Sunday, 3 March 2019

McCall's 7818 and the Arielle skirt

I can't believe it is a month since I last blogged.  I guess I'm still trying to get used to my new routine.  I'm enjoying my new job, challenging and a real opportunity to make a difference.  Some lovely people and I'm glad to be back at work.  It makes the days when you don't work more special.  I guess I'm not ready to retire.

Though I haven't been blogging, I have been sewing.  Mostly slower projects, and, as it seems, a lot of jackets. 

See the source image

This one is  is McCall's 7818, one of their new winter patterns.  It's a Unisex Unlined Jacket with a notched collar and back slits.  An oversized, checked jacket ticks two of the current fashion trends.  It is meant to be oversized and so there isn't a lot of fitting.  It is unisex.  I did a tissue fit and settled on a medium, but made some reductions to make sure it isn't too big.  I took 1 2/8" from the shoulder width, and almost 3" from the length and also removed a little from the seams.  This is a Palmer Pletsch pattern, and for those of you who are wanting patterns to help you improve your fitting, I would really recommend these.  There is a lot of advise about adjustments and also some great tips for improving your sewing.  You can really learn a lot from these.

Having doing a practice, I chickened out on the welt pockets.  In the main this was because of the thickness of the fabrics and it is a double welt, flapped pocket..  As the welt goes across the dart you end up with more than 8 layers of the fabric, all interfaced and I just couldn't see how it would lay well.  So I used some finer plain wool and added two patch pockets.  These look fine, though not as nice as welts would be.  I also didn't add a breast pocket.

The collar went in well, though the instructions were a little vague about where to put the seam fabric.  You have to either hand-stitch or stitch in the ditch at the collar seams to keep the two together.  I used a tiny stab stitch for better control.

The instructions were pretty clear, except for how to mitre the corners on the flaps, but I managed to work something out.  The lining is some proper silk fabric used for the back of waistcoats, which I picked up for £10 for 7 metres!  It's great.

The fabric is a gorgeous, fairly heavy wool from Fabworks.
  They don't seem to have it on-line but they have a fabulous selection of other wools.  I bought 2 metres and had loads left, enough to make …. 
The Ariel skirt from Tilly and the buttons.  This is my first time with this pattern and I really like it.
I think it's a pattern which benefits from fairly firm fabric, to keep the waistband high.    I love the shape.  I lined it and I really like the way the lining works with the facing, very neat.  Like all Tilly's patterns the instructions are very clear, and this is a skirt most beginners could manage.  I'm not sure I will wear the skirt and jacket together, but I like both and I am pretty happy with the pattern matching on both.


Sunday, 27 January 2019

November BurdaStyle challenge; catching up

This is the longest gap I've had in blogging, sorry to my regular readers.  As I said in my last blog I was made redundant and this has thrown me a bit.  I have been sewing a bit, though not as much as you might imagine and I just didn't get round to blogging.  Anyway finally I'm back.  I've had a couple of months of not working and thinking about life and what I want to do with it.  I'm feeling pretty positive and have been lucky enough to get some really interesting work at another college and my ideal 3 days a week, which starts tomorrow.

On the sewing front I've been on a jacket binge and I have 4 to tell you about!  I'm starting with what was my November 2018   BurdaStyle 2018 challenge. .  I ummed and ahhed whether to make this one.  I had had almost an exact match for the fabric in my stash for at least two years, and that was the decider.  The photos aren't great I'm afraid, sorry.

There are a lot of cute features, jacket tabs and a half belt at the back, plus I decided to add a little fur from my stash to the hood, and cut the inside hood facing in fur. I took about an inch from the width of the hood, but it is still a little big.

I had a problem with the collar, which is supposed to be able to button up, and mine just didn't meet.  Not sure what I did wrong here, but as I would never want something buttoned round my neck so high it will do.   I was pretty pleased with the finished jacket and mostly because I feel that if I can make a jacket like this from a Burda magazine, I could make any of their patterns.  Considering where I was at the beginning of the year, not even sure about tracing the simplest pattern I feel I've learnt a lot this year.  This is definitely not a pattern for the beginner.

