Thursday, 5 July 2018

A wafty Kalle shirt

I know some of you live in hot climates and I also lived a few years in Italy, working in 44 degree heat, and this statement will make you laugh but yes, we're having a 'heatwave' in Scotland! It seems to be consistently at least 22 degrees or more and we're having a proper summer. Hurray! I love it and I'm also loving all the shirts I've made too. See what I did there? Here's another shirt I'm enjoying wearing...


It's a Closet Case Kalle shirt, I think it's in the tunic length. I haven't added any length and I'm 5' 9" tall. This pattern is a size 14 and no alterations made to pattern. The fabric is from Cloth Spot and seems to be sold out as I can't see it on their website. It's more of a lightweight viscose, and has all the lovely drape and hang you'd expect. It's lovely and wafty and cool to wear!




Getting the interfacing right was an interesting experience and a lesson in patience. But it's paid off and the collar sits beautifully. As the viscose is lightweight I used black iron-on ultra-soft interfacing. This still didn't have enough body for the collar to sit right or to provide enough reinforcement for the buttons and buttonholes. I cut another layer of the ultra-soft and ironed it on and that was perfect. It's sometimes a difficult thing to get right.  




This is a better image of the print even if the blue isn't blue enough. Nice horizontal stripe pattern matching in the front buttonhole band. I wasn't even going to try and pattern match the tiny motifs. Preferred to keep my sanity! It's good enough. The buttons were given to me by my mum and are a pearly white irridescent colour, set in antique dull brass coloured surrounds. I have no idea where she got them from and her button collection included some I remember seeing in the 1970's on clothing she sewed for me. There were only eight buttons and I'd love another one to put on the bottom of the shirt but they're such a good match to the shirt I really wanted to use them. 

I think there's still one more shirt to tell you about. You have been warned! I thin I made the black trousers I'm wearing in these photos. They were from a stretch cotton fabric from Cloth Spot. Using the Ultimate trouser pattern from Sew Over it. But black...so no point in photographing them. They get an honourable mention though. 

Till the next time! 



Thursday, 28 June 2018

This year's new short sleeved Melilot shirt

Yes folks, I'm really on a roll with the shirt-making this year! Here's another shirt I made a few months ago that I've been wearing quite a lot recently. It's another short sleeved Deer and Doe Melilot shirt just like the one I made last year. I've been wearing that one a lot too.


This one is made from a cotton sateen with a bit of stretch in it. I bought it last year but can't remember where I bought it from. I used iron-on lightweight interfacing for the collar and button/buttonhole bands. I bought buttons from Edinburgh Fabrics, they're shiny fish-eye black buttons, small but perfect for this shirt. I'd had a good look-through my button box but nothing looked right. What can compete against the animal print, eh? Especially as that animal print has magenta coloured 'accents' in the print! Unfortunately you can't see the magenta bits in any of these photos, but they are there.


And here's the back view showing the perfectly aligned stripe down the centre of the back but I think I put the sleeve bands on the wrong way around with the angled seam at my armpit and the straight seam on my shoulder. Nothing's perfect!


We're currently having a heatwave in Scotland (words I don't expect to say very often...) and I've been wearing my new shirts loads. They're just perfect at making me feel smart enough for work but I know I'll still keep cool with the natural fibres. The world is divided into people who feel cold and people who feel warm most of the time. I'm the former so these are the perfect garments for working in the warm weather. How do you keep cool and look work-appropriate in the summer? 

Monday, 28 May 2018

Monday bonus shirt day!

I know, I did say I'd be bringing you my new black corduroy quilted jacket I recently finished...but here's a bonus-post on my other favourite shirt pattern of the moment. Yes, it's the Closet Case Kalle shirt. Or to be exact, it's the tunic length. I just happened to take very quick photos of it on Saturday so here it it!


I absolutely love this pattern! It's so dramatic with the high-low front and back hem, the kimono sleeves finished with their tricky bands - got to match the notches and seams. I am 5'9" tall and I have not lenghthened or adjusted the pattern in any way. Just so you know if you're planning to make this and are not as tall as I am. Or perhaps taller than I am, either way! 

