Friday, 27 November 2015

Green wool jacket

Well, I finally finished this ongoing project. I've made another wool jacket - I'm getting seriously addicted to working with wool and also with having jackets that fit me and, wait for it...aren't black! So, here's the latest (I'm sure there will be more!).

After editing
It's a green 100% wool twill (I think) fabric that I bought in the second raid on Mandors when we went to Glasgow in September. It's a lovely forest green colour (which doesn't photograph well at all) and a reasonable £20 a metre, which isn't bad at all for a 100% wool content. I used Vogue 9136 which is described as a "loose fitting, unlined coat, has collar, dropped shoulders  but made a few modifications along the way.

After editing and cropping
I pre-shrunk my wool fabric by steaming it with my iron. It took HOURS! I also made a muslin to check the fit. This pattern is described as loose fitting and it certainly is. I cut a 12-14 size and it's really roomy on me. I didn't add anything to the length of sleeves or body but I did mistakenly cut the longer View B rather than View A but strangely enough I didn't run out of fabric. Mind you, I'm pretty generous when I'm buying wool, I add a good 10% extra to the fabric requirements to cover the pre-shrinking treatment plus I add an unspecified extra amount because I'd hate to have something too short. Call it my 'Comfort Zone of Happiness'. This probably comes from being a tall person and from having to buy RTW clothing that just wasn't right but there wasn't anything else.

After editing and cropping
 There's nothing wrong with your eyes and you're not seeing double! The November challenge in Gillian from Crafting a 
Rainbow's Better Pictures Project is using photo editing software. I've used it but I'm not sure if there's much of an improvement with these photos! I've added the before and after photos. I think I've managed to make them look worse than they were before! I saved my photos to Picasa Web and edited them using Google.

I mentioned modifications. There were ton of them, mainly in the construction of the jacket.

I cut View A but added the patch pockets from View B as I don't like side seam pockets.

After making and trying on the muslin, the collar was far too high. It would very quickly have got spoiled with make-up every time I wore it. I reduced the height by, I think, about 3"so that tells you how high the original was!

I used iron on medium weight hair canvas to interface the collar so it can stand up correctly yet also bends attractively (in my opinion!) if it's worn undone.

After editing and cropping
I used a medium weight iron-on interfacing over all the jacket. Just because that's the way I like it. It gives the fabric a bit of body and I can't stand droopy, saggy jackets.

I applied medium weight iron-on interfacing to the pockets and lined them, after a lot of head scratching and trying to work out how to do it neatly.

I cut a back stay from pre-washed black sheeting, I think. To be honest it's quite a few weeks since I did this step so it's a bit fuzzy in the mind now. I felt that with the dropped shoulders the wool would get really stretched over my shoulders if it didn't have this support. It also helped stabilise the shoulder seam too.

I added a full lining to the jacket, just cutting the same back piece as for the outer fabric and adding an inch to the width when I cut it on the fold. I made a new pattern piece for the front lining and just used the pattern piece for the sleeves. The lining is a 100% cupro lining bought from John Lewis in Edinburgh and pre-washed on the silk setting on the washing machine using appropriate soap. The care label says don't wash but...tough!

After editing
I added piping between the facing fabric and the lining. As you can see due to the style of the jacket it's not a continuous length of piping but I don't care.

I added a hanging loop I made from the satin bias binding used to pipe the lining-facing junction.

I sewed reinforcing buttons to the underside of the facing to help support the large buttons on the outside of the jacket.

I hand stitched them hem and the sleeve hems. I hand stitched in the ditch along the seam where the collar meets the jacket, so the inside and outside behave as one. If you know what I mean.

Ah, the glorious buttons! This jacket is simply all about the buttons. I bought them from Mandors in Glasgow just on my way out of the door. I hesitated at the button stand and my eyes suddenly locked on to them. Does that ever happen to you? I knew they were The Ones so that was that.

So, what's the verdict? I'm not sure if dropped shoulders are my style but I do like this jacket. I love the colour, love the buttons and I like how I can wear the collar done up and also undone and it looks very different both ways. It's like having two looks in one jacket which is very satisfying. I'm glad I interfaced and lined the jacket and really glad I interfaced and lined the pockets. It's behaving just as I want it to although I do need to add another button and buttonhole to hold up the inside when the coat is closed. You can see the droop in some of these photos.

After editing
...and on to the next project...some Named Jamie jeans (also with quite a few modification) which I'm slowly working on. I'm taking my time with these and trying to get just the right fit. What are you working on at the moment?

Monday, 23 November 2015

Painterly top

I just can't stop making these tops but they're soooo useful. New Look 6216 is definitely a tried and tested favourite pattern for me! Funny how they all turn out very different from each other and it all depends on the fabric choice. They're all jersey fabrics but all very different. I've already worn this one a couple of times so catching it between washes and when there was enough light to take photos was a tricky thing. So here it is!

I bought the fabric during the second raid on Mandors in Glasgow. I can't remember what the fibre content is but I think likely to be a viscose as I try to avoid polyester unless it's just too lovely to leave in the shop. Funny how many fabrics are like that though, eh?

This jersey doesn't have much stretch and I really notice it on the sleeves. My swimmers forearms are taking up every millimetre of fabric. It's a cosy fit but not uncomfortably so.