I cut a size 36 which is 1 1/2" less than my actual bust size, but even so it was on the big side and I took a little width from the sides.  Is it just me or do BurdaStyle patterns come up rather big.  Although it is a cute jacket the wool fabric is really itchy on the facing and I know I wouldn't wear it, so this one has gone to Gemma.  Hopefully I'm back on track now, I have lots of ideas for 2019.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Vogue 1517 and wool and the gang sweater

I have an entire outfit this time.  The pattern is Vogue 1517 "Fitted, lined jacket has side-front and side-back seams, in-seam pockets, exposed front zipper, front and back peplum, and four-piece sleeve. No provisions provided for above waist adjustment. Close-fitting pants have elasticized waistband, seam detail, and stitched hem."  This is a great pattern and as you can see I made both items.

The jacket is made in pleather.  I fell in love with the floral pleather from Fabric Godmother  It's still available and it is gorgeous.  Love the blush coloured roses.  I paired it with some plain black.

The jacket pattern is fairly straightforward but it is made much more difficult if you sew it in pleather.  I used a leather needle and invested in a Teflon foot  I also used clips and not pins.  You can't make holes in this fabric as they will show.

As you can't really press pleather I top-stitiched all the seams and the collar etc.

I'm also wearing the trousers/leggings from the pattern, and I love these.   I made them from ponte and they have a two inch wide elastic in the waist.  I added 1" to the crotch length and also an inch to the leg length (even though I'm only 5'4").  I just find these trousers so useful and will make them again and again.  The seams are top-stiched and this gives a much better finish.  I made a size 12, but have lost a bit of weight since then and they could do with being a little tighter.

Also wearing a sweater I've just knitted.  This is Wool and the Gang's Relax Knit through It Sweater  Now this is  a great beginners sweater.  It's basically four squares.  I knitted the smallest size, and strangely has a whole ball of wool left.

I decided not to sew the neck right up to the top, preferring to create an asymmetric collar.

If you can do basic stocking stitch, you should be able to knit this one.  Love the blush colour.

It's been a long time since my last post and there is a reason for this.  About a month ago I was made redundant after working for my College for 23 years, it was a real shock and threw me so I didn't feel a lot like sewing or blogging.  I also lost quite a bit of weight, which does mean most of my clothes are a bit on the loose size..  It's been a time of reflecting and thinking about how I approach this and what to do next.  I'm unlikely to get a similar job at my age.  I am thinking positively though; after 43 years of working at an incredible pace and in my last job with a lot of pressure, it is something of a release and having more time, which eventually will mean more sewing is great!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

September Burdastyle challenge: the Berlin sweatshirt

Another last minute make creeping into September.  Glad to say I have now managed to make a garment from each of the last nine Burdastyle magazines.  There were a few patterns I liked in the September issue, but in the end because of time I had to go for the easiest.  And this is an easy pattern (with full instructions, and only 3 pieces), so a really good choice for your first Burdastyle pattern.

This is a really straightforward very large sized sweatshirt.  I cut a size 40, but really would have preferred to go for a smaller one.  The most unusual feature is the pleated sleeves which make it a little different.  I used some black ribbing for the neck.

So why the Berlin sweatshirt?  Because I bought the material in Berlin from Stoff and Still.  I spent a lovely hour in this massive shop.  I meant to take a photo but think I was a bit overwhelmed by all the fabric.  So just to prove I had a lovely 3 days in this fabulous city with my lovely son and daughter-in-law, here's a photo of me and Dan at checkpoint Charlie.  I chose the grey sweatshirt fabric to match the slightly strange print fabric  (unusual way to spell believe).Both are great snuggly fabrics and sew up well. 

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Grainline Hadley top

This is my second Grainline Hadley top and I'm afraid it is a complete copy.  When I visited Guthrie and Ghani during the SewBrum meet up, one of the staff was wearing this exact top and I loved it so much I just copied it.

This is a really full, swingy top, which is much better made in a really drapey fabric ... and this fabric is very drapey and soft.  I'm sure you will recognize it as the Atelier Brunette moonstone viscose.  I love it, even though it is expensive.  I got mine from one of my favourite internet shops, SewMeSunshine, Harriet offers an fantastic service and great fabric.    It may seem a bit  strange but I used the wrong side of the fabric, because I liked the more subtle coloured shapes.

