Friday, 29 May 2015

Magenta Mousehouse Julia cardigan

I've been trying to fill a huge gap in my wardrobe for summer cardigans but finding sewing patterns is quite difficult as there aren't many out there. Maybe when I get a few more under my belt I can make some for autumn/winter using more expensive fabrics containing wool. So that was the cunning plan!

I bought the Julia cardigan pattern from Mousehouse. It's the first digital pattern I've bought and I have to say printing and taping it together wasn't too bad an experience. Just read the instructions first, make sure your printer is set up correctly and measure the test square. Simple, really.

I chose a magenta coloured 100% viscose fabric and pre-washed it. It didn't half have a life of its own when I was cutting it out! It was really difficult making sure it sat correctly and that I was cutting a reasonably even edge. Having said that, because it's a jersey there's no seam finishing required. Hurray! So I just trimmed the seams to about 6mm and pressed them. The cardigan took last Sunday afternoon to cut out and sew together, so all in all, about 4 or 5 hours of sewing at my own pace.

 Here's an action shot of me wearing my new cardigan. I made the long sleeved double band version. It's quite a fabric-hungry pattern, I think I used about 2.5m of 150cm wide fabric. I didn't add any length to the body of the sleeves and ended up cutting off about 4cm from each sleeve before attaching the cuffs. Those are long sleeves, people! The shawl collar and edge are finished off with long bands of fabric, difficult to explain and much easier to understand when you're sewing it up. I used my sewing machine throughout and tested my zigzag stitch/tension on scraps until it was right.

I like the style of this cardigan, love the colour and the fact it has a collar. The shoulder seams sit just right on me and I really like the fit of it. It's quite long at the back, as you can see, remember that I didn't add any length to the body and I'm 5'9" tall. So that's something to think about if you're planning on making it...

So, all in all, a great pattern and I didn't need to make any lengthening adjustments. Hurray! I'll be making more of these in different colours in the future. I've already bought the Burdastyle Karen pattern so that's probably next on my cardigan-making list. Just need to buy some fabric...!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Me Made May - Week 4

Hi everyone and I have to report that I'm finally getting the hang of Me Made May...just as the end of the month comes into sight! Anyway, here's my week in me-made clothing. Brace yourselves.

Last Saturday I met a friend for lunch. This was obviously taken before she arrived, but the restaurant had a very convenient, and sometimes very distracting when you're eating, mirrored wall. Great for Me Made May selfies to prove I was wearing my 'Disco-tastic' top.

Astoundingly, the weather was so good last Saturday I was able to wear my new green linen Minoru jacket on its maiden voyage. I received, on separate occasions and in different locations, compliments from 2 'Young People' (at least half my age) who admired my new Minoru. I was flabbergasted...but well chuffed!

...and proof it does get sunny enough to wear sunglasses in Scotland! Also proof that I wore the two garments together. I think I'm waiting for the bus in St Andrew Square here.

On Sunday the weather was 'less good' so after heading to the supermarket, it was head down for an afternoon of sewing. I'm wearing my black bamboo top ('The Sewing Tip' in the background. Using this definition of the word 'tip').

On Monday it was the turn of my green squares top. I don't think I've worn that in May before.

Tuesday is swimming lesson day so a quick-change is required. Enter stage left, the printed jersey top, seen before in Me Made May but I do like it.

Wednesday was when I realised I'd already worn 4 items in the week so had theoretically met my pledge, but no, I was on a roll! So, coming up on the inside is a new and as yet unblogged garment, the Mousehouse Julia Cardigan. I'd finished it on Sunday and foolishly thought it would be warm enough to wear. It wasn't...

I wore a short sleeved top underneath and this coincided with the day my work decided to turn off the heating. Because it's summer. Don't they know it's Scotland?

Anyway, you also get to see another scarf from my collection. I call it my Gyspy Rose Lee (now there's an interesting woman!) scarf because it has roses and hundreds of tiny sequins sewn into it that shed all over the place.

And that brings us to today. Well, I haven't worn my magenta scarf all week so it had to make an appearance or you'd think something had happened to it! I'm also dressing more warmly today. On the way home I'd have paid someone for a pair of gloves. Really, I was that cold! However the magenta scarf goes well with this flowery blouse.

And of course, I've been wearing my me-made pyjamas and jackets throughout this week too. I have to confess I wore a RTW jacket on Wednesday.

So, what have I learn this week?
  • After a severe talking to last week, I made the Julia cardigan to start filling a gap in my wardrobe. I liked wearing a different coloured cardigan and I'd like to use this pattern again.
  • I'd like to make another blouse using the same pattern as the flowery blouse. It's good having a blouse that fits properly everywhere! 
  • Still need some summer trousers
  • Still need some summer skirts
  • Still need an intermediate jacket or coat 

I think a month is a good length of time to do this as the routine sets in. It also makes you reach automatically for the me-made items when getting dressed in the morning. How are you getting on with Me Made May?

