Friday, 25 March 2016

Spring sunshire and a flower top

Yes folks, it's spring in Edinburgh and today there was glorious sunshine. Yay! So after finishing my current project I decided to go outside and take some photos of it for this post. Lovely sunshine...but a biting cold wind...the things I do to try and make this blog just a bit better! Enough of my moaning, here's the finished top. I actually like the bleached out look to the background of these photos, am I weird?

The fabric has a lovely print, a kind of free-form cream, white, brown and beige flower and leaves and there's also a bit of lilac there in the shading too. All of this on a background of a not black but a very, very dark navy. If you put it against navy, it looks black, if you put it against black it looks navy. You know what I mean! And that's probably the reason why it was on sale at John Lewis a month or so ago. The print was also printed along both selvedges of the fabric. I basically bought a number of print repeats - one repeat for the front, two repeats for the sleeves and two repeats for the back as there's a zip in the back, the back seam is shaped and on top of that there's pattern matching to do. I don't think I did badly on the pattern matching. And I bought another repeat 'just in case'. 

This fabric was half price. And it's a decent thickness of probably polyester, nope, no natural fibres in this!That was a tricky one to lay out for cutting to get the pattern placement right. It was impossible to get both sleeves identical as you have to turn the pattern piece over for the second sleeve. You can see what I mean now that I've pointed it out. I had the fabric in a single layer when cutting out just so I could do the best I could for pattern placement. I feel that's worked out well. 

Which pattern did I use? None other than my favourite Simplicity1364. Looking back through my makes I see that I haven't used this pattern this year. Shock! It's high time I did, then. 

I'd just like you to know that I'm wearing RTW jeans in these photos. I played no part in the creation of these jeans! I have got some black stretch denim that's patiently waiting to be pre-washed before I dig out the Named Jamie jeans pattern again but I just know that the black dye from the fabric will dye everything else it's washed with so I'll wait till I build up a 'safe load'.

It's a holiday weekend so I was busy sewing today and there will be more sewing over the next few days too. Bliss! 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Grey marl cardigan...this one's for me

And how is everyone doing today? Just when you thought it was getting yawn-some boring around here with very practical garments and projects, here's a new to me pattern, fabric and style! I came to a sudden crisis point a few weeks ago when my beloved 100% merino wool RTW (but I still loved it!) cardigan developed a tiny hole in the back. Horror! A stitch in time saves nine so I carefully tried to darn the hole and for the most part it worked. Only to go into work the next day to discover there was actually a 3cm hole in one of the elbows!!! I admitted defeat and the merino cardi was retired.

Time to start wearing the grey marl one I'd made at christmas but needed a push to start wearing. Does this ever happen to you? I used Jalie Cocoon cardigan sewing pattern. This was the first time I've used a Jalie pattern and I like it. As with all patterns, it's important to measure yourself, which I did, before choosing what I thought would be the correct size. I cut out an X and added 4cm to the length, basing this on the torso measurement. I also like with Jalie how you can download the instructions sheet before buying the pattern. Avoids any nasty surprises! Looking at the photos I'm wondering if the X is a bit big for me?

I bought 2 meters of grey marl ponte from Edinburgh Fabrics. What usually puts me off ponte is that it's usually 100% man made fibres and I don't think it looks very good quality fabric for the most part. However, this one has a large percentage of viscose in it, I can't remember exactly how much, but it's enough to take away the man-made-ness of it. It's quite a dense fabric and has a bit of body to it. This is probably just as well as I didn't stabilise the shoulder seam. Mmm...we'll see over time if that was a good decision or not!

I find the sleeves feel a little bit short so I'll add an inch to the next one I make. The back is quite long but it does cover the back hems of some of my high-lo hemmed blouses so that's probably good. This was quite a simple pattern and a reasonably quick make.

I used my overlocker throughout and don't think I used my sewing machine at all. The wrong side of this fabric is black so I used black thread on my overlocker. All hems are finished by sewing on bands of fabric so the insides are really nicely neat and tidy. This is actually a fairly cosy cardigan so with the density of the fabric I don't think I'll be wearing it beyond spring.

I've actually cut out another one of these cardigans but in a wool/viscose/lycra mix which is thinner than this ponte but has more stretch. It'll be interesting to see what difference the change in fabric makes to the fit of the cardigan and the look of it. Well, hope this grey-ness wasn't too boring but I do love the drama of dolman sleeves so it was only a matter of time till I sewed up this pattern. What do you think of the pattern? Made any Jalie patterns at all?

Monday, 14 March 2016

PJ trousers and they're not even for me!

Settle in and get comfy, this is a long-ish story...picture it, Christmas 2014 (yes, that isn't a typo!). I gave C some fabric, elastic, the pattern and some thread to make up a very simple pair of pyjama trousers for lounging around the flat. He had previously said he wanted to learn how to make clothes but the reality was that he didn't have the time or it turns out, the inclination either. Anyway, I wasn't going to let that fabric go to waste so I pre-washed it. And it hung for about for months as other infinitely more interesting fabrics and patterns queue-jumped the boring, dull plain pj trousers that weren't even for me!

So by mid-February I thought I really should just go ahead and make them before the warmer weather (*chuckles to self*...this is Scotland, after all...maybe I mean slightly less cold weather...) sets in and C doesn't want to wear them any more. 

So, I used Simplicity 2116 and they were exactly what they promised to be, so easy. The fabric is a brushed cotton bought from Edinburgh Fabrics. They're a plain pair of pj trousers, nothing fancy, with an elasticated waist. I used the overlocker throughout the construction, except for sewing in the elastic and for the hems. These were a really quick make, cut out and sewn up in about 3 hours. I'm not the fastest sewist and I don't try to be. Otherwise Mistakes Happen (capital letters intentional). Mind you, mistakes happen now and then when I'm not trying to be fast, but there you go!

I measured the elastic around C and then machined the two edges together. Then I sewed the elastic directly onto the top of the waist edge. Then turned the top down over itself until the elastic is completely covered by fabric. Then I sewed the waistband casing. The rise on these trousers comes up quite high, even after treating the elastic and waist in this way. I could regret all this though, as C is now saying the elastic is too loose...I stretched it a good number of times before measuring it against him though. Well, looks like I'll need to get my seam ripper out!

So, in conclusion, this is a great pattern and very easy to sew up. There aren't many details on it at all, but the pay-off is that there's a good range of sizes and the pattern is unisex. 

I know I've posted quite a few not very interesting projects recently but I've felt like I've temporarily lost my enthusiasm for sewing more complicated garments. I just wanted some easy projects that I could finish in the short amount of time I've had recently for sewing. The temporary loss of 'sew-jo' seems to have hit quite a lot of sewing bloggers in the new year but they all seem to be getting over it. maybe it's a seasonal thing? 

At the weekend I sewed lots. I feel like I'm back in my groove now! I've finished my first Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge of 2016...then promptly wore it so it's been washed and is now hanging up drying. I also finished a pair of grey Ultimate trousers and a pair of Named Jamie jeans (but in black needlecord fabric). All need photographing and blogging about. I feel like I should get my photography sorted out and improve the quality of the photos I take. I'm falling behind in photographing competed projects for this blog and there's a backlog to blog about. Here endeth my sewing confessions...for the moment anyway!

I'll be back!