Friday, 12 July 2019

Named Stella shirt

I love Named sewing patterns and for me, they're always a winner drafting-wise. Sometimes it takes me a while to get around to buying a pattern, and the Named Stella shirt is one of those that I've been meaning to make for a long time. Finally done it!

I was drawn to the raglan sleeves and the interestingly shaped collar. What I also learnt was a super quick and easy new way to sew cuffs. I've stolen that idea and have used it again on another, to be blogged, shirt.

I'm less pleased with the fabric though. I love the design and the colours in the print. the design is lovely, but you might be able to see in the photos, the black background has washed out very quickly so the fabric surface looks a bit foggy. I bought this from Guthrie and Ghani, but I've seen it for sale on other sites too.

The buttons are from Edinburgh Fabrics when I raided their button collection for anything shirt sized. I went in last Saturday but it looks like they've reduced their button selection, which is a shame.

I made a muslin of their size 16, added a full bust adjustment, lengthened the body and didn't lengthen the sleeves. It was fine so I made up the shirt in the 'real' fabric. I need to add an inch to the sleeves, something I found out while wearing it. The dart is too low. The body is quite long but I'm swithering about shortening it by an inch. Depends if I can be bothered or if I remember when I cut out the next one!

And I almost forgot to show you the cuffs. They're brilliantly simple. There is no placket to sew, which makes this a super simple, fast cuff to sew. You sew the cuff band on to the sleeve in the same way you'd sew a jersey knit band on to a sleeve. The buttonhole is sewn through a 'pinch' that you take in the cuff, which is more difficult to describe than to actually do. The cuff then looks like a normal flapped cuff. Here's a photo showing the lack of a time-consuming placket:

Next blog post, another Names sewing pattern! Really, I should just admit defeat and buy all their patterns...what are you sewing up at the moment or has summer diverted your sewing? 

Friday, 24 May 2019

Tie front top with a fair amount of alterations

So I'm continuing with the seldom worn items for Me Made May. This is a top I completed sewing in late autumn, after a slight pause while I changed tack and amended it from what the pattern intended, to something I wanted to wear. I finished the top, and then it hung in the wardrobe for months.

I used Simplicity8601 and view A. It's so long ago that I can't remember the amendments I made to it. Certainly I would have added length to the body and those lovely bell shaped sleeves. The fabric is a polyester, can't remember where I bought it but I love the colour!

Now on to the tie front. The front and back pieces have seams and the front seam is topstitched. I tried on the top with the tie front and absolutely hated it! Then it sat on the table for a few weeks until I decided to sew up the entire front seam, cut the ties off and cut a curved hem. I like it now! The only slight 'thing' about it is that I'd like it if the sleeves are slightly wider in the bicep, but it wouldn't stop me wearing it.

So, even though it's made of 100% polyester and isn't nearly as shiny looking in real life compared with these photos, I'm going to keep it!

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Super Kallle go ballistic, sleevies are a huge plus!

Some of you may be thinking that the title of this blog post should be sung to the tune of that song from Mary Poppins, 'Supercalafragalisticexpialadocious'. I'm not a fan of musicals and prefer to pay homage to the sheer genius who thought up the Sun newspaper headline in 2000, 'Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious', for the performance of Inverness Caledonian Thistle winning the Scottish Cup 3 - 1 over Celtic. Got to love an underdog! I'm not into footie but will be watching the F.A. Cup soon. Probably supporting the nicest coloured strip!

But let's get back to my Me Made May pledge and the second seldom garment I wore last week, On Sunday 12th May was my first Kalle shirt with the long sleeve expansion pack. I bought that as soon as it came out and made up this shirt using a lovely 100% viscose from Guthrie and Ghani. they are another one of my favourite online shopping places with fast delivery.

I made a few changes to this Kalle shirt. First of all, I shortened the back length. Me! Shortening something...unheard of! I cut a new pattern piece for the bottom so I can use this shorter length again. The original length is quite long even on me, and the back hem almost reaches the back of my knees. This was the first time I used the sleeve extension pack. I knew straight away I didn't want the extra wide cuff, that would just annoy me so I reduced the width of it by 1". I think I added 'the lost inch' to the sleeve length. 

However, I made a simple, stupid mistake! Anyone else make those?! Can you see it in the photo above? Yes, I put the button and buttonhole the wrong way around. It really bugs me and I think that's partly why I don't enjoy wearing this as much as I should. So, that's a pretty easy thing to sort out and I think I will do that. I still think the cuff is too wide so I'll narrow that in the future. The other reason I don't like this as much s I should is that the fabric has a lot of white in it. I'm not a fan of white on me, I'd rather have cream. There's quite a lot of white in the polka dots and in the flowers. However, the fabric feels lovely against my skin.

