Saturday, 28 January 2017

FO: Faux Fur Bell Town Vest

This fabric was part of the little haul that I bought at Trumpington Hall in early December. I had about 90cm of about 150cm width and I knew that I was going to make a vest/gilet type top out of it. I had planned to make a pattern from a vest top/gilet that I currently own, but I was reading the December Indie Pattern Review that Fiona from Diary of a Chain Stitcher puts together every month and there she mentioned a free vest top pattern from Straight Stitch Designs, the Bell Town Vest. I had a quick look and immediately downloaded and printed it out.

I followed various pieces of advice that I had read on the Internet about cutting faux fur from the reverse of the fabric to avoid spoiling the pile/fur and limiting a fluff explosion. I used my favourite way of way of marking fabric - using  sliver of soap instead of chalk. I can rarely get chalk to work consistently and saw this as a tip somewhere on Instagram and it is great!

 There is a slight stripe in the fur so I had to be careful to match that up

The vest is lined and I used a lot of pins to keep the slippery lining and the shifty fur together.
pocket sewn into wrong seam... how did I not notice!
The pattern doesn't include pockets, but I wanted them in mine. I used the same pattern piece for the in seam pockets in my Minoru jacket and estimated where I wanted to put them.  Unfortunately I sewed them beautifully to the lining of the jacket and somehow only realised this after I had sewn up the side seams of the faux fur.  I spent a long time unpicking.... perfectly matching thread that sinks into the fabric is great until you need to remove it!
I managed to get the pockets in the right place with out unpicking the whole seam, but the pocket openings are a fraction smaller that they should be.

So here is my little ensemble on Lola.

I had planned to get the tops, skirt and gilet sewn ready for Christmas day, but I got some kind of lurgy and spent most of the week before Christmas in bed. However, a very good friend turned 50 recently and so I figured that I could wear the ensemble for her celebrations:

Friday, 20 January 2017

FO: Burdastyle skirt 11/2016 #102

I saw this skirt in the November issue of the BurdaStyle magazine and thought it was quite a nice variation on a simple skirt. My plan was to make it out of the shimmery beige fabric at top left in the picture below.
I didn't want to mess up the shimmery stuff, so very sensibly made a muslin using a greyish blue poly crepe fabric from the depths of my stash.  I tend to find that Burda patterns run big on me and the muslin showed this to be true again. I should probably just cut a smaller size. I took off the seam allowances on the side seams, put it back together and it fitted perfectly. The muslin also gave me a chance to construct the flounce. I couldn't get my head around the instructions and basted everything slightly wrong a couple of times.
Having got the muslin fitting nicely, I tackled the shimmery fabric.  I can't decide if it is a stretch woven or stable knit and it is really had to tell from either side of the fabric. It feels like faux suede and drapes beautifully, but was surprisingly hard sew - it was really hard to pin and it felt a bit 'sticky' going through the sewing machine. I have since bought some wonder clips to try if I come across the like again. Despite how tricky it was to handle, the invisible zip went in perfectly
Despite trying on at various stages of construction, the finished item has turned out to be a bit big in the waist - I think it stretched out with being handled. It would be a pretty easy fix if I wanted to sort it out. I am unlikely to wear it with a tucked in top, so may leave it.

Having had a very specific vision in my head of the finished skirt, I am not sure that this skirt lives up to that vision and due to the shimmery aspect, I am not sure that it is very flattering. I have worn it, it was ok. I am wondering, looking at various photos, whether it needs to be shorter, in which case I will definitely sort out the fit at the waist as that will hoick it up a bit!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

FO: Jersey tops for me...

At the beginning of December I went to the Stitch Fabric/MRosenberg fabric sale at Trumpington Village Hall. I wasn't sure that I would buy anything - goodness know I don't need more fabric! However I came away with a number of fabrics that all go together and a plan forming in my head.

I washed sample pieces of each fabric to see how they would react. There were no adverse effects so I washed everything on a normal wash and line dried them.  The jersey I thought would make a nice wrap dress or top, but it had quite a few flaws in it (It had been in the remnant pile and I knew the flaws were there)
Once I laid it out I decided to cut out a couple of tops rather than a dress, and opted for my trusty Burdastyle Raglan top
This top has gathering on the raglan sleeves, which looks lovely, but I forget how fiddly this is every.single.time! The neckband was really tricky this time - I normally top stitch the seam allowance of the neckband to get it to stay flat, but the fabric did not like that, so after a couple of attempts I gave up. I finished the sleeves and the bottom hem with bands, but I think I may take off the hem band as the top is very long.

I also made a MyImage magazine cowl neck top that I have made a few times before,

For some reason this top was a much easier sew than the other one, and possibly because of that I prefer this one out of the two!

I am hoping that these two tops will be quite versatile - there are so many colours in them that they will co-ordinate with a number of things already in my wardrobe.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Catching up with 2016....

I *still* haven't caught up with all the blog posts I wanted to write, about all the items I made in 2016. This post is going to be the catch up post so get ready for a long one, probably with lots of pictures! If you follow me on IG you may have seen some of these already.