The fabric is a magnificent viscose bought from Clothspot, of course. This is such a lovely quality of fabric and is opaque. It's a medium weight viscose and I think it was under £10 a metre. I bought 2 metres and have a little bit left which will become pocket bags. I've been wearing it loads and if it's not in the wash or ironing pile, I'll be wearing it! 


The thing about a great pattern like the Kalle shirt is that you can make it may times and never get tired of it. I really like how different it it made in a draping fabric like this viscose, compared with a 'fabric with personality' like linen. I made a linen version last year and currently have a forest green length of linen which I've just pre-washed and ready to become a Kalle. So much fabric, so little time!

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Shirts beautiful shirts!

...and I'm back! It's been such a long time since I blogged but I've still been sewing. I just don't like taking photos in winter and then get out of the habit altogether. So what have I been sewing? Lots and lots of duplicates. I seem to be on a shirt marathon at the moment. I love a good shirt! Especially the Deer and Doe Melilot. I've made lots of short and long sleeves versions but I'll restrict the fun today to the long sleeved ones. And reveal my latest addiction. To Clothspot. I found a link to them on the Diary of a Chain Stitcher's blog and of course clicked through, keen to find out about a new online fabric shop. It's marvellous! All the fabric I've bought from them is lovely, good quality and reasonably priced. Also, they have a lot of breathable fibres and also some good bottom weight fabrics that can be difficult to find. I've found that if I order before lunch, they'll post it out that afternoon and I usually get the fabric the next day. Brilliant! Nope, they haven't paid me to endorse their products etc.


Back to the shirts. This first one I call my 'Semaphore shirt' because it looks like lots of tiny semaphore flags. I bought this from...yes it was Clothspot. It's a lovely, medium weight opaque viscose that drapes beautifully. The buttons were from my button tin and are the same size but different shades of  dark mud. Whatever the colour, they're craftily hidden by the semaphore print. Along with the wonky stitching on the sleeve placket that you can't see even in the close-up below. Result!


I think I added an inch to the body length of the shirt and probably 2 cms to the sleeve length #sewingtall. I was feeling they needed a little more length and I think this was a good call. I'll do the same for future versions. Let's face it, I'm not going to stop my personal 'Melilot factory'. I love when I get the adjustments right and can just run off another garment without adjusting.


This green cotton lawn version I made with a fabric from John Lewis. I think it was about £16 a metre and not quite 150cms wide when I bought it last year. The colour in the above photo is true to life, the close up below is just weird! Anyone noticed how the fabric department in John Lewis Edinburgh store has plummeted downhill? I rarely go now, there's no incentive of great fabric to make the journey worthwhile. 


Anyway, this version was made before the semaphore version and obviously before the lengthening adjustments. It doesn't stop me wearing it as I love the print and the colour. Why is it so difficult to find green fabric?

Coming shortly, the black corduroy quilted jacket, perfect for the Scottish summer!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Fashionably dark floral Melilot shirt


Ah, this is definitely my favourite shirt pattern ever, the Deer and Doe Melilot! I even have yet another one cut out at home so you'll see that one soon. It was interesting playing around with the pattern placement on that one! But anyway, back to this dark floral one which is apparently very 'on trend' for autumn winter. That'll be a first!

The fabric was from Edinburgh Fabrics and I suspect it's 100% polyester. But it's an acceptable polyester. Some are not. It was quite easy to work with and seems to take a pressing very well. Anyway I bought the fabric without having a plan in my head about what to make with it. I just knew I had to have the fabric.


I used lightweight iron on charcoal interfacing and the buttons were salvaged from my button tin. The sleeve buttons are different from the front buttons. The seams were for the most part sewn on my overlocker but my new sewing machine was used sometimes too. It does really good buttonholes!


This time I followed the instructions and sewed the hem before sewing up the side seams and the finish is good. It keeps the hem beautifully curved. And that's about all I have to say about this new shirt except that it gets washed and worn almost weekly and because it's polyester it doesn't need ironing. What a marvellous shirt!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Lekala skirt and New Look 6217 slightly altered lace and linen top


I made this outfit a wee while ago and took it on holiday to Spain in June. Boy was it hot weather and natural fibres were essential! I tried some Lekala patterns last year and this pencil skirt is one of those. Lekala entice you in by creating sewing patterns according to the measurements, fit and body shape details that you enter into their website. Wait for a few minutes and the personalised pattern appears in your inbox. And they're very reasonably priced too, just a few dollars, which seems a good buy to me!


