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!

Monday, 23 July 2018

ByHand Anna Dress, Cocowawa Honeycomb dress and the Mystery Blogger Award!

Bit behind in my blogging, so here's a two for one, and I love them both.  First the ByHand Anna dress, yes I know the world and its dog has made this, but this is the first one I've made that I can actually wear.

I love the fit.  Having cut a size 12, and fitted a little more at the waist, its a very  snug fit but also really comfortable.  Love the V neck and it's height is just right.

I also love this fabric, which I bought at Guthrie and Ghani during SewBrum (I think it's the cotton poplin type as it's quite crisp , it's sold out now, but Fabric Godmother has the cotton lawn version.    I'm afraid I absolutely copied the lovely Sarah from LikeSewAmazing who was wearing the dress at the event in the teal version of the fabric (Sarah now sells fabric too, check out her lovely range).    It's a gorgeous colour and the teal picks up the colour in my favourite shoes.  Definitely a hit!

Next up a very different shape, Cocowawa's Honeycomb Dress. I made a size 4, but if I made it again I think I would go down a size, and also drop the waist by an inch, which is very unusual for me as I usually raise waistlines by an inch.

The fabric is a gorgeous dusty pink colour.  It's a double gauze from Ebay.  There are some great colours in both plain and dot, and you can mix and match.  I'm not entirely sure about double gauze, as it seems a bit delicate, but this feels lovely and soft and has made a really comfy dress.

This is a really cute pattern, with clear instructions.  Not too much fitting needed because of the tie fastenings.  The collar isn't my favourite version of the mandarin, and I might just adapt it another time.

My week was made this week, when I was nominated by Hila of Saturdaynightstitch for

I really love Hila's blog and vlogs you must catch her if you haven't.  So here I am answering her questions.
  1. What song will ALWAYS get you on the dance floor?  It's actually quite easy to get me on the dance floor, but Bruce Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark will do it every time.
  2. Whats your signature dish?  Oh dear, this is when I have to confess that I don't really cook anymore!  Now I live on my own I just can't be bothered.  When I lived with my boys I would say homemade pizza, but now it Marks and Spencer to the rescue!
  3. Your proudest moment was……. There have been so many with my boys, probably when Dan after year's of trying got into study medicine at Warwick, and with James his bravery and sense of humour when he was so ill in hospital.  On a daily basis I feel proud of the College I work at and all that we do for the students.
  4. Favourite colour  .. duck egg blue and also love mustard (particularly fabric).
  5. Your best dance move is….   It's the one Bruce does in the Dancing in the Dark video (and if you want to also see how jeans should look give the video a watch!).  It looks something like

It's quite hard to nominate others as many have been picked and I follow so many, but here are mine!     Incredible Italian style and fit!  Fiona's blog is fantastic.  Great sewing detail and her monthly roundup of patterns is wonderful   Charlotte is lovely, and she has some of the most fantastic photos taken all around the world.  Kate writes intelligent interesting posts and always looks so stylish!  I'm sure you must know Lauren's vlog and blog.  She is so lovely and gives such great advise.  I'll be blogging my copy of one of her shirts soon!  Now this is a woman who knows how to make.  She made absolutely everything for a year, including shoes and tights!   Marcy is just joyful  Shauni has a fantastic style and she's from Yorkshire what else to like!  Tany's blog is real couture and you learn so much from it  Ruth is just one of my favourites.  I spent a fantastic day with her in Lancashire and his blog is inspirational.  She makes outfits and collections, putting things together in unique ways.

So to all you wonderful bloggers thankyou (and Hila too of course), I start everyday with a catch-up and you enrich my life!  And if you haven't visited them please do!

Sunday, 1 July 2018

June Burdastyle challenge

I just finished this one on the last day of June.  To be honest I wasn't really excited by the June issue and I was going to choose a pattern from a back-issue, then I was going through my box of off-cuts and saw these bits of leftover silk and thought I would try making 109, even though the photos aren't very clear in the magazine.

This is a fairly straight forward pattern.  I'm not sure that I really like the way the lower front puffs out a bit.  I cut a size 20 but wish I had a little more ease in the arm-holes.

I didn't need any opening as it easily goes on over my head.

I didn't have enough silk in one colour.  I love the blue silk.  The duck egg is Beckford silk and a bit thicker.  I did struggle with the silk.  I made bias binding myself, but it really did challenge me.

You can see how much by this mess I made of the neckline.  I know I should have unpicked, but I thought it might end up being even worse, with needle holes and a stretched neckline.

I won't make this one again, but for a top which cost me nothing, I will be some wear from it.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Sewmystyle kimono and Carolyn pyjamas

So this month I went from thinking that I wouldn't join in the Sewmystyle challenge to getting completely carried away and making an entire matching set.


(By the way I never thought I'd be appearing in public in my pyjamas!)  It started because I had 5 metres of this lovely Liberty fabric in my stash.  Now before the mathematical among you think that equates to £110 of fabric, this was one of my bargains bought at Standfast and Barrat in Lancaster on their last day of offering Liberty seconds and it cost only £14.98 for the lot!  I know,  I could kick myself for not buying more.

I did cheat a bit this month, because I couldn't justify buying the Suki Kimono pattern, when I already had this one, which is very similar and from the Great British Sewing Bee from Fashion With Fabric.  The pattern is straightforward, though I think I could have gone down a size.  I bought a bit of Tana Lawn for the belt and facing, it was more yellow than I wanted and I had forgotten how see-through Tana Lawn can be.  I French seamed all the seams, but came to a problem at the under arms.  All looked beautiful on the inside, but then when I turned it right-side out at the curved underarm seam it wouldn't lie properly and I have had to cut through at points, which now looks a mess.  I suppose there just isn't any way you can French seam a curve like this, lesson for the future.  Do any of you have any suggestions?

I've had the Carolyn pyjamas in my pattern stash, and as I had enough fabric left I carried on.  I cut a size 10 for the top and an 8 for the bottoms.  The top is a good fit and didn't need any changes.  I put on extra 1" in the rise on the bottoms as I don't like anything on my lower waist.  I do have a small waist and find that any lower waistlines seem to try and move up to the smaller part (that probably sounds nonsense but hopefully you will get the gist.  The front is still too low and I would like another 1" there  I didn't bother with the faux-fly. Also these look the right size, in terms of comfort I wish I'd gone for the next size up.  I have to say this fabric is lovely to wear as pyjamas.

This is a great pattern, though quite a lot of work in it.  What I really like is that you can make the insides so neat.  You won't be surprised I French seamed everything.  I'm getting pretty good at setting in sleeves with French seams.

I has just enough fabric left to make my first  ogden cami.  I had to make the back facing from some different fabric, but that's quite useful for spotting the back.  There has been tons written about the cami.  I'm not sure whether it's really for me.  I'm not keen on showing my brastraps and in the lawn it is a bit baggy.  However, it is lovely for hot nights and I might try one more in a drapey fabric.  The only change I made was to reduce the strap length by around 5/8".

If I had more fabric I would also have made the shorts!