker, unpicked the original seam and now it fits fine. She asked for the patches on the elbows, having seen the patches on my Plantain Tee. I put those on before I sewed the side seams.

The plain fabric is a petrol ponte knit left over from my Lady Skater dress and was perfect to go with the dark green/petrol Tardis's/Tardi in the print. The eagle-eyed may notice that there is a seam across one of the sleeves. This is of course a design feature, and nothing at all to do with having to piece the fabric together in order to get two full sleeves!

These were made a little while ago now, but I have quite a bit of catching up to do. Overall I am very pleased with these two tops. The only thing I would change when I make it again would be to scoop the neck line down a bit at the front. The neck line seems a bit higher on these than on the original.

Have you copied/used for insipration a shop bought piece of clothing?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

FO: A Summer of Stripes - part 4 - A Plantain Tee

I am playing catch-up here again, lots of sewing, not much blogging...

Towards the end of the summer I posted this picture:

asking for opinions on the elbow patch.  Nine out of 10 respondants went for the lime green patch for a pop of colour.  The 10th respondant (aka Middlest daughter) said along the lines of 'ugh, what do want to put a patch on for anyway? they're horrible!'. So, lime green it was!

The Plantain Tee is a free pattern from the French pattern company Deer & Doe and it seemed fairly straight forward to sew up - I finished this in the summer holidays so I can't really remember too much about it.

I do remember finishing the sleeve and shirt hems with my twin-needle, but they are not as stretchy as I thought they'd be.  Every time I shove my sleeve up my arm I think the stitching will snap.

I used some fabric that I bought in NZ when we were living there. It wasn't my first choice of colour, there was a lovely turquoise/grey that I loved, but I procrastinated so long that that colour was sold out by the time I had decided to buy it. I don't know what the fabric content is, but it is very stretchy.

Here are some photos:

and a couple of the top in action:

Having worn it quite a bit since I finished it, I have decided that whilst I will wear it, it is not my favourite shape of top. It is a touch too wide (for my taste) at the hem and I think that if I were to make another I would bring the shoulder seam forward, probably by about 1cm. Also looking at the photo with the hedgehog, I might do something about the arm hole as well...

I have included it in the Summer of Stripes because of when I made it - I am very aware that it is not summer in the Northern Hemisphere now!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

FO: Anda/Staples dress mashup

I started this dress last year during a mini staycation/sewcation in the summer holidays. It was originally a Burda Anda dress.
Image from BurdaStyle

I downloaded the pattern whilst we were still living in NZ and took forever to do anthing with it. (I did start a tunic top for eldest a couple of years ago using the pattern, but it remains a UFO).

I deserted this make part way through because when I tried it on it was a shapeless sack reminiencent of a hospital gown. This was as much to do with the fabric as the style. The Anda is supposed to have a drawstring tie, but whatever I did I couldn't get the channel for the tie to go in the right palce around my middle or for it to look level all the way round - so I had a bit of a hissy fit and gave up.

Earlier this summer I found it whilst looking for something else, as you do, and thought I could probably do something with it. I actually finished this at the beginning of July, took all the pictures, wrote the bare outline of a blogpost, then didn't do anything else until now. 

Having seen quite a few pretty versions of the April Rhodes Staple Dress, I had already noted the similar style so I decided to do some shirring around the middle as I had a bobbin of elastic left over from this.  The shirring isn't as tidy as it could be, and I have probably done one row too many, but I was trying to control some of the volume in the back - it's pretty blousey.
blousey back
 I lined the skirt section only, otherwise I'd be doing my own version of the famous 'Lady Diana Spencer' shot!

It's not my best make, but for the swelteringly hot days we had at various points in the summer, it was great. The weave of the fabric is quite open and was perfect for letting cooling breezes pass through. I considered a high-low hem as per the Staples dress, but to make the proprtions look right, the skirt would have been uncomfortabley short at the front, so a straight hem it was.
It's quite swishy:

And lastly, this picture is here just because I like it!

Monday, 22 September 2014

A Summer of Stripes- part 3 and a sad summer

This pattern may look a little familiar - it is the Burda Raglan sleeve top 2/2013#127 that I have made 3 times before, but this time it is a dress (seen first here):

I got the fabric from Lisa (formerly of Small Things now blogging at Paprika Patterns) during the Spring Sewing Swap hosted by Kerry of Kestrel Makes, earlier this year. As soon as I saw the fabric I thought it would be perfect for a little t-shirt dress to take on my summer holiday to Italy. There-in lies a tale...

I started the dress during a quiet weekend right at the beginning of the summer holidays. My eldest two had finished school for the summer and my youngest still had 2 days to go. Husband and Middlest had travelled to Norfolk with the aim of Middlest doing some sailing and Husband and one of his nephews cycling from Norfolk back home (roughly 100km). Unfortunately not all had gone to plan - I had a phone call from a very distressed and disorientated Husband, who had come off his bike in the middle of nowhere. He was clearly in a bad way and ended up being taken to hospital in Kings Lynn. My dress was left forgotten mid-stitch on the machine, while I sorted out the other 2 children and hot-footed it to the hospital (an hour and a half away).  Husband had been unconscoius, was found to have 3 broken ribs, a black eye, very painful shoulder, severe bruising and multiple grazes and gashes. Luckily he was with his nephew who had called an ambulance, unluckily he was very injured, and was told by the hospital that he couldn't fly for six weeks - this all happening 2 days before we due to fly to Italy for our first hot family holiday since we got back from living in NZ.  Cue cancelled holiday and very sad, worried and disappointed family. We did get all our money back including extenuating circumstances refund from RyanAir - surprisingly.