Monday, 25 May 2015


It's a wonder this hasn't been on BBC news, but I have finished, and worn (yes, the weather was spring-like on Saturday, but only Saturday, mind!),  my first Sewaholic Minoru jacket. It's in dark green 100% linen which I bought from Stone Fabrics after getting quite a few swatches. I seriously like the fabrics in that shop and will definitely be buying from them again. The free swatch service is great and although you can't order online, ordering by phone is easy-peasy. The fabric arrived very quickly.

I obviously pre-washed the linen and steam pressed it. The outer fabric was ready, but what about the lining? I did think about lining it in silk but ended up buying from John Lewis what was left on the bolt of the viscose I used to make this top. And again pre-washed it before cutting out. It is a perfect match for the linen, I think. Here's a flash of the lining, ha ha!

I made a muslin to check the fit and trial some adjustments. I did a 2" FBA as this pattern is drafted for pear shaped folk and I am not. Actually I'm not sure I needed to bother because this is very roomy. I also decided to continue the gathers at the neck along to the front centre bands. It just looked odd on the muslin to have then stopping before this.

I also added welt pockets. Got to have somewhere to put my phone and hands!

Didn't add the inside pockets. I also reduced the height of the collar by 1", it would just get covered in make-up otherwise.

I didn't add the sleeve cuffs. I have really long arms, matches my tendency towards 'long', and these sleeves were so long I just hemmed and topstitched. That's seriously long sleeves, people! Here's a photo of the sleeve hem treatment:

I didn't add anything to the length of the jacket body either but for some reason the front bands were too short in the muslin, I don't know why! So in the linen I just cut them as long as I could make them. The zip is the stated length on the pattern, a 30" open ended one. Getting the right zip was sooo difficult! It looks terrible in this photo but in real life the colour matches the textured weave bits on the linen and looks fine.

The green is so difficult to photograph and looks different in every photo! The top photo is probably the most real-life!

I love how the linen behaves with the elastic in the back. It seems to form softer gathers.

So, time for the round-up. I suspect this jacket will be a bit 'Marmite' for people, you'll either love it or hate it. I didn't press the jacket when it was finished, just wore it so that must be a good sign. Don't think I'll bother either as that's part of the charm of linen.

I also think the dark green makes me look like I'm off to a World War 1 re-enactment!

Here is the jacket out on its maiden voyage on Saturday, near St Andrew Square in Edinburgh, just to prove there was some sunshine about! I'm also looking slightly stunned as two Young People complemented me on my jacket in the morning. Just about fell over. Twice. And was almost speechless!
Right, now that I've lured you in by lots of colour photos and witty chat (hopefully!), it's now Confession time. I added interfacing to the collar and front bands. The pattern says just the front bands but the collar didn't stand up enough as I wanted it to. So, with interfacing the collar didn't sit right when it was unzipped. Can't win! So I ripped off the upper layer of the interfacing and enough stayed behind to stand up right. Result! It was just right.

But the biggest confession is that I got too carried away trimming my hem and cut away too much. Had to put a patch on either side:


Until the next time...which could be the big feathers skirt. You're warned but it still won't prepare you for what's to come!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Me Made May - Week 3

Let the repetition begin! Here's my roundup of week 3-

This is an interesting one because Me Made May has made me wear it for the first time. I'm not sure why I haven't worn it since I first made it, perhaps it looks too 'Christmas-y' with the red and green?

Either way, it's 100% cotton and lovely to wear. I don't think it'll ever become my favourite but I'm not getting rid of it. It's Paisley pattern, after all!

So this is what I wore last Saturday daytime.

I went out for dinner on Saturday night and forgot to take my photo. So you'll have to make do with this 'from my blog' photo of the me-made top I wore.

Now, here's the story...we don't get the May holidays at the beginning and end of May. Instead we get an extra-long long weekend in the middle of May and get the Monday and Tuesday off. Nope doesn't make sense to me either but I'm not going to argue with a couple of days off!

So, here I am, about to do a day's sewing, see the sewing machine ready for action in the corner! I'm wearing my black bamboo top. Love the fabric! I wish they did patterned/printed bamboo, I know it's not cheap but it's far superior to cotton, lovely silky smooth finish to it and it's breathable. Apparently it's also more environmentally friendly than cotton to produce. I didn't go out of the house all day, just stayed inside and sewed. Bliss!

I stayed inside the house and sewed all day until I had to head out for my swimming lesson. Here's me taking a sneaky photo while in a changing cubicle of the pool. I'm wearing my most recent top, I love the colours in it.

