Thursday, 21 March 2019

Mother's Day present


I've had this pattern for ages, Simplicity 1366 as I wanted to make the short sleeved top. A while ago, this top was very popular and everyone except me made it. I still want to try is out but when I asked my mum what she wanted for her birthday, which is near Christmas, she asked for some classic camisoles to wear underneath quite sheer tops when her and my dad go out of an evening. There were other criteria too! No lace over the bust and no seams, she wants a smooth finish. I tried looking in the shops but there was absolutely nothing, just lots of jersey knit vests. Ah, that was another criteria, they shouldn't be clingy. 

Somewhere along the line, I remembered I had this pattern so I made a hopefully wearable muslin, using a cream satin-backed crepe from Edinburgh Fabrics. I was too lazy to change the overlocker threads from black to ivory so instead I zig-zagged any raw edges inside, thinking that this wouldn't really be wearable and that I'd have to make adjustments. I cut the size 14 straight out of the packet, then posted the finished camisole to her and waited to hear what she said. Shock of my life it actually fit perfectly! Wish I had changed the overlocker threads after all!


So, at the beginning of March I knew what I was going to get her for Mother's Day, two camisoles...with overlocked innards. So I chose some ivory and pale pink satin-backed crepe from Edinburgh Fabrics and sewed these lovelies up in two afternoons. I used some lightweight iron-on interfacing around the facing, just to reinforce the top seam. I also managed to produce four bias cut rouleaux straps, usually my nemesis in any sewing project.


The most tricky parts were sewing the facing around the top edge and making sure you sew the straps in correctly. Apart from that, it's quite an easy sew. I know it's a top rather than underwear, but depending on the fabric, it's a good pattern for both. I like the idea of sewing up more than one view in a sewing pattern, it's better value for money and seems more of a challenge to myself to think of a pattern as being for more than one garment. Maybe I'm getting too accustomed to indy patterns. 

Anyway, a slightly different post on sewing for someone else. Now I just need to post them to her for Sunday 31st March, Mother's Day in the UK. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Closet Case Carolyn Pyjamas


I love pyjamas! Especially ones that are long enough in the arms and legs and are made of cosy brushed cotton. Like these new ones are! I spent about a day and a half cutting out the pyjama pieces so the pattern would match. The pattern pieces for the sleeve cuff and leg cuff are cut on the straight grain, unlike the other pyjama pattern I sometimes use. Next time I'll cut on the bias and save myself some time and the inevitable 'pattern un-matching' during the sewing process, Exhibit 1:


I added piping, using No.1 piping cord and purchased satin green bias binding. I also bought some green fish eye buttons. There wasn't anything suitable in my button tin. The fabric was bought last summer from Minerva fabrics. All other notions were from Edinburgh Fabrics


I've tried this pattern before and hated the pyjamas so much I 'disposed' of them. I followed the instructions for the collar and just didn't get it right at all. This time I went my own way and the collar is good. It took a couple of goes to get the piping to meet exactly at the join between the facing and collar but it's worth taking the time over this detail. You'll be looking at it in the mirror every time you wear these and only you can judge how much that will annoy you! Or not. This collar is a weird beast. When you're wearing it, it sits beautifully. When you're ironing it, it doesn't behave. 

I added length to the legs and cut the cuffs as per the pattern. They're deep cuffs but in proportion to my height. I used my sewing machine for the piping and sewing the cuffs to the sleeves and legs and overlocker for everything else. Pattern unmatching Exhibit 2:


I like the waistband casing being a separate pattern piece you sew on. I sewed two channels in the waistband and added two narrower pieces of elastic, maybe 10mm wide. It's just what I had at hand. I didn't add the pockets and quite frankly I was probably fed up of cutting out fabric and just wanted to get on with sewing them together!   

This was a far more successful 'go' at making this pattern and I'll be using it again in the future. I'm glad I gave it another try, I like using a pattern more than once. I've actually got a length of brushed cotton and another length of cotton/viscose so there will be two more pairs of pyjamas coming in the future, that's for sure!

Monday, 4 March 2019

The same but slightly different


Those of you with good memories might remember seeing this fabric from last year's post where I made a short sleeved Kalle shirt from the same fabric. I loved the fabric so much, I bought some more! I think it was under £7 a metre from the Cloth Spot.

As it's winter, I decided to make a long sleeved shirt and chose...the Deer and Doe Melilot. Again! There is a bit of dodgy sewing here and there but the 'exuberance' of the print hides almost all mistakes, so just for the fun of it, I'll point some of them out to you just to show that you can love a garment that isn't perfect. And yes, I do love this shirt.


I could do better when turning the edges of the cuffs. The wrong side is definitely showing by quite a lot. As I said, the print hides a multitude of sins!


The collar isn't my best sewing ever. Again I can see the under collar peeping out. I've got into the habit of sewing a button/buttonhole just under the collar stand to stop gaping in this area but there's still a little gaping here. I don't like that sugary pink colour so near my face. Just being picky here but obviously should have been more picky when I cut the upper collar piece from the fabric.