So, is this a hit or a miss? Well, I think it's hit and I'm going to keep it.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

The Afternoon Tea Blouse for Me Made May

Here is my second garment worn to meet my Me Made May pledge of wearing a seldom or never worn garment. I made the Oliver and S Afternoon Tea Blouse in autumn last year and I think the last time I wore it was in November. Is it a hit or a miss? For me, definitely a big hit!

As you can see, I made it in one fabric throughout because I think the seam lines need to be shown off. It's a lovely top but choosing the correct size will get you the correct shoulder fit which I think is crucial for this style of top. I made a muslin and managed to nail the shoulder fit first time around. I did a Full Bust Adjustment but can't remember if I lengthened the body. Probably, as I'm 5'9" tall, or 1.75m.

The style of blouse, for me, isn't suitable for work wear really, so that's partly why it hasn't been worn for a few months.

The fabric is a lovely maroon-chestnut colour that I absolutely love but that's difficult to photograph. It's a surprisingly heavy, drapey viscose crepe bought last year from the Clothspot. Sadly, I think it's sold out. So, even if you hang the top to dry on a hanger, you'll still have to do some intricate ironing to get rid of some stubborn creases but it's worth the effort.

My advice to anyone making up this pattern is to follow the instructions to the letter, and to mark your fabric pieces after you've cut them out as the front pieces are very similar to the back pieces. I did all this and was fine but I can see that cutting corners would be risky!

Is it a keeper? Yes! It's been washed and is just waiting for the intricate ironing before I hang it up in the wardrobe again. I'm really enjoying my challenge! It's refreshing to wear something different and rediscovering my garments as I get stuck in a rut in winter just trying to keep warm and neglect some lovely garments hanging in my wardrobe.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Hit or miss?

As my Me Made May 2019 pledge, I said I'd wear at lest two items of never or seldom worn clothing and decide to keep, alter or donate. So, the first contender is this blouse:

I wore it to work on Friday 3rd May. I've made it before here and here. This version I made last year but I've hardly worn it. Why not? The problem is the collar and the upper placket of this pop-over shirt. They just don't sit right, take a look at the photo below and you'll see what the problem is. The day I wore this it was cold outside so I wore a scarf with it which hid the offending bits. I also feel the sleeves are just a wee bit too short for my liking.

The pattern is New Look 6374 and the fabric was bought from Edinburgh Fabrics. It's a black polyester print, quite nice and with green, cream and red flowers. I like the print and the fabric is also quite a 'nice' polyester. It's not a difficult shirt to sew, you just have to be really, really careful when sewing the placket. 

All in all, a great blouse pattern but one where for me, the collar just isn't 100% right. I was sewing a Kalle long sleeved shirt at the weekend and the collar just sews up without a problem. So this shirt is a miss for me, it's already washed and in the donate pile now. 

Monday, 29 April 2019

My Me Made May 2019 pledge

Well, after a few years of not participating in Me Made May, I had an idea yesterday. A notable day, obviously! I wear me-made garments every day now so the challenge needs to have something in it that really challenges me now. However, like a lot of sewists out there, if you've got quite a few hand sewn things, it probably means you also have quite a few garments that rarely, or have never (!) seen the light of day. So, that's my challenge and here's my pledge: 

'I, Joyce, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I endeavour to wear two seldom or never worn makes each week and to blog any un-blogged garments. I will also decide whether to keep them, alter or donate them, during May 2019' 

I inadvertently started off well yesterday with this challenge but it doesn't count as it's still April! I'll save that shirt for sometime in May! I've got behind in my blogging so it should also make me catch up with that too. 

Anyone else out there with a pledge for Me Made May 2019?

Monday, 1 April 2019

New sleep masks

I don't know about you but I've got into the habit of using sleep masks to help get a good night's sleep. This is especially useful when the sun rises earlier and earlier in Scotland and it can be light at 4am in high summer. The ones I'd been using for years were free when we flew with Virgin Atlantic to the USA for a holiday on the west coast. But those eye masks were never intended for long term use and the elastic was really suffering from repeated washing. It's taken ages for me to get around to tracing a template from the old ones, adding a seam allowance and finding the fabric and elastic to make new masks. But here they are!

I also wanted the new sleep masks to be made from natural fibres so I dived in to my cotton scraps that I use to make pocket bags in trousers and jeans, and got to work. All in all it took me less than an hour to make one mask. Why did I wait so long to replace the old ones?!?

If you're interested, I used four layers of cotton fabric so the light wouldn't penetrate too much and so I wouldn't have to use interfacing. I pulled at the elastic a wee bit, just to relax it before sewing it into the masks. I left a gap along the top of the mask so I could turn it inside out, then did a row of edge stitching to enclose all the raw edges. I know some sleep masks encase the elastic inside a tube of fabric but I didn't like that idea. I just feel it would be too bulky to sleep on.

Hey, it's not exciting sewing but for me it's an essential! And it uses some fabric scraps and end bits of elastic that are too small to use in waistbands. Result!

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!