Friday, 19 February 2016

Plain cream top

Hello folks and how's your week been? Mine's been busy but in a good way! I've sewn up quite a lot of things recently and I've built up a little backlog again. So you're going to get another post this week. What value! But it's a very plain cream top, you know, the kind of clothing you wear loads but that isn't very exciting to sew or indeed to read about on a blog? I guess I add everything to the blog because I like keeping track of what I've made. Aren't you lucky?!

Taa daa! Here's my cream top I made last weekend. I used the pattern I made from my favourite RTW top in this post and used some lovely bamboo fabric from Edinburgh Fabrics. This has about 2-3% lycra in it and the fabric is LOVELY. I've used bamboo before. Seriously, if you've never used it before, go on! Prewash it first though. I learnt that lesson the hard way! It was about £14 a metre and I bought 2 metres as per usual. Don't let the price put you off, this fabric is worth every single penny.

Isn't it funny that you can look at yourself in the mirror and think 'That top is great!' and then look at the photos and immediately see all the little tweaks you want to make when you sew the next version! Next time I'd sew the whole shoulder area and lower sleeves a bit tighter, I feel they're quite loose but they're not bad enough to make me re-sew them. Let's face it, they'd have to be pretty bad to make me do that!

I sewed seam tape to the shoulder seams to stabilise them. Construction-wise I used the overlocker wherever possible. For the neck band I cut a strip 26" long and cut 3" off it. I overlocked the short edges together (right sides together) and folded it in half. Then I tested the length of the band by pinning it around the neck to see if it would be a good fit. Adjust as required, is what I'd recommend! If your jersey has a lot of stretch or give in it, you may need to make the band shorter but if it doesn't have a lot of stretch, maybe keep it longer. It's a matter of trying it and adjusting and I feel this is true for whatever top where you're adding a jersey band to the neck.

The only place I used the sewing machine was to sew the sleeves and hem with a twin needle. Not a bad job, I'd say. I didn't use any interfacing or any other steps to prevent tunnelling and...I didn't get any tunnelling! And that's not something I can always say. I gave it a press after sewing.

So, that's my 'rather unexciting but probably will get worn useless' cream top. Anyone else been sewing something really useful but not that exciting? Now there's something that probably not may people want to admit to!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Experimental make-up bag

Bet the title got your attention! Normally I stick to making clothing but my tatty old scruffy make-up bag is definitely on its way out so I decided I should sew myself another one to replace it. Then my eye fell on a pair of old RTW jeans that I was going to throw out and I thought to myself, I could use some of that fabric from a less worn area and have a go at making a bag.

I googled make up bags and came across the Little boxy pouch post and followed the step by step tutorial. This tutorial is great! Here's my recycled denim experimental make-up bag in all its glory!

I changed my measurements from those in the tutorial as I wanted a bigger bag. I cut two pieces of fabric 12"x6" and by chance bought a tan 12" zip to tone in with my tan coloured contrast stitching. The bag has turned out longer than I wanted but C pounced on it and wants it as a pencil and pen case for his drawer at work. That's fine by me as I can make another next weekend and get it more the size I want. I will also sew in the zip a little differently, so you can see the exposed zip teeth and you get the benefit of the contrast in colour. I used a tan coloured 'normal' thread to sew in the zip. I had bought upholstery thread to have an experiment with, as my Machine hates topstitching thread and I'd heard upholstery thread was a good sub. It isn't. I tried altering the tension many ways. Still no! I quit while I still had my sanity intact! 

I mostly used the overlocker to construct this and obviously used the sewing machine to insert the zip. It's a fast make! I'll probably also add a lining in the next one although with the overlocker the innards are neat. And let's face it the the denim's been washed so many times that a handful of times more can't harm it at all! Have you ever sewn an experiment that worked great? Any non-clothing experiments? 

Thursday, 11 February 2016

A hint of spring with a shirt full of flowers

Hi everyone and I wish I could say that spring was here in Edinburgh's not! I've seen tiny snowdrops, the odd minute crocus and the best thing of all, it's getting lighter in the mornings now (hurray!) but it's still cold. Enter stage left a very flowery shirt just to cheer up the spirits.

