Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A new swimsuit made and worn in a day

In the changing room just before it's first launch
I've made another swimsuit. This one was badly needed! I made a wearable muslin one last year but the chlorine had eaten the non-chlorine resistant elastic. It had done well to last a year! So, in typical 'me-ness', I bought Jalie 971 and made that one instead of using Jalie 3134 that I trialled last year. Makes perfect sense to me!

Inside view of the swimsuit front
I already had the black fabric, bought from Edinburgh Fabrics last year. The patterned fabric I bought online from FunkiFabrics and I still have some left. I overlocked all seams and for the central back seam I also topstitched using a twin jersey needle, just for reinforcement. I like to feel secure in my suit, don't want any wardrobe malfunctions!

Inside view of the swimsuit back
I bought chlorine resistant 10mm wide elastic from Minerva crafts and used the best part of two packs for this suit. I used ordinary Gutermann polyester thread in my sewing machine and normal overlocker thread (can't remember what brand it is). I lined the front of the swimsuit with power mesh and made the built in bra support using a combination of the pattern piece I'd drafted last year and the pattern piece from this pattern. 

Jalie 971 is an out of print pattern designed in 1996 but you can still buy the PDF pattern on the Jalie website. It's a whole 14 pages to tape together! I think I cut out a size Z and added 1" to the body length despite it being designed to fit my height, 5'9". I could be a little too much added length, going by some wrinkles on the back, but I don't think it's worth removing literally a quarter of an inch. You need to be able to move about! One other point about it being designed in 1996 - the legs are cut quite high, which is fine by me but they sit quite high on the hips.

I used the elastic insertion method from Jalie 3134, which is quite ingenious. You sew the elastic onto the wrong side of the fabric using a zig zag stitch. The 'zig' sews the elastic onto the edge of the fabric, the 'zag' sews into fresh air. Fold the elastic back towards the wrong side. Topstitch with the twin jersey needle. Job done! I love how the elastic feels like it grips well, much better than the RTW swimsuit I had been wearing.

So I now have a new swimsuit which I wore to my swimming lesson last night. It performed well and I'll be wearing it again next week. Have you made swimwear? Want to but a bit scared?

Friday, 19 May 2017

A paisley patterned Deer and Doe Melilot...what's not to love!

Ah, dear readers, I do love a good paisley patterned anything! And when I already had the fabric how could I not buy the Melilot pattern I'd been hankering after for ages and pay for it to be posted from France. All money well spent, in my opinion, for this lovely, neat, round collared, potentially-kimono-sleeved shirt with long and short sleeved options.

So I bought the fabric, a lovely printed viscose, from Mandors in the September 2016 haul. I like how the background colour is more of a beige than an off-white. That's if you can see the background among  the print. You know what I mean. This allowed me to use some buttons from my tartan button tin. My mum recently gave me some of her buttons so it's now nearly brimming over and that's just the way I like it! I used 8 matching buttons on the front and then 2 different buttons for the cuffs. No-one will ever know but see if you can spot the difference from the photos.

I can't actually remember what size I cut but I did a Full Bust Adjustment that made the existing dart a little bit bigger and maybe I dropped the dart a little, I can't remember because I have washed and worn this constantly since I finished it. The sign of a good shirt, in my book! I also added 2" to the length of the body.

The instructions are good. The front button/hole plackets form part of the front pattern pieces so you have to slow down and cut the correct width of interfacing. I used a lightweight charcoal iron-on throughout this shirt as the viscose has a good drape to it. You also have to get the tape measure out so you accurately turn the plackets back by the correct amount. It's a discipline I'm not used to after decades of sewing. It's good to be challenged, though!

I really like the curved shirt hems although I didn't finish the back hem and front hems before sewing the side seams as the pattern instructs you to do. I was a bit wary as this was the first time I'd made this shirt. All the other seams in the shirt are French seams which again, is a discipline in slowing down and sewing accurately. It takes more time but it's very good for fine fabrics whose sole purpose in life is to fray before your very eyes. Like this one.

The only thing I would say is that I'm aware of the bulk of the French seamed sleeve seams when I'm wearing this shirt. I'm pointing out where the seam is in the above photo. Next time, I'll sew these as a 'normal' seam and overlock the edges, or maybe just overlock the seams, just depends on the fabric, I suppose. Yes I will make this again and already have the fabric, matching thread and pattern sitting in my sewing queue. I've decided to make the short sleeved version so I guess I'll need to make another long sleeved version to test my theory about the sleeve seams. Right, I'd better go! Till the next time, have a great weekend and let me know what your thoughts are on the Melilot. Have you sewn it? Want to sew it? Don't like the sleeve seams too?