No, I didn't change into a me-made swimsuit. To be honest I can't be bothered to make something that will only last me about 12 months before the lycra gets eaten away by the chlorine. And that's with chlorine-resistant fabric. I don't have a lot of time that I can sew so I'm not wasting it (my personal viewpoint!) sewing swimwear. Or underwear either, but let's not stray too far down that road.

Wednesday meant back to work and what I call my Hornel top because it reminds me of the paintings of E A Hornel. He was an artist who lived in Kirkcudbright (pronounced Kirk-koo-brae) in the south west of Scotland at the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century. I was born in the area (not at that time) and spent the formative years of my life there. Some of his works have a strong Japanese influence but he also painted Scottish scenes too. The pattern on this top reminds me of his treatment of flowers in some of his paintings, just in case you were wondering where all this was going!

He was associated with the 'Glasgow Boys' and we saw lots of their paintings at Kelvingrove Museum and Gallery when we were in Glasgow last month. You can also visit Hornel's House in Kirkcudbright too. There, I've (unexpectedly!) done my bit for tourism in Scotland.

So, back to me Made May! Lessons learnt this week-

  • I have been wearing quite a few items that I haven't worn for a few months, or indeed ever.
  • Still need 'bottoms'!
  • Need some outerwear for when the weather gets warmer (will it ever?!?)
  • Need some cardigans too

What I need to do now -

  • take some photos of my now completed green linen Minoru jacket and blog it
  • get on and finish the black stretch cotton Ultimate trousers
  • get started the stone coloured stretch cotton Ultimate trousers
  • finish the large multicoloured feathers skirt (and I mean 'LARGE' feathers)
  • cut out the magenta viscose fabric for a Julia cardigan (this item has parachuted in and jumped to the top of my sewing list!)   

Better go and earn some more fabric tokens at work. I'll be back.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Me Made May - Week2

Well hello there and how are you all? I was busy sewing away like a contented wee thing last Sunday afternoon but haven't finished anything to blog about. Sometimes that's just the way things happen, but I do have my round-up on week two of Me Made May 2015:

Now, I have a confession! I did wear a me made top last Saturday, but I went out for lunch. Yes, I was in my 'natural habitat' again...except this time I forgot to ask my lunch companion to take photo-evidence of me wearing the top on the left. I think wine may have been a factor in this forgetfulness :) 

I also wore the first wool jacket I ever made, this time there's evidence! Yes the weather is still playing about and being too cold for anything but a wool jacket.

This was Monday's garment. It's my favourite pattern and I love the squares print. 

Back to me in my office with my 'magic eye' top!

And here's a double whammy of me on the bus wearing this recently made top and my wool jacket. Trying not to look like I'm taking a selfie. Which I am...

And back in my office with my floral blouse/shirt. And the ever-popular pink scarf. I seem to wear that a lot! Just getting my money's worth out of it, ha ha!

So, what have I learnt this week? 
  • I dearly need to finish the Ultimate Trousers I started last weekend to give me SOMETHING me made to wear on the bottom half. 
  • I also need to think about summer skirts 
  • I also need to sew some cardigans for the summer too. Although there aren't many sewing cardigan patterns out there although I do have my eye on the Mouse House Julia cardigan, Burdastyle's Karen cardigan and Sunset Infinity Scarf cardigan patterns.
  • Maybe I need to buy (or make?) some more coloured scarves!
I'm going out for dinner tomorrow night so that'll hopefully give you some relief from the by-now-getting-repetitive stream of tops you've seen for the last couple of weeks. I have three me-made contenders to wear for going out. 

This weekend I'm going to buy the final supplies and make my muslin for my Minoru jacket. Can't wait! 

Until the next time, have a good weekend!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Me Made May - Week 1

I decided I'd spare you from falling asleep with daily posts of what I'm wearing for Me-Made-May 2015 and save it all for weekly posts. So here they are! My pledge was to wear at least 4 items in a week. So how have I done?

This is me in my natural habitat...a restaurant. Note the wine hasn't been ordered yet so I'm obviously getting a bit twitchy about that. Thanks to my friend L for her photographic services. I'm wearing the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge top and scarf I blogged about here. This was also the first outing for this electric blue/purple/black animal print ensemble and it was a rip-roaring success. I loved it! It's now in the wash...AGAIN!

In Monday I wore a new top I'd sewn up the day before just because I'm like that! If I sew it I have to wear it, none of this 'keeping it for good' malarkey! This is me in my office.

Tuesday it was the turn of my magic-eye top (are magic eye pictures still around? I tried them a few times but they never worked). I thought I'd photograph a different angle of my office. Just for a bit of variety.

