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)!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

FO: A Summer of Stripes - part one

I seem to like stripes particularly in tops. I have a number of ageing rtw knit tops in stripes and in an effort to replace some of my rtw items, I have made some more stripey tops. Today is top number 1:

This top has already been seen in my polka dot skirt post...

This is the Burda raglan sleeve top 02/2013 #127 that I have already made here and here. In the magazine, one of the photos showed a red and white stripey top in the short sleeve version, which I liked the look of. (Although you can't see much of it under that mac!)

When on Goldhawk during during the NYLon14 meet up, I found some red and white stripey jersey, which I think is probably a viscose jersey.  It is quite thin and drapey and I thought it would look good with the gathers in the sleeves.

The last couple of times I made this I haven't really followed the instructions properly. Previously I sewed the side seams and sleeve seam all in one, having already attached the sleeve to the body. This time I did follow the instructions which have you sew the body seams and the underarm seam, then set the sleeve in. It was a phaff and I wished I had done my own thing again. Doing it their way also meant that the sleeve seams just didn't want to sit properly the first couple of times I wore it, but it's ok now.

I shortened the neck band by about 10% on this make as I felt the neck was sagging in the last one I made, but I don't think I did it enough as the back neck still sags a bit. It also looks like I need a sway back adjustment in the back view above. I think it is because the fabric is so drapey.

I love this top and have already worn it loads. It is probably my most worn top this summer! Somehow I have managed to get a teeny tiny hole in the front, so I may end up shortening it at some point.