It has an uneven hem and loose sleeves and the back has a pleat at the backneckline.

Another thing I love about this pattern is how neat you can make it on the inside, look how beautiful.  I French seamed all the seams including the setting of the sleeves.  The pattern has a neck facing, but Guthrie and Ghani have been selling Atelier Brunette bias binding and it is absolutely gorgeous.  I used this to face the neck and the hem and it looks fantastic, bet you can hardly see it below.

So this one is a hit for me, even though its not my usual fitted style.  It's a great pattern as usual from Grainline Studio, with clear instructions, and this is a beginner friendly patter.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

August Burdastyle challenge

Well I've made it for another month and I'm pretty pleased that I haven't skipped a month yet. 

This is dress 112 in the 8/2018 issue a stretch jersey dress in petite size.   I wear a lot of dress for work with a jacket and this is really useful for this (worn it quite a few times already).  I really loved the fabric in the magazine.  Did you know you can actually buy the same fabric?  Unfortunately, the on-line fabric shop was in German and I couldn't work out the shipping charges!


So I went for something similar.  This is a John Kaldor stretch polyester jersey, £10 a metre from Sew Essential.  It is very stretchy and thus perfect for this dress, although it does feel synthethetic.  This is a very clingy dress, and although it is very comfortable, it isn't very forgiving!

I raise the neckline to be suitable for work, though a bit too much.

I'm often attracted to unusual patterns, and the skirt of this was no exception, there were two gathered areas on each size.  The gathers were a little tricky, you have to be careful to try and ensure they match on each size.  It was also difficult to level the hem.   I do like the dress though, and have got quite a bit of wear from it.

I made another BurdaStyle pattern this month, this cute little top, inspired by Hila from Saturday Night Stitch.  If you haven't watched her vlogs yet, watch this one, which shows her fantastic makes including this top.

This week I have also welcomed a new friend!  I have splashed out and treated myself to a new machine.  I do love it, but ...... I am getting static electricity from it that is quite unpleasant and I have to wear rubber soled shoes.  Has any one else ever have this problem!

And here's a photo of my sewing room, with my stash and my love dog Tess.  I'm really lucky to have such a great space for my sewing.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Two challenges aced; Sew My Style Lander shorts and Burdastyle July top

Just squeaking in again with these two challenges.  The top is no. 116 from BurdaStyle July issue.  I'm really pleased withmyself for completing the first seven months of Hila's challenge.  When I picked this top I thought it would be pretty simple, but actually ...... it's not!  I cut a size 40 and it was pretty roomy, I took a little more in at the sides.

You have to bravely slash down the front facing, and then place a placket at the back and  sew the buttons that.  There are rouleau button loops.  I have to say I always find placing these accurately tricky, and this time was no different.  There is also a really long drawstring, and boy was that tricky to turn.
The neck is faced and that means that at the strap area there is as many as 6-8 layers!  In order to make sure these stay in place I added a few stitches holding both the front and facing in place.

I didn't like the really long ties on the shoulder straps so I reduced them by 4 inches.    I do love the fabric, so cute.  It sews and presses like a dream and has just a little stretch for comfort.  It's from Sew Me Sunshine, which is definitely one of my favourite websites; great fabric, excellent service and so beautifully wrapped.  Unfortunately this one is sold out, but there is a similar one.  So overall a cute pattern, but not a quick sew, even knotting the shoulders in the right place isn't easy to do on your own!

I've just finished my Lander shorts in time for the sunshine to disappear!    I do think that True Bias are great patterns, lots of nice details and clear instructions.    I cut the size 4 and used the full 1" seams.  The waist is still a little loose.  Although the pattern says you can't adjust the waist you can, if you use a technique of fitting the waistband before you sew the edges.

I added 1 2/8th" to the crotch length and I needed this (I have a high waist).  I love the pockets and the opportunities for topstitching.  I had been worried the fly might bulge a bit having buttons rather than a zip, but it seems to be lying OK.  Generally I'm happy with the fit, though there is a bit of excess in the back, any ideas anyone?

It hasn't been sunny enough to wear them to see how comfy they are, but I think this is a great pattern, and I have plans for a dusky pink babycord pair of trousers and a linen pair.  I'm already planning next months challenges!