Moving on a couple of weeks, Husband was being to feel his recuperation was going well and he was a little more mobile. This was not to last, we had a phone call from my brother-in-law asking me to collect all the children that were at my mother-in-law's house and keep them out of the way. My father-in-law had collapsed whilst playing tennis and there was an ambulance crew in attendance. By the time I got there (5 mins away) it was clear that my father-in-law had died, and I had to go home and break the news to the rest of my family. This was completely and utterly unexpected, and was a huge shock to us all. Husband found himself suddenly having to be much more active and under stress whilst being in pain, at the same time assisting with the arrangements that go with organising a funeral.

So, as I said in my previous post, this summer has been pretty awful and it wasn't really a holiday for any of us. Husband's recuperation is going reasonabley well now, but getting used to my father-in-law not being around will inevitabley take time - if indeed one gets used to that kind of thing.

At some point in Husbands early recuperation I managed to finish this dress.  I think it spent 2 weeks mid-stitch on the machine, needle down. I was fully expecting the dress to have a hole in it where I left the needle in and/or to be stretched out of shape where it was hanging over the table, but all seemed fine.
After the traumas of its beginning, the dress was finished quite quickly without out any further drama, and I am really pleased with it. It is quite figure hugging, and I have to be very aware of my posture (and what underwear I choose) when wearing it, but I love it.

I have hemmed it just above my knees and have worn it like this since finishing it. I have included a picture where I have pinned the hem a lot higher with a view to wearing it with leggings and potentially making it more versatile, but having said that, I am not sure I would wear it that short as a dress...
Shorter length - why don't my legs go brown?
 I am particularly pleased with the neckband on this one - the previous ones have been a bit loose and gappy, even when I reduced the length on my last one.  This time I reduced the length by 12% rather than 10% and it is perfect - and looks rather fetching with the stripes going in the opposite direction. I finished the neck with a twin needle, but I may redo this bit as I think a single line of stitching may look better.

Anyway.... happily Husband's physical recuperation is going reasonabley well, although coming off Tramadol is not for the fainthearted - withdrawal symptoms anyone? Also we have booked a holiday somewhere hot for half-term, so I will get to wear this on holiday after all.

I am not normally one for unburdening myself of woes, but I couldn't do a post on this dress without it really.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

OWOP Round-up 2014

So I made it through the week of OWOP, but am not sure I have photos of all the days. To recap, the pattern I have chosen to use is the Burda Raglan sleeve top 02/2013 #127:


Saturday 6th Sept:
Travelled into London to try and see vlogger Alfie Deyes with Eldest. We were unsuccessful, but had a nice day - didn't take a photo:

Sunday 7th:
Home, working on trousers in an unblogged dress version:

Monday 8th:
This is my 'why didn't I do this earlier?' look:

Tuesday 9th:
Puzzling over pattern instructions having been to the gym:

Wednesday 10th:
Home - working on trousers again...

Thursday 11th
no idea what I wore and seemingly no photos either - oops!

Friday 12th
Home - working on trousers again...

It did get pretty chilly on a couple of days during the week and I almost had to use my other version of this, but it is mid-alteration and I don't really like it very much. I will finish the alteration and see if I like it a bit more - most of my dislike is to do with the fit.

I still really like my makes from this pattern and I wear them pretty regularly. I wouldn't be at all surprised if more turn up in the future! Thanks Jane it's been fun!

Monday, 8 September 2014

One Week One Pattern - OWOP is back

A couple of years ago, Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons hosted a group challenge called One Week One Pattern, or OWOP for short. The challenge is for sewists to choose one pattern and wear garments made from this pattern for a week.  It is up to those taking part how they interpret this - you could wear one garment styled in seven different ways or if you are very prolific, you could have a different garment for each day of the week. Since 2012, Tilly has been a bit busy, appearing on the first series of  the British Sewing Bee, writing a book and producing her own sewing patterns amongst other things - which means that OWOP has a new host, the lovely Handemade Jane.

Jane put out feelers regarding a rerun of OWOP and got a pretty overwhelming response as far as I can tell, and so we find ourselves 3 days into the challenge already. I have signed up, hence this post and I am doing ok so far.  The pattern I have chosen to use is the Burda Raglan sleeve top 02/2013 #127:
and I have four versions of this.  If the weather continues to be sunny I may have to be inventive with 2 of them, (one unblogged) otherwise they will all be being pressed into action! I will be doing a round up post after the end of the week.

Last time round I used the Lisette Portfolio tunic/dress pattern, my round-up is here.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

On my sewing table ...

Sewing has been achieved this summer, but blogging not so much. I have several draft posts waiting to be finished, but life has a habit of putting a spanner in the works and it is safe to say that this summer has, for our family, been awful.

However, sewing is my way of switching off and I need to revitalise my wardrobe. 

On my sewing table I currently have an autumnal shirt (although I don't think I'm done with summer sewing yet). I think the shirt will be recognisable - I just need to decide which elbow patch to choose...

The sleeves are in green and greyish  horizontal stripe. One sleeve has a lime green patch and the other has the sleeve fabric with the stripe going vertically.

The family have given me their views  - what do you think?

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)!