Tie and bag for summer wedding:
I have done a couple posts already about my garments for this wedding. I also made Husband a tie to match my dress, using an old tie of his as the pattern
I also made myself a little bag for wedding day essentials, lippy and tissues! I basically made it up as I went along, lined it with the green silk I had used for the sleeves of the jacket, stitched the handles to make them feel more substantial and fashioned a little tassley thing to make it pretty

Pinafore dress for Eldest
I got a free pattern with a sewing mag that was a pinafore/dungaree combo (Cotton + Chalk Sunday Set).  Eldest asked me to make the dress and chose so fabric from the stash.  Unfortunately there wasn't enough for the skirt, which was a gathered circle skirt. I drafted a half circle skirt from her measurements and just about manage to squeeze it out of the fabric

She likes to keep her phone in the front pocket, which forces the bib down when being worn. We have just this week bought some dungaree clips so that I didn't have to bodge shortening the straps for her!

PJ's for Youngest
Youngest was in desperate need of more nightwear but was adamant that she wanted shop pj's.  I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandria Palace in early October and bought some lovely jersey that that I thought might appeal. As soon as she saw it she asked for pj's out of it in exactly the combo that I had envisioned!

I almost had a disaster when trimming down the neckband, in that I nicked a tiny, but obvious hole in the centre back of the top. I made a quick fix with some fray check and sewed a contrasting patch over it. I used the True Bias Hudson pants and the Sewaholic Renfrew top

Skirt for my friend
Earlier in the year I made a skirt for a friend of mine who has trouble getting skirts to fit properly. I finished it just in time for the weather to warm up so didn't get any photos until a few weeks ago.  The fabric was a great find from MRosenberg (Stitch Fabrics) and I drafted the skirt from her measurements

Skirt and top for me
I made a jersey skirt using the free Lindy Petal Skirt pattern by Itch to Stitch. I had quite a bit of this blue marly knit that I think is ex-Paul Smith left from other projects (Hudson pants, skater skirt, skater dress) so used it for this skirt and for a raglan sleeved top, pattern Newlook 6230, with some more leftovers as a feature in the front. I can't remember what size I cut for the skirt. It fitted pretty well straightaway but I did trim a little off the side seams in the hip area to get a smoother fit.

Fancy dress party
Husband and I were invited to a friend and her husbands joint 40th and 50th  birthday party in November, the theme being Dead Famous.  There were many variations on a theme, but I decided to go as Prince from a specific video. I made my jacket, the frilly cravat thing and at the very last minute, stretch crushed velvet leggings from a skirt from a local charity shop. The jacket pattern was McCalls 6844. I made a medium (12-14) but could heave easily gone down to a small or even extra small.  The front is supposed to meet at the centre front, but mine overlapped considerably. I made view C with a high/low peplum.
can you guess the Prince video?
Self drafted shift dress
I have been attending pattern cutting classes for a few years now and haven't used many of the patterns that we have drafted. I thought it was about time I did, and wanted a simple dress to show off some fabric.  I decided that I wanted french darts in the front, which we hadn't actually covered in class, but I used my block and found a tutorial on the Internet (can't remember where though) and worked it out. I am very pleased with the result, although it needs taking in a little
as is
pulled in a bit

 Pink sweatshirt for Eldest
I picked up some lovely sweatshirt fabric from a fabric swap earlier this year without much thought about what to do with it. Eldest saw it when I was looking for something else in my stash and asked it I could make her something.  The piece was quite small but I managed to get a cropped version of the Newlook 6230 raglan top out of it. The edges rolled like crazy, but Eldest liked that and asked that I leave the edges unfinished so that they curled up

Late night photos means the colour is a bit off, but it is a lovely soft pink.

Husbands Christmas present
For the last 5 or so years I have made Husband a shirt for Christmas. We both felt it was time for a change so I started making him a waistcoat. Unfortunately, I got really poorly just before Christmas and was sent to bed by Husband so that I would be well in time for the festivities.  Spending the best part of a week in bed threw all my plans out of the window re sewing and everything else really.  I got as far as I could, wrapped it up and gave it to him with an IOU! Even though I had checked his measurements and checked the finished garment measurements it is a fraction too small. However, I am going to finish it as it has the best welt pockets on that I have ever done, and Husband is on a mission to fit into it!

Top for New Year
Having had my sewing plans scuppered in the run up to Christmas I was determined to whip up some thing for the new year.  I made a couple of tops, a Burda raglan top ( Raglan shirt 02/2013 #127) that I have made a lot before, and a MyImage cowl neck top that I have also made a few times already. Both of these tops are out of the same fabric. I picked it up from MRosenberg pretty cheaply just before Christmas, but it was full of flaws (this was reflected in the price!) that required some creative layouts. I currently only have a picture of one of the tops, but may blog them both properly in the next week or so.
I really like this picture! I looks like I have put s crazy filter on it, but it is just the lighting in my sewing room.

Phew, that is it for last year.  I have been sewing nonstop in the last week, so hopefully will have some finished items to show soon.  Happy New Year and Happy sewing!