I love the little fish eye buttons, though. I usually buy 10 shirt buttons and also buy plain black shirt buttons when I come across them. I think I bought these from Edinburgh Fabrics where you can still buy buttons individually, from plastic tubes with screwtop lids. Construction was done on the overlocker and sewing machine.

And here's how I normally wear the shirt. Standing in the 'Naught Corner'! Ha ha! I'm trying not to wear black too much as it becomes a uniform and I just love the wine colour.


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

A Melilot shirt in dark floral


And the sewing of tried and tested patterns continues! I thought after the last couple of posts 'showcasing' very plain, but necessary winter tops, I'd show you something sightly more interesting. I love the Deer and Doe Melilot shirt pattern and have sewn it up many times in both the long and short sleeved versions. There will be more in the future too.

For this version, I used a bright floral pattern on a black background 100% viscose. I think this was bought from Guthrie and Ghani well before Christmas. I doubt there's any left now!


I wanted to 'streamline' the sewing of the sleeve plackets so I cut a 2" wide strip of fabric on the bias and just bound the edges of the sleeve placket cut. Sorry I haven't got any photos of this. It worked beautifully and after a press, sits flat as it should do. I find pressing and sewing the tiny hems on the plackets very fiddly to do and always end up steam pressing my fingers. I had to do something to improve this construction!

The buttons are plain black ones from Edinburgh Fabrics. It's difficult finding plain, black buttons for shirts. Or indeed shirt buttons suitable for women's shirts. Why is this?

Here's how I wear it at work, with a cardigan over it. Explains the creases after wearing it for 5 hours!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Much needed winter tops

With the recent chilly weather, I needed to sew some more tops for winter. You're getting two in this post today, you lucky things! They are both a similar shade of grey, which wasn't planned, so you'll need to pay close attention. This first one is the Sew House Seven Toaster...One, I think. This is a new to me pattern and I enjoyed the challenge of sewing a different collar shape. Here is the finished top work with a cosy scarf.


I bought the fabric years ago, possibly from Remnant Kings in Glasgow? I think it has some natural fibre but there's also man made but it's still comfortable to wear. 


Em...I sewed the lovely Audrey Hepburn-esque sixties stand-up neck...and didn't like how it sat on me. I thnk I have broad shoulders #swimmer. I used stretch iron on interfacing across the shoulder and all the way up the neck which worked well as I didn't think the fabric would stand up on its own. So...I didn't like it but wanted to rescue it so I cut the neckline from the top below, and sewed a neck band. That worked! I like the on-the-shoulder-sleeves and I don't think I added any length to them so beware if you have short or normal length arms, unlike my gorilla arms! 


The other think I like about this pattern is the split at the side seams and the back longer than the front. I was also trying out the zig-zag stitch on my new-16-months-ago computerised Janome sewing machine. So, all in all, a wearable if not perfect top that'll keep me cosy.

And here's another one! This one was made using a ponte fabric with a decent amount of viscose from the Cloth Spot and using the same traced off pattern as this top


The neck is a little narrower than the one on the Sew House Seven top above and I prefer this one. I'm not sure if you can see the subtle variegated pattern of greys in this fabric as these photos aren't great? 


So, two new grey tops for chilly weather and not exciting things to sew but very much needed for the winter. Are you sewing up anything essential but boring to get you through the winter?

Monday, 28 January 2019

Chilly weather top and infinity scarf


Well, the sewing has been happening it's just that the blogging about it hasn't! Sorry about that but I've also been sewing lots of repeats from the same patterns which have become real favourites. Just like today's post!

The weather has gone quite chilly and I needed some thicker-than-your-average-jersey-knit tops. I'm still funding the Cloth Spot with my purchases (thank you for the Christmas card!) and basically buy fabric when I see it. I should just set up a direct debit with them! I don't have a huge fabric stash as I generally sew it up quite soon after buying it.


So, here's today's offering. This is a top pattern that I traced from a favourite Marks & Spencer's old jersey top. I've made it before but with this top I decided to narrow the neck at the shoulder seams by 2cms and that's worked a treat. Much better fit with this.

I also guess-timated the neck band by measuring (very roughly) the neck opening circumference, then cutting the neck band 7/8th of this length. That's worked a treat too.

I had some fabric left as I'd bought my usual 2 metres so I decided to sew up an infinity scarf from the left-overs. I can loop it twice around my neck and it's super cosy.


I think there's quite  abit of natural fibre - viscose definitely, and possibly some cotton too, and something in it that's man made. It's an interesting fabric that sems to be made of two layers that are then loosely held together somehow. So, basically, you need to finish all those raw edges or it will come apart. I overlocked everything. It's the kind of fabric that doesn't need ironing and I've basically been washing and wearing it since I made it a couple of weeks ago.

It's a winner!

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!