My advice is to measure yourself and be honest when entering those numbers! Although I do wonder if the software adds a little extra ease to make up for stretching the truth, but not the measuring tape. This happened to me and the skirt is a bit generous. I tried it on during the making process but I should have taken it in a little bit.


Also, this skirt, and other styles I've made, are only just long enough. My height is all in my legs, that's for sure, so I should have measured the pattern and adjusted. These patterns are great starting points but you might need to make a few tiny tweaks to get the fit just right for you. Having said that, I've bought and sewn up three Lekala skirts of different styles (two are unblogged) and would thoroughly recommend them. Well, except for Lekala instructions which are very brief. Sometimes there aren't any instructions and sometimes they're in Russian, not English.

If this skirt looks very familiar, it is, because I used the same fabric to make into a shirt here. I won't be wearing them both at the same time! I lined the skirt with black bemberg rayon, oh how I love this lining! Can't go back to polyester now. It was an easy make with no problem.


The top was made from remnants of black linen from these trousers and black lace I'd bought in a sale. The bias binding around the neckline is made from the black linen and works well to stabilise the unstable lace.


I used the old favourite New Look 6217 pattern and drafted two new pattern pieces for the lace. It's worked out very well. I used the overlocker for most of the construction, overlocking the sleeve edge and turning it up, then machine stitching the hem. For the lower hem I think I overlocked the edge then turned up an inch before machining the hem.    


So there we have it, a complete outfit that I've even worn in summer-averse Scotland. Have you tried Lekala patterns? Tempted?

Friday, 18 August 2017

The marvellous Kalle shirt in merlot linen


After my mixed feelings on my green Closet Case Carolyn pyjamas, I already had the Kalle shirt pattern downloaded and stuck together. The merlot linen was purchased from Edinburgh Fabrics for about £14 a metre, prewashed and I was good to go. I absolutely love the finished shirt! This is a great pattern and produces a lovely garment with a high quality finish both on the outside and inside. 

Now, as I show you these photos of my tunic/shirt, keep in mind that I'm 5'9" tall (or 1.75m for metric folk) and remember, I didn't add any length to this. In fact, what you see is the size 14 sewn up without any alterations made to the pattern. At all. Heather's advice was choose the size based on the bust measurement, so that's what I did. Good advice.


I tried the burrito method of encasing the yoke and this time it worked out for me, although it was very strange and took some figuring out. Just do what the instructions tell you, look at the diagrams and put your trust in Heather's knowledge. The first time I tried it, on a muslin for the Kelly anorak which may or may not get sewn this year, it didn't work out and the shoulder seams were on the outside. Ah well, that's what a muslin's for, isn't it?


For the hem, I didn't want to make bias binding from this fabric. It would be too rigid and too bulky. I tried the baby hem, as suggested in the pattern but like Goldilocks, this just wasn't right either and didn't sit well at the hip curve. So I used the front and back pattern pieces to cut 3" wide facings. I overlocked the side seams together, then finished the top edge with the overlocker. I then joined the facing to the hem with the overlocker, turned the facing to the inside and topstitched about 2.5" from the finished edge. It's worked beautifully and adds some weight to the hem which gives it a certain movement that you can feel when walking. I think this treatment suits a heavier fabric like linen and I'd do it again.

I used black iron-on lightweight interfacing on the collar and button and buttonhole bands. I was swithering between lightweight and medium-weight but I reckoned I could do two layers of lightweight if it was too insignificant. I'm so glad I went with one layer of lightweight. It's beefy enough on the linen but isn't too rigid, thank goodness. I don't like seeing collars that 'fly' due to heavy interfacing.


I love the buttons. I finished the shirt and had a good investigation of my button tin but nothing grabbed me. So I took the shirt and went off to Edinburgh Fabrics where I found these little beauties. They're just right for this shirt! The collar is also the right size for me to wear it comfortably buttoned up, which is a new look for me. I like it!


Currently the shirt is on a wash and wear cycle, which says it all really. I could also be frantically trying to wear it as much as I can before summer ends which in Scotland will be in about two weeks time! Did I say I love this shirt?