I used my lovely favourite pattern and cut the sleeves as long as the width of the fabric allowed. I also finished the sleeve hem with a band just to try and lengthen them a bit. I'm happy with how they've turned out.

You can see in the photo why I've called it a painterly top as the print is lovely and bold and free. I love the colours of the print too.

I swear that if a pattern has the words 'dolman sleeved' or 'batwing sleeved' I'll buy it! It's like catnip to me! Why change if you're happy though?

I used the overlocker for everything. I've been noticing recently I've had to repair some popped stitches on my older pre-overlocker jersey tops so it'll be interesting to see how long this one lasts. My guess is much longer despite the tighter fabric on the sleeves.!

I finished the body hem with a twin needle, probably my favourite way to finish a jersey top. I didn't use the twin needle to topstitch the neck band, I thought it would look better without it.

I've finally found a better backdrop for indoors photography although yesterday was a lovely sunny day so we'll see what the light levels are on a grey day. I have a bit of a blogging queue at the moment and still have a couple of projects to tell you about. Do you find that with less daylight you build up a blogging queue too?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Toasty warm gloves and mittens

Well how are you all getting on in the autumnal weather and dark evenings? I find I don't sew much when I get home from work, it's just too dark to see the thread against the fabric. Maybe that's because I was working on a dark green wool jacket, yet to be blogged. I'll need some better weather and light before getting half decent photos of it but I only finished it on Sunday.

After my first knitted 'thing' in years, I've been busy knitting more! I bought a knitting pattern from Etsy for gloves, mittens and fingerless gloves with the convertible flip top. It's for double knitting wool so I went to John Lewis and bought some Rowan Tweed double knitting wool and some knitting needles and this is the result! 

Some tweedy gloves! It's a lovely wool to knit with even if I found knitting the fingers a bit fiddly to do. Here's more of a close-up of one glove so you can see the tweedy colours. The colour is black with pale grey or white and caramel flecks going through it. 

Then I decided to knit some mittens, something I haven't worn since I was a child but I did hear somewhere that mittens are warmer than gloves. Wanted to test that theory out! Anyone with a bit of common sense would say I should have started with the easier mittens project and then gone on to the slightly more fiddly project of gloves but...hey ho, what's logic got to do with it!

Again, I used Rowan Tweed double knitting wool. This is a 100% wool yarn and it's lovely to knit with. The mittens are a dark maroon colour with flecks of red and green in them. So what's the verdict on the warmth factor? The mittens may actually be warmer than gloves but knitted anything is just not wind proof so not as warm as fleece or Thinsulate gloves but they're fine at the moment. I still think I'll be wearing the usual winter requirement of two pairs of gloves to feel toasty!

This is not a knitting blog and I'll get back to my sewing soon. I've actually downloaded Named's Jamie jeans pattern and I'm just making the necessary adjustments to the pattern pieces before cutting out some pre-washed stretch denim I bought from Edinburgh Fabrics a couple of weeks ago.

I've also signed up to Ravelry so you never know, I might move on from gloves and mittens and knit something more what's on your knitting needles at the moment?

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Crikey! I'm knitting....

I know, I'm first and foremost a proud sewist and love sewing clothes for myself and here I am...knitting. Knitting!!!!! Well, I'll give you a couple of minutes to get over the shock of it all. Maybe it's the dark nights or something, but there it is.

There is a story behind how all this came to pass. A colleague went on summer holiday to the Faroe Islands and brought me back a ball of wool and a book on Fair Isle knitting. The gauntlet had been flung down! How could I NOT knit something. Also in the summer I went on my first sewing bloggers meet-up in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Some lovely ladies were helping visitors get to grips with knitting and they had some lovely wool cowls. I took one of their cowl patterns and worked myself up to the idea of knitting it. It took a few months!

Gives you an idea how long it is
It's been years since I knitted anything but I thought I'd like the challenge of a mini-project in knitting to take with me when I spent the weekend with my family and was physically parted from my sewing machine and overlocker. Idle hands, and all that!

Lovely golden trees in the communal garden
I bought Rowan Big Wool Colour in Jamboree colourway from John Lewis which has a high wool content, 96% wool and 4% polyamide, just enough man-made content to discourage our 'pet moths'. Hopefully. The knitting needles (10mm) are huge! It didn't take long to knit up the 4 balls of wool but it did take another fortnight to sew in the ends and sew up the one seam to change it from a scarf to a cowl. Then of course, there's finding daylight time to take photos but that's not going to change anytime soon! 

Beautiful carpet of golden fallen leaves
So, to round it all up, I'm very pleased with my new wool cowl and it will go with my new (when I get it finished) forest green jacket. It was lovely and toasty when I was outside taking these photos so that's good to know! What next? Well, I skulked about on Etsy and bought a knitting pattern for gloves/mittens/convertibles (not a type of car, they're fingerless gloves or mittens with a flip top on them). I've just finished knitting the first glove and done some rib on the second. I don't think I'm a knitter at all but I have enjoyed these small projects so far. Maybe I'm a seasonal winter knitter! What about you, do you take up the knitting needles in autumn and lay them down in spring?
And such a blue sky