Wednesday was the floral top. I've a feeling this is stretching a bit in the wash. Mind you, I do wear it a lot. Still in my office!

Today it's the turn of my floral blouse. I do like this shirt/blouse especially as it doesn't need any ironing. It's a wash and wear. And yep, still in my office!

I've also been wearing other clothing I've sewn, but haven't worn them all day. This week I've worn both of the jackets I made, but only remembered to photograph one of them.

Me at the bus stop on Monday with this jacket on...

..and the same jacket just arriving at work today.

This week I've also been wearing the PJs that I made but as I don't go out of the house in those (!), I'm not sure if they count for Me Made May. Och, I'll stick them in anyway!

So, the big question. What have I learnt this week?

  • I've sewn mainly tops which isn't surprising as that was a gaping chasm of a hole in my wardrobe months ago. I think I still need some more as there are some older RTW tops that really need to see the inside of a bin! 
  • I've got two jackets that are fine for this weather, but in a month's time, I'm not so sure. I need some lighter weight jackets.
  • I wear a lot of scarves. I knew this already but looking at these photos, I could make some myself. 
  • And the biggie. I need to sew trousers and some skirts. I have very few 'bottom half' garments and really need to sew some up. 

How are you all getting on with Me Made May? I think I've done not too badly this week for wearing me made clothes but as I look through my Wardrobe page I realise there are some clothes I haven't worn as often as others. Well, there are more than 3 weeks to go so brace yourselves!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Printed jersey top

Well, after weeks and weeks of not having enough time to do any sewing, I spent yesterday afternoon...sewing! Hurray! It's good to sew and I wanted a quick make. Some of you might remember the fabrics I bought when we went to Glasgow for the weekend and mentioned in this post, well I used the printed viscose jersey fabric from this haul and reached for a tried and tested pattern New Look 6216. I made View A, the longer sleeved top.

Actually I'm telling a bit of a fib! I cut View A and added as much as I could to the length of the sleeves. I bought 1.5 metres of 150cm wide of the fabric. The I pre-washed it and think it shrank because when I laid out the pattern pieces to cut it out, I didn't have enough fabric to add my customary 2" to the body length. Yikes! In the end I folded the fabric width-wise and was able to get the proper body length in. I'd wanted full length sleeves but had to settle for 3/4 length. Oh well, I can live with that.

What I have found is that the finished top isn't as stretchy as it should or could be. The majority of the stretch now goes lengthways because of how I cut it out, there is some widthwise stretch so I added a bit of extra ease as I was cutting out so that's not a problem.

I'm wearing this as I'm writing this blog-post so it qualifies for Me Made May, I've decided to post at the end of every week for Me Made May. It'll be more of a stroll through my week rather than a gallop trying to post every day.

So, not that exciting a top or pattern but it's one of those makes that 'fills a gap' and I have a very wearable top for work which is no bad thing. Just have to get some desperately needed trousers started though......

Friday, 1 May 2015

Planning the next project

Well, I've been so busy the past three weeks that I haven't been able to get anywhere near my sewing. That doesn't stop me from planning and getting ready for my next project though! So, what is it? I'm going to make an olive green/khaki linen Minoru jacket for the summer. I've spent sooooo long daydreaming about how this jacket is going to finish up. Do you do that too? Hours of thinking about every element, discarding some things and having light-bulb moments about others. Or am I just a mad-sewing-woman?You really don't have to answer that question!

So back to the Minoru. I've bought the pattern and now it's on to the fabric. I've surfed the internet looking for the right colour of linen. You see, the problem is that I recently threw out the lovely olive green/khaki summer jacket I've had for about 6 years. Now I need to replace it so the planned new jacket has 'big sleeves to fill'!

I finally found some suitable coloured linen on Stone Fabrics website and sent off for samples of 4 contenders. When I got home tonight, they were waiting for the selection to begin.

Yes, one of the samples is a lovely wine red colour, slightly different from the colour in this photo. I don't really do pastels....

The two dark green samples are 100% linen and the lightest green and the wine red are 53% linen 45%viscose and 2% Lycra. The only difference between the two types of fabric is that the linen-viscose-lycra cloth feels smoother than the 100% linen but there's not much in it really. I actually like the idea of stretch linen to avoid baggy knees on linen trousers!

The selection was made pretty quickly. It's the top left dark green/khaki 100% linen. It looks more green in real life than this photo. here's a link to it on the website. I've just ordered 3.5m of it, to allow for pre-washing shrinkage and to lengthen the body pieces for me.

So, what are the next steps? For the lining I've been thinking of silk as I'd like as much of this as possible to be natural fibres for the summer and silk seems the right choice. I've never sewn with silk before, anyone got any tips?

So excited, now just need to wait for the linen to arrive...!