I bought the fabric a few weeks ago from the sale in John Lewis in Edinburgh and paid about £8 a metre. I bought my usual 2 metres. This is a 100% viscose fabric but it's quite fine. I used my favourite shirt pattern ever, McCalls 6436 that I've made here, here and here and will doubtless make again in the future! There's a real addiction to this pattern going on here and I'm not giving it up! It's great to have a properly fitting shirt. The sleeves are long enough for me, the back fits perfectly across my broad back and the body length is just right. No flashing my bare back when I bend over!

I had a look through my button tin but couldn't find anything I really liked. There were plenty of OK buttons but nothing that managed to make its presence felt in amongst all these flowers! So I actually bought some. That's something I haven't done for a long time.

There is a pattern repeat but I didn't bother matching this when I cut it out. Who's going to notice? I applied iron-on interfacing to both pieces of the collar stand and collar just to give it the perfect 'body' to stand up properly but without being too stiff. I finished the shirt on Sunday and wore it to work on Monday. The sign of success! It's now 'in the wash'. These photos were (obviously!) taken at night when I got home and after a day wearing the shirt so because it's viscose there are wrinkles but...I don't care! And you can't see them in among the flowers. What do you think? A bit of brightness for a late winter's day? Do you wear colour to pep yourself up a bit?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

A jazzy paisley patterned shirt and some black wool trousers

Yep, it's another one of those hi-lo hem shirts I made before and have washed and worn. Time to make another! The fabric is typically 'me'...loud with lots of colours and...look!'s paisley pattern which I absolutely adore.

I bought this fabric from John Lewis in Oxford Street when we had out little holiday in London last November.I haven't seen it in the Edinburgh John Lewis so I'm glad I bought it when I saw it. I think there's a lot of viscose in it because although it's lovely and silky to the touch it crushes as soon as your head's turned. I can't even remember the cost per metre but I know I bought my default 2 metres. It takes that much to make a shirt for tall, long-armed me and I also wanted room for manoeuvre with pattern placement. This fabric was a fray-er to work with, though!

I used New Look 6374 and cut view A. I didn't change add any length to the body and I think I may just have added 1" to the sleeve length, I can't remember as I cut and sewed this up during the Christmas and New Year break. Yes, it's taken this long to get round to taking photos! Mind you, I've also had a stonker of a cold and bad cough which everyone seems to have had, so I haven't sewn a thing for 2 whole weeks. I must have been seriously ill!

The sleeves are supposed to roll up and button with a tab. I managed to sew one tab on the inside of the sleeve and the other tab on the outside of the sleeve. Numpty! The lurid pattern must have dazzled my eyes...that's my excuse! Anyway, I unpicked the 'wrong' one and haven't got round to unpicking the other one as I've now decided I won't be rolling these sleeves up. Lazy!

The other mistake I made was to use a woven fusible interfacing on the collar stand. That thing just isn't going anywhere! I used the same interfacing on the plackets but it doesn't seem too bad. Live and learn, people! It hasn't stopped me wearing the shirt though so that's fine. 

Right, I'm going to tag on a pair of black trousers I made recently to this post because...they're black and almost impossible to make them look interesting in photographs. The fabric was a lovely black stretch wool, probably crepe, that I bought in Mandors in Glasgow when we were there for a wee overnight stay in September. The pattern is rapidly becoming my favourite and has superseded my Ultimate trousers pattern. I love the wide yolk and can see I'll have to add some pockets to them in the future.

There's quite a lot of lycra in this fabric, so much so that I decided not to line them at all and pray the lycra would prevent bagging at the seat and knees. So far so good! 

See? How do you make black trousers interesting? I used the New Look 6035 pattern that I got free with Sew magazine last year and have used once before. I took ages to finish the hems. Isn't that always the way? They were hanging about on the dining room table for weeks on end until I had a tidy-up. Glad I did as I've washed and worn them a few times. Yes, I'm happy to wash wool and I prewashed this fabric before cutting. I always use the Wool cycle on the washing machine, a wool liquid soap and hang them up to dry, nope I don't dry them flat. It's survival of the fittest in my wardrobe!