Monday, 8 May 2017

Crazy print top with faces on it!

I'm still on a sewing kick to get some tops made for my holiday. Here's another version of Burda 7079 that I recently made but this time it's in an absolutely crazy print. I made view A, the top but with the following modifications:

  • cut the back on the fold
  • didn't do the front neckline slit
  • modified the front neck facing
  • scooped out the front neck, from zero at the shoulder to 2cm at the front centre
  • added the sleeves from the dress
  • added 2" length

I bought a metre of this 150cm wide viscose fabric from Mandors in Glasgow. I didn't know what I was going to make with it but I knew I'd have enough for a top or maybe a pencil skirt.

I used up almost every scrap of the fabric. I added slits at the side seams, just because I like this detail. I used facings for the neck and simply turned up 1.5", overlocked the edge and machine stitched the hem. Believe me, you can hardly see the stitching in this print. I over locked all the raw edges as this fabric absolutely loves to fray and is quite frankly of an Olympic gold medal standard at it. The fabric feels like a linen so I didn't want to do french seams as they would be too bulky. Maybe it was mis-labeled and is linen, not viscose, who knows?

How to describe the print? In the shop I thought it looked like stylised tree trunks in a forest. Then when I got home I thought it was more like fish squashed against a window. Have a close look and tell me I'm wrong! Yesterday I saw the occasional face...

I cut the sleeves as long as the fabric would allow. I was going to wear it to work this morning (always a good sign) but then didn't. You know how it is. I was swithering about the length of the sleeves and I now think I'm going to shorten them to a more conventional 'short-sleeve' length. It feels a bit frumpy like this?

Maybe the elbow length sleeves with crazy print are just too much. What would you do? You have until the weekend to let me know what you think...

Monday, 1 May 2017

It's not a top!...some putty linen Named Alpi Chinos

Yes, I know I absolutely love sewing tops so it's a bit of a surprise that I've sewn some trousers. I've already sewn two pairs of Named Alpi Chinos before. I bought this lovely putty/grey/beige coloured 100% linen last year from Edinburgh Fabrics and didn't have enough time to sew them up before going on holiday. So this year I challenged myself to 'just get them sewn!'

Frankly, I couldn't be bothered to put these on and take photos so I thought I'd focus on the details. Besides, this is what I looked like last year with the same trousers style if you're interested in what they look like worn.

I used the same alterations as I did last year, adding 1.5" to the front rise, 1.25" to the back rise, 4" to the inside legs. I ended up overlocking 2" of this off the leg hems but as you know, I much prefer adding too much length and having the luxury of removing it if I want to. I eventually overlocked a 2" hem and turned it up once before stitching it. It's not complicated but I don't want bulky hems. I also had to take in the waistband so much the original 3 piece curved waistband is now a 4 piece curved waistband. I also managed to locate the waistband joins not quite in the same location as their counterparts at the back and side seams but I can live with that!

The zip fly went in like a dream and I had also managed to get a YKK jeans zip in the identical colour to the fabric. I used a silver coloured jeans button I already had and thoroughly enjoyed getting the hammer out to bash that in. Very satisfying. Just make sure you poke the back through the fabric before putting the button part on top. There's a little plastic gizmo that helps with holding everything together before you hammer it all in. Still have to be careful of the 'hammer/finger' proximity thought!

The already had the silver coloured rivets so decided to add them too but they were 'wee devils' to use. I used a dressmakers awl to poke a hole through the corner of the back pocket - which was about 5 layers of fabric. This didn't work so well so I used my seam ripper to rip a bigger hole. Like the jeans button, you need to have the back part pushed through all layers of fabric. You need to be careful you don't make too big a hole! When you push the rivet top over it, it will click together I found I had to cover the rivet top with cardboard and give it a good tap with a hammer so get a secure fit.

I'm not so sure about the diagonal hip pockets on these trousers, maybe I need to change the shape to curved. But realistically I'll never be wearing my tops tucked in so it's not such a problem. All in all, I like them, love the neutral colour and have another pair of trousers for the gloriously, balmy hot summer in Scotland. That or my summer holiday in Spain, which seems far more likely!